April Training Reflections
This blog post is a little late, but free time has been at a premium between moving and starting a new career. April was a mostly solid training month until the last week and a half or so where long runs were replaced with filling a moving truck, and then I spent 3 days in a car driving across the country to Oregon.
The highlight of April was the River to River Relay in Southern Illinois. Teams of eight run 80 miles from the Mississippi River to the Ohio River. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it, but had a blast being stuck in a van all day with great friends. The day started around 430am. We all met in the hotel lobby in Marion, IL, which is where packet pickup was the previous day. Due to the remoteness of the relay route, Marion was actually over an hour from the starting line. It was still dark when we got close to the starting area, but you could see the line of headlights of the other vans making there way through the hills in the distance. The whole day was comprised of about 50 other vans dropping a runner off and then leap frogging to the next relay point to pickup/drop off runners. In the van, you’re cheering runners as you pass them and fueling/recovering for and from your own legs. The van started out organized, but very quickly became a chaotic array of sports bottles, snacks, and sprawled out sweaty runners. The official results still aren’t posted yet so I can’t share the specifics or placing, but we were one of the last teams to cross the finish line before the race was called due to severe weather. We managed to go the entire day without even getting rained on, but our 8th runner ran the last leg in the rain. Within minutes of crossing the finish line the rain became a downpour, and shortly thereafter a hail storm. It had to be very frustrating for teams to put in an 8 to 10 hour day (depending on their start time) only to be told to clear the course and drive to safety. Overall, it was an amazing experience, and our entire team of runners ran their heart out. After spending an entire day where my entire universe was comprised of running, supporting other runners, and constantly being active and on the go, I almost didn’t know what to do with myself the next day. Getting up and sipping coffee in a quiet house just didn’t hold the same appeal. I definitely missed the adrenaline rush of running and competing, and the positive and supportive environment of the relay van.
This was my last hoorah with my Illinois running family, and words can’t describe how much they’ll be missed. They are the reason I’m the runner I am today, or even a runner at all.