Friday, October 12, 2012
Originally posted on my personal blog: warrior4health.com
Capital to Coast relay - the longest relay in Texas
I’m not even sure where to begin this blog to be honest. It all started around February 2012. I think it was Lynette who brought up the idea, then we brought John Hulsey into the mix and made him Team Captain. Before we knew it, we had more than enough ready to run the Capitol to Coast relay, the longest relay in Texas. The Facebook group was created and the team started taking shape. Some of these folks I knew from sparkpeople, others I only knew there were friends of John, that can’t be a bad thing, right? Texas Toast was decided as a team name because we figured we would be TOAST by the time we ran 223 miles across Texas. John Parkers daughter designed our team logo.
October 4th, 2012 – Nicholas drove from Little Rock to my place where Nancy picked us up to begin the journey of a lifetime. This was great because I knew both Nancy and Nicholas in person, but this was their first meeting, LOVE that! Here we are in the car as we drove to Austin.
WE arrived at our ‘headquarters’ in Austin, better known as Tim and Sue’s home. They were very gracious to open their home to 12 strangers (some stranger than others, HA), fed us, wined us and made us feel completely at home. This is the first time I met some of our team mates, which was very cool. We had all kinds of heroes on our team, we had SparkPeople, Police officers, Firemen and even a few Marines. Of course we sort of knew each other from the Facebook group, but it was great to meet in person.
Pre Race Team photo – minus Laura who wasn’t there yet.
Soon enough we were decorating the vans. We had our team name on it, our names, our nicknames, our mileage, etc.
Yep, that’s where I sat and I’m not sure how I got the nickname of WhiteBread, but I did. We had a HoneyBuns, Dark Rye, Monkey Bread, Better than sliced bread, Pumper Nickles, Wonder Bread, Berger Bunz and more. (did I mention this was a crazy group?)
After an awesome meal, we started off to bed, Van1 was due to start at 7am Friday morning!
October 5th, 2012 – Republic Park, Downtown Austin, TX. IT BEGINS!
7am Friday morning, runner1 was all set to take off. Nancy got us off to a very solid pace and set the tone for the party. Speaking of party, when we stopped at the park, the music blasting from the van told everybody there that the party had arrived. Every stop there after was the same, the doors opened, the music blasting and the dancing started. What a great time. About half way through Nancy’s first leg, we made a bridge for her to run under, what an awesome memory as she ran toward us, then beyond as we cheered the entire time! Load it up, and drive to next stopping point.
Before I knew it, it was my turn for my first leg. I started warming up and stretching the legs out as we waited for Brian(Runner2) to finish, Thanks Nicholas for this picture:
I look so serious, but I really wasn’t. This was one of Nicholas’ MANY tweets during the entire race. I’m not sure how many people we had following us on Twitter or Facebook, but Nicholas was the tweetmaster who kept all posted!
My first run took me through some small town south of Austin and this is where I did nearly get hit. Some redneck in his oversized truck wasn’t about to give an inch of the road and nearly clipped my shoulder with his mirrors. I couldn’t get over any further due to the guard rail on my left. I dodged the mirror then waved at him as he drove off. J I remember how humid it was, which surprised me. We hadn’t had any humidity recently so that made the run much tougher than I expected. Still a great time though!
We proceeded through our runners and met van2 in the middle of nowhere, literally, I have no clue where we were. All I know is that we were having fun being there. By now the other teams were also decorating their cars/vans/trucks following our lead. We also started ‘tagging’ their vans with TTT to let them know that Texas Toast Team was around, HA. I think we were in Lockhart Texas for lunch. We stopped at a very cool little placed called Harry’s and had a great meal(grilled chicken), changed clothes and drove to the next exchange point to rest. Again, no clue where we were, but we got to rest under the shade trees for several hours and that was nice.
My next run started around 8:30pm so it was getting dark. Our driver, Bruce(better than sliced bread) had brought the coolest toys for Van1. Neon LED lights that ran throughout the van, finger lights that we had on our shoes, in our hair, on our hats, etc to ensure we would be seen at night. It was fun getting ready for the night-time runs. I’ll admit it was spooky running alone in the pitch black night with cars speeding towards me at 75-80 mph. I had my reflector vest, headlamp and lights on my hat, so I felt like I was seen, but ya never know. The first time Van1 passed me, I laughed out loud, the neon lights were AWESOME to see. Run number two was a good run for me averaging 8:40 per miles, I’ll take that! We finished our night runs around 12:30am or so. We then drove to the next major exchange to attempt to get a little rest. No place to rest outside the van, so we made the best of it inside the van and I managed about 1.5 hours rest or so.
