I've been neglecting my blog so much, have have continued to run more than ever. The month of May was incredibly busy for me, having to get things finished up at school, report cards done, and training for the MC200, which consisted of my double-run days. Needless to say, when June 5th rolled around, I was more than happy to see summer.
My first summer weekend was spent in Iowa for my grandma's birthday party. I then came back to the 'burbs on Monday to clean out my classroom. I got everything done by Tuesday afternoon, which left Wednesday and Thursday morning to pack for the relay. I was getting worried that it was not enough time for me to get everything ready, but, I made it.
The MC200 is a 200 mile race from Madison, Wisconsin, to Chicago, which goes through Milwaukee as well as many other small towns. Most teams consist of 12 runners, unless you are on an ultra team of 6 runners. The legs are broken down randomly - I was runner 9, so I ran legs 9, 21, and 33. I though I was prepared for the relay going into the race. My brother has done it a couple of times and was giving me advice about things, and I knew I was in good enough shape. However, things did not exactly work out the way I thought...
My team went to Madison Thursday night to stay over because we had a 7am start time on Friday. Since I was runner 9, my team (runners 7-12) got to sleep in and just go to the 7 check point spot. Since I like to sleep, this worked out well. I ended up eating a light breakfast (mistake #1), got in the van and went to the exchange spot.
My first run was 8.4 miles and started at 1 p.m. I ran on country roads that had rolling hills, past game farms. The smell was less than desirable. It was also 95 degrees with 95% humidity. Great running conditions, right!?!? I told my team to meet me 4.5 miles into my run, before I turned to run on a trail. They did and I thought I might die right then and there if I did not get water. (mistake #2 - I was not hydrated enough).
I finished the run in a dismal time, averaging a 9:20 pace. I was mad at myself, but happy that I at least finished. I didn't see one person when I was running, which was hard. My next run was 6.5 miles through South Milwaukee. I started this run at 1 am. I was excited to run in the darkness because it was so much cooler, but also scared. I saw one homeless man on my run, but other than that, it was just me and the roads. (did you see me? we had to wear reflective vests, led flashing lights in the front and back, headlamps, course map, and I also carried my cell phone, ipod, shot blacks, and insulin pump - so much stuff). My pace this time was 8:25, and I felt good on this run. It was very refreshing.
My last run was interesting, to say the least. It was a nice 5.8 mile run at 10 a.m. The first 4 were on a trail and the last 2 were through a northern 'burb. I told my team to meet me at the end of the trail. While I was running, the sky was getting darker and darker, but it was not raining. When I got to the end of the trail, my friend met me and told me that they were not allowing runners to start the next leg of the race due to severe weather conditions. She asked if I wanted to finish my leg, or wait it out. Without hesitation, I said I wanted to finish. I gave her my ipod and in turn she gave me my rain jacket. I put it on, said that I'd see her in a few miles, and left. As soon as I left her, it began to rain - not just a light drizzle - a sheer downpour. It remained like that for the rest of my run and I was never so happy to finish. I was cold, wet, and frankly, miserable. But, happy to be done. I wanted to put on dry clothes, but there were no bathrooms at this stop so I had to wait in the minivan in my wet clothes until we found somewhere where I could change.
In all, it was a very unique experience. I only knew 1 person on my team so being around 5 unknown people for 36 straight hours was interesting. I learned some valuable lessons: hydration is key and I needed to drink a lot more water before my first run; even if I am not hungry after a run, I should still eat something (I did not eat nearly enough for the amount of exercising I did - I lost 5.5 pounds from the start to the end), and I needed to be stronger mentally. I only saw the homeless man in south Milwaukee and one other runner during my 21 miles. It was far different from a race, where there are not only fans, but also tons of other runners. I was not prepared for that.
Overall, it was a good training run for my marathon in late September. To change things up a bit, I think I might do a duathlon on mid-July. I have a 7-mile race at the end of July and want to do some 5ks just for fun. This weekend I'll be doing 14 miles in preparation for the big day. Hopefully all goes well.
(on a side note, I think I might be close to losing my toe nails - and it is rather disgusting!)