Forgot to post this – whoops!!!
Months ago a group of FitFam Ambassadors tossed out the idea of teaming up for the Rainier to Ruston Rail-Trail Relay & Ultra, a 50.3 mile race held the first Sat in June. Five of us were interested (another local Ambassador, Kerrie, was already running with her team the “Honey Buckettes”) and I thought cool!
Then the whole back drama, and my thought changed to “shit”.
Then I was running again, and back to cool!!!
Shane was leading the charge, so before finalizing my registration I checked to see if I could do the two shortest legs which I figured I could handle, plus my slower pace on those wouldn’t affect our overall average too much. Of course, he said, so register I did.
We hadn’t all met (even though we’ve chatted online through various social medias), so we coordinated via Facebook Messenger and met super early on Saturday morning at the Renton Park and Ride (3 people traveling from up north and Seattle, this made the most sense), loaded up my “official Participant Vehicle”, and we headed to Sumner for Shane the off to Mt Rainier to the starting line.
I’d love to say everything went off without a hitch…but I can’t. I mean, almost would be a good description. As in, we almost missed our start time. Windy roads, runners ON the road (from Wave Start A, we were B) – and seriously people, haven’t you ever run on a open-to-traffic road before? The cars will win – single file, and NOT on the double yellow line! Geesh, anyway… We passed through all the runners waiting to start, with 5 mins to spare. Tracy, runner 1, hopped out to finish getting ready (5 adults in an Xterra is fine, but when one is leaning into the cargo area trying to find shoes, hydration vest, etc – it can be rough). I stopped someone as they were getting their last few stretches in and made her take a group photo, then off went Tracy and it was “gametiime” (inside joke, anyone?)!
After seeing Tracy off, we made our way to the next checkpoint and started seeing runners coming in. Of course, we’re standing along the self defined chute and the guy in front of me is about 2′ taller so I can’t really see around him. Then he puts his hands up and I REALLY can’t see – luckily, when I (nicely) mentioned something, he moved. Shane got ready, Tracy came in and this one went pretty smooth!
This leg was around 6 miles long, all trail and “hard”. We made our way to the exchange and had about 30 mins to hang out and our eyes kept getting bigger and bigger. These guys were coming in covered in mud, exhausted, and some were even bloody. Normally, Id be envious because although that’s definitely a challenge, that also looks like a helluva lotta fun to me! Luckily for Shane, he came in relatively unscathed and off Sharla went, toward “the gravel pit”.
My guy and the boys had planned to come up and see us off (my first race back and also because the boys had never really explored Mt Rainier), but with little to no service I hadn’t been able to reach them to let them know how congested it was. I realized this….as they drove by me! They didn’t see us, but they still enjoyed their detour before heading to work.
We had no issues of getting to exchanges late, no injuries, no vehicle drama – in other words, besides having a good time and a bunch of nice runs on a hot, sunny day, it was uneventful. Tracy had one leg in so much soft sand that she had to stop a couple times to dump sand out of her shoes. Jeannie was predicting slower paces but we all knew she was going to be faster than she thought – she’s deep into training for her next full Iron Man and is ridiculously fit. Sharla was running a half the following weekend, and I was just trying to run steady and come out no worse for wear.
I didn’t realize my second leg had a couple big hills, and although I wasn’t prepared, I did pretty good on them. The heat was much more of a factor for me, since I hadn’t been running enough to acclimate for it. Regardless though, the Chocolate Coconut Gu I had before that second (and last) leg was just what I needed and it got me up and over the hills to the boardwalk. Then…the run to the finish was spent dodging prom goers, their camera toting parents/aunts/uncles etc, and families out for a day in the sun. Got a text as I was getting close (did I mention I had the finishing leg?), making sure I had my ID (or they would grab it for me – they were parking and heading to the finish). I did – and that meant I was close to my beer, oh, and medal!
Getting to finish and ring that bell the last time was such a treat! When I asked for the shortest legs I didn’t even look to see where that would put me, and I was so honored to bring it in for us. It may not have been a sprint – but for ME, it was a giant step back in the right direction.