Reach The Beach 2014 was my third year in a row running. The group I was part of had four teams from Camp Calumet. We raise money every year to send kids to camp. Last year we raised over 52K and this year we have exceeded that amount with about 12 days to go.
Coming into Reach The Beach I have been training fairly hard to get ready for Ironman Chattanooga on September 28th. I had planned to come into the race with ‘tired’ legs with all my training. But in the end that didn’t happened.
My 40th birthday (I am still working on this blog) I spent at camp with close friends and had the opportunity to run with my friend Amy. We ran five miles together and even though we were going fairly fast, including a 6:48 5th mile my legs weren’t recovered from the Labor Day race. They just felt tight and tired.
The week leading up to Reach The Beach consisted of very little training and a bike ride. I had two nights where I slept maybe 4-5 hours tops and then the next night I would make up for it by sleeping 10ish.
I took a 2 PM shuttle with other camp people from Chelmsford. I had a great conversation with Bruce and Sue. We got to camp on Thursday the 11th at about 5:30 PM. I decided I need to go for a run to get the cobwebs out of my legs. I always like to do a 3 mile run the day before a race. The first mile is a warm-up, the next mile is at race pace, and the last mile I walk.
After my run I showered and met the whole group for dinner at the Dining Hall. Everyone at camp is so friendly. You can really see the excitement from everyone. Those that have run it before know to expect. Those that haven’t run it before are a bit nervous and asking questions.
I was in Van 2 which means a later start for us. It means we get to sleep in but we run through the night. Heidi was our team captain and will make you laugh non-stop. Beth who I ran with last year is the rock. She has everything we need and is organized. Steven who I met last year is a Pastor and a great guy. This guy is fast and makes it looks easy. Geoff another Pastor who I got to know well on Saturday morning after our second legs (at a church ironically). His first leg is just nasty. It was non-stop up and down. Ironman (Lake Placid) Matt another great guy who is fast and knew how to get the job done. Julie our driver for the second year in a row (Beth and I were with her last year). She is organized and knows where we are going all the time. She kept in contact with Adrian the other driver in van 1.
I run with this group for a few reason’s. 1. It’s camp and we’re raising money for kids. Camp is by far my favorite place in the world. 2. These teams are extremely organized. Knute, Pete, Vicki, Karl, Jim, team captains, Calumet staff, & several others help to make this happen. We have plenty of food, gear, places to stay, vans all rented, and separate drivers for each van. As I tell people my job is to show up, shut-up, and run.
I had the same legs as last year. These were considered harder legs (I still think Geoff’s first leg is the hardest I have seen out there). I ran legs 8 (6.64 miles), 20 (6.18), & 32(6.75). My total mileage was 19.55 miles. The conditions for me were ideal. Low humidity and temps in the mid 60’s.
My first leg I was pretty amped up. I was pacing around a bit waiting for my turn. My legs felt strong and I had a feeling I was going to have a pretty good run. My run consisted of running West Side road in North Conway, NH. It’s not completely flat but for New England roads this stretch is overall flat and fast. With so much energy I opened up my first mile in under 6 minutes. I ran it in 5:47. For the first 3/4 of a mile I was on about a 5:30 pace with my heart rate still in check. But I had to pull it back a bit so I could survive the remaining miles. For this first leg I averaged 6:21 a mile and my heart rate had an average of 166. Which is actually comfortable.
After we finished our legs we quickly grabbed some food and went back to camp. We showered and got about 3 hours a sleep. My second leg started at 2:15 AM. Heidi ran the leg before me and it was a bit chilly. My GPS showed my run being 48 degrees. My leg started about 200 yards or so into a hill. So instead of having a warm-up on a flat leading up to the hill I was starting a few hundred yards into it. I wasn’t going to red-line my heart rate so I decided to take it slow. My first mile I ran at 8:25. This was the only mile I ran at RTB that wasn’t at BQ pace (my BQ pace is 7:30). I also had about 300 feet of climbing in the first mile. So trying to run at a pace under 8:00 would have been a complete suffer fest for the next 5 miles. Last year I was dumb and suffered the whole way because I did just that.
This 2nd leg was the only time I was passed. I got passed by two people and it was on a down hill stretch. One guy I just let go. I think I was running about 7:00 and he was going about 6:50-6:55. I ran with him for a bit but decided to conserve some energy. The second guy to pass me I think was probably running sub 6:30’s. I didn’t have the legs to play but I was tempted. :). After mile 1 I stepped it up and found my groove. I averaged 7:18 for my 6.18 miles. I was pleased and really never felt like I pushed it. I have room for improvement on this leg if I run it again next year. I would need to do a warm-up though.
After my second leg I went and took about a 4 hour nap in the car in the back. I didn’t sleep this whole time but I find resting helped me for later on. After our legs we went to D&D for some breakfast then went to a church for some rest, wash-up, and eat more food. We met the other van 2 teams there. We were there about 3-4 hours. It was great to wash-up and spend sometime with friends on other teams.
My last leg was at 1:12 PM. I ran 6.75 miles. I wasn’t sure how my legs would respond to this leg. They were starting to feel a bit tight. Last year I was lucky and ran about 4-5 miles with someone and we were able to push each other. This year I was actually seeking out runners to pace with me. No such luck. The temps were a little chilly at 63 degrees but I decided to run in short sleeves and shorts. These miles aren’t that difficult. It had some rollers and if you’re willing to suffer up the hills you can really knock out some quick miles because of the generous flats and downhills. My first mile I ran a 6:24. It was fast and flat. I was almost hit by a car crossing an intersection because the car didn’t want to listen to a cop and stop. But I never lost stride in running across the intersection. :). I was able to average 6:40 per mile on this last leg. This was 20 seconds faster per mile than last year.
My one gripe with RTB teams (our group doesn’t do this) is all these vans who put kills on their vans. A kill represents each person they pass. I know it’s done playfully and it’s okay to be competitive but it just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s because I am on a charity team and prefer it that way. I can honestly say I have no idea how many I passed, don’t really care, but I would bet it’s more than most teams had that’s for sure.
This really is my favorite event of the year. It’s something that I look forward to doing and putting on my race Calendar. It’s already on my 2015 race schedule. It’s such a team event. Everyone from our group of 48 runners, 8 drivers, & countless volunteers from Calumet makes this event top notch.