Tuesday, May 22, 2012

reach the beach

this past weekend was my 4th year of doing reach the beach (ive done new hampshire race twice and this was my 2nd massachusetts). each year ive had a different team:
  • 2009 team wicked
  • 2010 run faster finish sooner
  • 2011 dirty little freaks
  • 2012 misfits
but in all four years i had one constant: kelly! (sadly she has run one extra one without me. rude. hehe jk xo) regardless of the fact that the race is seemingly the same each year-- run a lot, sleep very little (if at all), eat a lot of cheez its, laugh a ton-- every year has been completely different (and awesome) experience. and thats what its all about, right?

i picked up kelly in portsmouth on thursday night and we headed to worcester to stay at julias house so we didnt have to drive up early friday am (this was the best idea ever). i couldnt stop laughing the whole drive down and i knew from that drive it was already going to be a ridiculous weekend (spoiler alert: it was. duh). i was up way past my old lady bed time watching some ridiculous cooking show and we all headed to bed about midnight, although first kelly and i had a giggle fest slumber party before falling asleep. yes, im like 12.

i woke up just before 8am to julia bringing me coffee in bed and listening to dutch singing "one pound fish" in the living room. (youtube this for your own good. its hilarious... very very good and very very cheap...). anyway, this was by far the best way to wake up on rtb morning! our team didnt start until 11:20 so we had time to kill before meeting up at the mountain, so of course we watched despicable me! kelly and i headed for wachusett mountain while julia waited at home for ally to arrive. we met up with our team, got all checked in with our flashing lights, head lamps, and reflective vests, and sent our newbie team members into orientation while we watched other teams take off (i almost got kicked out of orientation last year so i figured i should probably not go this year... dont pee on people lawns, have fun, reach the beach... right! got it.)

i was also able to meet up with team Need for Speed and see my bff running buddy sarah and have a huge OMGIMISSYOUSOMUCH hug squeel session with Christy !! i also got to meet Meg who came all the way from chicago to drive their asses around. hardcore. i watched their team start (40 minutes BEFORE our team, mind you...) and then we all hung out until our team started. kelly, jessie and i then braved the chairlift to the top of the mountain and got a great view. jessie was not so excited about her ride...

during my other 3 rtb's ive always been in van 1 so this was a totally new experience for me... and after having a few days to process it, ive decided im still not sure which i like best. i think i need to be in van 2 one more time in order to decide (but ive always thought van 1 was the way to go, but i really did like something about van 2... just not sure what that something is just yet...). we had a litle under 5 hours to kill before we started running so we went back to julias where she made us an awesome GF breakfast! i pretty much ate a zillion pounds of sausage links and scrambled eggs, and downed about 4 cups of coffee. we also spent time decorating our van and making it nice and pretty.

*side note: there was a friendly competition between me and team need for speed... specifically between me and andy and me and eric. despite our team starting 40 minutes after theirs, i decided to place a bet that our team would ultimately pass them somewhere along the way and finish before them, or at least with a faster time. none of us knew exactly how our teams would do, but on paper we looked fairly similar in speed... this was a pretty risky bet but they're fun/competetive guys. so game on.

andy & me with our coordinating outfits

at 4pm van 1 passed off the slap bracelet (yes, be jealous... the relay "batons" are slap bracelets!!) to our team and we were off. van 1 had crushed their legs and we were 20 minutes ahead of where we had predicted us to be. speedy! jessie was up first, then dutch, who handed off for my first run at 5:40pm. i always have a problem starting off too fast cuz im just so OMG EXCITED for reach the beach. see split 1 below for said OMG EXCITED pace. but apparently i felt good (minus the mount everest that apparently was strategically placed on my route during the 4th mile) cuz those sub 8s kept coming.... (didnt i just run a marathon last weekend? my legs shouldnt feel this good....)

i took off from the transition spot and took an immediate right turn off the road into the parking lot instead of following the road. i have NO idea why- reading directional arrow sign fail. actually there was just a sign that said "caution runners in the road" and no arrow at all. so yeah. whatever. i went the wrong way. i turned around and carried on. shortly after starting, i heard some guy running behind me and talking to himself. i turned around and realized he had a video camera and was taping his run for his blog. so he and i started chatting and i told him to sing to me for entertainment. "i take requests, what do you want?" "bon jovi?" and all of a sudden he started busting out to livin on a prayer. excellent.

then he passed me. whatever, im on his blog somewhere on the internet. ha.

