• Reach the Beach Relay: 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM

    May 21, 2012

    Are you ready for an epic recap of Reach the Beach (RTB)? I decided to break up my posts by hour (and leg), so you can see how we spent our time participating in a nearly 32-hour relay race. Let’s just say, it was an awesome adventure!

    On the morning of Reach the Beach, we woke up bright and early to eat breakfast at the Inn before the race started. Breakfast was a buffet with eggs, toast, bacon, sausage, pancakes, fresh fruit, and various pastries.

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    I added eggs, fruit, and a piece of toast with peanut butter to my plate. (My toast doesn’t have peanut butter on it because someone ran out to the van to grab our jar of Teddie, but I was hungry and wanted to eat right away so I snapped a pic before I spread it on.)

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    After breakfast, we checked out of our room. Monica, Anne, Theodora, and I shared a cute little suite for the night.

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    Then, we packed up the vans.

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    And drove to the start of the relay at Wachusett Mountain.

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    Hey, Santa! Theodora knows him!

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    When we arrived, we took a quick team pic.

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    And then headed inside to complete our safety check, orientation, registration, and take another team photo.

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    Our first stop, the safety check, involved making sure our team had the required safety equipment for the relay, including flashlights/headlamps, reflective vests, and blinking lights (to attach to the vests).

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    Runners are required to wear this equipment when running between the hours of 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM and teams cannot begin the race (or each leg) until they show that they have all of this safety equipment.

    Once our safety equipment checked out, we listened to an orientation session that covered all of the rules and regulations for the relay.

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    I really liked that Reach the Beach required the safety check and orientation session because there’s a lot of information to know for this relay. It’s all clearly stated in the 42-page Official Race Handbook, but people are busy and not everyone has the time to read through the whole thing. Even if you did, you might still miss a few things, so it was helpful to hear it firsthand to clear up any confusion and get everyone on the same same page before RTB let us loose on the 200-mile course. Safety first!

    Registration involved getting our race packets and Reach the Beach t-shirts. We were team #96 and I was runner #7.

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    And the last stop was a team photo!

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    Once our team was all set to go, we headed to the start of the race.

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    At 10:20 AM, Gretchen kicked it off for us!

    Her first leg was straight up the mountain!

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    How the relay works:

    The runner with the first leg will begin at the team’s designated start time. After that runner has started, vehicle #1 will wait at the start area, which is also the first Transition Area (TA) or TA#1. Once the first runner comes in, runner #2 will leave and vehicle #1 can then proceed to TA#2.

    For a 12-person team, once the standard team’s first vehicle has dropped off their 6th runner, vehicle #1 will proceed to TA #6 which is also known as a Vehicle Transition Area (VTA) #1. This is the location where vehicle #2 should be waiting with runner #7. Once the hand-off has been made, vehicle #1 can relax at that VTA, head to a restaurant, local town, or the next VTA to catch some sleep.

    [source: 2012 Reach the Beach Official Race Handbook]

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    Van 1:

    Van 2:

    With Van 1 off and running, Van 2 had some time to kill (about 6 hours).

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    This involved some banana costume action.

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    A pit stop at Dunkin Donuts for iced coffee.

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    And some relaxing outdoor time at a beautiful park.

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    It didn’t really feel like we were running a race because we hung out and relaxed all morning and afternoon long, but, of course, this changed soon enough!


    A couple of hours before I was supposed to start the first leg of the relay (our super awesome van driver created a spreadsheet to predict our start times), I ate a blueberry bagel with peanut butter and a banana. It’s my usual pre-run food, so I stuck to what I know works for me.

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    I also ate a White Chocolate, Cranberry, Oatmeal Cookie that Kristen from New Balance baked for our team. How nice is she?! These cookies were awesome. I’m actually planning to make them for a special birthday boy later this week!

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    Before I knew it, our van was waiting at the first Transition Area for runner #6 (Sarah) to finish her leg and pass off the baton (aka snap bracelet) to me to start Van 2’s first leg.

    More to come! Stay tuned!

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    { 42 comments… read them below or add one }

    Sarah @Blonde Bostonian May 21, 2012 at 9:33 am

    This looks like so much fun! Can’t wait to read the rest of the recaps!


    Katie @ Talk Less, Say More May 21, 2012 at 9:41 am

    These relays seem like so much fun. I may have to take part in one some day. I love the safety checks as well – SO important with the night time running!


    melissa (fitnessnyc) May 21, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Ha, I am seriously the worst photo jumper ever! It’s so exciting to see life in Van 2.


    Tina May 21, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I can’t wait to read Van 1’s posts! πŸ™‚


    Jeanelle @ Glocal Girl May 21, 2012 at 9:54 am

    What a fun event! Wish they did stuff like this in Holland… or maybe they do, I just need to jump on the bandwagon, ha. Looking forward to the 2nd recap!


    Willemijn @ Run Eat Travel May 21, 2012 at 9:55 am

    That looks like a lot of fun and team bonding! Wish we had that here!


    Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries May 21, 2012 at 9:55 am

    looks like you gals had a great time together!! looking forward to reading more recaps. πŸ™‚


    Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! May 21, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Love it! Looks like you had such a fun, supportive team πŸ™‚ Looking forward to reading more!


    Cait @ Beyond Bananas May 21, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I have always wanted to do some sort of relay.. and this is making me want to sign up for one even more!!


