Monday, April 29, 2013

Race Report: American Odyssey Relay 2013

On Thursday night we left DC, drove to Gettysburg, and proceed to participate in the 200-mile American Odyssey Relay Run Adventure…and it WAS quite the adventure!

Before the start.
Last September, twelve semi-connected almost strangers got together to run the Ragnar Relay from Cumberland, MD,  to DC  and it was pretty much the most fun thing ever. Well we’re definitely no longer strangers, but we are still runners and still awesome…so we did it again! I wasn't sure if the second time around would be as much fun –  this was a different course, a different organization, and a few new mystery team members, but it was just as good and possibly better!

Unlike Odysseus, it didn’t take us 10 years to get back home, but a solid 24 hours, 28 minutes, and 35 seconds was plenty of time…plenty of time to get us first place that is!!! That’s right – the Mother Pluckers won the Open Mixed category (6 men, 6 women), and placed 4th overall like the champions we are!!!

At 11:15 am on Friday, SpeedyKate led us off from in a hotel parking lot in Gettysburg. 

The start is staggered, with the slowest teams starting earlier, and the faster teams starting later (based on your own time estimation). The weather was perfect for running, and the course through the country and battlefields and along the C&O Canal was beautiful.

Two hundred miles, 36 legs, a lot of van snacks, far too few showers, and very little sleep later we ended up at the Waterfront in southwest DC.

But many many things happened before we got there…

Each team has two vans, so runners 1-6 do their legs while 7-12 chill out, then they hand off the slap bracelet to van two and have their rest time. But as the (self-designated) “official” team timekeeper, I switched back and forth between the two vans, meaning I got the FULL Mother Plucker experience!

(A brief note on our name: “to pluck” – v. to pass another runner: I plucked 12 that leg! Or Great job! How many plucks? Or See that guy up ahead? He’s the last one to pluck!!!)

As I said, the course was beautiful.

We ran through the battlefields at Antietam.

Mike ran up a mountain with 10% grade at about 6-minute a champion. (Many many high-fives were had by all.)

Robin went in for the pluck at the very end of her first leg!

There were some good hand-offs...and a few fumbles...

There was also A LOT of running in the dark (which is not particularly photogenic)  running in the glow of your headlamp through battlefields, campsites, and many many deer (? hopefully!) eyes watching you through the trees...

Saturday morning was all along the canal...which is pretty but boooooring to run.

I screamed a lot very loudly for everyone. (In what other context is it ok to yell absolutely absurd things at runners out the window of a moving vehicle with Girl Talk blasting? None.)

Our team averaged 7:20 pace. Which is pretty freaking impressive!!!  As I already said (and will never get tired of saying), we won our category, beating the 49 other Open Mixed teams, and placed 4th overall out of 135 teams.

And because running for 24 hours together wasn’t enough, we met up again on Sunday for an epic celebration brunch at Zengo. Everyone smelled better but felt worse (the stairs! SO HARD). And over many many many small plates and brunchy beverages we re-lived the experience and our own impressiveness. 

Bottom line is that I like all these people and it was a great weekend. The only question is, who/where will we pluck next?