Monday, November 2, 2015

Tuna 200 Relay October 23-24 2015

Ultra Brüe Tunas
Months ago I had this idea to get a relay team together for the runners that show up at o dark thirty at cup a joe.  I had a few people that were *maybe* interested but not enough to actually have a full team.  So somehow through Genarrio I ended up on a team of people through JD's run club and Brüeprint Brewery.  There were 2 teams the Ultra Brüe Tunas and the Brüe Tuna teams.  1 6 person and 1 12 person team.  We met a few times getting plans together at Brüeprint.  Most of the planning came through this never-ending message thread that had ALL of us in it - LOL!!  My phone was blowing up for weeks!  It was all good.  Lots of laughs in that thread I tell ya...

Brüe Tunas
I knew 4 people on my team before the race.  Genarro, Judy, Dean and Christy.  I met Michael and Ariel race morning at 4 am.  I didn't know anyone too well from the other team... but when the morning started with one of the first commments being "thats what she said" I knew it was going to be a good weekend - lol!  

We loaded up the van and headed to the park.  We were running late...  Very reminiscent of the CO relay I ran and I was lead and we got there late... no!  We were driving down this narrow dirt road - is this van trail rated?!?  ha!  We had just enough time to snap a picture and get to the start where the runners  had already lined up.  But where was the relay bracelet?  I finally got the snap wrist band in hand 30 seconds before we started....  Then we were off.... 

This leg was 5.6 miles.  It was dark and we were running on the side of a busy road that had no shoulder.  I ran with someone for about a half mile, but soon lost him cause he was too slow, then was on my own for about another mile.  I was not sure the route and I saw someone up ahead that had a well lit up vest.  My goal was to keep her in sight or catch up to her.  I ended up catching up to her - her name was Megan.  We ran together for the rest of the leg and kept each other company.  I always like running better with someone than alone and her company was great :)  

Passed the relay bracelet off to Dean and that was my leg one...  Average pace 8:48.

I apologized to everyone for being annoyed at the start - cause I truly was.  It through off my mojo for getting started as I thought we were going to miss the start...  No more snippyness from me - or at least for a while - lol!  Relays are long and anything can happen...  I was back to havin fun at the relay. 

The order was Amy, Dean, Genarro, Ariel, Mike, Judy - and repeat 6x.

The second leg I ran was a warm one.  It was fun tho.  I ran with someone named Will for several miles.  We pushed each other along, talked about life and running.  When we came to the I95 crossover I told him that anytime I go over a highway I wave to the cars - he was cool with that so we actually both waved and he did the signal for the semis to honk.   We got a lot of lights flashing, horns sounding and waves.  That was cool.  We were in the middle of nowhere and the encouragement from random cars was fun.  

Brüeprint ü :)
About mile 6 he started to fall back. Asked him if he was ok - he just needed to walk some.  I felt bad about leaving him but... well no, I had a race to run!  I remember there being a hill on this leg that was killer, but the best part is that it was in the shade.  Happy to say that I ran it and didn't walk any of it...  8:30 pace for that run.

Lots of downtime between the legs.  Got to meet other runners from the other teams.  I was also making use of my time by tagging the other vans with the Brüeprint "ü" It was kinda cool cause it looked like a happy face :) 

The third time I ran was a fun one.  It was "only" 1.8 miles.  I figured it was a good time to do speedwork...  and run as Alice from Alice in Wonderland.  Can't chafe too much if I am only wearing it for 2 miles, right?  ha!   I took off.  I was hoping to sub 7:30 pace.  First mile 6:58, second mile 7:13.  Not too bad for a "masters" woman - lol!  What really sucked tho is I inhaled a gnat with about .05/mile to go.  It was lodged in the back of my throat and was not moving.  So I finished and was half gagging / puking.  Yeah, that was a sight.  The run was great, but the darn tiny gnat created issues.  

We laid on the cool concrete church steps and recovered for a few minutes before driving on.  That was much needed... 

I think the next stop had the concession stand where they had hotdogs and stuff.  So we got a snack there...

Takin a much needed break
A few hours of miles and shenanigans went by.  We stopped at the fire station for pizza and burgers before my next leg.  I managed to eat, and get a quick rinse off shower there which by the way was just what I needed.  I was starting to get just a little upset cause I felt rushed at this stop and was tired and wanted to shower and nothing seemed to be coming together... but it finally did, I was able to do those things, and all was well - lol! 

The next leg I went out on was my 4th.  7.4 miles.  It started at about 10:30 at night.  I got a police escort across highway 11.  That was really cool.  The police monitoring at night was awesome.  They were patrolling with their lights on - keeping an eye out for the runners and probably keeping the local traffic more aware of what was going on and slowing them down.  

Right after highway 11 I passed a house that had 5 dogs.  I was running in the middle of the road and yet they still were coming after me.  I had my mace pointed at the big dog and was yelling at him to back off.  I almost used it.  He was maybe 5 feet from me.  I was mad.  I never turned my back on them until they retreated back to their house.  Last time I turned my back on a dog on a run, my backside got bit!  

I ran in the center of the road that whole stretch.  I could hear dogs all around.  I don't mind running at night but man I was none too happy with the amount of dogs that were not contained.  That freaked me out.  I was glad to be done with that lonely night run.  No-one to run with and no music to listen to...  9:07 pace... 

Got to the exchange and just laid in the parking lot and recovered.  That was until Genarro decided to shut the van door and nearly leave without me!  Kelley went up the the van window and banged on it to let them know "hey, you are missing someone here"  lol!  Ken helped me up and I got into the van and we proceeded on our way..

