Sunday, June 10, 2007

What a long strange run it was...

So, how you was your weekend? Mine you ask? Well I was stuck in a van for damn near 36 hours with a crazy group of runners I really didn’t even know before Thursday night. We rambled through Wisconsin and Northeastern IL in a tandem of Hertz rental vans, and ran our asses off non-stop through the Midwestern countryside and string of towns – ALL the way to downtown Chicago.

Along the way, we cheered, laughed, ate a litany of runner foods, sang, bitched, moaned, swore, stunk, vomited, farted, played cards, got lost, bitched some more and snuck in a only a very few precious moments of shuteye.

All 190 miles of The Great Midwest Relay comprised what I think all agree was an excellent running adventure for twelve of us.

You can check out our team blog, which I am sure will be updated shortly with countless hilarious pics, podcasts, quotes and stories (hint to team captain!) including our heroic finish in Montrose Park on Saturday afternoon.

We all had a blast, even though most of us were pretty ornery at least one or two points throughout the adventure. No major blowouts or instances of personal conflict that I witnessed, which is saying a lot given the range of personalities and our tight quarters. Everyone was pretty cool, and I think we all learned to give space as necessary.

Overall, the race organizers did a very good job of marking the course and providing detailed instructions for each leg. Sure, there were some points where more signposting could have helped us all, but let’s keep in mind this was a 190-mile race.

Most legs were pretty straightforward, provided that you studied the map in advance. It’s not a good idea to go blind into the runs for this event, especially for the night runs. We only had a couple of our runners get lost, one of which claims she had a panic attack after missing a sign.

At one point, around 3:00 AM on Saturday morning while driving the “Dude” Van #2, I felt in my head what I can best describe as a steady resonance of a painful fatigue pounding away at my brain. Said another way, I was f***’ng exhausted and my body was telling me so. I handed off the wheel to mouse, if I recall correctly…but I cannot be sure.

I think my favorite part of our journey was the 90 minutes of sleep I managed to get on the filthy, rock hard floor of a church, which I learned just now is in Racine, WI.

Room #7 in the church appeared to be abandoned librarian’s office that was now a makeshift closet for the toys, books and other stuff that the kids at the church have worn out over the years. We crammed at least 4 or 5 of us into this holy closet of slumber.

My hip is bony, so my typical side position of sleeping caused a little discomfort. Coming from someone who is a light sleeper and requires fairly specific conditions to crash, sleeping here was a testament to my condition at 3:30 AM on Saturday morning.

Here is a recap of my legs:

Leg 9 – Helenville, WI – 6.2 miles – 43:30 (7:09/mile) – 2:47 PM Friday (very warm conditions)
Leg 21 – Oak Creek, WI – 6.2 miles – 46:14 (7:27/mile) – 12:30 AM Saturday (beautiful conditions!)
Leg 33 – Highwood, IL – 5.8 miles – 45:00 (7:43/mile) – 11:10 AM Saturday (TIRED, MAN!)

Special thanks to Jayhawk and OOSG for inviting me on this awesome running journey, doing all the organizing (especially getting those sweet vans) and for being the ultimate cool hosts at their downtown condo.

Now it’s back to base training for the main event of the year. Next race is in two weeks – the DG 10-miler on June 24.

Recap of week

Mon 6/4 – 8 mi
Tue 6/5 – 10 mi
Thu 6/7 – 7 mi
Fri-Sat – 18 mi (GMR Race)

Total: 43 miles

Plan for 6/11 Week

Mon 6/11 – Travel to Norwalk – 6 mi evening
Tue 6/12 – Norwalk – 6:15 AM start: 9 miles w/4 at LT pace
Wed 6/13 – Rest
Thu 6/14 10 mi – General aerobic
Fri 6/15 – 6 mi Recovery
Sat 6/16 – 15 mi long run w/CARA in Wheaton

Target: 46 miles


robtherunner said...

Relays are a lot of fun. It's cool that you got to do it with some bloggers. Sounds like it was a good time.

LeahC said...

it was fun having you on the team dude. can't wait to follow your marathon training.

good luck.

E-Speed said...

you rocked it out there! It was great meeting you. I have a feeling you are going to blow away Chicago this year.

Josh said...

It was a pleasure meeting you ... and spending 30 hours in a van together. I can't wait to follow your training these next few months!

yumke said...

Wow, sounds like fun. And I can't believe you're already up to 46 miles a week.

taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
taylor said...

Nothing like getting know someone for 36 hours in a van! Great job this weekend and good luck in your training. GMR 2008!

Darrell said...

The relay sounds like a lot of fun, albeit exhausting but fun. Sounds like it tests you in ways way beyond running.

Now I guess its back to the task at hand.

jen said...

Congrats to you and your team, Ryan! You ran really strong. That relay sounds like a crazy adventure. I would love to do one someday! Rest up and good luck in the week ahead. :)