Today's post covers day 1: the adventure of getting started, crossing state borders (!) for the sake of a photo or two, and the distance:
|Cumberland to Clear Spring, Maryland. Just in day 1!|
|Two more states off the list! Hooray|
From there, we really did head down to Exchange 6, on that whopping 30 mile drive that took us a lot less than it would to run -- the first part of the course was gorgeous. We could see some stretches of the road that runners were taking, and we drove into Exchange 6 in the direction that runners would be taking back out and down the country roads. Beautiful. Exchange 6 itself is a huge clearing, surrounded by trees and not really near anything particular. A gorgeous site to park the van for a few hours, nap, and lounge.
|Hot runner calves -- Rose, me, Keeley, Cathryn.|
I have nearly no clue what time, but maybe around 2 in the afternoon, we got word that our time was near! Hooray! Finally something to do! (I kid, I kid) Our van (in order) was Keeley, Michael, me, Heather, Rose, and Cathryn. I think we were antsy enough from sitting around and studying our legs and van support and plans and such that we were just ready to go already. Being runner 3, I still had a little ways to go, which really only made me more antsy and more nervous! Michael and I were also the only two signed on to drive the van, so with a few exceptions, one of us was always either running or driving.
|Leg 1, done!|
|Mmm... school lunches!|
No sooner had our alarm gone off at 10:30 (and we hit snooze once) than we got a text saying that Shannon had taken off -- mind you, Shannon was runner 6 and this would mean that the Van 1 runners had beasted their runs so much, we were nearly an hour and a half ahead of schedule. Umm... what? Needless to say, we freaked out, woke up, and hauled ass to the next major exchange. En route, we learned that the text had been stuck in cell phone cyberspace for a number of hours and in fact, that text was from Shannon's first daylight run, you know... like 10 hours ago. Oops. After our panic attack ended, we stopped at a gas station nearby for ice and coffee (you know, important things) and continued our way to the next major exchange at 18. Exchange at 18 is at the South Mountain Creamery in Middletown. Given that this is a major exchange (van swap), this place is not well-suited for the crowds that took over. We went through the first major parking area, which was completely full, and told to go across the street where there was a strip of land being used as parking. Awesome, except for the fact that there was only one way in and one way out, and in 15-passenger vans, that's not entirely effective. We also discovered, while attempting to parallel park inbetween a van and a tractor, that there was a runner fast asleep underneath the tractor. Part of the safety briefing goes over that you can't sleep in an active parking lot -- we hollered at the volunteer, who attempted to get him to move, with not much luck, and eventually this guy moved... to another place in the parking lot. Way to go buddy. At any rate, the actual exchange area was then overflowing with people and vans and was kind of chaotic, small, and way too packed in for a major exchange. Ah well, we got Keeley off and running and made our way through. Mind you, this is all at 12:15 am in Maryland back-country. Fun times!
Part 3... the excitement, the nerves, and the run I'd been dreading most: the graveyard shift 2 am run. Stay tuned!