2019 Vermont 100 on 100 Relay Recap
“Just gain as much as you can,” I thought. I was closing in on the little town of Pittsfield, Vermont running at a steady hard pace trying to give my teammate Kara, who had a monster leg with a big climb, as much of a time cushion as possible.
We’d been bouncing around as one of the top three women’s teams in the Vermont 100 on 100 Relay all day and the set up for the final leg felt important. I’m not sure any of us thought we’d be as competitive as we were, but when it became obvious that we were running strong and a contender for a top spot it was as if a switch flipped in each of us. We all dug a little deeper, got a little grittier and ran our hardest.
Running as a team can be incredibly fun, it takes the importance of it beyond just your own satisfaction and gives you something outside yourself to run for. There’s also something really powerful about being surrounded by a group of women who are cheering for you, offering you water and supporting you in every way. Support and comradery are a HUGE performance enhancer.
Our team, Air Supply was formed because at one point we all met on the internet, drawn together by our love of running. Those “internet friends” became real life friends and what better way to celebrate friendship than by running 100 miles together? So we all blocked off the dates and made arrangements to be in Vermont for the relay. Sandra, Angela and myself all hopped the border from New Hampshire. Natalie flew in from California and Laura drove up from New Jersey. Our good friend Allie had to withdraw from her spot at the last minute, but Kara subbed in at the last minute joining us from Maryland via Maine.
The race starts in Stowe, Vermont and Kara kicked it off with a solid run, handing off to Angela. From there we started our leap-frogging journey down Route 100 stopping every 5-10 miles for the exchange points where one runner would hand off to the next.
I’ve participated in several different relays over the years. In 2013 I ran Hood to Coast and I’ve been on several Reach the Beach teams as well. What I REALLY liked about this relay: we were done in a day. We started at 9am and wrapped up just past 11pm, still way past my normal bedtime, but I GOT TO SLEEP IN A REAL BED. Eliminating the overnight part makes the whole experience way more enjoyable.
I was the final runner out of six and knew I’d be running the anchor leg to bring us home to the finish. For the most part all my runs were around that 5 mile mark, give or take a quarter mile. And as with every section of this course, there were plenty of hills, some steep, some not so steep.
I wanted to keep my effort relatively even and hopefully finish faster than I started. In a relay, it is so easy to get caught up in the hype and excitement of the exchange point and start each leg way too fast--which I did on a few occasions. But I ended up succeeding in speeding up throughout the day with a decreasing overall average for each leg: 7:40 min/mi, 7:29 min/mi and 7:26 min/mi.
Fueling for a Relay
When you run three times in one day at totally random points throughout, it can be tough to figure out exactly when and what to eat. I had a rough idea of when I’d be running and did my best to eat three hours prior to each run opting for an RXBar or a piece of pizza, then I would top off my fuel with a Spring Energy gel 10 minutes prior. I knew based on my Inside Tracker results that I needed to focus on balancing my hydration, a key stop at a gas station for some pickles turned out to be key. That pickle juice tasted so good!
Sometimes eating, running and sitting over the course of a day can do a number on your stomach, but I successfully avoided any tummy troubles.
Want to know how the runs went? Check out this little recap video:
Recovery After a Relay
Post relay recovery can be tricky, especially if you’re sleep deprived. On Sunday, I went for a little shakeout run and made sure to re-hydrate. I spent some time rolling with the heated Moji roller that our team received, before hopping in the car and heading home.
On drive to and from the race I had the chance to catch up on all my favorite podcasts listening on my Jaybird Run wireless headphones. Jaybird outfitted each of us with headphones, which if you don’t wear headphones while running are still pretty perfect for a relay because in between your runs you can always pop in the headphones and play white noise to catch a quick snooze between legs.
Check out the race recaps from my teammates:
Have you ever run a relay? If not which relay is on your bucket list?