Ready... Set... Wait!
First, imagine a car full of six people, all addicted to running, who haven't run a step in almost two days. Second, imagine that same car loaded with addicts who must wait until 9:30pm to run. All are anxious, all are nervous, all are full of carbohydrates.
That's a long time in runner years.
Not every team participating in the Wasatch Crack Relay gets to start at the same time. The first group of teams start at 7:00am. The last group of teams start the journey at 6:00pm. The teams are stagger-started in-betwixt the first and last teams. Every 20 minutes or so, I believe.
Generally speaking, the slower the team, the earlier the start time; the faster the team, the later the start time. That raucous BYU boys team? They start last.
Obtaining a team's start time can be extremely advantageous when sizing up the competition and/or determining the quality of the runner you're speaking to. For example, I walked into the local running shoe store looking for a blinking LED light (which each runner is required to wear while racing at night). The punk behind the cash register asked, "Are you doin' the Wasatch Back?" I told him I was (the LED light purchase was a dead giveaway). "What time do you start?" he asked. I told him that our team started 5:00pm. "Ooooooh, wow" he said, all while looking me up and down in disbelief.
Why the disbelief, I hear you ascertain? Because I'm one of those run-faster-than-I-look kind of people (not that I'm fast, but you get the idea). It's prolly the 5-inch stilettos, blue eye shadow and spare tire around my middle. Could also be the Mary Jane t-shirt and the patchouli oil....
Anyway, back to race day. Around 3:30, I was looking at Yu-Gi-Oh cards at the Target (and you didn't know that I was in on that card-collecting craze). While deciding which pack to buy (so as not to duplicate the cards I already have), the phone rings and it's Becca. She's in Van 2 of her team and they've already made it through 9 runners.
What the!? I started to panic. My team hasn't even started yet and I'm squandering away precious minutes in a toy aisle? What the!?
Let's just get it off my chest and declare that Becca's team, The Joggin Broads, started way too early. They ended up taking 3rd in the Women's Open division (that's all women, all ages, 3rd over-all, FAST). They loved their early start time. I hated their start time, because A) I never got to see them and B) They gave me an anxiety attack being so far ahead! (I'm selfish, I tell you. But you knew as much.)
Finally, 5:00pm rolled around and the Van 1 Crack-o-Dawners started the race in Logan. The rest of us in Van 2 weren't scheduled to run until 9:30ish in Liberty (which is in the Ogden Valley area near Pineview Reservoir). Liberty is roughly an hour and a half drive from home.
At 6:00 pm, we piled into our "van". Last year we had a 15-passenger-Giraffe-Hauling Ford. This year, no such luck. We had a six-passenger-Monkey-Hauling Suburban. (Monkeys are smaller than Giraffes and we're as hyper as Monkeys - get it?) Last year we had a designated driver (my gracious Daddy-O). This year, no such luck. We didn't have room for a driver and had to take turns.
And so we piled into the Monkey-Hauler only to discover that we hadn't yet taken a photo. Being as photographing the experience is essential, we crawled out, took some snaps and headed for Liberty.
After several discussions of "which of the eight ways to get there shall we go?", a quickie meal at a Chinese joint that turned into Smith's, miles of speeding and a stint or two of driving backwards on the highway, we made it to Liberty. Safely.
Anxious, wide-eyed and excited, six of us spilled out of the car screaming "Lemme run! Lemme run! Lemme run!" only to discover that we were too early and had to wait.
And wait we did.