29 June 2012

Seattle Rock and Roll Half Marathon 2012 Recap

The gear
Friday night Cynthia, Alyssa and myself finally settled down in our hotel room in Bellevue (yes Bellevue, don't ask) to try and get some rest before the big race early Saturday morning- 7am to be exact.  We probably turned the lights off around 10:30 and none of us could get to sleep!  A car alarm was blaring around 12:30am and it still felt like I hadn't really slept much at that point.  Needless to say, 3:45am came rather quickly and I just kind of laid there seriously contemplating a trip to Bellevue Square to go shopping later instead of running the race! 

Of course we all soon stumbled out of our beds and into our race gear.  I looked out the window and FREAKED out because it was absolutely pouring buckets of rain.  I told Cynthia not to look- she was running the full marathon and I didn't want her to stress.  I decided to hop in the shower to warm up and soon it was 4:45am and we were packed up and heading down to the car. 

Yes, the nice front desk man took this photo for us at 5am!
I ate my cliff bar while I drove and we made it to downtown Seattle really fast.  Then we sat.  And sat.  And sat through about 5 million lights and it was starting to be clear that we were potentially not going to make it into the Mercer street garage by 6am.  I don't know Seattle very well, and with all of the road closures on top of that, I didn't dare try to find an alternate route and they sent us on a wild goose chase with the directions they gave us.  But luckily we were suddenly pulling into the garage at 6:02am and able to use my prepaid parking pass. 

While we were sitting in traffic it had also occurred to us that the rain had magically stopped!  I had also managed to get all of my stuff together and in my pockets so that once we parked we just hopped out of the car and headed to the race area.  Which was about 50 feet away, literally a fantastic parking spot for the race I highly recommend it.  Cynthia headed to her Run to Remember corrall and Alyssa and I wandered around trying to find the VIP potty area hosted by Brooks.  Cynthia and I were given passes from Brooks at our Online Shoes Girls Night Out (more on that in another post) and Alma was nice enough to give me hers so Alyssa could have one as well.  Thanks Alma! 
The race started just below the Space Needle!
There was no waiting in line at these bathrooms and there was a real toilet and running water inside!  There were attendants wearing tuxedo shirts outside with trays of Gu, mints, gum and other things you might have forgotten.  So spoiled, thank you Brooks Shoes!!! 
We pottied like rock stars!
Pre race with Alyssa
After that I left Alyssa with Cynthia and headed up to my corral where there was going to be some blogger photos at 6:30am.  I chatted with some of the other ladies and we took several group photos.  One of the official photographers took our picture too but I haven't seen it yet.  For some reason I was thinking the race started at 7:30 and I was suddenly thirsty and realized that I had left my handheld water bottle in the car.  Darn it, I am terrible at drinking at water stations and it slows me down.  How are you supposed to get better at that anyways, set up some dixie cups around the track while you are running?  Anyways, I grabbed some water and suddenly I hear the announcer and I asked this girl next to me what time the race started.  She must have thought I was an idiot.  It was 6:55am and I had 5 minutes to get back to my corral, find Mel and get my ipod/headphones in order!! 
Group shot!  Love this.
I ran into corral 7 and scanned the horizon- thank goodness Mel is tall, I found her in about 30 seconds and jumped in next to her.  I got my headphones squared away and I could hear them sending off the first couple of waves as we shuffled along.  I took a quick photo or two and soon it was our turn.  I told Mel we would stick together but that if she was feeling good she could leave me anytime- I didn't want to be holding her back!  We did not coordinate our outfits but we were pretty matchy matchy in all of our pink anyways!! 
Found Mel without a moment to spare!  Probably should have read
the race details...
We chatted for the first mile, getting into a good stride and warming up.  It always takes me about a mile for my lungs to settle down and my body to relax into a good pace.  I was really just hoping for each mile to be right around a 9 minute pace.  I figured if they could all be under 9:10 I would be golden for a sub-2, although I really haven't had much time to actually TRAIN for this race since I have been racing so often!  Mel's garmin was freaking out and beeping a lot, saying we were running a 3:40 pace or something like that.  Mine seemed to be doing just fine, our pace for mile 2 was a bit fast but I think we really were running that fast and it seemed a bit downhill.
Mel's garmin was freaking out.  Clearly she was concerned! 
Mile 3 I started getting really warm and wondering what to do with my sweaty arm sleeves.  I started pulling them down and that felt better.  But it was really humid!  I was talking less because, to be honest, an 8:50 pace isn't really a conversational pace for me!  But I was trying to at least do a little chatting when I could because it was making the miles go by fast and I was enjoying the company!

