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!!

need for speed relay 2008-the cliffs notes version

oh boy…this year’s edition of Need For Speed was a doozy.

Mother Nature was, well a mother f*cker today. It was hot as hell from the beginning. Everyone was struggling. Some were getting lost on the trails. But all Flyers were putting up a great fight.

However-out of 4 Flyer teams entered-only one was allowed to officially finish-and that was not the one I was on.

As we arrived at the exchange area for leg 8 to leg 9 (the final leg!)-we were told that due to “severe weather coming into the area”, that the relay had to be shut down, that anyone who started on leg 9 can continue to the finish…but for everyone else, they had to finish the leg they were on and call it a day.

So guess who on our team was supposed to run leg 9? Yep, me. Boy, was I not a happy camper.

At first, I just wanted to go to the end to support the one Flyer team that can finish-but halfway there, my teammates saw others still running and encouraged me to…so I did the last 3 miles of that leg. Nice and easy…it was hot, but I had Gatorade with me, ran conservative and felt fine. And was able to cross the finish line-albeit unofficially. (And I knew I could have done the full 5.7 if I was able to….)

At the “awards ceremony” (lord only knows how the placings were determined…)-they mentioned the real reason for stopping the race-it was the heat, there were way too many reports of dehydration. (which honestly-if they had just said so from the beginning, I would have understood…)

But thankfully-everyone-at least in the Flyer camp-was OK. That was the most important part…

Anyway, full report to come in the next day or 2. Need to rest now…

back in black-the long need for speed 2007 report!!

Well here goes!!

As I had mentioned previously-last year’s Need For Speed relay was such a hit with the Flyers, that there were 3 teams formed for this year!! 1 was “competitive” and was looking to score big. The other 2 were fun teams. I was originally on the White team, captained by the same one as last year…til the week before, the Black team was 2 people down due to injuries and called on someone from our team to come over…so much to the dismay of the White team captain, I stepped up to the plate (I felt bad letting him down, but I am glad I wound up on the team I did.)

So around 6:45 on Sunday morning, I meet up with the team van over on the west side. You will notice here-the meetup time was 2 hours later than last year!! Part of that was because this year, a wave start was instituted…so instead of a 7:30 start, our team actually had an 8:30 start (next-to-last wave…based on predicted times, fastest teams start last) So even though I brought a pillow team black, before the startto nap in the van, I didn’t need it.

We made it to Bear Mountain without incident and saw the other 2 Flyer teams, preparing for battle. 8:15 came and went, which meant the 1st Flyer team (White) was off. We were up in 15 minutes…unfortunately, we had to get the van outta there before that wave started, so we couldn’t see our leg 1 runner, JW, start. The announcer described the first leg and me and DM were hysterical laughing about the fact that this leg included the “Goat Trail.” On our way to the first exchange, we stopped to cheer on other runners. We saw JM who was running the 1st leg for the White team, running well. Then we saw JW, who looked pretty damn good as well!! We then drove to the exchange area…through quite a few hills and thought “oh shit, he actually has to run up all of these?”

We got to the exchange area and the Leg 2 runners-RB for our team, Trakmaniak for the Red team, prepped for battle. Trakmaniak was caught on film with a game face like I’ve never seen before. Anyway, JW came in, and probably not even 5 minutes later, PD came in for the Red team. On the way to the next exchange area (in addition to laughing about “Mount Airy Road”…due to a certain TV jingle,) we were speculating as to whether RB was gonna run the “leg ‘o shame”-meaning he’d be passed by the Red team. That was the case, as Trakmaniak came flying in to the exchange area first (and his words about this leg-“harder than a marathon!”) RB came in and sent BS on his way to run leg 3. And RB commented on some chick in his leg…who passed him near the end and commented snidely “Next time don’t go out too fast.” (What-ever.) But what concerned us the most was that rumor had it that several people-including the other JW from the White team had gotten lost.

And speaking of getting lost, those driving directions sucked!! We had to turn around so many times. First off GW was navigating, but then I made the executive decision to take over for a coupla legs. And GW was anxious about us getting to the next exchange area in time…he had the 2.9 mile leg 4, and needed to warm up. Well, we got there-and thankfully we saw that White Team JW did find his way home and was safe and sound. BS did a great job on leg 3, and handed off to GW…who I don’t think was looking forward to that big-ass hill at the beginning!!

