Brew to Brew 2013 Race Report Part 2

To see part one of the Brew to Brew race report, visit here.

After the first exchange point, we all piled into vehicles and headed toward the second exchange. We did have some trouble finding a few of the exchange points early in the day, but they got easier and more obvious as the day progressed. We lost the other vehicles on the way to the second exchange point, so we spent a little time texting and calling to try and get them to the right place. Despite the lost time, we had a little bit of time to kill even after everyone else found the exchange point. Leg 2 was 5.3 miles, so we were expecting our runners to finish in about 40 minutes. We sat in the car for a bit to stay warm, and about 7:25 am we got out to cheer for other teams while we were watching for our runners. Before long, we spotted green shirts in the distance.

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They were together and approaching at a breakneck pace! We cheered them in as our next runners got ready to take on legs 3 and 4.

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Double exchange 2 complete! This photo looks posed and perfect, but I swear it was real! The leg 2 runners absolutely rocked their leg and it took them a little while to recover before we could snap a photo of them.

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We had plenty of time to get to the next exchange point, so we hung out for a bit and dug into those muffins I had made. I was going to be running next, so I was a little hesitant to eat a muffin. I decided to just risk it since I was hungry and still had at least an hour before my leg.  I think in the future I will need to do a better job of preparing nutrition to run non-consecutive legs, but I hadn’t put much thought into it this time around.

After we finished eating, we decided to go out to the next exchange point to cheer our runners even though they were running through to finish two legs. We parked and walked up to the road to cheer for the other teams till we saw our runners coming through.

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They had just a little over 2 miles to go at this point to complete leg 4, so we hit the road quickly after cheering for them and headed to exchange point 4. I was running leg 5, so I started getting ready to run in the car on the way. I got my fuel belt adjusted and shed my outer layer to just wear shorts and a t-shirt for my run. When we got to the exchange point, we made a quick port-a-potty stop and headed down to the course.

Before long, our first runner was approaching. The two runners on this leg had gotten split up, but I knew the second runner who I was relieving would not be far behind.

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Leg 4 completed and leg 5 begun for team 2!

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A few minutes later, and I started leg 5 for team 1! I knew I had to run about 4.7 miles, and I wanted to catch up as much as possible to the other team’s runner to get the teams back in sync, so I started at about a 9:00 min/mile pace. Initially, I had planned to run this leg quite a bit slower, but I felt great so I just went with it. My legs never got tired during my run, and the course was fun, flat and fast, so I felt like I was cruising. I passed a few runners, and thought I caught a glimpse of our other runner at one point, but I wasn’t able to catch her. She finished her leg and handed off for leg 6 to begin.

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I finished my leg in just about 42 minutes, which was just under 9 minute miles. I handed off the slap bracelet to my hubby and he took off for a hard 3.3 mile uphill run.

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We regrouped at the station, and took a photo to commemorate the end of the leg before driving to the next exchange.

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At this point, the two teams had to diverge a bit as the race coordinators split up teams into exchange points A and B at a few different places along the course to reduce the congestion at the exchange points. For our early start, it wasn’t really needed as there were few teams running that early, but I expect it’s really helpful for the volunteers to keep things moving smoothly as the day gets busier.

We drove to exchange point A to start leg 7. Curtis killed his hilly leg and ran those hills like a champ.

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We were finished with more than half of our total miles, with just four legs left to run.

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We met up with the other team again at the next exchange point. It was in a small Kansas town and there were delicious grilling smells wafting around, making us all very hungry! I decided it was time for some more food as I’d be running again at leg 9, but I had to pass on the burgers. 😦 I settled for some banana and a Power Bar.

Leg 7 is interesting because the runners have the option to either run an extra mile or take a short boat ride across a creek. It sounds like the vast majority of runners take the boat, and our runners commented that they didn’t see an option to go by the road. The actual mileage for the A course and the B course are drastically different, so this is something to remember and be aware of next year, as my notes did not have this info when I was putting together the teams.

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The leg 7 runners came in very close to each other, so the teams were getting back into sync again.

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After leg 7, it was time for me to get ready to run again. I strapped my fuel belt back on and stripped my long-sleeved shirt to get ready. The last few legs are all on gravel/dirt roads through small farms. Our teams congregated at the exchange to wait for our runners.

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We didn’t have long to wait before it was time to take off for leg 9!

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I felt ok as I started my leg, but it didn’t take long before I felt the 5K from the day before plus the earlier leg that day catching up to me. Leg 9 is on a rolling gravel road. My shoes were slipping on the gravel quite a lot, and I was tired by this time in the day. I think that I could have done a better job of fueling to help get me through this leg. I finished the 4.2ish miles in 10 minute miles, so quite a bit slower than my earlier leg, but it was about all I could push myself to do. The very end of the leg has a bit of a “fake out” exchange station where you have to keep running about .25 miles after you see the first vehicles to get to the actual exchange. I tried to pick it up as I ran down the hill to meet my team.

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Leg 10 began and we were on our home run! We left the last exchange point and headed to the finish line in Lawrence, KS to cheer for our final runners. We almost didn’t make it in time to see team 1 finish the leg. Luckily, we were at the finish line just in time.

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Our leg 10 runner finished strong to bring team 1 into the finish in 6:44:07, which averages just about 9:10 minutes/mile. Curtis and another of our teammates walked out to meet our final runner from team 2 and run her into the finish line. It was another strong finish for a total time of 6:58:40 (9:30 min/mile pace) for team 2.

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After a long day, we finished our 44.4 miles and went out for a well-deserved meal of burgers and beer at a local restaurant.

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Overall, it was a really successful day of running. Everyone did phenomenally well and I am so proud to have such awesome teammates. The course was a nice mix of terrain and the exchange points were pretty well organized. This year the weather made for a gorgeous day for running, unlike the unbearable heat from last year. I can’t wait till next year!

If you ever have the chance to run on a long distance relay team, I highly recommend it. The experience was fabulous!

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