The Relay is now over and it was a great time.  12 members of Nike+ met in San Francisco to run 199 miles from Calistoga CA to Santa Cruz.  For most of the team it was the first time that we met and everything went so smoothly, it was like we had done a relay together many times and that we did not have to travel and get all the arrangements done.

Day 1 – Pre Race Day – Friday

So, I flew into the airport and met up with Alex.  I had met Alex last summer during the Nike+ Summit.  We waited for another member of the Team Susie.  Then we were off to Kerry’s (GGPRunner) house to meet up with the rest of the team. 

When we arrived we met up with another 2 members that had flown into Oakland and took a BART to Daly City where Kerry picked them up.  We then picked up some stuff at the store and headed back to Kerry’s.

Later in the day, Dan (texasbuckeye) showed up with the rental van and the rest of the team.  Kerry made us all lunch and we chatted for a few hours.  We then had to make the trip to Santa Rosa to check into our rooms and then to Calistoga for the Pre-race meal with Dean Karnazes.

PRE-RACE DINNER

We made the short, but winding drive to the Calistoga Inn where we had reservations for the pre-race dinner where Dean was scheduled to talk.  We were given a few menu choices and we made our selections and waited.   We were then informed that Dean had some flight problems and would not be able to make the Dinner.  That was a bummer, we were looking forward to him arriving and signing our books.  We headed back to the room after dinner and prepped for Race Day.

Day 2 – RACE DAY – Saturday:

The Team:

 

Our Embedded Reporter – The GNIKE GNOME:

We arrived at the start line and prepared to get ready, we got some signs for the van and used some van paint to prep for the run.  We watched a few teams leave the start.  We took some pictures and got our game faces on.  Then 8:30 came around and our first runner got prepped and ready.  The introduced our team as Team Waiting For THE  Runs, which got a laugh out of the crowd, we tried to tell them that there wasn’t a THE in the name.

Our first runner, Anthony took off in a blaze and it was very funny as he led the pack down the street. Being in Van 2, we took off for the first Van exchange to wait for our chance to run.  We went and had a great breakfast as we waited for Van 1.  We then went back to the van exchange and made our switch.  Our first runner was off and we headed to the next runner exchange, which would be my first.  On our way we actually passed Dean on the way.  We turned our van around and cheered him on.  It was great to see him.

I waited at the start of my leg, thinking that I might run with or after Dean on my leg.  When he arrived at the exchange, he entered his mobile home (the mothership) and then his dad exited and ran his leg instead.  I did find out that my HR monitor was not recording info during my runs in the relay 😦  Here is my info from Leg #8:

1st Leg – Leg #8 7.4 Miles
starting – deep in the vineyards
ending – Roadkill Highway
MAP
Start Time: 2:05 PM
End Time: 2:59 PM
Running Time: 54 Mins
Kills: 11
Difficulty: Moderate
Clothing: Shorts & shirt

Weather – Sunny (mid 50’s) with gusts of wind picking up more during the later part of the leg.
Splits: 8:20, 7:06, 7:33, 7:57, 7:34, 6:57, 7:07, 1:49 (.26) – Average Pace – 7:29

Right before starting this leg we passed Dean! He was coming up to this leg, and I though “Oh Boy, I will have a chance to pass Dean!” He soon got to the check point and stepped into the MotherShip. His father ran this leg for him, I talked to his father later (Very Nice Guy) at Leg#10 and found out that he had gotten lost on leg #8 along with numerous other runners.  

This leg started off as a great tranquil run through the vineyards, there was a steep hill at the beginning, but it was over quickly. There was some gusty winds that started to pick up during this leg that continued throughout the rest of Van 2’s legs. I ran through the countryside and passed a house with a lot of barking small dogs. I only saw 2 people in the vineyards. Soon after I exited the vineyards and entered the highway, there was a little bit of an incline and soon I started seeing more and more people. Not much more to report other than a few actual roadkills.

Leg 8 – Elevation Profile:                                     

Leg 8 Elevation Profile 

Leg 8 – Pace profile

 

Leg 8 – Splits

Leg 8 Map:

 We went through the rotation of legs, the wind picked up more with each passing minute and by the time we were on Leg 10, there were some pretty good gusts.  We watched Dean come into the runner exchanges on 9 & 10.  We talked to Dean’s Dad at the leg 10 for a little while.  Dean came through the exchange and then was on his way. 

Later on Leg 11 Mark from our van ran with Dean’s dad for a little while.  That was the last that we saw of Dean and his dad for the rest of the relay.  When we finished with Leg 12, we met up with Van 2.  They had been at the exchange for a few hours and didn’t have any Internet access to update the blog.  We had dinner of sandwiches and soup at the Marin French Cheese factory.  Then we went to Kerry’s house in San Francisco to prepare for the next Van Exchange.

