We Reached the Beach!

17 Sep

Where did you sleep? How did you shower? You ran in the dark, in NH, by yourself? Why? I don’t get it. Girl, you are crazy. NEVER do that again.

These are just some of the questions and comments I have heard since I “reached” Hampton Beach on Saturday evening. I am fighting exhaustion, in more pain than I was after my marathon and am back on the road for work feeling a little disoriented. BUT, it was absolutely, 100% worth it. With the pain and exhaustion came memories, new friends, a sense of teamwork and that feeling of accomplishment that keeps me going back for more.

Team “Just Go Around” at the Start Line!

On Friday AM at 5:45 Lauren & Martin picked me up in the mini-van we would spend the next 30+ hours in together. There was excitement mixed with exhaustion. Between travel delays, work coverage and the Patriots squeaking out a win just hours before, none of us had really slept… “off to a great start,” I thought. We picked up some other teammates; made a much needed Dunkin Donuts stop and we were off to New Hampshire where we met up with the 2nd van load of teammates. We were a team of 11, all runners of varying ability but CLEARLY not a team that was “in it to win it.” Appropriately named, team “Just Go Around” was there for some running fun.

Scenes from the Course

Scenes from the Course

After a safety check, orientation and bib pick-up our first runner was ready to go. At 10:00am Amanda started the first of 36 legs. While Amanda ran we decorated our mini-van in bright colors and quotes intended to motivate and excite. No sooner did the skies open – pouring rain onto us, the runners and wiping away the creativity that covered our van… “off to a great start,” I thought.

I was slated to run the 4th leg so I climbed into the back of the van to get ready…I put on my running clothes and sneakers as I mentally prepared for a rainy run that would not be followed by a shower. When we arrived at my “transition area” (where one leg ends and another runner’s leg begins) the rain was coming down harder and the temperature was dropping. That meant Nikki, who was running leg 3, was running through the downpour. I waited anxiously for her to arrive so I could grab our baton (a slap bracelet) and continue on for team “Just Go Around.” Nikki arrived drenched to the bone only a few hours into a long journey, and off I went… “off to a great start,” I thought.

Well, the skies cleared and I ran my first leg through the most beautiful mountains of NH. I saw gorgeous, lakes, waterfalls, peaks and valleys… I really can’t think of a better word to describe the scene, except that it was breathtaking. I finished my first leg (only 3 miles, my shortest leg of the weekend) in under 8:30 minute miles and was feeling great. My “off to a great start” attitude banished – that certainly wasn’t going to get me anywhere!

It wasn't ALL about running!

It wasn’t ALL about running!

When our first 6 legs were complete, Van #2 was up to run the next 6 legs and that was our chance to refuel, caffeinate, rest (if you could call it that!) and have some fun. Friday evening around 9:00pm Van #2 finished their legs and we were back on deck. We strapped on reflective vests, headlamps, glow bracelets & rings, even Christmas lights for our night time legs. My 6.5 miles started at 11:30 and continued into Saturday.

Team "Just Go Around" Van 1

Team “Just Go Around” Van 1

The hills were STEEP, the night was DARK and the neighborhood was eerily silent. As huge vans with other teams drove past me I feel them all accelerate hard – even the vehicles struggled to get up the hill! My calves burned, it was hard to breathe and my headlamp was so tight around my head I had a killer headache. Needless to say it was SO far from a comfortable run, but it was unlike anything I had ever done before – I was running not only WITH a team, but FOR a team. I had friends, new and old waiting for me, I had a teammate ready to begin his leg as mine ended and because we were working together, we were gradually getting closer to the beach.

At the BEACH!

At the BEACH!

18+ legs and many hours later we finally reached the beach. Some ran more legs, some ran faster miles, some ran more miles, but team “Just Go Around” crossed the finish line, together as a team – 200 miles from where we started.

We didn’t shower, we hardly slept, we ran alone, we ran in the middle of the night… we may be crazy, but I love it and I cannot wait for the next time we reach the beach!

With Heart & Sole,

Erin

Note: There is SO much more I want to share, I had to cut myself off from writing! The weekend was THAT fun. Is there something you do that is fun for you, but others think is “crazy?” Share here!

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2 Responses to “We Reached the Beach!”

  1. Colleen September 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    Congratulations, Erin! So cool, and loved reading about it!

  2. Debbie Hynes September 17, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    This was quite a challenge Erin, and you certainly succeeded with flying colors, as did your team, “Just Go Around”! Congrats to all of you!!!!

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