The last run, leg 36, was surprisingly smooth.
It's funny because as we drove along the final legs of the run, some of which were really hilly, I kept saying that I was surprised to see so many runners in general running strong. I guess it's just adrenaline, but I kept telling my van mates that would not be the case for me.
I started off on gravel, which I hated. And there was very little course marking and very many turns and very few volunteers so it wasn't a great start. But within a minute, I was running with a nice woman who was my pace, very nice, and equally confused about the course. Just as I was seriously contemplating a u-turn, confirmation was in sight that we were indeed going the right way. Then we got onto pavement and it was time for my big uphill. Still smaller than the inclines some of my teammates encountered. I separated from my new friend here because, believe it or not, I was pulling ahead. And then I killed it on a couple miles of downhill. It was great. I am still astounded by my mile splits. I actually had one mile right on pace and one mile more than 15 seconds faster than predicted. But then it leveled out and I was back to running about 30 seconds per mile slower than predicted.
The worst part of the run was definitely the poorly marked gravel first mile. But second worst was right by the end. There was a street we had to cross and they had erected a pedestrian bridge over it. It was almost straight up, then across, then almost straight down. I walked a few steps on the way up then convinced myself to at least jog. I wanted to run down, but after a few steps it just didn't feel safe, so I jogged. Then I had to run along the boardwalk, which was cool but kind of sucked because there were a bunch of nonrunners on it, so there was a lot of yelling excuse me and weaving around.
I had to run on the sand for a little bit to finish, but it was awesome to be done.
Unfortunately, the immediate finish was also not wonderful.
Ideally, your team sees you finish, then they meet you in a corral, then you all run together across a ceremonial finish line. But I didn't see my team. So I had to wait without water or a sweatshirt or anything.
In reality, it was less than 15 minutes but it felt like an hour. There was no where to walk around and stretch, and there was no water. I was insanely thirsty. And because my clothes were soaked (it had been sunny and low 70s but felt hotter) and I was no longer running, so I was very cold.
But eventually I saw a teammate and shouted for him for a couple minutes but he couldn't hear me. Eventually some guy who felt sorry for me, asked who I was yelling for and went to tap him on the shoulder. He gave me my sweatshirt and went to grab the rest of the team. When they got back to me, I got my Gatorade and some string cheese to eat and life was good again. We did a team picture and then went to the beach party for a few hours. There was a band playing and beer and food. I drank one beer and felt pretty hammered. I also ate a soft pretzel, ostensibly to get in some sodium. We hung out at the party for a few hours but were all pretty tired.
Our van went out to dinner in Seaside, then we drove back to Portland. Cleaning out the van was a major project, but it didn't take too long with a couple of us working on it. Then I crashed hard. Slept about 8 hours, woke up and called my husband, then back to sleep for a couple more hours.
Then I packed up and am flying home now. Will have to post this when we land.
Amazing race experience. Great friends. Beautiful scenery. Lots and lots of fun.