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Cascade Lakes Relay 2010 – Running with the Bast Fastards

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Cascade Lakes Relay 2010

Cascade Lakes Relay – Bast Fastards

12 guys, 216.6 miles, 30:45:05, Rocked the Cascade Lakes Relay!  Amazing Team! Can’t wait to do it next year.

Check out all my photos! Or watch a slide show!

The team has also posted even more photos.

It all started with a friendly game of Thanksgiving Day touch football. It had been raining for most of the week and come game day the grid iron was a puddle of mud. I thought that I would be ok with my hiking boots and a towel, but as the rain continued to come down the amount of effort it took just to keep upright made most calls unplayable. At each hike each of us just ran in a straight line. I can’t believe how sore I was after the game. I felt the effect for days; it really through me for a loop. I needed to get into better shape. It was time to meet with Tom the trainer.

My wife started working out with Tom in the summer 2009. I’ve been really impressed with her progress and after the pain from football I decided to set up some time to see what Tom could do for me. Tom suggested that I give myself a goal to work towards. Coincidentally, around the same time my buddy Josh asked if I’d be up for running the Cascade Lakes Relay on July 30th as part of team Bast Fastards. He was organizing a guy’s team to run alongside his wife Nicora’s lady’s team, The Pink Panters. There it was… MY GOAL! All I had to do was get into shape to be able to run three 5-10 miles legs with 12 guys at high altitude in temperatures ranging from 40 to 100 degrees over 30 hours, with less than 4 hours of very light sleep. It sounded like a challenge but with a plan and a support group of 12 great guys I was COMMITTED!

So on December 28th I started my journey working out with Tom every Monday and Friday. It was hard. Each session was about three sets of three supersets with a mix of weights and aerobic conditioning. We did lots of core strengthening and abdominal exercises. But the real challenge was the running. Beyond a mile or two on the treadmill I had never done any serious running or cross country training. So I started running on the treadmill twice a week, slowly building up my endurance, eventually running three times a week. By March I was running once a week outside and finally broke 10k on April 25! I now needed to get in some public running to take the edge off of doing an event. A few friends and I signed up for the Starlight Run (5K) and then I did an organized run at work (10K). I was making progress and starting to feel like the goal was achievable.

Two weeks before the Relay I ran 8 miles, then 5 a few days later and finally 4 the week before. I rested up and got lots of sleep for the 4 days leading up to the trip down to Central Oregon.

Both teams met at Josh and Nicora’s the day before the race to caravan down to a cabin in LaPine, where we could crash for the night before the race. It was like going to grade school summer camp; sleeping bags, cases of Gatorade, bananas, cheese, gear, gear & more gear strewn all over their yard. With +24 people in three vans the logistics were not simple and we got going a little later than expected. We arrived excited but knew that we needed to get sleep. So we stashed our gear and went to bed.

In a long distance running relay each team is separated into two groups; van 1 and van 2 with 6 guys each. At 4:45am van 1 got up and headed to the start line. Van 2 got up a little later and went to breakfast, and then drove to the first handoff point to be ready when runner 6 finished their leg. I was in van 2. Josh had put together a very accurate time sheet for each leg based on pace and distance. So we had a very good idea of when each handoff would occur. The first runner in van 2 started leg 7 at 1:18PM. We were there on time and ready to go!

I was runner 11 and started my first leg of 7 miles at 4:58PM on Friday. It was very sunny, very dry and about 85 degrees with a light breeze coming from my right.

The advice that I was given was to eat normal, don’t overload on powerbars, gatorade or carbs. So with the big breakfast (normal for me) and a roast beef sandwich for lunch I was following the plan. Before the relay I reviewed my three legs in the CLR race guide; my first leg was mostly a gradual decent of about 500 feet. As CJ handed off to me I felt a little off. I had some lower side pain. Thank god it was not my diaphragm, but it felt like something in my lower gut. I was lucky, it only lasted for about 15 minutes and I was feeling good again. I started out running as slow as I could, partly because of the side pain, mostly because of the advice I was given to save my energy because this run would be harder than any run I’d done before.

After about 30 minute of running it dawned on me that the runner’s guide lied. My run was not a long gradual descent but rather a twisty banked road that went up and down and mostly felt like up. The other lie that hit me was that the odometer of our van was off. We were supporting each other with water every two miles; other teams were doing the same. So after two miles I ran by two vans waiting for their runner but my guys were nowhere in sight. I guess the up-side was that we tended to have some gas left in our tanks since we were done before we anticipated. My plan to run slow worked out all for the best. I did not have to stop or walk any of the route and the guys supplied me with the water I needed. After I rounded the last turn I could see the handoff point in the distance, but it was still about two miles off. The last two miles were a long, flat, straight shot. I felt like I was running in slow motion and the last two miles seemed like the longest part of my run. As I approached I saw that Mike (runner 12) was ready for the handoff and we seamlessly transitioned. I completed my first leg!

After Mike finished his run at 6:52pm we handed off to van 1 and we were done with our first set of legs. Our next van transfer was very close to LaPine so we decided to drive back to the cabin, shower and try to get some rest. The shower felt great and I was able to sleep for about 2 hours before the alarm went off. We chucked all our gear back into the van and headed to the handoff to meet van 1 at 12:21am.

