Friday, March 11, 2011

And the finale - TIR 2011 COMPLETE!

It's now daytime, we're done with 33 out of the 40 legs in the Texas Independence Relay, and I've completed all four of my legs.  It's now time for me to cheer on the rest of my teammates and enjoy our time running and navigating confusing one-way streets through Houston.

Erica made sure to let us know that her leg 34 would not be in the 7:20 pace range and she would surely slow it down.  Yeah, 7:28 sure is slowing it down.  Did I mention she's a beast?

Our team really wasn't slowing down at all - it's like they had actually slept or something in the past 24 hours.

I feel kind of bad for Red on leg 36.  She totally rocked it of course, but I was a little wrong when I said the ghetto part wasn't that bad. Oops. I'm happy she made it through in one piece.  I think it made her run even faster.

I think everyone was getting pretty eager to start the real drinking because at Exchange 37 we were instructed by Jeff (who was running the leg) that he wanted a beer waiting for him.  So we did as instructed...Dan exchanged the wristband for a beer.

Only three more legs to go and we were definitely going to beat last year's time.  We were totally's was *almost* like we weren't totally sleep deprived and exhausted. Almost. 

Next year, however, I'd like to install a personal GPS on Dan.  We knew we needed to follow him on leg 38 since last year he tried to get lost.  Sure enough, this year he again tried to make a wrong turn.  Such a dude.

As we were following him, we encountered a very cute sight.  Look, it's Erica with her future ex-husband!

As we were driving by both Dan and then John on leg 39, I was frantically adding up all our legs (I don't know why the TIR requires you turn in times of every single leg, but they do).  By the time I added in leg 39 (which John absolutely killed at 8 minute pace, by the way), we realized that Brandon could very well get us to break 27 hours. Last year he ran leg 40 in 36 minutes (mind you, it's 5.3 miles, so that's a pretty crazy pace).  He wanted to beat that.  I determined that if he ran 36 minutes even, we'd be at 26 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds. How's that for cutting it close?  We decided that we needed to let Brandon know how close it could be, because if he came in at 10 seconds over he'd be pissed we didn't tell him.  We found a good spot to drive alongside him and Tony very kindly yelled out the window, "If you run 36 minutes even we break 27 hours. But no pressure. We love you. God loves you."

We finally made the turn onto Battleground Road and could see the San Jacinto Monument ahead. FINALLY.  After navigating the chaos at the monument we parked the vans and tried to patiently wait for Brandon to make his way down to the finish. 

When he came across the finish line and told us that he ran leg 40 in 35:33 I think I may have made him deaf by screaming in his ear. 

(Side note: our official time actually came in at 27:03:13...I'm not sure why there ended up being a discrepancy, but I'm totally thrilled that we took over 30 minutes off last year's time and finished the course in 8:00 minute pace overall)

WOW - WE WERE DONE!!!  For the second year in a row, we completed over 203 miles in well under 28 hours, had a phenomenal time, and felt absolutely euphoric at the accomplishment.

I had decided at about leg 38 that I was most definitely going to get drunk when we were done.  I realized my running mates had never seen me drunk - wait, WHAT???  Oh, they were in a for a treat.  So as soon as we were done getting our medals, getting our pics taken, we headed over to where Tony's family was parked, we popped out the beer and my boxed wine and spent about an hour or so just relaxing.  By the time we headed out to look for food, I was definitely in a very good mood.  And getting louder by the second. 

We hit up Chuy's before making the final trek back to the Austin area.  I vaguely remember an echilada and a really strong margarita....and not being able to focus.  When we got back into the vans, I told the others that someone else needed to drive because I was finally going to nap.  I think the response was "good."  Thanks, buddies. Good thing I was so hydrated from the weekend or the road trip could have ended badly.

We're now in the midst of a big runner's high.  It happened last year...we felt fantastic, bugged the crap out of our spouses with our stories of the weekend, and began the countdown to the next TIR. 

A few things I learned from this year:

1. It's really smart to write down all the funny little things everyone says throughout the weekend.  Everytime I read through the list I start laughing until the tears flow.  "Ass-man wears no pants" holds a lot of meaning.
2. I WILL be taking at least 30 seconds off my average pace for next year.
3. We need to eat more meat.
4. Hotels on Friday night. Definitely.
5. There are some really great teams out there...always eager to help out other teams and be supportive while maintaining competitiveness. Like a big family!
6. I need to bring my Snuggie. And a pillow pet.

TIR 2012 is in 51 more weeks.....

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