I often start to panic when the best-laid plans fall apart rapidly. Such was the case with the Cape Cod Marathon Relay last weekend. About a month ago I had the logistics and team together and my only concern was having a good run. In the week before the event the team went from 5 down to 3, a storm that dropped over 20 inches of snow had rolled in and things were getting ugly at an accelerating rate.
Unfortunately, the only way to calm the panic is to create the worst case scenario. In this case, one or more of us getting killed on the way to, during, or from the race. Every time I come to this conclusion, I reach the same decision – “Well, there are other people giving this a shot, so it can’t be impossible, and if we survive, it will make a great story”
So here’s our story. I failed to get my paperwork submitted in time to run my 10th Falmouth Road Race in August, so I thought it would be fun to put together a Marathon Relay Team. The 26.2 mile course is cut into 5 legs, in miles they are around 3,6,6,5,6. I had a couple lined up as part of the team, but they bailed leaving us down to 3 people. Adam had a family event that weekend and would have bailed, but, like a true Warrior, stuck to his word and said if you really need me I’m in. Unfortunately for him I replied “Yes, we REALLY need you”.
I invited Chip months ago because he was just getting into racing (he has his first half marathon coming up in less than two weeks), so I knew he would have fun with it. He was coming down from New Hampshire so he booked a hotel the night before. I was planning to get up around 4:30am and drive to the Cape, but when the storm rolled in I decided to go down the night before and get a room at the hotel Chip was at. Adam was crashing with a friend on the Cape so at least we were all there. Winds were fierce all night (Chip counseled me to park closer to the building to reduce the chance of the trees on the edge of the parking lot falling on my car).
The good news is that things started to move in our favor a bit from this point. The ride to the start went with no hitches. All of my logistical planning for the transition were overkill (off season traffic makes a HUGE difference on the ability to get around), so all that was left was the running.
I had a laugh talking with Adam about doing a relay. The marathoners are able to look down upon the people that are ONLY doing the relay (since they are not doing the whole 26.), Adam had license to laugh at those people since they were ONLY marathoners to him, having done a 50-mile Ultramarathon earlier in the month.
Adam did the first 2 legs, I set him up to start early so he could get off the Cape first since he was good enough to make the trip out. Chip took the middle leg, and I ran the last 11. Considering that’s the longest run I’ve done this summer, I was happy to finish. Looking back, I probably should have swapped with Chip, I think he’s in better shape than I am, but I did want to take the last leg and there was no way to swing that because we didn’t want anyone to stop and start, and I didn’t want to transition at Wood’s Hole (although I won’t let that discourage me next year).
I also had trouble with my insoles 8 miles in, the footbed is not smooth and it created a pressure point that was really bugging me. I actually took off my sock and that helped, the good news was that there were plenty of puddles on the course, so a quick icebath kept me out of pain long enough to get home.
I’d like to thank Adam and Chip for giving it everything they had. To paraphrase Henry V, I’m “Looking back with scars on my feet at we merry few, the band of brothers.” All in all, our time was pretty terrible at 4:31, but given what it took just to get to the starting line, I’m happy with that. For this year…