So, I know you are all are on the edges of your seats waiting to find out if we found our bikes, right?
Well, you have to wait.
Just after midnight I started my middle of the night leg. When we were choosing legs a few weeks prior to the race I was excited that my shortest leg was in the middle of the night because I figured I’d be the most tired (I was wrong, but more on that later). I was happy to learn that it had cooled down substantially from the afternoon, and thought I might be able to go a bit faster. Honestly, I expected the run to be dark and scary, but it was really quite peaceful. Don’t get me wrong, it was DARK, and it happened that my team started with very few other runners so I literally only saw 3 other people in that 4 miles, but it wasn’t as creepy as I expected. Still, I found myself picking up the pace anyway- so much for taking it easy.
After I reached the next exchange and rested a bit, I realized that I was pretty exhausted. By midnight I’ve usually been asleep for at least 2 hours, and I had probably pushed myself a little too hard (yeah, yeah), so it took me longer to recover and get going again after this one. I rested in the van for quite awhile before taking a potty break on the side of the road, where I was happy to have not yet changed because I peed on myself. Hey, it was really dark, ok. And yes, ew.
We didn’t get many pictures at night, because it was night.
I was actually pretty useless for most of the rest of the legs to be honest, and finally fell asleep for a bit between the second to last and last leg our van did. I woke up before the final runner feeling much more refreshed, so I took a turn navigating and even got to use the megaphone.
So, its 4:30 in the morning, half the van is either sleeping/resting or trying to, and I’m in charge of the megaphone. This particular leg was much longer and creepier than mine, but was at least a little more populated. So, the creative genius that I am, started telling puns and one liner jokes through the megaphone as runners went by.
A DYSLEXIC MAN WALKED INTO A BRA
TWO GUYS WALKED INTO A BAR…..THE THIRD ONE DUCKED
A COP PULLED ME OVER AND SAID PAPERS….SO I SAID SCISSORS I WIN, AND DROVE OFF
Thank goodness it was dark so I couldn’t see all the eye rolls. But I was delirious so I of course I was also hilarious.
Our final runner finally made it to the last exchange and we all piled into the van and headed to wait for our final legs. We made a MUCH needed stop at Starbucks and sat in the parking lot of a local school while we made another attempt to sleep. This time I think I slept about an hour and even after changing and potty breaks, still had about 2 hours to kill. Unfortunately, I was also beginning to feel dizzy and slightly nauseous. My final leg was 8.6 miles and this wasn’t going to help.
We all sat in the van awhile and annoyed a few more people with the megaphone. One guy in particular was wearing camo shorts and a high vis shirt which we all just thought was hysterical. So naturally one of us decided it would be funny to yell through the megaphone.
SIR IN THE CAMO PANTS AND HIGH VIS SHIRT – WE CAN SEE YOU!
No autographs, please.
At that point our team captain suggested we walk around. Still feeling slightly sick, this didn’t please me much but I understood the logic so I joined everyone else. Yes, we brought the megaphone. As luck would have it, the porta potties were really close to the next exchange, so we spent the next 30 or so minutes blasting the siren on the megaphone, forming power bridges and slapping the butts of the runners who were fortunate enough to be exchanging while we were standing there.
Don’t be jealous.
Around 10:30 we got word that the final runner from van 1 would be approaching soon.
I still wasn’t feeling any better and our captain had offered to take part of my leg if I wasn’t feeling well, which I was grateful for. The bracelet was passed and I was off, siren/butt slap and all.
Much of my final leg was down down a busy street in Mt Pleasant and over the IOP connector, so I only saw the van a couple of times. Luckily, once I got running I felt much better and was able to complete the whole thing. I wasn’t a huge fan of the uphill connector part but the rest was relatively flat.
My team posed while they waited.
After the connector I made a right and it was a straight shot a couple of miles to the finish. The problem was, there were NO signs (the course was otherwise REALLY well marked) and after a mile and a half or so I started to panic a little, worrying I had missed a turn somewhere. I was just about to pull out my phone and attempt a call while running when I caught another runner up ahead out of the corner of my eye. Praying it wasn’t just a dude out for a jog I kept going, and after another quarter mile or so I saw the exchange. Turns out, IOP doesn’t allow the signs, which I hadn’t realized. Thanks for the unnecessary panic, IOP.
I slapped the bracelet on the next runner, and I was done! I had survived running on no sleep intact and I was very happy about this. I was a little sore, exhausted, and relieved to be finished. The rest of the race ran through Sullivans Island, over the Ravenel Bridge, through part of downtown and back over the bridge where we finished at Patriots Point. We met up with the first van after sending our final runner off to wait for her at the finish. I thought that our final runner was the one who crossed the finish line, but it turns out each team waits for their final runner a little short of the finish line and everyone crosses together.
Our official finish time was 32 hours, 43 minutes and 10 seconds, for an average pace of 9:33.
Earlier that morning, while we were killing time, a veteran Palmetto runner took a video and asked each of us what we learned over the course of the race. I had commented that bronchitis wasn’t necessarily incompatible with running, trying to be funny. Crossing the finish line as a group, though, I realized that this race takes a great deal of perseverance, hard work, humor, and teamwork. Yes, it also takes a level of humor and insanity, but you also form a bond that’s difficult to find.
It’s been a week and I’m sure you’re wondering: would I do it again?
At first, I said I’d join a team if they were looking for someone but don’t know that I’d actively seek to participate again. After a few days of recovery, I’d say without a doubt absolutely I’d do it again. I’ve run in many races over the years but nothing had an experience quite like this one.
Since you hung in this long, I figured I should mention – yes, we did find our bikes.
They were in the house, right where we left them.