April 1, 2014
Well hey there!
Yes, I am still alive! I had such a great time running the Palmetto 200 this weekend and I'm excited to share our experience with you all! Our race took about 31.5 hours, so I won't be recapping every entertaining moment, but I'll try to get through the gist of it.
I arrived in Charleston around lunchtime on Thursday and Taylor, our team captain, picked me up from the airport. We went to get team 1's van (team 2, my team, just rode in an SUV), ate lunch, grabbed Amanda from the airport and then met up with everyone to drive to Columbia where the race started! That evening we just had time to grab dinner and make some signs before heading to bed!
If you're new to the relay race concept (ours was not a Ragnar but put together in a similar fashion), then here is how it works: 12 members of your team run 200 miles combined, from Columbia to Charleston. You have two vans, each with 6 runners and one runner is always on the road, supported by their van. While one van is completing their 6 legs, the other van is eating, showering, changing and attempting to get a couple hours of sleep (I totaled 3 hours the whole race). When one van is almost done, the other van meets up at the next runner exchange point, and they switch. Each runner has 3 legs total, all different distances. We were assigned our legs and total mileage based on what we told our captain we thought we'd be capable of running.
Our start time was 7:00am so we were all at the start line to support our first runner and start the race!
Once she was off, those of us in Van 2 went back to the hotel to pack up, get ready and then we grabbed breakfast while waiting for our turn.
I must note that we ate at a restaurant called Le Peep and then all had stomach problems and pains during our fist legs. Never again...
Around 1pm it was our turn! We cheered on Van 1 as they came in and then our first runner was off! For each runner we would meet them one or a few times (depending on the length of their run) on the side of the road to hand them water and cheer them on. Then we'd drive ahead to the next exchange point where runner 2 would be ready to take the slap bracelet (our version of a baton) and start running.
I was runner #4 in our van and had 3.84 miles for my first leg. It started raining about halfway through, but I loved this run because it was through the countryside and ended at a cute little white church. From my run on, it rained continuously until about 11:30 the next morning...
My second leg (3.8ish miles) was at 2:00am somewhere near Monk's Corner (north of Charleston). This was definitely the most interesting because after passing two runners I saw no one. I actually thought I was lost at one point! The ginormous puddles that I sloshed through didn't help either - but at least now I know that running in a downpour (or in the middle of the night...) isn't actually that bad!
My final leg was the next day in Old Mt Pleasant, 3.1 miles to the bottom of the Cooper River Bridge. This was by far the hardest because it was SO humid and my legs were just done. Luckily some of my friends from college were there to cheer me on while running this leg. It was a great distraction and I definitely appreciated them coming out to support me!
We followed our last two runners through downtown and then over into West Ashley and finally headed to James Island County Park to meet up with Van 1 and finish the race as a team.
It's hard to explain all the funny stories, the ups and downs, and friendships that developed during the race. With the tight quarters we had and constant time together, Van 2 became close very quickly and I started missing my team hours after leaving them. I think what I loved most was the simplicity of it: all that mattered during the race was running, getting a little sleep, eating, and having a lot of fun. No other life worries mattered or entered my mind.
The whole race was run very smoothly with plenty of volunteer support at every exchange (as well as local police support during night legs). We met a lot of interesting people and had fun seeing the same vans over and over again (we may or may not have picked out "race boyfriends"). I absolutely loved my experience running the Palmetto 200 and would recommend the race to anyone looking to try out a relay race.
Oh, and we won Overall All Female Full Team! (blisters in the sun #bits)
For more on our race and a lot more great photos, check out Taylor’s recap at Lifting Revolution!