the need for speed relay…i mean "fun run", report

Flyer teams Black and Red before the start

yeah, there is meaning to that title. you’ll see later.

Third time doing the Need for Speed Relay, second time with Flyer Team Black!! Yeah, we all liked each other so much we actually wanted to spend another day in a van together. 🙂 Unfortunately, DM had to drop at the last minute due to other commitments…but we gained 2 new members, including the Laminator!! (actually…this team was almost half bloggers!! as you will see…)
I was nervous about the weather forecast, especially considering my choke job at the Mini the day before. All I could do was prep-hydrate, consume as many salty foods/snacks/drinks as possible…and just plan to take things easy and conservative. Actually-as I had the last leg, I was most nervous that there wouldn’t be any water left by the end…so I planned to carry a sports bottle of Gatorade with me.

one of team black's signs, created by yours truly

So, as our team’s start time was in the last heat-8:45 am-didn’t mean as early a wake-up call than in the past and we hit the road around 7:15 am…making it up to Bear Mountain in plenty of time. We then met up with the Flyer Red team, who had the same start time as us (the Flyer White team and the Flyer Diamonds team had earlier start times) and just chatted, took pics, pre-gamed. Soon, it was getting close to 8:45 and time for our runners to be at the start-DG for us, PD for Flyer Red. They made several last announcements…including possible course evacuation plans in case of severe weather conditions (remember this…comes into play later.) All vans had to be out of the area before the runners were off, but RB (aka Dr. Evil) decided that he couldn’t wait til the next exchange area for a bathroom break. The announcer decided to take advantage of that and embarass him :-p
This time…I’ll give a leg-by-leg description of the day of Team Black…
Leg 1-While DG was running, our plan was to stop near the midway point of the leg to cheer and offer water if he needed it. Saw PD, who looked like he was working hard. A vehicle came by and said there was only one other runner on the course…it was DG, who looked like he wasn’t doing well-he was walking, and followed by the sweep ambulance. We gave him water, sprayed him with a water spray bottle that we had, and told him to just take it easy. It was a little unsettling, seeing DG followed by the ambulance, but on the other hand…at least he’s being watched. We then drove to the exchange area and walked to the hand-off point…on the way, we saw the Red team, and PD said he had to walk a few times…man, the heat was knocking the strong down, and it was still early!! We waited for DG to come in…saw the girl who was just ahead of him on the course, saw the sweeper ambulance…and boy, was I worried-thankfully a race official said DG was fine, was just walking and needed some Gatorade and shortly we saw him, running into the transition area and handing off to RB. He said it was a tough time, but also admitted to going out too fast in the beginning…well that just solidified my plan to be conservative!!
Leg 2-on the way to this leg, I texted Runner26, who ran this leg for the Diamonds team, to make sure she was OK, and she replied back that it was tough, hot but she felt fine. Her team was leaving the exchange area just as we got there, and we saw the Red team waiting for their runner. However-we found out some not-so-good news…as apparently there were route marker arrows on the trail switched and/or moved and so people were getting lost. The Hellgate team, who had been leading after leg 1, had their leg 2 runner get so lost that they had race volunteers looking for him…that’s how bad it had gotten. We were looking up into the woods for RB to come down the hill to the finish…but RB ran to the finish from the other direction-apparently he made a wrong turn near the end! He handed off to the Laminator, who then was running the longest leg of the relay-9.3 miles!
Leg 3-we picked up another passenger on the way to the next exchange area!! We offered to give a ride to Matt from Hellgate since the remainder of his teammates were staying behind to make sure their leg 2 runner made it OK. All 4 Flyer teams were at the next exchange area waiting for their leg 3 runners, so we all gabbed and tried to stay out of the sun. But we were hearing runners were getting lost on this leg too…man, does it ever end??? We saw JM and JS come in for the White and Diamonds teams, respectively. However-this caused concern as team Red’s runner, SS, had passed them both during the leg and he had not come in yet. And considering he’s a very fast runner…even if he was taking it easy and just going at training pace, it was still too long a time for him to be running 9.3 miles-and we let the officials know of the concerns. And then we saw a Flyer singlet and a red bandana…it was Crazy Ban…oops, sorry, it was our Laminator!! :-p He had gotten lost too-added approximately a mile, but was glad to have made it in one piece. A few minutes later, SS did make it in…he was thankfully OK, but did get lost and added a sh*tload of miles on because of that.
Leg 4-this was actually a pretty drama-free leg. jb24 did a great job running the 2.9 miles and then handed off to GW.
Leg 5-we passed all 4 Flyer runners on the way to the next exchange area and honked and cheered for them…unfortunately we had to do a U-turn as we missed the turnoff onto the Saw Mill River Parkway!! When we got to the exchange area, we saw Matt from Hellgate again-we offered to give him another ride as his teammates were MIA (as it turned out, they were tending to a fallen runner!) GW made it in and described feeling chilled-like I did during the Mini…and that he would not have made it if another Flyer hadn’t offered him some of her water. Man…the conditions were no joke today.

