Friday, June 26, 2009

Wasatch Back

I know it has taken me a while to post about our Wasatch Back race, but Jared and I finally finished editing our photos from the race.

The Wasatch Back is a 12 person relay that runs from Logan to Park City, UT. The team splits up into two vans of six runners. The first six runners start at Logan early in the morning (well early in the morning if you are a slower team like us...the BYU men's Cross Country Team didn't start until 6:30 PM and still slaughtered us!). Since Jared and I were in the second van we did not have to get up quite so early. We left Syracuse at around 11AM and headed to Liberty (the location of the first major hand off between the vans).

By the time we finally got the first hand off (around 2 in the afternoon) it was pretty hot! Jared was runner #7 (the first runner in our van) so he took the first leg for us. It was warm, but he did great, finishing at a great pace! I took the baton (which was actually a slap remember those from the early 90's right?) next and ran 3.4 miles. The first mile felt great and I ran it quickly, but it started to feel pretty hot after that and my pace slowed just a bit. I still finished in great time, running my miles at less than 10 minute pace (which was my goal). After my hand off Jared and I cheered for the rest of our van as they raced on in the heat. Jared served as van photographer, making sure to get great photos of our entire van (unfortunately I was not as good a photographer and got very few of him =( Something I plan to remedy next year!). We also served as water boy/girl and made sure our runners had the water they needed (there were no water stops along the way for the runners, so each team had to supply any needed water).

After our van was done with our first legs we ate lunch at Snowbasin (a very yummy pasta salad provided by Lisa...THANK YOU Lisa it was PERFECT) then headed on to the next hand off point. We pulled out our sleeping bags and found a patch of grass where we all relaxed. Two of our van mates brought guitars, so we all sat and enjoyed their music and sang along to a few numbers. It was nice to have some relaxing downtime.

Our turn began again around 10PM when Jared took the baton for his night run. Running at night was quite involved. Each runner was required to wear a reflective vest, a head lamp, and a butt light (yep, a light over your butt or close to it). It was definitely interesting running with all of that extra gear. Jared's leg went up a pretty steep hill, and he did awesome, especially with little to know hill training. Syracuse is pretty flat, so most of our running was done on the flat trails that run through town. Next year I am determined to find some good hills for training. I hear that there are some great ones out on Antelope Island that I want to try. At the top of the hill Jared handed off to me, and I began my decent. Seven miles, the first five and a half down a gradual hill (the map made it look like it would be much steeper...) with a few rises here and there. Running down hill that far is definitely interesting. The first 2 miles I went out pretty fast and then realized how much farther I had to go so I slowed up a bit. I am not sure if that was a good idea or not...the control it requires to go slower down hill made my legs tighten up a bit. The last mile and a half felt like forever winding through town. They threw in a nice little up hill there in the end for good measure!

After that I was exhausted, nodding off occasionally in the van while the rest of our team ran their legs. At one point we could not find one of our runners (it is VERY difficult to identify an individual in the dark...everyone starts to look the same with their vests, lights and head lamps.) He had changed the location of his butt light, throwing us off completely. It took a while to find him, but in the end all was well and he got a talking to about changing his lights =). After handing off the baton to the next van, we headed to the location of our final major exchange.

We rolled out our sleeping bags...on the cement in a skate park in Heber (the grass was soaking wet) and tried to get as much sleep as we could before we had to start running again. When I woke up (well I never actually fell asleep so I am not sure you can call it waking up, but I got up after laying down trying to sleep for two hours) I felt sick to my stomach. My last leg was to be a 6 mile stretch that ran gradually up hill. I was completely mentally and physically exhausted. The closer we came to the hand off, the more nervous I became. I felt sick to my stomach and like passing out at the same time. I feel bad now, because I did not take pictures of Jared during his last leg, I was so nervous.

Jared began his 4.6 miles from Heber to Midway, keeping a great pace (especially after no sleep). I can't tell you how proud I am of him. Jared was NEVER a runner until this past year, and to have completed this race is an amazing accomplishment! In Midway, I took the baton and ran the most frustrating leg. Midway is a beautiful little town, and I guess they wanted you to see a lot of it, because I had to turn in so many places I thought I would go crazy. I was exhausted, in pain and could barely shuffle for the majority of the leg. To top it off, right before the end there was a pretty steep hill that about threw me off of my goal not to walk at all during the race. When I finished I was so relieved! Jared and I were done! We had done it! Here is a picture of us in Midway after we were both done:

We hopped back in the van to cheer on our next runners who had to run some insanely crazy legs up VERY steep hills! I am so impressed with how well the did. I can't imagine having to run their legs. They ran through beautiful mountains in the rain. We ran into some car trouble going up the steep hill, but all was well in the end and we made it back down the hill safely, and in time to hand off the baton to our final runner, who would take us through Park City to the finish.

At the finish, we all met up to cross the finish line together. It was an amazing feeling to have accomplished something so difficult. The best part was that Jared and I did it together, we were there to cheer each other on and be a support during the difficult times. I can't wait to do it again next year!!

Jupiter's Dozen 2009


Cindy Jensen said...

Wow, you guys are amazing. I can't even imagine doing something like that....way to go!

Amy said...

Nice Job!!! What a fun thing to do together and a great accomplishment!

Andrea Amu said...

Good job! But how exhausting! Don't know how ya do it! :)

Stephanie said...

Congratulations! You are awesome!

P.S. I love that running skirt! Where is it from?

Kathy said...

Looks like fun! Congrats for finishing! Can't wait to join you next year! Great pictures too (love the Nikon)!