Now GW is a speedy one-especially with short distances, so we knew that time was very limited to get to the next transition area!! We just barely made it…I think it was maybe a 2-minute difference between the time we got there, and GW made it in and sent DG off to run leg 5. On the way to the next exchange, we passed both DG, who was running very well, and DL from the Red team…and looked like DG was gaining on him!! (And DL beat Lance in the marathon!!…but he was feeling under the weather this day.)

jd and i before leg 7Got to the next exchange area and DG finished strongly and handed the chip bracelet off to our captain, SW. Looked like she had quite the interesting leg to run…wove through a cemetary, among other things!! I started prepping at the next exchange area…I was up next for my team. I found out I would be “against” JD for the Red team on this leg, so less pressure on me (c’mon, the guy runs a sub-40 10k!) I also ran into El Profe from the Rez Dogs…we wished each other luck and he commented he’d probably see me out there and I said “oh I doubt it, I need to take it easy today” (plus he had a 5 minute head start.) They called out the team number, meaning SW was coming in. She handed the chip bracelet to me and I took off on what was to me, a familiar route…

Well at least they sorta corrected the distance-I knew this leg was more than 4.7 miles last year, this year they had it at 5.1 miles. I was taking it easy, my legs were quite tired…quite a few people passed finishing my leg!me and I just let them go. Though my legs loved the parts of the trail that were on dirt (as opposed to being paved.) Thankfully this year there was a water stop on this leg, right where we exited the trail (about 3.5 miles in.) Though the day was cool and cloudy, it had warmed up by my leg, so the water was very welcome. By the time we had turned onto the last straightaway, I was ready for it to be over, so I picked up the pace a little bit. And then, I started picking off runners…including a couple who passed me early on (but I was classier than a certain lady…I said “Good job” instead!) Near the very end of the route, I saw the back of a Rez Dog shirt…I had caught up to El Profe and it was a dead heat between the 2 of us to the end of our leg!! In the end, I guess fresher legs prevail as he outkicked me, but at least it helped bring me in strong!! I handed off to GW, who was running a second short leg.
me acting like a kidWhy does it seem like we get the most lost on the short legs, when we have less time to waste? Yeah, we knew it was going to be very close again, especially since we saw GW out on the course. We just barely made it in time…probably less than 5 minutes before he came in and handed off to DM to run the final leg!! And some drama took place on this leg…apparently a cop was not letting runners go and said they “had to be patient…” and GW crossed I guess a little too soon and the cop yelled “I got your number-you’re disqualified!” Sheesh. The funny thing was-everyone thought if anyone would get us DQ’ed, it would be me (good thing I got all cursing out in the van and not during my leg!!) On the way to the van, we saw a little playground and snapped a couple pics of us acting like children 🙂
Time to hurry to the finish line!! We maneuvered our way there, parked in the free parking garage, and rushed to the finish line to cheer DM in!! We saw that the Red team had already finished, and pretty highly overall!! Not too long after, DM came around the corner, and crossed the finish line for our team…net time a little over 7 hours!! As the anchor leg person, she got to wear the finishing “sash”…all Miss America-esque. :-p We got our goody bags, and some food and more importantly, beer!! The White team came in a little while later and joined the party. Soon, the results were up-the Black team did pretty damn good-12th overall, 6th in our division!! (and thankfully, no DQs!) But the Red team did what they set out to do-4th overall, 2nd in their division (meaning 1st, since the real 1st-place team in their division was one of the top 3 teams overall.)

We stuck around to see the Red team accept their medals, then we hit the road. We made it back to the city, thankfully without too much horrendous traffic. After the van dropped us off on 86th and Broadway, me, DM, BS and JW made an impulse decision to grab a beer at The Parlour and tell war stories from the day. Good times.

Once again, another fun day (I am still laughing about our antics,) and I can’t wait to do this relay again next year!!

need for speed 2007-the short version

Another year, another great time!!

The Flyers entered 3 teams in this year’s Need For Speed Relay…one competitive (the Red team) and 2 “fun” teams (the White and Black teams) I was originally on the White team…but due to the Black team having a couple members drop due to injury the week before, I offered to switch and help them out. Great decision-I really had a blast with these guys. And we did pretty damn good too…12th overall team, 6th in our (co-ed) division. Best of both worlds, huh?

Congrats to the Red Flyer team-4th overall and first co-ed team!! (Fellow Flyer blogger Trakmaniak was a part of that one…)

And also congrats to the White Flyer team on a great effort…next time, the peeps marking leg 2 best not be drunk while doing so!!

