The Somerville Road Runners hosted the Marathon Relay Club Challenge event at TuftsUniversity. Twenty six runners make up a team and each run four laps (just about a mile) on the track. Each team was required to have ten women. I was on the SRR-Fire team that was trying to break 2:22:26 which was the new record set last year. Alex White kicked off the race to make up for the .2 and the race was under way as he got our team into the lead that I don’t think was relinquished despite a competitive Cambridge Running Club squad. Robert Cipriano handed the baton off to me as I was the 23rd leg of the race. I took off, felt great for the first lap, coming through around 71 seconds. There was a huge crowd of runners hovering around the finish line cheering everyone on. During the second lap, I felt my hamstring tighten up and tried to ignore it. As I approached 800m, my hamstring let go. I jumped up and heard the crowd sigh in my agony. I thought I heard a split of 2:23. I changed my stride to relieve the pain for the rest of the race (2 laps). It reminded me of trying to finish a marathon when the muscles are cramping. You do anything in your power to keep moving forward. Meanwhile, I never thought about dropping out. If I did, our team would not have finished. I gutted it out and was so glad to hand the baton off to Greg Pickelsimer. I managed to smile in my appreciation for the crowd support and photos. I walked over to my running gear 30 ft away. I couldn’t bend over to get my spikes off or pick up my gear. I was a mess. I stayed there and cheered on the teams. Less than fifteen minutes later, Joe O’Leary, anchored the team for the win with a new record time of 2:19:29. Cambridge Running Club beat last year's record setting time of 2:22:26 by laying down a 2:21:04.
As I finish writing, I am happy to report that the hamstring is getting better each day. I've done a few miles on the bike this week and expect to run a few steps this weekend.