Monday, September 22, 2008

The Orange Line's Last Legs

After a long and restful night's sleep of oh about two hours it was time to head back out to the next VTA. Since the hotel was at the VTA where we ended our last shift that meant we had to drive about 30 miles to catch the Green Line. We made it. Alas, along the way I lost track of my camera. On the up side Birgit and Merle had cameras as well. Better yet, Birgit set up an account on the web from which I have filched her photos so we have pictures for the blog too! Alas, Merle cannot find the cable for her camera so her pictures will have to wait for another day.

The morning began with everybody packing and then heading down for a quick breakfast at the hotel's well stocked continental offerings. I am a huge fan of pastries, granola and the like and that left me with lots and lots of choices! Right after wolfing down a few hundred calories, which I guess amounted to about 1000 on my part alone, we then headed off to the VTA. Now you might think that a van full of people that had run two race legs and slept at most two or three hours in the last 24 would be in pretty sad shape to run a third leg. Well, you would be wrong! Somehow we were all up and ready to go! Well, everybody but Dave who was clearly beginning to show signs of fatigue. Still, he would be ready to go when his leg came around.

We met the Green Line at the next VTA which was located in a large park and on time I might add. Sue waited for Aisling's arrival and at just after 9:45am took off for her last leg. By now the weather had cleared up somewhat. The clouds were no longer thick in the sky and there were occasional rays of sun. That and quite a bit of additional heat and humidity.

Sue's last leg was a 9.3 mile stretch! Not easy after having already run two and with at most a couple of hours of sleep. But, naturally, she did it in excellent time and a smile as well!
After Sue it was Dave's turn to finish up his part of our marathon. What he did was turn in another top notch race run! All of which goes to show you cannot tell how fast somebody will run based on how fatigued they look!

At the transition area Dave decided to pop the wrist strap onto my hand like the pros do.

Well, the pros have practice both delivering and receiving these things while on the run. Alas, we did not and it fell to the ground. What I then wanted to avoid at all costs was "help" from the race officials to retrieve the wrist band. Apparently though the words, "do not touch it, do not touch it" mean something like pick it up and try to hand it to the runner in race official English. So what happens when a race official picks up the band? It now turns into a moving target. As I went to grab it the band was instead knocked back to the ground and rolled off. Great! I figured that I better try another phrase and see if that would work. So I screamed, "Leave it, leave it!" as I approached the next race official near the band. Well that worked! It scared the poor woman to the point where instead of picking up the band she jumped back a few feet. But, now the band was still! So I picked it up and off I went.

To say I was happy with my third run is an understatement! Last year this was my best leg and I was determined to do well on it again. It is, in my view an interesting leg since it starts downhill for a bit and then turns uphill over the last half including a rather steep climb from miles 7 to 8. Then it goes downhill for the final .6 miles. Since I am, relatively speaking, a much better downhill than uphill runner that means I can initially get ahead of most runners on this course and if I can hang on stay ahead the last .6 miles. Well that does require hanging on! I passed one runner early on only to see him pass me back around mile 3 or 4. Alas, that was the end of that battle! Still I managed to pass well over a dozen runners and was only passed by about three. So a pretty successful leg overall.As I came into the home stretch I passed a few runners and heard Dave yell, "Bone coming up behind you!" I took what little I had left and dashed to the finish. The rat! Turns out there was nobody there he just wanted me to knock a few seconds off my time! Got to give him credit. It worked and I came in well under our spreadsheet's forecasted pace.

Nancy was next. From here on in the legs would all be under 6 miles and that meant fewer support stops to provide fuel and water. Instead the stops would be for picture taking and cheering! Alas, while all that is true the pictures of Nancy are on Merle's camera so those will have to wait for another day. Still, I can happily report that she finished her 5.5 mile leg at a pace 10 seconds per mile faster than our forecast!

But we do have pictures of Birgit! Well these are photos from her camera. It simply would have been unconscionable not have used it to take shots of her run!
After Birgit finished her run at a pace that was nearly a minute per mile under our forecast it was Merle's turn. Now poor Merle was being affected by a newly arrived heal injury and so had to be careful not to aggravate it. Still, she came in right on her forecasted pace! See what adrenaline will do for you!

As you can see Merle was however happy to hand the wrist strap off to Chris and thus mark the end of our part of the race. With all of our legs now in the books it would be up to the Green Line to take the wrist strap into the finish. Our job was just to get to the beach, hang out, take some more pictures and most importantly eat real food for the first time in two days!

Next report: life at the beach!



Rosie Ruiz said...

Well?....How does it all end? You'all have left your readers dangling here...did you, in fact, Reach the Beach? What happened to the Green Line?

Rosie Ruiz Fan Club said...

Good question! Waiting for Captain Erica to finish this story off!

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