Last Saturday was my favorite race of the year! Market to Market Relay Ohio. This was my third year participating in the race (and it’s also the race’s 3rd year). New this year was an earlier start time. In the past 6 AM was the earliest start time, but this year they added 5:00 and 5:30 waves. Lucky us drew the 5 AM wave. So the day started at 2:30 AM. It’s so hard to wake up so early!!
Upon arrival at the start line (which is an hour away from home!) we picked up our “baton” and proceeded to the photographer for our official costume contest photo. If you’ve read my previous years’ recaps you know the costume contest is my favorite part of this race (2015 and 2014). We’ve won the costume contest both years and we were looking for a threepeat!
We went with a fruit theme and everyone got to pick what fruit they wanted to be. I sewed all the costumes using Patterns for Pirates’ Essential Tank and embellished them with heat transfer vinyl and/or screen printing paint. I had a little help with the HTV on the strawberry and watermelon. I also made the headbands out of felt. I was so excited to see us all together looking so cute!
We sent our first runner (grapes) over to the start line and at 5 AM the trombone wielding, pink fuzzy guy led the pack.
She ran in the dark. Runner #2 ran in the dark and I started in the dark as well as my leg started around 6:40. Thankfully halfway through my first leg the sun started to make it’s way up and I was able to turn off the headlamp and see where I was going. I was feeling pretty good about my run, but keeping my pace a bit on the slower side as I was anticipating a 5 mile run. Turns out the leg was only 4.3 miles, so I was saving gas for no reason. But I had two legs ahead of me so I was happy with that. And well, we’re in it to win the costumes, not the race. 😉
It was a beautiful morning and we all ran through our first leg feeling good. Then it was back to the top. By the time my second leg rolled around the sun was shining really bright and the heat and humidity were really picking up.
I threw on my visor to give me some sun protection (blue eyes problem) and grabbed my handheld water bottle and braced myself for a 5.6 mile leg.
I started the leg feeling pretty good. I didn’t get very far before the wind knocked my pineapple top off my head, so I ended up having to just carry it. So, with a water bottle in one hand and a pineapple top in the other I cruised through the first two miles of the leg. I could definitely feel the heat, but I had the shade of the trees to help it feel somewhat bearable. But I spend the next 3.6 in the sun. The hot, hot sun. I was fading fast, but I told myself I just ease back and keep running until I was passed by April (she’s was on our 3rd M2M team and I knew she would pass me on this leg). But just before 4 miles I needed a break. So I walked. I poured a little water on my head, drank a little and tried to give myself a pep talk. I started running again and right at 4 miles April caught up to me. We chatted for a minute and then she went on ahead. I had been playing leapfrog with another runner and in commiserating about the heat she mentioned it was lunch time. And then it dawned on me that I hadn’t eaten! No wonder I had no energy. It was now after noon and all I had eaten was an egg sandwich at 3 AM and a Quest Bar after my first leg (around 7:30).
I hopped in the van after my leg and devoured my lunch! We continued moving through our legs, chatting with other teams along the way, occasionally running into our two other teams, and just having fun. We sent runner 7 out on her second leg and shortly after we got a notice of a lightning delay. Our poor lemon had to run the last 2 miles of her leg in the pouring rain with a lightning rod on her head! (the headbands were made of foil wrapped in felt)
For every 30 minutes of lightning we had to move forward an exchange point. So we waited for a bit, then moved on. So runner #8 didn’t get to run her second leg. And at the next exchange it was the same situation. And then again. It had been stormed for an hour and a half at this point. So we just hung out in the van, sang along to the radio, ate lots of chips and begged the lightning to stop so we could run the last leg of the race. We made it to the last exchange point and decided whoever wanted to run could run. And our second team was planning to do the same, so we could all finish together. Just as we were preparing to head to the path a huge streak of lightning flashed right where we were standing, so we packed up and drove to the finish line exchange. We ran in for the team finish and our 2016 relay was in the books.
Despite the disappointing ending to the day we still had a great time and are looking forward to doing it again next year.
We hung out a big after the race for our free pizza and beer and to hear the result of the costume contest. Even though they wouldn’t be able to hand out the time awards because of the adjustments that needed to be made for the lightning delays we were told they would announce the contest winners. Finally it was time! After a quick tally of the votes the costume contest winners were announced and once again we won!!!
I tell you what. Waiting for those results and listening to them announce the runners up is torture for me. A lot of thought and hard work goes into our homemade costumes, so it really means a lot to me. My team is awesome for wearing the silly headbands I made for them or carrying them while they ran!
So, now the pressure is on! It’s time to start thinking about next year’s costumes! We’ve got a reputation to maintain!