2 weeks ago, i ran in the river to river relay. this is an 80 mile trek through southern illinois with 7 other people.
80 miles. 8 people. roughly 10 miles each.
my best friend was on my team, along with some others i knew and a couple i didn’t know.
we were to start in the last heat at 8:45 am. with the pace of our team, we weren’t going to be able to finish the race until at least 10:30 pm. we knew this would be a problem, but persevered. we were all very excited about the day and the challenge it posed to us physically and mentally.
our number 4 runner had a panic attack that quickly turned into an asthma attack at the end of her first leg. the emt had to give her oxygen and she just kept apologizing over and over, when she should have been worried about breathing.
when our #5 runner came in as the last runner of the race on her 1st leg, we had a good laugh about it. i didn’t care, really. i wasn’t there to win, but to push myself, and push myself i did.
i was the #7 runner and had a pretty hard first leg. (do you see those hills?) i run a pretty good 8 minute mile on average, so i was looking to finish my first leg in under 30 minutes. i can’t be sure exactly how long it took, but i made it and didn’t stop to walk once. i figured i would after that first mile-long climb, but just kept chugging along and didn’t have to stop. it was quite peaceful as the last runner. there was, literally, no one around me. southern illinois is beautiful country, especially in the springtime. i will miss the darling redbuds, dogwoods, and azaleas the most. i wanted so badly to have my camera around my neck while i ran, but knew it wasn’t an option. i did get quite a few pictures, however, when i was not running, so i definitely made up for the fact that i couldn’t get a picture of a lowly beheaded tree.
our #1 runner passed 2 others in his second leg (on a dusty gravel road, no less) and our spirits were lifted. yes, somebody has to be last, but at the time it wasn’t us.
at each of the exchanges (when one runner passes the baton to the next) there is a team of race volunteers and an emt. the exchange is marked off by 2 bright orange flags. when our #2 runner came in to exchange after her 2nd leg, the race officials were taking the flags.
they were shutting down the exchanges.
this couldn’t be good.
(part 2 next time. it’s taken me 2 weeks to do this much.)