This weekend I joined some other Ragnar Ambassadors to run a local relay. Instead of 12 runners, two vans, and 200 miles, it was 8 runners running from one brewery to another and back. What could be better than a day spent with running with friends, followed by a party at a brewery. Not much.
During the week leading up to the race, one of our runners let us know that he had to drop due to a family issue. Thankfully, a quick post on MRTT netted me a new runner for the group. (I swear I don’t know what I’d do without MRTT. So often they come to the rescue.) So, with crisis averted, we worked out our logistics. While it is possible to do this event with two cars and have one “active” vehicle, we decided to all pile into my Honda Pilot and spend the whole day together. I highly recommend this method as we had an absolute blast! Unfortunately, the night before the event, another runner got injured. At that point, it was too late to look for another runner, so we discussed splitting one of the legs. But my new MRTT friend (no, she had not met any of us before) offered to run two full legs. Since the combined amount was her normal weekend long run distance, we took her up on her offer. Yes, she jumped onto a team she didn’t know, then she took on another leg, AND she brought coffee and Halloween candy for the team. Awesome!
Saturday morning, we all met at Old Ox Brewery for a quick pre-race meeting. We got our bibs AKA tattoos we needed to wear on our arms and then sent off our first runner.
We quickly jumped in the car and headed to our first transition – where we immediately had to fold an origami frog. I know you are trying to figure out what that has to do with racing, but one of the fun parts of the VA Momentum relays is participating in challenges at each transition to get extra beer tickets. We finished our frog, sent off our second runner, and headed to the next transition. I wasn’t running until near the end, so I drove most of the legs and just focused on remembering to eat and trying to stay warm. It was perfect running weather, but a bit of a chilly day for standing around.
Finally my turn arrived. Runner 6 ran up and handed me the “baton”, a key on a fob. I had forced myself to take off my long sleeve shirt and headed out in a tank top, a move I did not regret. My route started with a downhill and then became rolling hills with a few big uphills.
I started out faster than I probably should have (I saw 8’s on my Garmin more than once as actual pace), but I kept doing “body checks” to make sure that I wasn’t pushing too hard. After three fast downhill miles, I started hitting the uphills. My pace slowed a bit, but I was able to keep pushing. I was using a new app that the organizers told us to use. It’s called RunGo and it had the actual legs of the race programmed in for us. I didn’t have any turns, so I wasn’t given much guidance, but the app did tell me when I completed a mile and when I hit certain milestones (1/4 of the way, half way, 1 mile to go, etc.) One thing that amused me was that twice it said to me that I was cresting a hill, when clearly there was more hill to climb. Other than that, it was a super helpful app.
I finished my leg about 7 minutes faster than I had told my teammates (a 9:41 average pace versus the 10:30 pace I expected). Because I came in early, they weren’t there yet. D’oh! No biggie though. I knew several people who were at the transition, so I chatted with friends while I waited. As soon as they got there, our final runner headed out and we headed to the finish line. I took the opportunity to change into dry clothes and then we waited for our final runner to come in. She arrived, we all got our growlers AKA our medals, and then it was beer time!
All in all, this was a lot of fun! The race was well organized, the transition locations were easy to find, and I love the swag. I definitely plan to do this event again.