Monday, May 3, 2010

200 miles, six guys, one great-big victory

A race report from Mike Smith, a member of the Charlotte-based "Crazy Legs" group of runners that won the inaugural Palmetto 200 relay this past weekend:

The Palmetto 200 is a 201.7 mile running race from The Historical Columbia Motor Speedway to Folly Beach, SC which is Charleston, SC. It is generally run by teams of 12 and the 201 miles is broke down into 36 relay legs. Sometimes, teams like the challenge of taking on the miles with a smaller team. Case in point, Crazy Legs chose to run the race as an Ultra Team with 6 people. This means that our number of relay legs just doubled from three to six and the recovery time was just cut in half. I should have analyzed this a bit closer. For instance, Leg 2, my leg, just became nearly 31 miles over a period of 24 hours as opposed to 15 over that same period. The issue becomes breakdown, how much can you endure before your body breaks down. In races like this you have to put your ego aside and run just within your limits, or you will pay a heavy price later in the race, especially in that SC heat.

Thanks to the Race Directors, Brian and Kirk, for dialing up the heat especially for the race weekend. That made things interesting, heat exhaustion, nausea, vomiting, and the whole gamut.

The Crazy Legs Team was comprised of the following folks:

Van 1 “Soccer Mom Van”:
1. Rick Stewart, a physical therapist
2. Mike Smith, a Sheriff’s Office Captain
6. Paul Gonzalez, sales rep for a local company

Van 2 “Spicoli Van” (Matt has a Dodge retro conversion van, but Joel had to explain the reference since both were born after Fast Times at Ridgemont High came out):
3. Matt Jaskot, mechanical engineer on a yearlong sabbatical
4. Thomas Eggars, air traffic controller
5. Joel Thomas, marketing
Driver: Paul Martino, Logistical Genius, kept us on point the entire race, with the shock collars…

We went out with the intent of running a 7:10 average, heat and physical breakdown held us to a 7:37 pace overall. Not bad considering conditions. The race was on point for most of the evening going into the morning, then physical breakdown starting taking its toll and we dropped off of our estimated time by 27 minutes with a couple slow legs. The team closest to us and our pit stop companions for most of the race were the Team “Island Liquors”. They kept us company and really kept us honest late in the race when we were feeling the race affects the most. They were closing fast and were intent on keeping us in their sights hoping for a late race blunder on our part. Early in the race, they had a runner get lost and lose about 20 minutes. We would like to thanks that lady that sent him down the wrong road. Had it not been for that, we would have really had to race it down to the wire within mere minutes of each other.

The fun part of the relay races is the camaraderie of all race teams involved. Regardless of your teams’ caliber, everyone supports each other. The running community never disappoints in peer support. Thanks to all of the other teams on the course and to all of the volunteers who made it possible.

The relay was excellent, extremely well organized and well marked.