Back to back race weekends are not something I am used to and likely not something I would recommend. In short, my body and mind are exhausted, but it was so worth it.
If you’re from the area and you are a runner chances are that you’ve heard of the Seneca7 relay race. It’s fairly new (5 years old) and this is my second year participating in the fun.
Last year I was just on the mend from bronchitis by race day, this year I was facing a similar fate. My cough was finally gone, but my body was still under-conditioned due to the 3 week hiatus and not quite ready for another long day of racing. I was nervous and being runner 7 didn’t help calm my nerves. I always get nervous before a big race (even if the outcome doesn’t matter) and I had to sit around and watch every other runner on my team complete their legs before I had a chance at my own.
Leg #7: 4.1 miles, 00:49:06, 12:01 pace
When it finally came time for leg#7 I was ready (or at least I thought I was). I knew my distance was 4.1 miles, but I failed to fully checkout the elevation chart for that first leg. Can you guess what it looked like??
It was a lovely 4.1 miles of an uphill climb. It wasn’t the worst of hills, but for someone like me who was still physically recovering from a hilly half, it was brutal. Not the way I envisioned starting out my long day of racing. Seeing my finish pace of 12min/mile was defeating. How could I have slowed down so much since last year? What was going on?
In short, hills suck. They suck the life and energy out of every muscle in my body and are a literal pain in my ass.
Leg#14: 3.1 miles, 00:35:24, 11:26 pace
Leg 14 felt a lot better, but I still couldn’t get past the mental game that was going on in my head. Why on earth was I still moving so slow? Why were so many people passing me while looking so light on their feet? Why couldn’t I push myself more? I’m used to being slow, but back to back weekends of getting slapped in the face with the slow stick was definitely starting to take its toll on my mind.
Leg #21: 3.7 miles, 00:43:13, 11:45 pace
My final leg was a relief, not because it was easier, but because I was that much closer to ending such a long day. I was spent and all I wanted to do was drive home and get cozy with my bed and pillow. Being the last runner was so much more challenging than I had anticipated. Watching each of my teammates finish their final legs while I was still awaiting mine had me wishing I was runner 1.
I sucked it up and finished off as strong as I could. By the time I reached the team reunification point I was running on E, but felt a final kick of power set in. I picked up my pace for the last quarter mile and lead my team across the finish. I was done. We were done. FINALLY. Team Prepping For The Zombie Apocalypse had finished their last year with the namesake.