My signature race pose- the smile and wave!
Mile 1- 9:05
Mile 2- 8:25
Mile 3- 9:11
Mile 4- 8:57
I remember during mile 4 that our pace was great and I was feeling good- I did have to stop to drink some water and then catch back up to Mel, but we were still at a pretty decent pace.  And then we turned the corner and saw IT.  The hill.  As we approached it there were about 5 timing matts -I guess so nobody could cheat or something like that.  We started to run up the hill but it was clear to me that I was going to waste a ton of energy running up it so I just started power walking as fast as I could.  Once we got to the top it wasn't any better- we then had to go back down the hill which was just as steep on the other side! 
Oh ya, we are amazing!

I knew that we had wasted a lot of time getting over that hill so I tried to pick the pace back up as soon as possible.  Soon we were running along Lake Washington and I knew the Mile of Rememberance was coming- this section makes me so emotional and get tears in my eyes so I tried to keep my mind on other things so I didn't start sobbing.  I have done the running/sobbing thing once before so I know I can do it, but it isn't pretty.  Just before that section we found Chelsea waiting on the sidelines and I was so happy to see her and pass off my sweaty arm sleeves!  Thank you Chelsea!  Ahhhh- that felt so much better!   
Still feeling pretty good here
As we went through the Run to Remember section I tried to look at all of the photos and the family members holding flags and think about the families that no longer have their loved ones.  I pushed aside my thoughts of pain and tiredness and ran because I COULD , while their are so many that have lost their lives and can't.  Cynthia ran the full marathon with this group and I also thought of her, running twice as far as I was and hoping she was having a good race.
Mile 5- 8:58
Mile 6- 10:23
Mile 7- 9:31
Mile 8- 9:19
Running out of poses- lots of camera's!!
I think after this we left the pretty section of the race and went into a dark, stinky, hot tunnel that lasted for close to a mile.  A WHOLE MILE!  I could not wait to get out of that thing, and once we popped out onto the other side it felt so refreshing.  We cruised along and I could feel myself slowing down and suddenly I didn't care about a sub-2 any longer.  Maybe it was because I hadn't really put much training and effort into it, maybe it was my lack of sleep causing my body to overpower my brain- but whatever it was, suddenly my time didn't matter. 
Hello up there!!
I fought it for a little while, just wanting to keep running with Mel for longer but eventually I stopped at a water station to get a cup of water and I just didn't have the speed to catch back up to her and let her fade away.  I wanted her to have the chance at a sub-2 if she had the energy and will power, plus it was time for me to enjoy the scenery for a bit.  I turned my music on and settled into a nice pace of my own.  I believe we went through a second hot, stinky tunnel and it was not any more enjoyable than the first.  I recommend avoiding tunnels when you run. 

I remember looking at my Garmin at the 10 mile mark thinking "oh, just a 5K left, that is easy!" and then we started up this enourmous, never ending hill.  I did run up most of it, passing lots of people.  I wasn't sprinting or anything, but I definitely kept a steady run up almost to the top, but then it curved around and I could see it just kept going, going and going.  Ugh.  I made a mental note to do more hill work. 