shortly up ahead i passed a girl on a downhill, and chatted with her for a few seconds before taking off (and almost getting hit by a car. come on people, there are runners everywhere! slooooow down!) her team had something to do with frito lay and chips, so of course i was obsessed. (and when i saw them again i told them "i really love chips". and that i named my cat "chips". they needed to know, obvs).

so i kept on truckin, one foot in front of the other... when suddenly i turned a corner with about a mile left and saw johns neon yellow tank top (*john is from team need for speed... remember the bet i had where i said our team would pass them??)....


so as i got a little closer, i called up to him "hey whats the theme song for top gun?" he turned around and was pretty much like oooooh noooooo. hehe :) john had some issues with his garmin and had gone out too fast but i was happy to hear that my team stopped to help him out with some water. then i took off and left john behind, sorry man. (i needed to gain a few more minutes on the team if we were to keep ahead! competetive much? yes.)

operation pass team need for speed: success. (ill give them credit where its due though, they passed us back, but we ultimately passed them once and for all and never looked back). i win. and i get a free dinner at binga's stadium tonight (but i got this super sweet pic of andy, so he should be happy about that)

anyway... for those of you who havent done a relay like this, theres a lot of waiting around time for your runners. this makes it perfect for fun pics here and there... 

jessie, me, dutch... who apparently needs two sets of sunglasses

while we were waiting for julia at the transition area, the girl i passed on my last leg came up to me and said "i just want to say that you are a super awesome runner and i want to be just like you and you were so fast and im not ashamed you kicked my ass!". ok, that probably wasnt a direct quote, but she was really sweet and did say i was super fast. and then offered me free chips from her van.
"please come eat some chips any time you see us" (that IS a direct quote)- dont mind if i do.

as the sun was going down on our last runners leg, i snapped this pic (which does the beauty of the scene no justice whatsoever)

kelly finished up her run at 8:30 and we handed the slap bracelet off to van 1 for them to head out for their 2nd set of runs. i also was able to again meet up with team need for speed, who bragged about passing us again. yeah yeah... we already know how it ends.... but i love you all (thanks for allowing me to be a semi honorary team need for speed member)

eric & me following the rules... sarah & meg being rebels

van 2 misfits... and yes, ally is freakishly tall

so then we went to dutch's house nearby to relax, eat, and shower before our next set of runs. julia and dutch made a nice chicken and quinoa salad for dinner- however, i decided to instead eat 4 handfuls of doritos and drank a yuengling. quality fuel.


i tried to fall asleep while watching the celtics suck... and i maybe slept for all of 15 minutes when i heard jessies phone go off. it was tom telling us we had about 25 minutes left to be at the transition (it was a 20 minute drive). horray. jessie and i were up like a fire had been lit under our ass and i ran upstairs and woke up dutch, he woke up the rest of the girls and we took off. fastest moving team ever! (and nooooooooooo one wanted to get up or run).

we got to the transition with a few minutes to spare and our van started running again at 12:23am.
dutch handed off to me at 2:37am and again... OMG EXCITED I LOVE REACH THE BEACH SOOOOO MUCH pace. whos legs was i running with??!? i had figured leg 1 was a bit of a "i wanted to impress my team" run and that leg 2 would be the "now ill show them all how i really suck sometimes" run. uh yeah... i was wrong.

hi can we just talk for a second about how i did the last 0.54 miles
at a SUB 7 PACE... after running 6 sub 8 miles (minus that one
gross 8:13 mile.... holy moly.

it helps that i LOVE night running. hello, i wake up at 4am (or earlier) pretty much every day to run. i leave my husband in bed and practically have an affair with night running. the sounds of nature are soothing on these pre dawn runs. (well, most often its the sound of sarah and i talking, but when im alone i love the nature haha). just you and the road. i ended up singing "we are young" by Fun on repeat in my head. for the entire 6.5 miles (its better than the usual "ma ma ma myyy sharona". dont ask).

on this run i passed 7 people. blog kid from leg 1 passed me again. and then, right before the finish...
i saw sparkle skirt up ahead of me and took her out too. we were chasing this team all day so i was excited!! (what didnt excite me at this race?! probably a much shorter list than the things that did).

our van finished up at 4:59am and drove to the next vehicle transition area to try and get some sleep. my whole van was asleep before i even parked the car, and i was starving so i went and bought a breakfast sandwich from the volunteer tent (sooooo delicious). as i was waiting i turned around and practically bumped right into my friend eric! (different eric than team need for speed. we also had an eric in our team. confusing.) eric had a little waking up to do, i had a little sleeping to do. (and the back of their sweatshirts were amazing.)

