Miss legs 1 and 2 of my Reach the Beach Relay recaps? Read those first:
And now, for part 3! Wherein we actually reach the beach.
When I last left off, my van had just finished its second leg and was hanging out in the transition area awaiting our last (and for most of us our longest) legs of the race.
Around 12:30, it was finally our turn!
Not gonna lie — we were all really jealous of van 1 being finished already and able to go play at the beach without us. I feel like next time I do a relay I want to be in van 1.
It was a bit of a long day — everyone had longer runs on the docket (6 to 7 miles each) than for the earlier legs, so it ended up taking awhile to get through everyone.
Although of course the banana costume kept spirits high!
But even bananas get tired.
Finally, around 4:30 p.m., it was my turn to run. By this point I was feeling a bit demotivated — it was a long day of sitting around and my stomach hadn’t been feeling so hot all morning so I was worried it would be upset during the run, but I got suited up and hoped for the best.
This was my longest leg of the race — almost 7.3 miles, so I was also a little nervous about how my legs would feel after two runs already under my belt AND a night of very little sleep. It was pretty sunny and warm out by this point, too, but I’d been sure to drink a ton of water all day as well as some Gatorade.
Elizabeth came racing in and we finally completed a perfect slap bracelet pass! Off to a good start.
As soon as I started running, my spirits lifted. The weather was beautiful, my stomach felt fine, and my legs even felt good! I think I was just happy to be outside enjoying the scenery.
I asked the van to check in on me at mile 1 to make sure my stomach was still okay, and they were happy to see me with a big smile on my face. All was well!
The rest of the run was great, too. I saw my team again at mile 5 and it gave me the perfect boost to finish the last 2 miles strong.
My legs started feeling a bit tired for the last mile, but I pushed myself to stay strong. I was so close!!
And then — I was done. Three legs — check!!
Here I am getting interviewed about my last leg of the race.
I ended up averaging an 8:45 min/mile pace for the 7.3 miles. Yay! I couldn’t believe how quickly they went by — I wish I had a van of my friends following me around on all my runs to cheer me on!
With me finished, we were down to our final runner — Ashley! We all found a good spot to wait to cheer her on along the way.
There she is!
Once we got confirmation she was feeling strong, it was finally time to head to the BEACH! We had officially made it.
As soon as we got there, we reunited with van 1 and headed to good spot near the finish line to wait for Ashley.
We would join her for the last little bit of the run so we all crossed the finish line together!
Before too long, she came racing around the corner. We made a little arch with our arms for her to run through, and then ran after her towards the finish line!
Victory was ours. I was so, so proud of us all. This race was a really good lesson to remember to challenge yourself. Running nearly 17 miles in less than 24 hours and broken up into 3 legs… with no sleep? Turns out it wasn’t so crazy as it sounds. And in fact… it was even fun.
A BIG thank you again to New Balance (especially Kristen, Monica, and Nicole), Martin and his team at Reach the Beach, and my amazing teammates for making this such an unforgettable experience. I was particularly impressed with how well organized this race series is — we heard through the grapevine that it’s WAY better organized than some of the other relay races, and it was true. Great, clear signage everywhere, helpful maps and directions, wonderfully cheerful volunteers (even in the middle of the night), etc. A big two thumbs up from me.
After reading my recaps, do you think you’d ever want to do a relay race? I can’t wait to do another! If you’re interested in Reach the Beach, here are the dates for their other two relays in 2012:
- September 14-15, 2012 — New Hampshire (this is their oldest/original relay)
- October 12-13, 2012 — New Jersey (a new location for them this year! I would totally do this if our wedding weren’t on the 13th, heh)
Stay tuned — tomorrow I’ll be back with an update on how my first week as a hospital dietetic intern is going!