After if flattened out I remember thinking that this 5K was taking an absolute eternity and would never, ever end.  I was really wishing for a distraction, even thought the view was fantastic.  We were below the Pike Market and the waterfront was to the left.  There was an amazing ferris wheel set up out by the water.  But still, my brain needed something.  And suddenly there it was, just ahead and on the right- MEL!!!  So I picked up my pace and caught up to her.  She was having a rough time too so we stopped and grabbed some water and I told her it was just a little over a mile left as we started running.  We stayed together for just a couple of minutes and then I ended up going on ahead of her. 
Mile 9- 10:32
Mile 10- 9:23
Mile 11- 9:57
Mile 12- 10:13
My focus face.  The end is near.  Right?? 
I felt a little bad leaving her but I had to go with the surge of energy my body suddenly had and finish this beast of a race!  I remember my Garmin showing that I had ran 13.1 miles already and still the race went on.  What the?  I knew the finish line was near, I could hear it and smell it and taste it, but where the heck was it?  Oh right, at the top of a hill.  Yes, they put the finish line at the top of a very steep hill "oh, it's just after the next hill" the people were calling.  Lucky for them I was determined to cross the finish line or I would have let them know how I really felt about running up that last hill, while a million people stared at me so I didn't dare walk even though I felt like I was going to throw up!  And then BOOM I was at the top and there was the finish line and I was done!       
Mile 13- 9:20
Mile .27- 2:32 (pace 9:27)
Sybil and I just after crossing the line
First time I actually had this picture done!
Me, Mel and Kerrie
I met up with Sybil right away and then Kerrie and Mel were suddenly there as well.  We gathered all of our goodies and posed for a photo with the chocolate milk folks -best thing ever right after a race by the way, took our official race photos and headed out to search for our meeting area.  I had not checked a bag so I just went and sat down at the B area and relaxed.  Sitting felt pretty darn good.  Soon others wandered over and we hung out in the sunshine (yay!) eating and chatting for a while.  Chelsea brought snacks like oranges, trail mix, peanut butter m&m's and mimosa's- she is amazing.  She also brought us "4 of the grossest pairs of arm sleeves ever tossed at me during a race" LOL. 

Chocolate Milk Rules!
Alyssa and I went for a coffee run and then it was time to say good bye to all of our friends and go find Cynthia.  She had been texting me to let me know her times and distance so I had a pretty good idea when she would be finishing.  She crossed the line just before we got there but we were able to meet her as soon as she came out of the chute.  She looked so relaxed- like she just went for a stroll in the park!  Crazy girl, I was really glad she had a good race though! 

Cynthia after running a marathon- doesn't she look so happy and peaceful?
We walked around for a bit, then it started to rain so we decided to head for the car.  Then it really started pouring rain and when we got to the parking garage I knew we were in the B section- I had looked when I parked.  But for the love, we walked all over the B section and could not find the car!  I was pushing the button on my remote trying to hear it beep but still no luck.  It probably took us 10 minutes to find it so definitely not a PR in that department!

So overall, this race is on my list of "not to be missed" due to all of the fun and friends involved.  For being a huge race (22,000 runners) it is extremely well organized.  I did enjoy the course, except for the tunnels and hills and the fact that it seemed longer than 13.1 miles.  But the sprinkle of friends everywhere more than makes up for all of that!

Stats- unless of course you have fallen asleep reading my novel!
Total time- 2:05:42
Pace- 9:36
5K- 28:04
10K- 57:25
10Mile- 1:34:45
Overall place: 3841/14249
Gender place: 1748/9578
Division place: 401/1793
**photo credit goes to Marathon Foto for many of these pictures**

26 June 2012

Rainier to Ruston Rail-Trail Relay: The Grand Finale (Finally!)

Team Honey Buckettes after completing the Rainier to Ruston 50 mile relay!
Me, Kerrie, Mel and Zoe!

