Warm & windy October Saturday welcomed the first ever Market to Market Relay from Omaha to Lincoln. 86 miles, 24 exhange points, 8 person team. Before dawn's early light through the sun's setting we ran 3 stages each. My team finished 52nd. 11 hours 35 minutes. Could have been 11:27.
My second run of the day: Stage 14. 4.55 miles west & south.
Baton in hand. Mind set. Run hard. Run fast. Crunching gravel. Rustling trees. Round the bend. Competitors in sight. 4 miles more. All uphill. Half into the wind. How many can I pick off? Turning north. 3 passed. Turning west. State highway. Mile-long hill. How many more can I pass? They fade. I thrive. Uphill. Running hard.
Where are the markers? Yellow flags. Wasn't this supposed to be all gravel? County road. Was there supposed to be a turn north? West & south.
Passed 10. Maybe 12. Turned south. Into the wind. Rolling fields. Corn & soy. Pass a few more. Big green combine passes me. Maybe I'm not so fast. Heart rate's been redline for 20 minutes. Hard run. Fast for me.
"Shouldn't the church, the exchange zone, be over the next hill?," ask a guy as I pass.
"No," he pants, "we took... a wrong... turn... after... the park... no turn... north... should be... coming out... right there." Klieser Road. In reading distance. Just ahead.
Mind's racing. Faster than heart. Yes, we should. No north on the map. I was just following the runners ahead of me! Someone took a wrong turn. How much time lost? How much farther to run? Can I keep this pace? Crying inside. I was just following the runners ahead of me...
Rule #.92. Named for the extra distance. Bigger hill climbed. Longer windbound. Hard earned.
Rule #.92 - Follow the directions. Not the crowd.
Running rule. Life rule.