I did it!
I ran my 5-km leg of the 5X5 Bellman’s Relay yesterday without stopping (despite the temptation at the end to take a photo of a heron in a pond, a few hundred meters from the baton handoff).
We had perfect weather for our run: big blue sky with puffy piles of clouds. After rainy cool days in the previous week, the sunshine felt luxurious.
We biked out to the starting area, arriving to gather with our team and supporters by 11:30 am. After we pinned on our numbers, Matt, Beth and I walked off to see the start. (Matt was supposed to go with the wave at 12:06, but left with the one at noon!)
Then the waiting began — and one of the things I was not prepared for: the crazy adrenaline of waiting to run. I should have remembered that feeling from swim meets, waiting for my race, hopping up on the block for the start. But it’s been a few years (nay, decades), so there I was, recalling that uncomfortable rush, waiting for the handoff from Beth, my teammate who ran the second leg (super-fast by the way, faster than Matt ran his 5 km!).
I was also unprepared for carrying a baton for 5 km (I have very sweaty hands, it turns out), and completely forgot that there would be masses of people. When I run, I look at the forest, the green fields, the animals, the sky. I don’t look at people that often. But for this run, they were everywhere! Passing me; walking, being passed by me; spectators yelling and ringing bells in encouragement (I actually was happy to hear them!).
I still looked at the trees and the sky. And chanted to myself going up hills (“I hate hills! Climb those stairs!”). I don’t run with music, so the bands at different points were a novelty — the cover of the Pointer Sisters’ “We Are Family” was a great bit of musical juice during kilometer 2; a group was playing some of the composer Bellman’s “free people’s songs,” with rhythms from the 19th Century that were also just about right for kilometer 4, when I was running out of juice.
Crossing over the bridge and trotting out the last 100 meters, I was so happy to see Urs, waiting to grab the baton from me in the sea of faces waiting at the rope. You can actually watch a video that covers the whole course, and see a handoff or two; it was not as chaotic as I had expected. (Go watch the video — Matt pops up several times at the beginning!)
A few of our crew cheered at the halfway mark and then we all convened at the end to watch our last man wrap things up. And then off to a picnic at a beach nearby, hungry and tired.
I was pleasantly surprised at the energy I had afterward, but by the end of the evening, I was pooped. (And clutzy: I managed to drop a glass and break it while emptying the dishwasher.) And I can’t believe this, but this morning I am actually contemplating going for another run.
Another thing I can’t believe: this morning, Matt signed us up for a 10k race on September 8, two weeks away. I guess I have to go for that run now…