It looked like a race, smelled like a race, and we ran it like it was a race — it wasn’t a race though, but the Relay for Life fundraiser, which I’ve participated in for the second year in a row. Last year, it was a little different — Bill ran the whole thing, and he had some “pacers” join in with him along the way, so we never really ran alone. This year though, we (Robert Baird, Bill Ramsey, Mike Kogutek, Kyle Hoang, Calvin Mulder, and I) each did our 4 hour leg solo, and it felt much like a real race in that we were keeping splits, and also had a goal (to cover 160 miles) in mind. I thought that the friendly competition aspect of it would make it fun, but I had forgotten that my only goal should’ve been to recover from Tahoe the previous weekend — I was rudely reminded of that by swollen joints and fatigued muscles about 2 hours into my leg.
I got there around 3pm, which meant that Bill had only 1 more hour to go — unfortunately, I had missed Robert during his 24 mile leg. When Bill finished, he managed to cover 27.5 miles. Mike Kogutek, taking the place of an injured Robert Schipsi, was up next — he also did 24 miles. So by the time Kyle took over at 8pm, the team had racked up a total of 95.5 miles in 12 hours. We expected Kyle to be the one to put in the most miles, and he did — 30, just a bit under the 50K mark. Calvin Mulder, who was up next between midnight-4am shift, ended up with 25 miles by the time I took over the anchor leg. Doing the math, that gave the team exactly 130.5, which meant that I also had to do nearly 30 miles to reach our goal of 160. Yeah right…that wasn’t going to happen.
Coming off of Tahoe only a week before, my legs were not ready to do that kind of speed/distance, especially with most of the 1.25 mile loop we ran on being asphalt/concrete. Therefore, I resigned myself to just trying to get as close to my personal goal (26 miles) as possible, which I thought would be doable, but with some work of course, and something I was hoping the team would be satisfied with.
I started out feeling pretty good — I was clocking 10 min laps, which was around an 8 min/mi pace. The question was, how long could I keep that up. Knowing that my marathon PR was around the same pace, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I would start petering out. After a couple hours, I began feeling it in my legs and feet — they were dead and very swollen/sore. At that point, I stopped looking at my watch, and just put my head down. The 5-7am stretch was tough. Bill would mention occasionally how many miles we had covered, but I was too tired and sleepy to really do any type of calculation, and figured the goal we set was well out of range. Not until less than 30 mins left, did I realize how close we were to getting 160 miles. Then on my second to the last lap with roughly 20 mins left, Bill mentioned we were at 158 miles. I still didn’t think it would be possible, since I thought I was running much slower than I actually was. Then when I completed my last lap (159.25), Bill said that it was still possible to get 160 since I had about 4 mins left. So I ran .75 miles more along the infield, and finished with 1 minute to spare — I managed to do 29.5 miles, which gave the team exactly 160 miles in 24 hours!
I never thought I’d be able to cover that much ground in that amount of time after doing a 100 miles a week before, so it gave me confidence to know that a sub-4 hour 50K was somewhat within reach on fresher legs on a similar course.
Here’s Bill’s message and account of the weekend:
Dear Family & Friends:
First of all, many thanks to those of you whoâ€™ve supported Team John M. Potter, MD through donations, kind words, and prayer. This yearâ€™s Relay for Life has been and will continue to be a great success. To date, Team John M. Potter, MD has raised $5,185 for cancer research and support.
This past weekend, July 26 and July 27, the team, comprised of six runners, ran strong for fours hours each with the overall goal of covering at least 160 miles in 24 hours. The members of the team and their corresponding shift from Sat. 8:00 am to Sun. 8:00 am included:
1. Robert Baird 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
2. Bill Ramsey 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
3. Mike â€œBig Dogâ€ Kogutek 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
4. Kyle Hoang 8:00 pm – 12:00 am
5. Calvin Mulder 12:00 am – 4:00 am
6. Andy Kumeda 4:00 am – 8:00 am
Each of the six runners covered between 25 and 30 miles. Special recognition goes to Kyle Hoang and Andy Kumeda. Kyle covered the highest mileage running 30 miles during his 4 hour run. His strong smooth stride was a joy to watch. Andy took over for the last shift on Sunday morning at 4:00 am. Although he had just run the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 mile Endurance Run the prior weekend, he came with a special purpose, to run strong in the memory and honor of both of his parents. Despite deeply fatigued legs and the pain of running the Relayâ€™s concrete/asphalt loop, Andy managed to hold a strong pace covering the second highest mileage total for the team and cracking the 160 mile barrier at 7:59 on Sunday morning. Robert Baird started the team off on Saturday morning with a consistent and steady effort running in memory of his mother and aunt, and in honor of his wife. He wrapped his forearms with tape inscribed with the names of family members and friends lost to cancer and continuing their fight today. Mike Kogutek filled in for an injured Robert Schipsi on Saturday afternoon and turned in an awesome effort. He ran with focus and determination. At the end, he was thankful for having had the opportunity to run for the team. Calvin Mulder took on one of the loneliest shifts starting midnight Saturday. His purposeful, metronomic stride continued to tally the miles for the team and take us closer to our goal. Our team has been blessed with each of these fine men and runners.
If you havenâ€™t yet contributed, but considered doing so, thereâ€™s still plenty of time. Every dollar counts. You can make on-line contributions to the team at the following link. You can make a contribution to the team or to an individual runner on the team by clicking on their name at the bottom of the team page:
Should you wish to make a donation by check, please make them payable to the “AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY” (no cash please), and mail your tax-free contribution to:
William Ramsey, AICP, Principal Planner
32400 Paseo Adelanto
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
As always, thank you and blessings to you for your support.