Who knew staying up most of the night and running in fog along NYS Route 9 would be the way to get me back to Lake Placid? I knew I would try to make that happen. I just never knew it would be this year.
Back in March, Jen posted on Facebook that her Ragnar Adirondacks team needed a runner. I jumped on the chance and had a check for my registration fee in the mail as quickly as I could. I, then, started looking at training plans and combining running RagnarADK and my fall marathon training.
My adventure started Thursday morning as I took the bus from Binghamton to Albany. I haven’t taken a bus in ages but took one frequently as a teen and while in college. I have bused to Boston and on other trips, also. Boston may have been my last bus trip and it started outside Lake Placid.
After getting off the bus on the campus of SUNY Albany, I was picked up by my teammate Loretta. We were going to pick up Meredith and then go to the rental company and get the vans. After getting the vans, Meredith went to her home and Loretta and I to hers. We were all meeting at Dayna’s for pasta (this post has yet to come but will shortly) and van decorating.
I live in a fairly rural area. I was amazed by the traffic in Albany. We were in traffic on interstates and on town roads. Makes me realize why I do not live in a city.
We had sponsor provided pasta (you can find out all about Giovanni Rana pasta here). And, then we headed out to the vans. We put green lights in the vans. We used car chalk to draw on them. There were all kinds of turtle items written on the vans. Cheryl is quite the artist and drew on the vans. She also wrote Herd O’ Turtles on both hoods along with a Ragnar emblem.
We left Dayna’s by 8 pm and made a quick stop at Wal-Mart to pick up bananas and water for Friday and got back to Loretta’s. After getting her bag and mine in the car top carrier, we headed to bed as we were planning on being up at 3 am. Jen was to be at Loretta’s by 3:30. We were picking up Nikki and Alex, our driver – poor man had six women telling him where to go all weekend, at 3:45 and we were picking up Stephanie and Cheryl at 4. Full van by 4 am and on the road to Saratoga Springs.
It’s really dark at the end of September in Saratoga Springs. Here is what things looked like at the very start at 6 am.
Now, I was runner six so there was a lot of cheering to do before I even started worrying about running. By the time runner two started, it was daylight but not past 7:30 so we all still had our vests on. Check out a couple of exchanges before I started worrying about my first run.
Exchange 5, where I would finally begin my first leg, was at the back entrance to the race track in Saratoga Springs. It was somewhere around 10:30 am and I had been up for seven plus hours. I do not normally wait that long to run but I was good with this. The temps were probably around 60F and it was very overcast. I had thought the cloud cover would burn off prior to my run but I think I am secretly thankful it did not. I had loaded a tracking app on my phone so my teammates had some idea where I was as I was running. I got out of the van, got a teammate to cross me, went to the portapotty and stood waiting on Cheryl to slap that bracelet on my wrist.
I am not use to sidewalks. I had to run on sidewalks on a good portion of the beginning of my leg. That is not normal for me as there are not sidewalks near my house. The roads near my house barely have shoulders. On top of being thrown by sidewalks, I am truly not use to running in cities. I was a bit taken aback by the traffic and having to wait at intersections. This does not happen where I run daily either. Both had me very concerned about my time. Needless to say, I should have been more concerned about the trail portion of my run. While there were not a lot of roots in the way, this trail had loose stone and was downhill. I was expecting – when the map said road ends in trail – a paved bike type trail. Not a chance. No big deal. This slowed me a bit as the last thing I wanted was to turn an ankle first thing but I made it back to road with no issues.
Like being runner six in van 1, Meredith was anxious to get started on her run as she was runner seven or the first in van 2. Thankfully, Loretta and Cheryl could tell where I was as I had to wait to get across the road into Gavin Park before handing off that slap bracelet.
As this is getting long, I will put my second and third legs in a second post tomorrow. One thing I have discovered is I am tired even though my legs seem to be moving fine now.