After 62 miles, 12 legs, 6 runners, a team name of "Hit The Ground Runnin'" and 9 hours and 40 minutes later... we did it!
Friday after work, my mom and I drove the 3-hours up to Stanley, Idaho. When we arrived, we drove over to the start line to check it out. The evening sun was glowing on the mountains and it was just beautiful! When we got back to the cabin, we chatted for hours with the rest of our teammates and finally all got to sleep around 11:00 pm. And I tell you what, when my alarm clock went off at 2:15 am, it was not enough sleep. We were all up and moving by 2:30 am, and had ourselves loaded into the van by 3:15 am, heading down to the start line for our 4:15 am start. Teams began at midnight and started every 15-minutes, so we were so fortunate to get the start time we did!
It was a chilly morning, and the only light was from the stars and the little bobbing headlamps of the runners. Since it was so early, our first 3 runners were required to wear headlamps and reflective vests. We assembled at the start line to cheer on our first runner, Tracy, who literally "hit the ground runnin'" right at 4:15 am. I was the second runner (and totally nervous), so I was already getting ready for my run even though I had about an hour to wait. We drove down to the first exchange, and while it was still dark out, Tracy finished up her leg (and she rocked it), and I was off and running just before 5:15 am.
It was about 40 degrees out, and felt really cold. I'm so used to running for about an hour on my usual training runs, so I wasn't concerned about my 5.83-mile leg. However, when I hit about 3-miles, I realized I had started a little too fast, so the rest of the slight uphill caught up to me more than I would have liked. I finished my leg with a strong kick, and passed off to our next runner, Teri. My average pace for my leg was 8:45, so I was pretty pleased with that! Teri killed her leg, passed the bracelet off to Amy, who also did really well, and then my mom was up. She cruised through her leg at the same pace I did, though she had more of an uphill to pass over. My mom handed the bracelet off to Lori, our 6th leg, who had THE uphill. Man, she worked it. Her leg traveled 5.53 miles and gained 1,331 feet of elevation. To say that it's an uphill is an understatement. She was totally our MVP of the day. We pulled our van over every mile or so and turned up the music and danced and cheered her on to keep her motivated. We also cheered the other runners who went by us, including a guy who must have taken 5-minutes off his time because he always sped up, smiled and danced along with us when he passed us. It was definitely the most fun leg of the trip because of all the dancing we did (and there are plenty of Vine videos (not mine, though) to prove it)!
After Lori finished, we had all run our first legs and we were onto the downhill portion of the course. Everyone did really well, though the second half of the run gave us 80-degree temperatures and lots of wind, which wasn't so great for running... but we all made it through just fine! My second 5.09-mile leg averaged 7:45 miles, which was way faster than I felt like I was running... but I guess the stopwatch doesn't lie! Our final runner, Lori, came around the finish just a little before 2:00 pm, and we all raced through the finish line with her. What an accomplishment. We wanted to finish under 10-hours, and we did with an unofficial time of 9 hours and 40 minutes! Everyone did so well, and it was so incredible to be cheered on and then to turn around to support everyone else as they ran. I've never done a relay before and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
And now, here are some of my favorite photos of the trip! There are captions under each photo that tell a little piece of the story.
Our awesome van! Sawtooth or Bust!!
Team van with all our names on the day before the race.
Checking out the start line the evening before the race. Of course we had to do a jump photo!
The mountains behind the start line. Just gorgeous!
It was early early at the start line. We loved our 4:15 am start time!
Tracy finishing her first leg and handing off to me in the orange.
1st leg of 5.83 miles finished just as the sun was coming up! I averaged 8:45 miles.
In the van to our next exchange.
Mom and me at the overlook during leg 6. I photoshopped us onto a photo just like this on my pre-Sawtooth post!
Getting ready to run my 2nd leg (leg 8). The weather was warming up!
And I'm off! Cruising up the road...
The ladies snapped photos along the way. We had the best time!
There wasn't anyone in sight when I started, but I ended up catching up and passing 2 people. It's awesome to be just out by yourself on the open road.
Finishing my leg and handing off to rockstar Teri for her 2nd leg.
The Little Mermaid ran by us! He was priceless... his whole team dressed up as Disney princesses. I understand running in matching outfits... but costumes? That's hardcore!
Mom smoked it on her races! She ran an 8:50 pace for her first leg and 8:00 for her second. She did amazing!
Crossing the finish with our team (and the one man who was determined to beat us, despite leaving his own teammates in the dust).
Our team (Lori, Tracy, Teri, Mom, Amy and me) and our amazing volunteer Rosie (in red—she was going to run my legs, but I took her place), and our wonderful driver Suzie (in black). This was the most fun group of ladies!
Mom & me after the race! Mom, you're the best running buddy!
A big thanks to all the fabulous ladies who helped make this run a blast! Our whole team was so fun. We laughed, danced, made funny jokes, and cheered and cheered and cheered each other on. It was the most amazing feeling to be supported by this wonderful group of women, and it was even more fun to finish my legs and dance along the side of the road while they ran! I would definitely do Sawtooth again. Thanks again, ladies. I am so thankful that you guys asked me to join at the last minute. It was such a fun day!
And just for fun, is this the most hilarious jump photo or what?! SAWTOOTH OR BUST!