I’m really not sure how she does it, but my friend Shay is one of the most persuasive people I know. Shay is the one who got me into this running business to begin with, when 2 years ago she managed to talk this total non-runner into a half-marathon.
We ran 2 races together during those 2 years, and kept up with each other’s training and race schedules even though we live many miles apart. So when Shay asked me to drive 11 hours to Cincinnati and run a marathon relay with her, I found myself saying yes. She’s so persuasive, she even convinced Lee to sign up too.
Along with Shay’s husband, the 4 of us formed a Brew Drink Run relay team for the Flying Pig Marathon. It’s a fantastic race through the city that just so happens to be home to one of our best friends, Trent, and his family. (Trent is also Shay’s brother. Have I confused you now?)
The Flying Pig race series involves several different races, including a 5K which Lee and Trent ran together on Saturday.
Then Sunday, we were up before the sun to get in place for the marathon relay. Lee was runner #3 with a 7.5 mile leg, and he was handing off to me, the final runner with a 6.5 mile leg.
The bad thing about being the fourth runner is the wait. I arrived at the relay exchange point with approximately three hours to sit on the hard asphalt and wonder how my team was doing. And to wish I’d brought some darn water.
Thankfully, I could track Lee (stalker much?) via the Find My Friends app, so once he started moving I was able to gauge his ETA. I was thrilled to see his black hat and navy BDR shirt come running up the hill, relay baton outstretched with a good luck kiss on his lips.
I wasn’t worried about the distance of this race, but I was nervous about the hills. I’d heard it had some challenging elevations, so I’d thrown in as many bridge runs as I could to prepare.
But I needn’t have worried. While it is a hilly course overall, the good thing about being the fourth runner is that the final section is almost entirely downhill.
The race support was great, with plenty of official volunteers and aid stations, along with un-officials ones like the free gummy bear stand someone put outside their house.
I must confess, I felt a little guilty about my run. I was in the final stretch with marathoners – people who’d already run 20 miles before I joined up with them. I felt a little undeserving of the cheers from the crowd. Undeserving of the gummy bears. They weren’t really for me. Not really.
Apparently, some of the marathoners thought so too. I heard some of them grumbling about “those relay people,” coming in with fresh legs and messing with their psyche. Thing is, these people were cruising past me, something I was quick to point out.
“Yeah, I’m running a relay,” I shouted, “but you’ve already run 20 miles and you’re passing me! I’d say that should make you feel pretty good!”
Guilty or not, it was thrilling to run into the finish line (biggest perk of being relay runner #4). Or rather, the Finish Swine! Chuckle chuckle.
It was a fun weekend, and I was once again thankful for Shay’s persuasive powers. Maybe that’s why I keep saying yes – the girl has good ideas.
I’m ready to see what she thinks up next.