A few months ago there was a posting on the Lunachix message boards asking for someone to run in two legs of the Mt. Si Relay on April 22. I had started trail running in the early spring and had fallen in love with it. I really wanted to do an ultra, but decided that it wasn't in the cards for this year. So when I emailed Michelle back and said I'd be interested, I was on pins and needles waiting for her reply.

She emailed me back a few days later and said they'd love to have me. I committed and I can't TELL you how excited I was! I love trying new things, so a relay would fit that bill. I've been hoping to make friends with more active women, so being a part of a team would fit THAT bill. I love running trails and (obviously) I love racing!

Saturday I was as stressed as I have ever been before a race. My poor husband! I was just so sure I'd do something to let my team down! I'd sleep late, or break a leg, or have an allergic reaction to some exotic pocket pet or something. I made my list and checked it twice, thrice, and four times.

Sunday morning I got up at 3:00 ready to rumble! Had my breakfast of Kashi Puffs and Strawberry Fields cereals. I tried to down a cup of coffee, but it just didn't taste good. I guess I should have known then that something was up.

Roy and I made our way to Lisa's house. He was dropping me off there and I'd ride up with Lisa and Jennifer to the race start. We got packed up and headed out, arriving at Snoqualmie Elementary School.

When we got there Vinette was waiting for us along with Susan. So three of our team were there. Vinette told us that Tina was bringing Brooke and they might be late, so we needed to figure out who would run the first leg if they didn't get here on time. I volunteered to do it, figuring it would only add a mile total. I ran around like a crazy woman gathering my gear as the first leg was 8 miles and I knew I'd need water.

Fortunately Tina and Brooke showed up JUST in time to get her out on the course! Whew! I had to really go to the bathroom and I wasn't looking forward to running 8 miles before hitting the head!

After cheering Brooke and Anne onto the start, we hopped in Vinette's SUV and headed out to Tina's house to pick up some stuff she'd forgotten, then off to the next exchange site. We parked and while I was in the parking lot someone called out my name, "Tory! Is that you?" A lady I didn't recognize came towards me and says "It's me! Betsy! I recognized you from your website!" How nice to meet her! She's one of the women who reads my blog! Small world!

At the hand off Brooke high fived Susan and Susan took off. I got to meet Brooke for the first time. We piled into the SUV and headed in to get some coffee. I was noticing my shoulders were sure tight and achey for some reason, but I chalked it up to having slept funny. I had a breakfast cookie and spent some time getting to know the ladies.

We went out to Remlinger Farms for the next exchange. What a cool place! I definitely want to visit there when it's open! They have horses and emus! Susan ran in, looking great, and Tina took off! We took a little trip into town for coffee, and then headed back to the farm as that was the next exchange as well. As Tina ran in, I high fived her and headed into the beautiful wooded trails!

I don't think anything can really describe how beautiful the trails in the Snoqualmie area are. I had left my camera with Vinette so I didn't get any pictures. The birds were singing, other runners were running towards me (later waves finishing leg three) and shouting encouragement. It was great.

Unfortunately about half an hour before my leg, I started feeling more achey. As I was standing outside, I crossed my arms over my tummy and immediately had that sinking feeling...my abdomen was tender and if I wasn't mistaken, I was getting "Hankreatitis". DAMN! Of all days!

I ran on trying to ignore the pain and actually did find that after I got going, it subsided a bit. I had my Garmin on and, for some reason, I thought I was doing 4.6 miles, so when I hit 4 miles I pushed it to finish strong. Only when I'd passed .6 miles did I realize "Oh wait, it's 5.7 miles!" Doh!

Oh well! Finished up and high fived Vinette and hollered after her as she ran into leg five. I guzzled a bottle of water and headed back towards the SUV. I was actually feeling a little better and was hoping that it might be going away.

Unfortunately it didn't. I could go on about how rotten I felt, but let's just suffice to say that for the next few hours I felt really horrible, but tried to hide it. I wasn't letting my Racygirls down! I felt bad that when we were at Rattlesnake Lake I didn't get out to go see the lake, but I was really feeling bad at that point and just needed to stay warm. (I get really susceptible to cold when this is going on.) I called Roy and told him what was going on, cried a little, but somehow felt better after that. I told him I'd be taking off for my 7 mile leg in about 20 minutes, and he said he'd pray for me. Thank you honies! I so needed to hear that!

We waited at the exchange for Tina to come in. The weather had broken, so I changed my shirt and jacket for a long sleeved tech shirt. Right before I started, though, it just started to POUR! I'd left my rain jacket in the car, so Vinette offered me hers. I refused a few times, but then as it kept going I figured I'd better take it. I was carrying my cell phone on this one...just in case, and didn't want the rain to kill it.

Tina ran in, looking awesome, and I ran out. I had been standing at the exchange totally shivering and feeling puny, but as soon as I started to run the pain subsided and I feel into the cadence. I listened to Phedippidations Podcast on my Nano and cheered as Steve Runner ran the 111th Boston Marathon. The first five miles were completely easy. I felt like I was floating, effortless. It was a downhill leg, but not so steep that it killed my quads. Again it was amazingly beautiful.

Unfortunately I started feeling bad again the last two miles...not horrible, but enough to slow me down a bit. However passing ultra runners made me tell myself to "shut up and buck up". I encouraged each one as I passed. One girl said to me, "Do you know how much farther it is?" I said "One mile to the next exchange and I think the last leg is 3.5 miles, so I'd say about 4.5 miles."

She looked so pitiful, "I just want to be done." Yeah, I bet! She'd already run a marathon!

I finished feeling pretty okay, handed off to Vinette, swallowed down some water, and stood around chatting with the other Racy Girls. We jumped in the SUV and headed to the finish line area, ready to cheer in Vinette.

As Vinette came in I snapped a few pictures of her. We were done in 8 hours 56 minutes 9 seconds! What an experience! I was so glad I'd been able to do this, and I can't wait to do it again!

We grabbed some bananas smeared with peanut butter (yum) and hung around waiting for the other team to finish up. They finished just a bit after we did, looking strong!

After the race some of us headed to Ann's house for hot tubs and chicken! Steve makes amazing chicken! The hot tub (aside from the company) was the highlight, though. Man I need to get me one of those. Often when I'm not feeling well I take a few hot baths a day to soak out the achies. Man that tub just did the trick! I could have stayed in there all night!

What would I do differently:
-Not worry so much
-Not get sick (ha!)
-Bring my damn pain pills! I had thought about it, but left them at the last minute. I didn't think about the fact that I'd be sitting around afterwards and could have taken them then! Live and learn! (I really wasn't anticipating an attack, though.)

-Meeting new people
-Gorgeous scenery
-Hot tubs

-I hate my stupid pancreas

Remlinger Farms before my first leg.

The rest of my team: Tina, Brooke, Vinette, and Susan


Me running in from leg four. Isn't the scenery amazing?

Vinette and I between legs


Tina high fives me at the "hand off" as I head into the 9th leg.

I'm all done!!

Almost all the RacyGirls!
Vinette, Dana, Susan, Tina, Ann, Me, Lisa, Jennifer and (I think) Melissa