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24 Hour Relay Race: Texas Independence Relay

A couple of years ago our sweet friend “Cora” asked Christa and I if we wanted to participate in a 24 hour running relay race that started in Gonzales, Texas and ended at the San Jacinto Monument. Both of us wanted to lose a few pounds and figured this would make us run and get ready for the race.

Here is a little bit of information about this CRAZY (good and bad) race. The Texas Independence Relay is a race where teams (8-12 people) take turns running 40 relay legs that span across 200 miles. If you do the math, that is an average of almost 17 miles for each person if you have 12 people on your team.

Cora compiled a team that consisted of people she knew personally and through friends of friends from the Houston and Beaumont area. Christa and I both hate to be away from our husbands on weekends so we volunteered them to be the drivers (we were allowed 2 vehicles).

I will have to say that Cora (our team captain) did a great job dividing up the legs. They were all varying lengths (2 miles, 8 miles, 5 miles, etc). We named our team Twisted Blister and were all excited and scared about running a 24 hour relay.

Friday after work we met up at Cora’s house and crammed all of our stuff into my Buick Enclave and Christa’s (former car) Acura MDX. We didn’t realize that 99% of the teams rented 2 big white long “chester the molester” looking vans for the race. On our way to Gonzales to the pre-race kickoff party, we chatted and got to know one another. Everyone seemed to be very nice and our all-female group was diverse (marathon runner, mother of 5 (not Christa at the time), 2 high school girls, some teachers…and then there was “Jane Doe” who seemed nice, but something was off. None of us knew her at all. She actually was an acquaintance of my good friend “Tristy” who was supposed to be one of the 12, but had to back out at the last minute. We ended up finding a few replacements (I believe the sweet high school girls).

We drove to Gonzales and checked into our “very seedy” motel that we got for cheap because we were just sleeping there. Christa, Brad, Dave, and I decided to share a room and were aghast when we got to the outside door. It had a big dent where someone apparently had kicked the door in, and broken the hinges off. The door would not stay shut through the night and kept coming open. This was not a good start because we needed all the sleep we could get before the race.

I was the person who was first in line to start the race. It was pitch black outside ( I think 4 or 5 a.m.) and we were in the middle of nowhere. I had a headlamp on. I am the world’s WORST map reader and got lost!!! I ran what seemed like a few extra miles and finally found someone who could help me. This was not the best way to start the race!

What was cool is that when you were running you had one or two car loads of teammates cheering you on, giving you encouragement.

About a quarter ways through the race, two things happened. Christa’s MDX’s air broke (it was the first weekend in April, hot, and essentially both cars were constantly running) and the crew riding in the Acura sent word to us that it was our turn to have Jane Doe in our car. We were confused. What was the problem?

Here was the problem (as reported silently through text messages and facebook).

Jane Doe

– Was a front seat hogger. She would not let anyone sit up front with Brad.

– She had a very direct personality and made rude comments to the girls in the car on multiple occasions.

– She flirted with Brad (who of course tried to ignore her). At one point she kept trying to feed him. Brad (nicest guy in the world) kept politely declining. Another car rider silently texted Christa and asked her if it bothered her that Jane Doe was trying to feed/flirt with her husband. Christa replied, “haha….no way I have an ounce of jealousy, she would never be competition”.

– Our friend Tristy started texting all of us saying “what is going on with you girls and Jane Doe”?  Apparently Jane was facebooking the entire time rude comments about everyone in the car and others in our car. Tristy would take a picture of the facebook post and text it to the car riders. Talk about awkward!

So we in the Buick took our turn and nobody in the Acura wanted to switch to the car with working air because being hot was far more appealing than being in the car for any amount of time with Jane Doe. I know this sounds harsh, but 13 out of the 14 adults were nice and considerate and when one person is being rude, it becomes old.

Of course Jane Doe insisted that she ride shotgun next to Dave. My sweet, but can be direct husband, put up with it for hours, but finally told her, “Jane Doe, do you mind moving to a different seat and letting my wife sit next to me for a period of time, it is our wedding anniversary for goodness sake (it was!).

The race was fun, hard, long, tiring, hot, scary, and so much more. You ran through towns where strangers were cheering you on and then there were periods of time where you were running by yourself in the middle of nowhere. Christa was running one of her legs (around 2 a.m.) along a dark country highway. She was scared she would be run over so she ran in the field next to the road. She freaked herself out thinking that the field was full of snakes and other scary things and ended up falling and skidding across the concrete. She was in fact really hurt. She was bleeding and was scared and was tired. We all were.

I missed the injury because our car decided to go sleep a few hours in the middle of a high school gym with hundreds of other runners. This was a school fundraiser and for a few dollars a person we could use their floor and take a shower in the locker room. At the point in time Jane Doe had pissed off everyone in our car and decided she did not want to spend a couple of dollars to sleep inside, but instead would stay in the Buick and angrily stew/sleep.

At some point in the race we realized that we were going to be running right through Cinco Ranch, my old neighborhood. We were ecstatic and decided that we would plan the running swap so that the people in the Buick could go to my house, sleep, eat, and shower (this was around 3 am). My in-laws were watching Isabella and Sophia and did not know that we were going to surprise them buy showing up in the middle of the night with a car load of tired, stinky runners. They were good sports, but I know my father in law was a bit uncomfortable with all of the commotion (rightfully so).

After Christa got hurt (we were down to 10 runners) Brad kindly said he would run her legs. By this time I was so tired and felt that since Brad was running Christa’s legs, Dave could at least help me run mine. They were saints that weekend!

At some point on Sunday (after noon) the guys bought a bunch of beer to ice and have at the end of the race. During one of our stops later Jane Doe met up with some of her friends and stole a bunch of the beers and started passing them out to her friends. By this time we were so over Jane Doe and her rudeness/antics. Her knee high socks and weird running gear didn’t help our moods. She told us that companies paid her to run on teams and advertise for them. She really didn’t even run fast and would describe her more as a “fast walker”.

We ended this crazy adventure at the Beautiful San Jacinto monument. It was around 5 pm when we arrived. We were sooo very tired, but very proud of our accomplishment. We did it!!!!

Would I do it again? Maybe, but probably not. It was definitely an experience I cherish because the girls on the team (maybe not Jane) were so much fun, nice, and genuine. One team member (with 5 kids) used the race to start a new journey and ended up losing a ton of weight and today looks like a million dollars. Christa and I are facebook friends with most of the other girls. It is fun seeing their posts, families, and other adventures. We are still facebook friends with the high school girls and enjoy seeing them go through college.

I would say this is the perfect race for people who are passionate about running (or can put up with it), can run 7 miles straight, can get along with others, is supportive of others, and is willing to understand that there are ups and downs, but the ups far outweigh the downs.

Most of you probably think my next question is, so who is ready to sign up for a 24 hour race. Nope, my question is what would you have done if Jane Doe would have been in your car?

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Brenham, Texas


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