|Gang Greens ready to run!|
Grand Teton Relay 2016 is over and I can’t wait until 2017! After three years of running around Island Park, Teton Basin, and over Teton Pass into Wyoming, I am as fascinated as ever by the beauty of that land. I am blessed with a community of runners who have become family to me and I am ever pleased with the supportive running community at large. I am amazed at the miracle that is the human body and the way it rises to the task, endures and eventually repairs itself. Yes, I said “repairs.” Grand Teton Relay is no easy feat, but the rewards are worth it!
|Carb Loading at Olive Garden|
|Runner 2 coming in strong!|
No visit to Island Park would be complete without a stop at Mesa Falls. Gorgeous! I could listen and watch the water run over those falls for hours.
Anxious not to miss Van 2 we arrived at the transition point very early where we watched other teams arrive and move on. The views grew more scenic as the sun’s angle lowered and smoke from a distant forest fire filtered the evening light. Excitement and a little anxiety festered as we awaited our second leg and the night run. Van 2 arrived after pounding out 42.5 fast miles and we were off and running once again!
|Van 2 returning from Island Park|
Injuries happen. We were registered as a competitive team meaning we had to cover all of our miles with the original 12 runners. Suited up in reflective gear and headlamps, we began our night run. When Runner 1 had to pull out, two others rose to the occasion and logged extra miles to keep us in competitive status. You should have seen me scrambling with reflective vests, lights, new batteries and such to get my teammates geared up for their unexpected tag team duties! The night air was cold. My run was on an abandoned rail bed, part of the Rails to Trails system. Unlike the advice often given to runners to keep their eye on the goal and off the road, it is best to keep an eye on the trail. As I neared Tetonia, I could see the lights a half mile ahead and I fixed my gaze on the goal – and off the trail. When I discovered myself face down on the ground after being tripped up by a rock I considered for a moment calling my teammates and asking them to come rescue me. My pride and my knee were both hurt! I got up, walked for a few yards, and then decided it best to finish my run. After all, my teammates were already doing their part.
After handing off to Van 2 in Tetonia at 12:30 am, we made our way to Teton High School in Driggs where we found some cold grass on which to rest. Warm showers were available, so I washed the dirt off of me and warmed up a bit before attempting to rest on the cold ground. (Temperatures dipped to below freezing before sunrise.) At 2:50 am I received a text that Van 2 was on the move up Targhee Ski Hill Road and we needed to get moving in order to meet them at the top. I was afraid to move. Any movement stirred up the cold air around me. We mustered our courage and hit the road.
|Sunrise over Teton Valley|
Runner 1 attempted to run again, but couldn't complete his leg. Runners 3 & 4 picked up extra miles and we met Van 2 in Victor. The relief and lighthearted attitudes of Van 1 contrasted with the anxious anticipation of Van 2 as they faced the task of climbing up and over Teton Pass! (Summit 8,432’) We cheered them on and then enjoyed a much deserved hot breakfast at Sherwood’s Post.
|Smokey Grand Teton Sunrise|
Why, you might ask, do we do this? It has been over a week since we returned and most of the team is still experiencing GTR2016 withdrawals. We see each other at a community or church event and we talk about the relay. We post pictures and share finish times (28 hours 20 minutes) on social media. We miss each other and we miss the experience. There is something magical about sharing difficulties with others. Those experiences forge friendships that last. We celebrate life by pushing our bodies to do difficult things and then experience the miracle of recovery. We learn that discomfort can be endured and joy can be found even during misery.
Why, you might ask, do we do this?
Because we can!
Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!
Carol - aka Running Granny Green