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

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.

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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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Snap!

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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.

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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!

40 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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!)

  3. 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.

    1. 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! 🙂

  4. I LOVE NIGHT RUNNING ”š 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!

  5. 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! 😉

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

    Btw–SO jealous of your toned arms!

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

  15. 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:)

  16. 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!!!

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