Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reach the Beach: Fantastic Spirit!

Starting line (David, our first runner, I missed my an inch)
I joined the Reach the Beach Team in February/March right as I first started getting back into running.  I am a mother of two sets of twins and not a lot of time to get myself out of the door and run - but, this race kept me going and kept me focused!  Just knowing I was one of a 12 person team, helped me keep at it, even on the hardest days when I just didn't feel like running after hard days. I wasn't and am not the fastest person on the team, but I knew that I could do it!  Each of our team members brought with them a fantastic spirit and  heart to the team.  Even placing #136 out of over 400 teams - yeah!   It was such a great experience and one I hope to repeat again next year!  Here's the details: 

Poul handing the bracelet to Diane.

The Race:
Reach the Beach is a 200 mile race in 24 hours.  We started in Cannon Beach NH and ended at the finish line in Hampton Beach NH.  There are 36 legs that our 12 member team shared, each running 3 legs of the race.  Each leg was from just under two miles to just before 10 miles long.  At each leg, the runner finishing hands off a tracking bracelet to the runner beginning the next leg.  That's how they tracked the teams 8:20 minute pace!

Team Keene to Run!

The Team:
Our team was comprised of four girls and 8 men.  We ranged in our teens to our forties, but all young at heart and ready to race! There was Ryan, Poul, Ivan, David, Brandon, Melanie, Darryl, Kirsten, Michael, Michelle -Me!, Diane, and Geoffrey.  We met several times before the actual race allowing us to decide if we wanted to run for a cause (which we did...coming up), who would be running which legs, who would design our T-shirts, and all of those little things that make the biggest difference.   Personally, I felt each team member brought there own fun and enthusiasm and strength - couldn't of asked for a better team!

Waiting at the next transition spot!

The cause:

Got Bra's? -  Was our fantastic slogan and fundraising focus on our team.  Women and Men are sent to mentally ill facilities and rest homes without what one would call dignity items. For women, one of the most important dignity item not available to women in these facilities are bras.  Thankfully, Cindy, at RangerLady Inc., has been collecting bras and other dignity items for them.  Check out her story here and get on the bra donating band wagon by sending your bras here.

Getting ready to start and get our safety gear ready for check-in!  You couldn't race without them :)
The Start:

We drove in two vans to Cannon/Lincoln NH where we registered our teams, took a team photo, and got ready for our first leg of the race.  There were 36 legs containing 2 to 9 miles in each leg.  The person on leg one would run leg's 1, 13, and 25, giving each person three legs of the race.

Geoffrey reaching the end of his leg, while we all cheer him on!

Transition areas:

Once the race officially began, one member of our van would drive slowly to each transition area.  The transition areas were for runners to come in, hand off the tracking bracelet, and start the next leg of the race.  This was a great opportunity for team members to cheer on and support your team mates!

The bathrooms:

Saying these green rectangle boxes were "bathrooms" is pushing it; but, they were at every transition and made the 200 mile journey a little easier!

Teamwork and Spirit:

My favorite thing about this race was the teamwork, spirit, and support that everyone gave each other.  Our team worked well together and everyone supported each other and cheered each other on.  Even during my legs, most people would give encouraging words as they passed me - saying "good luck" or "good job".  It was really neat.

There was a lot of driving and a lot of 12 passenger vans riding the roads.  Most of us took turns driving each team member to the next transition point.  There were a few sticky parking situations, but everyone was very well behaved on the road.  It was fun to decorate our van with our teams name Keene to Run and our Got Bras? tagline.  Since there were hundreds of vans that all looked exactly the same, it ended up being the only way we could tell our van from the others on many occassions!

The Wait:
Our team was split into two vans with all six of the first runners in Van 1, and Van 2 held the last six runners.  While each van transitioned through each leg, the one who's runners were not racing would have to wait. Most times we drove straight to the leg where our first runner would transition.  This allowed us to either get some sleep, rest, or food.  I only got a full 90 minutes of sleep over the two day race!  And, those were spent on the grass, in the open air, in a sleeping bag.  Not my first choice - really my only - (right Kirsten and Diane!).

Ready for my first glowing run!

My evening run:

This was my favorite leg raced.  I loved it the most, perhaps because I love running in the evening, but mostly because it was my first leg.  If you are woman running at night, your team van had to check on your every mile or so;  knowing that they would be there cheering me on - was such a support!  Funny story -When I entered the end of my leg, my teammate wasn't there.  Funny enough, she was in the porta-potty!  Luckily, it wasn't a long wait!  But it made for a very funny hand-off!

Ryan and Poul having fun at a transition area :)
Almost there Kirsten!
Kirsten taking us to the finish line!  (don't mind my silly face please :)
The fantastic finish!

Despite me looking pretty silly in the photo above, this is one of my favorites!  Kirsten ran our last leg of the race and most of it was on the beach.  Not my favorite place to run, but she did it brilliantly!  I loved that they let the entire team run the last few steps to the finish line with your last leg runner - so fuN!  I have to say that my family was so incredibly supportive.  They all chipped into help with the boys on Friday and drove out to the beach to greet me on Saturday night.  I got 10 glorious hours of sleep that night and have recovered better than I thought.

I'm certain that I will continue to enjoy running.  This just proved how much fun staying active can be!  This mother of two sets of twins - would love to run this race again!

Van 2 :)


Missionary Mom said...

Glad that I could be there to take pictures at the finish.

Shannon Gillman Orr said...

Hooray Michelle!! I'm so glad you had such a great experience! Way to go!

donna said...

Michelle.~ I'm so proud of you....

Melinda said...

This is so awesome! Way to go!