Saturday October 6th, 2012 5:00am is when I learned that a lady can go poop in the woods and still come out a lady. (one of the ladies in the van said that obviously) J No port a pots around so ya do what ya gotta do, right? Runner2(Brian) had given me about a ¼ lead over the team closest to us. I remember telling the kid who would be running the leg with me, “you are going to pass me, I’m worn out, and please don’t scare me as you run past me.” I took off and I felt pretty good, surprisingly good. I started pushing, the competitive juices started flowing. DO NOT let that kid pass you I thought. He was half my age and I was on a mission. I not only kept him behind me, I opened a larger gap and that felt great! My team supported me very well as we did the entire way on this run, I needed two drinks during this leg, AND despite them getting lost, they were there when I needed them. DONE – I am DONE with my portion of the Capital to Coast relay! I felt amazing. Tired, sweaty, smelly but I felt amazing. Actually I wasn’t done. We stopped nearly every two miles to support each other with wet towels, water, juice, whatever the runner needed. Would you believe we grew closer with each stop?! Supporting each other was as much or more fun than than actual running.
Van1 finished around 12:30pm and our portion was done….or was it? Our intention was to have a meal and head to Corpus. We got a call from Van2 and we decided to stay and finish this relay as a team. It was an amazing discussion at Dairy Queen (Texas Stop Sign). We bought more water, got more ice and set out to assist our friends finish this thing. Lynette was the runner at the time. We stopped, I asked if she needed anything, she said no and kept running. I yelled, ‘Hey Berger, pick it up’. She yelled back “I miss my running buddy”, O MAN! I was standing there in my flip-flops. I quickly got in the van and put on my finger socks and shoes and joined her for the last 1.5 miles of her leg. We train together a lot and it was really cool to run this portion and chat with her for a while.
We continued to support each other, even mixing up the van drivers and passengers a little, that was cool. By this time, all the teams were honestly supporting each other. We gave water and Gatorade to several runners who needed it. I asked John Parker, our final runner if I could run across the causeway and to the finish line with him. We’ve known each other a while on SparkPeople but never ran together. I told him I didn’t want to slow him down and he said not to worry about it. I joined John with 5 miles left and ran the causeway to the finish line. I really enjoyed the view of the city as we ran into it, not to mention the water was amazing. The entire team ran across the finish line in 35 hours and 48 minutes and we were literally on the beach! AMAZING time.
Self pic moments after the finish
Group Photo – finished in 35hours 48 minutes. Second place in the Heros Division.
When we left the beach we went straight to Blackbeard's for dinner and drinks. I don’t drink much, but I did drink the two free beers offered at the finish line. J We sang, we clapped, we laughed and had a great dinner, then I began to beg John to check us into the hotel, I was sick of smelling myself! Hot shower never felt so good. We got up to a 30 degree drop in temps overnight and headed home. We retraced our tracks part of the trip home, that was fun to see the portions we ran overnight.
I learned so much about myself and my body during this run. The challenge of running three times, averaging nearly a 10K per run, in 24ish hours was amazing. I had to dig deep and push myself. My body has met a new standard of training and now that I feel fully recovered, I will continue marathon training with that in mind. Speaking of marathon training, the relay was so much harder!
Things I heard on this trip:
“I’d have passed her sooner, but I had to stop and poop” – runner who ran a leg right before me
“a Lady can poop in the woods and still come out a lady”
“these mosquitos are huge”
“are these mosquitos always around?”
“I’ve never been bite by a fire ant till now”
“That’ll be a tweet”
“pretty boy Floyd”
“want some gum”
“Hi, I’m bitter, follow me” – noted about somebody and their own personal version of twitter
“Did somebody call me”
“oh that laugh”
“I’d love to run with you, but I MUST work today”
“No Drama van” – from the van that had all the drama
“are you going to tweet that on your tweetbook page”
“can I follow twitter without a twitter account”
“dude, you stink”
I could go on and on, but I’ll close instead.
This truly was a trip of a lifetime and I can’t wait to do it again next year.
I want to close with a challenge for all of you. Find SOMETHING that challenges you and DO IT, you might be surprised what you learn about yourself in the process!
Personal miles totalled 24.25 since I ran with Lynette and John.