yeah, i'll never grow up.

Leg 6-another low-drama leg for the most part…no getting lost getting to the next exchange area, and TH did well running this leg, with little complaint except the usual “it was HOT!”
Leg 7-this was my leg the last 2 years, but this time I decided to let someone else have a chance at it, this year it would be our Cap’n SW. 2 legs to go til I’m up. I started to prep…stretching, dousing myself with water…I was actually a little nervous not just because of the heat, but we were the 2nd Flyer team-and I know Team White’s runner who was running leg 9 is much faster than me and I knew I wouldn’t hear the end of it if she passed me. But I had to do what I had to do…and finish upright. Anyway, SW finished and handed off to Johnny (and I think SW was very happy that i did give her this leg!)
Leg 8 to the end…the real drama:

I was psyched, but quite nervous to run my leg. I was excited to cross the finish line for my team, but apprehensive about the heat, knowing I don’t handle it too well! Fortunately, there was a bit of cloud cover and it had cooled a tiny bit (probably only 90 as opposed to 92 degrees.) Being that Johnny was gonna kick butt on his short leg, we knew I wouldn’t have much time to prep-so my teammates dropped me off by the exchange area and then went to park the van. After a couple of minutes-I heard something that in the back of my mind, I thought could happen (think back to before the start!) but hoping wouldn’t…
“Attention-due to severe thunderstorms coming into the area-we have to shut the course down and stop the relay!”
Meaning-those who were already on leg 9 could finish, but for every other team-they had to finish the leg they were on and call it a day. Unfortunately, this meant Team Black’s day was over after leg 8 and I would not get to run my leg. I was PISSED!! After all this, I don’t even get to run? (plus…a good friend of mine was supposed to run this leg 2 years ago but due to circumstances beyond his control, couldn’t…so I wanted to run this leg “for” him 🙂 ) A lot of others were none too happy either-“They let us run around in 95 degree heat all day, and now they’re shutting things down because of a little rain?” I’ve run 2 half-marathons in the rain!! Hell-I’d WELCOME rain at this point to cool things down!! Thank god-my teammates were very supportive. GW gave me a consoling hug-he just knew how upset I was and that was honestly what I needed at that moment. My team did ask me if I still wanted to run my leg “unofficially”, but knowing that the Flyer Red team was going to be the only Flyer team to finish-I did want to support them at the finish line. So to the finish we went…and we were passing runners…some still “officially” running, some not…so my teammates encouraged me to at least run part of my leg and still cross the finish line. crossing the unofficial finish line-hooray!!So run it I did-ran what turned out to be the last 3 miles of the 5.7 mile final leg. Make no mistake-it was hot-but i just took it easy and played it smart. By that time, I was just wearing a sports bra and my running skirt w/ no singlet but it was not making much of a difference, temp-wise. But it actually wasn’t so bad, i was thinking “I’m sure i could have done the whole 5.7 if need be!” I still couldn’t believe we missed the cutoff by a matter of minutes…yeah, i guess you can say i was running on pissed-off energy. The finish line did come, sooner than I thought…turned the final corner, heard music, applause, my great teammates cheering as I crossed the finish line with a smile. Yes-I crossed the finish line of the first annual “Need For Speed Fun Run!” 🙂 I kinda felt like those who crossed the finish line at Chicago ’07 after it was made into a “fun run”…hey, we wouldn’t be Team Black without bending the rules at least once!! 🙂 And didn’t do half-bad, time-wise…Mr. Garmin said about 3 miles in 27:19.