The sunny 85 degree day was behind us and it was about 50 when we hit the road. The cool air was refreshing and I was much more excited about running my next leg. I knew that I could go faster and feel better as I ran. The only issue was that it was already past midnight and I was not schedule to run until 3:18AM.

It took us a bit longer to get to the handoff than we anticipated, but van 1 was running a little slower than anticipated. We arrived just in time to touch base with the whole team and make the handoff. With the cool air and a few hours of sleep the guys in van 2 made up for van 1’s slower pace. The air continued to cool and by the time it was my turn to run it had dropped to the low 40’s.

I got off to a great start. The cool air in my lungs felt great so I was able to pick up the pace. About one mile into my run though downtown (and I use that term loosely) LaPine a woman running about 30 feet ahead of me started to freak out. She was leading the way and suddenly she felt like she was on the wrong road. She backed off and we ran together. All of the turns on the course had been clearly marked and usually staffed by volunteers so I was feeling that we did not miss a turn. It was very surreal to be running in the dark with a headlight at 3:30AM having a 20 minute conversation with a stranger. She had completed the Ragner Relay in Washington the week before and just found her Cascade Lakes team on Craig’s list a week before the race. And I thought we were crazy?!?! We eventually caught up with each of our vans and I spent the rest of the leg running solo. I finished my leg a little after 4:00am. Mike ran his leg and we headed back to the cabin in LaPine around 5:00AM. By this point in the relay the girl’s team and the boy’s team were out of sync. So just after we got back, showered and fell asleep, van 1 of the girl’s team got up. Just after I fell back asleep the girl’s van 2 team got back to the cabin. I’d say that I got 2 hours of sleep but woke up a few times during our time off. We all worked very hard to keep the noise to a minimum at the cabin.

The alarm went off at 7:45am. We tossed all our gear in the van and did our best to clean up; we did not plan to go back to the cabin after our 3rd runs were finished. On our way to the handoff we got word from van 1 that they were running 15 minutes ahead of schedule. It was going to be close. We needed to get to handoff 31, and the clock was ticking. Jessica and Jeff were our volunteers at hand off 28. We were driving on the course, slowing down for runners and their support vans. When we got to handoff 28 where our volunteers Jeff and Jessica were stationed we slowed down a bit and waved but did not have time to stop and say thank you. I felt kind of bad but supporting the team was JOB #1. A few miles out from handoff 31 we drove by Rob C., van 1’s last runner. We were going to make it. Up about a mile ahead we pulled up behind van 1 and spent some time telling stories and supporting/cheering Rob C. as he ran by.

We pulled into handoff 31 and were greeted by Jessica and Jessica, the girl’s team volunteers! Keeping with the Pink Panter theme for the ladies, Jessica and Jessica were dressed head to toe in pink and starting to get pink faces, arms and legs from spending the day in the sun. Van 1 finished strong. We were pumped and ready to empty the gas tanks on our last legs. I started running my leg of 3.1 miles at 12:14pm and hit my fastest pace of the relay doing 8:48 minutes per mile. It felt great. Perfect weather, light breeze, sun in my face, wind at my back. As I approached mile 2, I caught site of the van. I was looking forward to my last drink of water but did not see the guys. They waited until the last minute to jump out of the van and run to me with the water. It kind of freaked me out, but I got what I needed and finished strong. I later learned that they had parked in mosquitoe central and did their best to avoid getting all bit up. I passed off to Mike, we drove a mile, gave him some water, and then watched him run into the woods to finish up his last 6 miles unsupported on a trail.

We drove to the finish line, and met up with van 1;they had just showered and finished up breakfast. We all were totally drained but felt pumped and excited that the relay was almost over. At 1:15PM we all walked about 100 yards up the course away from the finish line and waited. As Mike rounded the corner we all went nuts. We ran behind him so that we all crossed the finish line together as a team at 1:25pm. After 30 hours 45 minutes and 05 seconds, it was over! I felt great. I knew that I’d be sore for the next few days, but right there at that moment I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment and team pride. We had all trained, supported each other and totally rocked the Cascade Lakes Relay together. I can’t wait to do it all again next year, I’m totally hooked!

Written by mediumtall

August 14, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Aaron-I enjoyed your account of Cascade Lakes. Is it as hard to enter a team as Hood to Coast?


    August 22, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    • Dave,
      Glad you enjoyed the read. It was a great experience. There was a limit of 150 teams in 2010. Registration opened on October 1, 2009 and remained open until 150 teams registered. I think July some time. We signed up in January or February. During one of my night runs I ran and chatted with a woman who signed up via craig’s list the week before with a team that was looking for a runner. These things are pretty fluid. I got an email from a buddy today asking for a runner on his H2C team. Unfortunately, I had to pass.


      August 24, 2010 at 9:01 pm

  2. […] It all started in late December 2009 with Josh asking me to join his Cascade Lakes relay guys team, “The Bast Fastards” for the July 2010 run. I had never run more than 3-4 miles prior to that did not consider myself a runner but I trained . I was ready in July and ran my legs three legs of 7, 5, 3.1 miles with no injury and no walking. It was a very rewarding experience and I was psyched to do it again the following year. I wrote a post about it last year. […]

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