The Very Hard Leg

I mentioned a while back that not only was I planning on doing the 12 in 2012 Running Challenge this year, but I also have another couple of races on the horizon. One of them, I am very excited to say, is The Relay, which is a two day, 199 mile relay run from Calistoga, California to Santa Cruz, California. The very coolest part is that the race is run over the Golden Gate Bridge at midnight on Saturday. 

Here’s some info from the website: CALIFORNIA'S LONGEST PARTY - YOU'RE INVITED! Gather your friends (12-member teams). Decorate your vans. Dress your best (costumes optional). Run (or walk). "It's the most fun 24 feet can have in the best place on earth." From Napa Valley to the Pacific Ocean, 12-member teams run 36 legs (3 legs per runner, 3-8 miles each) through 36 cities and across the Golden Gate Bridge at midnight in support of Organs 'R' Us ("ORU") and 100,000 Americans waiting for organ donors. Contact info.

This run has a special meaning for us, since our team, Jonnycat’s Dirty Dozen, is running for our close friend Jon, who is currently on the donor list for both a kidney and a pancreas. There are twelve runners, who each run three legs each, each ranging from 3 – 8.1 miles and ranging in total from 12.9 to 18.5 miles. You can see on the chart below what I am talking about. As you can see, they rate the legs (on the right column labeled “difficulty”) by harder (#1) to easier (#12). You can also see that the “more data” section below states that legs 34 and 35 are the hardest. 

Now, I am going to give you three guesses as to which runner I am. Nope, it’s not number 1, the easiest runner. Nope, it’s not number 6, the cool runner that gets to run across the Golden Gate Bridge. Did you say that I should probably try one of the harder runners? That’s what I thought you said. Well, I guess you are right. Why don’t I pick number…11?

Actually, I “picked” number 4. I know. What a copout right? Right smack dab in the middle of the difficulty scale. But, I will tell you why I picked that one. I picked it because it was the second highest amount of miles. And I can run a lot of miles. But my friend who is organizing this emailed me a week after I sent her the email saying which leg I wanted and begged me, pleaded with me, told me I was very strong and brave and good looking asked me to switch to number 11. I said yes right away. Then I looked at what I had gotten myself into. This is what it looks like.

It “looks like” a 500 foot elevation gain over 6.2 miles! So it’s a difficult 10k race, which I will run after running two other “races” that day (6.9 miles and 3.7 miles) and probably getting little sleep.  Phew! I am going to be a mess! I guess I should be glad I am not number 10!

I’m actually very excited about this race, even though I am joking around about it right now.  I am, as always, nervous, even more nervous than normal, because I wouldn’t only be letting myself down if I do badly; I will be letting my team down! I am looking forward to a few things. One, Dean Karnazes has won the Ultra portion of this race (yes you can run it by yourself. Maybe next year) several times and will be hosting the Friday night pre-race dinner in Napa County. Two, it’s on my home turf. I have relatives north of the city who will be able to watch as I run leg 11. I have friends south of the city who can watch 23 or 35! The weather is going to be great; the scenery is going to be awesome; I will meet 11 new people! Plus, I get to sleep in a van with five (smelly) other people (down by the river).  How can you beat that?

Have you ever run a relay race? Have you ever been to Napa County? Have you ever walked across the Golden Gate Bridge?


  1. I've walked over the GG Bridge but that's it. My first relay will be this June!
    That looks like such a great adventure!

  2. That does sound like a lot of fun! I've never been to the golden gate bridge, but that relay should be a blast. I would also have gone with either the highest mileage or the most difficult legs too, just to prove I could. Excellent choice.

  3. never done a relay….went to Napa last year after Big Sur and will be going again for the same reason. I also ran the bridge last year for fun since it was my first trip to San Fran. The race looks like a great time (and challenge of course). i like your pick of legs!!

  4. Wow Dean Karnazes? I'm in awe of that man. Good luck!

  5. Wow, what a great opportunity! I'm excited for you! We were in San Francisco while I was pregnant a few years ago, and biked across the GG bridge. Definitely hilly around there, but you're right about the awesome scenery!

  6. how fun! I LOVE relays! I've only run a few, but I always have fun! Can't wait to read all about it.

  7. WOW....this sounds so much fun! I have always wanted to run a relay! Good Luck - I cant wait to read all about it! I love Napa BTW..I'msuch a wineno...lol
    xoxo from Houston

  8. Oh cool! We have something like this in Minnesota called the Ragnar relay. This sounds tough, but you are so good at hills, you will do so well I am sure!!

  9. That sounds totally cool! I wouldn't classify it as "fun", ha, but a really neat experience, nonetheless! Good luck!

  10. This sounds AWESOME!!!! I ran Hood to Coast last year and had a BLAST!!!! Funny...even though I grew up in Berkeley, it wasn't until I met my husband in my 30's that I finally walked across the GGB. My MIL lives in Napa...we go there a lot :)

    Have FUN!!!!

  11. This relay sounds amazing! I've never been to CA but Allan has been several times and this area is one of his favorite places to visit in the whole country.


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