Friday, June 30, 2006

Back Country

Alright, I know it's taken me a while to get on the ball and finally post about the Relay, but last week I was halfway through an entry with pictures and all when something happened and I lost the whole thing. It's taken me many days to cool down and not feel like punching the internet.

So...on to the exciting stuff. To catch everyone up, a few months ago we heard through the grapevine (well, Sean Leslie) that The Christmas Box House had put together two teams for the Wasatch Back Relay, which is a 12 person relay that covers 175 miles and about 20-30 hours to complete. Well, three members of one of those teams had dropped off. Christasha and I were excited for the opportunity to jump in and all be on the same team. Little did Christopher know that one of his three legs would be this:

Yes. That is a nearly 1,500ft elevation gain in 3 miles. But since two of the three of us weren't Christopher, we looked forward to the experience.

To keep us peppy throughout the race, we wrote on the car windows like you did in high school for football games.

And we noticed other teams went to further lengths.

At 22 and 24 Christopher and I still manage to get squished together in the very back seat of the car. Sheesh! But we took the time to take a pre race photo:

And apparently, silver iPod minis were the iPod of choice in our car (thanks Logan!).

The race started at 9:00 on Friday morning in Logan, but our car was responsible for the second half of all the legs (6-12, and then 19-24 and 31-36), so we got to the exchange point in Paradise around 12:30 to wait for the other half of our team to arrive. Since we were just seeing them at the main exchanges, we didn't interact a whole lot, but they were 6 really nice guys- some old, some young and one Richard Paul Evans. I know, RICHARD PAUL EVANS WAS ON OUR TEAM!!! But while we were waiting, these guys showed up to cheer us on.


and the Burts.

Did you know Charlotte is going to college in the fall?! And Joey is 16!? And Spencer is in 8th grade?! Man those kids have grown, but it was so fun to see them.

Our runner came in and Tori from our car took off. We went ahead to the next hand off and looked cute in our Ryka stuff.
Paula and Emily,


....and Christopher

wait, what? But yes, Christopher wore Ryka clothing all through the race...or black spandex pants of his own, so go figure.

The boys had shaved off about 30 minutes from our estimated time and Tori was about 5 minutes faster than she expected to be when the slap braclet (acting as the baton) was passed to me.

Little did we know I'd suck it up. Just kidding, I stayed pretty close to my time, but I did have a horrible go for that 4 miles. Running on a gravel road at 2:30 in the afternoon on a blazing hot day is NOT my idea of a good time...I got kinda grumpy. But knowing my team was up ahead waiting for me and knowing that I'd be passing off to Christopher next was cool, so it ended up being fine of course.

Christopher had a tough leg, gravel road and a 1,300 ft elevation gain (seriously, he got hosed cus his 3 legs were all rough). We all felt bad and then we noticed what he got to run by:

Awesome! I should mention that the whole race was beautiful. Mostly we were running on mountain roads or trails, but there were also small towns along the way which were just as interesting and was really delightful.

Christopher made really great time (in his woman shorts) and Tasha was proud of him.

The other boy in our car was named Chris and he was sandwiched between Christopher and Tasha in our van running rotation. Chris finished running up the hill Christopher had started and then he made the steep decent too all in great time. Tasha followed and even in the late afternoon heat that was beating down, she stayed right on time.

While we were waiting for her another team started hopping in this little stream to ice tired legs. Our Tori got in too.

Tasha arrived and Paula took off (I love this picture).

Paula was our last runner and then we'd be done until about midnight. She had a 6.8 mile run and she was a little nervous because the farthest she'd ever run was 6 miles. We met up with her about halfway through her run to cheer her on but before she got there we ran across this guy.

A girl from the other Christmas Box House team got a training injury 3 days before the race and Joey West filled in for her on really short notice...what a guy.

Again, the awesome thing about running a back country race is that this isn't weird to see on the course:

Paula had a long, hard run, but she made it to the exchange in Huntsville and we were proud of her. We then drove through Morgan and while Tasha was sad no one in our car would get to run that section she did tell us all about the haunted church house in Morgan that burned up twice...yikes!

Fazzoli's had a $5 all you can eat pasta buffet set up at East Canyon, and we partook. Christopher, Chris and Paula partaking:

While we were eating someone announced that the two dudes who were RUNNING ALL 175 MILES ALONE were passing by. Man, that is amazing.

It was pretty close to 8:00 at this point and our bodies were tired. A lot of people were setting up camps to get some rest before the teams made it to the East Canyon later on that night. Lukily for us, these familiar faces showed up:

Not only did Bev offer to run a leg of the race, but they brought us keys to their East Canyon cabin so that instead of doing this:

we got to do this:

Thanks Bev and Bill! Jayne and Greg also stopped by with a couple much needed 6 packs of Gadorade and mouth wash and M&Ms AND blankets and pillows. It was really, really kind of them.

