Monday, March 7, 2011

Texas Independence Relay (aka The Weekend Without Sleep)

What a weekend!  Unforgettable even though sometimes I was walking around like a zombie. The Texas Independence Relay: 12 person teams running 203 miles from Gonzales, TX to the San Jacinto monument.  It starts with a cannon fire (Come and Take It!) and ends with a party.  A post-race party without beer because it's at a state park.  We won't talk about that.

Saturday, Exchange 12, 2:30pm-8:30pm

The wind was blowing fiercely.  It was so bad that it would blow our van around on the road. We arrived in Schulenburg to set up our relay.  When we got there we saw several vans already there waiting for their runners.  Some folks were using the opportunity take a much needed nap.

The vans were all decorated with care in hopes that the next runner would soon be there. 

People would almost fall out of the vans onto the ground to sleep yet they all seemed to be having fun.

We found the exchange location marked by a flag painted on the concrete.
Set up flags,

stocked the port-o-potties (gross), and made sure every one was doing ok and having fun.  Basically just hang out, direct traffic (thanks, Chuck!) and stock the potties.  I also brought Febreeze to freshen them from time to time.  There wasn't much sitting involved.  We were walking the whole time.

The runners are still happy at this point.  Sleep deprivation, dehydration and cold have not set in yet. That's later.
People old and young ran this race.  It was fun to get to meet so many people.

As it started to get dark, the runners put on reflective vests/belts and blinkies (flashing lights).  Then it was off to a lonely, dark road for them.
Imagine this run at night without any street lights.  DARK!
The sag-wagon (I learned the term for the car that follows the last runner) came so it was finally time to pack up a little after 8pm. Dark, windy and cold.

Chuck and I drove up the road for a while looking for food and came across a shack sitting off the road that had lights on.  We went inside.
"Do you have food?"
"No, sorry."
It was a bar.
"OK, give us two Shiners then."
We eventually found a Whataburger and got something to eat.  Then it was time to head to our next exchange.

Sunday, Exchange 25, 1am-5:40am
We pulled into the parking lot around 12:30ish?  I can't remember. There were a few vans in the parking lot at this little church in the middle of a dark nowhere.  Every one is just trying to get a little sleep but the dog across the street is stuck in nonstop barking mode. That dog almost died that night. This close, I tell ya.

We tried to get a little sleep in the van but it was broken at best. (thanks a lot you *(*#$@ dog!) Then we see that the first runner is getting there a little early.  We have the tent set up and it's go time. And it's cold time. 38*, my friend.  I lost feeling in my extremities.  Brrrrr!

At this point in the race the runners have reached a certain stage: "Why am I doing this?" and "I really don't want to do this anymore."  People have gotten cranky and they are resisting the volunteers (us) who tell them where they need to park.  The volunteers (us) are also wondering why we did this.  Sleep deprivation is causing people to walk around in the middle of the street with blankets wrapped around them without regard to large trucks passing by.  It was a situation.

There were no pictures to share on this exchange.  Cold, shivering, tired. I was also dehydrated because (now don't laugh at me) I didn't want to drink water and have to use those port-o-potties. Sad.  I'm ashamed.

Final runner comes through around 5:40am and we are outta there.  Chuck and I had a very tough time warming our toes to normal temp.

We get home and literally stumble into bed.  I don't think we moved from where we fell.  Two hours later it was time to get up, get showered, and head to our last exchange.

We get a call from the lead van at 9am:
"Y'all can get here early because we just had our first runner come through.  It was earlier than expected. Other runners are coming up."

"Wha?" Still half asleep.

Next call 9:50am: (we weren't supposed to be there until 10:40)
"Are y'all almost here?  We really need you to get set up.  The runners are showing up."

"Almost there.  Be there in less than 10 minutes."

Sunday, Exchange 38, 10am-4:30pm

The runners have had some sleep.  The sky is beautiful blue and the temps are mild and pleasant.  The sun is shining and the race is almost finished.  All is right with the world.  Much better attitudes than at 3am. :)

This was a fun exchange.  No parking issues and the weather was perfect.

People were stretched out on the grass relaxing.
We had our tent set up and ready to go. 
Got to meet interesting people.
A couple of the runners had barely anything on. No picture of the guy in the speedo and jock strap.  Or the guy who had a flap over his rear that would fly up. There were some interesting costumes out there.
Oh we didn't dress up in our Motley Schu gear.  The wind was terrible Saturday and by Sunday we were running on auto-pilot.

Even saw Chuck's uncle.  We didn't even know he was running the race!

Around 1ish we got hungry so I had a pizza delivered to the parking lot. :) (ate like crap this weekend)

Finally we're told that the last runners have come through so we can pack up.

The winners were a hand picked team. They all ran 5 minute miles.  As a matter of fact, one of their team members ran a 5K Saturday morning (he won at 15 minutes-ish) and then came out to start the relay race! 

There were competitive teams and those that were just out there for the experience.  All had a great time. All got a nice medal.

We didn't make it to the post race party (we were tired plus most of the festivities would be over by the time we got there) but we did score tee shirts and our first medals!

It's a medal of the San Jacinto monument
 I may not have earned a medal running a race but I did endure the race.

Chuck and I had a great time.  Plus we got to spend a lot of time together which is always nice.  Even though we were tired and cranky at times we never snapped at each other so that's good.

Would we do it again? Ask us in a few days when we've caught up on our sleep. :)


  1. AWESOME time.
    Maybe next year we can put a team together. Any takers?

  2. Kelly, I laughed all the way through this. How can you be overtired, miserable and so darn funny all at the same time?

    Great race report!

  3. You had a pizza delivered to the parking lot during a race? How very Dean Karnazesish of you...I love it!!!

    Really sounds crazy and fun - what an adventure! Congrats on your first medals - you certainly earned them! Now for a medal hanger...;)

  4. Wowza ! Sounds like a wonderful and exhausting time ! Great post Kel ! :)

  5. Except for the cranky and cold parts, that sounds like fun.

    Hope you catch up on your ZZZs soon.

  6. You're making me tired just reading this! Sounds like an interesting experience. :)


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