Tuesday, September 16, 2014


This past week-end, I had the good fortune of participating in the NH Reach the Beach Relay as a member of the amazing NH State Parks Team.  In the winter, I work up at Cannon Mountain, which is part of the beautiful Franconia Notch State Park, hence my connection to the team.  This was my second time running with this group and the experience was as good if not better than the first.  For the record, the first time was epic, so you now have a sense of what I mean.  In case you aren't familiar with the RTB Relay series, here is the low down.  The New Hampshire race begins in Franconia, up at the Cannon mountain ski area.  Each team has 12 runners (unless you are totally nuts and you're on an ultra team), who all complete 3 legs of various distances and degrees of difficulty within about 24 hours, finishing down in Hampton Beach, NH.  Back in 2012, I ran Leg #5, which put me in Van #1.  I loved my legs and, by the end of the race, I also loved everyone in my van.  This year, I was assigned to Leg #7, which put me in Van #2 with a whole new cast of characters.  Prior to the race, I was a wee bit nervous about the switch.  But, that said, I was also fired up to see a new part of the course this time around and to hang with a new crew, so I did my best to embrace the change.  Without going in to too much detail, (okay, fine, it's a lot of detail), here's a few race highlights that I felt were worth sharing.

Trying on my team uniform with Mike W. You can't tell that his singlet is skin tight because it blends with his sweatshirt.  You can, however, see that I look like I'm wearing my dad's pants because I ordered the wrong size.  This provided much laughter for most of the race, particularly for Stacey.

Showing off our newly painted van as we were getting ready to head out.  Painting a car feels strange but is a LOT of fun.

Hanging in the playground near the Attitash pass zone with the crew from Van 1.  We were goofing off as we waited for Corey to run by so we could cheer for him.  It was fun to have the whole team together for a bit here....including the dead guy with the safety vest on who was an addition to our crew this year.

The night sky around 6:00pm, just before my first run.  The photo doesn't do it justice.  I could not wait to take off at this point.

Waiting in the pass zone to receive the slap bracelet from Michelle C.  Note that I'm wearing headphones.  In 2012, we were not allowed to listen to music.  When Ragnar took over the race, the rules were changed.  HALLELUJAH!

Drinking the nectar of the Gods (aka coffee) after having slept for one hour between my 2nd and 3rd run.  Trying to get myself ready to rock for my last 2.4 mile push.  I'd slept a total of 3 hours at this point since Friday morning.  It was the best coffee ever.  Note how I'm cradling the cup.  Thank you Circle K.

Just finished my last run.  Scott is thrilled for me.  Adam, he's not so sure.  I was over the moon and beyond giddy.  Plus I was hopped up on licorice and caffeine.  Not a good combo.  But, I can't say it didn't help.  Hopefully, my kids won't read this.

NH State Parks Team 2014
Place: 28th Overall, 4th in Mixed Open Division
Time: 25 hours 37 minutes (7:25 avg pace)

As you would expect, you learn a lot about the other people in your van when you spend 24 hours with them in stupidly tight quarters.  I can't say I didn't miss being with my old team members in Van #1 (especially you, Stacey), but it was a hell of a lot of fun to spend time with the Van  #2 crew this time around.  Here's a few things I learned about my Van 2 homies:

First row: Grant, Mary, Me, Cait
Second Row: Scott, Will, Adam

Grant never goes anywhere without a video camera in his hand.  I'm pretty sure he sleeps with his hand on the button.  He loves to rock out to reggae music and he's hell on wheels on the road despite running maybe 15 miles a week (damn him).

Mary, who is Gran't wife, drinks a ridiculous amount of water and has to pee every 10 minutes.  She must have a wooden leg because she's thin as a rail but she eats more than all of us.  She flies, literally, the minute her feet hit the pavement.

Cait is easily the most chill runner/person in the group.  Currently in grad school, she had very little time to train this summer.  But it was all good.  She just slid in and did her thing.  She pouts in many of her photos and yet she's one of the more positive people I know.  Hmmm.

Scott, a married dad of 3 in his 50s, runs like he's in his 30s.  Translation: he's lightening fast.  I was in awe of him the whole time.  He also knows EVERYBODY.  Literally.  Every stop, he'd run into someone that he knew.  People would flag him down from afar to say "hi" and catch up.  It was nuts.

Will, our trusty driver (also Cait's twin brother), is the master organizer.  He kept us all in line and knew exactly when the other runners would be coming and going right down to the second.  It was eerie.  He also doesn't eat bread because it makes him tired, so he had several lettuce and meat sandwiches throughout the day.  I'm pretty sure he doesn't sleep either, but I don't know because I do.

Adam has the best legs of the crew.  Not race legs, mind you.  I'm referring to his actual legs.  Even from afar, people would comment on how great his legs were.  He also has the neatest and most organized apartment of anyone I have ever met.  His mom taught him really, REALLY, well.  For the record, he prefers 2 ply toilet paper.

It doesn't matter what kind of runner you are.  If you want to have an adventure with a bunch of people who share the same goals (in this case having a freakin' blast), then you should put this race on your bucket list.  It's that good.

Rock on, team.  I love ya!

Listen to this:
YOUR HOUSE - Steel Pulse  


  1. Thank you for not forgetting me....even if you did find yourself a new snuggle buddy :( I'm mostly just disappointed you don't have a better picture of your stylin' dad sized pants.

  2. There's always next year, Stacey. For snuggling and bigger pants!