We all tried to sleep, but didn't really (who can sleep at 10:00 at night anyway?), but we did at least rest and relax. Right about on schedule our other car and runners arrived and Tori took off about 12:30. I started my leg about 1:20 and I was excited because when do you get to run alone in the middle of the night in the mountains? I had a 7 mile run -which is my favorite distance- with a nice, slight decline. The night was moonless but the stars were so bright and beautiful that the sky felt close to me. The air was crisp, the mountains felt safe, and Outkast was in my head; I just felt totally in my element. By the time I hit the exchange it was 2:30 and everyone was basically asleep or trying to sleep (cus by 2:00 your body thinks it's time to sleep, not run). Except Christopher, he was obviously excited to start his leg (well, and Tasha cus she took this picture).

He did well again and while the other Chris was running we waited at the exchange point. We saw some guys from the BYU cross country team also waiting for their teammate. And that was cool with us, until we found out their team had only started the relay at 5:00 on Friday. So there we were at the same point and we had started a full 8 hours before them! But whatever, we didn't feel dumb or slow.

I took this picture to show what it was like during those night legs of the race. Those hallogen looking light dots are runners at different distances away on the road and that is pretty much all you could see coming, it was v. cool.

Tasha got ready to go and I remembered that really tired Tasha is probably what really drunk Tasha would be like, it's awesome! We made a lot of jokes about her looking like a ninja in all that black, but really...they were much funnier at the time than they would be if I retold them now.

Christopher amused himself by flashing his shinny, spandex rear end at me

And this is what 4:30 in the morning looked like for me

But maybe that's just because I didn't have a Ryka jacket on, cus look how cute and peppy Tori and Paula still look

Tasha took off on 6 miles and I actually fell asleep and didn't wake up until after Paula was done too. All of us were super tired at that point, so we found a church parking lot and passed out. Tori took her sleeping bag out on the lawn but the rest of us just fell asleep right in their seats.

The few hours sleep did us all a world of good and when we woke up we still had enough time to grab some breakfast before starting our last legs of the race.

We met up with the rest of the team at our final exchange and I totally missed a great photo moment when Richard Paul Evans was giving Christasha advice (it's okay, there is a another good photo coming up at the end). Tori and I both pounded out our final 4 mile and 6 mile legs and these two showed up for moral support.

And if there was a time for moral support, it was in these final legs. It's great to think of what your team has accomplished in covering all that ground and you've had such a fun time doing it, but man you body is like "hello, why are we doing this still? I think I'm done thank you." So having Tara and Randy show up was really great.

Then it was Christopher's turn. Remember this guy?

It was time. On the information sheet that listed the names of each of the legs, this one was called "You've Got to Be Kidding Me!" Yikes. So it was decided that we'd meet up with him about every 1/2 mile to water him down.
Smell you later Christopher.

At this point there were about 4 other teams right at the same place we were and it was cool how friendly and supportive we all became. I wish I could have taken a picture to show how crazy this incline was (I realized later I should have shot looking up ahead instead of shooting down, but whatever). Christopher is in about the middle here, the orange shirt spot.

In really great time for that kind of run, and at 1:00 in the afternoon no less, Christopher finished and passed off to Chris. Apparently this is how it feels to be done with a run like that.

Chris actually had a really hard run too covering in 4 miles the same kind of elevation gain Christopher had in his 3 miles. But he also did really well and all that was left of the whole race were Tasha and Tori who would finish up with the downhill equivalent of the boys' 7 miles uphill.

Seriously though, look how beautiful it was! And how excited Tasha was to run her final leg!

Here is the crazy switchback road she had to run down. My knees hurt looking at it.

Tasha handed off to Paula and then we met up with the rest of our team to wait for Paula and run across the finish line all together.
Here we come...

Christopher is so excited to be running next to Richard Paul Evans!

Man oh man, it was awesome to be done!

Even though we looked dead.

And it was especially awesome since there were familiar faces waiting for us at the finish line (Chuck too even though there isn't a picture of him).

All in all it was a really great experience. And of course, Christasha and i are excited to put together a Clifford team for next year. So some of you better get training!

Monday, June 26, 2006

coming soon...

Thanks for the encouragement Kate, we all survived! 30 hours, 12 people and 175 miles later, Christopher and Tasha and I are waddling around like old people, but we made it through the Wasatch Backcountry Relay. I have all sorts of pictures and details coming just as soon as I can get them uploaded and can think of clever captions.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Run it!

I did a 5 mile race last night with my friends Corey and Carrie. This is to inspire Emily and Christpher and Tasha as they get ready for their MUCH HARDER AND LONGER race.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Elizabeth Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ready for it? Here you go sister.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

these are lame. but cool.

i don't know what's with the keane design.
but it's weird.

but their shirts are cool.
especially the girly octopus one.
(in a medium size.)