February 17, 2016
Training last week lead up to my first Relay race. It’s always a little nerve-racking to do something NEW but add to that extreme weather conditions and a break in my race routine and I was more than a little stressed leading up to start time.
Only a week before race day did we assemble our Relay Team for the Mid-Maryland 50k. All running mama’s (bonus) but all faster than me (Yikes!). I don’t compare myself per se but when you are on a team with people of varying abilities (and you are in the bottom) good/bad/indifferent you think about it.
My normal race day routine ALWAYS starts with my husband and little ones driving me to the venue. Because this was a relay with extreme weather it didn’t make sense to have them attend. I know this doesn’t sound like it’s a big deal but it was completely different than how I normally prep on race day. As a passenger I get to relax and clear my mind. This time there was a snow squall coming through as I was set to leave – so I waited worried I’d be late (live 40 miles from the venue, Rockburn Branch Park). But I made it on time & didn’t get caught in a squall.
When you are racing outside in extreme conditions you need to pick the right clothes to block out the wind & cold (especially on your feet and hands). Then add to that it’s a relay so you’ll be in the elements longer than just your race time as you wait for the runner before you.
Here were my Race Day layers:
Head: Nike therma-fit headband, Spyder hat & hood
Hands: 2 pair of tech gloves
Torso: Long-sleeve tech shirt, long sleeve cotton shirt & a cozy Zella sweatshirt
Legs: Full-length compression pants with running pants over (both Zella, I’m not an ambassador but I’d love to be!)
Feet: Pro Compression marathon socks with ankle length socks on top & my 2013 Nike Flex Run (I choose these among my ‘collection’ because I’d done trail races with them last year and I knew they felt great on uneven terrain).
While I didn’t train with these layers before the race, because it’s been cold, I have been out with multiple layers for my head and torso. The hat wasn’t necessary when I wasn’t doing my 6 mile leg so I took it off but the double layers everywhere else kept me just the right temp the whole morning.
Here’s how we divided the legs: Brittany (Leg 1 & 5), Me (Leg 2), Becky (Leg 3), Terri (Leg 4 & 5). We cheered Brittany as she took off at the start of the race and then Becky & I took cover in my heated car until Brittany finished. It was great to be warm, relax & chat so we didn’t focus much on the cold & how long it may take us to finish our Leg.
I’m not and probably will never be an elite runner – so what, I love racing. While it can be a bit unnerving to tackle a new type of race I knew I’d be able to finish. I think about the bling, about seeing the finish line and sprinting towards it & about how great it feels to get it done. This race was no different.
This is my first race of 2016 but I faced it head-on, was inspired by the ultra runners who attempted the entire 50k (some failed to finish), I ran on a team, I completed a cool relay and bottom-line proved to myself I can do more & I am a Winner because I try!
When I got home the results said we were 7 out of 9 teams but as I just checked we ended up 8 of 10 teams. Either way I am thrilled with our results! Our team finished in 6:29:32 with a pace of 12:33.
My next race is a 10k, Get Pumped for Pets! in Chester, MD. It’s a new one for me but it has bling (a medal & a shirt) and it’s in the next town over. Hopefully, the extreme cold weather will be passed us at that point and the worst I’d have to deal with is rain (oh, man wet socks are the worst!). I guess we’ll see!
RunUrOwnRace & Set Your Own Pace! Liz
P.S. I hope to have an exciting running related announcement to share in the next few days! A hint…it has to do with the Y of the Chesapeake.