Wow! The Winni relay exceeding all of my expectations- I had a blast getting a chance to bond with fellow Mansfield runners and was impressed with the scenery of New Hampshire. Oh, and the run kicked my tail ;) Many thanks to Warren for sharing this unique race with us and to Rachel for organizing so many logistics.
I ran leg #5--10.6 miles from a ski area to Morgan Farm. I waited with team members at the ski area for Alicia to arrive. Around 1:30, I lined up very seriously in the exchange zone and was stoked to see Alicia finishing strong. I grabbed the baton and took off, but then my visor flew off!! So I actually had to turn around and grab my visor. Geez, I'm a klutz! That inspired me to take off a bit quickly. After a few minutes, I passed a dude wearing a purple singlet. It was hot and the sun was glaring down on me. The course was on the side of a somewhat busy road. I was sweating a lot and had to deal with the extremely slick baton. I felt like I was running pretty strong and powered up a couple short hills. My first two miles were under 9 minute pace.
It was getting hotter, and I drank water at every opportunity. At a couple spots, folks were stopped on the side of the road, handing out water, and their cheering really helped out. I could see a couple runners ahead of me, and I was glad that I wasn't lost ;) By mile 4, I could tell that I was expending a lot of energy. The course was scenic- going by farms with traditional New England stone walls.
At mile 5, I took a gel. I was a mess during this race! I was running in a sports bra and shorts and was still boiling. I guess that's what happens when you race in the middle of the afternoon! I started dumping water on my head to cool myself down. I did NOT want to overheat. I pretended that I was doing an Ironman- where they end up running a marathon in hot, brutal conditions. There were some extended downhills, and I knew they'd shred my quads but I also wanted to make up some time. I tried to let myself float down those hills.
At mile 7, I had to bribe myself to get to mile 8. I checked my garmin a ton, hoping that the miles would click along. Fortunately, there were a few shaded sections of the course and some clouds rolled in. I passed a couple people and crossed my fingers that I could stay ahead of them. I sang a few Lady Gaga songs in my head. I reminded myself that my comrades from Connecticut were waiting for me and that really, really motivated me to keep running. It made a huuuuge difference to be running as part of a team.
By mile 9, I knew that I'd make it to the finish. I wanted to finish strong. My leg ended with a downhill, and I forced my jello legs to move to the exchange zone. I was elated to hand off to Stacey. I couldn't believe that I survived this race. Apparently, Lake Winnipesaukee means the"smile of the Great Spirit." I think someone was smiling that we had the moxy, the fierceness, and the sense of humor to run all the way around this fine lake.