Our team, Team JetPack, started the day strong. Van 1, carrying the other half of the team, had an 11:30am start time and left Woodstock before we left the City. Our van met them 25 miles down the course where they finished their first set of legs and our van started ours — which is where things went south a little bit. Our first runner was running in the middle of a hot and humid day, up and down a lot of hills, on a few hours of sleep. And he put all he had into it. We cheered him on at mile 4, then passed him by to meet him at the exchange where he was going to hand off to me. We waited at the exchange for a while. We watched as runners that were behind him came in. We stared down the road and started to worry. Finally another team that was waiting mentioned something about seeing him go off the course, chasing him down, picking him up, and about him not being in great shape. Once we were sure they weren’t kidding (“Are you serious?” “Yes, we’re serious.” “No, really, you’re not joking?” “Nope.” “Wait, what?”), Micah and our runner’s wife went to see if they could find him, and while they were gone, the other team brought him to the exchange in their van. He was severely dehydrated and ended up spending the rest of the race in the hospital. We were all pretty shaken up, but still had to finish the race.
After the ambulance had taken our runner and his wife to the hospital, I grabbed a water bottle and headed out for my first leg. It was a really beautiful course and I only saw 3 other runners the whole time, which made for a really peaceful run. (The start times are staggered so that there aren’t too many vans at each exchange at any time). I got in and handed off the next runner and our team finished the next two legs without incident. Our 5th runner was at the hospital with her husband, but she decided to run anyway, so one of the race officials brought her to the exchange where she was supposed to start. Except it was the wrong exchange. She waited there for a while before realizing she was in the wrong place, and we waited at the right exchange a while before going to the other exchange to try to find her. We crossed paths en route, and she got to the right exchange, started running, and Micah and I tried to find her at the next exchange. We missed her, obviously, and after talking to the race director, he told Micah to go ahead and start running and we could skip her leg (we didn’t know she had already started). So, he headed out, I went back to get our two remaining teammates, we went to the exchange and picked up our runner when she finished her leg, then went to meet Micah as he finished his. It ended up working out perfectly. Everyone still got to run, we made up a little bit of time, and then we got to rest a bit while Van 1 ran their second set of legs.
The rest of the race went off without incident, for the most part. We had some achy knees and blisters, we tried to sleep, we waited for a long long time to run our last set of legs, we passed the time by using the portajohns and wondering when and what we should eat so as to be prepared for our next run. (The wait was really long for me since Oliver was awake and everyone else was asleep.) Micah and the other man in our van ran our injured runner’s remaining legs, and they both did the extra miles without a problem. Van 1 finished their legs and went home, exhausted, while we ran our last set, so it was just our 5 remaining runners and Oliver crossing the finish line together. Bittersweet, I guess. Great that we were finished and we had a good time, and that Oliver hardly cried at all, but not so great in that we still had a teammate in the hospital and that we didn’t get to celebrate with the other half of our team. We didn’t stick around at the finish line long. We had to get back to return our van and rescue our babysitters from our child.
Micah and I dropped the rest of our teammates at a train station, then drove to New Jersey, packed up all of our stuff and Oliver, and hopped on the train back to the city and then caught the subway to Brooklyn. Our friends who watched Simon made us some pizza, we chatted for a bit, and then they drove us home. (Ten thousand thank yous to the Larsens for all their help.) We got in at about 10:00 last night, put the boys to bed, got ourselves in bed at around midnight, then slept until 10:30, when both boys started to make noise. (I had, of course, been up to feed Oliver, but other than that, we slept like the dead.) We were sad that we woke up too late to go to church (there would have been less than an hour left by the time we got there) because we actually feel really good. Hardly sore at all, and only a little bit tired.