**I am so far behind on my blog posts!  Aaaaah- I guess that is what happens when you have a bazillion things to do everyday.  So while I should be writing about all the amazing events surrounding the Rock and Roll half marathon from last weekend, I really need to finish my relay recap from 3 weeks ago!!!** 

Mel off for her 3rd and final leg!
Mel set out on her final leg of the relay- she had taken her directions and was a little worried she would get lost but she found her way and gave it all she had to finish in a great time.  The next interchange was at Tiffany's Skating Rink downtown Puyallup- which was cool because I grew up in Puyallup and basically lived at that skating rink for several years so I knew right where we were going. 
Zoe hung out in the car resting her knee and Kerrie, Will and I went to wait for Mel to zoom in.  Kerrie was looking at the directions for her next leg and it said there was going to be sand on the trail.  She was asking around about how far the sand went, and some guy let her know that it was for 3 miles.  THREE MILES OF SAND?  Oh dear, she did not look too happy about that news- especially after she had already done that tough trail for her first leg!  At least she could mentally prepare for a few minutes, then Mel arrived and Kerrie headed off to the trail by the river.

Go Kerrie!  She looks ready for anything!
We decided to stop along the trail to cheer Kerrie on (and make sure she was ok, it was kind of a creepy trail) -she seemed happy to see us as she ran by and we headed up the road to the exchange.  I realized it was going to be my turn next and I was horribly unprepared! 
Kerrie running through the bushes beautiful, well manicured trail! 
For one thing, this Honey Buckette definitely needed to use a honey bucket before tackling my 5.2 mile final leg!  The parking was really full at the exchange so I asked them to let me out while they parked- I knew I probably had less than 10 minutes to get myself squared away.  I used the potty first then realized I still had my compression calf sleeves on- I really didn't want to wear them because it was really warm out.  So I had to take off my shoes, one by one, and remove my calf sleeves.  I also was bringing my handheld water bottle- I had stuffed the directions for this leg inside because they seemed confusing and I really didn't want to get lost.
Hooray!  I got ready before she arrived!  Note the lovely sand.
When Mel, Zoe and Will arrived I handed them my calf sleeves and headed over to the exchange point.  About a minute later Kerrie arrived and I was off!  The first mile was along the river -in SAND!  Talk about a leg killer- I was going as fast as I possibly could to get off that trail.  Soon I was able to climb the bank and get up onto the main road and take a right, heading into Fife.  As I got up onto the road the "F my 3rd leg" vehicle drove by and asked if I was doing ok (very nice of them) and I gave them the thumbs up. Then the honey buckette mobile passed me and they cheered me on too! 

Not sure what is up with my skirt- must have been my lightning fast pace! 
Pretty soon there was a gigantic hill in front of me- I ran up it as best as I could, and once I reached the top I knew there was a turn coming up so I consulted my directions.  There were orange painted arrows to help us out and I saw the road to make a left down.  I also saw our car parked on the right up ahead, but I had to make a left turn before I reached them!  I waved and headed down the road- and there was the "F my 3rd leg" car.  They yelled out "hey slow down so we can catch up to you!"  I just laughed and said "no way!".  There was a girl up ahead of me but she was pretty far and I didnt' know if I would be able to pass her but at least there was another runner in sight!

Suddenly I reached the end of the road and that runner girl was just standing there looking very confused about where to go.  I pulled out the directions and read them to her- she hadn't brought her phone or the directions!  I was pretty sure we should take a left, but the wording of the directions was very confusing!  It said to "turn left on 20th street, run on the left shoulder and continue under I-5".  Except that as we turned onto 20th we were running parallel with I-5 so it felt wrong and we questioned it for a very long time.  She tagged along with me (I think she was afraid to be alone without a phone, can't blame her) and we stopped several times to reread the directions.  At one point I was almost convinced we had missed our turn and had gone about a mile in the wrong direction and I just kept wishing for an orange arrow or ribbon that would let me know we were heading the right way!

