Sunday, September 12, 2010

Red Rock Relay 2010 - Legally Dead rules the road!

30 hours + 187 miles + 12 people = Best way to spend a beautiful weekend in southern Utah!

l-r  Isaac, Dallin, Wayne, Rocky, Choco-Lisalicious, K-Bear, Me, Ape(bent over), TO, Anababy, and Brookie

Doing this event last year is etched in my brain simply because of the outcome. This year, I was determined for it to be different. I got my wish on so many levels.

Legally Dead had some people already in St George, for the rest of us, we met up at 6:00am Friday morning and drove south to Brian Head ski resort in southern Utah. Our start time wasn't until 11:20, so we had time to get there, get the cars decorated, meet each other (some for the first time), and get ourselves ready for a fun adventure!
Rumpy working on the Bone's twins

Mr Bones on top of Van 2

Ape getting the Bone's twins situated on top of van 2


Anababy, Me and Ape

The Diva's screwing around

I was in van 1 with 5 other INCREDIBLE ladies! I swear to you, they are honestly some of the best gals around! I already knew Anababy, Choco-Lisalicious and Ape, but meeting Brookie and TO, just made it even better! The BFF circle is growing!

TO,Ape,Brookie,Anababy,Choco-Lisalicious and Me

Brookie started her ride up the tram and we were off. Each of our ladies did fantastic!
Choco-Lisalicisous starting her leg after the hand off from Brookie.

I was runner 4 and my leg was a good one.

I was kind of glad about the downhill since it allowed me to post a fairly good pace. This time I was smart and packed my own small cooler with ice packs. I think that really saved my old lady knees.
I passed off to Ape who and then she passed to Anababy.
Ape on her first run

Water break

And of course, Tiburon was thought of often!

After each runner finishes their leg, they earn their stripe

Ape getting her first stripe.  We also tatted our skulls, and skeletons

Anababy handing off to Isaac

When our van finished up, we headed into Cedar City for the first major exchange. We stocked up on some more supplies at the grocery store, had a carb load feast at The Pizza Factory and then headed to the SUU stadium to meet our guys in van 2.

A little time to rest (goof around with the cameras), and before we knew it, runner 12 was headed in and ready to hand off and our van would take over. It was dark now, and getting chilly. I hadn’t thought it through too well, and figured a hoodie would be warm enough for me. I was glad for the long socks!

My second run was called the Dirty Devil. It SUCKED! All uphill, on dirt road with rocks and cattle guards and when the support vans came through, the dust was choking me! It was another long run, and the uphill punished my quads, but I will have to admit, that there is something beautiful about running at night.

My first leg, I had only garnered one kill, and I was wanting more, but there weren’t many runners around to even try to catch. Since it was dark, I could only tell if someone were coming up on me by their shadow in my headlamp or if their head lamp was bright enough, it would light more area for me to see.

I could see an extra pair of legs in my shadow about half way through. No way. Nope. I was going to make this person WORK for the kill. I quickened my pace and within a minute or two, she backed off. Is it bad that I smiled and then started to sing out loud? Naaaaaahhhhhh.

After singing for awhile and getting into a groove on the hill, I saw someone’s butt lamp up ahead. A kill in sight! I pushed a little harder, watched our pacing for a bit and figured as long as I had at least another mile or so, I could get this one. Yesssss! Add another road kill. Two more on that leg by the time I handed off to Ape! So glad to get my second leg done!

After Ana finished, she came into the chute and our van 2 wasn’t there! The area we were in had spotty cell service at best and we weren’t within walkie talkie range so it was 40 minutes or so of some frustration trying to find our guys. Brookie went ahead and started the next leg but didn’t get very far without her bra so TO took over until the boys were tracked down. We finally got everything situated and headed off to the next major exchange and some desperately needed sleep.

This time, there was no goofing around with the cameras. We had a few hours so Anababy and TO took their sleeping bags to the grass at the church and the rest of us slept in the car. It was not the most comfortable hour or so of rest, but it was better than nothing that’s for sure! All too soon, we were getting word over the walkie that the boys were finishing up and ready to pass off to us.

As we started gearing up, wiping the sleep from our eyes and stretching, the sun was just dawning and the light was barely at the mountaintops. It was gorgeous. We were lower down so it was a bit warmer and the air was easier to breathe. I had a feeling it was going to be a great day for a run!

I love me some Anababy

TO's run right before mine, ran past the Biggest Loser ranch - of course we weren't gonna pass up this opportunity for a photo shoot.  I was hoping to run into Jillian....

About 9:30, we were heading to the exchange point for me to take over and do my last leg. I glanced at the race bible, got it in my head that it was 5 miles – kinda easy, and fairly flat until the last mile or so that was uphill. I was not sure I had 5 miles left in me, and I made no promises on my time, but was anxious to just get running and get it over with.

