I got to participate in my first running relay race today:  Expedition St. George 50 mile Relay.  We had a team of 5 sponsored by The Spectrum (our local newspaper):  The Spectrum Sprinters!  We set out at 8 a.m. to conquer the course in and around St. George.  Our team consisted of myself, my running partner (and BFF) Anni, my husband, Adam, Jud (El Captain), and Jay.  Jud and Jay both work for the Spectrum.

I had watched Anni, Jud and Adam participate in this years Red Rock Relay in September, a 24-hour event covering 186 miles in Southern Utah, so I kind of had a feel for what this race had in store for us.  I just couldn’t have imagined how quickly 6 hours can fly by as you each take a turn running as hard as you possibly can.

El Captain started us out from downtown St. George.  He made 25 kills (relay-speak for how many people you pass)!  Of course, it was a mass start and he purposefully went as far back as possible.  Still, he holds the kill record for the day.

Jay took the second leg and did well for his first time hitting the pavement with the pressure of a race and a team behind him .  Who knew you could change a high school wrestler into a runner?  🙂

Leg #3 was my first leg and the hardest leg of the course which climbed from the base of Snow Canyon State Park to State Road 18 (ALL the way at the tippity-top).  I actually volunteered myself for this leg because I knew that the longest leg was a downhill leg and I just hate trashing my quads…..I’d fall on the sword in order to avoid that downhill leg at all costs.  (Adam was volunteered for that one….he loves walking down the stairs backwards for weeks at a time!)  So Jay passed me off and I hit the hills.  I felt like I had a good pace but unfortunately have no solid numbers because I didn’t start my watch.  Somewhere around 35:00 minutes for the 4.75m leg.  The best part:  I GOT A BEANIE AT THE TOP.  My head shall not be cold for the rest of the winter.  I don’t know if my hammies agree, but I’ll do anything for an extra prize!

Adam took the torch and headed down the hill on the terrible SR18 trail.  Someone very mean created that trail!  It pitches and descends like nothing you’ve ever seen before.  Adam hit it hard and showed us his love for the descents.

Anni took us up and over the next hill with a blistering pace and almost caught me with my tights down in the port-a-potty she was so speedy!

I took off on Leg #6 which was a nice smooth flatish descent from the mall to the river.  My hamstrings began to protest the beanie I had earned, but I pushed through with a time of 36:00 min for a 5.2 mile leg.  I was done.  I couldn’t believe it!  We were half-way through this event and I had completed my duties.

Jud took off again to battle the rolling hills of the St. James neighborhood and River Road.  He was a trooper and kept a good pace the entire time.

Anni took off on the loneliest leg of the course out the Southern Parkway.  At the end of her leg they told us that it was actually over a half mile longer than in the course description.  Lonely and long.  She deserved the beanie more than I did FOR SURE!

The baton was passed on to Jay in Sunriver to make our way back toward to the finish.  This was his longest run of the day at almost 5 miles.  He’s a new runner and I’m so proud of him.  At this point in the race we new that we were just out of the top 10 teams and probably in medal contention for our division.  My competitive side went into overdrive.  Each runner was a kill waiting to happen.  The pressure was on 🙂  Jay did awesome, especially since he didn’t get lost on a very confusing part of the course.

Adam was our anchor taking us to the finish.  I lit the fire to his running shorts and told him to run harder the more it hurt.  I’m not a real sympathetic wife am I.  He did awesome and finished up with some great splits.  Of course, we ended up being road kill to a team in our division…..Argh!  Do I hear a rematch calling?

We crossed the finish together as a team with a time of 6:22.04.  We took 14th overall and 5th in our division (at least we think……we’ll find out for sure tonight).  I was excited.  Our hodge-podge team went out and ran hard.  The day flew by.  No down time (Adam told me I wouldn’t get my Christmas cards addressed…….I still brought them along just in case).  It was a GREAT way to race.

With the pressure of your team and yourself you get the chance to run your guts out on these events…….rest a bit…….and run your guts out again.  I LOVED IT!  I think everyone, especially beginners, need to try a relay.  They are the “hot” thing in running events these days are are popping up all over the place.  Check one out.  Put together a team of people you don’t mind sweating on and smelling for a few hours and hit the road.  I think I loved it so much that I’m going to talk Anni into a 2-man attempt at the Lake-to-Lake 50 miler in March.  I’ll keep you posted on that one.  It could be interesting but what a great workout for our Boston Bound Spring schedule.  With Jud as our Captain I’m sure we could do anything.

A big THANK YOU to the Spectrum for the team………Hopefully the Spectrum Sprinters made you proud!

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