Once again this year, my team and I made the trip to New Hampshire for the Fred Brown Lake Winnipesaukee Relay. This was the 25th running of the relay and a great excuse for some fun on the lake with friends. Most of the team had run in 2012 (here’s our team recap Part 1 and Part 2, with descriptions of the legs) so we were prepared for a fun weekend.
Last year, the weather ranged from 95 and sunny to 45 and raining, so I packed an entire running wardrobe. I wanted to be prepared for anything. We arrived Friday night and had dinner at a local restaurant, Sandy Point Resort. The food was basic but delicious and the service was outstanding. I never get tired of the lake views.
Bright and early Friday morning, my team and I departed for the start at Weirs Beach. We stopped on the way at our favorite little shop/bakery in Alton Bay and got some snacks. I got my favorite, cake donuts! Yum!
Once our first runner was off, my car (the second group to run), went off for breakfast. This would turn out to be a fateful decision. Since you’ve already had one recap of the race itself, I will skip ahead to the key points. Our team supported each other, offering water and moral support all along the race course. The day heated up from 45 at the start to 80 and sunny by 2pm. Around that time, it was finally my turn to run. I ran Leg 5, 10.6 miles through “beautiful countryside”. I was looking forward to the run, but not to the mental struggle I knew it would be. At the start of my leg, my team was about 15 minutes behind the next closest runner. All day long, we had been the last people in the exchange and the race staff had cleaned up around us. I felt badly for our runners, who had run just as far and worked just as hard as everyone else, but who didn’t get the support other runners got. The race organizers cleaned up, packed up, and basically ignored us. It was really too bad.
Nonetheless, I was ready to run and do my best to chase the person who had a huge head start. Imagine my surprise when I entered my exchange and found that another team was still there! Their runner had gotten lost and I would likely have someone to run with. I left the exchange first and headed out along a very rural, winding route. The road was surprisingly busy and there was no shoulder, so I ran the whole thing on the very edge of the road with a steep camber. It was brutal on my ankles and cars were not going slowly, nor did many yield to me. It seemed a little scary. It was hot and hilly, but I moved along at a good clip.
About 5 miles into my run, the runner from the other team started to run near me. It was nice to have some company, but he wasn’t the most chatty gentleman. Onward we ran. At that point, I began to experience the first signs of GI distress. This was not good. I instantly regretted the eggs I had for breakfast (a previously untested food and, clearly, a stupid move on my part). I felt horrible, but pressed on and held pace. After about six miles, I began to see the same U-Haul taking down the directional arrows. They waiting until I was in sight of the arrow and then took it down. In front of me. How demoralizing. I get it. I’m last. But, seriously, you couldn’t wait five more minutes. As the U-Haul jumped ahead, the driver kept checking in with me. At first I appreciated the sentiment, but over time, it became irritating. I am FINE. I was running at a good clip, with no signs of struggle. I understood that I was last, but it was a team race. It wasn’t as if I had been struggling. I had to look at every single street sign to make sure I wasn’t lost. Mentally, it was a challenging run. Finally, I made the last turn on to the final road. I was so happy to see the run come to an end. And even happier to see a porta-potty at the exchange. I hustled directly to the facilities. Whew!
Overall, I had fun running with my friends and a great time at Lake Winnipesaukee. I hope we’ll be back next year.