Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Gorgeous Relay 2014 - Race Recap

Last weekend I had the pleasure of running my first relay race. The Gorgeous Relay – a 60 mile, 6 person race starting from the Columbia River Gorge and ending at Base Camp Brewery in downtown Portland.


Some of you may be aware of a much bigger relay that is held in Portland every August – it is quite an event with thousands showing up to participate each year from all over the country. With over 1,000 (12 member/2 van) teams, you can imagine the cluster that can be the Hood 2 Coast (H2C) relay. I've heard some pretty awesome yet exhausting reviews about the race though and am currently on a team that is hoping to make it into next year’s lottery (because that’s the only way you can register for the darn thing!)

The Gorgeous Relay is quite the opposite of H2C with a max of 80 (6 member/1 van) teams. With 3 friends from work and 2 more outside of the office, I knew we had put together a strong yet super fun team. The relay is only in its second year, and at the moment is not a timed event nor are there prizes awarded for place. This race was all about having fun while doing what you love.

Meet, "Chafing The Dream"......

6 runners, 60 miles, 1 van and lots and lots of sweat. :)

Bright and early Sunday morning (have I ever mentioned how much I HATE Sunday races? My body needs a day off before having to go back into the office - just brutal) most of us met up at the finish line, piled ourselves and bags of gear into our SUV and drove about an hour away to the starting line. It was a rolling start based on estimated 10k times that we had previously turned in, so our team was set to go at 8:10am. It was a bit windy that morning, and although we could have really used the breeze later on, it died down pretty quick.

Check the team in, take a potty break and it's time to roll.

Leg 1 - The Start. Goooooo, Christa!

The start! Go Krista Go!

Eric - By far the fastest, kindest, and craziest ball of energy I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. This guy is nuts and just plain awesome. 

Leg 2 - 5.44 miles - Me!

I started out ok, feeling energized and strong.....3 miles in and body was like, "Say whaaaaatttt???" - I hit a bit of a climb. Not bad, sure.... for someone who has been keeping up with their miles. Me, on the other hand...ouch. Up one hill and back down the other. Hi Rebecca, meet mile 4.2 and it's lovely set of stairs.

Oh, joy.

Again, shouldn't have been that big of a deal but after already running 4 miles, 150 feet of stairs is not my idea of a good time. Oh well, #justkeepmovingforward as Meredith, SwimBikeMom, would say. 5.44 and I was done! One leg down and 1 more to go.

Leg 3 - Go Eric, you crazy fast, 6:30 min/mile guy go!

Leg 4 - Go Becky...up Multnomah Falls and back down again, go!

Leg 5 - Go Marky go!

By leg 6 the team had climbed up to the top of the Gorge with the temp slowly creeping up behind. By the end of the race we would be at 90 degrees. Oh the humanity! Laura completely dominated this climb though - 600 feet for 3 miles. She clearly rocks.

Laura on leg 6 being the bad ass that she is!

Leg 7 - One more, Christa - you got this!

Leg 8 - 5.2 miles - Me again!

Thank goodness most of this leg was downhill because it was starting to get HOT! After spending the last 3 hours driving/riding in the van, my legs were not happy campers at this point and I felt it at mile 3. My route pretty much took us all the way back down from leg 6 at the top of the Gorge. Running downhill can seem easy while you're doing it, but the hip (the very same one I injured during this year's Shamrock Run) started to complain and with the sun was barreling down (have I whined enough yet - sheesh!) I was ready to be over. Thankfully I had my handy Nathan water bottle with me - so no worries about hydration. After what seemed to take an eternity I made to the next hand off.

Leg 9 - Go, Eric - we know you want to break 6:30's but it's way too hot out there so you'll just have to settle for 6:50. (nuts!)

Leg 10 - Go, Becky! 3 miles on your old route, you got this!

Leg 11 - Go, Mark go! Wait? What? You don't want to take any water with you on your 6 mile run? You're nuts dude, take my water bottle!

Our mascot - GoPro!

Leg 12 - There she goes again. Go Laura! Anyone who can manage that 6th leg deserves to run in at the finish line!

So at about 6pm or so, (I did a horrible job of tracking time and even my own pace during this race - too many logistics to think about), Laura rounded the corner and made her way up the street. In true team fashion, all 6 members of Chaffing the Dream met her with 50 yards to go and crossed that finish line together!

Did I mention how crazy energized my teammate, Eric was? The dude could barely sit still! All his running around certainly paid off for us though - here is a video he put together from the footage he took on his GoPro. By far the highlight of our day!


Pic of the finish line as we waited to cross!

Cause nothing says, "We did it!" like a carved wood finisher's medal and a pint glass of beer.

Even with my lack of training and the heat, this was such a fun day. I would highly suggest finding a relay to participate in. So nice having a team of support in the midst of all that torture. ;)

Here are a few of my take-a-ways on running a relay:
  • Bring way more water than you think you need. Someone is bound to forget theirs.
  • Bring a change of clothes for each leg + and an extra for the after party
  • Baby wipes! It's amazing how a quick "cleaning" session can make you feel like a new person.
  • Towels - because no one wants your sweat stank on the seat of their new SUV
  • Rollers! Because you'll spend most of your day cramped up in a car, being able to stretch out and roll your legs is super helpful.
  • Bring good snacks - for recovery and in between. We were on the road running from hand off to hand off for about 10 hours. That's a long time to go between solid meals. I brought a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a huge bag of potato chips - all that salt was definitely welcomed.
  • Sunscreen! 
  • Plastic bags - you'll have a TON of sweaty smelly stuff to store from start to finish. 
  • Extra energy bars, gels etc. I brought a whole bag of goodies/swag that I had collected during this year's race season and barely had anything left by the end of the day!

~ Cheers, Rebecca

Have you ever done a relay?
What was your favorite part?

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