I slept some between midnight and 3am.  Maybe an hour total?  I was quite delirious.  Lack of sleep and time on feet...  so it goes with ultra-running... not my first rodeo, I know how it goes...

Went out on my 5th leg at 3:30 am.  It was just 3.5 miles.  I think it was along this stretch or maybe the one before it, i got passed by someone.  No warning, no call out, just snuck up on me and scared the daylights out of me.  He was running with headphones in too.  I tried to say something to him as he flew by at a sub 7 pace but he couldn't hear me.  I was mad.  A little consideration please!  I vented pretty loud at the next exchange in hopes that the person or the persons team would hear me.  The rules state no music or headphones at night - and out of respect, call out...  be nice!  its really not that difficult!  ok rant over... next leg....  8:58 pace.

lol!  sweaty spot on the asphalt
The next leg was my final one!!  8.5 miles.  Put on my Calvin Johnson shirt and kilt for kicks and took off.  The sun was up and off I went.  Ran with someone for about a mile but he was doin sub 8 and my tired legs were not having it... so I backed off, found a groove and dialed it in.  8:57 pace. 

I was sooo happy to see that last exchange.  I was kinda over the top coming in to the handoff.  Was sooo happy to be done for the day!  Sorry if it was too much but my 35 miles was done and I let everyone know!  I laid down in the parking lot to recover and the sweat from my back made an awesome outline of "81 Johnson" on the asphalt - lol!  I went around and tagged a few more vans and we were off down the road again.

The team had some pancakes in the van for me from the previous stop.  That was good.   

great pic!
Dean was out running and he had a bridge to conquer.  I waited at the bottom of the bridge and got a great shot of him with a tuna sign and the bridge in the background.  Love taking pics esp when they turn out really well :)  

4 more legs to go and we were going to be done!  You could tell everyone was excited about being that close to the finish.  It had been a long run / ride and we were tired and ready to be at the beach for a while!

We sent Judy out on the very last leg and went to the finish to wait on her.  The other Brüe Tuna team was there and we waited there together.  When Judy came in the Brüe Tunas made a bridge of hands for the Ultra Brüe Tunas to run under and we ran across the boardwalk to the finish with a lot of teams cheering us on.  It was very cool.  Collected our metals, grabbed a picture or 2 then headed to the beer line.  

The beach Jeep
Jeeple selfie - lol!
We were standing around talking and eating tuna and BBQ for a long while when across the beach I saw a 4 door jeep, no rear doors on, with 3 passengers taking a ride on the beach.  I said to the peeps I was with "I will be right back" and in true Amy form I ran off to the Jeep barefoot and said Hey!  got room for another passenger? and they said yes!  So picture this... A stinky 40 something woman running across the sand in a kilt holding a beer and they completely let me along for the ride!  3 kids.  All 17 years old... He drove down the beach while I talked to the other girls.  They were wondering what was going on and I told them about the race.  They were floored.  Thought I was crazy for running a race like that.  No kidding?  Running up the Jeep and asking for a ride wasn't enough?  lol!  We talked about the race, jeepin, life in general, finding the joy in each day and making the best of everything and don't ever take life too seriously.  It was a great experience, even if it was only for 5 minutes.  

They dropped me back off near the finish and I went back to the Brüe Tunas and the other teams.  Talked some more, drank some more and of course I ask, who is going to polar plunge with me?  The Ultra Brüe Tuna team did the polar plunge together... but ya know, it wasn't that cold.... not in comparison to Myrtle Beach in February - lol!  Here is the video of it:

Ultra Brüe Tuna pre polar plunge
We walked up the beach afterwards, got our stuff and headed to the house.  The 2 Brüe teams rented a house together just down the beach.  It was a big house and about 20 of us were there.  

And this is the part where I say "what happens at the house, stays at the house"  lol!  

The next morning we all were movin a bit slow... *shrug* sorted out the mess in the vans.  Good lord the ultra van had a tang about it - lol!  Tons of trash and dirty clothes... 

It was a long drive back...  Yeah I was the smart a$$ that said that too during the drive... took a few seconds and everyone looked back at me and laughed....  ha!  Like it wasn't a long run out there?!?

I was very happy with how I ran in this race.  8:38 pace overall for 35 miles.  We came in 52nd overall out of 82 teams.  5th ultra team.  No walking at all!  Ran all the hills.  By far the fastest times I have ever logged in a relay.  (Colorado relay was 35 miles of mostly climbing, lots of walking, Third Coast was a 3 person team with about 70 miles per person, lots of hills and I walked there too, and Iowa was about 55 miles per person in 3 days).  Really happy with my times.  

love these two!!  Kelley got a wet hug from us both ha!
The highlights of this relay was that church that had the food in the middle of the night....  the police patrolling the streets as we ran...  and a VERY well marked course!!!  The beach party at the end was great as well!  It was good to meet runners from the other teams at the end and hang out for more than just a few minutes at an exchange. 

the bad?  I would say the dogs at night.  I know there is not a lot the race can do about it, but that was a problem.  

Would I do this relay again?  usually that answer is no when it comes to a relay - my rule has been once and done then move to another state, or another relay... but this one is so close to home.  It's a maybe, but it would have to be an ultra team again.  :)

I am happy with where I am at with my running.  I have a BQ attempt coming up in a month... not sure what will happen but even though my miles are way low my strength is actually good.  This race proved it to me.  If I keep up the training the next few weeks I have a good shot.  

Til next time - Live life to its fullest.  Find the joy in each day.  Focus on the good.