My last post left off with my and my teammates from Van 1 laying in sleeping bags on the cold ground at a transition area in the middle of nowhere New Jersey trying to get some sleep. Whew, that was a long-winded sentence, but that about summarizes it.
We were also preparing for out night-time legs, which was seriously causing me anxiety and was probably one of the reasons I didn’t get a wink of sleep in the sleeping bag. Or it could have been the cackling laughter coming from the Caveman team in their sleeping bags nearby.
Eventually, the sun set and the cold came to get us as we prepared for Van 2 to finish up their first legs. While we were waiting (and warming up in the car), Dave got ready for his run. He looked like a ninja in all black, and put on all the safety gear for the night legs: headlamp, blinky lights, and reflective vest.
I was secretly dreading waiting for my night run, especially since I wouldn’t start until about 1am. It was also the coldest night of the year, with lows in the 20s. Yup, that says 20s. On top of it, I’m sort of really scared to run in the dark and avoid it completely but was finding hope in the fact that my run was only 2.31 miles.
But before I ran, my teammates from Van 1 all had their turn and rocked their legs. In particular, poor Loretta had the single most difficult leg of the entire race. You can see her elevation below, but in summary her elevation rose from about 300ft to 800ft over the course of ~1 mile. In the pitch black dark. I had to include the screen shot just because of what the RTB people said.. calling the leg “Epic.” And it was. Our van was almost rolling backwards it was so steep and she ran the WHOLE thing! She’s awesome.
I got about an hour or so of sleep (maybe) in the car while my teammates were running before I had to prepare for mine. I bundled up since it was freezing out and put on all my safety gear, including Alex‘s knuckle lights which were absolutely amazing and super helpful.
~1:00am: Leg 2: 2.52 miles, 22:42, Average pace 9:00/mile
As I headed out for this leg, I realized my heart was beating really fast. We were in the middle of nowhere in NJ and running in places without street lights, which I’m not familiar with doing. So its safe to say I was super nervous. Luckily the van “hopscotched” each of us for safety (going ahead a bit then waiting for me, then going ahead and waiting, etc).
Of course, I also had hills on this leg. My breathing was more labored than usual and I felt like the cold was making my asthma way worse than usual, on top of being nervous from running in the pitch black. But even with the hills I picked up the pace and tried to finish as fast as I could so I could get back to the super warm van. I’m so glad I had the headlamp for this leg. I had never used one before but it really illuminated the road!
I honestly have no idea where I was running, all I know is that I ended up in a state park as I approached the transition. My teammates were great throughout the whole thing and hopscotched me a bit closer since I was so nervous, especially in the park.
Eventually I came around a bend and saw the transition area in the dark, and passed off the slap bracelet to Issac and van 2! My heart was racing and it took some time for me to catch my breath after. My body also looked like it was steaming since I was so warm and it was so cold out, theres a video somewhere with the proof!
I ended up running more than 2.31 miles (total was 2.52 miles), and just like that the scary nighttime leg was over.
We chatted with Van 2 for a bit before heading off to go find the transition so we could get some sleep. We ended up going to the wrong one first and running into random drunk people in Halloween costumes with test tube shots. I suppose our idea of fun that night was way different than theirs.. we runners are crazy!
Eventually we found the right transition area, parked the van, and bundled up to try to sleep for a few hours. Dave and Loretta offered to sleep outside in the freezing cold (reminder: it was ~25 degrees out), but after a few hours their pillows froze and they came back to the van. It was pretty cold in the van too even with layers and sleeping bags because it wasn’t running while we slept. I like the cold generally, but this was crazy!
We got about 3 hours of sleep before we all eventually woke up and wanted to freshen up. Thankfully there was a Dunkin Donuts nearby for us to get breakfast, coffee, and use a normal bathroom!
Stay tuned for the final leg and the finishline!!
And also my race recap for this weekends Sleepy Hollow 10K.
PS. I’m getting older.. today (Oct 22) is my birthday!!
What did you do this weekend?
Have you ever slept outside in the cold?