    Steph May 21, 2012 at 10:00 am

    My boss was at Bellingham High School and said “hi” to you all for me! I couldn’t last until 2:30 when you all showed up πŸ™ This looks like such a blast though πŸ™‚


    Tina May 22, 2012 at 7:43 am

    @Steph: Bummer! Did you have fun?


    Jenni May 21, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Can’t wait to see how your leg went! Looks like a fun day so far, love the shot of Theodora in my all-time favorite yoga pose, pigeon πŸ™‚ Great for those tight hips…


    Lorraine @ for her soul May 21, 2012 at 10:10 am

    What a great experience! This makes me want to do a relay one day.


    Annette@FitnessPerks May 21, 2012 at 10:10 am

    WOW, you’re right. That was epic! It looks like you guys had a total blast–and that you all totally bonded. I guess 30+ hrs in a van would do that to ya…. hah πŸ˜‰


    Lisa @ experiencelifewithme May 21, 2012 at 10:12 am

    As someone who is very interested in doing a distance relay, it is great to see these recaps!

    What would you suggest for someone who is interested in doing one of these races but doesn’t know anyone else who is interested? Do you know of a way to join teams that are already formed?


    Khushboo May 21, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Sounds like so much fun- I can’t wait to read how running at night was!


    Jennifer May 21, 2012 at 10:58 am

    OMG- you totally left me hanging…Can’t wait for the next post:)


    Cait's Plate May 21, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Loving these recaps!! Can’t wait to read the rest πŸ™‚


    Martin May 21, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Great post, Tina! We are so delighted that you ran RTB:MA and what wonderful photos you took too. All the best in recovering from the event and I look forward to reading more of the recaps! Perhaps see you at RTB:NH or RTB:NJ later this year? πŸ™‚


    Tina May 22, 2012 at 7:42 am

    @Martin: I’d love to run another RTB! πŸ™‚


    Julie @ Running and Riley May 21, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Looks like you all had an awesome time! What a fun group of girls!


    Megan May 21, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I’m loving this recap already! I think I’m doing my first relay in the fall and this is getting me so pumped up! Cannot wait to hear the rest!


    Vanessa N May 21, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Very cool to see some pics from my home town (Worcester)! I’m a Massachusetts trivia geek so I have to point out that the park you stopped at (Elm Park) is the first public park in the United States.

    By the way, running up Wachusett must have sucked πŸ™‚


    Sam @ Fit for My Fork May 21, 2012 at 11:29 am

    What an awesome relay race! Taking part in something like this looks like so much fun!


    Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen! May 21, 2012 at 11:58 am

    That hill… scratch that, that mountain…! Still, wouldn’t have traded this experience for the world!!!


    Ayana May 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Hi! I’ve been reading your blog a few days a week. You always seem to have interesting stuff going on. I’m into my weight loss journey (trying to lose 165 lbs), and I’ve noticed that others attend events like 5ks and like this one here. I think I’d like to get involved in fitness events. I never thought about it until seeing and reading up on what you and others are doing. Can you provide any advice on getting started or finding fitness events that are right for my interests?


    Tina May 22, 2012 at 7:44 am

    @Ayana: I hear about a lot of them through blogs and Twitter. You can also find events on Active.com and coolrunning.com.


    Alyssa (pb and oatmeal) May 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    That looks like a great time! Especially in the banana costume πŸ™‚


    Melissa May 21, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    That looks like so much fun! What a cool experience! Too bad I didn’t know about these cool relay races about 6 years ago! Maybe I’ll have to look into this when my kiddies are a bit older.
    Looks like you guys had a blast…can’t wait to read about more!


    French Tom May 21, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    You are all hot chicks. Dudes dig hot chicks.


    Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio May 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    So fun!!


    Katie @ Peace Love and Oats May 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    So exciting! I can’t wait to hear how the race goes!


    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama May 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I can’t wait to read all the recaps! BTW – your New Balance jackets are so cute!


    Carol Rainville May 21, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    @Lisa @ experiencelifewithme: Lisa, RTB has a bulletin board where you can find teams looking for runners or post yourself as a runner looking for a team: http://www.rtbrelay.com/community
    You can also check our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RTBRelay as sometimes teams post there looking for runners. Hope you join us!
    Carol Rainville – Volunteer Director for RTB


    Tina May 22, 2012 at 7:44 am

    @Carol Rainville: Thank you! πŸ™‚


    VeggieGirl May 21, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    What a fun looking adventure, I love how you make your fitness a fun event πŸ™‚


    Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition May 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    You guys are adorable! Looks like a fun and healthy day


    Kristen @ notsodomesticated May 21, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    What a fun event!! Love the banana costume. πŸ˜‰ Can’t wait to read the rest of the details!


    Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See May 21, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    What a blast! Like childhood relays…only better πŸ˜‰


    Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See May 21, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Banana costumes never fail! I remember during high school track races, I would lay out in the sun with friends and then would not be in the mood to run. Of course, once I hear the starting gun, that would change. πŸ˜€


    Jodie May 22, 2012 at 6:46 am

    OMG…could no help myself & stop at the supermarket on way home from work to buy the ingredients to make the white chocolate, cranberry & oat cookies….amazing, could not help myself and eat the white choc chips out of the bag at the same time! Loving these posts on reach the beach relay!!!


    Meagan Marion October 15, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    I just came across your blog and loved reading about this relay race. What an adventure, I’d love to be in a relay.


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