For those who don't know anything about this race, here's a quick summary:
- We run 190 miles (Logan to Park City) through lovely canyons and over mountains and everything!
- You run in a team of 12 (2 vanloads of 6 people) and each runner runs 3 legs of the race. Each leg is about 3-9 miles and they all vary in difficulty.
- There is a baton, which is actually a slap bracelet, and there is always some member of your team running- even in the middle of the night! The race takes 2 days!
- Each team is responsible for supporting their own runners with drinks, supplies, etc. You basically drive up to the runner and ask what they need several times throughout their run. You run water, Gatorade, GU (in my case- always chapstick and a kleenex much to my team's amusement) across the street to them- which all the other vans are doing. It makes for some seriously crazy street situations as you can imagine.
Here are a few interesting things from my experience:
- There were vans, buses, and Suburbans EVERYWHERE- all decorated according to their team name and theme. And people went all out! One truck was converted into a huge mammoth- humongous tusks and all. Many were completely covered in paint, or tape, or posters, or vinyl letters and pictures. It was amazing. Every clever thing you could ever think of that has to do with running was on some van or another!
- For those of you who have been asking- no there was never any stinkiness or B.O. smell! When I got home, Matt said I only smelled like sunscreen. Amazing, huh?
- Our van got a break for 5 hours. We set up camp in a church parking lot and tried to catch some Z's. None of us actually slept except for Tom, who was then rudely awoken by the sprinkler system.
- I had great team members. Or van consisted of Ben, Tom, Rick, Emily, Danna and me. Aka: (respectively) our fearless leader, a most delightful and pleasant person, easy-going nice guy who runs super fast, lovely girl who was tough as nails, and BFF.
- The PTA in one town had commandeered the high school and were selling tickets to sleep in the school, use the shower, eat, and go to the flushing restrooms. Heartless and genius at the same time. I bought a bathroom and shower ticket. That locker room was a mad house, A flesh pot, if you will. A soap and water mess full of desperate women with their toothbrushes and shower tickets.
- Some teams came in full costume. We saw leather-clad gladiator women, running in boots and fishnets, men dressed as female nurses with polyester dresses and big blond wigs, and couples dressed in wedding attire! The women ran with veils, the men with bowties and cummerbunds.
My second run was the night run. About 4 miles again. And hilly! Y'all know I don't do well with hills, right? I was STRUGGLING on some of those miles and so were the runners near me. I passed most of them. I secretly wanted my van to go away so I could walk or crawl. I wore the required reflective vest, "butt lights," and our team's LED flashers. I felt like a small Christmas tree. I whined to Ben and he would hear none of it. I realized later that my run was only a "moderately difficult run." Most team members had "hard" and "very hard" runs. I'm a weeny, but...hey. I learned this run that your van can get backed up in traffic and make you miss your pass off by a lot. Sorry van # 1! That I need to have my outfits, ice, and meal in one easy to grab sip-lock for when I finish a run, and not have to dig through the trunk over and over at every quick support stop for the next runner. I learned that out-houses are not sanitary at night when all runners are sleep deprived and stumbling in the dark.
My final run was again in the heat at like 11 am. Hot again. Body tired. No got sleep. Need sprinkler. Need cheer for me. Maybe chafed? Knees stiff. Feel energized that it's my final leg. A few other vans spray me with mist, and cheer for me. One particular van of girls drives next to me and chants, "And I! WOULD! WALK! 5! HUN! DRED! MILES! AND! I! WOULD! WALK! 500! MORE! just to BE! THE! WOman! WHO! WALKED! A! THOU! SAND! MILES! TO! FALL! DOWN! AT! YOUR! DOOR!" I finish and feel great! I get hyper and slap happy and silly and sing to my team mates and hang out the window a lot. I watch them all run killer final legs and I am in awe of them.
So, what do you think? Would you ever run the Wasatch Back? It's wild! Would I do it again? Ummm, ask me in a few weeks. It's like I just went through labor and you're asking if I want more babies!