Run Now Relay: The Final Leg

So yes, someone did pee her pants at one point. It was during a run and she couldn't find a bathroom and one thing lead to another and that's how PeeWee got her name.

We'd all end up with names before the relay was over. Like "Wrong Way EK" for teammate EK who had a knack for always taking the wrong turn. Or "Puddles," our leader Matt R. who kept getting emotional during the journey.

I ended up as "Wedge," for reasons I'll explain later. But for now, let's go back to Jersey.

We wake up and roll out again about 11:30 p.m. As we drive towards the point where we'll get the hand-off of GPSy, Matt R. exclaims "Oh there's a McDonald's, we could get breakfast!"

...and then "Oh yeah, except it's not morning yet...." And the time/space disorientation gets us again.

Our next leg enters New York City - in the middle of the night.

I think everyone was a little nervous about this one. Nikki and I ended up running right next to the vehicle for most of it for safety reasons, at times we were even pulled back in if we came up on a road where the van would need to separate from us. I'm sure people wondered what the heck we were all doing most of the time, although several vehicles in our relay actually had nice people come up to them during the journey to donate money for our cause! 

That was not the case in NYC. Matt R. ended up taking the last several miles of our total leg because the route was too risky for the females. When we finally finished, we ended up in Times Square right before the sun came up. By that time, there was no opportunity for sleep because the entire team was going to attempt to get on Good Morning America.

Because the best time to be on national television is when you are drenched in sweat and haven't slept all night.

Plus it was cold so I was wearing my "I will never be asked out ever in this" running cap...sigh...

We take our place of stalk-age outside the GMA window. 

Our initial goal is to get ourselves and our Run Now Relay signs on air to promote our cause. 

One by one, the hosts come out and some of them actually do chat with us:

And we get really excited and start chattering during the segments, which we can't hear so we don't know what the hosts are discussing on the show inside. We don't know, that is, until one of the staffers asks if we "could keep it down because the hosts are discussing a serial murder case..."

and they can hear us laughing.


In spite of that, we do eventually end up on air:

But that was just the beginning. Sara Haines got in touch with us and said she wanted to do a full feature story on us for the weekend show! So now, most of us were all racing to Central Park to tape the segment while one of our vehicles continued on the relay route.

Below is how the segment turned out --- love it!

We head out again in search for food and sleep. We end up staying in the home of one of the relayer's friends. They did our laundry, made us dinner, and ushered us into their private sauna in the back yard.

Maybe I could get used to this relay life after all. Oh wait - we're running again? But I like it here in this sauna....
We get GPSy somewhere in Connecticut. This would be the last leg for our flight and it ended up just being the two female runners that ran.  Nikki runs her 6 miles, then I get out to run the last 6 miles our flight will do.

In the dark. In the cold. Basically All. Up. Hill.

I'm trucking along around 10:30 p.m. on a fairly untraveled road with our van slightly ahead of me, when all of a sudden a big Waba truck comes up behind us.

Waba (WAH-buh) truck: Me and my southern friend's pet name for large, jacked-up trucks, typically driven in rural areas. Accessories may include giant chrome exhaust pipes, enormous tires, and engines that idle loudly, making a "waba, waba" noise, and which are revved strategically, particularly during mating season or to display the driver's obvious manliness. 
This was no friendly waba driver, however. He slowly drives past us, whips a U-turn, comes back, pulls up right next to me, and starts revving the motor. I anxiously look up towards my van, and he just stays there, behind the van, creeping along. I jog a little faster, picturing some drunk redneck behind the wheel with a shotgun, and I get next to the van and yell "what is this guy doing?!" Froto Fred assures me the van is staying right with me, so I keep going. Finally, the truck starts to pass us yet again, pulling up slowly next to me, and the driver is staring at me. 

And that's when my inner New Jersey mafia member rises up uncontrollably and I raise my hands, shrug my shoulders violently at the driver and just yell "WHAT."

Shortly after that, it occurred to me that it was possible this guy was just trying to donate money, which would have been really awkward... 

He wasn't. He continued to be creepy, but since the van stayed close, I continued on. Then, all of a sudden, the van door opens and out leaps -

The Race Horse. 

He doesn't even wait for the van to stop, he just flies over to jog by my side. He looks around us - picks up a stick - and starts running alongside me, weapon in hand, staring menacingly towards the truck, daring it to do anything.

(Meanwhile, the guys in the van joked, "there goes Captain America," referring to Johnny's uncanny ability to do pretty much anything heroic, without even trying. Later, as we retold the story to another relayer, he added "Johnny was probably fastening that stick into a spear with his abs!" Ah, good-natured jealousy.... Boys are fun...)

The truck finally drove off, and while the whole thing rattled me (especially when not too far down the road, my van stopped at a gas station and I continued down the dark road alone, picturing Waba man behind every pair of headlights that approached me), it was worth it just to say:

I. Ran. With the Race Horse.

(So what if my "running" pace is more like his walking pace. If he broke an ankle.)

I finish my last mile, and the van pulls over and some of the team hops out to congratulate me and just  take in the fact that our flight had finished it's race. I get back in and Matt R. muses "you know, this whole trip, everyone has been so nice to all of us, stopping to give donations and stuff -- and Dana gets the stalker."

He wasn't surprised. 

Next post: BOSTON.