At Kerry’s a few members showered and napped, I took an oppurtunity to relax and update the blog.  Soon it was a little after 11and time to go to the Van Exchange at the Golden Gate Bridge.  Kerry was our escort as we made our way there.  about 25 minutes later Van 1 showed up and we went to wait for Dan to come in to hand off to our Van.

After we were the active van again, we said bye to Van 1 and they headed to the next exchange at Canada School to get some sleep.  We headed to the next runner exchange with glow sticks in hand, my 2nd leg was up next:

DAY 3 – RACE DAY – Sunday

2nd Leg – Leg #20 (5.9)
Starting – the chilly beaches with a full moon and tranquil crashing waves
ending – a closed gas station after endless hills
MAP
Start time: 2:27 AM
End Time: 3:14 AM
Running Time: 47 minutes
Kills: 11
Difficulty: Hard
Clothing: Running Pants, long sleeve & short sleeve tech shirts, gloves, beanie.

Weather: High 30’s with gusting wind on the coastal area, a few drops of rain and a little wind on later part of leg.
Splits: 7:26, 7:56, 7:32, 8:39, 8:24, 7:10 (.92) -Average Pace – 7:57

We waited along the beach for Monk_Monkey to finish her leg. There was a slight breeze and a chill to the air. I was pumped, this would be my hardest leg with alot of uphill running. I was looking forward to it and I was also fearing it. I saw Monk coming from some distance since she put a glow stick in her water bottle. Then I was off. At the beginning there were a few sand dunes across the road. About one mile in, I had my only pass of my original 3 legs, team google came from nowhere looking easy and said something and he was gone into the night, disappearing into the darkness. I am still not sure that he passed me at all, maybe I need a recount…

The moon was reflected out on the water and the waves crashed, it was a great start of the run. Soon I left those great sites behind and the hills came, and I ran on. One after another I racked up the roadkill and I felt great. I never felt great on hills, but tonight I did. I continued on and so did the hills. I passed one guy and he asked if he could hook a rope up to me. I passed a lady and she asked when the hills would end and I said soon. But then the biggest one hit as we ran through a neighborhood.

I slowed my pace a little, but kept on going never stopping to walk. I came screaming down the other side of the hill and picked up a few more kills. All right 11 now. Then I saw 12 & 13 and my pulse quickened as well as my pace. They were still about 400 meters out and they must of sensed the predator coming, for their pace also quickened. I bridged the gap to under 100 meters and they turned a corner and found safety in the runner exchange – Dang, next time…

Leg 20 Elevation Profile:

 Leg 20 Pace Profile:

Leg 20 Splits:

Leg 20 Map:

We continued on, and I decided to take a short 10 minute nap.  I woke up a few minutes later and our van had gotten off track due to a difference between what was written in the driving instructions and what was the actual signage.  (there were a couple spots where there were either no signs, or a step was left out while following a route)  We consoled the GPS unit and we were soon back on track.  We made it to the runner exchange seconds before Mark got there.  Susie was on her way and we then went to the next van exchange.

We met up with Van 1 and soon they were on their way.  We decided to head toward the next van exchange instead of hunting out breakfast.  The next van exchange took over an hour and half to get to and the road was alot like a roller coaster, but never ending and nerve wracking.  When we got to the exchange we found out that there wasn’t a food stop there so we made some sandwiches and rested.  A few hours later, van 1 arrived and we were off again.

We then went to the leg 32 exchange, this was it, we were on our last set of legs.

3nd Leg – Leg #32 (4.7)
Starting – A sunny run down the hills under tree cover
ending – The street on the way down
MAP
Start time: High Noon
End Time: 12:30 PM
Running Time: 30 minutes
Kills: 10
Difficulty: Easy
Clothing: Shorts & Shirt

Weather: mid 50’s & sunny – Perfect conditions!

Weather: High 50’s very slight breeze – Perfect running conditions!
Splits: 6:09, 6:13, 6:46, 6:53, 4:34 (.69) -Average Pace – 6:31

I stood on the decline waiting for Monk to come down, I was told I needed a bunch of kills to take the lead, 16 in total -things looked grim. I saw some people pass and I itched at my oppurtunity to run on a course that I knew would be fast, I had no idea on just how fast.

Soon Monk came around the corner, we did a quick wondertwins knucle punch and I was off screaming down the hill. the whole leg was downhill, there was a slight incline somewhere, but it was a blur. I ran fast and it felt good, I passed someone early, but then I didn’t see anyone for a few miles, a high kill count didn’t look good. The scenery was great, large trees, shade, but not any people. My stride was long and fast and I felt great. I passed a few vans and they cheered me at my pace and yelled encouragement. the first mile whizzed by – holy &%$#! 6:09, a new mile PR and almost sub 6! The second mile flew by 6:13, wow, this felt good! I knew it was a combo of my recent training, the elevation, and downhill.

When I passed my 5K at a sub 20 I was ecstatic! Now that I knew I could do it, I envisioned an upcoming 5K with an easy sub 20.

