Thursday, October 13, 2011

Make Room in Van 1...

... For Rosie's cousin Rob, who recently came in "third" in the Kielder Marathon.

Way to go, Rob! We will be contacting you with info about your legs in the 2012 Reach the Beach.

(Thanks to Rodrigo for spotting our newest Club member in the news.)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hampton Beach, a great place to meet the rest of your "relay family" members

The end of a relay is like the end of a love story you so enjoy...or the end of your favorite childhood fairy tale... sad, sweet, but also... so ready for the next chapter...

Is anybody here finding it hard to explain to family and friends that we had a life changing adventure with people we don't even know, but yet we now keep them in the inner most part of our heart's "memory lane"? I sure am!

I must admit, I am honored to have been part of the Rosie Ruiz Fan Club relay team. I am so proud of my "relay family"
Don't we all look so happy after two days of sleepless nights and hard racing?
Here is our team members posing by the years they have been running as the RRFC relay team!

First, the veterans, then the virgins!
Here is our beloved team captain Erica and her cheerleader and the BEST co-captain ever, Chris :)...and where is the doggie?

and what will we do without the handsome speedy dudes in the team!!!

And the lovely couple celebrating their second year as team members!!!
and the newly inducted family members!!!
One must admit that the one sad part of being a member of a relay team is that you meet your team members from Vans 1 and 2 just briefly, then by destiny you are separated from your relay family until the end of the relay, except for a few short minutes here and there.

Like any family reunion, our team meeting up is always fun!
As a new team member I learned that I must take advantage of the precious "meeting" moments to have fun with the "other van"
Hope to see you all next time around!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pre-race warm up ... Shake it baby, shake it

I did say fun, fun, fun is the name of the game with the RRFC earlier". Well for any doubters out there, this is how Nancy and I loosened up our legs before we conquered the hills of NH ... lots of laughing, some boozing and yes, dancing to cheesy live music. Bet the other teams can't beat this beginning of a race.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Organge Line Reaches the Beach!

After handing off the baton to the Green Line in true Rosie fashion it was time to drive to the finish line!  Off we went in search of lunch/dinner while we waited for our teammates to arrive.

Once at Hampton Beach we had one last task to complete before chowing down:  Pictures with our Road Kill Counter Board!  Yes, following tradition you get a sticker whether you pass somebody or get passed!  The only difference is the type.  If you do the passing you get a happy little sticker with something cute on it like a puppy dog, a butterfly or some such.  If you get passed you get a Halloween sticker.  To be honest, the Halloween ones look was cooler!

Here then are Bruce and Lisa:

Followed by Bruce, Nancy and me.

Last but not least of the pictures I have is the annual poster closeup.

After ceremoniously laying the road kill counter to rest (meaning tossing it in a nearby garbage can) it was off to lunch.  The race provides lunch at the finish area.  If you ever do this relay I can tell what it will be since it never varies:  New England clam chowder, oyster crackers, roast chicken, roast new potatoes, and a butter soaked vegetable medley.  Vegetarians can substitute what looks like a linguini Alfredo for the chicken.  After eating almost nothing other than granola bars for two days even this stuff takes good!

Once the Green line showed up we collected our finisher medals and lined up for a few last pictures.  First here is the Orange line

and our whole team:

Alas, that ends this year's adventures.  As always this race is a blast and in no small part to Captain Erica and the wonderful people she always recruits!  That is my version of our story until the next van or public transportation ride billed as a "race."  I hope to see everybody again in 2013!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Last Orange Line Leg

The final lap to the beach came all too quickly! Two and a half hours of sleep then rise and, er, shine? Not really all that shiny to be honest. At least we had a GPS system to guide us. Better yet we had Lisa driving us to the VTA and Cara navigating. Why better yet? Well they had way more confidence in the GPS getting us to where we had to go than I did. Bottom line: They got us to the VTA without any irrelevant detours that yours truly the skeptic would have imposed on us. So thank you ladies!

The VTA is located in beautiful wooded area within a state park. Captain Erica was not the only one to get an early morning shot of the little lake at what was just a magnificent area to start our final leg.

While Captain Erica arranged for us to sleep at a nearby hotel others chose to ruff it in the VTA camping area.  Actually, quite a few!

While waiting around the crew, sans Nancy and your author posed for a few pre-leg pictures.

You have to be impressed at how happy they look given they are in some sort of sleep deprived zombie state!  Once on the road it appears some people really need to learn some patience.  Here I am waiting for Bruce to come by with the baton for me to head off with.

After I got going it seems my mood brightened considerably, at least if you believe this picture.

Actually, what is going on is me laughing because I thought (it would seem incorrectly) that Nancy, the photographer here, had missed getting me coming by despite what appeared to be numerous attempts to get a shot.  Shows what I know!

Back in the van I took over the camera again and got this shot of Cara on the run during what was a bright and warm (at last!) morning.

Next up for his photo shot of the morning was Taylor.

Then at long last a really good shot of Lisa on the run.

