A.M. Wasatch Back continues. Leg 17 in 36:43, and Leg 29 in 20:18. Details to follow.
The end of the first shift of Van 1 was followed by a logistical mistake. Instead of getting our rear ends into Kimball's Expedition and hurrying over to the next exchange to sleep we lounged around, and then followed Van 1 of the Blue team to Subway. Mental note. Next time find somebody ideally in Huntsville, less ideally but still good in Eden or Liberty that would not mind having six stinky guys + the driver come and crash at his house. Sleep is critical to success on the second and third legs for everybody, but particularly to the neurologically limited runners, which in my estimate would be about half of our team.
We hurried over to the next exchange, dropped Jeff off in a hurry, dealt with a traffic jam. I am sure glad Jeff is as disciplined and detail oriented as he is, or we would have miffed that exchange. It was dark, lots of teams, you could not see one's face well enough to recognize it. I did not recognize Jon Allen from 5 feet away. He said, how is our team doing? My answer was, "which team?", with the implication of - why in the world do you expect me to know how your team is doing? I do not even know who you are.
Mental note for the future. On the van-to-van hand-off, the first runner in the next van must carry a watch with precise time (or at least now exactly how much off his watch is), and must make sure he is at the exchange at least 5 minutes prior to the time estimate given by the previous van in case a miracle happens or the previous leg turns out to be short. Cell phones sometimes do not work. However, the arrival time is fairly predictable, at least the earliest physically possible arrival time. After that deadline, no potty visits, strides, or anything. Stand there, listen with both ears for the team number, and stare like a hawk at the arriving runners. A volunteer could easily miss a Fast Passing Runner, especially in the dark.
Van 2 brought us the baton about 2 minutes behind schedule.
Leg 13. 8.47 miles. 3.2% net drop. 712 feet of gain, and 2128 feet of drop. First mile uphill, the rest steep rolling down. Jeff McClellan against Kyle Perry. Jeff's splits speak for themselves - 6:35, 4:54, 4:53, 5:06, 5:22, 5:05, 4:50, 4:53, and 4:50 pace for the rest of the leg. 44:05, 5:12 average. Sasha Science projected 44:59, the original projection was 45:20. Kyle Perry (BYU) ran 43:33. Sweet for Jeff, only 32 seconds behind the BYU super-runner. We were 16:54 behind after leg 13.
Leg 14. 3.00 miles. 85 feet of drop, 145 feet of gain. Hayden Hawks against Nate Ogden. Hayden ran 16:22, 5:27 pace, was projected to run 16:34 by Sasha Science, 17:40 originally. Hayden's form reminds me of Ryan Hall. Who knows, he might run 2:06 marathon when he grows up, I would not be surprised. Jared Kelly ran this leg in 16:00. No data on BYU times from this point.
Leg 15. 4.95 miles officially, measured 5.05 on the GPS. 208 feet of drop, 265 feet of gain. 0.2% climb. Tyler ran through a side-ache in 29:02. Sasha Science projected him at 28:45, original projection was 28:32. Average Garmin pace 5:45, if the leg was right, then 5:51.
Leg 16. Officially 3.05, measured 2.93 on Walter's Garmin. 31 feet of drop, 74 feet of gain, 0.3% grade. He ran it in 17:02, 5:48 pace. Sasha Science projection was 17:31 (5:44 pace), the original projection was 17:46 (5:49 pace). The projections assumed 3.05 miles. Splits: 5:40, 5:57, 5:48 pace for 0.93.
