70 miles. 4500 ft elevation gain and descent. 12 awesome girls; 2 Teams Sparkle. 215 total teams. 90 degrees. Sun; not a cloud in the sky. Gallons and gallons of water. Unlimited supply of Snickers. 10+ hrs nonstop running. Hundreds of photos. Long porta-potty lines. Cheering, dancing, laughing and crazy shenanigans. SO.MUCH.FUN.
I just got home from the Red Rock Relay in Moab. This made year #2 and it was just as much fun as the first time. This year, there were double the number of teams, 215 total. We had such a great time last year we were able to convince enough girls to run that we actually had 2 teams. I loved this group of girls so much and spending a weekend with all of them is hilarious and inspiring. We left 29 children and 11 husbands for a weekend of fun, running, and time with just women. Probably just what we all needed.
"Chicks with Kicks": Laura, Pam, Lacy, Jess, Susan, and Liz.
"Sisters with Blisters": Katie, Angie, Elli, Jamie, Carrie, and Sage.
The best part about the whole thing is the team support. We get out at every mile, dance around, high five, motivate, squirt water, hand out water bottles, and encourage. Nothing made me more happy than seeing pretty sparkles in the distance, waiting for me. It was such a boost. The sparkle skirts are so cool. We got lots of attention and compliments, and we were able to see each other from really far away. Plus, they swish and glisten as we run and it feels kind of awesome to pass people wearing a frilly, bright, sparkling skirt.
It was 90 degrees and full sun in Moab. We had to stop more than usual and I dont think I have ever consumed so much water in my life. We all managed to stay hydrated and cool for the most part.
I ran the same 5.4 mile uphill leg I had last year. It was torturous for me last time and I'm not sure why. It it 1000 ft elevation gain and just never lets up. This year I felt great except for feeling like I was completely baking in the sun. Water has never, ever tasted so good. There were a few teams with paint sprayers bottles spraying the runners down every half mile to mile. I was so in love with that 50 year-old-man designated to spray during my legs. I even told him I loved him several times.
When we got up high it was breezy and a little cooler which was so nice, especially since the climbing gets intense. We were bummed to have lost the other team pretty early on. They weren't far behind us at all, but we didn't see them much.
My second leg was 7.3 miles downhill. I loved it. The first mile is a steep uphill climb. Then it crashes downhill for most of the next 6 miles. It is steep and intense and brutal on the legs, but I have never run so fast for so long. I averaged 7:12 pace (including my first uphill mile), with 5 miles averaging 6:10-6:40. I can only give the credit to gravity. I definitely got tired, and a sideache from all of the water bouncing in me, but slowing down only made the impact worse so I just went with it. I kept thinking how awful it would be to fall and tumble down the mountain for miles and miles. My poor ankle was completely trashed afterward, but the rest of me felt great.
We were so proud of ourselves. We cut 30 minutes from our time last year and placed 6th overall for all female teams. The other team did great as well, finishing 16th. I think we surprised ourselves a bit.
I love that we all push ourselves and do our best, and we are there to run, but we still make it so fun. We didn't care at all how we finished overall; we all just wanted to do our best. We learned and shared more about ourselves and each other than we probably ever thought we would. Only in an adventure like this can you grow together the way we did. I love the support and friendship. I love the goofyness and quirkiness. I love the music, the laughing and dancing. I love how much we care about each other.
I really wish we could do this more than once a year. Clearly, it's just too much fun.