More to come!!

need for speed relay-the long version!

and i mean long…so consider yourselved warned!!

“This is for fun and the party afterwards!”

When given an offer like that, I’m not one to turn it down, right? Back in April, a couple of my Flyer teammates were looking to put together a team for the inaugural Need For Speed relay race-a 60-mile relay from Bear Mountain to New Rochelle, NY. As I’ve heard great things about relays such as Reach The Beach and Hood To Coast, I figured it would be fun to try a shorter one first. Although it was the day after the Mini 10K, I made it perfectly clear-I wasn’t racing this thing, I was just doing it for fun.

After a ton of emails, some team comings and goings, and friendly arguments over the mad-early pickup time, we finally cemented our roster of 9 kick-ass Flyers, plus another Flyer who very graciously volunteered to drive our “getaway vehicle,” aka our rental van.

So the story begins around 4:30 am on Sunday morning. I’m waiting outside my apartment with my bag and pillow in hand, as I completely intend to catch a few ZZZ’s on the trip up to Bear Mountain. I receive a call from the east side contingent-Dan, Lisa and Nicole-they’re actually down the street from me picking up eats and drinks at the corner deli, near there Scott is waiting with the van. We then meet up with John and the remainder of the west side contingent-Christine, Pat and Susie and all pile into the van.

First lesson-always listen to the traffic report on the radio!! Little bit of a backup on the West Side Hwy due to an accident which concerned us briefly-but once we passed by it, smooth sailing. One last stop in the Bronx to pick up the final member of our crew, Suzanne, then next stop-Bear Mountain…which we arrived there at 6:15, so perfect timing!! Was quite chilly at the start, so for the most part we hung out in the van. We laughed at the 2 people leading the warm-up “aerobics”-looked more like warming up for step class, not running!! Finally, they called for all the leadoff runners to get to the start-which would be Pat for our crew, and for the rest of us to get to the van and get outta there. We wished Pat luck and then headed out to the transition area. We found this one with a minimum of drama. But knowing that Pat’s a speedy one, we were in a little bit of a hurry to park the van and get John, our second runner, to the transition area. The rest of us found the transition area, as the first runner came in…but where was John? Finally he got there, just in the nick of time-Pat finished his leg and got us off to a great start-he was 5th overall in that leg!! John then was off on his leg-a challenging 7.7 miles that the handbook nicknamed “The Bear.” On our way back to the van, I felt someone tap me on the arm and heard someone call my name-it was the coach of the Reservoir Dogs with his team!! Good to see some other friendly faces around!

At this point, our team is so happy with the smooth start, that we said “for an inaugural race, it’s pretty well organized.” Famous last words!!

Since John was the navigator and he was running, I volunteered to navigate the way to the next transition-after all, I have killer navigational skills, right? C’mon, I once saved our team from getting lost on the way to Brooklyn. Well, I stand corrected. I have killer navigational skills as long as the street signs are clear-we wound up getting lost, but not too far out of our way….we took a right when it should have been a left, but it seemed that every other team made the same mistake, because the sign was not clear. We still arrived at transition in plenty of time-good thing, because the Croton Dam was a beautiful sight-we snapped a few team pics with that in the background. Finally, John finished up his leg, and handed the bracelet off to Suzanne. Boy was John a trooper-he mentioned that this leg was a killer-and he’s used to running on trails!!

So we headed to the next transition area-and I gave the navigator role back to John. And we got lost again…or should I say confused. We turned around because we weren’t seeing the road we needed to turn on, we thought we were going the wrong way…but after stopping and asking for directions, it turned out we were going the right way, just hadn’t driven far enough. Man, this sorta felt like the Amazing Race-except we were trying to find blue arrow signs instead of red and yellow flags. Anyway, we found the transition area and after we got there, it sorta felt like a NYC running club gathering of sorts. First off, I spotted a friend of mine who runs for Chelsea Piers and we chatted a little bit. Then I chatted with the Rez Dogs, where I met Morrissey!! Very cool-exactly how he comes across on the blog. I then headed to the transition area where the rest of my team was waiting for Suzanne to arrive. We did get concerned when we heard a runner who had just finished leg 3 saying “This was the longest 6.5 miles I ever ran-I got lost twice!” Yikes. We were worried, especially since Suzanne had handed her cell off to me before starting her leg-she didn’t think she’d need it. Finally she arrived, and then handed off to Dan to start his “easy” 3.5-mile leg.

