Don't think I was very responsive to Scott as he tried to wake me from my 'sweet slumber' at East Canyon prior to running our 2nd set of legs. I think he had to shake me for a while to get any response. Since I wasn't the one responsible for making sure we were awake to run, and remembering the commotion and noise of East Canyon from previous years I had brought ear plugs to try to help me sleep a bit better. The earplugs did help somewhat but it still took me a while to fall asleep. But when I finally did go to sleep I seemed to sleep pretty deep although it was probably for only an hour at most.
Wasn't sure how my legs would feel after the 5K-like run of my 1st leg. However I was pleasantly surprised that once I got warmed up a bit I actually felt pretty fresh. I really think the higher mileage and I've put in this year, the hills runs, and all the 2-a-day/3-a-day runs helped immensely.
Leg 20: Into Henefer, 7.0 miles, 47:00
I was eager and excited to run this leg as typically the 2nd leg has been my favorite in years past with the wonderful cool temps of the early AM hours (turns out that although I thoroughly enjoyed this run I ended up choosing leg 3 as my favorite for this year...see below). I also thoroughly enjoy running down canyons in the dark, the last couple of years during the summer months the Spanish Fork/Salem crew typically does a weekly run down Payson Canyon and I really have come to enjoy these runs. This year I intentionally started running Payson earlier than usual with the hope of being able to push hard on the fairly steep downhill sections of this leg that occur during the first 4 miles or so.
After getting the handoff from Scott I eased in to the run with Rod pacing me on the bike. The evening was beautiful and I was glad I took the time to gaze at the stars a bit and enjoy the night sky and air a bit rather than focus solely on the run. My projected pace was around 6:45 but with a mix of mostly downhill but 2-3 miles of flat to slightly uphill I wasn't sure how best to pace myself. I decided to ignore the Garmin for the most part and just run by feel and try for an even effort.
The first 3 miles felt similar to me as running down Payson Canyon, maybe not quite as steep. I held a fairly steady pace that felt right and ended up being around 6:20. I enjoyed this section quite a bit as the miles flew by and I enjoyed Rod's company and conversation. One dissapointment during this stretch was that there were no other runner's anywhere in sight. I had hoped by this point in the race we would start seeing quite a few of the slower runners that I could focus on passing, but for a while it seemed like Rod and I were the only people in the world. We did finally come up on a female runner who was actually walking down the hill which I thought was strange. I found I didn't derive much satisfaction passing a walker.
During mile 4 some sections of the leg starting flattening out with a few minor uphill 'bumps' as well. My pace slowed to 6:45 for this mile but I at least we started seeing a few more runners ahead and was able to pass 1 or 2.
Miles 5 thru 7 were a bit tougher and were mostly flat to slightly uphill as we came down into Henefer and ran through the town. I was feeling really good at mile 5-6 and told this to Rod. He continually motivated me by pointing out the runners ahead and encouraged me to focus my energy on passing some more runners. Not sure how many more we passed but it was probably around 4-6. Ended up speeding up to a 6:36 pace for mile 5 even though I think it was a flatter/harder mile than 4. Mile 6 started to get a bit tougher and I slowed to 7:00 pace. During the last mile my body wanted to slow down a bit but with Rod's encouragement and with a few more 'roadkill' opportunities I was able to hold the 7:00 pace thru to the finish even though there was a pretty good uphill stretch during this section.
All in all this was a very invigorating, exhilarating run. I ended up finishing right around 47 minutes at an average pace of 6:43 and beating my projected time by 20 seconds.
Don't remember alot about the rest of the Van 2 legs during this 2nd set as sleepiness and post-run fatigue kept me in a brain dead state most of the time. I like how most all the legs of this set are on straight roads with very few curves allowing me to forgo my navigational duties somewhat and rest a bit extra.
By the time we finished up our 2nd legs it was getting light as Will ran very strong again into Rockport to finish up and handoff to Van 1. We got over to Park City as quick as we could and thanks to Van 1's directions were able to find our room pretty quick. As Terry mentioned in his blog, the shower felt great but the sleep was even better except for the crazy drunk guy next door who would freak out any time we would make the slightest noise.
Leg 32: Charleston to Wasatch Mtn St. Park: 6.1 miles, 46:23
I was pleased upon waking up after a short nap in Park City that my legs felt like they still had a little bit of zip, although the downhill run a few hours earlier had made my quads/shins a little sore. I was nervous about this leg that although not nearly as nasty as the 2 insane legs that follow it, it's pretty long for a 3rd leg and has a generally uphill tone the entire way.
I have never been able to come close to my projected time the last 2 years on the 3rd leg but was hoping to buck this trend. Although the weather hadn't yet warmed up to highs for the day it was still starting to get pretty hot. As I had done for the first leg I soaked my hat and shirt in cool water just before starting the leg. I think this helped me out during the first 3 miles until I dried up.
I promised myself I would not make the same mistake as I made in the 1st leg my going out too fast. My intention was to run at close to the projected pace (7:40-7:45) and hope that I would still have some gas in the tank for the last mile or so. I cheated a little bit and ran the 1st 2 miles at a steady 7:36 pace. These miles were a little flatter than the following miles so I think this was about the right pace to run.
What was great about this entire run was that we had finally caught up to the mass of slower runners, so for those of us running a little quicker it was a veritable 'roadkill fiesta'. I lost count but I'm thinking I must have passed 25-40 runners during this run, sometimes passing 4-5 runners at a time as a lot of the slower runners seemed to be clumped together.
But the real fun started during mile 3. While I was having the fun of passing the slower teams I started noticing footsteps behind me that were obviously getting closer! I was fortunate at this point to have not been passed by anyone during the 1st 2 legs and was really wanting to finish the entire relay without being road-killed. Sometime during mile 3 the 2 runners on my tail actually passed me, but immediately after doing so one of the guys immediately slowed down and I passed him easily. I guess he must have used all his energy at this point and had to slow. The other young, shirtless guy who passed also slowed down a little bit so that I caught up to him and we began to run together. Ended up slowing down the pace a bit for mile 3 running a 7:42.
The rest of the way I ran with shirtless guy, both of us enjoying all the roadkill. We talked a little bit but not much as the miles had gotten tougher and the weather hotter. My wet hat and shirt had dried up by this point and wasn't helping me anymore. My splits for miles 4, 5, 6 were 7:43, 7:45, and 7:46 respectively.
As I turned the corner with the exchange in sight and the last .1 miles I finally made my move on shirtless dude and thought I had him, when he charges back strong and as far as I can tell we end in a virtual tie. My/our pace for the last .10 was 6:30. Ended up with a time of 46:23 beating my projected time by 35 seconds and feeling very pleased with the run. I debated which of legs 2 or 3 were my favorites but I have to say this one wins the prize, although this was a very difficult run for me. The roadkill and the battle-with-shirtless-dude make it my #1.
The only disappointment for both me and shirtless dude was that after we charged into the handoff point with some decent speed, neither of us had anyone to hand off to! Turns out with all the heavy traffic it was tough for vans to get to the next checkpoint and Terry was finishing up some work in the porta-potty. I waited for what seemed like forever but in reality wasn't that long. We told Terry he was only 30 seconds delayed but after doing the math it turns out it was more like 2 minutes. This ended up being a very minor delay and had no bearing whatsoever on our overall placing and such. Will and I did agree to punish Terry a bit by giving all of this time to him. This is why the time he actually ran and the time recorded in our final results differ by around 2 minutes. So I hope Terry doesn't feel too bad and he still is my running 'hero'.
Thanks to everyone on the team for a great 2007 relay! Looking forward to next year!