Interstellar Adventures

August 30, 2005

Wild West Relay Volume II: Race Day Arrives

Filed under: Adventures,Running Life — by InterstellarLass @ 9:18 am

I slept so well, I didn’t even hear the alarm go off. Judy and Keith were both up, and when I first heard them, I surely thought they had risen early. No, just me and my time-zone confused mind. I rolled out of bed at 4:45 am, washed the sleep out of my eyes, and put on my racing shoes. I knew it was going to be a chilly morning, so I made sure my jacket was out. Not something I normally think about in the middle of August!

We rolled our suitcases back out to the vans and arranged our gear. Our start time was 7:00 am, with a 6:00 am check-in. Four of our crew had decided to stay at the home of a friend that lived near-by, so we had coordinated a 5:30 am departure from the hotel. Right on time, everyone wandered out of the hotel or pulled into the parking lot.

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Keith, Chris, Bill, and Brad all piled in the back of the van, Judy navigated and I drove to the start. The start of the race was at the Budweiser Brewery in Fort Collins. We were there in less than 15 minutes. The highlight of my morning so far? Seeing the big Budweiser sign of course! I couldn’t have a drink yet…just another 36 hours or so!

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We were one of two Texas teams participating in the race, the other being a 6×6 Ultra team from San Antonio. The start line was full of energy and music at 6:00 am. Smiling faces, teams pulling in and getting organized. We took a couple of team pictures under the official start sign, and then waited around for our start. Looking at the other team vans, team ‘costumes’, and chatting with each other made the hour go by quickly. We had some goodie bags with swag samples and our official race shirts to go through too.

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The 6:30 teams took off, and we moved closer to the start. The morning was still very cool, crisp and dry. Our group was hanging around for the start before heading back into town and looking for a hot breakfast. Once the start actually occurred, it was rather anti-climactic. About 8 racers lined up at the start, including our man Paul, and exactly at 7, they were off! They ran down, out of the parking lot, and off onto the first leg of our collective 195-mile adventure!

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Back into the vans again, this time with Van 1 splitting off to follow Paul, and us to follow our growling stomachs. Driving down the main drag in Fort Collins, we quickly found exactly what we were looking for…an IHOP! Pancakes and coffee! We discussed our route to get to the exchange point and how we were looking forward to our respective legs. We had printouts of the leg descriptions with elevation gains and all.

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After our breakfast, we made our way to the exchange. We saw some runners waiting at an exchange that we thought might have been 5, but they weren’t ours. We saw a convenience store and decided to stop for the flushing toilets because we knew there were only port-o-lets at the next exchange. I signed the guest book at the convenience store (one day that signature will be worth money!) and marveled at the fine merchandise this store had to offer. We also paused to talk with another team that was the one 6×1 Ultra team in the competition. These were the crazies that were running six legs at a time before handing off to their next teammate to run the next six legs. They actually seemed pretty normal.

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After we pulled out of the parking lot, we quickly found the next exchange. It was just up the road from the convenience store. Literally…less than a tenth of a mile. We gave ourselves a good laugh and had a bit of a wait before we expected our runner. I was trying to stay hydrated, and therefore drinking more water than I think I’ve ever drank before. This also meant I had to go to the bathroom more than I ever had before. So, after a bit, I went and stood in the line for the port-o-let. It was a long line.

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We also chatted with some of the other teams here. I was loving some of the other team names. I think my favorite of the day was the Wyoming Women’s Militia and Knitting Circle. They rocked! An all women’s team, I think they ended up second in their division.

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Our Van 1 buddies pulled in after a while. Vickie, our Leg 6 runner would be coming in soon. Bill, our Leg 7 runner started to warm up. We stood near the entrance to the exchange, and cheered in runners from other teams as they came in. Finally, we saw Vickie running up the slight hill. She and Bill made a smooth transition, and he was off! Responsibility for the timing chart also transitioned from Van 1 to Van 2, and we again slit up.

