I've run the RTB relay race a couple of times now, all on recreational teams. My first experience was with a team that had Rae and Brian on it. It was a total blast even though the remnants of some hurricane was coming through and it rained the entire time and Rae talked the entire time. It was actually amazing. Even at 2:00am at some school gymnasium in Tamsworth, she'd be talking and talking and seem have this inifinite supply of energy. She also had the hots for this Asian guy that she kept checking out. At least that's the rumor I tried to spread, but Brian wasn't buying it. :)
The following year I decided to run on another recreational team that consisted of runners from my local town. Again, it was a blast. No one had any expectations of anyone else other than just completing their leg.
My last RTB experience wasn't so good and I think it was because I was more into the race than the other people in the van. So I decided that the next time I run RTB, it will be with a competitive team. Well, I got my wish and now I'm on this team with some incredibly fast runners whom I got to meet the other night at Marthas Exchange. I find it hard not to be a little intimidated around some of these people. Take Molly Zahr for example. She was sitting across from me at the table. Here's a young women who finished first at Ironman USA in Lake Placid last year. After averaging 20.5 MPH on her bike for 112 miles, Molly still managed to run a 3:30 marathon. To my left was Mark Wimmer who is capable of running up Mount Washington in around 1:16 and who has a personal best in the marathon of sub 2:30. To my right was Brian Coates. Brian is one of the best athletes I know who just finished competing at the Philadelphia Triathlon over the past weekend and who averaged an incredible 22.8 MPH on his bike leg and then come back to run a 10K in 42:10 (6:48 pace) and only 5 months after having back surgery! Sitting across from him and diagonal to me was his wife Rae. Rae is one of the toughest runners I know who has been doing nothing but steadily improving her bike, swim and especially her run over the past few years. Rae did the same race as Brian and she almost broke 40 minutes in the 10K with a time of 40:24 (6:31 pace)! Just 2 weeks before this she ran Mt Washington in 1:26 without much preparation, only getting a bypass number in the last few weeks leading up to this race. In the middle of the table was our leader Michael Wade. I've run with Michael on the track and it's like running next to a locomotive. Or rather, it's like running behind a locomotive as he disappears into the distance. Michael is an incredibly strong runner who seems to be getting stronger and stronger. Sitting next to Michael was a women whom I was meeting for the first time. Kerry Litka. I don't know much about this women other than she, like everyone else at that table, is a very fast and strong runner. She recently raced in a biathlon where her 5K run time was in the mid 18 minutes! Sitting at the other end of the table was Denis Tranchemontagne. Denis claims to be out of shape, but I think he's stealth training and is in much better shape than he claims to be. But even if Denis has not been training much, this guy is still capable or running a sub-19 5K without much effort and has the potential of running sub-17. Sitting with Denis was Kevin Mcintyre. I ran some hills with Kevin once and he left behind. I thought I was a strong hill runner but Kevin is even stronger. There were a few other people at that table whom I didn't have time to meet, but I know they are all very strong and competent runners.
As I sat there drinking my beer and waiting for my cheeseburger to arrive, it dawned on me that this is the most talented group of runners that I have ever raced with. I think about this almost everyday and those thoughts motivate me to get out on the road and train as hard as I can. I know that during the race, everyone on the team will be running their best and I don't want to be the weak link in the chain. I can't help but wonder what it's going to be like to actually compete at this race. Will it take the fun out of it or will it add a new, exciting element? Will anyone on this team turn into a whiney, crybaby? I doubt it. This is going to be the best RTB experience yet! :)
While some people ran hard, it was still a recreational team. The idea was simply to cover the distance and to have a lot of fun doing it. I've run this race a few times after that initial experience