I had the longest run of leg two among the six of us in our van - 6.8 miles. Time passed quickly as Judy and Cindy got their runs done. The sun had set, and I was feeling a little nervous about running outside in the dark. We had been the very first team into a couple of the last exchanges, and it meant that there weren't a lot of other runners near us.
The volunteers warned us that there was no shoulder on the road and that it would be very dark.
I wasn't afraid... but I never run alone outside in the dark. I asked my teammates if they'd mind leap frogging me a bit on this leg just to give me a little peace of mind. I'm so glad I asked!
Here I am in all of my night gear and ready to tackle leg two - 6.8 miles!
It wasn't long before I was in the exchange and getting the bracelet. I set out and just tried to keep things steady and keep my cool. It was definitely unnerving to not have any shoulder on the road. I was just running down the white line and doing my best to make sure I was ready to move if any cars didn't get over.
The traffic definitely threw my rhythm off a few times when I got nervous about some cars that weren't moving over as much as I'd like. There was also a car or two that turned their brights on as they got closer to me. Thanks for that, cars. Not only am I running down the white line with a steep ditch on the other side of me, now I can't see anything.
My van leapfrogging me is what kept me calm. The road I was running down was in the middle of nowhere with NO street lights. Or houses. Or any signs of civilization. And I kept hearing things rustle in the bushes.
It definitely helped that they would drive ahead, let me catch up, and then drive ahead again. Before long, another van was doing the same thing and I realized there was a girl somewhere behind me. It helped knowing someone else was nearby, but I also didn't want her to pass me - especially with my team watching! Talk about extra motivation!
To help even more, Van 2 drove by on their way to the next major exchange and cheered for me as they passed.
Before long, I reached the mile to go sign. I knew I had already been pushing it, but I picked it up even more. I finished a bit ahead of the girl behind me in 56:10 - an average 8:16 minute mile pace. Holy smokes! Faster than I ran leg 1! Apparently the dark and discomfort of this kind of run helped.
I got myself changed and into the gear I'd wear on my last leg - compression tights and compression socks. Hot, I know.
It wasn't long when we were heading into Lynchburg to turn things back over to Van 2. Again, we had an issue of coming in too early. We held back a bit (which sucks, because it's a race) and managed to finish right on time so that we weren't held for two hours.
It was great to see the other teammates again! By now, it was really starting to get cold. I had also switched to glasses to give my eyes a break.
After seeing Van 2 off, we found a pizza place to grab some food. My stomach had been bothering me a bit since my last run - I think from pushing it so much. I had a weird moment where I got really hot and had to go into the bathroom and strip off some layers and cool off. I opted to eat something bland and hoped that my tummy would settle soon.
We drove to the next major exchange so that we could attempt to get some sleep. We soon heard that we'd continue to have issues with coming into that exchange too early, and we made a decision to just let it happen and be held for two hours. If there was a place to do it, it was at this one so that we could get more sleep.
I curled up on the back seat and managed to dose in and out a bit, but I never truly slept well. Nonetheless, when it was time to get going, my stomach felt normal again. Yay!
More to come about the final leg!