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...


  1. Such an amazing pace! You are a freaking rock star, woman! You're in for next year, right?

    1. Thank you! Heck ya I am in for next year- we must defend our title!