Sunday, August 7, 2016

Mighty Mosquito 99 Mile Relay

The dream team of Steven, Alison, Brooke, Bob, John and I reunited this year for another SWAT at the TrailsRoc Mighty Mosquito 99 Mile Relay. Our mission: 6 runners, starting at noon, each run three different 5.5ish mile loops at Mendon Ponds Park, to complete the 99 mile course. This year we came prepared to have a blast and showcase our asses, errr I mean, assets in toucan shorts, SWAT Team Jerseys and Beast Mode socks.
6 cans in Toucan. Thanks to Prem for documenting this ridiculousness on film!
Friday night Alison hosted a team dinner/corn hole/hula hooping/euchre night. Laughter and ice cream/cookies were plentiful. The performance enhancing benefits of GatorBull and bacon-wrapped brownies were discussed.

I went home with a heart full of love, stomach full of carbs and head full of doubts. I have been frustrated with my body's recovery from its first 50+ mile run two weeks ago. The gratitude and amazement I felt at being pain-free the day after and being able to run again 2 days after my longest ever run was being overshadowed by my disappointment in having heavy legs with no pick-up left and horror at looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy in every running photo. I woke up Saturday morning in a cloud of negativity, afraid of letting my team down with my extreme slowness and dispirited by Pete's continued absence (some days his deployment feels interminable). I knew I was being a jerk and I hate being a jerk. So I cried in the shower to let everything out and then I was like don't be a jerk, brain. In any situation, some people will find reasons to be unhappy and some people will find reasons to be happy. Choose happiness

I put on my toucan shorts, packed GUS full of air mattress, drinks, snacks and clothes and headed to Mendon Ponds, where Steven was setting up our camp/headquarters/pop-up tent. Surrounded by the woods and friends, my spirits soared. Story of my life. 


The 3 solo runners had started at 6am and the relay started at 12pm. Steven and Alison got us off to a super speedy start, then it was my turn. The first loop, marked with blue flags, was hot and sunny, a mix of steep hills and grassy fields. I was nervous about my speed, or lack thereof, and also about getting lost, so I was super focused on following the flags. The course was very well marked. It's just that my spacial and directional intelligence is crap. I never know where I am or where I'm going, though somehow I always end up in the right place at the right time. Today was no exception. I jumped over a log and almost missed a sharp turn uphill, but another runner had caught up to me at just the right time and saved me from going the wrong way. Story of my life. We chatted a bit as we leapfrogged back and forth. He crushed me on every downhill and then I'd catch back up again on all the uphills. This happens to me in so many races. (I really, really need to get better at downhills. It's partly a lack of skills thing, but mostly a fear thing. I am afraid of faceplanting. But oddly, only in the literal sense. I have managed to overcome my fear of the figurative faceplant. I can tear through life and love with reckless abandon. I just can't do it on the trail.) I passed him again on the last uphill, then took off since I knew I only had about half a mile left. After we finished, he joked that if a runner saves you from going the wrong way, the least you can do is let them beat you. People are the best. 

After running the first leg, I had a slight headache so I made sure to drink plenty of water and coconut water while waiting for my next turn. Brooke, Bob and John crushed their first loops, Steven and Alison rocked their second loops and before I knew it, I was on deck again. Everyone was so fast that I got to run my second loop while it was still light out. Loop two was marked with orange flags and was fast and flat. It was just what I needed. I finally felt like I was getting some pep back in my step and it felt great. I was happy to find that, although the loops were different from last year, they kept my very favorite part, which was running across the big log during the second loop. I ran this loop mostly by myself and it was really quite lovely. While Brooke, Bob and John ran loop two and Steven and Alison ran loop three, I ate snacks, hung out with the crew and tried to get a bit of sleep.

I was nervous for the third loop, which was in the dark. I've had a lot of experience with nighttime running this year so I wasn't worried about that. I just didn't want to get lost in the dark alone or fall down. I told myself not to worry about pace, just focus on following the flags and not tripping on anything. Loop three, marked with yellow flags, was a nice mix of single track, rolling hills and a few scrambly bits. This loop was my slowest of the three, but I still managed to finish in an hour and I had fun scrambling up the steep, rocky sections (Thanks Mertsock!). 

After my last loop, I changed clothes, hung out for a bit and then went with Sonia, Steven and Brooke to volunteer at the road crossing for the yellow loop. When our volunteer shift was over at 6am, we packed up and headed home to shower and sleep. We were so tired that we unanimously voted to abandon our plans for a team breakfast. And so concluded another wonderful but exhausting weekend in the woods. 

Admiring our assets

All The Thanks:

To TrailsRoc for continuing to bring so much awesomeness into my life. Whatever is going on in my life/head when I arrive at these events, I always leave having been changed for the better.

To my SWAT Team for another year of shenanigans and good times with good friends. My life is so much happier, funnier and more awesome with you in it. Thanks for indulging my love of ridiculous, inappropriate fashion and being such good sports about the short shorts.

To Jim, for being an amazing team volunteer, bringing us handheld lights and delicious homemade cookies.

To SPC-1 Skeeter Patrol for epitomizing what it means to be a team. They were down 2 runners but the 4 of them divided up all the extra legs and totally brought the awesome. Jenn, Prem, Todd and Rob (and Sonia, volunteer extraordinaire!) you are the very definition of hardcore!

This is all I need in life, people and adventures. This is how I want to spend whatever time I get to be alive. With these people. Doing these things. Running, laughing, being together and being awesome.

If you've got 99 problems, sometimes all you need is 5 friends and toucan do anything.

Lyric of the moment: "What do I do when my love is away? (Does it worry you to be alone?) How do I feel by the end of the day? (Are you sad because you're on your own?) No, I get by with a little help from my friends. I get high with a little help from my friends. I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends..." ~The Beatles "With A Little Help From My Friends"

No comments:

Post a Comment