I took off and soon found myself in the best groove ever. Not a super fast pace, but a strong pace. Even though my legs were crying, I was finding the strength to push through and enjoy the scenery and people around. By now, we were in St George and there were several people running, walking or biking. The temps were starting to get a little warm, but I’m okay with the heat. I was loving it.

Picked up 7 kills and started to feel REALLY good! Still running strong, knew I was about a mile out and was soon going to be done when I approached an intersection. There was a cop directing and holding traffic and since I saw runners on the east side of the highway I assumed he was there for them. I saw a sign with an arrow that I glanced at and thought it was pointing left. I turned left and saw the hill so I figured I was on the right track since I knew I should be almost done and that my leg ended with a slight hill.

The hill wasn’t slight. It was soon so steep that I was barely running. I couldn’t see anyone else around. I started doubting. Was I on the right course? I watched ahead and saw a parking lot at the top of another hill, so I assumed the exchange was there. I kept going and the hill just got steeper and steeper. I was seriously hurting physically, but kept telling myself it was almost over. I got to the parking lot and it was obviously NOT an exchange. There was NO ONE AROUND. What the heck? I stopped and turned back looking. Then it was one of those 360 degree turn around’s with my hands on my hips wondering what the crap was going on? I began thinking I had taken the wrong turn. I debated. Do I keep going and maybe they are over the next rise or go back? If I go back, I will lose some serious time. If I keep going and it’s wrong, I will lose even more.

I decided to go back. As I was now running down the steep hills and seriously freaking out about what I had done, I passed a gal who was power walking it. I stopped her and asked if she was part of the race, she wasn’t and couldn’t tell me if I was on the right trail or where I was supposed to go. I kept going back the other way and back to the intersection. As I neared it, I realized that the cop was there to direct traffic for me to cross to the EAST side of the street. I watched him, he motioned me through and I as ran past, I laughed that I had certainly taken a wrong turn! He said, “Yeah, and I tried to get your attention, but you didn’t hear me.” I thanked him and kept going. I had looked around, didn’t see any markers or other runners so I knew I was waaaaaayyyyyy far behind all those kills I had gotten earlier. I assumed he put me on the east side of the road because we were going to go south now. I sprinted across the street and put on the juice to try and make up time.

It was now downhill, I knew I was needing to hurry so I let gravity take over and started flying. I was wondering where the next exchange was and why I wasn’t seeing any runners but chalked it up to the fact that I had lost so much ground with my earlier mistake. I was also thinking I would see my support team come find me since I was now past the expected time.

At any rate, I kept running. About 10 minutes into it, I was approaching a cross street when a lady in an SUV rolled her window down and called to me. I pulled out one of my ear buds and she told me that the cop had sent her to tell me that I had gone the wrong way. I told her I knew and that now I was trying to catch my team, I turned to keep going and she called out, “But you’re going the WRONG way!” I stopped and turned around and pulled out both ear buds. “What?” She tells me that I was supposed to go straight through the intersection and continue heading east instead of turning south.

I can’t even tell you what happened in my head. It took about 2.2 seconds for the reality of her words to hit me and then I started bawling. I was way off course, my body was hurting badly, and I was so far behind on time. Disheartened. Discouraged. Frustrated. Poor lady just watched me drop my head into my hands and start sobbing. I think she was afraid. She offered to drive me back, and I quickly jumped in her front seat. I couldn’t even talk I was bawling so bad. Things like. “I can’t believe this…….idiot……..I’m so done………my team is gonna kill me…….sorry I am so sweaty on your seat……….” All mixed in with sobs and snot bubbles.

We got to the intersection and she asked if I wanted her to drive me further. No, no thanks, I need to run it. I thanked her, jumped out, ran across the street and started up the last brutal hill.

All I could do was sob. How could I miss the signs? How did this happen? I could imagine my teammates consoling me by telling me how poorly the course was marked and how it could have happened to anyone, it wasn’t my fault. I knew how kind the ladies were and what they would say to make me feel better.

As I ran up that hill though, and tried to keep the snot from smearing on my face I realized, that I am the only one to blame. I am responsible for my own course directions and checking my race bible and making sure I took the right turns. It was no one’s fault but my own. Talk about a life lesson there!

As I crested the hill, I caught sight of a dude walking ahead of me. Most people, the last leg is the hardest. Your body is tired, your mind exhausted and no matter what the leg is like, it’s hard simply because your body has had enough. Seeing that guy walk was sweet. I stopped crying, focused on him and told myself I was going for the kill. I started sprinting and closing the gap between us. I almost got him before my body screamed ENOUGH. I backed off, and let him go. I’d already disappointed myself, what was one more losing moment?

As I approached the chute, I didn’t see Ape so I figured they had sent her off. Choco-Lisalicisous was there and the minute I saw her, the bawling started again. My teammates were so kind to me. When they realized something had happened, they called van 2 – who offered to come find me. They alerted the cop they had lost a runner, and actually backtracked looking for me. We swapped stories of what had happened. I let myself cry for a sec and then took a deep breath. It was done. I was finished with my legs, and while I lost about 30 minutes for our team, at least I wasn’t hurt. No injuries.

