Rum Runners Relay 2010 – Leg 5 (or return of the mojo)

For those who do not know, the Rum Runners Relay is a ten stage relay race starting in Halifax, NS, traveling along the South West Shore to Lunenburg, NS, where teams of ten runners (usually) each take turns running a “leg” (or stage). The legs are selected in advance by the team. All of these stages are very scenic and they vary in difficulty as well as distance. I was part of Team 16:  Long story short, due to nagging back pain I switched from my planned second shortest (8km) leg of the race to “the short leg” (3.9km), thanks to a very flexible friend.

I was in no way motivated to run this race, my back pain had prevented me from continuing my training for the last 4 weeks.  In fact I considered dropping out (Ian would have readily and easily run the leg for me in addition to his own). I actually ran because it was our anniversary.

We’ve been celebrating our anniversary at Rum Runners Relay Race every year (except last year, when I spent the day with my sister who was visiting from BC, while I recovered slowly and poorly from an injury).  Technically Ian & met online, and we met in person on the day that we did because Ian was going to run with our relay team and he needed to sign the team waiver.  We went out for supper and a walk along the harbourfront and hit it off.  This year it was kind of special.  The anniversary of the day we met  fell on the day of the race.  I felt I just couldn’t miss it.   I think if we ever do decide to have some sort of a ceremony, it will have to be tied in with the relay.   😀

I was pretty sure I could run the 3.9km leg without much trouble. I was more concerned about how my back would handle all of the time in the car.  At the last minute we decided to take our own car, rather than car pool so that I could leave after my run, if need be.   I felt pretty good in the morning and we managed to get to the race course during my previously scheduled leg and cheer on my good friend.

Leg 4 ends and leg 5 begins at one of my favourite beaches (Queensland). This summer our family had spent several beach days there body surfing.  My run starts along the road following the beach then turns up onto the secondary highway that most of the race course follows.  It then takes a little detour through a beautiful neighborhood, has a few rolling hills, with a relatively steep climb before ending with a sharp turn downhill to the Hubbards public wharf.

The only real negative for me with this switcheroo was that it meant I couldn’t do my customary swim in the Atlantic Ocean at Queensland.  I just couldn’t see getting all cold and covered in salt water before running, and I couldn’t go back and swim after because Ian needed to get to his start (leg 7).  It would have been a great day for a cool fall Atlantic Ocean swim, and one of my team-mates made up for it, by diving in when he finished leg 4.

Prepped and waiting for my start (accompanied by Ian)

Photo credit: Mike M

The run went much better than I’d expected. The lower back pain went away while I ran, but moved to my shoulder and ribs. By the time I finished it had all sort of worked itself out. My only goal was to run just a little faster than my training pace has been. After 4 weeks of not running I wasn’t sure how that would go. As it turned out, it was not a problem. But I was really feeling it when I made the final climb before turning into the downhill finishing chute.

Leg 5 start: Queensland Beach road

Photo credit: Ian M

That downhill was one of my favourite race finishes ever. I’m always afraid to over do it when taking advantage of gravity mid-race, but this was the end and I just let myself go with the pull of gravity! It was so much fun to whip past (at least) 4 runners who’d been ahead of me (perhaps all had passed me at some point). The reaction of the woman who was just meters from the finish line was priceless, she just didn’t see/hear me coming. And the only person I know who witnessed it was Mark, the race announcer. None of my team were able to get to the finish before me because it’s such a short leg and they got caught up in a little detour. I wandered around cooling down and stretching for several minutes before they all arrived. They seemed to still be expecting me to cross the finish line when I found them. 🙂

The rest of the day was your typical Rum Runners fun-filled cheering, eating and air-guitar.

Air Guitar

Photo credit: Ian L

The best part about it, I am feeling motivated, inspired and determined to make a conservative/cautious fitness routine work for me. I got my mojo back!

Happy Anniversary Sweety! 😀