It's not a race for me unless something goes wrong. For the Tuna Run 200 we had two teams of twelve runners so that we would always have someone to run with. For my first time running a relay - especially one that included overnight runs on small country roads - this was a comfort. Unfortunately though, because of Hurricane Matthew several legs were cancelled, including one of mine. I made up for it by running as a companion runner for leg 1 along with Travis (who also had a leg cancelled) and the regular runners Kelly and Heather.
1) Friday morning, 6:20am - Leg 1
Of course I was stuck at work late on Thursday and was up until midnight packing, and of course I had to wake up at 4am Friday for van pick-up to get to Lake Benson park in Garner for the start. Oh, and at the starting line? I had a 5.5 mile run ready for me. Yay! (But seriously, not sarcastic, I was pretty stoked to cross that starting line.)
The Tuna Run 200 starts teams in waves and we were scheduled for 6:20am. We lined up all lit up with headlamps, reflective vests, and blinking lights, and then we were off: 4 runners in an eager crowd.
We hadn't even gone 0.25 miles before we got lost. Great! 200 miles to go and we can't even get through the first mile. We had followed the crowd and those pack leaders led us astray down a paved path instead of out of the park and into the great wilds of eastern NC, tacking on an extra mile on top of our scheduled 5.5 miles. Lesson learned: "Be goats! Not sheep!" And from there on out we were golden.
Friday morning traffic in Garner on narrow, busy roads was no match for us. Rolling hills were no match for us. Foggy dawn was no match for us. We were runners on a mission. We were Vincent Van Goats!
Downtime After Leg 1
When we handed off the batons (which happened to be slap bracelets) at the first transition point it was a beautiful golden morning with the sun peeking through the fog and the pines. The church parking lot was full of runners and dozens of vans getting decked out in Tuna Run war paint. And of course we were no exception.
One of my van mates worked on a masterpiece of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" on the side of the van while Kristen wrote out our names and checkboxes for us to mark off our legs, and yes, marking off that first check was oh-so-satisfying. (As was the short line for the port-a-potty.)
"Liz! Can you draw a goat butt on the back of the van?!" someone asked me.
"Uhm, of course!" So for the rest of the race we were that van with the goat butt on the back.
And with little more ado we headed to what we thought was our next transition point: Selah Church in Four Oaks, NC.
Read the post on Leg 2 tomorrow!