Every year I have every intention of taking a thousand pictures to capture every moment, but every year (including this one) I get so caught up in the whirlwind and the experience that I completely forget about photographically documenting anything. And it turns out I’m totally okay with that because it means I was present. I did capture a bit of video at our starting point, and as we crossed the finish line, so I’ll try to put that into a vlog soon.
Other than that, this was a fantastic year! We walked 130 miles in under 31 hours! The weather was perfect: warm but breezy. I of course, per my usual whiteness, have a lovely farmer’s burn-tan (wear your sunscreen kids!) that I got on my first 5 mile walk along a gravel, forest lined road, complete with scary-azz backwoods dwellings that scared the bejesus out of me because I have a highly overactive imagination and I’ve watched one to many teen horror movies. I’m sure the people who lived there are lovely
zombies people though. In case you’re wondering, this was indeed in broad daylight.
We finished our six legs around 9pm and headed to our sleeping exchange where we huddled together on a tarp under the gorgeous star filled sky, in bone chilling mountain air. I think we got 2 hours of sleep, but seriously, if you’ve never done a relay like this, it’s totally all the sleep you need! Adrenaline and sleepless delirium are powerful friends.
I started my 2nd leg around 5:30am (i think). By this time we’d made it almost through the mountains and were now entering a lovely countryside. I’d been told by several people that this 8 mile leg was one of the prettiest in the whole race, so I was excited to see the sunrise over the farmlands. The baton (bright orange 80’s slap bracelet!) was handed off to me and I charged up the hill in my headlamp, with my yellow construction reflective vest and flashing red bike lights (front and back) securely in place.
Near the top of the hill I felt something hitting my leg and looked down to see my shoelace untied. I could hear footsteps rapidly approaching behind me, so I stepped off the road and into the gravel to tie my shoe and let the other walker pass. Then I hopped back onto the black top and continued to move my short chubby legs as fast as they would go. Then the pain started. It was dull at first, on the side of my right foot and I decided to just keep walking hoping it would work itself out. Then the shooting pain started all along the side of my foot and into my ankle. Awesome.
I stopped for a few seconds and did some ankle rotations and tried to get it to crack, hoping that would fix it. I wasn’t going to quit! At about 1.5 miles my van stopped to cheer me on and check on me. I told them my foot hurt, but to go up another mile or so. I’d try to walk it off. At 2.5 miles I was limping but still hoping it would go away. At 3 miles my vanmate asked if she needed to take over, but I told her to drive up another mile or so. I’d be fine.
At 4.1 miles I finally listened to the voice in my head that kept saying ‘STOP STOP STOP, YOU’RE MAKING IT WORSE!’ and handed my vest over to my teammate to complete the 8 miles.
By the time we got to the next exchange, I could barely walk. I hobbled around as best I could while we waited, but it wasn’t pretty. Luckily, my left foot plantar faciitis didn’t hurt at all… so there’s that to be thankful for.
At the end of it all, I sucked it up and walked across the sand of Seaside, Oregon to the finish line with my awesome teammates! We got our medals, took our team photos, then hightailed it away from the soon-to-be craziness (we’d finished early enough that most teams were still racing!) and headed for home-sweet-home. Another relay in the bag. Another set of unforgettable memories to cherish.
I’d do it again! My foot right now, however, would like me to make a promise to myself that I will take better care of my feet by losing weight… pronto.
Duly noted, foot. Duly noted.