Monday, February 16, 2009

St. Valentine's Day Massacre Marathon Relay

Photos by Shannon Johnstone
"What race is this?" asked a very nice smiling woman, walking her dog. She seemed genuinely happy and excited that a race was happening there in Greensboro’s Country Park. I was running my 4th and final loop of a marathon relay around the lake there.
Marathon Relays are fun!
(Note: some enthusiasm may be simulated.)
Most runners will try to push themselves the last mile or so of a race, painfully squeezing every last drop of energy out of their body, gasping for air, nauseated, but knowing they are almost there. But in a relay with 1.6 mile legs, every mile is the last mile. You skip the pleasant, euphoria inducing beginning and middle of the race, and jump right to the agonizing end. And you do it 4 times. So on my forth loop I was huffing and puffing up this hill, my legs using up most of the oxygen with not much left for anything else, like thinking or speaking.

"What race is this?" asked the nice woman again, turning to look at me after a runner ran by her without answering. When I considered the effort it would take to answer, I felt like she just asked me to move a refrigerator. My first impulse was to say “sorry, I don’t have the energy to answer you right now”. Instead I focused very hard and managed:
“It’s the…”, what race is this again?
“Valentines Day…”, wheeze
“marathon…”, why is the name of this race so long?
“relay…” oh, no, things are starting to go dim
“massacre…”. When I finished I realized I had long passed her by and was just shouting random words to other runners like a lunatic.
Would you quit taking my picture,
and take the damn chip?

After I squeezed every bit of life left in me to shave off a few seconds off our time, I finally reach the finish line and frantically tried to hand the timing chip off to Shannon. But instead of grabbing the chip and sprinting off on her leg, she was was busy taking a picture of me, frantically trying to hand her the timing chip.

Actually it was a pretty fun day, and "OFF 'N RUNNING" put on yet another great race. We especially liked the fact they posted results as the race was going on.

More pictures from the race can be found here.

Band of Blisters: Me, Shannon, Janne and Chris.
We were the 3rd place 4 person Co-Ed team

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