Sunday, December 2, 2012

CIM Relay (Troy, Leg 2)

December 2, 2012 - Sacramento, Ca
Marathon - 26.2m (My leg is 7.6m)
2nd, Run Club Coed

Relay Teammates:

FCA Endurance Relay - Ellie Verdi, Troy, Karen Nickel, Desiree Swift

Other Teammates:

FCA TeamMate Jessica Bonner; Team Catch Us If You Can (Leonie Alesci, Robin, and Liesbeth & Kevin Magna);
Friends (Annette Korn and teammates, Helen Barker and teammate, Pacer Jim Kepfer, Kayden Kelly, Pacer Lee McKinley, Mary Serna, Pacer Michael Cook, Michelle Tuggle, Rich Alesci, Pacer Tim Twietmeyer)

This year I'm on a different team, competing against Robin instead of racing with her.  Robin has Leonie, Liesbeth and Kevin on her team and I have Ellie, Karen and Desiree on my team.  It's a special team this year because it's the FCA Endurance Auburn Huddle Team.  I'm excited to have an FCA sports ministry huddle here in Auburn thanks to Desiree starting it.

The big excitement today is the weather.  Pouring rain and high winds.  Last night at the pasta party at our house it was great trying to strategize what to wear with all the runners.  Most concerned of course are the marathoners. We had 5 of us running the relay, 4 marathoners, and Helen Barker, running the relay as a 1/2 marathon.

I drop off our lead-off runner, Ellie, at the start and feel bad for her having to run a mile in the dark, with blowing, pouring rain, protected with a trash bag.  But she was a trooper and did great.  Robin was also dropping off runners.  I take the kids to the start of the 2nd leg (with Robin following) and then buddle up in rain gear to warm up for my run.

It's howling out here!  I have to lean into it just to jog.  Surely this will add 20min to the marathoners' times.  This is the toughest conditions I've ever seen here.  Then I see the first runners.  Wow, they don't seem fazed!  The lead guys are only wearing singlets like usual and some aren't wearing shirts at all.  Pretty tough for the pelting rain conditions.

The kids hold their umbrellas while Robin and I wait for our teams.  This is a competition and we're both hoping our team arrives first and that we can keep them in first.  We see Michael Cook, Lee McKinley, and Rich Alesci all go by doing great.  And there she is, Ellie from my team!

We make a good hand-off of the chip and I'm off.  Adrenaline rushing.  It's not cold, just super wet.  I'm running fast when the wind dies, but slow when it drives.  The Relay always makes me run fast.

Mile 1: 6:40. My hamstrings are sore, probably over exerting, so I try to relax and still  have efficient pace.  Many marathoners are pacelining to dodge the wind which is smart but I'm going a little faster so have to stay to the left, in the open.

Mile 2: 7:14. My slowest mile due to the hamstrings but they are loosening up.  I'm amazed at each marathoner I see.  Some are running the same speed as me.  All are doing so well and not dismayed by the weather.  Cups at the aid stations are blowing all over the place.  Only a few bands are out under tents and are hard to be heard.

Mile 3: 7:07. I'm doing better and hoping to get up to the 3hr pacer and see Rich somewhere.  I ran 42min at the Turkey Trot 10k a couple weeks ago and am shooting for that pace today.  There are rivers of water going across the road.  The water is also running down my shirt like a shower.  The Nike gloves are working great and the bare legs are fine.  I have a wool cap and the only problem is keeping the rain from pelting my eyes.

Mile 4: 6:42. .  God is blessing my run and I'm thankful everything is going well for how crazy the conditions are.  A couple hills.  I try to fly down the descents and just power up the hills while keeping my eyes low. I thought I saw Rich Alesci up ahead (turned out he was way ahead actually).

Mile 5: 6:33. Ran through the cute village. The school band was playing under the eaves.  Pushed hard this mile.. my fastest yet!  I'm down to a 6:51 average.

Mile 6: 6:40. I passed Michael Cook leading the 3:10 group.  Less then 2 miles to go.  everything is going well

Mile 7: 6:37. Now there isn't much difference between my pace and the marathoners.  I'm almost at the 3hr runners.  I hear loud music ahead.  It's chanting of "hare krishna" or something.  Really annoying, just over and over for a whole mile.  But now I'm close to the exchange.  There's my TeamMate, Karen Nickel.  She's in perfect position, and ready with a smile and pigtails.  I give my last surge and am glad to stop and let her exchange the chip.  We're at 1:31.  My split was 50:49, a 6:46 pace, close to my 6:42 pace at the 10k!  "Have fun, Karen, and God Bless you!"  She's off and my job is done.  I jog back, still feeling the warmth of the excitement going through me, and see Robin coming down the road.  I cheer her on as she hands off to her teammate, Kevin.

We head to the finish and watch our teams and all the marathon studs finish.  I was amazed to see such good times even with the wind.  Rich did a 3:07!  Our team did a 3:17 for 2nd place which was exciting for all of us.  And we stayed ahead of Robin's team.

The sun came out afterwards.  It takes a real storm to make the sun look so glorious.  Similar to hardships in life to make the blessings so much more wonderful!  Thanks, God, for everything!

Karen and Desiree Bringing the Team Home!