Monday, September 24, 2007

Leg 23 and 24

Leg 23: 6.25 miles – 4:52am – 41:48 (6:41 pace)

We got to the 2nd VTA at Laconia Tech around 11:30pm or midnight and it was packed. Bodies (sleeping bags) covering most of the grassy areas (for some reason I thought of Jim Jones and his cool aid drinking cult). Anyways, Steve Delahunty went inside for some nice warm food, I opted for turkey soup, Steve D picking Chili. Chili? This is not good, especially for his van mates.

I was hoping to get some rest/sleep so I grabbed my sleeping bag and found some nice quiet grass about 100yds from the transition area….NOT. Apparently this is not a quiet zone. After enduring constant screaming from the runners at the TA station I finally started to doze off and then the rains came. Thankfully, just sprinkles to start to make sure you were awake, then the downpours. All the body bags came to life and headed for cover, I headed for the front passenger seat of our van, and making sure I kept the light on as long as possible so that no one else was able to sleep. At the time, I thought it was fair. It is now 1am, I have no sleep and will run again in less than 4 hours. Oooh, I can’t wait.

The second leg starts in my hometown of Pittsfield. As we pull into the TA, I spot my younger brother volunteering, Denis yells something like ‘we’ve got your brother’ and we go and park. I walk up and chat with him for a while and then decide to get ready for my run. It is raining….still.

Brian is cranking and comes in early but I’m ready. Again, he’s racing someone in and I take off with another runner, heading for the Epsom traffic circle roughly a 10k away. I’m hoping this will be an easier run, no real hills, mostly flat. I run hard for the 1st mile finding someone to race with. Good, I like competition, this should be fun. However, after a mile, he fades back….never to be seen again. I know start to focus on the seemingly endless line of red blinkie lights all along Rt28. I feel like I’m working hard but again I have no idea of my pace. I start passing runners, lots of runners, 5, 10, 15. I remember Ryan’s phenomenal roadkill total of 33 from his last leg and I keep that number in my head. 20, 25, 30. It’s a killing field. I start counting ahead to see how many kills are still available. 35, 36, 37 and finally 38. I really want to hit 40 but I have less than a mile to go and I can’t see anyone or at least anyone within range of catching. 38 roadkills it is (a personal record) and once again I see a tall blond runner standing at the TA. I’m running hard and I overshoot the transition…still with the baton in my hand. Whoops, sorry Molly. Leg number 2 is done.

Overall time: 41:48 with an average pace of 6:41. I’m disappointed with my time. The effort felt faster than that. Crap.

Leg #24 6.9 miles
My second leg was the hardest one for me to mentally prepare myself for. It was my longest leg, and I knew I wanted to do it fast enough to be respectable, but not so hard that I wasn't going to be able to run my last leg. It was also hard knowing that very soon after I was only finished with my second leg, many of my team mates would be done with their races entirely. After lying down for a while but not sleeping at all, I watched my van mates do their runs in the rain and wasn't particularly excited for when it would be my turn. But inevitably, it was. The transition area had become a lot more crowded as we caught up to some of the later starters, but I saw Steve coming in and I was off once again. It was about 5:40 in the morning, which is a common time for me to train. The faintest hint of daylight was starting to show, although the sun was hidden by the clouds. I lucked out and didn't have to run in the torrential rain that I'd heard earlier from the safety of the van, but it was still sprinkling and wet out. I'll admit that I didn't have high hopes for running a good pace on that leg. I really didn't think I was capable of it. But having seen how fast my team mates were going, I had to at least try to hit my projected pace. I decided that lungs burning = ok, legs hurting = not ok. It was a series of rolling hills as I made my way to Bear Brook State Park. Many other runners were lined up in front of me, primed for the road killing. It began early, and I racked them up pretty quickly. At least 4 of them were walking, so I'm not sure if that counts, but I'll take it. This was the only one of my legs that was long enough that I asked my van to stop and give me water at about mile 4. I started to get worried when I didn't see them until about 30 minutes in, but they were beyond 4, so that made me feel a bit better. It was getting brighter and I didn't need the light of my head lamp anymore. The normal people were waking up and cars that weren't part of the race were on the road once again. I turned the corner and headed towards Bear Brook State Park, still trying to reel in as many runners in front of me as I could. I passed a member of the Google team, which made me feel good because I had heard that they were fast. By the end of my leg I had amassed 24 road kills and didn't get passed once. I ran down the final hill and was thrilled to see that I actually had a team mate to hand off to. My second leg was done. Most of the team would be done racing in a few short hours, but I still had a long time to wait.

No comments: