How To NOT Run A Relay
I Just Felt Like Running.
I once ran a half marathon. Once is the keyword. I thought for sure I had died. My legs were jello. My pace had to be a record for the slowest in Colfax Marathon history.
How many runners do you know that had to wait in line at McDonalds to use the restroom? You can now say one. I also got beat by an 80-year-old lady from Texas. But hey all that matters is that I finished. Looking back perhaps training would have been a good idea. Perhaps not going to Milwaukee to go out and enjoy a couple adult beverages before hopping on a plane to Denver to run half marathon would have been a good idea. But in true Kelly fashion, I decided to wing it. How hard can running 13.1 miles really be? Answer. HARD. Colfax Half-Marathon was the first and last race I will ever do with the word marathon in it. However, I totally give into peer pressure. Actually, all you have to do is ask me to join in on whatever you are doing, and I say yes. Want to go out for a drink? Yes. Want to go skydiving? Yes. Want to open a brewery? Yes. Want to run across Iowa? YEP!
Relay Iowa is a running relay across the state of Iowa. It is the worlds longest relay, and it happens every June. Me being somewhat of a jogger (the "j" is silent) thought it was genius to con some friends and family to join me on this adventure. I saw photos from previous years of the run, and everyone looked like they were having fun, so I thought why not do this and check it off the bucket list. Although running across the state of Iowa was actually never on my bucket list. I find it hard to believe it is on anyone's actual bucket list. With that Thursday, June 8, 2017, myself and 10 other people loaded up a van and bus and made the trek from Bellevue to Sioux City! Running your first relay is a giant learning curve. I made numerous mistakes. Mistakes I look back now, and I can't believe I thought they were good decisions. Like:
Mistake #1. Not Getting A Hotel Room Night Before The Race
Driving through the night to start running a relay at 7:30am the next day is a BIG mistake. Little did I know that from Thursday to Sunday I would be lucky to get 6 hours of sleep total. Never did I think I would be able to lay anywhere and fall asleep. Public park. Check. School parking lot. Check. I literally chose sleep over eating or changing. I would grab a sleeping bag, and wherever I fell down, I would sleep. But it always felt like the second I got in a deep sleep I would have to get up to start running again. Which leads to
Mistake #2 Forgetting To Set An Alarm Clock
There is nothing like someone yelling at you at 4am that you overslept and should be running right now. I woke to my Dad in my face saying I was supposed to be at the checkpoint ready to run. Oh, shizz. I got up eyes closed put on my shoes and took off. Got to the checkpoint asked the random person there which direction to run. They pointed, and I took off. I had no clue where I was. I just started running and hoped soon the van would drive by me.
Mistake #3 Not Training...Again
One would have thought I would have learned my lesson with the whole half-marathon fiasco. Guess not. I thought I could do this with basically no training. Geezz it was like going to be what a few miles at a time. I got this. I didn't get it. Nowhere did I factor in hills, wind, 100+ heat and the size of blisters I would get. Running 5 miles, 3 miles or even 1 mile at a time is super draining.
Mistake #4 Not Wearing Socks
I hate socks. I feel like my feet are suffocating. I haven't worn socks while running for as long as I can remember. My shoes are usually so stank that they can't come in our house. That said one must wear socks when running across Iowa. Don't be me and find out the hard way. Blisters on blisters on blisters.
Mistake #5 Food
I was not thinking when it came to food. I just assumed I would eat the food in each town we were stopping at would have for us. Bad idea. When it's so hot, and you barely have the energy to chew eating anything becomes a job. I now understand those energy gels that are supposed to go in the cute little pockets that are sewn in my shorts.
Mistake #6 Bathroom Issues
This is a TMI one. Don't underestimate your bowel movements. They will get you and all of sudden it's you, cornfield and some butt wipes. At least I remembered to pack the wipes.
Mistake #7 Over Packing
I pretty much wore only 2 outfits during the 3 days of running. Like I said earlier when it came to our breaks I choose sleep over everything. Personal hygiene went out of the window. I apologize to my fellow runners who had to share the van with me. Between my pits and feet, I can only imagine the smell.
Final Mistake #8 will be made when I sign up for the race again! I’m a glutton for punishment. Who wants to run 339 miles, Sioux City to Dubuque with me!
All that said we had a fantastic time did our part in giving back to local communities, and the beauty Iowa bestows is amazing. I would highly endorse this relay to all.