• Reach the Beach Relay: 1:00 AM–11:30 AM

    May 22, 2012

    Back to the Reach the Beach adventures…

    Two thumbs up for night running!!!

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    Actually, it’s pretty scary.

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    Ok, it’s kind of fun, but mostly scary. I guess I’m on the fence about night running.


    At 1:00 AM, I woke up totally disorientated and pretty exhausted. I knew I didn’t have much time to get ready for my second leg (6.51 miles), so I climbed out of the van, found my duffle bag, and dressed myself as fast I could. I put on my sneakers, safety gear (reflective vest, New Balance Tri-Viz Running Cap, blinking lights, Spibelt, and iPhone) and then headed to the Transition Area to wait for Sarah.

    Minutes before Sarah was expected to arrive, I realized that I forgot to put on a sports bra. Doh! (I was wearing a comfy, unsupportive one while I was sleeping.) Running 6.5 miles without a sports bra just wasn’t a good idea, so I ran back to the van to quickly put on one. Sarah arrived just as I was running back to the Transition Area, so she only waited about 30 seconds for me, but I still felt bad. I don’t think she or my other teammates cared all that much, but I’m bummed that I delayed the handoff.

    The first half mile of my run was basically me getting myself situated. When I started running, my reflective vest was all twisted around and I hadn’t set up my MapMyRun app on my iPhone to track my mileage, so I fiddled around with my gear while I ran. By the time I was all set with everything, I was out of the well-lit Transition Area and running on a dark side street with no sidewalks.

    I’m afraid of the dark, so I didn’t allow myself to look to the right or left (or behind) while running because I knew I’d see pitch black and scare myself even more. I was wearing my NB Tri-Viz Running Cap with LED lights, so it lit the area right in front of me, but I couldn’t easily see the ground (unless I looked directly down). I tripped on a couple of divots on the side of the road, which made me a little nervous (I didn’t want to hurt myself in the pitch dark with no one around), so I slowed my pace for the first couple of miles.

    Thankfully, our van “hopscotched” me as I ran, so I was never really alone. (I’d run a mile or so and then the van would meet me to make sure I was okay, give me water, and cheer me on.) Seeing the van multiple times during my run made the experience much less nerve-wracking. Even though I was running by myself for the majority of the leg, I never felt lonely (abandoned?) because I knew I’d see our van in a little while.

    Around mile 2 or so, a female runner caught up to me. We chatted briefly, which helped calm my nerves. I tried to stay with her, but her pace was super fast and, eventually, she blew right by me. Even still, it was nice to see someone else on my leg. About a mile later, a male runner came up behind me. His van stuck with him for awhile, so the headlights lit the road for us, which made seeing the course much easier.

    At mile 4, I turned off the creepy, dark road and onto a main road (Washington Street in Franklin) with street lamps and sidewalks, which made me feel much more comfortable with night running. At this point, I was more than half done with my leg, so I picked up the pace. Once I saw the sign that said “Transition Area Ahead,” I picked up the pace even more because I just wanted to be done and back in the van.

    I don’t know what my time was for this leg (because I didn’t have MapMyRun set up at the start of my run), but I’m pretty sure I was hauling-ass. I just wanted to get out of the dark!

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    Even in the dark, I never felt like I was going to get lost. There were tons of illuminated/glow-in-the-dark arrows along the course and multiple arrows (sometimes as many as 10) at each turn, so I never questioned where I was going. In fact, the whole race was this well-organized. Reach the Beach was all about fun, but they definitely had safety in mind first.

    I met Monica at the Transition Area, handed her the RTB snap bracelet, and she took off running.

    Monica’s experience with night running was quite a bit scarier than mine. She had long stretches of dark road and didn’t see any other runners for her entire 8-mile leg. We could tell Monica was kind of freaking out, so New Balance Monica put on a banana costume to help her find her happy place. As soon as Monica saw “Banana-ica” (our new name for NB Monica), she started to smile. She definitely appreciated the humor and it helped her get through her leg.

