Wild West Relay Bear Bait Style

Not to spoil the ending but
We did it! 1st to start, last to finish but no creative finish needed!

Thursday morning I picked the lovely Cathryn up at the airport and we headed to Fort Collins for a day of shopping before heading to the team dinner. The team dinner was the first time many of us met. I struck gold with this relay team! Everyone was super nice and excited to run. Fun side story- one of my van mates was also a fellow CSU Edwards Hall resident where I resided freshman year of college. We each thought the other looked familiar and finally figured it out. She ended up becoming friends a few years later with Stacey, my friend from high school...and we all ended up running the Wild West Relay together. Small world situation happening here. 

We had a lovely 5 a.m. start time on Friday since we were on the moderate speed side which worked out well since we needed most of that time. I think about 9 teams started at 5a.m. We checked in and got started without a hitch. This relay is well organized and the volunteers are amazing. I would recommend this relay to anyone who enjoys mountain scenery and running without actually being able to breathe due to altitude. 
Best team name ever!

Ian started the team off strong with Leg 1.

Stacey and I killing our first exchange.

Cathryn waiting to get going as I plod on in (so I think I may need to work on my elbows/ arm form).

Stacey and I (perfectly photogenic as usual) relieved to be done with our first legs.

Leslie and Matt stretching it out before Leslie dominates the 6th leg

Amazing van 2! Melissa, Matt, Sara, Jill, Ben and Jenna. Van 2 was amazing in supporting us on our legs. My favorite times of the relay were when both vans were together.
 I think the most amazing thing about our team is that the flatlanders dominated. Peeps from Chicago, Michigan, San Fran and Texas, aka people who can't breathe above 4000 feet were the majority of the team and we still managed to finish within an hour of a few other teams. I am 110% sure that the altitude slowed us to some extent. For example when you find yourself on a walk break while running downhill on your shortest leg....well you know that your lungs are not finding the oxygen.
Ben tagging Sara in.

Van 1 refueling: Leslie, Myself, Kara, Cathryn, Ian and Stacey
Overall the first legs went pretty quick and were not super difficult for Van 1....as in elevation gained was not staggering. The nice thing about having a full team, which I did not have last time I did a relay was that when Van 1 was done we were free to head out to lunch/ nap when Van 2 was on. This really made a difference in how I felt overall. Who knew that eating real food and getting some rest will help you feel better while attempting to run up a mountain.....oh everyone. Okay then.

After refueling and resting we were off on our respective second legs. Ian and Kara were the runners that got our "asses over the pass"
Just in case you were wondering why all photos on facebook, instagram and now here talk about getting asses over passes- Wild West Relay requirement.
Officially I think it was Kara....
Kara just cruising over a 10,000 foot pass
also I was officially happy to be riding in the van on all of the steepest ascents. My second leg was the longest at almost 8 miles and really on all the legs I felt like I was just dragging. Slow motion at all times. I was pleasantly surprised to find after the fact when I plugged in my watch to see that on average I ran around 10:30- 10:40 min/ mi pace. For sure not setting any speed records but after the last two months of not running and at altitude I am more than fine with this. I was really worried about slowing the team down and didn't want to disappoint but was super lucky to have such supportive teammates who were out there to have fun.

Everyone in general ended up running a bit faster than expected. Ian was kind enough to put an estimated exchange time sheet together so we could keep tabs on  how the relay was going. The downside of this running a bit faster was that when Van 1 was trying to catch some ZZZ's during the middle of the night Van 2 came roaring in earlier than expected.....


  1. Your photos are so good. I had to giggle though that you thought us flatlanders dominated. I felt very much dominated BY my legs :)

    1. Thanks!. Oh me too....I have never run a harder less than three miles before but considering most of us couldn't breath I thought we weren't half bad ;).


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