Friday, April 11, 2014

I Survived the Gulf Coast Interstate Relay

As it turns out, Laura wasn't so crazy after all. Yes the GCIR was 263 miles of stinky, sweaty, sleepy people locked in a van, but it may be one of the best experiences of my life. So, now I guess I really do know why I let Laura talk me into these things. Let's do a recap.

It all started very magically at a Comfort Inn and Suites in New Orleans East.

Team Buck It
In order to get us pumped up for the race the DJ began playing the most depressing song that ever existed. Two teams had a one o'clock start: Team Buck It (us) and the Ultra Moms on a Mission. LB was our first runner and she was raring to go.

Lunge and stretch!
After they took off, we waited because we had about 8 hours until our half of the team started running. So, we went to the mall and Tar-Jay and took a nap. And then it was geaux time!

Kev was the first runner on our half of the team to start and he was the last runner to experience daylight during the first relay cycle.

Eve (6) passes to Kev (7)
Then, it was my turn. Kev met me at Cricket's Honky Tonk and sent me running. The first part of my leg was down a super dark road in the middle of no where in a town out side of Bay St. Louis, MS. The road dead-ended at what I thought was going to be a beach, but ended up begin a pedestrian path with a three foot high guard rail to the left and a four foot drop into the Bay to your right. It actually wasn't that bad until it started raining. I soon grew accustomed to the rain and decided to let it just be refreshing and deal with it. My optimism was somewhat short lived. The sky fell out and it started thunder storming like crazy. So I kicked into high gear and bolted toward my handoff at Buccaneer State Park, where my team was waiting for me safely in the van ready to wait out the storm.

We stopped for about an hour and 20 minutes for the storm to pass and then resumed running along beaches in the dark. When we got to Biloxi, it was time for IHOP and a power nap. Then we woke up and did it all over again.

The second leg started in Podunk, Alabama. Kev ran across a black top road from some Walgreen's and met up with me at some random truck stop in Theodore, AL. It was lightly raining and the trail was heavy with bugs, but at least it was day light.

Kev (7) passes to me (8)
I took off toward Mobile, AL where my next transition was. This leg of the relay was quite eventful. First, I got chased by dobermans. Next, I got passed by a few other teams, one of which logged me as a "confirmed kill." Then, had a really rough allergy situation because I am apparently allergic to the state of Alabama. As if that wasn't enough, as soon as I crossed the Mobile city limits some idiot tried to run over me. That's right folks, someone thought it would be a fantastic idea to take a silver Toyota Tacoma with a lift kit and yellow KC lights and gun it at me while I was running on the side of the road. It may have been one of the scariest moments of my life. The police were called and I had to stop my leg short and switch to another runner to give a police statement. At that time, I went from begin scared to frustrated when the police insisted that I should just let it go because it was probably some dude that was being silly and messing around.

We continued to run through Mobile and hung out at our last transition point near the USS Alabama at Battleship park. The sun was going down and our last runner, Stretch, had a big leg from Mobile to Daphne in the dark and pouring down rain.

Sightseeing before the last leg of cycle 2.
After a quick shower at the United States Sports Academy, we hopped in the van, decided we were starving, and went for a quick steak. No kidding, we hit a Longhorn Steakhouse with the force of a category 3 hurricane and devoured everything in sight. Then we drove to our next transition and took a two hour nap before the last cycle of the race.

Cycle 3 started around 4 am. We were all pretty tired by then, but I was happy because I had a nice 8 mile run from Orange beach to the Flora Bama. I was hurting. I was slow. I was never so happy to see Val at the exchange point.

Me (8) to Val (9)
It was almost over! Just four more runners to the finish line! We gathered around and made a tunnel as our twelfth man, Stretch, crossed the finish line.

Best part of the race.
Then we got our medals and took a group picture!

We photoshopped Eve in since she had to head back early after her last leg.
It was long. It was tiring. It may have been the craziest things that I have ever done or will do, but it was an amazing experience and I had the time of my life.

GCIR 2014 Team Buck It!

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