So, like I said the other day, I ran a relay over the weekend.
Market-to-Market relay series is a little bit different than the other relays out there, as it is not overnight. The first teams started at 6 am, and our understanding was the last team crossed the finish line a little after 9 pm. Currently it is pretty much a Midwest event, with locations in Ohio, Iowa, and Nebraska, but there is definitely more to come as it has been successful.
As with the other relays that I have been a part of, there are requirements about reflective vests, headlamps, and blinky red lights, but we started at 7:40 am and the sun was up so we did not need them to start our race (we had them in the van though, just in case. The race was set up to be Cincinnati to Dayton, and had 19 legs. Unlike a Ragnar or Bourbon Chase (again) there are no 12 man teams. You can choose between a 6, 7, or 8 man team. So depending on how many people on your team you will run more or less miles.
Naturally, with our whole team training for a marathon, we had to have only a 6 man team. This offered the opportunity for the most mileage. The Ohio version of this race follows the Little Miami Scenic Trail (known to me as the Loveland Bike Trail) for the duration of the race. Yes, long bike trail runs can be boring, but the longest any of us was out there was 5.6 miles (me). So that isn't too bad, plus there is the added motivation of kills. Yes, that is kind of bad, because you are likely passing teams that are not as fast as your team (you start earlier if your average pace is slower, in order to get all teams finishing within the same window of time). But it is still one of those things that can definitely get you fired up about racing.
Buckeye Running Company supplied us with shorts and singlets (we paid our own race entry), and somehow I ended up with the lone pink one? I like it anyway. Randy is the only one of us who is wearing the shorts we got, but the rest of us put them on later.
At 7:40 am, Andrew took off.
I was runner 5, after Andrew, Karen, Brett, and Randy. I had set a goal in my head of running approximately 8:30 pace throughout the relay because we didn't have any goals or anything going in. We didn't expect to win, so might as well just get the long run at an easy pace out of this.
My first leg was short, less than 3 miles. 2.72 is what the garmin says, and after running through the grassy area seen in the picture, up and hill and over a little highway overpass, I was back on the bike trail for the duration of the run. 2.72 miles - 21:25, 7:53 average pace.
After my first leg, I hung out in the minivan of Brett's family (we were not gone overnight, no need for the 12-man van), and ate a picky bar, getting out to cheer on my teammates and take pictures at the exchanges. We found out that there was going to be a checkpoint at my next leg (marking the halfway point of the race) and they would do standings in real time as teams crossed that checkpoint. We were eager to see how things were shaping up since we could tell we were catching up to a lot of the teams that started earlier than us. However, teams started in two more waves after us as well, so we knew we would not immediately know our standings.
5.66 miles in 44:55 - 7:56 average pace. This one was a bit more difficult to keep the sub-8 pace. It was a longer leg, plus I was feeling a little stiff from sitting for a little while in between. That is the more difficult part about relays I think. The total distance that you cover is not too bad, generally shorter than a long run, but you sit in between! When I got back to the car and Jes was off on her second leg, the team told me we were sitting in 5th place. The top 7 in each division got a prize. So we decided then and there that we were going no lower than 5th.
And Jes had one more leg, followed by Andrew's final one (runner 1 had three legs) and then we finished as a team. We were the 6th team to cross the finish line, 10th overall, and 5th in our division. (we stayed put after the halfway point).