Rainier to Ruston Relay Recap

Rainier to Ruston Relay Recap (can there be any more R's?).

I had heard about this particular relay for years.  But there was always a conflict.  I decided this year, that I would make this relay a priority and sign up.  This relay was advertised as a downhill course.

I formed a 4-person team (ladies only) and set ourselves up as the PNW Ladies Running Group team.  There were a few bumps in the road, such as losing an original runner, and nervousness leading up to the race.  Our new team consisted of two relay newbies.

We were able to get t-shirts, choose our driver/car (no van to rent, yeah!), plus meeting spot.  Luckily our new runner was able to pick up our packets making it easier for us to arrive only 30 or so minutes before the start time.

I hadn't met two of my teammates.  They got to the meeting location before worry set in.  We loaded up the team vehicle and headed to Rainier.

I had never been up near Rainier.  Once we got closer to the glorious mountain, I could see why people fall in love with it.  On a side note, my family and I will be hiking the Wonderland Trail later this year, so it was neat to see the beauty firsthand.

We took the must-do picture with the Sasquatch at the start line and got set on having a good race.  I was up first.  One of my rituals is ALWAYS having to use the restroom before - even if there's nothing in the tank, I just have to "go."  Another ritual is saying a small prayer and performing the sign of the cross.  And setting MapMyRun to log my mileage.  Can't forget that!

I lined up behind the elite/ultra runners.  And I was off!  It was a glorious day to run, with overcast and cool weather.  For the first half mile, it was mostly uphill.  I was immediately regretting signing up.  But it was too late, I was out on the course and now I had no choice.  After that first half mile, there were some rolling hills, but lots of fun downhills.  And of course, as soon as I started to run, I felt like I needed to pee again.  Too late now!  I was going faster than I had planned.  It felt good to run.

I was glad to be done with my first leg.  My teammates were not so fortunate on having a course like mine.  It was either extremely hilly, muddy, rough, or flat.  Before I knew it, it was time to run again.  This time, my second leg was as flat as could be.  It was almost the same distance, but flat routes hurt more to me.  The constant pounding on my feet, my joints, and overall body, makes it an unpleasant feeling.  Running on tired legs is also harder.  Although my first leg wasn't terribly draining, I had stopped running and was either sitting or waiting for my teammates, thus causing me to have tired legs.

Eating is also tricky.  When to eat, how much to eat, and what to eat is never quite right.  I know I wasn't eating enough to fuel my body.  I was drinking lots of water and using my OralIV, but I knew my food intake was terrible.  I managed to eat a Stinger Waffle, two cheese sticks, chocolate muffin (just nibbled on the top), and a packaged salad.  There was no time in between the legs to have a sit-down meal or even go to the grocery store.  In retrospect, we joked about hitting the saloon at one of the towns, I think we should have!

The time in between my legs was spent getting to know the course area (I had never been to this part of WA), but most of all, getting to know my teammates.  It's very interesting how much you can find out about others when you're placed in these social situations.  I honestly enjoyed getting to know them outside of social media.  Plus, we have our inside jokes that only we will understand.

I was really hoping my last leg would have more variety.  But it was flat, about a mile shorter than the other legs.  I was so done with flat routes.  I enjoy variety, steep hills, downhill, rolling hills, different terrain, etc.  And this time, my toes started to go numb.  I tried changing my stride, stretching, walking, but it was probably a combination of tiredness and soreness that I wasn't able to fix it.  I was glad that my teammate had some yoga balls to help ease my foot pains.

The course was clearly marked for the runners.  The vehicle directions not so much.  There were a few questionable directions that made us miss our runner or barely make it.  I think they should change the description to a few downhills, but mostly flat, that would be more accurate description.

I was so glad to be done.  I did run more according to MapMyRun than what the course outlined, but that's to be expected.  I was so glad that it was NOT sunny or too hot.  There would have been little to no shade out there.

I do not envy the ultra runners who ran on what seemed mostly flat, paved road, mixed in with some rough terrain.

When our last runner was coming through, we waited for her and ran to the finish line as a group.  I couldn't have been prouder of our team!  We finished.  We survived.

Another positive note, was the finish location.  It was along the Tacoma waterfront.  We drank our Manny's beer and headed out for some much needed food.  We had a nice dinner and headed home.

Overall, I found the relay to be fun, challenging, and most of all rewarding.  Sign me up for next year!