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    Monica finished her leg at a record pace (apparently, fear makes you fast!) and then Theodora ran her leg and then Elizabeth ran hers.

    While we waited for Elizabeth to finish her leg, the sun started to come up. Hooray! We survived the night!

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    And, by the time Anne started her leg, it was light outside.

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    Once Anne took off running, we headed back to the van to drive Ashley to the next Transition Area.

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    And she’s off!

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    Van 2 finished our legs around 5:00 in the morning, so we drove to the next Transition Area to get a little more sleep before we started the final leg of the relay.

    Some of our team got much-needed sleep.

    While others stayed awake.


    I think Theodora and Elizabeth spent more time laughing than sleeping on top of the van!

    At 9:30 AM, everyone woke up and drove to the nearest Dunkin Donuts. We (I) needed iced coffee in a bad way. As I always say, will run for iced coffee! It’s totally true.

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    Everyone grabbed breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts, but I opted for peanut butter-filled pretzels since I was running so soon. Breakfast of Champions!

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    Back at the Transition Area, I tried to psych myself up for my final leg.

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    Surprisingly, I didn’t feel terrible after already running 10+ miles and getting only 2 hours of sleep. I had plenty of time to recover between legs, so, physically, I felt good, but, mentally, my brain was a little fried.

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    Thankfully, my supportive teammates helped me get into a good place before my run.

    Sparkle on!

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    Our final leg and team finish are next! Stay tuned!

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    { 38 comments… read them below or add one }

    Annette@FitnessPerks May 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    WOW. I would be sooo scared to run at night too! But you’re right, I can only imagine how fast you ladies were running so you could be done with that. Scary!!


    Grace @ Grace Dishes May 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I’d be nervous to run in the dark too! It’s a great idea to check every mile or so. You girls are so inspiring.

    The event looks like a ton of fun! Congratulations again for finishing!


    Alex May 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Woah, you are in such great shape! All that CrossFit is really paying off! You look awesome.


    Michelle (Peachy Palate) May 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    It looks like you guys had such an incredible time! Well done on the night running, I would most definitely be scared, I’m bad enough for tripping in bright daylight! (I blame the uneven hole ridden paths!)


    Jac @ Challenged and Running in the Bike Lane May 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I love reading all these accounts of the RTB from all these different bloggers. Glad your run in the dark wasn’t as bad as Monica’s. Poor Monica. 🙁


    Theodora May 22, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    1. I didn’t sleep so forgot others actually did at that VTA.
    2. In that pic of the two of us just before your leg, it looks like I’m saying “bitch, please” to you.


    Tina May 22, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Haha! You might be. You often force
    me to run when I don’t want to, but I am ALWAYS grateful for it. Sometimes I just need a little push! 🙂


    PavementRunner May 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    I LOVE NIGHT RUNNING ‚ but of course it has to be done smart-like. Proper lighting, safe neighborhoods. Sounds like you, once you settled, it wasn’t half bad. It’s sort of weird to be in a neighborhood or random street running in silence. Sort of “freeing” like it’s just you in the world. Great post and congrats!


    Kristen @ notsodomesticated May 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Your posts about this race have really motivated me to run a race like this one!! Evidently the Run Club at the Lifetime Fitness I work at is doing one in October. Now the trick is to find enough people who are crazy enough to run with me, because they already have 2 full vans! 😉


    Julie May 22, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    That sounds so scary! Congrats though–such an accomplishment!

    Btw–SO jealous of your toned arms!


    Katie @ Peace Love and Oats May 22, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I would be scared running in the dark too!!! I hope the trail was well marked!


    The Healthy Engineer May 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I can’t imagine running in the dark like that!

    Peanut butter pretzels may have not fueled me for a relay but it did fuel me through hours of o chem cramming for my final.


    laura May 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm
    Mary Ellen Quigley May 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I would be terrified to run at night, even if it does look fun. Good job though.


    Alyssa (pb and oatmeal) May 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I could definitely not run on that little sleep. Good for you!


