GOOD NEWS, YOU GUYS. The doctor says my leg is fine and I just need to “take it easy” for a while. So I’ve decided to go and take it easy on the road from Auckland to Mount Maunganui in my very first team relay in two weeks time.
Ever since the doctor texted me back an all clear on the x-ray last Tuesday (have I mentioned how much I love how informal kiwi doctors are? Oh, I have), I’ve finally started getting excited about this overnight relay thing.
(Pause to try to not freak out about how it’s only 16 days away.)
Anyway, I’ve been giving it some serious thought for a while (a couple of days) so, obviously, I feel like I’m qualified to write about it.
The Kura 2 Mount relay starts in Papakura (South Auckland, yo) and ends in Mount Maunganui which, in case you’re like me and maps mean nothing to you, is really freaking far away from Papakura. Like, keep zooming out, it’s further than that. The way we’re going is not even the direct way, of course, so it’s going to be over 300km away, which is what you’d describe, in non-metric terms, as a hell of a long way. Also, since New Zealand is one of those countries that OH DEAR GOD WHY DO THEY EVEN EXIST WHERE THEY DO?, there are mountains and hills and all sorts of weird terrain everywhere, just to make life that little bit
harder more fun.
A team of six of us (hopefully along with lots of other teams with lots of other nutters) will start running on Friday morning and finish the next day on the beach where I intend to have the world’s longest nap (Guinness Records official people, you might want to head there for this one).
I had a look at the maps for each of the legs yesterday and, after I finished running around the house shouting WTFWTFWTF! and eating all the carbohydrates in sight (just in case), I sat down and called dibs on the option that’d give me the absolute least amount of hills. But even if you take out the hills (which I did because the other ones were too slow to choose – suckers), it’s still a hell of a long way to run.
So. A bit of a problem: The same person who currently struggles with the idea of half marathons will somehow be running nearly 54km within 24h in about two weeks.
But anyway, I’m pretty sure I’ve done enough bitching on this blog in the last couple of months to last me until at least 2016 so I’ve decided that it’s all rainbows of positivity around here now. FIFTY FOUR KILOMETRES! YAY! Pain, yay! Blisters, yay! Chafing in awkward places, yay!
I have a feeling I’ll be talking about this a lot in the next couple of weeks (probably not so much about the awkward chafing, don’t worry). But for now, since I’m still figuring it out what the hell I got myself into, fetch your reading glasses and let’s go over what I think I’ve done right so far (don’t worry, it isn’t much):
1. I put together a team that pretty much kicks ass
My relay team consists of both people I’ve run with and people I’ve never even met in real life. They all kick ass in their own way and at a much faster pace than I do. At least half of the team has basically simultaneously volunteered to do the hilliest legs (because being able to feel your legs is clearly overrated in their world). One of them found us a volunteer before we even brought up the need for volunteers. It’s good to have people who are on top of things because then you don’t have to worry about things like pretending to know what you’re doing.
2. I’ve started getting organised
Even if you only really start organising it 2 weeks in advance, there’s still time to get stuff done (did you hear that? Go put a team together and join us!). This relay is really bringing out the OCD in me, which is great if you’re me, less great if you’re someone in my immediate surroundings. The logistics of this sort of event are a lot more complex than any other event I’ve entered so, obviously, I’m giving myself permission to go fully mental. Think lists-of-my-to-do-lists kind of mental.
Still, I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing yet. How many jelly beans do I pack per leg? What am I going to have for breakfast once I’ve been on the road for 24h and everything tastes like Gu and feet? What’s the most effective way to remove fresh roadkill blood from my running shoes? What colour of compression socks matches a high-vis vest? About two weeks to go and so many important questions remain unanswered. Except that last one. Nothing goes well with a high-vis vest.
3. I’ve been talking about it
The only thing I love more than running is talking about running (and, more specifically, bitching about how hard running is). An overnight relay with a whole team of runners is the perfect excuse to go nuts on the running talk. These people are going to be running with me for over 30 hours. They’ll be in the van while I’m running and they’re responsible for picking my scraps off the ground if my body decides to disintegrate during the third leg (which is entirely possible). Ideally, I’d like them to like me and I’d like them to know me well enough to be able to judge at what point during the course they need to start throwing muesli bars at my head to wake me up while I run.
We started off with emails but then realised it wasn’t 2008 anymore so got ourselves a little Facebook group thingy and now everyone sees when everyone sees posts so we can be all WHY THE HELL IS IT TAKING YOU LIKE 20 MINUTES TO ANSWER MY QUESTION ABOUT TOILET PAPER ROLLS? But I’m trying to chill out. Maybe toilet paper rolls aren’t as important to them as they are to me. The key is to understand that my life is basically in their hands for 30 something hours so I better be nice to them. Oh well. Nobody said this relay thing was going to be easy.
4. I’m running again MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!
You’ve got a relay in about two weeks and you’re sitting there writing about how you’ve got a relay in about two weeks instead of being out running? Well, general consensus would be that that’s idiotic. But it’s not all bad, really. I’ve been trying to get back into my old running routine and, even though I’m not quite there yet, I’m definitely putting some kilometres on my legs. It turns out that signing up for an overnight relay is a sure way to scare you into getting your ass running again.
I’m going to come back here a few times in the next couple of weeks with some actual proper information (lolz) about getting my shit together for this relay. All I really wanted to do now is tell you about it so you can tell me to stop freaking out. It’s just running, right? It’s one day and one night of doing what I love doing (sometimes), with a bunch of people who love it too. The website tells me it’s “guaranteed to be the craziest 30 hours of my life” and it basically sounds like one big party with a bunch of friends. Except instead of sore feet from dancing, you get sore feet because you’re running an unbelievably long distance that you’re pretty sure you’re not able to run but will try to anyway because what would be the point of trying otherwise?
Now tell me: have you ever done a relay? Or heard of someone who’s heard of someone who’s run a relay? If so, get in touch. I’ve got a couple of questions for you (actually, 352 questions, to be precise. Some of them about toilet paper). Also, join me. No, really!