Miles of Fun

 Seventy eight miles...eight friends...12 hours...

Our midwestern fall proved to be perfect yet again for a big October race that I participated in.  The 5th Annual Market 2 Market Relay started with some big questions...after a late summer of NO rain to speak of, the early-morning, dark sky was full of lightening and booming thunder and the rain was falling in a manner that didn't make anyone think it might stop.  The first waves of the race were postponed due to the lighteing, but by the time we were slated to start at nearly 6:30 am, teams were starting on time. 

Our St. Teresa's team consisted of 8 runners...six from last year and 2 new runners that happily stepped up to fill the shoes of the two that recently had babies!  We left Lincoln in the pouring rain and dark sky, but at our start, the rain had stopped...although the sky was still dark.
Slowly the sky began to lighten, and with each exchange made, visibility was much less dependent upon the headlamps!

We began the day with seven of our eight team members...unfortuneately, when there is a husband/wife duo and the kiddos are sick with strep, someone has to stay home...and given said scenario, when the half of the duo that was present began to fade, we completed the day without him and he went home to be sick in bed with strep for the days ahead too!  Those are the kind of things that you wish weren't part of life, but they are!  We would have preferred to enjoy the entire day with both of them...maybe next year! 

At the point when TJ went home, he had already run two legs of the relay.  The six of us remaining decided that we would each divy up what was left in the race after the first 14 legs were finished, so we just kind of made up our own route...we still ran the course, but our exchange points were different than the mass because we each added 1-2 miles to the distance of the original leg we were to run.  I don't know if that is legal, but its not as if we were competing for a prize, so we forged on.  We were in it for the fun!

I think a lot of people were in it for the fun...there was an entire team who wore Sesame Street costumes complete with the big heads--and RAN that way!  I guess the difference between me and them is that I thought I was doing great just to RUN period!  There were guys in suits, girls in negliges (over their running clothes), and some with barely anything on at all...that's a guy in the picture below.
There is incentive in the costumes...this race is tough to get into, and the winners of the costume portion of the contest are guaranteed a spot next year.

Overall, even though I clearly remember wondering to myself--out loud--why I was doing this and stating that I won't do it again (not true I'm sure--in my ninth month of pregnancy, I've also thought "I won't do this again"--SEVEN times!!  I'll do it again.  :)  I was so happy to be a part of something so fun.  There is a lot of great (and funny) conversation when you spend 12 hours together, cramming sweaty bodies into a car over and over again.  Apparently, not even the bugs can deter us!  (See all those speckles on my neck and face?  Gnats!)
There is a lot of fun cheering each other on, waiting in anticipation of the "baton" to be handed off, tracking runners and recording splits.  Lots of personal bests...and worsts!  One of my legs was uphill all the way, straight into the wind, out in the middle of no where and I swear it was three miles longer than it was supposed to be!  Needless to say, that particular leg was not a personal best!  One of my own highlights this year is that Tim was running on a team too!  We didn't see each other all day during the race, but crossed the finish line at just about the same time.  (Thanks Grandma and Grandpa A for making it possible for us both to be gone all day long!) 

The weather was gorgeous the entire day and then the rain began again shortly after the race was over.