There are two categories for GLR - open and mixed. The World's Most Interesting Team was a mixed team, made up of 6 men - Brad, Derek, Scot, Brian, Dave, John - and 4 women - Mikelle, Mary Beth, Kim, and myself. We also had Mike along for support, which was super helpful, especially when one of our vehicles broke down!
GLR certainly isn't for everyone. Hell, I can hardly believe I did it! 6 races in 3 days. 6 HARD races. Up at 4 a.m. Rain, sun, bugs, dirt, mud. Pooping in the woods. Although, pooping in the woods is way better than many port-a-potty situations I've been in! haha!
I'll do my best to recap my experience at GLR. I can't share everything with you, however, because what happens at GLR stays at GLR! (wink wink)
Breakfast - Quaker oatmeal cups
Snacks - bananas (3/day), Clif Mojo Bars (1/day), Clif Builder Bars (1/day), apples (1/day)
Dinner - quinoa salad, garden salad, Larabar (Thursday), Subway veggie sub, Baked Lays, Larabar (Friday and Saturday), Black Bean and Portabella Burger, fries (Sunday at North Point Brewing Co. in Traverse City)
My first leg of the relay almost started out very badly. We got to my leg, I got ready, warmed up, and then we were just hanging out. We had an ETA on Kim coming in but then I sort of lost track of time. I should have been at the exchange waiting but I wasn't. All a sudden, Mary Beth saw Kim coming down the way. OMG! I ran! I ran to the exchange, turned my Garmin on to find satellites, and turned around just as Kim got there. And I was off! Phew, that was way too close! Rookie mistake.
My first leg was straightforward and relatively easy until the the last mile or so. That's when I hit a gravel road with some steep grades. It was a good challenge, though, and a great leg to start the day.
I first ran at 7:15 a.m. It was already hot and humid and only getting worse. It started to storm on and off later in the day and the humidity was unbearable. Steam was rising off the roads. Temps were in the 80's. The sun came back out and baked us some more. Everyone was miserable. At no point was it good running weather by any stretch of the imagination.
My second leg of the day was around 1:00. The heat and humidity definitely slowed me down. As did the muddy roads after all the rain. And some hills. I'm not gonna lie. It was rough. Thankfully I had vehicle support on this leg, which meant that one of our SUVs could drive the leg with me. My teammates would stop every 1/2 mile or so to offer water and cheer me on. At the end I couldn't stomach anything but having water poured over my back felt great! (My time and pace are estimates on Leg A-12 because I forgot to stop my Garmin and had to estimate based on my mile splits. I think I was delirious from the heat!)
- Distance - 5.1 miles
- Time - 37:01
- Pace - 7:10 min/mile
- Distance - 4.45 miles
- Time - 32:30 (est.)
- Pace - 7:18 min/mile (est.)
Almost all the legs on Day 2 were on the Shore to Shore Trail. This was the hardest and most stressful day of the GLR. At least for me. I woke up with knots in my stomach and was more anxious for my legs than for any race I'd ever run. Maybe by now I'd finally realized what I'd gotten myself into!
Staying on the trail isn't as easy as it sounds. It is marked with blue dots that you need to constantly look for. If you go too long without seeing a blue dot, you better back up and find one. Even though you run with your directions, there are lots of places where it looks like the trail splits. Sometimes there's a blue arrow pointing you in the right direction. Usually there isn't.
Aside from the "blue dot" mantra going through your brain, there's the trail itself. It's narrow as all get-up. Basically a mountain bike trail that at some places would be too tight to place both feet side by side. Not that I could even see my feet during my first run of the day. The trail was overgrown with brush so I was running blind (and of course I wasn't wearing my glasses so I was doubly blind!). I could feel rocks and branches underfoot. Sometimes I had to jump over branches. At one point I had to climb a log that was blocking my path. I got a wicked nasty cut on my thigh from a raspberry bramble and lots of little scratches on my ankles and shins. The woods are brutal!
So on Day 2, I had to slow down and run smart, figuring it was better to have a slower pace than end up with a twisted ankle and be out for the rest of the race. Or go tearing though the woods and get lost. I did well on my first leg. I didn't fall or get lost. I hesitated in the clearing before seeing the trail-head, but I didn't lose too much time.
On my second leg I thought I got off the trail. I was running really well when I came to a road. My directions didn't say I would come to a road so I panicked. I backtracked 0.1 mile to check for a blue dot to confirm I was on track. Then I retraced my steps, crossed the road, and saw a blue dot. I was so mad for doubting myself and costing my team an extra 0.2 mile. Plus it shook my confidence for the remainder of that leg. And you can see it in my pace. I didn't get lost but I still felt like I screwed up. And this was one of the easy legs! I was relieved to be done running for the day, especially since it meant the end of the trails. I love trail running for the beauty and adventure but the stress was killing me!
- Distance - 5.7 miles
- Time - 47:15
- Pace - 8:04 min/mile
- Distance - 3.6 miles
- Time - 32:53
- Pace - 8:22 min/mile
I was happy to have shorter legs on Day 3; however, I knew that shorter didn't mean easier. Not in the GLR. I was going to have to give it my all, down to my very last race.
My last two legs were both on the road but not like any roads I'm used to running. They were sandy, dusty, rocky, and bumpy. It was a challenge to find good footing. I had cars driving by dusting me even more. Hardly pleasant. But on the upside, both routes were straight shots so there was no chance of getting lost!
I ran my ass off on those last two legs. Straight up sprints to the finish. The last one in particular. I was exhausted. I was starving. I couldn't breath. But I pushed to the end. And it felt amazing to have finished GLR!
- Distance - 2.9 miles
- Time -20:53
- Pace - 7:12 min/mile
- Distance - 2.5 miles
- Time - 17:59
- Pace - 7:08 min/mile
The BIG Finish and Results
The race ended at Empire Beach near Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. The whole team was there to see Scot finish the Glory Leg and some of the team ran him in. I took a picture and cheered him on. It was incredible to be a part of it all!
Our team came in 4th, just 13 seconds ahead of the 5th place team. Talk about close! But we did it! And we all got sweet ceramic steins because we placed in the top 5.
Everybody partied on the beach with pizza and drinks. Some people went in the lake but it was too cold for me. We took a lot of great pics and just hung out with our teammates and the other teams that we'd seen along the way at all the exchanges. We went to the awards ceremony and then before I knew it, it was time to say out good-byes. Just days before, these 9 people were complete strangers to me. After 3 straight days of living and running together, we were leaving as friends. I had so many mixed feelings going into GLR but it turned out to be the best racing experience of my life. I would do it again in a heartbeat, especially with this team. Run thirsty, my friends!
|The World's Most Interesting Team|