runner26 and i at the after-party...what a shock, i'm double-fisting

At the after-party, I just went straight for the beer….didn’t even feel like eating. We were allowed 2 large cups of beer and i downed em both. And the announcement was made that the real reason why the race was shut down was heat-related…too many people going to the hospital due to severe dehydration….apparently local authorities told the race organizers to shut things down. Just like Chicago i guess…and honestly, why didn’t they say that from the beginning? i would have completely understood-it’s nice to try your hardest for the team, but at the end of the day-you just want everyone safe and sound, and thankfully all 4 Flyer teams were…which was the most important thing. After the first coupla legs, i think the only thing on anyone’s mind was finishing in one piece.

So-after all is said and done, it was still a very memorable day…one that really showed the true definition of teamwork-within the team and outside of it. And it was a fun day with the team…including some “team Black moments.” And I was able to “liveblog” the race from my Treo!! I posted periodic updates on the Flyers’ message board…gotta love technology!! As for the race organization…I don’t blame them for their decision to stop the relay early, as it probably saved lives in the end…however, being that we missed the cutoff by a matter of minutes…if only the trails were better marked and less people getting lost…if only they decided with the conditions being treacherous, to make the start earlier…we could have made it in time for me to run the last leg, to cross the finish line officially for my team. Or that could have prevented other complications from happening (such as the one that needed medical assistance in leg 5.)

But-as I said before-most important thing was that everyone was OK in the end. And would I do this relay again? I think I would-I think this year was an anomaly with the weather and hopefully this is a learning experience!!

9 thoughts on “the need for speed relay…i mean "fun run", report

  1. Awesome race report, anchor woman! To me, because you ran and crossed the finish line for Team Black, you’ll always be the anchor woman.

  2. How’d you get that pic so fast? Yep–the brews went down easy. Bummer about your leg. Glad you got out there anyway. And glad all Flyers teams were okay. This “fun run” thing is getting to be a bit of a drag. Guess we’ll just have to look forward to next year (and the next TGIFF ;))

  3. great report, nyflygirl! felt the same way at leg 8 exchange when they stopped the race! it was even more of a downer b/c my daughter was there to run some of distance w/me 😦

  4. I know it was very frustrating for you not to be able to get an official chip time but I’m glad that you were able to get out there and run most of your last leg.

  5. laminator-thanks!! does that mean I should be on TV? :)runner26-i have my ways of getting the piccys 🙂 i too think all NFS participants need to toast ourselves at TGIFF!!rundangerously-thanks!! hopefully you’ll get more chances to run with your daughter…in better conditions too! :)jb24-honestly, I could have cared less about getting a chip time…that was not the issue. it just sucked that the rest of you ran your hearts out that day-and turned out to be for nothing…you get what I’m trying to say. and besides-you should all be thanking your lucky stars that i didn’t get a chip time, as 9 minute pace would have dragged the team down 🙂

  6. definitely a good attitude there…. i was wondering about this race as i felt hot even *inside* my apartment….

  7. Great report! Nice hearing about your latest racing pursuits back in NY!

  8. danny-don’t you have AC?scarinzic-I was so craving some of that perfect San Francisco weather after this past weekend…

  9. I ran this race and my team made it to the 8th leg before they shut it down. We were told the same thing about the severe weather conditions and thought it was absolute b.s. but you shed some light on the real reason why they shut it down. Congrats and great job though. We had no business being out in that heat, but hey, that’s how runners roll 🙂 Hope to see your team on the course next year!

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