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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

TSP DIY: Evening, and the first change of plans

 I drove to my first leg, which started at Josh's house, and was in for a surprise when I arrived. The house was dark and quiet. Josh had told me his wife might be late, and texted me the alarm code. But - it didn't work. He either forgot his code or typed it wrong. I had a car full of food for other runners, some of whom would be transitioning here later, and I had to go to the bathroom, and I couldn't get in the house. At first I assumed his wife would come home, because Josh had said it was just a slim chance she would miss me. But as the clock ticked down, I repacked my car (I'd unloaded onto his porch) and got ready to run. Just then, Will and Paul showed up. Will had dropped his bike at the house earlier, and they were back to get it. They had news: plans had changed. The other runners had realized that the exchanges happening at multiple locations was too difficult. We were already having problems getting our runners to the right transition area on time. Will's parents lived near the lake, and we decided to use them as a home base, and just run loops from there all night. Cool! I was much relieved to hear that. But they also had bad news. I couldn't tell from that sheltered neighborhood, but a bizarre windstorm had whipped up. Josh was running in it, and I was about to, too. But before any running - I had to PEE. And I was in the middle of a tightly bunched neighborhood. Oh, well. Sorry kids. I pulled Josh's trash can close to his house and squeezed behind it. It would have to do! 

I saw Josh approaching - looking like death! - and ran alongside Drew, my bike pacer. Drew took my phone and a bottle of Gatorade from me, and things immediately went south. Drew dropped back to discuss logistics of the change, and I didn't know the route. I hit a T-stop and had to double back to grab Drew for directions. And then - then the wind. Oh my word. We were dodging traffic and lights for a bit, so I didn't really register the intensity, but once we got onto the lake, we were being pummeled. Someone had said it would be a tailwind for me and guess what? They lied! It was so windy, and it was a side-headwind off the lake the whole time. I was laboring against the wind. Dirt was blowing in my eyes. It was so windy it was drying out my mouth. It was the first time I felt discouraged. I couldn't get my pace under 6:30. My route was a little over five miles, and by mile four, my stomach was cramping. I lumbered toward the handoff point one was there. Drew's phone rang and I saw Paul just then. Jonathan had gone to the wrong transition point in the confusion of changed plans, but Paul gamely stepped up for an early leg. "Keep running a bit," he directed, as I approached. I ran alongside and realized he was still trying to get Garmin signal. "Got it. You're done," he said, and headed off into the wind. I was beat. And I'd only run 6:33 pace. And my car was five miles away, with all my food and things in it. 

Luckily, Tyler was there for support, and he offered a ride. Ha. I messed that one up big time. For one thing, there was construction on the street, and Tyler had to make a tight U-turn. And he hit some of the barriers. I was dying of embarrassment, because it was my fault he scratched his car, and to make things worse, then I gave him the wrong address for his GPS and lead him miles out of his way! We finally retrieved my car, and I headed back to Will's parent's house. 

That back patio livin'

WOW. It was just what we needed. There big house had a spacious backyard where we could all spread out, a pool, and an outdoor pool bathroom. We could snooze between legs on various bits of patio furniture, and they'd ordered pizza. It's no small feat to pull off hosting eleven runners and half as many support crew in the middle of the night, with no notice, and with pandemic restrictions, but they managed to safely do so. Such hospitality! I grabbed some pizza (yes, more pizza) and, since it was now 9:30, decided to try to get some sleep before my projected midnight-thirty leg. 

So, those projections: Josh had put together an incredible spreadsheet we relied on for the race. Originally, it predicted our leg start times based on the pace we had all told him we expected to run. But when it became clear that we were well ahead of pace, he changed the formula to reflect each runner's current average pace. The way TSP kept up the leaderboard was by following our Strava, which we all synced at the end of each leg, but we also kept our totals up to date for our own tracking purposes via a Google form that we reported to after each leg. It fed into the spreadsheet to calculate our average pace, updating our predicted leg start times as we went. It was a pretty reliable long as the plans didn't change. And of course, they did! 


  1. Man, what an adventure! I'm impressed with your pace with the horrible wind. You are one tough lady! I'm glad you guys were able to crash at your teammate's parents' house!

    LOL about having to going to the bathroom in someone's yard. I've thought about ducking behind a tree to go to the bathroom several times lately because I have to go all the time now that the baby is so much bigger and most public bathrooms are closed at parks and such. But I have yet to do it since it's broad daylight and, well, a park. But it has crossed my mind!

  2. Fun sleepover at the pool. Wow- that windy bit sounds so hard. Few things are as demoralizing as running directly into a stiff wind. And wow - so organized and technical with that spreadsheet!