A little impromptu adventure is always good for the soul. This past weekend I stepped in at the last minute to complete one the two Girls Heart Rockets teams for the Red Rock Relay in Moab. I had only met one of the team members on a trail run a few weeks before but the prospect of running in such beautiful surroundings with group of super smart and super fast women was too intriguing to pass up. Needless to say, it was indeed a great experience and a lot of fun!
The twelve of us came from all parts of the country (NYC, Idaho, California, Colorado, Illinois…) and different professional backgrounds but had one thing in common: a love of running. Although no one talked about their splits and speeds, I could tell from the start that I was in the company of some very talented athletes. Sure enough, I shared the first leg with Kate who recently set a personal best of 3:08 at the London Marathon!!
I did the 200-mile 12-person relay in New Hampshire, Reach The Beach, in 2005, 2007 (Ryan & I became “an item” shortly thereafter… I guess spending 24 hours in a van full of sweaty and tired running is romantic!) and 2008. So comparatively, this 70-mile 6-person race felt super short. But what it lacked in distance and exhaustion, it made up for in scenery and sunshine!
From the iconic orange desert that Moab is renown for…
…to the unexpected high alpine peaks and evergreens:
Moab is gorgeous!! The course started in town and wound its way along the Colorado River by Arches National Park on the first segment of the race (that’s me in yellow below).
The middle section took us through the picturesque Castle Rock and the Tower…
…and eventually began a long steady climb up into the La Salle Mountains. My second leg was barely 2.75 miles long but climbed well over 1,000 feet. The views were breathtaking and the cooler air was refreshing. I felt so much more energized on this short run than I did during my hot & flat run that morning. And of course, the lively cheers from my teammates as they passed by in the van served as an extra boost of energy.
Girls Heart Rockets team Discovery transition, Kate takes off on the uphill:
Girls Heart Rockets team Endeavour transition, Nicole sets off on her last leg:
Soon enough we were on our way back down the mountains. Jordan killed her downhill leg flying at the speed of light and loving every step of the way! While most other runners smacked their feet on the pavement on the descent, she glided effortlessly letting gravity do all the work for her:
Both teams dominated the race with GHR Discovery placing 1st female team (8:39) and GHR Endeavour coming in 3rd female team at 9:06 (just 2 minutes behind the 2nd place team)! Well done, team!