Finally the road curved to the right and we were running under I-5 and there was a single posted sign on the side of the road that said "runners on road" and I knew we were going the right way.  I pointed to the sign, gave my buddy the thumbs up and cruised on ahead picking up my pace.  The next turn was a left over the Puyallup River Bridge, and suddenly I knew where I was and how to get there, such a relief!  We ran up Puyallup Avenue, past some very sketchy bars and gas stations- I must have been quite the site for some of those people in my sparkle skirt.  I passed 2 more runners on this road- I was on a mission to finish!  One girl called out to me as I passed her and asked if I knew which road to turn on- "D!" I hollered back, hoping she heard me clearly. 
Almost done!
I crossed the light at D street, headed up the hill and turned onto Dock street where I could see/hear the finish area.  I summoned every ounce of energy I had in my body and cruised into the finish, rang the bell and there was Zoe- with her knee all taped up and ready to finish the race for our team.  There was a wedding going on too and I felt a little sorry for them- they will definitely have some interesting wedding photos!  I was done, and glad I didn't get too lost even though I felt like I was for a little while.  There needs to be better road markings on leg 11, the poor guy from "F my third leg" was lost for 30 minutes!  I was a little dissappointed with my time, but I guess it isn't too bad considering it was a mile of sand and I was dead stopped reading those directions several times!  Total distance 5.33 miles in 52 minutes for a pace of 9:43.  Oh, and 12.7 miles for the day!
Always consulting my Garmin!
Love this one of Zoe- right at the top of the hill leaving Dock Street!
Zoe was such a great team member- she was clearly in pain but wanted to finish out her part of the relay and did an amazing job!  We caught her running up the big hill off of Dock Street and she was all smiles.  We parked down at The Ram on the waterfront- I thought the finish line was much closer but as we walked down it became obvious we were a good mile away!  We didn't want Zoe to have to walk that far after she ran so Kerrie and I ran (yes, she was in her furry crocs and I just finished my last leg but we ran) back to get the car and move it closer.  It was going to be close and Zoe passed us right as we got to the car!  I drove as quickly and safely as possible down to the finish line, parked and we got to the finish line literally as Zoe was about to come through.  Whew!
Go Zoe!  Love the clouds in this one!
We decided to cross the line together as a team -there was a guy in front of Zoe who was finishing the 50 mile ultra race so we held back and let him finish ahead of us.  Those ultra runners are so inspirational!  After we crossed the line we recieved medals (bonus!) and joked about going to get our prize at the booth.  Guess we should have checked because we found out that our team took first place in our division- 4 person all female team!  We won gold railroad spikes and because we won our division wearing sparkle skirts we each got a free skirt!  Thank you Team Sparkle for my pretty new pink sparkle skirt!
We held back and let the ultra runner finish his race first
Done!  The Honey Buckettes finished in 7:57:06!!
We celebrated with dinner and some beers at The Ram- what a fun day.  Absolutely exhausting, but so much fun at the same time.  Relays are the best!  This race is on our calendar for next year for sure!
The only way to celebrate an amazing relay!!

12 June 2012

Rainier to Ruston Rail-Trail Relay- Part 2

Waiting for Zoe
Mel's hubby and their kiddos met her at the start of her second leg so they could run with her for a mile or so -isn't that cool?  After Zoe tagged Mel in South Prairie her family headed off down the foothills trail (a paved path) heading for Crocker.  We piled back into the Honey Buckette mobile and drove down to the next exchange area.   
Mel and her family- they ran part of her second leg with her!
Mel is an amazing teammate- she gives 110%, leaving not an ounce of energy to spare! 
Once Mel arrived and tagged Kerrie both Zoe and I could tell that Mel was not feeling very good.  She had been sick for the last two weeks and she was pushing herself so hard on these runs her body was not having a good time.  She is definitely an inspiration- she knows how to give every single ounce of energy she has into a race, that is for sure!  We ran and got her some water and a cliff bar and soon she was feeling better. 

