I have a confession to make: I got booted from my first ultra-relay team.
No, I wasn’t kicked out of the van for stinking it up at 4 a.m.—that’s everyone. I was on an elite runner team planning on shattering the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey land speed record when a last-second ringer texted and said he was in.
The weak link, me, got the axe. The good news, a team of less, errr, accomplished runners I knew had one of their guys bow out because he’d forgotten about a bachelor party that weekend.
Um, OK. Sure. I’m in.
I went from topo maps and an introduction to our hired on-course masseuse to one runner sheepishly asking if she could stop to change mid-run if there was a chafing or “maybe a bathroom” incident.
That’s not to say my foster team wasn’t well-meaning or some of the sweetest folks I’ve come to know. The range of athlete and personalities will always stay with me: Stay-at-home mothers, professional writers and designers, an ex-pro skier who was two years removed from the sport because of injury and his girlfriend the ski industry PR girl-slash-bartender, a couple entrepreneurs and even a boiler salesman.
This motley of all race crews might not have set any course records, but we certainly had the most empties on the van when we crossed the tape. The folks I spent 26 hours straight with running from Reno, around Lake Tahoe and back to the Biggest Little City, became friends for life.
If that’s not enough to convince you to sign up and hop on the van, here are 60 reasons you’ll never experience anything quite like a relay:
- I hope I’m wearing my socks.
- These don’t feel like my socks.
- Should I stop and check to see if these are my socks?
- Beer before my leg, why thank you.
- Guys, the other half of the team just texted me and said they’re stopping for Thai, good idea or no?
- So this is what a Port-a-potty on wheels would smell like.
- I never knew I’d learn so much about c-sections…at 4 a.m
- Yeah, I thought about quitting Facebook too but then I don’t want to leave my dog’s page unattended.
- Two beers before my leg, why thank you.
- You should’ve gone before your turn.
- Where’d you get that burrito?
- Who has the bracelet thingy?
- These definitely don’t smell like shorts anymore.
- I am now impervious to the effects of deodorant.
- Is that AM or PM?
- So, you just spray it on and it works?
- God I miss gum.
- I used to work with that guy, he’s a total a-hole.
- Oh, you’re dating, cool.
- Why is he limping?
- …I’m really feeling this story but can you just get to the part where you broke up.
- Are those tears?
- No. Nobody’s seen your headband.
- You flagged us down for a Gu…20 yards from the exchange?
- No, the Clif guy is his dad.
- Yeah, I was totally confused by that too.
- Well the GPS is wrong, OK.
- Whose water bottle is this?
- I left your _____ on the course—sorry.
- Estrogen is not an active ingredient in a LUNA bar, I don’t think.
- Is that donuts I smell? Who’s got donuts?
- Seriously guys, who’s holding out?
- Sorry, I borrowed your headphones…hope you don’t get my sweat in your ear…holes.
- Why’s he doing push-ups?
- Oh, those aren’t push-ups.
- The tu-tu thing was funny the first leg.
- Was it?
- That team sucks. Who do they think they are passing us?
- Don’t even talk to them. Don’t answer their texts.
- Ohhhhhh, Culture Club, turn it up.
- Sorry, it’s Wham! My bad.
- Who’s got the reflective vest thingy?
- That looks more like a life preserver. Is that a life preserver?
- Remember Now & Laters?
- Remember sleep?
- I thought my first time was going to be in a van like this.
- Who gets to clean this when we’re done?
- For everyone who doesn’t have kids, it’s like this the first three months, but worse…and weirder.
- Plus you can’t jump off the van and run whenever you want.
- They stole the cooler.
- Does anyone have my other shoe?
- Fine, I’m running in flip flops then. Did you hear that’ I’m running in flip flops.
- Look away.
- Why haven’t you friended me yet?
- I know The New Girl is the same episode over and over, it’s called comfort viewing.
- I’m streaking the next leg.
- Are we in last?
- Third beer before my leg, why thank you.
- Next year I’m doing this on my own.
- Seriously. If I could adopt 11 adults and a dog, you guys would probably be most of them.