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We drove down the road toward the next exchange, passing Bill and whoopin’ and hollerin’ at him for encouragement. This would become our modus operandi for the remainder of the race. Waiting for our runners at the exchanges, seeing our teammates off, and then shouting ‘woo hoo!’ out the window at them while we drive on to the next exchange. During the hotter parts of the day and on the longer legs, we would pull to the side of the road about half way through to check on them before driving on.

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Starting when Bill ran, the day had turned from cool to progressively very warm. The bright Colorado sun came out, and in the increased altitude, it was potently hot. I changed out of my long sleeve warm shirt and into my race singlet. I thought the ‘Too Hot To Handle’ appropriately described the day, if not the runner. 😉 he he he

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My first leg was a mere three miles. But, the first half mile or so was all downhill, followed by several short, ‘rolling’ hill sections, with the last mile being a consistent uphill climb. Either I hadn’t stretched properly, or I ran at an odd gait down the first section of my leg, or a combination of both, but I felt my right leg getting progressively numb. By the end of the first mile, it was completely numb. I kept looking down at my feet to make sure it was still there, and to make sure that I landed on the flat of my foot so as not to twist my ankle. I wanted to stop and try to stretch it out, but the another part of me said ‘just keep going!’, which is what I did. George was down a bit from the exchange to greet me. As you can see, I didn’t look happy. 😦 I handed off our ‘baton’ to Paul, and he took off for the start of section 2.

I was so disappointed in my first leg! As soon as I stopped running, my leg went all ‘pins and needles’ as the feeling slowly started to return. I also started coughing terribly. Within five minutes of finishing my run, I felt like my brains were going to leak out of my nose. You know that stinging feeling you get when you get a rush of chlorine water up your nose when you’re swimming? Yeah, that’s what it felt like, except it didn’t go away. Then, my nose just stopped up. I was still coughing, and I couldn’t breathe in or out of my nose. Excellent. We made a few PB&J sammiches, with lots of peanut butter and lots of jelly, and I chowed down on some Goldfish crackers.

We were done with our section, so we got in the van to drive to Exchange 18. This is where Vickie and Bill would pick up again in the night leg. We knew it was going to take us a fair bit of time to get there, so we hadn’t planned on stopping except for a gas or pit stop. We took an unpaved, narrow road down a steep, winding hill. This was a bit nerve-wracking, but Bill did an excellent job driving. We found a convenience store, where I located some nasal spray for my poor nose. The stinging had stopped, and I finally sneezed after feeling the urge for over half an hour. But, the stuffiness persisted. Until I used the nasal spray. After that, I kept a constant supply of tissues at hand. The map above basically shows our route from Fort collins to where I finished, in Red Feather Lakes.

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After we left the c-station, I was in the back and fell asleep quickly. The next thing I know, we’re in Walden. Evidently, our navigator decided to take a nap as well, and the driver missed the turn we were supposed to take. This, however, worked out very well for us, as we were able to check into our hotel, grab a hot bite to eat, a quick shower and a brief doze on a soft bed. This is also where I made my first audioblog check-in.

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As the sun set, we made our way up into the mountains of southern Wyoming for the start of our night leg.

Stay tuned…next time at Interstellar Adventures: Wild West Relay Volume III: Full Moon Running. Hey! Stop that! That’s not what I mean! 😉


  1. Hmmm, first leg with a numb leg thing. Never heard of THAT before.

    Love the “Wyoming Women’s Militia and Knitting Circle”!

    Full moon running? Never know, it might take care of that numbness problem…

    Comment by abbynormal — August 30, 2005 @ 1:49 pm |Reply

  2. Oh I miss Colorado..we lived in the Springs for almost 10yrs and can’t wait to get back’s where we plan on retiring..

    Thanks for all the great photos…really enjoyed looking at ’em.

    Comment by Sandy — August 31, 2005 @ 1:33 am |Reply

  3. On a different note, really sorry to hear about the hurricane, hope you haven’t got people you know caught up in it.

    goldie moldie xx

    Comment by Goldiemowling — August 31, 2005 @ 4:23 am |Reply

  4. that sounds so cool to do. good luck!

    Comment by mysrey — August 31, 2005 @ 6:29 am |Reply

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