Race #14: Blue Ridge Relay – part I

Last weekend was the Blue Ridge Relay which starts near Mount Rogers in Virginia and ends 208 miles later in Asheville, NC. I was the captain of the team for this round and we officially changed our name from the Key West Relay to Gotta Crush on You for this race and I designed the logo for our shirts (on the left). 

Since our team was able to meet in Charlotte and we were only a couple of hours from the start of the race, our vans split up with only Van 1 traveling to the start line and Van 2 stayed in Charlotte the night before. Our start time was 6:30am, so it was still a very early start for that van and the ran into a few issues with the directions and the windy country roads leading to the start line, so they got there just in time to sprint to the starting line and run after the 6:30 starting wave. Our van, Van 2, started at exchange zone 6 which was near West Jefferson, NC. We got there early and spent some time decorating our van while we waited for our teammates to arrive.

I was runner #8 for our team, which meant I had almost 20 miles over my 3 legs and the third longest distance on the team. Some of my teammates had a lot more elevation gain than I did (especially after my third leg), so I was more than willing to trade more miles for fewer hills! 

Our team came in strong after Van 1’s first set of legs and by the time it was my turn, we were 20 minutes ahead of where we expected to be. I started off just before noon and it was 73 degrees and rainy. My first leg was by far my easiest, with only 3.1 miles to do:

Mile 1 – 8:51
Mile 2 – 10:02
Mile 3 – 9:37
Last .1 – 7:30

Overall pace: 9:24

It really was a good leg to start off on and I tried to keep myself in check and not go out too fast since I knew that I would have over 16.5 miles to run after that. I stuck with my 4 minutes running, 1 minute walking routine throughout the leg and it definitely helped on that 9% grade of a hill near the end and I got to enjoy a little bit of a downhill at the end of the leg to finish strong. 

By the end of everyone’s first leg, we were still 20 minutes ahead of our estimated finish time and we were going strong as we headed into the evening hours. 

Stay tuned for a recap of legs #2 and #3 coming soon!

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