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!!

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