Late on the 30th December 2015, I got an innocent enough text from my friend Amy;
“Hey we’re putting together a team for the Taupo Great Lake Relay and we are short, would you and James be interested?”
Which is (in itself) kind of random because when people think of runners, I doubt that I immediately jump to mind BUT then again, I am married to one, so I kind of figured to get to him, they had to include me .. 😉
Now if I had received that text at any other time I probably would have declined, but as fate would have it, I’d just settled on my “one word” for the following year (2016) and that word was #accept so it seemed somewhat serendipitous.
So, (after checking I didn’t have to run in the dark by myself) and asking James if he was keen, I said yes we were both in.
I’d been running consistently for a couple of months at that stage and I had two 10 kilometer runs under my belt so I wasn’t too worried about the easy 8 kilometer leg that I’d been assigned even though I knew I couldn’t run it anywhere near the pace required to beat the cut off time. HOWEVER, our team was mostly made of of actual runners so Amy (
who got me into this mess organised the team) assured me that I’d have a time buffer and it would be “sweet as”.
James ran the first leg at 2am and being the supportive wife that I am, I rolled over and said “have a good run Dove” as I kicked him out of bed just before 1am.
I couldn’t imagine why our first four had volunteered to run in the small hours of Saturday morning on only a couple of hours sleep after traveling all day! James had said that he just wanted to get it over and done with so he could come home and sleep all day while the rest of us were out running. And, I guess the dark isn’t such a big deal when you’ve been in the armed forces and have had to go out into the bush and “survive” and stuff. In fact, he’s probably missed running around in the woods in the middle of the night. 😉
It wasn’t until 11 hours and 55 minutes after James set off that I started leg 16. We were about two hours ahead of schedule at that stage thanks to all the speedsters in our group which was lucky because I ended up running nearly 11 minutes slower than I was “supposed too” (in ideal team spreadsheet world), BUT in the real world (where I calculate these things based on my actual running ability), I finished 2 minutes ahead of schedule LOLOLOL
I will say that it was the LONGEST 8 kilometers I have ever run – the heat just killed me, so much so that I honestly thought my head was going to explode.
Luckily I’d told my support car not to stop en route and that I’d see them at the transition point because if they had been parked up along the way I would have yanked someone out of the car and made them run the rest of the way for me, because after only 2.5k’s I wanted to burst into tears! I didn’t though, because quite frankly, that would have been a waste of water.
It also would have been completely pointless because there was no cellphone coverage (I checked!) so my team would never have known, that I was currently on the side of a state highway in the fetal position and that they needed to come and save me – I did wonder how long it would take them to come and check on me if I did just that though …
Even the REALLY hot guy handing out sponges at the 3k mark only marginally bouyed my spirits – although I guess just that fact that I realised he was REALLY hot, meant that I hadn’t fully lost my will to live at that stage, although I do wonder if he was in fact “all that” or if my brain was just boiling inside my head.
I guess if anyone else out there in internet land did leg 16, you can let me know ..
Amy ran the remaining two legs, leading our team into the finish chute 14 hours and 11 minutes after starting and as we lined up to have our celebratory race photo taken the team were already making plans for next year.
What doesn’t kill you – heck who knows, I might even be an actual runner by then .. 😉
Till next time