One of my goals for 2010 was to run in a relay. I tried to pull a couple together last year, but my contact lists of runners was not that long at the time. Luckily I've made a few new runner friends this year (thank God for Twitter!), and when I mentioned that I wanted to run in a relay Kate piped up and said she had a space on a relay she'd planned in Edinburgh. Two of the other things on my list of goals for 2010 are to run in either Scotland, Ireland or Wales and to go to Edinburgh, tick, tick!
The whole experience was great, we went up on Friday night and arrived around midnight. Saturday we went down to the beach and had lunch at a quaint little pub. After a brief respite in the afternoon we did a bit of reconnaissance and checked out the shuttle bus and start line points and saw a little of the sights of Edinburgh. Not enough time to really enjoy the city, but it did whet my appetite!
The relay was four sections over the 26.2 miles; Kate ran the first leg of 8.1 miles, Nicole ran the second leg of 5.4 miles, I ran the third leg of 8.0 miles and Michele ran the last leg of 4.7 miles. It was unbelievably hot at 26C and boy did we feel it! When I got up that morning it was raining outside. I had dressed in shorts and a shimmel to run, but watching the rain at breakfast I changed into capris and a t-shirt. Big mistake, the rain soon cleared up and the sun came out in full force! Who knew Scotland could be so hot!
My pen was next to Michele's, so we got the shuttle bus together at 10:30 and waited anxiously for Nicole to turn up, texting Kate to find out how she got on. We had examined the maps carefully the night before and it showed a fuel station just after the pens, so I left my fuel at home - one less thing to carry. Unfortunately the fuel station was just in front of the handover point so I had to grab one of the Lucozade bottles meant for the returning runners to keep me going; mistake number two.
I took my time in transition, which may have cost the team precious seconds as there wasn't a sensor mat as I left the pen as promised in the race details. There should have been a mat going in to stop the clock and going out to start it again :-(. Oh well!
The run felt a lot harder in the heat, but we had a lot of good support along the way. Well, except for that bit that went through what must have been a farm. The smell in the heat was potent to say the least... Every water station I came to was a blessing and I drank a whole bottle of water from each station along the way, which is a lot for me and indicative of the temperature! As I hit my 8 miles and returned to the next pen I went past local residents on their front lawns with hoses. Would have been great along the course but when I knew I had only seconds till the finish all I was thinking is I'm gonna be walking around dripping wet! I've never been so glad to see a finish line in my life albeit a partial finish line! The heat was murderous and unexpected and I ended up with a great tan line outlining my Garmin!
I must admit it did feel strange having to wait around for someone else to collect my medal; I'm used to be rewarded as soon as I finish running! Running a relay is completely different, the anxiousness you feel for your team members; I found it really hard trying to guess where everyone was and who they were doing, but it was great to feel I had achieve something with the help of three others! Just in case you were wondering here's a pic of the team!