Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wasatch Back Relay

Last weekend was the Wasatch Back Relay. The WBR is a 178 mile relay race that begins in Logan, UT and ends in Park City, UT. It runs mostly on backroads through the Wasatch Range. Every year work sponsors a team of employees, this year they sponsored three. Each team is comprised of 12 runners (2 vans of 6) and each runner runs 3 different legs. The race started at 7:30 AM on Friday and it goes through the night and finishes Saturday morning/early afternoon. I was wicked stoked to be able to run this year. Last year the race was the same weekend that we were going to Lake Tahoe.

As I said, each team was split between two vans. As part of the fun, everyone decorates their van, usually with some sort of theme. Ours, of course, was a winter/gear theme. We had a dummy dressed up as a skier on top of the van (his name was Bill), snowflakes taped to the outside, and plenty of Goat stickers (as a side note, our van won the "Best Decorated Van" award). We pretty much lived in van for the next day and half. One of my favorite parts was driving the van. We would drive a little bit ahead of the runner and provide support (giving water or Gatorade when needed). Then take off down the road a mile or so and wait for the runner. The best part was that we had a megaphone. I love megaphones! The megaphone had a siren that we would sound when we were getting close to the runner so they'd know we were coming. It actually provided energy boosts as you knew your team is coming to cheer you on.

To change things up a bit this year, Jim, our CEO, decided that we would stick to our company motto, "We use the gear the we sell." Each person on the first team would have the opportunity to wear and run with gear. I will admit that at first I thought it was going to be lame but it turned out to be a really good time. We had a ton of gear for everyone to use. Being the first runner I had lucky opportunity to run with a kayak! I also took a paddle and wore a PFD. My first leg curved through central Logan to the south for about 5 miles. My van got lost so they missed the exchange, I kept running with the kayak and went for another mile, for 6 miles total pulling the kayak. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. On the flats and downhills the momentum of the kayak kept it up with me. It was on the uphills where the going got tough. Fortunately the first leg only had a couple hundred feet of elevation gain.

Pulling the kayak through the streets of LoganPulling the kayak through the streets of Logan

My second leg was at about 4:30 pm Friday afternoon. It was BLAZING hot! I'm not sure, but the temps were definitely in the upper 90s! My leg started at the lower lot of Snowbasin and basically ran down, to the south, towards I-84. The leg was 7.8 miles long, had total loss of 2000 vertical feet with vertical gain of about 400 ft. The leg was completely on asphalt (read ridiculously hot because it baked in the hot sun all day). There wasn't a single inch a shade, the sun was beating down, and it was hot! My team was wicked supportive. After the first two miles they started stopping about every half mile to one mile to give me refills. It was a good thing since my bottle was empty every single time. I would use the whole thing between drinking and squirting on myself! This was by far my toughest leg. You can see the map of the course here. Be sure to look at the elevation chart at the bottom of the page. For this leg I wore a climbing harness complete with quickdraws, belay device, and a rope. I also wore my climbing helmet.

Getting gear ready for the next leg.

My third leg started at about 1:30 AM Saturday morning. This leg provided a bit of relief as the temps were cool (about 60 or so) and it was relatively flat. For this leg I ran with a backpack. This leg was super rad. It started just outside Rockport Recreation Area (outside Kamas) and ran for 5.6 miles to Marion (almost to Kamas). It was just Kendall and I since everyone else was at Kendall's houose sleeping. There was no one else on the road except for Kendall (in the van), me, and a couple of cars. This was my first time running at night. It took some getting used to as all I could see was this five foot orb of light around me.

Our team finished around 11:00 AM Saturday morning. Keeping consistent with what we'd done all race, we all crossed the finish line with gear.

Crossing the finish line with gear.

It was one of the funnest races I've ran. I will definitely be signing up again next year. In total I ran about 19.4 miles! I was ridiculously sore for the next couple days but it was totally worth it! We still have a ton of pictures being compiled. Once I have all of them I will post again with a mini slide show of pictures of me, the team, the van, etc.

The whole team after the finish!

1 comment:

Mrs. Olsen said...

That does sound like fun! Although I don't envy that second leg. The heat alone would have been enough, but to add in climbing gear for all those miles, whew!