The Epic relay was a ton of fun. My team consisted of ten runners. Eight “normal” runners and two ultrarunners. The race began at 5:00 am Friday morning in Logan, Utah. We went through Idaho, and finished in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Epic is small compared to other relay organizations. Ragnar hosts 1200 teams and Red Rock Relay has around 300 teams. There were only 84 teams spread out over the 205 miles.
This was the longest relay my team has completed. Both Wasatch Back and Red Rock are about 195 miles. What’s ten miles more, you ask? It’s another hour and a half on the racecourse, which is eternity when you’ve been in a van for 36 hours already!
Epic was a tough race. The course was beautiful farmland, small towns, and the Tetons. My team, Nut up or Shut up, (from Zombie Land the movie) struggled specifically in the dehydration department in our second van (the van I was in). Van one was able to knock out their miles in the early morning hours and early night time hours. Van two ran during the heat of the afternoons and the cold during the night. My team (minus J$ who is running) at exchange six. Van Two’s starting point.
My first run was 20 miles long. I began it at 2:16 pm. I knew going out that it was not going to be the most fun run ever because I don’t do well in the heat. There was no shade on this portion of the course. There were a quiet a few hills. I was fine through the first 4.6 mile leg. During the second leg, 9.3 miles, I became dehydrated, overheated, and nauseous. My team was stopping every two miles trying to keep my body temperature down by dumping ice water over my head. The third leg of my run was 6.5 miles long. By the time I hit 17 miles I was walking the hills to keep myself from vomiting on the side of the road (I really hate vomiting). When I met with my team, I had Spongebunny finish the rest of the leg so that my team could hit the time cut offs imposed by the race.
Lesson to take away from this: Zombie Land Rule #17 “Don’t Be a Hero.” Ask for help when you need help. I needed help. I had twenty-two more miles to complete and was in a bad way. Spongebunny finished the last 3.5 miles and kept us on track. I’ve been trying to work this rule into relay running since 2010. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn it and for a team who believes it.
My second run was twelve miles and began at 3 in the morning. It was cold about 36 degrees Fahrenheit. My stomach had not recovered from the morning jaunt, but I was feeling better.
After our second leg of the race, we slept about two hours and then went back out for our final run. More heat! We began our run at 11:20 and it was getting toasty. I began my last ten miles at 130 pm. When I finished, I was glad to be done.
We did have two runners vomit during the race and one major GI(diarrhea) explosion, but we persevered. We are, after all, team Nut up or Shut up!
After finishing twelve relays, I’ve decided being in Van two is more difficult than being in Van one. It’s more about the structure of the relay than the terrain, but the terrain in Van two for mountain relays typically has more elevation and Van one has longer distances.
Pick your van wisely.
Van one Benefits and drawbacks:
Runs during cooler temperatures.
Maintains a more normal eating routine.
Maintains a more normal sleeping routine.
You have to leave a day early.
Typically has longer miles.
Van Two benefits and drawbacks:
Don’t have to leave until Friday
Eating pattern is compromised
Sleeping pattern is compromised
Generally more elevation gain than van one
More severe temperatures