On Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 10:04 AM, Maili wrote: "I knew someone who did this relay from Calistoga to Santa Cruz a couple of years ago. What do you think? Could be fun to get a team together? Not sure how it all works, but you'd be a super team captain!" 6 hours later I'd posted the event on MSRG's meetup page, and several people had already signed up. Pretty sure they had no idea what they were getting into at that point. 5 months later, we were embarking on our grand ~200 mile tour of California!
None of us had participated in The Relay before, so there were a lot of unknowns in the planning. Now looking back at our comments on the Meetup page, we actually had a lot of foresight. Johan and I knew the key to preparation was all about perfecting van-sleeping and sleep-deprived running. Deirdre knew we may need an alternate. Kurt sealed his fate when he offered to run as many miles as needed. Little did we know...
2 weeks before The Relay, an overuse injury caught up with me, and I was sidelined from running. I took immediate action with rest, massage, and active release therapy, but I started prepping for the possibility that I wouldn't be able to run the Relay. My backup plan was to have Deirdre sub in for me, and I would relieve Maili's husband Devin of his van-driving responsibilities. Unfortunately, my backup plan fell through 5 days before The Relay when Kierstan had to back out with a work obligation. Thankfully Deirdre stepped in immediately! But I still had to cover my 18 miles. And then I found out Johan was injured and may not be able to run. Make that 30+ miles to cover, and we were 4 days out. I may have freaked out a little bit... But by Tuesday night, Kurt had offered to run Johan's legs, Kelly offered to take over the most difficult leg assignments, and Joe, Lisa, and Jack had all offered to run an extra leg. After fiddling around with my super-scheduling-spreadsheet, the new plan fell into place on Thursday morning. I'd be the van 1 driver, Kurt would be back up for Johan as needed, Kelly's husband Jim (chief driver of van 2) would take over 1 of my legs, Jack would take the other, and Drew, Joe, and Lisa would fight it out for the third.
Friday night before The Relay, Jack and Johan helped me pick up our Relay chariots. I got behind the wheel of my sleek white Kia Sedona, set my favorite XM stations, and got pretty damn excited. That night some friends gifted me with a cowbell, which set the literal tone for the weekend. Thank goodness Jack had matching cowbells for Van 2! Not being able to run, I was determined to channel all of my energy into being the best cheerleader and driver possible. Those couple pedestrians I almost hit and that near t-bone in Petaluma were toooootally on purpose. Sometimes a captain's gotta create some fear just so her crew knows she's capable of saving them. Or something like that.
Throughout the weekend, we developed a pretty solid homeostasis in Van 1. Maili, our poised front runner. Patricia, our giggly trooper. John, our homeopathic backseat driver. Drew, our chipper boy scout. Joe, our hill-conquering beast. And Lisa, our secret stealth speedster. By Sunday afternoon we'd realized Van 1 had it pretty lucky. We were eating frozen yogurt while Jack was putting in an extra 7 miles in Petaluma. We got a reasonable bed time of 3am and wake up call of 6am. We got showers at the first van exchange. We got the glory of ascending the steepest climb on the course. We got the relief of not having to run any extra legs. What we didn't get was the right to wave the SUPERDUPERBADASS flag that Van 2 earned about ten times over.
I've been getting a lot of thanks for all the work I did organizing, but considering I duped you into joining me on a giant minivan joyride through some of the most beautiful nooks in California, I don't feel deserving of praise. From the early planning stages back in December to the finish line, I was continually impressed by the enthusiasm, motivation, and inspiring athleticism displayed by the team. Really, it's not so hard to captain when you have an all-star crew. So, THANK YOU for a fantastic Relay 2012. If you'll have me, I'm happy to be the MSRG captain for Relay 2013 :)