during reach the beach you pretty much find a place wherever you can to try and sleep. last year was the sidewalk, this year it was in the parking lot (the grass was wet). concrete is not surprisingly rather uncomfortable, but i think i might have actually gotten an hour of sleep. i was afraid i was going to get run over so i kept waking up. finally i just gave up and got up, immediately feeling like i was going to throw up. (luckily i didnt).


we had about 2 hours until our van 1 runners arrived so i walked around, visited the disgusting port-a-potties a few (5) times, met jordan and his race menu teammates, and hung out with team need for speed while they did yoga. our van took off for our last set of runs at 9:44am. again we had some down time so i had a fun photo shoot :)

it had gotten REALLY hot. were talking like 90 hundred thousand degrees hot. i knew running in a cotton shirt was not going to be a good idea, so.... off it went. whatever. dutch handed off to me at 11:43am and i had to run through the worst smelling farm EVER. i couldnt even breathe it was so bad. barf. and on top of it, the sun was just beating down making this run miserable. i took off waaaaay too OMG EXCITED fast, but that quickly ended during mile 3 and continued on a slow decline til the end.

anxiously waiting for my last run

attempting to cool off

i dumped water over my head and down my back each time my team stoppedfor me. at one point i swallowed way too much of my gu at once and it all almost came right back up (i thought of you, sarah! at least it wasnt vanilla flavored...)

with about 2 miles left a guy came up behind me and stayed just steps behind me and wouldnt pass! so i finally turned around and said unless he staying back there cuz he enjoyed the view he could (and should) just pass me. he said that i was running a good pace for him so he came up and we ran together for a bit. i knew i was continuing to slow down, and there was a girl up ahead of us so i told him to go ahead and that she was our target. we both passed her. win.

so yeah... leg 3 not great, but still sub 9 min pace. ill take it! and the finish into my transition was uphill. thanks for that, rtb!

(despite major slow down, i looked down at my watch
coming down one of the hills on this leg: 5:58. oops.)

personal stats:

19.79 miles
2 hours 39 minutes 34 seconds
8:04 pace

i spent the rest of the time cheering on my team, all the other awesome runners, and handed out a lot of cookies! the teams that ran this year were sooooo supportive (other years have not been like this for some reason)... i dont know if it was the heat or what, but we all felt like one big family from beginning to the very end. and it was awesome.

after following kelly along for her final leg, we drove off to meet our team at the beach for the finish. just after 4pm kelly came around the corner and our team ran across the finish line.


and then i ate my weight in burritos.

the misfits

awesome photo courtesy of Tom Kochem, team captain

this is truly a race like none other, and i strongly suggest to anyone who even remotely likes running to try it at least once. are there moments when you doubt your decision in signing up? yes. do you ever doubt your decision once its all over? hell no. and in my post rtb depression i went out and ran 10 miles with sarah on sunday. and now my hamstring is screaming at me. marathon big pimpin training is now on hold until sundays 25k trail race.

my 71st lifetime road race... complete.
(and the shirt looks blue but its really purple. i super heart purple. thanks rtb!)

official team stats:

74/175 teams
22/52 division
200.53 miles
28 hours 43 minutes 21 seconds
8:35 pace

so... whos up for rtb new hampshire?


  1. I'm doing my first relay in the fall!! When is rtb NH? :)

    1. NH is sept 14thish... yeah, 14th and 15th.... keep your eye out, people always need runners!

  2. You totally rock. I'd LOVE to do one of these....I just don't know if I'm hardcore enough-yet.

    You ROCK!!

  3. I loved reading all your updates, looks like you had a blast!

  4. Best. Post. EVER. Amazing pics too, just added to my lingering feelings of jealousy... You guys killed it- I'm wicked proud.
    And FYI, one of my running buddies from MA and I had a bet that you guys ("my") team would beat "his" team (in a manner similar to myself, rooting for but not running with...) Thanks so much for winning that bet for me. :-) HAH! Kicking ass/taking names...

  5. Congrats! Great recap! I think we saw your van a few times, def saw Need for Speed. Impressed you had a beer midway! I think I would have zonked out and missed my leg. Also, sleeping bags = great idea! Next year I'm bringing one.

  6. Nice recap! You guys definitely kicked some ass. I tried hard to bring glory to Need for Speed, but I bow down to your awesomness.

  7. congrats!!! Also, you're fast.

    I would love to be in Van 1 next year and be done before the second van :)

  8. I have done RTB NH 6 times. I absolutely love it. Looks like you had a fun time. *jealous*