The crazy thing about this relay was that every 1 to 1.5 hours it was your turn to run again, so staying properly fueled and hydrated was a bit tricky!  I had brought bananas, cliff bars, pretzels, mini bagels, individual peanut butter cups and some string cheese to munch on while waiting to run again (I like to be prepared).  As soon as I was done running I would drink an entire bottle of water -with NUUN inside of course, and have something to munch on so it had a chance to settle.
There goes speedy Kerrie- apparently there was an Emu along this stretch!
Anyways, we didn't have too much time to dilly dally- speedy Kerrie was out on a short 2.7 mile leg and we didn't want her to beat us to Orting!  She was on a serious mission to pass the "f my third leg" team (orange shirts) so I knew that in no time at all she would be ringing the bell and it would be my turn again!  We parked the car and I hurried to use the bathroom really quick.  The sun was peeking out off and on so it was a bit warmer but I figured for 3.4 miles I would be ok without my handheld water. 
I forgot my second pair of shoes- thanks Will for cleaning all of the mud off of these ones!
Kerrie was at the exchange before I knew it and off I sped- about 60 seconds away and then I was stopped at the light to cross the road with one of the other relay teams.  And then before the light changed guess who else joined us?  Mr. Orange shirt from "F my third leg" of course!  So the pressure was on, and I was ready to kick it into high gear once the light changed- which took an eternity by the way!  But as soon as the walk sign lit up I bolted across the street and never looked back- I kept my lead for about 1.71 miles- I know this because the orange shirt guy was suddenly matching my pace and he asked how far we were so I told him.  And then suddenly he just stopped running started walking- I was thinking "what the heck!" he was making me push my pace faster!  I found out later that he had exhausted himself trying to catch up to me and thought we were closer to the end I guess! 
The girls- Mel, Kerrie and Zoe while I was probably sitting at that light haha.  Could have had my picture taken!!
On a mission.  And heel striking- darn it!  I try so hard to focus on my stride.
I passed quite a few people along here- plenty of 50 mile ultra runners and I made sure to give them a "good job" as I passed.  Believe me- it really isn't that impressive to pass somebody who has been running for about 30 miles at this point!  Those runners were amazing and I was trying to be as respectful and encouraging as possible.  I also passed at least one relay team and the other two relayers never caught up to me.  I was pretty thirsty and getting hot- the sun poked out during most of my run and I found myself wishing for my water bottle and a tank top!
I can see the finish line!  And the 'F my 3rd leg' team, probably wondering where their buddy is!
Soon I was heading into the exchange shoot and everyone was cheering me on and I zoomed into the shoot, rang the bell and tagged Zoe for her second run!  My leg ended at the Scholz farm in McMillin off of the Orting Highway- it was 3.4 flat miles on a paved path with a couple of spots where I had to wait for a light to cross the road, but nothing too complicated.  I finished with an average pace of 8:41- would have been faster without that darn light in the beginning!

I pulled the string and the bell didn't ring- tagged Zoe and she was off!  We were all smiles!
As we were heading to the next exchange we realized that the directions were wrong or we had missed a turn, but we were definitely not in the right spot!  Luckily Mel was familiar with the area and we quickly turned around and made it to the exchange before Zoe did!  I changed my outfit (in a honey bucket- that is a first!) while we waited and Mel was chatting with some of the other runners- she was a little worried about getting lost on this leg. 

Zoe is in the bright orange top, heading down the trail
When Zoe arrived she tagged Mel and she began our last set of legs- but it was apparent that Zoe's knee was really bothering her.  We got her some ice but she wasn't sure if she would be able to run her last leg at that point. 

To be continued...

That's right- we won our division! 
Photo credit goes to Mel!

07 June 2012

Rainier to Ruston Rail-Trail Relay: Part 1

Team Honey Buckettes at the beautiful starting area
Mel, me, Zoe, Kerrie
Oh boy, where to begin?  Several weeks ago I was contacted by one of my runner buddies (Mel) to see if I would be interested in running a relay on June 2nd.  Of course I was!  I had already looked at the race info and knew it would be an amazing adventure.  We soon had our 4 girl team put together and decided on a team name- let me introduce you to the "Honey Buckettes"!

Runner #1- Mel
Runner #2- Kerrie
Runner #3- Me
Runner #4- Zoe

Zoe, Mel, Kerrie and me in our awesome honey bucket gear!
Mel was able to contact the Honey Bucket company and they provided us some tshirts, hats, signs, stickers and antenna balls for decorating which turned out to be pretty cool.  We got loads of comments and funny jokes about them all throughout the day.  We all decided to wear our red Team Sparkle skirts and stick to the basic honey bucket colors for our attire.  We also recruited a driver for our team, cause we are fancy like that.  Meet our fearless relay driver!

