Saturday morning I drove to Ocean Shores to meet Michelle's "Crazy Notion to Reach the Ocean" 6 person Ultra relay team. Rob, Jenny, Rick, Steve, and Margaret started the race but Jenny needed to drop after running three of her legs to catch a plane out of state. Jamal joined the team in Elma WA but the runners on the original team always had a runner out on all of the legs so the results would be official. Rob ended up running 44 miles. Jamal ran 40 as a training run. It was great for the team to have Jamal join them so the could run with the woman runners at night. They were participating in the Rainier to Pacific relay which is a 168 mile relay typically run by 12 person teams. They were in fact the only 6 person ultra team our of all the teams participating.
I met up with the team as they were running leg #34 of 36. Michelle was running and looking strong. She was running her leg 34 and half of Rick's leg 35 because his back that he tweaked the week before was killing him. Margaret exchanged with Michelle and pushed on toward the finish line. Rick and I headed to the finish line in Ocean Shores to make sure they didn't dismantle the finish line before the team made it in. We told the race director that the team finish would be approximately 45-60 min. We also notified the Taco Fest Feast that the team was coming so they didn't put the food away.
We went out to the beach from the finish line at the Shilo Inn to wait for Margaret. The final leg has the runner run 4 miles on the beach. There were a number of cars and motor scooters on the beach. I ran down the beach to meet Margaret and found her about 1/2 mile down. She ended up taking a detour to the Best Western Hotel up the beach from the finish which resulted in about an extra 1/2 mile of running. The team ran in from the beach to the finish together finishing in last place overall and first place for the 6 person relay category. They ate some tacos and then we headed to Rob's parents beach house for some showers and R&R. We also had Abi join us who runs with the Y-Run Club. She ran on Mel Preedy's 12 person team.
After some showers and some naps we headed to the store and purchased the makings for some pasta and pesto with salad, chicken, and some breads. That combined with some wine and a couple of six packs of beer and we had the makings of a great evening of fun with friends.
I wanted to run 20 miles this morning. The ultra relay runners wanted to get in about 8 miles. I started running at 6:30AM and met the group back at the house at 8:00AM. I had 9 miles in at that time. Rob, Steve, and I headed back out to the beach. Rob decided to run barefoot. We watched him "man up" as he crossed the crushed gravel on the trail to the sandy ocean beach. We headed south towards a jetty. Just before the jetty Steve and I decided to pull our running shoes off and run bare footed too. It felt good on our feet and allowed us to run along the surf and not worry about getting our shoes soaked with salt water. When we made it to the jetty a Golden Eagle flew up and landed on one of the massive boulders that made up the jetty. It just sat there about 30 feet from us. I've only seen a couple of golden eagles in my life. It took off and started flying low toward the end of the jetty. This caused quite a stir with hundreds of pelicans, seagulls, and water foul all being spooked up by the eagle and taking flight.
We ran back north on the beach. The beach was littered with dead crabs having been captured by seagulls as the tide went out. We terrorized a few flocks of seagulls by scaring them up from clusters they had formed. We watched sandpipers scurry across the sand and surf casters catch sea perch. We reached a point where Rob and Steve turned around because they would reach the 6 miles they wanted to run by the time they got back. I continued on up the beach.
Things were feeling great but I started wishing I hadn't taken my shoes off and left them back at the trail entrance. I had two reasons: 1) My big toes started feeling like they were getting blisters, 2) The tops of my feet have not seen sunshine for about a year and I had no sunscreen on. Given these two concerns I decided to cut my run short and turn back. I hoofed it back fairly fast to minimize my time in the sun. When I made it to the trial head I waded out in the ocean and chilled my legs for a few minutes before heading up to the house. I ended up with 18.5 miles and blisters on the bottom of both big toes. Not the brightest thing to do to oneself before a big race but I have two weeks to heal up.
I hope that everyone had a great weekend! I look forward to reading all your posts.