It all started at 8:30am Friday morning when we met up at Abbey's house (our team captain / organizer) in Arlington and then drove out to Mt. Wachusett. Reach the Beach is a 200 mile relay race where most teams have 12 runners running 3 legs each roughly of distance between 2.5 - 8.5 miles each. This version of Reach the Beach started with a climb up Wachusett Mountain (performed by Libby) and went to the Beach in Westport, MA (just south of the bridges to the cape). The way we did it was 2 rental vans each with 6 passengers. One van was on (aka supporting and getting each runner to the next transition), and the second was off (getting dinner, sleeping, etc.). Our van was van 2 or responsible for legs 7-12, 19 - 24, and 31 - 36.
We started off by stopping about 6 or 7 miles up the road and seeing our 2nd and 3rd runners from van 1 and then we headed over to transition area 6 where the 1st runner from our van (2) would be running. Our 1st runner was Will and funny enough he was paired with a runner from the channel 4 team I knew named Lindsay. They played a game of leap frog throughout the leg. We also managed to play game of leap frog with the channel 4 team throughout the race (we emerged victorious, but they started 40 minutes after us so they really won).
Jonathan ran next (who is 6'4'' or something like that) and after taking 2 or 3 strides he was at the next transition and then it was my turn. The run was 6.03 miles (6.01 according to my GPS) from Boylston to Berlin with quite a few rolling hills. After sitting around all day and being a little amp'd up I started off by throwing down 6:10 1st mile and finishing the leg off 39:41 (6:36 / mile). Basically I ran the whole run anerobically and new I would be paying for this over the next two legs.
We played this game (which was common throughout many of the teams) where you keep track the number of people you passed and were passed by. Each pass withheld throughout the segment is called a road kill. I started off this game with 10 passes (+10) and being passed 0 (-0) times which gave me a net score of +10. The last guy I passed was roughly about 30 yards from transition and I all I heard on the way by was "Come on, you got to be kidding me"
Our next runner was Sue, one of our swim coaches (Minuteman Masters) who is also an Ironman triathlete. She threw down just under 6 miles and another one of our swimmers, Chris (insanely fast runner) knocked out a 5.73 mile leg 5:58 pace with a score of +20. Abbey finished off van 2 first set of legs as we entered Hopkinton State Park and then we headed off to dinner (ending up at Uno's in Bellingham at 10pm-ish).
The few hours after dinner were a little painful hanging out at Bellingham High School as we waited for van 1 to finish there 2nd set of legs. It was quite bright and a lot as vans came and went, but it was still nice to be off our feet. Around 1am we started to prep for the arrival of Karen (van 1, 6th person) and by 1:40 or so we off to run our second set.
Will made through the next 6.5 fairly unscathed and then Jonathan got to run his long leg, 8.2 miles in the dark and foggy middle of the night. Still waking up when we got to the next transition, I hit up the porta john and then threw a LED vest on and got to the transition line just as Jonathan showed up.
Leg 2 started at 3:47AM and was 6.93 miles (6.9 on my GPS) and equipped with an LED vest and Head Lamp, I took off. Funny enough I started of roads I have ran on before as it was the same place the Wrentham Duathlon took place. My initial pace felt good (6:45) which I held for the 1st 2 miles. The leg had a couple of rolling hills before it peaked around the 3.5 mile and the next 3.4 had a little bit of a down hill. Somewhere along the line I ran through the center of Foxborough (literally right through a path that cut through the square). In my half a wake, totally out of breath stuper, I decided around mile 5 that I had .93 to go and was time to drop the hammer. Around mile 5.85, I just couldn't understand why I couldn't see the finish that was really at mile 6.93. Realizing my mistake I just bit down and held on finishing the leg in 47:04 as I handed the slap stick braclet (the RTB version of the baton) to Sue. Pace: 6:49, +14, -0.
Sue threw down the next 2.3 miles as it got light out (foggy and cloudy = no sun) followed by Chris 4.4 and Abbey's 3.6 to finish off our leg 2 set. It was starting to get more fun at this point as we were all feeding off of each other and running harder and trying harder then we would have alone.
After a trip to Dunkin Donuts, we crashed at the next transition location for a few hours before Karen arrived and we started out final set. As Will took off it was starting to get warm (and the sun was finally out). After Jonathan finished his leg I took off for my final one: 6.87 (6.96 on my GPS). The first 2 miles went fairly smoothly (6:45 and 6:36) and then the pain really started to set in. I muscled through mile 3 in 6:55, dropped to 6:59 in mile 4 and really was starting to hit the wall (mile 5 was 7:15 and 6 was 7:26). As I crossed route 195 (North Darmouth) my average pace for the leg had finally popped up to 7:01, my goal was to hold 7 or below for all legs. After running through a town called "Hixville" I was finally done and handed off to Sue. 48:52, 7:01, +9, -0.
Sue (and I quote) "wrote a check she could not cash" completely throwing down over the 1st 2 miles of her 6.5 mile leg. She handed off to Chris who ran another ridiculous split and then Abbey finished us off. With roughly 400 to go Chris and I joined in with Abbey and the rest of the team followed with about 50 to go. Total team time: 29:42:23 (8:51 / mile) 87 / 150 overall, 30 / 57 mixed open. After a getting knee deep in the Atlantic, having a lobster sandwich, it was time to head back to reality.
My total distance of 19.87 at an average of 6:49 / mile, +33, -0. I had a blast and want to give a shout out to all my teammates: Libby, Trevor, Julie, Bob, Jess, Karen, Will, Jonathan, Sue, Chris, and Abbey and am looking forward taking on another crazy event like this in the future.
The Beach, Westport, MA