I LEAPED out of bed when my alarm shrieked at me before 5am on Friday, September 18. I was AMPED to get the Reach The Beach fun started. We had such a kickass Day 1 that I knew it could only get better now that the actual running part would get started. ;)
I offered to be the co-pilot for Van 1 so I was in charge of "The Bible."
Oh the pressure I felt, but I was ready for it! :) I was Runner 6 on the team so I had plenty of time to be in the van and help navigate before I actually got to run.
We left the hotel and made the long trek (aka 1/4 mile ride) to the Start Area. We would be amongst the first teams to kick off at 5:30am. Ummm yay early morning. :P I was used to it though. We were the first team to start when I did Ragnar Cape Cod as well.
We actually split perfectly into Van 2 on the left and Van 1 on the right. ;) That wasn't even planned. :)
We wished Van 2 a good rest of their morning as they were able to head back to the hotel and sleep/decorate their van/get breakfast before we met back up with them.
Van 1 however was ready to get to work. We caught Karla as she headed off to tackle the mountain. Literally she ran up a ski mountain and then back down. Freakin' rock star!
After Karla (Runner 1) started us off on an awesome foot, it was Kylie's turn to get to running! And it was finally time for our crew to pile into the van and head off to the first transition area off-site from the ski lodge we were at.
I tried to distract my ever growing nerves for my leg since the more I read up on it in "The Bible," the more I learned how it was the toughest and longest in the entire weekend. Oh why oh why did I ask for the most mileage to help keep my marathon training on schedule? ;)
In all seriousness, I was pumped. I was out to prove something to myself this weekend. I was going to see what types of paces I could put up on tired legs. There would be a ton of hills, a lot of gain and not a lot of rest.
But before I could run, we had the rest of the van to think about. :)
Kylie (Runner 2) handed off to Carrie (Runner 3). Since Carrie was our New Balance rep in our van and thus our main driver, I offered to drive while she ran. Don't ask me what led me to believe I could operate this large van, but I thought how hard could it be. ;)
While we waited for Carrie at transition, I made sure Karla and Kylie checked off their completed legs. I learned about this whole thing during Ragnar Cape Cod.
After dominating her leg, Carrie handed off to Rachel (Runner 4). Man the scenery was absolutely breathtaking.
Holy hills Batman! :)
We made our way to the next transition. The main focus of this first leg was to NOT GET LOST! The last thing we wanted to do was go to the wrong transition spot (stay tuned for that happening during Day 3)!
Boy these girls are making New Balance look SMOKIN'!! You can see Rachel (Runner 4) handing off to Jess (Runner 5).
Now it was my time to FREAK OUT! Gah! I was getting wicked good at taking pictures and watching other people run, but now it was finally my time. I have NO IDEA why I was so freakin' nervous. No one was putting pressure on myself... but me!
With a 1-2-3 I was hitting start on my Garmin and I was off. Now the overall elevation was a loss, but they didn't tell you there were a bunch of elevation gains along the way.
The rolling hills of New Hampshire were not new to me - thankfully - so I did my best to distract myself with the gorgeous green trees, the shining sun and the desire to pick off the runners in front of me. ;)
There was a girl at the beginning that passed me and I spent the entire 11-ish miles by trying to get past her. And you know what... I did!
It was great having the other vans pass by and cheer, honk their horns and pull over to offer everyone water. I got wicked excited when I spotted my own team. Since it was an 11-miler the only thing I really needed was water every few miles. I had mini Luna bars in my pocket, but no water. So their water stops were a blessing.
As we came down from the hills, I realized I had passed everyone I had seen. HOT DAMN! I was keeping an average pace of sub-8! What? Me?
At first my brain said it is because the overall elevation was a loss, but I knew I was working my tail off.
I came freakin' barreling into the transition area. I fumbled taking the slap bracelet off to hand off to Runner 7 (first person to run in Van 2). I had no idea why she wasn't running away from me. I yelled to "Go Go Go." But the group had to explain to me that we were not let to start the next leg yet. Apparently there was a time restraint on that and we were almost a full 30 minutes ahead of the schedule.
Once I had some water, I learned that I was the second runner in. GAH! I had put our team in second. How freakin' cool is that?
As a " YOU ROCK" for completing the hardest leg of the weekend, we got a balaclava.
I loved it, but really wish they gave us a special medal like the hardest leg got for Ragnar Cape Cod.
I made sure to mark the number of Kills I had (13) on the van window. Kills = number of people you passed during your leg. I was freakin' beaming. And to celebrate? We got breakfast!! YAY!!!
I highly recommend the Sunrise Shack. The service and food were top notch!
Since we had some time to kill before our next legs, we took the opportunity to finish decorating the van.
Then we were off to the water. But first this girl needed a Dunkin fix. #DaniRunsOnDunkin
We found an awesome Lake close to the next transition area. Some of the crew opted for naps, while I foam rolled and then took my butt right to the water.
Oh hello Heaven!
Now putting my feet in was great, but I was ready to go all in. But I didn't have a bathing suit so I was about to go out of my comfort zone... I went sports bra and shorts into the water.
It was amazing. It was refreshing. It was just what I needed. I met a bunch of other participants and chatted about their experience so far, etc. It was wicked cool to connect with other teams.
After awhile I stopped feeling self-conscious and focused on the beauty around me and the amazing feeling of being in the water.
Once we heard from the other van, we headed to the next transition area as it was time for Van 1 to get back to work! :)
We were transitioning at a school and I loved the flags the kids had hung on a tree outside.
Runner 1 (Karla) was ready to shine. Since the sun would be setting soon, the rest of the crew had to find our reflective gear to make sure we were in accordance with the race regulations. Luckily New Balance outfitted us with sweet reflective vests. I wanted to live in mine.
Yes I provided my own sparkle... including a reflective Sparkly Soul headband!
While we waited for Karla, the New Balance PR team came in for individual interviews with each of the runners. It would be the opening for the individual recap videos they would be making for us. :)
The runners of Van 1 were ROCKIN' each of their runs. Before I knew it, it was about 11pm and time for me to run my second leg of 5+ miles.
I cannot thank the volunteers enough for their support... and their amazing signs. :)
I tried to take this advice as often as I could. But there may have been some tears shed as well during my second leg.
It was absolutely crazy running in the dark through the empty streets of New Hampshire. My leg ended with a run straight up the hilly highway. There were times where I was sure I would've been taken out by a grate on the side of the highway. Thankfully I brought my dad's handheld light with me. He uses it to fix heating units and I used it to keep from landing on the side of a highway. Same diff. :O)
At one point I thought I was running in place, but I just kept my focus on the runner just ahead of me. I was passed quite a few times on my second leg (I did manage 9 kills myself), but I tried not to let it frustrate me. Instead I focused on the impressive pace I was keeping on the late run.
When I passed the slap bracelet off to Mary (Runner 7), I was ready for a beer and a nap! Thankfully I got both at the next transition area. We were off until the early morning so we headed to the area where the rest of the vans were calling it a night. Most of the van opted to use the tents provided by the race, I opted to take the backseat of the van. Oh it was glorious. A beer to celebrate being 2/3 of the way done and I was OUT.
I really couldn't believe we were done with Day 2 already. Granted it was a 17-hour day, but man it passed so quickly. I was a tad jealous that Van 2 was able to run in the middle of the night. But then I nestled a little deeper into my pillow and .... zzzzzz!!!!
Net Up: Day 3 And Reaching The Beach!