Monday, September 23, 2013

Relay Around Lake Winnipesaukee

Jane's Addiction - "Coming down the mountain"
25th Annual Fred Brown Relay Around Lake Winnipesaukee
Weirs Beach, NH, September 7, 2013

Question: What do you get when you ask a relay team of eight runners to pedal every mile around Lake Winnipesaukee except for running their leg?

Answer: 8 tired bodies

Wrapping up my leg in Alton Bay. 
Brian Cullinan, Brian Keefe, and Alex White under the tent picking corn
Yes, the relay course around the lake is 65.1 miles. The Somerville Road Runners had several teams going. The team that I was on caved into my desire to run leg 2 which measured out to 10.8 miles via my Garmin GPS. The team biked over (about four miles) to the start at Fun Spot for the 8:00 start. Brian Cullinan started our team off for a tough 10.7 miles with the tough stretch really over the last 3 miles. About a minute after 80+ teams started, the rest of our team biked to exchange zone #1 where I needed to get ready for my leg at Arlberg Ski Shop.  I had about 10 minutes to hit the porta-john after getting my bike stuff off and running gear on. I was not rushed but there was not any time to waste before Brian came in and handed the baton off to me. My legs were heavy from the get go as I started up the hills. I ran this leg two years ago so I was pretty relaxed. This leg, although, rolling, offers fair downhill into Alton Bay. I caught two runners (one SRR runner) in the first few miles. Meanwhile, I knew Larissa was right behind me. I kept my head down and ran as hard as the legs would allow. I had the lake to my left for the last few miles of the leg. I barely held Larissa off. I ran 1:04:05. It was a few minutes slower than what I ran for this leg two years back. I handed off to Brian Keefe who was getting boos from the crowd as he was not ready and waiting for me in the exchange zone. We lost just a few seconds there though. Brian soon rolled into the exchange zone in time for me to get changed back into some bike gear and set off for the biking along the teams and course for the rest of the day. Biking along changed my perspective on how hilly the course is as well as how lonely it can get for the runners. Fortunately, cars are driving along with other runners - supporting all runners. Examples of pulling over and handing a water bottle to a teammate or for a competitor is routine. It is a friendly atmosphere. My legs were really giving me fits on any and all climbing so I faded back away from my SRR mates as they are pretty good at the biking. I took my time for the next few hours and stopped along most of the exchange zones to refill my water bottle, take a break, and rest. I found getting back on the bike and pedaling up the inclines really tough and legs were starting to cramp in the early afternoon. I was on my own for the last two exchange zones. I took my time and took my last stop at a store about five miles from the finish line. I camped on a bench in the shade outside the store after buying health food - gummy bears, iced tea, and twizzlers. The last five miles were brutal. I think I rolled into the finish at Fun Spot around 3:30 in the afternoon. What a day. Our team finished 3rd overall - not bad for a team that biked and ran all day. Would I do it again? Likely. Special thanks to the teammates in no specific order: Brian Cullinan, Brian Keefe, Greg Soutiea, Brian Tinger, John Longo, Alex White, and Sean McDonough who were all not only brave enough to take on the run and bike challenge - but accepted it graciously. Full results
My ride and a rare break at a farm stand

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