What I Learned (2): The Relay

The Relay is over. I am tired. Sore. Dehydrated. And Happy. I am glad I did it. I will go over the recap in a few days, but for now, I want to say that I learned a lot from doing this. I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant going in, mostly because it was going to be a new experience for me, but also because I was going to spend the weekend with strangers, doing a strange thing. I was a bit scared.

But now? I am not scared anymore. I had a good time and it was an experience I will never forget. And I learned a  lot too! Here are a few of the things I learned. 

Jonnycat's Dirty Dozen

- You run by yourself but you are not alone. Most of the race was spent running alone, since the teams all started at different times, the race tended to be a bit spread out. Sometimes you pass a few people on your run (or sometimes they pass you, but we tried not to let that happen**!) but many times you are running a pretty quiet road all by yourself. However, the van goes on the same route and stops along the way to make sure everything is going well. So you never feel like you are alone. The team is always there.

- Inside the van, everything goes. Yup, you eat in the van. You sleep in the van. Your dirty feet and socks are in the van. You laugh in the van. You sweat in the van. Everything happens in the van. And this leads to...

- A stranger can be your new best friend. You spend a lot of time in the van, talking, laughing, joking, cheering each other on, giving high fives and hugs and pats on the back. You get to know these people in less than 48 hours. A bond is formed pretty quickly. I now have five new friends.

- Support is a multifaceted word. My group was awesome. If one of us was having trouble, the group would meet the runner at each mile with water, cheering and dancing and doing whatever it took to keep the runner's spirits up. Sometimes we even ran with each other for a little while. Also, I learned that the little net inside of your running shorts has a few different, interesting names that I was not aware of.

- Talking about certain body parts is par for the course. All body parts are open for discussion. Body glide goes on these parts in massive amounts. This is normal.

- There are many Hills. This race pretty much went up, then down, then up, then down...the entire time. I ran 4 legs and all of them had hills. There were no flat runs. That is the same for all my van mates. We had a couple of "easy" legs, but they too had hills. If you are not a hill runner, this makes things very hard. Even if you are a hill runner, it is difficult.

-**And many Kills. Kills also are hard. In case you don't know, a kill is when you pass another runner. Some of the other vans had tallies on the side of their van. We did not. We kept that info in our heads. Since the other relay teams are so spread out, on some legs (my 2 a.m. leg for instance) you don't see one other runner the entire time. On others, you see a dozen. So we tried our best to pass who we could, even though we were not running this race competitively. It still brought an element of challenge and competition to our team, between us and the other teams, as well as between the members of our van.

As you can see, I learned a lot. Team sports can be difficult because you have to count on other members of your team. But also, because of this very thing, team sports can be great. You have someone to count on and you have someone counting on you. This creates a bond that can't be broken and an element of fun you just can't get by yourself.

Do you/did you play any team sports and if so, do you like it more or less than individual sports? Do you know an alternate name for the liner that goes inside your shorts (you can privately email me if it's not fit for public view)? Did you learn anything new this weekend?


  1. Sounds like you had a great time. The support aspect is great...though you do have expand on the names for the net inside your running shorts. :) Looking forward to your recap.

  2. a 2am leg..wow..sounds hardcorse but fun!

  3. You are my hero! What an exciting weekend. Seems like you not only pushed yourself on the mental and physical aspects of the race, but you also pushed yourself to be open to new friends. Isn't that amazing?

    I played soccer in high school and loved it. Also played soccer for a bit after college in rec leagues. Loved that, too. Even though running is for yourself, I used to train for longer races with teams or groups of friends. I always enjoyed the camaraderie of being around others.

  4. This sounds like a lot of fun! And no, I have no idea what other people call the little net inside your shorts...you'll have to share!

  5. That sounds like so much fun! I played soccer when I was younger, but I prefer individual sports. I don't like to have to rely on others in order to win:) However, I do think a relay would be fun.

  6. I never did team sports, but i am doing my first relay this year and am really excited. Sounds like you had a lot of fun!

  7. Sounds like such a blast! Cannot wait for my relay in June. I was a dancer/figure skater so no teams for me. No clue about this net you speak of. This weekend I learned that miles fly by in half marathons when you're gabbing with friends. :)

  8. There is a name for a part of my shorts? This is news to me.

  9. I am glad it went well! I think of that liner as a bloomer? But I am sure that is not the right word?

    I never did team sports... I ran track for awhile, but then stopped when I started teaching piano as I couldn't balance both. Honestly, i am an individual sports person - I don't like relying on others, and I don't want to let anyone down (sheesh, I sound like I have trust issues. Ha).

  10. I have no idea what that liner is called, but I have to imagine it was an entertaining conversation.

    Glad it went so well. Congrats!!!

  11. That sounds SO fun! I wanted to do The Relay...but I was going to be running a marathon...that didn't happen either :P

    Glad you enjoyed it! Dying to know the alternative names :) Spill it!

  12. Crazy. Relays scare me because I'm not very fast. I feel like I would be the weakest link. You make it sound like it would be a lot of fun, though.


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