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The Great Midwest Relay – The fourth phase

I lost all power on the cell phone that I’d been using to do those hourly posts so I wasn’t able to give a race wrap-up.  Then on Saturday and Sunday, too tired to post.  Here’s what happened during the second half of the race.

Hour  13 and beyond.

When it is your team’s turn you focus much harder on the race.  For example, you have to figure out how to get to the next transition area.  Following written instructions without a map is like trying to see an elephant just by reading about it.  It’s a wonder we only got lost on a few occasions.  We definitely need to bring a map next time.

You also start to think about your next run.  Relay races feel different than personal races.  There is much less stress.  Sure you get out there and run as hard as you can but your exact time is not terribly important.  If you run a minute or two slower or faster it really doesn’t matter in the scheme of things.  A long relay like this is all about finishing.

Finally, when it’s your van’s turn forget about sleeping.  We started this race phase at about 2:00 am and no one slept.  Anticipating your own turn, driving the van, looking for the next transition area keep everyone occupied enough that you don’t sleep.  Keep that in mind if you’re doing one of these relays.

During this fourth phase of the race we had some excellent performances.  My brother Paul cruised through a 7.7 mile leg finishing in under an hour.  Birthday boy John Kelly kept pace with another team’s runner and legged out 6+ miles in a solid 8 min/mile.  The Brewmaster kept it close with his 3 mile run and my sister Fay had a great time in her 6+ mile run.  Then it was my turn, a short 4.0 miles.

For this run, I felt great!  I started quick and kept it up the entire way.  With no distance markers or other runners around, I couldn’t tell how fast I was going.  No matter.  I just ran and juggled as fast as I could.  Half-way through I saw another runner who had started about 5 minutes before me.  He was walking.  Must’ve bonked.  I set my sites on him and picked up the pace.  As I passed him he gave out a groan and a sigh.  Poor guy.  Why do runners do this to themselves?  At the finish area I saw my entire team.  That was great.  Smiling wide, I entered the hand-off area and snapped the baton bracelet on Lisa’s wrist.  She was off, I was temporarily done.  My time 27:30, no juggling drops.

Now, it was time to get a little breakfast, take a nap and wait.

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. My suggestion. Do the race with less team members. Six or Nine work well mathematically. Eliminates much of the down time and keeps you from having to go bowling. Sounds stupid during a running relay race.

  2. Of course, that would imply we could find people who wouldn’t have a problem running 25 – 30 total miles. On some level, a race like this is a social event. But you make a good suggestion if we want to get faster.

  3. Hey joggler man!! You’ll be glad to know that I now know the term and realize juggling while jogging is a sport…have educated myself in the last two days. 🙂 Ran a bit with you at the Half Sunday — enjoyed the diversion, extra cheers (well aware that they were for you), and … well, I haven’t seen evidence of any additional pictures, but I’m sure they’re out there somewhere.

    That was my first half. I’ve run for years, done a couple 10k’s but have just in the last couple years had any interest in races. Too bad I missed out on racing all those years, have found that I really enjoy them!

    Figured there’d be some kind of write up on someone running/juggling after the race so checked it out…it didn’t take much of an online search to find that Chicagoland is quite familiar with “your average joggler” and I don’t suppose a novice could hold the guinness book of world records in joggling the ultra.

    I read RW about every day & am always looking for additional running forums etc that are interesting and helpful. I’ve enjoyed reading various things here on your site the last couple days. Am interested in the GMR but can’t find much info on it anywhere. Is there a site you can recommend for more info? Have a number of running friends who I’d love to do this kind of thing with!

  4. I was just telling someone about this race and when I googled it to find out more info about it, your blog post came up!

    I can’t remember if we talked about this, but (believe it or not), I actually did this race with some co-workers that same year! I did the leg out of Racine, WI and through a very dark forest preserve at 2am. I wonder if that was the same one you did. I also did the sunrise run through the North Shore of Winnetka and the like. I ‘thought’ i knew the area well enough but didn’t and ended up approaching the hand-off point from the other direction, to the confusion of my team-mates.

    How funny!

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