Our relay team qualified for Boston!! Oh what’s that you say? There’s no “4 person coed relay team” category? Well, there should be 😉 I’m pretty sure that’s the only way I’d make it there haha.

The Valentine’s Massacre Marathon Relay was fantastic!

icy lake

Kelly, Justin, Kerry, and I got to the race about an hour before it started to check in and get ready. We quickly realized just how frigidly cold out it was. Extra layers were thrown on almost immediately; hand warmers were a lifesaver!

check in line

All bundled up:

bundled up

The race finally got under way around 10:15. Justin ran first, then Kelly, Kerry, and me bringing up the rear. The first lap was 2.2 miles, then the other 15 loops were 1.6 miles- we each ran four laps, alternating runners with each lap.

Basically, you run for about 15 minutes, then try not to freeze for 45 minutes. As soon as you’re done running, you bundle back up. You wait until you can see the runner before you coming around the last bend before you start peeling off layers.

Here’s the hand-off section. Can you find me? It’s like Where’s Waldo 🙂


The first half of each lap was the hardest- there were a couple gradual hills and two icy patches to maneuver. Once you hit the mile mark on each loop, it was fairly flat or downhill, making it a nice way to finish the loop.

My favorite part of a race is the last 100 yards or so, when you kick in and give it everything you’ve got to hit the finish line. One of the things I loved about the way this relay was organized was that I got to “finish” four times in a row.

Running just over a mile and then resting was a fun way to be able to run the overall 6.4 miles at a pace that was faster than you could normally maintain.

By the third set of loops, we were starting to think about where we were going to get some pizza when we were done. (Thinking about the pizza and beer to come was good motivation pushing up those hills!) Apparently I was all too distracted by the idea of pizza that I completely forgot I was supposed to be keeping an eye out for Kerry. None of us saw him coming until he was right behind us and we heard him call out. Startled, I immediately ripped off my gloves (what was I thinking?) and stripped off my coat and scarf, grabbed the timing chip and took off. Whew, close call. Somehow I knew that I’d be the one to almost screw up… crisis averted!

The last loop was definitely the most difficult. I had a strange, sharp pain in my back under my shoulder blade, which eventually moved into what felt like my lungs. I already thought my lungs were going to explode from breathing in all that cold air. Knowing it was the end I kept pushing through, and the pain eased away. As soon as I got to the last stretch I sprinted with everything I had left! I don’t think I could have ran a split second faster.

running running running running

Each time a runner crossed the timing mats, they had to bend down to make sure the timing chip could be picked up electronically. The last time I crossed at the finish, the chip didn’t beep, so the finish-line guy had to take it back and cross it up close to get it to work. Even after all that though I saw the clock had just hit 3:40.

I knew the race would take more than four hours, so there was no doubt I’d get hungry during that time, but I wasn’t sure what to bring. I ended up packing an assortment of snacks so I could decide what I wanted while I was there. Here’s what I brought:


I didn’t end up eating any of it though. They had a pretty good assortment of food: Doritos, animal crackers, Mike & Ikes, pretzels, bagels, peanut butter, jelly, bananas, and apples. They brought out some hot chili at the end too. I grabbed a little bit of water and some animal crackers after most loops even though I really wasn’t in the mood to eat. After the second lap I ate half a bagel with peanut butter to hold me over until the end. It took everything I had not to grab a cup of hot coffee! (I wasn’t sure how coffee in the middle of running would go over.) I think the only time my appetite goes away is right after I run!

I think this race may have won best race-shirt- they gave out sweatshirts! Completely appropriate given the weather, but surprising none the less. Ok, maybe not the most attractive sweatshirt ever, but I’ll definitely wear it more than the usual way-too-big race tees. And who doesn’t love a hoodie?! 🙂

race sweatshirt

Before we knew it, the race was over and we were headed to pizza! It took at least an hour for my lungs to start functioning normally again. Kelly and I both felt like we’d developed a temporary smoker’s cough. I guess it was from gulping freezing cold air all morning.

Team shot after pizza:

relay team


The results still aren’t posted….I’ll put them up as soon as I get them!

Edited to add:

race finish line


Check out my full race recap here if you haven’t already!

Overall: 40/105  3:41:15  8:21/M (which is weird because I definitely had a cup of water in my hand and was walking back to the group when the clock was at 3:40…and it says the distance was 26.5 miles, not 26.2.)

Division: 10/37 4 person co-ed teams

My splits:

Lap # Total Lap (1.6m) Min/mile
Lap 4 12:54 8:04/M
Lap 8 12:51 8:02/M
Lap 12 13:18 8:19/M
Lap 16 13:09 8:13/M

Wait what? My pace really starts with an 8? That certainly says something about cold as a motivation factor. And knowing your only running 1.6 miles then you get to rest.

It’s fun to be able to see times like that!

They definitely make sense—the 3rd and 4th laps I ran were definitely harder than the first two!

What’s ironic is 10 people ran the whole thing solo; 7 of them finished before we did. I’m telling you, if you ever want to be inspired, stand near the finish line of a race!

Kelly and I all bundled up…actually I think this before we added even more extra layers…:)

bundled up