Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013?!

This year, I resolve not to get behind in posting ugly race pics and make no excuses for doing so.  Oh, crap - it's already 2013?  Well, there's always next year, and I was impeded by the possible world end, the holidays, a new vacuum cleaner that actually tackles tumblefurs (meaning I have actually been vacuuming), a hooker, and alligators - pretty much in that order.  And those aren't excuses - they are REASONS.

So, to pick up where I left off way back in 2012, before the world was due to end....(pour yourself a boat drink, because I have a lot to cover)...

The Brak Pak collected up a LOT of excess running gear for Street 2 Feet - the running club at the Haven for Hope shelter.  On December 22, 2012, we joined the folks from S2F for their training run, brought breakfast, and distributed the gear.  We all had fun - even when the S2F guy who is trying to cut his half marathon pace to a sub-6:00 minute mile pushed the pace on me for the last lap.



I even take ugly pics when I'm just around running...

A side anecdote from that day - I PACKED the Yaris podcar with the gear donated by the Brak Pak - to include driving with a box on my lap to the park. I pulled into the park early and waited for everyone to arrive for the run.  After the run and breakfast, one of the S2F runners told me that he had seen me drive in and felt very bad that I was homeless (with everything I owned in my cheap car) - he was going to approach me to tell me that there was a shelter nearby, but did not want to scare me in the dark.  It just goes to show that humanity abounds.

On New Year's Day, I hit the Cobweb Chaser 5k to knock off the cobwebs that accumulated the night (or year) before.

Unfortunately, I could not knock off the crazy running chicken look -








This is my buddy and frequent fotog - Scotty Dog - it was his third race of 2013 - he ran around 74 races last year - overachiever.

Then, it was off to Florida for the Ragnar Florida Relay.  Those of you who have read my drivel over the years may recall the time I ran the Ragnar South Texas Relay and said "never again."   Yeah, well, I forget.  Or lie.  Or both.  But I really had a blast this time. 

This relay is is a 12 runner/2 van x 197 miles from Miami to Key West (but our team was 10 runners).  I flew into Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday and met up with my college buddy, Tara (whom I ran behind at the Hartford Marathon in October).  We drove to Miami and met up with our team for dinner - including a 'stranger' we picked up from the internet - John.  (Who turned out to be our van MVP, since he was familiar with Southern Florida and an all-around great guy.)

So, we had a zombie team dinner at a lovely Italian place in Miami.
Most of the team - Mike and Josh hadn't arrived yet.
Van 1 - minus Mike, who arrived around midnight.  So, after a couple of hours of sleep, we headed out for a 0530 start...

I ran the second leg, mostly in the dark.  It started as a nice tour of Miami, then I crossed over the train/main road into, well, a shadier part of Miami.  As van 1 passed me (and the many area residents that were returning home at that time), they 'tooted' the horn, angering a workin' gal, who menaced them and lurched toward me - I tried to run faster.  Soon, however, I was into the pretty campus of the University of Miami.  After I handed off, we tracked and supported our runners along the course.



After our van was finished with our first legs, we ate a Cuban breakfast and headed to the speedway to hang out/nap/watch jets.  Then, we were back on for our second legs.  Mine started in a tomato/squash field.

(while this looks like a great action shot, we dropped the baton/slap bracelet - which clearly added 1/2 hour to my finish time for the leg).  Then, I hit the Everglades.  "Do not throw food," the instructions said.  "Watch out for 'gators and boas," John and his Florida buddies who came to support us said.

That leg was on a single-track Jeep trail - a little rocky and swampy and stinky and buggy. 
Here's John, passing me a Gu and promising that I won't get eaten by alligators.  But, he wasn't so reassuring about the boas.  At about 4.5 miles into the 5 mile leg, the guy in front of me stopped and pointed to the water - audience left in the above pic.  Sure enough, we could see about 4-5 feet of exposed tail and a lot of rustling water in front of that tail - glad the gator got THAT runner, instead of us slower folks. (Disclaimer - no runner actually got eaten by an alligator, that's just a little story enhancement - but I DID see the big alligator in the water.)

Our van finished our second legs around 2200ish, grabbed a big meal, and headed to the team room in Marathon Key - where we showered even faster than I did in the Army, shared beds, and crashed for a couple of hours.  But, first we posed with Sam Adams (we're only trying to hide reflective vests, nothing more nefarious)


Then, it was up again around 0400 for our final legs.  Mine was a 10 mile-ish stretch, including the Seven Mile Bridge - yep, 7 miles over the ocean, running along the shoulder of a 2-lane bridge road.

It was tough.  While my legs/knee screamed and my head told me to just take a nap on the shoulder, I tried to look around at the sunrise - because it really was THAT beautiful.  I ran into a multi-colored sky and tried not to shut down or get pushed off the bridge by big trucks (and get eaten by sharks). 



Yeah, it wasn't pretty (other than the sunrise), but I did it.  And then, our van did it - and FINISHED our runs!

Van 1 - Tara, Mike, John, Me, Alyssa - heading to Key West.

After we arrived in Key West, we all finished as a team - in a finish time of just over 34 hours.



After the race, we hung out in fabulous Key West - eating, drinking, swimming, and dancing.  And checking out multi-toed Hemmingway cats :x)




This was my first time visiting the Everglades and Key West, and this was a wonderful way to experience those places.  And - it was a great group to run with - even stinky, tired, aching, confined to a van, sharing beds, and all - team Don't Tell Deb rocked it with amazing spirit.  And I didn't get beaten by a hooker or eaten by an alligator, boa, or shark - which I count as a win.

Thanks to Dulce, Elizabeth, Tom/SARR, Victor, ScottyDog, Tara, Mike, John, and Alyssa for the pics!  Next up - Big Bend 25K - I will try not to get eaten by mountain lions, javelinas, rattlers....

1 comment:

john thomas said...

ha ha ha! You really did get some crappy runs! I didnt even think about it till now! a hooker coming after you, rotten vege fields and gators to the 7 mile bridge! really glad that I could be apart of it. Cant wait to see your big Bend pics!!