Team Girls’ Day Out, the coolest team that has ever run the Red Rock Relay, arrived in Moab late in the afternoon of May 13. This year our captain and official housing arranger, Dawn, secured a beautiful condo for the entire team, including Helen and her very brave husband, Bill.
Helen made the decision last year to transition to alumna status on the team, so Dawn’s niece, Merissa, took her place in the lineup. We showed up at 5:30 AM – in the dark – wearing our new team shirts with this year’s logo, and sent Lyndsay, our first runner, on her way.
The temperature was pleasant – until the sun came out. And then it started to warm up. And then it started to really warm up. We knew that hot weather was in the forecast, but we didn’t think we’d be affected by it until the last few runners of the afternoon.
We were wrong. Once we started the heavy climbs, everyone started to feel the effects of the heat. We started dumping water on ourselves. We ran in our sport bras – yes, even those of us who are old enough that we probably shouldn’t run in our sport bras. But the heat still took its toll.
Even with the heat, the race was a lot of fun. We bantered back and forth with several other teams, including a team that came all the way from North Carolina, a bachelorette party, a really fun team that had brought a large spray bottle and used it liberally, and an ultra-running team, 3 men that were all veterans. We picked the team we had to beat – the girls in the blue tanks. Why? Because they changed clothes in the porta-potties. Note to all relay teams: never do this. Porta-potties have one purpose and one purpose only. To use them for any other purpose is just sick and wrong. And yes – we beat them. By about 5 minutes.
My personal experience was that I really couldn’t run more slowly, so I found myself running a while, walking a while, drinking/dumping water, and doing it again. I felt so sluggish, and felt that I’d let the team down, until we realized that we really had done quite well. Our finish time was 10 hours and 18 minutes – only 2 minutes slower than last year – for a 10:06 pace. I finished leg 7 – that horrible uphill with the switchbacks – in the same time that Lyndsay had done the previous year, and I finished leg 12 in 58 minutes – only two minutes slower than my projected time.
As we debriefed, we realized that this was the first time the Red Rock Relay had been hot. We decided that if it’s hot again next year, we’ll split the late afternoon legs so nobody has to do six to eight miles in 90 degree weather. And we’ll bring our very own very large spray bottle. Oh, yes, we’ll be back next year – only we’ll change our title to “Hottest Team Ever.”