My aunt is a cancer survivor and is the captain of a Relay For Life team. Relay For Life raises money for the American Cancer Society. Last year she invited me down to Pennsylvania to be part of the team. Most teams take turns walking, and walk for the 24 hours. My goal was to walk for the entire 24 hours. I did the 5 mile torch relay run, and then walked 40 miles until blisters forced me to drop out. So I completed 45 miles for the day.
This year I had commited to two different things before relizing they were on the same day. So I had karate black belt test at 1pm, at which I was assisting a young man who was testing. Fortunatly my teacher arranged the test to help me get out as early as possible. My legs were still sore from a 5k that I ran a couple days earlier. I spun on my bike for 60 minutes in the morning then we headed off to the black belt test. When that was done, we drove down to Washington, PA for the Relay For Life. My wife drove, and I slept some of the way. We got there about 7pm, and after a bit I started walking. I walked nearly continuously, taking breaks to get food, refill my water bottle (with Pepsi or Diet Pepsi), or to hit the porta johns. Even though they were playing music over the PA system, I mostly listened to my mp3 player. The walk takes place on a high school track. Each time people completed a mile (4 laps), they could get a colored paper clip to hang on a plastic string aroung their neck. You could see how many miles people had done by seeign how many paper clips they had. Last year they had little plastic feet that you got every mile. But they ran out of feet about 9 or 10pm when people apparently were grabbing handfulls. They didn’t run out of the paper clips. My wife went with my aunt and uncle back to their house about 10pm where she got to sleep in a bed. I stayed to walk through the night.
The track was kind of crowded, and I being a relatively fast walker, I was weaving around people. When it started getting dark, they lit the luminaria which are these paper bags with some sand, and a small candle inside. The bags had people’s names on them, and were to remember people who had died from cancer. It was very pretty to see all the glowing bags lining the track. I thought about my mom who died from cancer.
At one point it started raining, and I donned my rain jacket. Fortunatly it didn’t last a long time, and I ditched the jacket back at the tent.
About midnight, the track wasn’t as crowded. I had already walked 15 miles. I changed into my running clothes and started running. I was scheduled run 60-80 minutes in HR zone 1-2. So I ran for 80 minutes trying to keep my HR around 136. I actually ran for 82 minutes, and completed 8 miles. So now I was at 23 miles completed. The running actually felt good.
I changed clothes again, and started walking again. I felt okay, though I was getting kind of sleepy. At about 4am, I decided to take a short nap in my car. I can’t remember how many miles I had completed at this point. I am thinking around 30 miles. I set the alarm on my timex watch to go off in about 30 minutes. I went to sleep. I woke up about 1 1/2 horus later. Either the alarm didn’t go off, or I slept through it. I had never used the alarm function before, so it was probably my goof.
I was already kind of light out, though a little colder, and kind of foggy. I started walking again. Later in the morning, a few people were jogging on the track. I noticed most of them had not very good running form. The best running forms I has seen were from small children. I wasn’t in my running clothes now, but I thought was the heck. I had already completed 41 miles or so, and had a crap load of paper clips hanging around my neck. So I started jogging easy, and noticed the other people then all seemed to stop jogging. Whatever. I jogged for a couple miles, then started walking again. My wife, aunt and uncle showed up at maybe 9:30am and brought me some McDonalds breakfast food! I ate a greasy Steak, Egg and Cheese Bagel. Yum! Then I started walking again. At 10:30 they called for everyone to line up for the final lap. Coincidently I was 1 lap away from 45 miles. So I walked the ‘final lap’ holding hands with my wife and completed 45 miles. After various awards and speeches, it was over. But out of principle, I went out and walked one more lap so as to have beat my distance for last year. This distance is only the laps around the track, and doesn’t include distance walked to and from the tent and car. I think many people thought I was crazy or something. LOL!
My wife drove on the way home, and I got some sleep. When I got home, I jumped on my bike and spun easy for 60 minutes to help loosen up my legs. It helped some.
With the generosity of my friends, I raised $310 to help fight cancer. Thank you guys! The total raised by all the RFL teams at this particular event was over $240,000! Wow!
Next weekend I have a trail marathon, then a 3,5 mile race mid week and a mountain bike race a couple weeks after that. Such fun!