Sunday, June 10, 2007


Great Midwest Relay

Good morning everybody.  After my first real sleep in 36 hours I'm ready to write my race report.  It's a bit intimidating writing about a 190 mile relay race; there was just so much to this, and it's overwhelming.  So I'll just write about my little part of this before Denise and I venture out to improve our sunburns.

(Apologies in advance for the crudity of the maps in this post.  I can't get my Garmin-to-Google Earth converter to work today.  Damned pirate technology.)

First, some introduction.  The Great Midwest Relay is a 190 mile relay race from Madison to Chicago.  With the exception of a few ultra bands, the race was run in teams of 12.  My gang was Dude, Where's My Van?.  

Here they are:

Running Jayhawk, Team Captain









Out of Shape Guy

Sorry, Mike, this is the only picture of you that I have.  But it illustrates just how tired we all were when this event was only halway done!


(This is only a file photo.  How I managed to not take any pictures of someone with whom I spent nearly every minute for 32 hours with is a GMR mystery.

It all began with a party at Barb & Mike's, most of which Barb & Mike were not present for while they navigated the labrynth of Hertz Wait-in-Line.

Barb & Mike kiss goodbye before each driving a van to Madison.  After the night in the hotel, the alternating van nature of the relay would make it so this couple wouldn't get to see each other for more than a few minutes at a time over the next day and a half.

I was the lead-off man, running in the first position.  It was cool starting out in Madison, and everyone on the team came out to watch me kick things off.

Having not properly warmed up or even ran at all for the past couple of days, I decided to run my first race leg conservatively, keeping a steady pace and walking when needed.  The view around Lake Menona was invigorating and the morning breeze off the lake woke me up quickly.  I ended up meeting my 9:30/mile pace goal without really trying, and that put me in a good mood for the rest of the day.

Here team members from both of our vans relax together while waiting for Dawn to finish her first leg.  After that, it was all van 2 for awhile while van 1 went to get a nice pasta lunch.

Dice and Mouse were happy to find free public wi-fi at the second van transfer point, where we all hung out between rounds 1 and 2.

I enjoyed reading "Shalimar the Clown" by Salman Rushdie under a shady tree before it was time to warm up for my second round.

My second round was on an isolated, limited-entry bike path located roughly southwest of Waukesha, ending at the Milwaukee county line.  This time I brought music ("Dance Department" by Paul Van Dyk) and allowed myself to get fully into the experience.

Overcome with emotion for no particular reason, I ran the fastest time of my entire life.  I was almost completely out of control by the time I reached the exit of the bike path, yelling at a lady walking her dog to get out of my way and perhaps scaring our next runner, Jason.  It felt good for once to really give it everything I had.

Our next van transfer point was at a church outside Racine at 3:30 in the morning, where Barb and Mike shared a quick hug under a blanket in the cold.  Van 1 had been allowed a few hours to nap in the church on the floor of a classroom, but I couldn't sleep.  So when the messages came in rapid-fire that it was time for me to get ready for my final leg I was in a particularly foul mood.  Mike doesn't remember me yelling at him, which is good.  Somewhere along the line I lost my favorite pillow.

Generally disoriented and running almost completely in the dark, I decided to take it easy and made no attempt to meet my speed goals.  It was a good fun run, and I don't regret slowing down.  Seeing Lake Michigan in the middle of the night was the most surreal running experience I've had so far.

I finished just as the sun was starting to come up over the lake.  I felt lucky to be done, but not as lucky as Jason, who after two tough runs earned the privilege of an incredible sunrise leg along the lakefront.

After watching Dawnie complete a grueling 7 miler, van 1 was done for the day.  Time for breakfast--our first real meal since lunch the previous day!  (I had an omelet with five kinds of meat.)

After reaching Montrose Harbor, van 1 had some time to kill before the arrival of van2 and the finish of our anchor runner Elizabeth.  We drank beer and hung out while watching some of our favorite teams finish, such as the pirate team and the seemingly unlimited number of teams from Texas.

I was concerned that van 2 wouldn't be able to navigate Evanston and Chicago traffic, and park in the crowded park before the finish, but they made it just in time.  And e-Speed bought us a couple of extra minutes by getting lost a mile from the finish line. In the end we all finished together with smiles on our faces and sunburns on our various parts.

I was feeling ready to go home by the time Captain Barbara presented me with my finisher's medal.  

Fortunately for me, home was just a few blocks away.

Heartfelt thanks to the team of "Dude, Where's My Van?" for inviting me along and encouraging me to do my best, and especially to my crew in van 1 for being so laid back and funny.

And thanks again, Barb, for putting this together.  Sorry I couldn't make it out for karaoke.

As Mike would say, "Jesus, take the wheel."

What a great experience. I'm super jealous. You all look like you had a great time. I'll have to consider this for the future...
But what about toby?
Seriously. Awesome. Post.
That sounds like a such a fun race to do! Congrats on your runs and overall it was a fun and awesome post to read! Love all the pictures and maps!
OMG I love all the shots you took of everyone before the race. Too fun.

Great job this weekend!
awesome post...and boy do i sure look pretty in that first pic...yuck! ;-)

jesus take the wheel for sure....and like mike said, can't forget about toby.
Is that Jesus, take the wheel. Or Jesus. Take the wheel!

You are looking buff, Josh.

This sounds like a great race. Even if you did lose your favorite pillow.
I've so wanted to do one of the relay of these days! I really want to either do hood to coast or reach the beach, but I'd settle even for the run from LaCrosse to Minneapolis just to get a feel for one.
duuuuuuuuuude. was great finally meeting you! I just wish the vans had more time to mingle. I feel like the only chances we got to hang out I was seriously, seriously grumpy from being so freakin' tired.

and for real - thanks for the advice on bringing the ipod for the last leg. I seriously wouldn't have gotten through the first half an hour without it!
That ruled... i love the pic intros! I also appreciated the chuckle of you running in Family Guy pajama bottoms and sandals. Great meeting you dude...
Congrats, sounds like a lot of fun!!
Sounds like fun!!!
Looks like loads of fun. Congrats on the race
Awesome! I'm gonna be a complete nerd here and I say I love all the pics :)
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?