Thursday, April 30, 2009

American Odyssey (AOR) - Chapter 2 - And We're Off

The alarm went off way too early. In fact, three alarms, mine, Nat's and Jeff's went off in concert at 5 am. Since Jeff and Nat were in van two, I rolled out and into the shower first. My initial thought was that the four hours of sleep was all well and good on a normal day, but how would I be feeling a day later with not much more rest time. Not much that could be done about that now.

After dressing in my first leg running duds, I filled repacked and headed to the breakfast bar at the Holiday Inn Express. Coffee, ahhh!
At 6, we were at the host hotel where we were all to meet for the decorating of the vans. Ann Marie did a great job getting our decorations ready. Once we were there, it was time to relocate our bags, get the decor on the vans, do some window painting and get ready for our 7 am start. The weather at this point is nearly perfect for my money. Upper 30's, maybe 40, sun's out. Sweet!

Team 4 Score an 7 Blisters. Little did we know what the next two days had in store for us.

By quarter to seven, we were en route to the starting line. Seven teams lined up for the first starting time of the event. Seemed kinda low key compared to just about any event. Nonetheless, there we were. At 7:05, with much fanfare, Karen was off and running. The innaugural American Odyssey Relay was under way.

Karen is the second woman from the right.

So now, the fun begins. Van 2 heads back to their hotels and Van 1 is on for the next six hours, give or take. Time for coffee. We're off to the local convenience store to caffeinate. As we're pulling in, seems Van 2 had the same idea. From there, we're on to Transition 1. Karen finishes in great spirits and we're suddenly off to T-2, where I will meet Ann Marie and head out on my first leg. T-2 was at Boyd's Bear Country. Kind of an oasis across from the battlefield. Best part about it -- indoor plumbing! Turns out Ann Marie's leg was about a mile longer than advertised. Once she arrived, I was off for my longest leg -- 8.4 miles.

The leg was advertised as fairly flat, but the first mile or so had some nice big hills with road paving construction going on. Take a deep breath -- nice smell of tar -- mmmm! After that, the leg was pretty much one big square on country roads. Lot's of farmland, animals, manure, you get the idea. Oh, there was a funny sign -- right next to a driveway there was a long gravel road, sign said "Lover's Lane, $20, Pay Ed Inside". Now, I couldn't see what was at the other end, but it did provide a moment of comic relief. Still wondering how much old Ed makes off of his "lane."

I didn't want to carry water with me for that distance, so I had my team meet me at about mile 5. They passed me and shortly after, I met back up with them for a much needed water break.

The transition was next to a stream and through a covered bridge. Very cool. As I finished, Matt was next up and he took off. I tracked the distance at 8.55 miles and I averaged just under 10 minute miles. Not bad at all for me at that distance.

Some good came out of those leftover Ron Paul 2008 signs!

Matt was up next with an 8.3 mile run with some serious climbing. His leg ended at the Ski Liberty Resort. He kicked some butt on his leg and Dan was up next. Dan made easy work of his leg and then it was on to the big daddy of them all. The dreaded leg 6.

My new freind Taryn "volunteered" for the six leg. Taryn lives in Yuma, Arizona which, I'm told, doesn't have a hill in the town. Leg 6 was actually rated as the third toughest of the 12 legs, but leg 6 looked like a pretty tough leg from the elevation chart. Basically 4 miles at a 5% grade. Okay, so just do some treadmill training, I thought, and you'll be all set. Taryn seemed a bit stressed about it all.

Thankfully, we never saw this leg for real until we got there in person. The map didn't do it justice. Just a brutal climb to the highest point in the event. As we drove past Taryn, she was all smiles, just working her way up the mountain. She kicked some serious mountain ass. As all of the runners arrived at the summit, there were cheers from all the participants. Once Taryn arrived, she was presented with a proclamation from the team: Queen of the Mountain. She truly did us proud.

Queen Taryn!

Sometime after 1 pm, Van 1 could rest. We handed off to Van 2 and it was time to relax. One leg down, two to go.



Dan Seifring said...

Great job Jeff, I think I am going to just point people to your blog for a race report.

Pokey said...

Dang, that Karen girl looks like a serious, hard core runner!!!!!

Andrew is getting fit said...

I love the sweet smell of tar in the morning!

Daiquiri princess said...

Sounds like you all had a great time together- I love the Queen of the Mountain thing.

Pat said...

under 10 minute pace - great job. I love the covered bridge.

J~Mom said...

I am teary already. :>P