After Lisa it was off to the final VTA.  There we handed off the baton for the final time and then headed by van to the beach for lunch/dinner and guess what?  More pictures!  But those will have to wait for the next post.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

of courage and toilet costume and catching up

Yeah...Van1 was ready for the dark night run after a great pasta meal and a few arguments what we should eat and where we should eat.

Here is our Van1 captain ready for his night leg. Unfortunately the blinking lights of his brand new vest did not work...yes! a nightmare we all feared, which cost Nancy two orders of beer at the end of the race :(/
While Van2 was running their leg, we drove into the sunset and got ready for our next leg...our night time run, yeah!!! bring the darkness in!!! we are ready!!!
Van1 one miraculously met up with Van2. Here is the gang chatting along, trying to catch up with the "relay happenings"

Here is our cute and faithful mascot and Chris cheering on our next runner...our OWN team captain, Erica (who did not know she had to put up with a toilet warm up routine)
While the toilet warm up was happening our vibrant captain was trying to warm up for her next leg. Ohhh the horrific things a team captain has to put up with.

Someone mentioned about the things you must put up with while running a relay, one of them being a poorly choreographed toilet warm up routine. I must admit I found this act a top notch performance considering where we the boonies.. and the courageous teenager who volunteered to be the clown of the afternoon as his welcoming act to his community.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A whole family nuts about relay? Yeah!!!

Some families are blessed with ma and pa as runners, some are double blessed with the kids being runners as well.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Already missing you all ...

The race ended three days ago, and every morning since then I've woken up with a smile on my face. I feel that I miss my teammates and I miss the camaraderie and the fire they light up my butt. It was sad to say good bye to them.
Don't get me wrong, doing the RTB is challenging and I was relieved to finish running my rotation ... and being on the Rosie Ruiz Fan Club team is like signing up for boot camp. You feel the pressure weeks before the race and you haven't even met half of your teammates yet. Let me add to Joe's Hard Truth blog that, they make you swear on the Bible, and this Bible consists of numbers not letters, it's a spreadsheet of each team member's projected running times and it is followed religiously! How many teams do this anyway?!?! God forbid if you should run a minute or two slower than the projected time that you gave at registration time. You start to wonder whether you should fake an injury and let someone else on the waiting list to cover for you. I mean it is the decent thing to do when you are on a team that cares this much.
The irony is that the relentless pursuit of achieving all our projected times is not about trying to win a prize, it's to make sure that we Reach the Beach early enough so that we have plenty of time to party as a full team and get some food. Fun, fun, fun IS the name of the game with the Rosie Ruiz Fan Club team; just look at all our smiling faces in the pictures. Thank you to Captain Erica, Matt and Chris for suppling all the play by play commentaries. You guys are awesome!
The toughest part of this race that I found was running up the 200-foot hills of New Hampshire in pitch darkness, sprinting at the very start of your run, and running the second and third legs with little recovery time in between. By the time I had to run my third leg, I was so tired and sleepy that I felt like bringing up because I was so scared that I couldn't finish it and I would let my team down. But I did it, I did it all! ... And it was an exhilarating feeling each time I crossed the finish line. Erica would say to me, "I have never seen anyone get so excited crossing the finish line." I feel that it's one thing to do your PB and it's another when your PB contributes to a team. It is so much more meaningful and then you really feel proud of yourself.
I believe that I'll always be smiling when I think about our race together. I definitely felt the benefits of being on a team of people with the gift of championing others to do their best. How often do you come across being in this situation? I know my honey feels this way too - he just doesn't know his limits :-) I want to thank you all for elevating me: Matt, Bruce, Nancy, Lisa, Taylor and Cara, Joe, Weldon, Chris, Judson and a special thanks to my beautiful friend Erica for always believing in me. It was a real pleasure and honour to be with you all this year. One last thing, I like our Bible. What a great structure! Amen.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Capturing the blog master's run

Back to the West Coast now. It is hard to believe that just 24 hours ago I was in the East Coast meeting old friends and making new ones! What a fun time. The memories of the relay will always we in my heart and in my mind.

Just a quick post here during lunch. Will take the time to post more about my relay experience letter, but I wanted to proof to Van2 that our hardworking co-captain Matt really DID run his legs and was not just only driving, texting our finish time to Van2, and working on this blog!

Here is Matt during his last leg! He runs so fast that it was always hard for us to capture him while running.

Captain with Mascot

Indeed. Why run when you can get a pre-race kiss from the cutest thing on EARTH?!! Here is Lotti loving our fearless leader Captain Erica, pre-start in the morning, taking a break from van decorating duty. Lotti doesn't need to do anything, she can just lie around looking adorable and our van would take first prize for decor (where was that prize anyway?).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Hard Truth

Every year, we update this blog so that our fans can follow us as we suffer make our way through New Hampshire. I like the blog. Really. There are puppies on it. It’s nice.

But I feel like y’all aren’t getting the complete story about what really goes down in those dark hills. It’s not all smiles and butterfly costumes.