We had to hurry, since even though Dan was nursing an injury, he predicted he’d be done in around 25 minutes, and Christine needed time to prepare, as she was doing the long (10.3 mile) Leg 5. We got there with a few minutes to spare, as we saw the flash of Dan’s red singlet getting closer and closer. He arrived, and handed off to our Master Blaster, Christine and she headed out for her long run, totally pumped. Dan’s assessment of his leg? Only thing “easy” about it was the mileage-it was totally hilly!! If the first hill we saw him running up was any indication…

Anyway, we figured we had around an hour and 20 minutes to kill. We drove over to the next transition area where we pretty much just lounged around on the lawn for awhile. We probably should have picked up something to eat, but didn’t think of it (we did have snacks and PowerBars with us.) Plus personally, since I hadn’t run yet, I was a little wary of eating something unfamiliar. A couple of us tried to nap, a couple of us (like me) tried to catch some rays. Finally, around an hour and ten minutes in, Dan woke Lisa up and warned her that we expect to see Christine finishing in around 5-10 minutes, so it was time to warm up (she was running leg 6.) Five minutes went by…10 minutes went by…no Christine-we started getting a little concerned. I hoped it just meant she was taking this leg easy, as like me, she had done the Mini as well. A few more minutes passed, and then we saw Christine approach the finish of the leg, and hand the bracelet off to Lisa as she started off on her “5.3 mile” leg. Christine felt her leg was at least a mile long…and was very, very tough-killer hills…and she’s a strong runner who’s used to hills.

Anyway, I was on deck after Lisa finished her leg, so we got over to the next transition area. A few minutes after we got there, my friend from Chelsea Piers told us that leg 6 was long-actually around 6.7 miles, instead of the planned 5.3!! Since we weren’t told this beforehand, Dan sent Lisa, who had her cell on her, a text message with that heads up, hoping she would get it. So we had a little more breathing room, so I just stretched and ran around a little bit…I was nervous. Not as much performance-wise…as I told my team all I was going to do was just run comfortably-whatever that is, it is. I was more worried about getting lost than anything else. Our fabulous cap’n John had printed out the latest versions of the runner directions and gave them to us all to carry on the run. I was hoping with that I would be fine. Around 45 minutes in, Dan shouted “is that Lisa?” and my first thought was “oh shit, I need to get over to the transition area!” which I did, stepping in a puddle along the way. Not the way I wanted to start my leg!! But that wasn’t her, false alarm. I stuck around in the transition area anyway, knowing she would be here soon. Christine and Pat came over to help me calm my pre-run jitters, convince me I’ll do fine. Finally, I saw a flash of red a long way down-yep that was our Lisa!! Lisa handed me the chip bracelet and now it was my turn to take on 4.7 miles!!

Leg 7, my leg is described as “Moderate-this leg starts on the paved Bronx River Parkway Trail and then enters Scarsdale. Aside from one long, steady hill, the terrain is generally flat.” The first 3.5 miles of this leg were on the Bronx River Parkway trail-where some parts were paved, but a good chunk of it was on dirt paths similar to the Central Park bridle path which my legs really appreciated, as this was supposed to just be an easy run for me, having done the Mini on Saturday. One guy passed me in the early going and I let him go. I just wanted to run comfortable and relaxed, the rule of thumb was that if I was breathing hard, slow down, but actually the run never got to that point. It was damn hot by this time though…I wished I had water with me, especially on the sunny parts. Finally I exited the trail and headed onto the roads of Scarsdale. All in all, I think the hills of this leg weren’t that bad at all-I’d say this leg was nice and rolling (sorta like the Queens Half course)-this leg should have been “easy” instead of “moderate.” Terrain-wise, I feel I really, really lucked out. I had no problem with directions, all the arrows were there, the traffic cops blocking off cars were very helpful. However, as my watch moved closer to 45 minutes while I was on the last straightaway, I had a feeling something wasn’t right. I had predicted I’d run around a 9 minute pace, or around 40-45 minutes? Another guy passed me and we both said that this was the longest 4.7 miles we ever ran!! But we saw that we were definitely getting near the end. A car that passed me yelled to me “Go Flyers!”…I believe that was a Rez Dog car, thanks guys!! I saw and heard the finish line calling my name, and turned on the jets, and came very close to catching the guy who passed me!! Finally I was done, and gave Susie the chip bracelet, and then high-fived the guy I almost caught and thanked him for helping bring me in strong!! Then more high-fives and hugs from my teammates. I had finished this leg in 49 minutes and change-yep, this leg definitely was longer than 4.7 miles. Though I was running pretty relaxed (except for my final push,) I know I wasn’t doing 10 minute miles. I’d guesstimate this leg to be at least 5 miles. No biggie though.