Don't worry- he's a relay driver!
Relay Driver- Will

So on race morning we woke up around 5am, got our stuff (well, mine mostly) gathered and waited for Kerrie and Zoe to arrive at 6:15am.  They left their car at our house and we all drove to Mel's since she lived closer to the start line, arriving there at 7am.  Once at Mel's we decorated our car and hoped the rain would hold off long enough for everything to dry (it did).  We made a quick stop at the store, grabbed some coffee and headed to the start line which is at the Tacoma Mountaineers parking lot, a 1/2 mile from the Carbon River entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park. 

Our Honey Buckette mobile, ready to relay!

The start line.  Mel is in the red outfit off towards the left.
As I looked around I noticed lots of speedy looking runners- and the majority of them were guys.  This was the last wave of runners for the day- the slower teams and ultra runners had started at 7 or 8am, we were starting at 9.  I was just hoping to not be the last team finishing at the end of the day!  Soon enough the race was started and Mel was off and running down the road with a smile and a wave. 

Go Mel!
We headed to the exchange area and positioned ourselves to watch the first exchange as the leaders came through.  Kerrie did a little warming up and seemed a bit nervous about her first leg of the relay.  It was a rough and secluded trail and with all of the rain from the last week it was also bound to be quite muddy so it was completely understandable!
Great job Mel!  Go Kerrie!!  Get those white socks dirty!
Soon Mel came through, rang the bell and tagged Kerrie- she was off on her adventure.  You can read her recap of the leg HERE.  We stopped on an amazing bridge and watched for her to pass underneath.  We chatted with some of the other teams and enjoyed being out in nature- it was beautiful and the river was just rushing by down below us.  We were able to cheer on the other runners as they passed by, and after we saw Kerrie we headed on to the next exchange- MY TURN! 
Hanging out waiting for Kerrie and cheering for the runners passing under us.

There she went!  Way down below in the mud!
Kerrie finished her muddy run looking really strong, rang the bell, tagged me and I was off and running.  Leg 3 started in Carbonado and went along a secluded trail, past a cemetery to Wilkeson -a total of 3.9 miles.  My goal pace was a 9 minute mile and for the first 2 miles I was well ahead of pace.  Then it got muddy.  Like, climb up along the side of the trail into the bushes muddy.  I had to walk several times because I was slipping all over the place if I ran and I kept crossing back and forth across the trail trying to find the best spot to step.  I did pass a few people in these sections, maybe about 4 or 5 total. 
Way to go Kerrie!  Now it is my turn!  See the orange team in the background? 
We played leapfrog with those guys all day!
There wasn't too much to look at here other than the cemetery we ran past.  It was a very basic wooded trail, lots of critters and nature sounds which was nice since I wasn't listening to music.  I did pass a farm of some sort and I think it was a turkey or some large bird was making a bunch of noise (I didn't see it, just heard it) which kind of freaked me out because I just imagined it chasing me!  After the mud finally ended I was able to speed back up and get just below a 9 minute pace (8:52)before I rang the bell and sent Zoe on her way.   

I loved ringing the bell!  Looks like I gave Zoe a karate chop!
Leg 3 done!  Don't you love Kerrie's fur lined croc's?
I had to take my shoes and socks off before getting in the car- they were quite muddy!  I put my flip flops on and we made our way to the next exchange where Mel would be starting her second run.  Zoe also had a rough secluded trail during leg 4 which ended in South Prairie- there really wasn't anywhere to watch for her so we headed straight to the exchange area to wait. 

Zoe ringing the bell- leg 4 done!  Mel waiting for the tag!
Soon she came running down the path- one good thing about the sparkle skirts was we were easy to spot!  She tagged Mel and we were all done running our first legs!  And Zoe even spotted Sasquatch on the trail, earning herself a free tshirt at the end of the race.

To be continued...