"I love how much this sucks," Joe, one of my teammates, said yesterday morning.
He summed things up perfectly; my muscles were sore and I was seriously sleep-deprived, but I was ecstatic. I'd just completed the three legs of my first Reach the Beach relay race, and I was having a hard time wiping the smile off of my face.
To the non-runner, Reach the Beach looks like total crazytown. In this particular Massachusetts version of the relay, teams of 12 ran 36 legs to complete approximately 200 miles, running from Wachusett Mountain in Princeton to Horseneck Beach in Westport. As you might imagine, this takes some time to complete, but no problem; runners run straight through the night.
This, naturally, makes for all kinds of challenges. It's one thing to run; it's quite another to run after you've had two hours of sleep and a breakfast of peanut butter and Ritz. Dense fog plagued us for most of the night, our headlamps reflecting the droplets in the air and making it impossible to see more than a few feet. We ate weird, unstructured meals of caramel popcorn, Gatorade, grapes, sandwiches from Subway, Shot Bloks, and ibuprofen. We saw what we were really made of, and it was good stuff.
I love how much it sucks, too. Bring it.