We did it! In case you couldn't tell from my previous post, I definitely had my doubts but we survived the Dead 2 Red and even had a little bit of fun in the process! Truly it was an amazing experience, albeit NOT one that I think I want to repeat (at least as a runner....). I was SO proud of the girls- they were SUCH troopers, and in answer to the question people keep asking as to who had the most difficult time- that would most definitely be me! Even so, I was able to hang in much better than I thought I would be able to!
We were all a little nervous the day of the race. After a relatively dry winter and a fairly warm few weeks, it was literally raining buckets in Amman. We kept telling ourselves, that rain on the Dead Sea highway is much less than up in the city, and I was praying, praying, praying that would be the case. Just in case though, our car was thoroughly packed with changes of clothes for all the runners including several pairs of socks each, towels, parkas, hats, ear warmers. We were trying our best to be ready for an even that is nearly impossible to be ready for! Thankfully as we drove from Amman down towards the Dead Sea, it did clear up.
We got to the starting point and got our entire team registered, used the last actual bathroom we would see for the next 20ish hours and got ready to head out.
Like I mentioned before, our team of 10 was divided into 2 vans of 5 runners each. We leap-frogged each other throughout the race. The first van of runners would take the first 10 km, meet up with the second van who would then take their turn and so on through the night. This meant that as soon as our van handed off the baton to the other van, we would drive forward 10 km to wait on them and have 45 (ish) minutes of rest depending on how fast they ran. There were a few times through the night, particularly on some really steep hills, that are 2 vans stayed together passing the baton to each other and each running 100 meter sprints. Try to envision almost 60 other teams also with 2 vans each doing this on a small 2 lane highway all night long- there were times it got interesting! Of course, the teams get spread out through the night but it still got crowded at times.
The other van started the race, so we drove ahead 10 km and enjoyed the beauty of the Dead Sea while we waited for our turn.
Our order of runners was Abbey, me, Emma, Scott, Maddie, and so it went through the night. We started out running 1/2 kilometer each which meant that we each ran 4 times in a 10 km cycle before we handed off to the other van. We all then decided that we liked the idea of shorter segments better. Even though we each had to run more times we were able to run a little faster and overall it ended up seeming more doable, so that's kind of what we stuck with through the night- running 300 meters each.
Here's Abbey gearing up for the first hand-off.
The other van would text us when they were 3 km out and then 1 km out and we would do the same for them so that we could be ready. For the first several hours (or longer maybe), it was kind of fun when we realized it was almost our turn again, but by the middle of the night, when you were cherishing your 20 minute power nap, the dreaded "3 km out" text was almost feared!
We would drive slightly behind the runner (always with the door open) and pull around the runner just as their distance was ending so that they next runner could hop out and receive the baton and start running and the finishing runner could hop in the car.
The sound of the car beginning to accelerate to go around you was glorious especially around 6 AM when we were all ABOUT TO DIE. It meant your 2 minute run (that felt like a life time!!) was coming to an end...
We loaded each car with gatorade, bottles of water, bread, peanut butter and jelly, bananas, oranges, granola bars etc. Oh, and our car also had a large broken down cardboard box that served as a shield for roadside bathroom breaks throughout the race. Aren't many trees to hide behind in the middle of the dessert! (not that it mattered at 3 AM when you could barely see your hand in front of your face.....)
Here's Maddie ready for one of her turns.
It started sprinkling a bit several hours into the race and for a segment turned into a torrential downpour. Thankfully it didn't last long!
The scenery along the way was truly beautiful (I can't take credit for most of these pics- I got them off the Facebook page- Dead 2 Red Relay Race)
But I must say, that I think this was the most beautiful thing we saw all night long....
Yep, that says Aqaba 20 km! That meant we had already come about 220 km and I think this was around the time we all hit a major wall (around 6 AM). But we all pepped up a little, especially after doing shorter sprints with the other van for a time up a pretty steep hill, and I think we all realized that we were going to make it!
We ended up finishing the race in 18 hours and 45 minutes. We came in 20th out of 50+ teams. We stayed with our other van the last few kilometers and at the end, your whole team gets out and runs together. Here is our team of 10 crossing the finish line in Aqaba.
We were super thankful for our discounted night at the Movenpick where the race finished up. We all had 3-5 hour naps that afternoon, went to a banquet for race participants and then all slept a good 12 hours. It was comical the next day watching each other try to change clothes and get up and down stairs. It's amazing the amount of everyday activities that require the legs to bend!!
I'm pretty sure Maddie and Abbey are already planning their next race along with other friends. They have great plans to decrease our time and be one of the teams that sprints all night long. Me? I'm happy to be their driver....