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Hmm, my last RR on this place was a few years back. However, as indicated in the other threads about the marathon, I met EQ 43--whom you all know--the other day so figured what the heck, I'll post up a report. [If you read B&B, you may have seen this report.]<br><br>
I've done two Equinoxes with some decent results for a geezer, but the experience had also been disappointing, if not heartbreaking: <a href="http://northernlightsonline.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">http://northernlightsonline.blogspot.com/</a>.<br><br>
Before last year's race I had decided to do the relay this year in favor of a flat big city marathon. I ended up injured off and on for most of the summer and didn't get in the mileage needed for the marathon, but by August I figured no matter what, I would do that relay. A masters runner called in August with an offer to be on an open team (2 masters and a 34 yr old). Paul, the master's guy had been injured much of the season, but also was hanging in there. Roy, the younger guy had a good road race season, running under 18 for 5k and sub 30 for 8k, but has been winding down since early August.<br><br>
Paul would do the opening 8.3 mile leg over rolling trails I'd take the rugged 8.7 mile section over the top of Ester Dome and through the 'out and back' which is mostly on steep and rutted 4WD trails. I like gnarl. Then Roy had the infamous 'chute', a drop of 800 ft over some 600 yards, followed by a long descent into town over scenic trails and roads.<br><br>
Although it threatened to rain throughout, the weather held to near perfect conditions (40s and blustery at times). Fall leaves were peaking. Couldn't have had better conditions. Our team was something of a cadre of walking wounded and post-peak, consisting of two boomers and a 30 something guy.<br><br>
After watching and cheering at a couple spots early in the race I warmed up feeling pretty stiff in that sore calf but otherwise good. Paul ran steady, but I could tell he was not on the same level he's been in recent years. We were in about 18th or 20th OA at the exchange I got the bib, behind 6 relay teams. The lead team had a slight lead over the marathon leaders, who were covering at about 6:10 pace. We were about 8 or 9 minutes back.<br><br>
I tried not to get to excited over the first couple miles, but it was hard to hold back when I could see the bibs of the rest those teams all within a couple of minutes. Once the Ester Dome hill got steep (about a mile in), reeling them in wasn't too bad (mile splits of 8:42, 8:13, 9:03). So 3 miles and 1600 ft later, I was in 2nd for the relay and about 7th OA. After the grueling climb, the out and back section is deceptively brutal; you think you've got it nailed on the hill climb and then this section just kicks you in the pants over and over again like some Laurel and Hardy flick. I cover the 8.7 miles in 1:07:20, and almost reeled in 2 open runners who I'd been trying to catch for miles. However, we lost additional ground against the lead team, as their 2nd leg, a HS coach named Chad, ran the 3rd fasted split in a decade (my split was top 3 for the day, but nowhere near his level).<br><br>
Roy, our third guy looked all determined and took it in over the last 9.2, mostly downhill but with some wicked stuff, in 58 minutes, so we got 3:07:30 for 2nd OA in the relay (about 3:20 behind the leaders, who had a young woman, with solid ability, running the final leg so they were a mixed team).<br><br>
Only once in the entire 17 year history of the relay has a team beat the lead runners (and that was one of the slowest years ever, when the lead runner 'only' ran 3:06 or so). The lead marathoners were flying; 2:50 on that course is damn fast.<br><br>
Anyway, it was a great day to be out there. Sorry, EQ that it didn't work out for you. As a life time member, you'll certainly be back.
 
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