My spark buddy Beth and I signed up to do the Virginia Beach 1/2 marathon relay this past weekend. You can check out her blog here:
And yes, the cheesy grinned moron on her background page is none other than moi. All I can say in my defense is that it was quite warm, I'd just worked hard, and I'm wearing my first new bling in ages! WOOT!
As many of you know, I destroyed my knee at the beginning of the year, came to America for surgery and have been lingering ever since. After almost a year on the sidelines, it felt absolutely brilliant to get back into it. So the saga begins ...
On Saturday, I rented a car and drove to Virginia Beach. Sadly, the whole rest of the world decided to drive, too. Not wanting to miss the fun, Mother Nature opened up the skies, only encouraging more poor form from frustrated motorists. The three-hour drive took over seven hours, including my accident. Yes, I rear-ended someone. ... and not in a good way.
Bad Cat! He wasn't hurt, thank goodness. I have some cuts and bruises, including one on my forehead that I can't quite explain. We were in gridlocked traffic. I wasn't going fast, and somehow, I managed to do a real number on the car - a craptacular little Chevy malibu with uncomfortable seats and awful wheel alignment. Oh, and now a bashed in front fender. Oops.
I found the hotel, the expo, Beth and her DH, put the accident behind me, and focused on my first race since the God-awful nightmare in Walt Disneyworld in January. This was my first ever relay, and it was definitely an experience.
3 a.m. Wake up
4 a.m. Ready to go. The shuttles begin running at 4 and end at 6. decide not to wait until last minute.
4:10 a.m. Head out to shuttle. Discover that drivers have no clue where they're supposed to be going or that they're supposed to be - in fact - shuttles. Sit on super ultra "nipplingly" cold air-conditioned bus, wishing the nice lady bus driver wasn't menopausal until 4:50, when the drivers finally figure out where they're going.
5:00 a.m. Arrive. No racers. Volunteers milling confusedly. No one know the bag check is. People, "bag check" is a FLEET of UPS trucks that collect our things and drive them to the finish line. They're fairly hard to miss. Find bag check. I'm the first person to check my bag. This has never happened to me before.
5:15 a.m. Find shuttle to relay point. The relay shuttles are supposed to run until 6, but they just cram us all into one shuttle and go.
5:30 a.m - Still going.
5:45 a.m. - Still going. The driver asks us if we know where the drop off is. Since we're only supposed to have traveled seven miles, I'm concerned that we've been tootling hither and yon for almost 30 minutes. Eventually, our driver decides that we should be on some military base, a decision the armed sentry most vigorously protests.
"Sir! You MUST leave these premises!'
"But I'm here for the race."
"Sir! There is no race here. You MUST leave the premises!"
"I've got the people for the race."
"Sir! Turn around!"
"So this isn't where we should go for the race?"
Yikes. Eventually, mensa member bus driver realised that he should not have driven through the cones blocking the road, the police office standing at the intersection blocking aforementioned road, and police cruiser blocking the same said road, to access a secure military facility. Give this man a gold star.
5:50 a.m.We were dropped off at the correct place and had a long walk to the relay point. A lot of smart people nipped into the McDonalds for coffee, breakfast, and a place to sit. Stupidly, I walked all the way to the place and sat on the ground for three hours until it was my turn to race.
This is the tricky part of relaying. I was fired up to race when I got up, but by 9 o'clock, my hips were whinging, my knee wanted me to reconsider, my tummy was ready for I don't even know what - lunch, I guess. The sun was up full, it was warm, and NOW it was time to race.
Well, once they announced that the first Hot Tottie team member was on her way in, I revved right up. Beth looked great. I could tell she was tired, but the cheerleaders on the side of the road gave her a warm welcome, and she finished strong. She averaged 30 seconds faster per mile than she'd expected, and we were in great shape for the second leg.
I have only recently started walking again. The most I'd trained was six miles, and at a 21:00 minute per mile pace, so I was worried. I did the first two miles in under thirty minutes, but the knee was screaming, so I slowed down and just enjoyed it as a walk. I ended up averaging 17:30 per mile, so it was still a big improvement over my training pace.
Along the way, I saw Elvis, Beaker from the Muppets, a Super Family, a devil, and other odd assortments of fun runners. I saw an older man struggling a bit and walked a few miles with him. He looked to be about 70 and we got to chatting. He does the big Goofy race at Disney every year and is their race administrator for Facebook. I told him my story about how I was treated, and he was incensed. Hopefully that will never happen to anyone else. I met several people doing their very first race and many wonderful charity racers.
"Fitty" and her DH were waiting for me at the finish line. I trudged through the end of race tents and then back to the hotel. Being part of the Rock N Roll race series, we had a concert on the beach to look forward to in the evening, including headliner Bret Michaels
Whilst waiting for Beth, I chatted up a nice man who gave me VIP passes for the concert! Sweet! Unfortunately, getting up so early doesn't leave much in reserve for evening entertainment, and after an hour or so, Beth was cooked, and I wasn't keen to sit there by myself. Luckily for me, my hotel was a mere five blocks from the concert, so of COURSE I could hear it clearly. I sat in the outdoor hotel hot tub, watched the stars, and listened to Bret Michaels wail away. Great show, and a sweet ending to the weekend.
Stay tuned, because the Hot Totties are reuniting in January at Walt Disneyworld to do the Chip and Dale marathon relay. I can't wait!