I’ve lost count of exactly how many relays I’ve run (6? 7?) but my favorite one is hands down the Texas Independence Relay. It begins in Gonzales where the Texas Revolution took place and ends at the San Jacinto Monument in Houston where Texas Independence was won. While most other relays have 36 legs, TIR has 40. Each team is made up of twelve runners, 8 of which run 3 legs and 4 who tackle 4 legs.
Ladies and gentleman, I present you with the certifiably insane members of Blood, Sweat & Beers:
We packed up the vans Friday night and left Austin around 5pm. We stopped in Moulton for dinner at Kloesel’s Steakhouse, hit up the Texas Independence Party and then headed to our hotel for a final night of sleep before the craziness would begin.
Leg 4 – 5.38 miles
Before the first leg of every prior relay, my anxiety was always an all-time high. I have no idea why this happened but it was different this weekend. I was READY to run my ass off.
The 1pm handoff made for an extremely sunny run. It was almost entirely on dirt roads with rolling hills that just wouldn’t quit and annoying gravel which made you wonder at what point you’d twist an ankle.
After my first leg, I knew my next one wouldn’t be for awhile since it was Leg 24. Or so I thought. Steph quickly informed me that my next leg was actually 15. My bad.
Leg 15 – 3.7 miles
This leg was pretty forgettable. It was 8:30pm, the sun finally had gone down and we were in the middle of BFE Texas. My Garmin even forgot about the run; when I finished it said I ran 0.01 miles. Nailed it.
Leg 24 – 4.75 miles
By far my FAVORITE (and fastest!) leg. It was a straight shot from Simonton to Fulshear so I was able to zone out and just run. It’s always a little creepy running in the middle of the night with only red blinky lights marking other runners in the distance. But night legs will always be my favorite! How my third leg was my fastest – I will never know. But I’m going to assume it had something to do with the Whataburger I had at 1am.
Leg 39 – 4.66 miles
I went into the weekend with only three legs, but after finishing my third I volunteered to pick up an additional one from anyone feeling not up to running their last leg. This seemed like a great idea at 4am, but once the sun came up I began second-guessing this decision. I think this photo displays exactly how pleased I was to be running on the surface of the sun that afternoon:
The only reason I survived this leg was because my badass vanmates stopped frequently to give me water to drink and dump on my head. It was SO hot, and the fact I was already so sunburned didn’t help my body temperature. Thankfully the last two miles had a killer breeze so that made me happy. Well, as happy as I could be coming up on almost 20 miles for the weekend.
And that’s a wrap on TIR 2017!
Relays are a different kind of beast. They test your endurance, your patience, and your ability to run (literally) on little to no sleep. You never want to stop pushing harder because this race isn’t about you – it’s about your team. Day 2 is a sufferfest (runners love pain, apparently) but everyone sucks it up and powers through. The encouragement and support you get from your teammates (and even other teams) is unrivaled. I always come out of relays incredibly inspired and this weekend was no different. Our team was made up of badass rockstar runners and I’m so glad they let me be a part of it. And also let me drink their beer 🙂
Our team captain Tony and Steph took care of every detail imaginable (and some we may never have thought of). As an extremely Type A person and one who usually takes control during relays, it was amazing to know we had absolutely nothing to worry about. I know how much work and planning goes into races of this magnitude – it’s no joke. So THANK YOU to Stony (celeb nickname FTW!) for making sure we were so well taken care of and set up for success during TIR!
And an immeasurable amount of gratitude goes out to Kalynn’s mom, Ginnie, for being the best race sherpa in all the land. She followed us around basically the entire weekend, snapping amazing photos (90% of the ones above), delivering Whataburger in the middle of the night, going on a much-needed beer run, and making Starbucks + kolaches magically appear Sunday morning when we were all in desperate need of a pick-me-up. She is pretty much our hero.
Hope to see everyone in 2018!