Again, trying to find the next transition area, we got lost…or sidetracked or whatever. Man, this was a comedy of errors. We found it though and the minute I saw the table with Powerade, I grabbed a bottle-boy I really needed it, was getting hot and I needed more refreshment from my leg!! Reports were coming in that a lot of people were getting lost on leg 8-that some of the arrows were missing, and some added on at least another mile or 2. We just hoped that Susie was OK and that she’d be able to find her way!! Well find her way she did!! While me, Christine and Suzanne were sitting down, all of a sudden we saw our Ironwoman, Nicole, set off for the anchor leg!! We were like whoa-when did Susie sneak in? She did a fabulous job on what was apparently not only a physically challenging leg, but a mentally challenging one too-though apparently the later runners got less lost than the earlier ones did.

So then we were off to the finish line!! While Scott and John went to go park the van in a garage, the rest of us hurried to the finish line to cheer for Nicole when she arrived and help bring her in strong!! I figured Nicole be taking this easy-after all, she just finished an Ironman 2 weeks earlier, it was amazing she was out here!! While waiting for Nicole, we saw Morrissey finish the anchor leg for the Rez Dogs. Finally…we saw Christine give us the high sign, that Nicole was coming in and we cheered louder than we cheered all day!! 8 hours, 35 minutes, and 49 seconds after Pat set off at Bear Mountain, Nicole crossed the finish line.

Wow!! What a day. We all posed for a group picture by the finish line, then headed to the post-race party. While the food was pretty meh-I don’t even think I ate half of what I was given, the Sam Adams beer went down very, very well!! And while I was there, I met yet another Rez Dog blogger, El Profe!! Very nice, again, exactly like he is/was on his blog.

Finally, we rounded up the troops and departed-hoping to beat the Sunday evening traffic. We made it back to the city without too much incident and parted ways, with many hugs and congrats. And I just collapsed when I got home-man, was I exhausted!! This morning, everyone’s inbox was stuffed with emails from team members-we could not say enough how much fun we had and how much we enjoyed everyone’s company (really!)

I completely agree with that-we really had a top-notch group for this event-great teamwork. We were able to share a van for over 12 hours and endure each other’s company with no personality conflicts. And yes, despite the organization issues…as always with the Flyers, when we got handed lemons, we made electric lemonade!! Plus I got enough color to make it look like I spent the weekend sunbathing instead of running. I did this relay as a little test to see if I’d be up for any of the multi-leg relays like Reach The Beach and Hood To Coast, and one of those will be on my to-do list-maybe in ’07? Plus I’ll always have the great memories…like some funny things:

Scoping out hot guys wearing bandanas at every transition area…
Everyone: “what does the B in BR mean?” Me: “I think B means bear.” “Actual bears?” “No, to bear right!”
Me while reading the handbook: “Swearing can get us disqualified.” John: “Oh shit.”

As for the relay itself-we all had a feeling that being the inaugural edition, there would be problems, but as I said, since we were just in this for fun, we just ran with the punches, but I did feel for those who were really doing this competitively and got screwed by things like leg 8. Other things that could have used work were the directions, graphical maps would have been more help, sometimes it’s better to see directions visually. There should have been at least 1 water station on each leg, especially the later ones where it got hot!! I could have used it. This does definitely have the potential to be a great event, as long as the organizers learn from their mistakes and don’t repeat them next year.

And as for us…we rock. Go Flyers!!

need for speed relay-brief pictorial teaser

too tired right now to post a full report…but was a great day, and i will leave you with a few teasers from key points in the day…

need for speed-before
about 5:45 am…in the van on the way to Bear Mountain and the start of the relay, obviously i came prepared as we had a very early wake-up call…

need for speed-during
and about 1:30 pm…i’m off to run my leg!! 4.7 miles…or was it?!?!?

need for speed-after
about 4:30 pm-the team is done and done! and the real reason i ran this relay-free beer! 🙂