I, too, was a part of Paulette’s Penguins Beach to Bay Marathon Relay team.
I left the San Antonio area right after work Friday and arrived at Joe’s Crab Shack for the FE with about 5 minutes to spare! Prior to this, I’d already met Scottydog, RestTomorrow, and Slugline but not ta_tx or Kalee28. Kalee28 and I actually decided in advance that we’d share a room to save some money. The room only had one bed, but it was a king, and I think there were at least 4 feet between us the entire night, haha. I actually got out of bed at about 7:00 (although she’d left nearly 2 hours before that) and made my way to the parking lot from which I could catch a shuttle to the start of the 5th leg.
I knew I had plenty of time, but the shuttles were only scheduled to run from 8-8:45, so I wanted to make sure I got one. I pulled into the Texas A&M parking lot just before 8. I quickly found a friendly girl named Erin who walked by my car just as I got out and was pinning on my bib. She asked if I was by myself and if she could walk with me. I said that’d be great. We walked over to the shuttle area in the other parking lot, and it wasn’t until we got to the shuttle line that I realized I didn’t have my Garmin. I excused myself, rushed back and forth from my car, and arrived before the next shuttle got there.
The 4-5 exchange point was right outside the naval base. There were nearly 2,000 people standing around, and there were very few port-a-potties and the lines for them snaked back and forth. I took advantage of them early. I had my cell phone with me and got updates about the 1-2 and 2-3 exchange points, which I relayed to RestTomorrow (who had the 6th leg). However, the rest was guesswork, as Kalee28 and Scottydog both did not have their phones. As it turned out, Scottydog had written my number down for his wife to call me before he got to my point, but evidently the number had been wrong (oops). He was easy to spot, though. The set-up of the 5-6 exchange point was actually pretty well organized. The handoff point was right on the other side of the gate, so the runners knew exactly where it’d be. Also, the road was wide, and runners were only allowed to step off of the side gravel area when they heard their number called. There was a pretty good flow of people when Scottydog got there, but at least there were only a couple dozen of us in the middle of the road opposed to a couple thousand.
My leg was the shortest leg, at 4.0 miles. I had planned this intentionally as I’d only run twice since my marathon 3 weeks prior, and those had only been 5ks. It was all on the road, which was right along the beach. About a mile and a half into the run, it got really hot. The first part had been on a stretch of road coming from the base that had no traffic, but then we came onto the rest of it, in which runners had the right lane with vehicular traffic in the very next lane; their exhaust wasn’t pleasant! My stretch was relatively flat, with only one noticeable incline that I remember, but even that was nothing near what I’d consider a “hill.” I had plenty of company along my leg as there were a lot of other runners and walkers. I took a few walk breaks to reenergize and I drank water at a few of the water stops (in addition to the water in my little handheld water bottle).
When I began to approach the crowd gathered at the 5-6 exchange point, I began to speed up to sprint, but then I realized I had no idea where along the massive line of people RestTomorrow was waiting. Unlike the 4-5 exchange point, the 5-6 one was in a park area with a narrow winding sidewalk with people crowded on both sides. I almost ran into him, actually, but I noticed him at the last moment and passed him the baton.
I didn’t have concrete plans for how I’d get from the end of my leg to the finish area, but a couple people said I could try calling them to get a ride. As it turned out, no one was in the position to come get me (and it would have been very hard for someone at the finish area to drive back with all the traffic to get me). So I walked. I broke up the walking with running. I went along the course, so there were plenty of other people (ones actually running the 6th leg and ones who were doing the same thing as me). Ta_tx and her friend met me about a mile from the finish area to walk with me the rest of the way, which was really nice. I finally made it to the finish are, and Slugline wasn’t too far behind. I found out (afterward) that our team finished in 4:45. Definitely not bad considering we were all doing it for fun. There were 700 teams behind us too!
This was our relay team:
We all decided to go to Chili’s for lunch, although it was farther away than we’d planned and ta_tx and her friend ended up not making it there. The rest of us ate lunch, and Scottydog was nice enough to pay for my lunch since I hadn’t brought any cash. Afterward, we said our goodbyes (although I didn’t get hugs from ANYone *gasp*) and scottydog gave me (and RestTomorrow) rides to our cars.
Just as I was leaving the Texas A&M parking lot to head home, I realized I needed gas. There was a Valero about a quarter of a mile away, so I stopped there. While I was getting gas, I realized one of my tires looked a little low and needed some air. As luck would have it, in the process of putting air in my tire, I locked my keys in my car. My cell phone and wallet were in the car too. Luckily I was able to borrow a phone book and a phone from the nice lady behind the counter. I only had to wait about 15 minutes and it was only $25 (which I figure was a lot better than it could have been!). All in all, a great time!
It was all for you, Paulette (except maybe the keys-locked-in-the-car bit)!