Two weekends ago I ran my first relay ever (woo-hoo) as part of Team Vodka Heist: The Legend of Akroyd (yes it should be spelled Aykroyd, oops)! It was a 100 mile relay that took place in Vermont. The race began in Stowe at the Trapp Family Lodge and ended in Okemo at the Okemo Mountain Resort. I have to say it was one of the most memorable experiences of my running career. And it wasn’t because I ran a killer PR, but because I spent the weekend with some amazing runner friends running, laughing, singing, dancing (um, twerking anyone), and eating! And yes, we DID win for the women and set a course record (more on that later), but the memories that took place in the van and on the roads are some that I will never forget.
We left New York City on Friday (8/16) around 10:15 am. Nicole drove Megan, Andrea and I to Kristan’s place in New Jersey. We met Sarah there, packed the van, made a quick stop at Trader Joes, then headed up to Vermont! I have to give mad props to Sarah for being such an awesome driver all weekend! It was a long drive, but we entertained ourselves with our rapping skills (I mean Kristan and Andrea’s skills that is), good conversations, and snacks.
Look at the cute dog we passed on the way!
We arrived at registration around 7 something, picked up our stuff, and headed to the hotel. After we checked in we were starving so we headed over to Piecasso for dinner. There was a long wait so we ordered take out instead. After
4 hours 25 minutes, our food was ready so we went to sit outside and devour our food!
This meal was absolutely delicious-gluten-free/vegan pizza topped with tomato sauce, spinach, mushrooms and tempeh-and full of carbs and protein (huzzah)!
As we were finishing up, it started to rain so we began walking back to the hotel, but the skies opened up and we got poured on. After we got back to the hotel we dried off, chatted and attempted to go to bed early.
We woke up Saturday am and began to get ready for the day ahead. Obviously one of the first things we did was decorate the van! We are some serious artists!
After the van was decorated we ate breakfast, got ready, packed up the van and headed to the start! There were 160 teams and our team started at 9:15am. Not a bad time to start considering some other teams started before 6:00am! Our start time was based on our team’s average 5-miler time. The slower teams started earlier and the faster teams started later. The reason for this is that it takes the slower teams longer to finish so the faster teams have time to catch up.
We each ran three legs ranging in distance from 3.5 to over 8 miles. I was the third runner so I ran leg 3, leg 9, and leg 15. My first leg was supposed to be 7 miles, my second leg 3.5 miles, and my third leg 4.5 miles. According to my Garmin (see below) two of my legs were a little short and one was a little long, but I’m not sure whether my Garmin was off or the course was off. Oh well!
Look at that hand off from Kristan!
Leg 1: 6.85 miles in 48:55 (~7:08 pace)-I was happy to be getting my longest leg out of the way first. I definitely went out guns blazing, but I was feeling good, the road was flat-ish with some rolling hills, and it wasn’t too hot yet. There was only one person ahead of me and she was within reach so I made her my target. I steadily got faster and faster then passed her just after mile 2 and was able to maintain our lead for the rest of the leg!
My first hand off to Sarah wasn’t stellar, but I got better throughout the day!
Leg 2: 3.31 in 23:41 (~7:10 pace)- This leg was a little hillier than the first leg and my legs felt a little stiff from running then sitting in the van, and it was now the middle of the afternoon (2:20pm) so it was HOT, but it was a quickie. I focused on catching up to the people in front of me and passing them and I was successful in my mission!
Leg 3: 4.71 miles in 33:02 (~7:01 pace)- OMG, this was a tough leg. It was hot as h***, there was no shade and it was now 6:00pm! The course map had described this leg as having extreme downhills so I had mentally prepared myself for them, but what I was NOT prepared for was the gigantic
uphill mountain that I would have to climb up after the first mile. Luckily my amazing teammates were waiting at the top, dancing and cheering! After that it was 2+ miles of some serious downhill switchbacks (holy quads) then I was done! The rest of the race was spent cheering and dancing!
Check out those moves!
11 hours 6 minutes and 54 seconds after we started, Megan sprinted through the finish line ! The only problem was that it was really dark and the markers were unclear so while we were waiting to see her she ran by and we didn’t even know! Megan found us and we all went inside to eat some food, have some drinks, and anxiously await the results. And the winner is…. Team Vodka Heist: The Legend of Akroyd for the fastest women’s team with an average of 6:47 pace ! And the icing on the cake is that we set a new course record (the previous one was from 2009)! Our prize? Green mountain coffee and 2 insulated coffee mugs!
First place women’s team-woo hoo!
After the awards ceremony we went back to the lodge, showered then headed down to the hotel bar for a drink before crashing.
The next morning we cleaned out the van then stopped for breakfast at this cute, country restaurant called The Hatchery before heading home.
Tofu scramble with avocado, homemade salsa, and roasted potatoes=delish!
Have you ever run a relay before? If so, which one?!