Soon I started to see victims and wracked up the numbers. I had 9 and saw one more in the distance and also the runner exchange. I emptied the tank and took off after, she sensed me and hurried her pace, but it wasn’t enough. In the last few seconds before the exchange I had her and 10 for the leg. Little would I know at that moment that 10 was enough to beat out noels by 1, but 1 shy of passing Tex. oh well, a mile PR and 5K PR on one run and I felt great!

Leg 32 Elevation Profile:

Leg 32 Pace Profile:

Leg 32 Splits:

Leg 32 Map:

A few legs later Alex was running again.  He had his second very hard leg, another dreadful uphill battle.  We waited at the top of the hill for him to ascend to the top.  At that time Mark wasn’t feeling well, but he wanted to continue with his leg.  Soon Alex made it to the top and Mark was off.  We got into the van and proceeded up the climb, a little while later we reached Mark and decided that he needed to stop.  I stepped in and ran the remainder of his leg.  He had already done the hard part and the rest was down hill.

4th Leg – Leg #35 6.5 – ran 5.9
Starting – Slowashell was not feeling well and I picked up this leg for him. (he felt better later)
ending – the Streets of Santa Cruz (sounds like a cop drama)
MAP
Start time: 3:10 PM
End Time: 3:55 PM
Running Time: 45 minutes
Kills: N/A
Difficulty: Hard
Clothing: Shorts and Shirt
Splits: 8:47, 7:52, 7:27, 7:23, 7:10, 6:40 (.85) -Average Pace – 7:44

At the start of this Leg Mark did not feel well at all. Like a trooper he started the leg with the heart of a true waiting for runs team member. We caught up to him at the top of the killer hill .6 miles into the run. He did not look good at all and we had him get into the van. I took over the leg and continued on to meet Susie at the final runner station.

The beginning of the run was through a peaceful wooded area. There was a lot of van support as other teams offered up water. I felt good and continued on, opting not to stop. I passed one lady and told her she was doing great. I saw another lady in front and decided to try and reach her and pace her. I couldn’t do it, she was doing my same pace. I was taking a pretty easy pace and soon found my legs wanting to open up. I let them go and each leg got increasingly faster.

I broke out of the woods and saw the ocean open up in front of me. WOW is all I could think we are so close to the end of this. I continued on down a hill and saw masses of people walking slowly. At first I thought I was stuck in a PMag gauntlet challenge, but the just walked past me, I still don’t know where they were all headed. I continued on, the lady was still about 300 yards in front of me. Then I heard the footsteps behind me around mile 4 and I thought not today, I increased my pace and looked back, he was a little way behind me.

I kept the guy at bay, the vehicle traffic was getting heavy and I was weaving in and out of people. A guy opened his car door and I had to jump out of the way and run up on the sidewalk. The guy shouted sorry, but I was already gone. Then I came up to a stop light and my hunter stopped with me. There went the lead. Then we were off again, I regained my small lead and looked at my watch 5.25 miles, I wasn’t sure of the length of this leg, I knew it was something over 6, but that was all.

Dang another stop light. Again we both sat there waiting, then it turned green and he took off and dusted me. Crap, I couldn’t catch him, I saw the exchange and ended strong and watched Susie bring us home!

Elevation Profile:

Leg 35 Pace Profile:

Leg 35 Splits:

Leg 35 Map:

Soon we were driving to the finish, it was finally time for the finish!  We parked the van and made our way to the beach.  We met up with Van 1 and waited for Susie to bring it home.  Soon they announced Team 30 was coming down the beach we all got behind susie, including the GNIKE GNOME, our embedded reporter and crossed the finish line.  We then got our medals and team picture.  Then we picked up our lunch of chicken burgers, salad, fruit, soup & pumpkin pie.  We got the free lunch for having raised over $1800 in donations.

3 team members had to leave, we said our goodbyes and watched them go.  We then went to our hotel in Santa Cruz and showered.  We said that we would meet at the hotel restaurant at 8pm.

DAY 3 – THE AFTER RACE MEAL – Sunday

So, I ended up over sleeping by 8 minutes and showed up at dinner very groggy and disoriented.  After about 10 minutes I had gotten my bearings and we all ordered dinner.  I got a Ceaseur Salad, it sounded good and was good.  We talked for a little and then everyone signed our team banner.  We decided to meet in the morning and leave to San Fran by 6am, so that people could catch early flights.

DAY 4 – THE DAY AFTER – Monday

6AM was soon there and 7 of us piled into the van.  Marlise and Patsy were going to drive the second van home.  We said our goodbyes and said that we would meet again to run anothe relay.  Then we were off to San Fran. 

We soon arrived and dropped of Alex, Susie, Anthony, & Michelle at Kerry’s house. Since they were all planning on staying in San Fran a few more days.  Dan, Noel, & I all headed to the airport.  Dan grabbed his flight, Noel headed to the BART to get to Oakland, and I got on an earlier flight and headed home.  So ends this relay, until the next.

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