Ape and Anababy finished strong and we met up with van 2 at the next exchange.


Ape getting to pass off to Anababy

Once we let van 2 take over we calculated that we had about 4 hours. Ape’s hubby picked her up, took her home to shower and the rest of us headed into the rec center. After a hot shower, a good teeth scrubbing and clean clothes, we all felt so much better.

And while you are there in St George - go here:

Ask to see the manager - He's a tall, handsome blonde.  Tell him I sent you - he'll treat ya right.  And don't buy your golfing needs anywhere else!

We grabbed some food at the Mongolian BBQ (see pics above) and then headed to the finish line to try and sleep while we waited for van 2 to finish the final 6 legs. As we drove the route, I felt sick to my stomach. It was wicked hot, and the legs were along highway where it was hard to offer support. The hills were BRUTAL. I thought of having to run those and then began thanking our team captain for assigning them to van 2 and not us!

Heading towards Zion's NP - the scenery was beautiful!

We had quite awhile at the finish line. Ape and Ere showed up and we chatted, drank some diet coke, laughed and rested.

All our stripes

Some great scenery - great shot Ere

My only injury this year!!

We finally got word that they were close and it was time to meet them and cross the finish line together!

By now, it was around 5pm and most of us were headed back to the Salt Lake valley and needed to get on the road. Quick good-byes, gathering gear, hugs and then we headed home. A food stop in Cedar, a gas stop in Meadow and pulling in around 11:00pm.

Splenda met me at K-Bear and Choco-Lisalicious’s place, grabbed my gear, and helped me into the car. My bed never felt so good! Splenda was the best. He packed me in ice and listened to all my stories.

I have to say, doing these relays is not for the faint of heart. Or wussies. It’s hard. It takes strength, determination, endurance and above all else, a great sense of humor. Trust me, after 30 hours in a car together, there are no secrets. You bond in a way that doesn’t happen anywhere else. I love my Legally Dead girls. They seriously are the best. They knew what to say and when to say it when I was having my melt-down. We laughed so hard at times that all I could do was snort to keep oxygen coming in. And the Legally Dead boys? I have so much respect for the legs they had to run! The course was changed this year and it was BRUTAL! There is just no other word to call it. There were spots it was dangerous. It was hard. And those boys killed it!

And, as with every event I do, I seem to come away with a life lesson or two. It took me getting lost not once but TWICE, to learn it, but wiser I am for it. I am responsible for my own course in life. I cannot blame anyone else for choices I make. My choices affect others. BUT – even when I do get lost and off course, there is always someone there to help me and set back on the right track.

A big shout out to the St George Police Officer who watched me make the wrong turn AGAIN and asked someone to stop me.

A big shout out to the complete stranger woman who willingly took the time out of her day and whatever errands she was running to find me, and drive me back to the right road.

To my Legally Dead teammates……….. love your freaking GUTS!

And if you ever wondered what it looks like to be Legally Dead.....


Garden of Egan said...

You are an ANIMAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can't fathom the whole ordeal or the awesomeness of doing it!
Beautiful scenery!

I think you are absolutely the best ever on accounta you run yer guts out and never stop. Even when you go the wrong way...twice.

Eric and Ape said...

MCat. I loved it. I loved every minute of it. You are amazing. Thanks again for everything, for the invite, the supplies, the encouragement, the love... This was an amazing experience.

BTW. Brutus and the Thing wanted me to say hi...

tiburon said...

I cannot even begin to tell you how glad I am that I did not do this. You people are too hardcore for me.

I am super impressed with all of you though - and don't beat yourself up over the wrong turn. I can guarantee that I would have died at one point...

That shark team might be the coolest team EVER!!!!

Pedaling said...

there she goes again....

Mrs. Organic said...

Way to hang in there! I love these posts. How many teams were there this year?

tammy said...

You seriously rock. There's no way I could do this. I need a nap after just reading it.

And the reader post? ME TOO! I was away from my computer for two days and came back to 452 posts. STRESS!! And I don't want to miss anything good, so I slowly plow through, then get overwhelmed, then come back later to even more posts. I wish there was a pause button on people posting.

Lara said...


Are amazing.

I'm sure I could do this if I really wanted to, but at this point, I have no desire to do what it takes to get to that point. So, therefore, you're amazing!


Megan and Devin said...

Looks so fun! Way to go! You are a diehard Melissa! I'm so worried about my marathon--and it's still 4 months away! And here you are, running this and that event every month! Oh, and in response to abovve google reader post, I gets overwhelming! I am the WORST comment leaver, but I'm a daily reader of anyone on my blog list...including your's!

Just SO said...

I'm pretty sure I passed that Shark Bait van on my way to hike the Narrows! Is that the one you were in?? I wish I would have known I would have stopped and wished you luck!!!

You are awesome.

mackenzie said...

we went to that mongolian place to! so good!

also, i would SO rather see bob than jillian.