Back to the Reach the Beach adventures…
Two thumbs up for night running!!!
Actually, it’s pretty scary.
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!
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.
While we waited for Elizabeth to finish her leg, the sun started to come up. Hooray! We survived the night!
And, by the time Anne started her leg, it was light outside.
Once Anne took off running, we headed back to the van to drive Ashley to the next Transition Area.
And she’s off!
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!
Everyone grabbed breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts, but I opted for peanut butter-filled pretzels since I was running so soon. Breakfast of Champions!
Back at the Transition Area, I tried to psych myself up for my final leg.
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.
Thankfully, my supportive teammates helped me get into a good place before my run.
Our final leg and team finish are next! Stay tuned!