On the contrary, I’m here to tell you that all of this positivity is mere icing on a cake full of poisonous razor blades that have been soaked in a vat of deadly viruses. (To use the common cliché). Here are some of the hard truths about being a non-ruling-class member of the Rosie Ruiz Fan Club.
  • They make you sign a waiver. 
  • They shrug at rumors of a bear in the vicinity.
  • They make you watch as a “man” dressed up like a toilet leads runners in a poorly choreographed “motivational” “dance”.
  • They accuse you of participating in some bewilderingly illogical meal ticket scandal and then all of that stuff that happens to the protagonist in Kafka’s The Trial happens to you. 
  • They gleefully take pictures of you while medical personnel are resuscitating you.
  • They make running a flat 6.2-mile leg at 6 am seem like a wussy thing to be doing.
  • They fly in a half-man/half-gazelle from Texas (ostensibly named "Weldon") so that you can listen to him spout off about how much he “enjoyed” running up and down the 9.2-mile mountain that almost killed you last year. You also get to watch him run it faster than you did. And without sweating. And while eating a muffin.
  • They force you to meet new and amazing people that you grow to really like and then, after the race, they take those people away. (Perhaps this is because those people were not involved in the meal ticket scandal and so are free to go).
  • And, despite all of this, they somehow get your brain to permanently believe that this crazy event is one of your favorite things to do. Rosie Ruiz Fan Club, you are what heroin would be if instead of making you high it made you exercise, lose sleep, be cold, and ride around in a smelly van. I need you. It's true.

Dinner and then Off to Run Into the Night

Backing up on my story of the Orange line's adventures I thought our loyal fans would like to see the road that led to a very unusual transition from the Orange to the Green line after leg 6.  Normally, you hand the baton directly from one van to the next.  But, with the road being washed out that was not possible.  Instead they started the Green line at 5:30 PM at what would have been the VTA and ended us at what appeared to be a backup finish line.  So, from the backup finish line we then drove to the original VTA via the washed out road.  As you can see there was a pretty good reason they had to go to Plan B.

Eventually, we got to the VTA in time to see the Green line off.  From there it was off to dinner.  Dinner was not bad; pasta at a little Italian pizza place.  We then vanned our way to the VTA.  Once there it was time to do what team Rosie does best.  Fool around!  Need to kill time in the middle of the night?  What can you do?  How about model nighttime running equipment!  The race requires runners to wear a reflective vest, a headlamp and blinking lights in the front and back.  Here we see Nancy in the latest design.

Of course, sometimes the van gets tired from a lack of sleep as well and then you have to give it a good shove to get going.

All right, perhaps she was just stretching.  As required by relay rules once your order is set it stays set.  That meant Bruce, me and then Nancy hit the road.  Alas, I do not have photos from those runs seeing as how I was getting ready while Bruce was running, I was running while I was running (making it hard to hold the camera steady!) and then trying to recover while Nancy ran.  Once recovered I then got a picture of Cara at the local RRFC water stop.

Yes, the Orange line offers top notch support and we provide water to anybody that wants.  Well anybody on the team and in the van and out running and if we like them.  Heck, doesn't everybody get water in the middle of the night on a cold New Hampshire road?

Last but not least here is Lisa to finish off our leg.  Then it was off to meet the Green line at the VTA, get the room keys and head off to bed for a whole, yes can you believe it, two and a half hours of sleep!

Results Are In!

Unofficial results from Reach The Beach 2011:

Team Rosie finished the relay in 25 hours, 26 minutes, and 56 seconds for an over all pace of 7:57 per mile!! Wow! What an amazing experience it was this year. Both vans had a great time while getting a GREAT time. Here are a few more pictures to give a bit of a taste for what this whole thing is like:

Erica and Bruce after having Reached The Beach! It was Bruce's first time. Erica's fifth.

Erica and 3-time Rosie teammate Weldon, cooling their heels in the cold Atlantic.

Nancy, Cara, and Chris cooling down.

Chris and Weldon, discussing the Tao of running.

Rosie Ruiz Fan Club, minus Captain Erica.

Judson and Karin, basking in the afterglow.

5-timer Erica and 4-timer Chris. With the completion of this race, erica joined the 1000-mile club.

3-timers Matt, Joe, and Weldon.

Reach the Beach virgins Karin, Taylor, Cara, Lisa, Bruce ,and Nancy.

Judson, bringing it home.

Erica handing off to Weldon to begin leg Number 32 out of 36.

Judson got pretty dehydrated after his second long leg and required a bit of medical TLC. Ho bounced back strong to run the final leg with grace and a smile.

Requisite artsy shot to cleanse the palate.

Line for the porta-potty on a 36 degree morning.

Chris and Erica's dog, Lotti, did a lot of the driving.

Erica and Karin staying warm between their turns to run.

Saturday morning was misty and cold--which turned out to be perfect running conditions.

Joe, running hard through his early morning leg.

Erica's toe bled through her new shoes. Cool.

One of the other team's vans. Some teams go all out in the decorations.

All that driving tired Lotti out.

Weldon running through the twilight.

The family that runs 200-mile relays together....

Karin, with her smile that kept us all smiling.

Matt and Nancy before the start.

Team Rosie getting ready to roll at Cannon Mountain Friday morning.

Lisa listening carefully to the safety briefing before the race.