Gulf to Gulf 80 – 2016
I have always wanted to do a relay race since I found out about them about 1 year ago. I looked into the Ragnar races but couldn’t make one of the locations and times work for my schedule. When I found out my local running club put on its own relay race, I couldn’t resits and was so excited! Unfortunately I don’t know many local runners except a few of my friends and not enough people to make a team of 6. I was in luck though because they held an event a month before the race so that people could meet and form teams. I was lucky to meet a really awesome girl named Ryann who helped me form a team and make our dream a reality. A few days prior to the race we managed to get 5 runners together, not the recommended 6 but we just wanted to run and didn’t care. During the pre-race meeting we discovered there was still 1 runner that needed a team, so with a last min addition we had our team, “The Misfits”.
We decided since we had a few slower runners (me included) that we would try and start the race at 5am instead of 6am. I was up at 3:30am and to the park by 4:30am but things never go as planned and we had a few unfortunate events that delayed our start. Once things were all sorted out, van was decorated and runners situated, we started the race at 5:30am! Our first few runners ran with light bands and glow sticks because it was still dark out. Since we were a little unsure of the course we made a few wrong turns in the downtown area but quickly got back on track. There were white signs at most turns pointing the way, but hard to see in the dark. After a few rotations we got the hang of switching out and where to park the van and wait. Each runner ran at least 1 mile at a time and could add more on if they were feeling good. We ran the whole race that way, each runner saying how many miles they wanted to do and the van checking in every 1-3 miles just to make sure they were still ok.
The tricky part came when we got to the Fort Myers Beach area since there was still heavy construction. This made it harder to run and there were no good places for the van to pull off, but we made it work. Before we knew it we were to the Sanibel causeway and half way! One of our runners had to work in the morning, but ended up joining us around 1:30pm which worked out perfectly. By then we were all getting tired and it was nice to have someone with fresh legs run some miles. I admit we drove ahead 5 miles and took a quick power nap! I was starting to feel the sun and 3:30am wake up by that point. During the whole race we had a cooler in the back with plenty of drinks, we also had tons of different snacks and foods we knew would be easy on our stomaches. This was nice because everyone brought something different and we all shared. It made for a great bonding experience.
The last leg of the race was the best because we were close to 2 different teams and our competitive nature kicked in! We passed one of the teams and came in just a few min after the other one. We parked the car at the park and all ran the last tenth of a mile together to the finish. It was a great way to finish the race and bond our team. Even though we really were the misfits creating a full team last min, I had a blast. The people on my team were all amazing and kind and we had such a good time! I now consider them all friends and great people.
In just under 12 hours we ran 80-ish miles and create a lifetime of memories! My only complaint was that we finished the race around 5pm and pizza/beer wasn’t served until 7:45pm. Myself and the team members that stayed were starving and not feeling so hot at that point. I wish they had some sort of food at the finish and just ordered more when later teams came in.
Overall it was a great experience and tons of running fun over the course of a Saturday. I can’t wait to do it again next year!
Cheers to many more miles!
❤ Dr. Carrie