me running.jpgWell, at about 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon, myself and 11 others pulled into Hampton Beach, NH. Nice place. Kinda “honky-tonk,” as my Ivy League-educated friends described it, but I thought it was a nice place. Why were we in Hampton Beach, NH, you ask, and why were there 12 of us?

Simple: We ran there. 210 miles. From Bretton Woods, NH, a ski area in the middle of the state.

It was called the Reach the Beach Relay (check out www.rtbrelay.com for more details, plus photos of past years), and it’s a unique field of runners, as you’d imagine. Each runner on the team of 12 runs three legs, with up to 8 hours (depending on how fast the team is running) between each leg. So it’s like running three full-speed races in 30 hours’ time. My legs were 1, 13, and 25.

No. 1 was only a 5K (3.1 miles) — up a ski slope at 9 in the morning (the race’s first leg)! Yeah, I increased 1,000 feet in elevation in 1.5 miles (the toughest run I’ve ever experienced) and then ran back down. It was cool, though, because the mountain (Bretton Woods Ski Area) was the one that Bode Miller — the U.S. skier who choked at the winter Olympics earlier this year — trains on.

No. 2 was an easy 3.8 over flat terrain at 5:30 p.m., which wasn’t too much of a problem. The legs were definitely a little heavy from the run that morning, but I ran pretty fast and felt good.
No. 3 was a little harder. It was 8.9 miles. Throw in some monster hills and the fact that the leg started at 5 a.m. (on only 2 hours of sleep), and things get interesting. But I actually smoked the last leg, starting off conservatively, then laying it on the line the rest of the race. Ended up averaging 7-minute miles over the leg, which turned out to be (unbeknownst to me) 9.4 miles instead of the published 8.9. After that, I was completely shot. My legs were gone.

Our team, mixed in terms of age, gender, and skill level, actually ended up finishing in under 30 hours (the fastest teams did it in around 22!), averaging 8 minutes, 26 seconds per mile over the 210 miles. I think we all surprised ourselves at how well the team did.

Anyway, I say all that to tell you this: I’m sore. Very sore. Can hardly walk up and down stairs. My calves and hammies are livid at me right now for what I did to them this weekend. It’s OK, though — they’ll heal, and I’ll run again.

(for a better idea of what the weekend was like, watch this video)


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