Thursday, March 12, 2020

END Trails 4-Person Relay Race Report

After the back-to-back marathons last Fall, I had one more race experience for the year and a recap is long overdue (like from October 2019)! Two weeks after the Blue Ox Marathon, I competed in my first ever 12-hour event, the END (Extreme North Dakota) Halloween Double Feature, with a team of three other gals.

When one of my relay teammates initially mentioned the idea, I thought it would be a fun group event, a relaxing day away and more "fun" running after racing two marathons. What I didn't realize is exactly how many miles we would each cover that day. Though our distances per team member varied, it was basically another marathon day!

This adventure certainly didn't disappoint. One thing was for sure, we enjoyed A LOT of time on the trails!


How much stuff does a relay team of four gals need for a 12-hour event? 

Turns out A LOT! Between packing clean outfits to change into after each of our 10k loops, food and drink and rehab tools (foam rollers, roll recovery!), we basically set up camp in our little corner of the race building. It was so nice to have somewhere warm and cozy to wait between legs! The race day was a COLD one. No snow yet on this October 27th, just windy and very chilly.


We all looked so peppy and nice smelling before the race began! Amanda would be our first runner and the strategy was to run two 10k loops in a row, depending on how we felt after the first loop.

Kristen, Leslie, me & Amanda

Amanda ran an extremely fast double loop and then I was up for my first run. I could tell my body was a little sore from the marathons two and four weeks ago but running on the trails felt EXCELLENT! Trail running was my first love and I have hardly ran trails since our first boy was born 7 years ago. Just feeling the trails again, the varying terrain and so much to look at gave me energy.

 Running trails allows you to fully take in all of the beauty of God's creation - especially when the legs and lungs are still feeling fresh! The 2 x 10k loops went off really well and I was able to keep a nice pace as long as I had someone to follow. A couple turns on the course were confusing at first but following the 12-hour guy runner helped a ton.

Now to change clothes, eat and stretch before my round #2.



Kristen, Leslie and Amanda all ran their legs of the race while I lounged inside. Before this race, I imagined us having sooo much down time in between our loops. Hmmm, should I bring a book? Could I take a nap?

Turns out that time passed so quickly that it was just enough time to change, eat and stretch again (probably because these girls are so fast!). I definitely skimped on the stretching more than I should have.

My Run #2 wasn't as enjoyable as #1, and I even ran a single loop instead of doing the double 10k. My watch delayed starting so the distance is off too. Wearing my old marathon shoes, I could feel some niggles forming in my right knee and left foot... so I promptly threw those into the garbage after getting back from this loop. Onto the back up shoes!



Okay, so here's the Run #3... the final loop... in complete darkness. I was the last runner for our team and thank God they love me and didn't leave me out on the trails ALONE! Most of other runners had stopped for the day, except one hardcore guy who was running the 12-hour race solo (crazy!!!).

Each of the gals took turns running with me on my 10k loop. Running in the dark feels weird. Our pace while running on these trails, up and down hills, jumping downed trees and water puddles, felt so FAST. And yet my pace averaged a 9:32/mile?!

Uffda I was so glad to have company the whole way. Seriously - complete darkness and desolation in a state park I'm not familiar with! At one point, Kristen and I called our teammates to make sure it was safe we were out there alone. They said we were fine, so on we ran!



We made it!!! At 11:58:43 (countdown clock couldn't handle that many digits), we completed that final dark loop:


Overall, Team Boom Shaka-LAKA (our initials... hehe), we made 14 laps on the 6.2 mile trail course, adding up to about 86.8 miles! These gals made such an amazing team - it was a long day but an absolute blast. I ended up covering 24 miles myself, counting running my loops and accompanying on others, nearly making for my third marathon in a 4-week span. Uffda is right!



The sun went down, race finished and we decided to stop for burgers at Five Guys before parting ways. That was an excellent decision! Real food tasted absolutely amazing after snacking and eating weird things all day!

After that, we all headed home and I tried my hardest to stay awake on the drive. Our 12-hour race took it out of my but it's definitely something I would do again! As a team, we discussed strategy and thought it may be more efficient to run only double loops - or maybe even all of our loops - in one chunk instead of starting and stopping. The breaks in-between made for lots of clothing changes and sore, tired legs. Running one big marathon chunk would be hard but then you would be done and ready to lounge after.

Now we know for next time!



Let's Connect!

12 comments:

  1. I've never done a race like that. It seems like so much fun. Great job ladies!

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    1. This relay was such a blast! I love the trails :)

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  2. Wow, sounds like a fun but challenging race! It seems like you learned alot from it too. Great work and thanks for linking up!

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    1. It was totally a blast and a learning experience - I can't wait to go back!

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  3. This sounds like so much fun! I have only done an indoor marathon relay and I really enjoyed it. I hope to do some trail relays myself!

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    1. They certainly are awesome - anything trails is great. If I ever do an ultra, I think I will run it on that same trail course! (in numerous 10k loops :s hehe)

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  4. So, you had an indoor place to hang out between your legs of the relay? That's awesome! I've done a relay (with some co-workers) that encompasses 12 hours or so, but we're in constant motion (in a van) going to the various checkpoints....not a comfy (or warm) place LOO...but still a lot of fun. Glad you had a good time, and your team did well!

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    1. We totally did and were definitely spoiled! There were bathrooms to change in and everything :) They had snacks out for us and the running community was just great. It was so cold we would have been icicles without it! Your race experience sounds like that RAGNAR or something similar? That would be so challenging!

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  5. I love relay races! There is something so fun and different about working together as a team. Thanks for sharing and for linking up!

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    1. YES, I totally agree, Deborah! After running two marathons on my own that Fall, I was SO ready for a team event. I love that camaraderie.

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  6. sounds super fun! I've done a couple of relays and did really enjoy them!

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  7. Great job on your race! That's nice your friends ran with you in the dark. I would be freaked out running alone!!

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