Finally — it’s time for me to officially recap all the craziness that was the KT-82. Warning: This is going to be a long and good one, so lock in!
After relaxing our night away in the hotel room, Zach and I woke up with our 5 AM alarm.
I was surprisingly calm considering how anxious I was in the days leading up. I think the excitement of spending the entire day with my awesome friends doing what I love overtook my scardie-cat ways.
My amazing parents also woke up before the crack of dawn so that they could drive us to drop off in Creve Coure Park, about 5 minutes from where we were staying. Zach and I made it there around 530 (our start time was 630), so we had time to walk to the start line and check out our situation, hit the porta potties, and start the check in process.
The rest of our team showed up and whisked our number one runner to her start line. Because we were in kind of a hurry, we weren’t all able to be there as she crossed the start line, but we saw her just a few minutes in already running with a buddy along the lake.
After we cheered her on, we rushed to transition number one, where I was set to go as runner 2.
We made it to transition with about 15 minutes to spare, so I was able to hit the potty again and loosen up before heading out for my first leg of right under 4 miles. The transition areas were pretty easy to navigate once we got the hang of it, and there were spotters on the course that would message to the volunteers at the transition which team’s runners were coming. Soon enough I heard team 104 and I was OFF
My first leg was a gradual up hill leading up to a huge bridge crossing the Missouri river, basically leading us to the real “trails” of the Katy trail. This run was seriously mentally challenging as it was a ton of straightaway, but I felt strong and managed to keep right around a 910 pace for the first 4ish miles.
I’ve never been so happy to see a bridge end and excited team members there to take our timing bracelet off my hands. I handed off to our friend Zach, who is super speedy and had the shortest of his three legs to begin, so we didn’t spend much time waiting before we headed off to the next transition, where Zach would hand off to MY Zach for his first leg.
Zach O. had no problem with his first leg and came speeding in to hand off to my hubby. Unfortunately, my Zach had a 7 plus mile leg that included quite a bit of trail and ended on a large hill. Here is where things get interesting for the day. Zach wasn’t overly familiar with the course, and decided to try and really tough it up the hill knowing he was close. Unfortunately, Zach and I were NOT accustomed to the St Louis humidity, and that mixed with Zach going out way too fast resulted in Zach throwing up right before he ended his leg.
Because he is a trooper, he ended up finishing his leg with a 7:55 pace and immediately sat down. I could tell he wasn’t feeling good, but was hopeful that with enough rest time he would be OK to take his next leg (7.5 mile) slow and steady. Moving on our buddy Jeff took the fifth leg, which ended up being what sounds like a flipping hike. Thankfully, he is an all star and managed to kill his pace and hand off to my girl Zoe for our last of the first legs.
Unfortunately, my girl Zoe also had a killer of first leg, 6 plus miles including a good hunk on single file trail and empty creek beds. She has also been battling some back issues along with a bad cold that struck last week, so she was sa TROOPER with this leg. Let’s just say I wasn’t jealous of her — but she finished with a smile on her face and just like that we were all done with our first legs.
Meghan, runner 1, took off for her second leg and we all started to settle down and start thinking about how much we still had ahead of us. The entire day was tricky, balancing resting, trying to keep our legs moving, and trying to snack and drink enough to stay fueled and hydrated.
Meghan trucked through what could have been the most challenging leg of the entire race, and handed off to me for my longest leg, about 4.5 miles.
This leg was mentally challenging, as it was in the mid day heat after a downpour with very little coverage. This meant hot, sweaty, and everlasting.
My first mile was right around a 9 mile pace, and I knew from there I needed to chill out of I wanted to finish this race. I started doing a walk/run method right away where I’d go 4 minutes on, 1 minute off. This was still super tough, but I stuck with it until the last mile where I switched it up to 2 minutes on, 1 minute off. I managed to do this and finish strong with a 937 pace, which I was more than happy with considering the conditions. 90’s, sunny and humid? Not good
I handed off to Zach, runner three, and the rest of us headed off to the next transition, which was where my hubby would take off for his second leg. The toughest of his day, 7.5 miles.
At this point the team was in GREAT spirits, despite the crazy conditions. Zach O came in strong and we cheered on my boy, knowing he was in for a tough go.
See, I should probably point out that while the rest of us had between 11 and 13 or so miles, Zach had over 18 for the day. He is an amazingly strong runner, so we figured even if he had to slow down, he could manage better than the rest of us.
Unfortunately, Zach and I were NOT prepared for the St Louis conditions. Because he had already thrown up, Zach was never really able to recoup. He made it out for 3 or so miles, before he started to feel dizzy and out of body. He explained it as tightening in his sides and serious dangerous dizziness.
Because he is the amazingly smart man that he is, Zach called me at the last water stop, about 4 miles into his 7.5, calling uncle. For those of you who don’t know Zach, this is VERY unlike him. Zach has an amazingly high threshold of pain and can normally push through anything, but at this point he was smart enough to realize this was not something he could “push through.” I’ve never been as proud of him as I was in that moment.
My friend Zach and I left to go pick him up from that middle of nowhere water stop. Thankfully, because we weren’t competing, the race allowed us to drive him back with the time bracelet, and hand it off to the next runner.
The rest of us struggled with leg two in the mid day sun, but slowly trucked along as best we could. We were really struggling, but still laughing it up and having a blast.
Before I knew it, it was time for me to head off for my third and final leg. 4.17 miles of serious but flat trails.
I was in good spirits heading into my last leg. Unfortunately, my phone and music crapped out at this point in the day so I was on my own for my final leg. This is something that isn’t normally a huge deal for me, so I decided to stay positive and just listen really closely to my body.
Because I am so lucky, I ended up finding a great running partner about 1.5 miles in and we paced each other throw a walk-run method and ended up pacing right under 10 min/miles for our final leg.
While that certainly isn’t my fastest miles, I was beyond proud of my body for pushing throw each of the three legs. This was unlike anything I’ve ever done before, and I cannot describe how great it felt to hand off that timer chip for the last time.
For the rest of the evening, I was able to relax and just enjoy the rest of my teammates as they trucked through their final legs.
By this point we were really in the middle of nowhere and had a blast hanging out at the different transition areas.
There is something about a day like Saturday that makes one extremely reflective. Zach and I sat and talked about our experience, the Summer we’ve had, and how great it was to get through such a crazy day.
We handed off the watch to my girl Zoe for our last 2.8 miles and trucked off quickly so that we could meet her for the final half mile. As a team, all together, we were able to cross the finish line as a group, perfectly wrapping up an amazingly challenging, eventual, and AWESOME day. Right around 13 hours, and 82 miles later, we were DONE!
I cannot speak enough to how amazing this entire experience was for me. The entire day was a trip, and I’d absolutely do it again.
I’m still wrapping my brain around the details, so for now I am going to leave you with this.