Joe did a great job highlighting the first few legs and I will try my hand at my legs – 3 and 4. Joe and I had been going back and forth for about a week about how we should divvy up things. We initially were going to alternate, but I wanted to run more than the 8 or so miles that those legs would have put me back. We finally landed on this back-to-back legs for each of us and Joe rounding out the finish. While that worked for me, it also left me with the crazy climb that occurs along Netarts Bay.
Blogger Teresa has been mentally preparing me for a few weeks now, and luckily I have driven this stretch on a work trip last year, so I wasn’t totally surprised with what I was getting myself into.
Joe came cruising in after his two legs solidly in 4th place. That was a heck of a lot to live up to! I am NEVER 4th place overall anything, so this was a pretty new spot to be in. And that made me have a total mental breakdown. The thoughts running through my head:
- “OK, don’t let Joe down. Get out there and keep up a good, albeit not-Joe, pace.”
- “Don’t go too fast as that hill is going to come up soon.”
- “But there are still 3.5 miles the climb and I don’t want to lose momentum.”
- “Holy crap, that hill is coming up.”
- “False alarm, that wasn’t it.”
- “Speed up now. Leg 4 is a long downhill and you don’t want to get passed.”
- “Slow down!”
Lucky for me, the beauty of the day and the course kept my mind a little less cluttered and at ease – even with all this stuff going on. Before long, the sign for Cape Lookout State Park came into view and I knew the time had come. The steady climb over the next 2.5 miles had me at its mercy. Joe and Teresa’s husband were there to offer encouragement about .25 mile from the start of the climb and I jokingly asked, “is that the hill”, as I pointed behind me. I forced a chuckle out, as I knew what lay ahead of me was no laughing matter.
Since there was no music on the course due to no closed roads and teeny-tiny shoulders, I resorted to verbal encouragement to keep myself going. Since I remained firmly planted in 4th place, there was no one around to hear me get all Schizophrenic on myself. I sang a little and I hummed a little. I gave myself some positive praise and cursed at myself to keep going. The continuous climb was definitely grating, but I made it though with no walking – my ultimate goal. I can’t wait to see my picture with the beautiful ocean behind me, but I hope I don’t look too exhausted.
As I crested at the Cape Lookout trailhead, some hearty encouragement was awaiting me. That was much appreciated and high-fives were flying everywhere. Obviously everybody up there was happy they didn’t have to do what some of us did – and I don’t blame them!
The next 4.25 miles, classified as easy, was in complete contrast to the previous leg. It was essentially a continuous downhill jaunt that should have felt easier than it actually was. While the reprieve from the climb was definitely most welcome, and my times improved drastically, it was still a challenge to keep up a decent pace. My legs wanted me to scale it back, but the decline wouldn’t really let me. When the flatter stretches hit around mile 2 (through the awesome sand dunes) and on the final stretch to the exchange, my body apparently didn’t know how to handle “normal” running and I felt like I was moving at a snail’s pace. As I slapped Joe’s hand and grabbed some Gatorade, I felt accomplished.
Very tired and very accomplished.
Check back tomorrow for Joe’s recap of legs 5 and our overall thoughts!