Monday, February 1, 2016

Race Recap: Icebreaker Marathon Relay!

The Icebreaker Marathon Relay was held Saturday afternoon at the Pettit National Ice Center, which has a 3 lane, 443 m track around the perimeter of the ice rinks.  This is a great running resource in our area as winter can make it hard to get running in, and treadmills can get boring.

My participation in the event was based on our Oiselle state leader, S, organizing a large Oiselle group and forming teams for the relay. S was an organizing mastermind, getting us all signed up and organized into teams based on 800m times we submitted via Google Docs spreadsheets.  She even negotiated to get us shirts made on the Oiselle Lux long sleeves!

The logo of our shirt on the Satellite Lux Shirt

Back to the race.  Organizational prep for this race began in November when we all registered with teams.  We had to update our 800 times in late December and the "official" teams were formed.  Last week, one of my original team members was having knee issues and was swapped out for another woman, who had recently attempted to qualify for the Olympic Trials during the Houston marathon.  AKA she was speedy.

The strategy of each person running an 800 (really an 890) at a time seemed a little crazy to me.  That meant that every person was going to be running 12 890s but having a good 10 minute break in between each, in an environment that was 45 degrees and DRY.  EH told me "don't get hurt" so I was sort of paranoid about that.

Saturday morning, I arrived at the Pettit at 11 AM and met the other Oiselle peeps for the first time.  I'm not going to lie, I had a lot of anxiety about this - meeting new people always makes me feel this way.  I walked into the Petit and was freezing.  I was wearing sweats over my racing shorts, two jackets and a long sleeve shirt.  I had planned on running in my long sleeve and shorts but was second guessing that based on how cold I was waiting around.

The half marathon event was before the relay so while I thought I would be able to run to warm up for a bit, it turned out that we didn't have that much time.  I got 6 laps in for a warm up.  My team got our ankle lap counter and watched S demo how to switch the ankle monitor from person to person.  I was the first runner for our team so I strapped the monitor on my ankle and headed to the start with the other 5 first runners for the Oiselle teams.

There were 50 teams total which meant 50 people starting on a 3 lane track.  I was thinking, "Please don't trip, please don't trip."  Because the total number of laps for a marathon was 95.5, we had decided that I would run 1.5 laps to kick us off.  All those people made me nervous so I made sure to sprint out in front of most of them. I ran the first .5 laps and ran past all of the Oiselle ladies who were cheering loudly - total rush!  I ran way too fast. Totally not heeding EH's advice.

I got to our switch spot and L, our 3rd runner made the switch of the ankle monitor from my leg to B's leg and she was off.  My throat was burning.  Due to the dry air, there is a condition known as "petit lung" which S had warned us about but I wasn't really expecting that to happen on my first 1.5 laps!

L switches the ankle monitor from K to me and I wait for the calf tap - my signal to GO!

We definitely got in our groove going through all 4 runners several times when we found out we were leading the women's race by 2 laps.  At first, it was really difficult to figure out who was on which team and who we had to beat.  Then I figured out that they had our place and the amount of laps we had left to go posted on a giant screen.  Our strategy was just to maintain.  I aimed to get my 890s done in 3:15 and I was right around there for every one.  I'm not really sure how fast the other 3 members of my team were running. My strategy for each set was to run the first lap at a good pace to warm up and then run hard for the 2nd lap.

Somewhere around my 9th or 10th set, I had just gotten the calf tap indicating my ankle monitor was on and good to go, when I caught a glimpse of Nate, Maggie & Will! Maggie was holding a "GO MOM!" sign that she had made.  It was really exciting.  On lap two of that set, Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run came on the loudspeaker (they had music blaring the whole time).  That was my favorite set for sure.

As I got ready to kick off our last lap, B, our second runner slapped me on the butt and said, Let's go. I MEAN how awesome is that? I met this woman a few hours ago and she's slapping me on the butt. Ha!

We ended up winning by 5 laps.  Our finish time was 2:43:07 which is a 6:14/mile pace...which is apparently the new course record!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The second place women's team finished in 2:50:33.  The 800s strategy was definitely a good one!

I loved this event - it was very unique and fun to have spectators the entire time.  I liked the relay aspect and having a team to run with.  It felt very much like high school cross country and track felt.

I only ended up running 8 miles and change on Saturday but WOW were my legs (and throat!) spent. Thank goodness for the foam roller!

We got lots of love on social media for the event.  Oiselle posted our giant group shot on their Instagram Saturday night!  The other thing that I thought was awesome was that the Oiselle Haute Volee (aka elite) WI runner, Caitlin Comfort, came to watch us!

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