Leg 17. Officially 5.87, measured 6.03 on my Garmin. 103 feet of drop, 339 feet of climb. 0.8 % grade. Started at 12:33 AM. Felt sleepy and weak on this leg. Ran 36:43, 6:06 average pace. Was projected to run by Sasha Science in 34:18, 5:51 pace. The original projection said 34:23, 5:52 pace. Splits: 5:46, 6:06, 6:08, 5:56, 6:07, 6:31, and 5:55 pace to the finish. It is interesting to compare my splits with Chad's who ran the same leg: 6:09, 6:05, 6:03, 6:00, 6:07, 6:23. So in other words, in the first mile I was myself, from 2 to 5 I became Chad (in his current shape), and on the last mile I was transformed into a runner that is 8 seconds a mile slower than Chad. This was a clear case of neural fatigue. Next year we'll try Operation Huntsville Nap and see if that makes a difference (assuming I am in Van 1 again, which I should be because it would be a disaster to put me in Van 2). I was rather surprised that I was passing mostly fit looking young men running around 7:00-7:30 rather than mostly women running 10:00 pace as I was expecting. Every time I'd come up on one due to my past race experience (you never start behind somebody except a race like this) I would think, well as weak as I am feeling, he's going to try to hang with me. Maybe I'll draft a bit before passing him. But he never did try. Of course, he could not. If you did not even see him a mile earlier, there is no chance he'd be able to go with you. It is like passing somebody who's hit the wall in a marathon. He is a helpless lamb, there is nothing he can do. My mind was playing tricks on me in the middle of the night.
Leg 18. Officially 5.23 miles, measured 5.11 on Jeff's GPS. 201 feet of drop, 695 feet of climb. 1.8% grade climb. Jeff Shadley with his quads already trashed ran 34:40 averaging 6:47. His Sasha Science projection was 33:48 (for 5.23), 6:28 average. Original projection was 32:48, 6:16 average.
We messed up the exchange. It took about 30 seconds for Taylor to find Jeff. Again, a note for the future. We need military discipline in the vans, especially at night. Know the current time, know the earliest your hand off can arrive, and from that time on watch like a hawk without losing vigilance. The runner ideally should never be left alone at the exchange. 5 minutes from the earliest possible arrival the companion should come out and be there to remind the runner to stay vigilant.
Immediately after picking up Jeff we headed over to the North Summit High School in Coalville. Set a PR for the sleep. 70 minutes! This later proved very helpful on the third leg. Being humbled by the hand-off fiasco we were more disciplined. However, we did waste about 5 minutes on a small detail. I forgot the exact location where Tyler and Walter were sleeping, and it was impossible to tell among about 50 sleeping bodies in the dark who was who. So we did a man to man check waking up a few unhappy runners. Some volunteered that they were not either Walter or Tyler before we had a chance to kick them. Note for the future - make sure you know EXACTLY where everyone is sleeping and can find that place in the dark. For the team members - do not go away from the van without telling the van captain (and have an official van captain to begin with) where you are with enough detail that he could find you in less than 60 seconds in case of emergency.
Drove over to the Rockport Lake for Jeff to start his leg. There was a huge jam. We let Jeff out with about a mile to go so he could do his warm up.
Leg 25. 5.60 miles. 385 feet of gain, 155 feet of loss. 1.3% grade. Nasty leg. I ran it last year. Slower than it looks from the elevation profile. Jeff McClellan started his leg at 5:01 AM, about 3 minutes behind Carson Campbell from the Peak Endurance team that started at 4:00 PM, an hour before us. Too much gap for Jeff to make a road kill, but enough to set Hayden up for it. Jeff's splits - 5:34, 5:50, 6:01, 6:30, 6:29, next 0.5 in 2:47, last 509 feet at 5:18 pace. Total time 33:42. Average pace 6:01. The original projection was 33:51, Sasha Science projection was 33:49. Kyle Perry reported that he ran that leg at 5:56-5:57 average. So that puts Jeff at most only a little over 30 seconds behind. Jeff finished about a minute behind Carson. We again lost about 3 seconds on the exchange. This time we did it right for the most part - I was out there with Hayden and kept him alert. But then we both spaced out spaced out, Jeff apparently went by the radio announcer so fast he could not see his number, either that or Hayden and I both spaced out, the volunteers kept us out of the exchange area until the number had been announced, and by the time Jeff got in Hayden was still on the sidewalk. Again shows the importance of being vigilant.
Leg 26. 163 feet of gain, 127 feet of loss. 0.1% grade climb.
Leg 29. I started at 7:05 AM. Splits. 4:52, 4:36, 4:56, 5:30, last 379 feet at 5:40 pace. Average pace 4:59.
T4 Racer - 205.14 miles
P.M. Home to Costco relay with the kids. 1.06 with Julia in 10:48, 1.56 with Jenny in 13:51, and 2.75 with Benjamin in 22:55.
Five Fingers - 452.76 miles