    Charissa May 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Looks amazing! I know you must’ve had an awesome time…

    Running for ice-coffee! Yes…Totally contemplating that right now! 🙂 So I think I’ll go for a run!


    Angela@The Chicken Scoop May 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    I think I would be terrified in the dark too, just not being able to see the road especially. I am glad you came through ok!!


    RunEatRepeat May 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I’m glad you left out the part where I had a panic attack and peed myself because I was so scared of the dark 🙂 That makes you a good captain.


    Amy May 22, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    I was at Reach the Beach, too, and I HATED running at night! My husband totally loved it, but I was terrfied that I was either going to be murdered or fall in the street and break my ankle!! Other than that, I loved the experience-I never saw your van, but I saw Van 1-they honked at me on my last leg!! (I was in van 2 also) Loving the recaps!


    Caitlin Murphy May 22, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    wow you look great! have you lost weight? you look tinier (not in a bad way) then before. PS I love your cropped workout pants, who makes those? Everyone keeps telling me to get the wunder under crops from lululemon.


    Tina May 22, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    New Balance! They make the best workout capris/crops!


    Siobhan May 22, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    I love Monica’s blog at RunEatRepeat too. How did you meet these bloggers?


    Tina May 22, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    The Internet! 🙂


    Lauren @ Part Time House Wife May 22, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I love this recap! I read Monica’s too you guys rock. I would have totally been freaked out running in the dark like that! I’ve become such a wuss in my old age! 😉


    Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See May 22, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Ahhh running in the dark sounds SCARY! Good job to you guys for getting through it 🙂


    Cait's Plate May 22, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    This seriously just looks like the coolest thing ever. Congrats to all you guys!!


    Melanie @ Beautifullynutty.com May 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    I love reading about this relay race. You ladies look like you had a lot of fun! I am very interested and intrigued to try one of my own!


    Stephanie @ The Travelling Tastebuds May 22, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    That is so great that the van ‘hopscotched’ you for safety. I went running at night once & will never do it again. Such a scary experience. A random car started trailing me & a bunch of dudes (drunk?) in the car were yelling at me & I’ve never run so fast in my life!


    Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! May 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    I am loving this recap! I’ve never done Reach the Beach but have been invited to in the past but was unable to do it. I think I need to seriously consider it next time. You’re making it seem super fun! 🙂


    Joelle May 22, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    This looks like so much fun and a great way to push yourself and test your limits and get out of your comfort zone. Wow, night running… I couldn’t imagine! Way to push through the scariness!


    baker May 23, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Great night recap! I loved it too! It was fun running along side your team (I’m pals with Jess and Theodora). You gals looked super BA in the New Balance gear too, I’m jealous.


    Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin May 23, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I can’t imagine waking up at 1 am and going running – I would just want to roll over and go back to sleep! 😛 Congrats on getting through it!


    Lindsay May 23, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I would be scared out of my mind to run in the dark!

    love these recaps… thanks for sharing.


    Sarah May 23, 2012 at 11:16 am

    That night run killed me. I killed myself running because I had the energy but then I couldn’t sleep when I was suppose to. And don’t worry – I don’t think anyone minded the late 30-sec handoff. Had it been a 50 mile race maybe… In a 200 mile race, 30 seconds is like 1 in a 5K.


    Kelsey May 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Cool, you were at Borderland State Park! That’s right next to my house. This sure looked like a lot of fun!


    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero May 23, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    The night running thing totally terrifies me. Probably because I am a hot mess of clumsiness and can’t make it through a run without almost face planting at least once in the light. Well that and being alone in the dark I am sure I’d think every single noise was a serial killer (I have got to stop watching Criminal Minds before bed).
    So proud of you girls though. Sounds like your whole team did awesome. Plus you did great even at night, way to keep it together:)


    Jennifer May 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Is it me or do the girls (Theodora & Elizabeth) look super tiny on top of the van? Great perspective – very Willy Wonka/Alice in Wonderland!!!


    Cheryl Mosley May 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    I have enjoyed reading every word of your recaps. I literally felt like I was there cheering you gals on. Nice job with night run; you should be proud!


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