Reach the Beach Leg #2

Alternate title: Monica completely freaks out while running and embarrasses herself in front of her team and the camera guy.

Let me start from the beginning…

Since New Balance was sponsoring us and Reach the Beach works with them closely we had a camera guy with us all weekend. We did pre-interviews and pictures and he was filming the entire race. So he caught all the hand-offs, fun, excitement and of course the drama. IMG_1242 (800x600)

When we last spoke I had just run a super fast (for me) 7.5 miles,rtb leg 1

and handed off the baton to Theodorartb hand off

I was super pumped and crossed my first leg off the list.rtb 1 I decided to use a grading system for myself and each leg got a letter based on my performance. Leg #1 got a B+ because it I rocked it, but might not have run a smart race since I killed my quads.grades

After my leg I focused on cheering on the rest of the team. rtb banana

I busted out the banana suit and we bumped “Call Me Maybe” to cheer on Anne. rtb cheering


After our crappy dinner and sad attempt to sleep we were back in action. By this time it was around 2am and my turn to run next. IMG_1169 (800x600)I had 8 miles to run in the middle of the night. I was scared going into the night run, but planned to try and run as close as possible to the other runners. I had already told myself I would either speed up or slow down to stay with someone.

I was uneasy, but after watching Gretchen and Tina run their night legs I felt a little better since I saw people around them.reach the beach at night

Finally it was my turn and Tina handed me the baton snap bracelet and I was off!

But, as soon as I turned the corner away from the transition area I turned onto a very dark street and didn’t see any other runners. I saw the Reach the Beach signs, but no fellow red blinking lights in the distance.

It was VERY DARK. This stretch of the race had no street lights because it was a forest-y area. I started to get scared and wasn’t sure what to do. I ran faster hoping I would catch a glimpse of another red light around the bend.

Nope. Nothing.

I felt like I was covered in a pitch black blanket and the only thing I could see was two feet of pavement in front of my feet courtesy of my hat lamp.

I was terrified of what was in all the darkness to my left and my right, but couldn’t look that way to check it out because I had to keep my eyes on the ground so I wouldn’t trip. Every time I heard a little noise I would whip my head toward it for a second only to be reminded my feet where running blind.

My van pulled up on the side of me less than a mile in and Monica asked, “How are you?”

I was freaking the fck out, but decided to keep the profanities to myself. I said, “It is pitch black, I can’t see any other runners! I’m scared!”

Apparently, one of the rules is you can’t drive alongside your runner so she couldn’t just flank me. She said she would drive up a little bit and check on me again.

As soon as the van pulled away I basically ran as fast as I could to it. They offered me another headlamp, but what I really needed was to not be alone in the dark by myself. I turned down the lamp and said, “I just want to see another runner!”

I should mention that I was on the passenger side of the van and the camera guy was taping all of this right at my eye level the entire time. I was talking past him to Monica, but I was basically losing my sht right into the camera. I didn’t care, I was convinced I was going to die out there.

The van drove up a ways and I sprinted to it again. At this point I had really gotten into my own head and kept hearing things in the bushes. I made up this story that someone had been waiting there to attack a solo runner all day. I overwhelmed myself with bad thoughts and couldn’t get into a positive place.

I ran to the van again and they had pulled over. Then, a banana hopped out and handed me water.

Monica had put on the banana suit!!! She could tell I was freaking out, but I had to keep going. She found a way to bring some humor to the situation and help me smile.IMG_1175 (600x800)

The van and the banana saved my life. They continued to stay close as I ran through the pitch black towards the van. The naner would hand me water and then drive off to the next stop. I was running WAY TOO FAST and I knew it, but I was so scared I couldn’t slow down. My heart was pounding out of my chest (both from running and being scared) and I knew I couldn’t maintain my pace, but I needed to get to the van!

Finally we came to an area with a cute downtown and streetlights. Thank God.

I felt a lot better and the van stayed with me until the last mile. They told me there was another runner a little bit behind me so I wasn’t alone and they had to get Theodora ready for her leg.

I didn’t see one single runner until after mile 7 when some guy sped past me. I’ve never been so happy to get road killed. Finally I turned the corner and saw the transition area. I made it! I didn’t die or cry or call Ben to come pick me up.

I ended up running super fast too! Fear makes you fast.

8 miles – 8:12 pace

  • Mile 1: 8:26
  • Mile 2: 7:30
  • Mile 3: 7:32
  • Mile 4: 8:34
  • Mile 5: 8:11
  • Mile 6: 8:35
  • Mile 7: 8:28
  • Mile 8: 8:16

I’m DONE! I was so happy to be done with that run, but I do feel stronger for going through that experience.

Once it was done I immediately felt kinda embarrassed about being so vocal about being scared. I’m usually pretty rough around the edges, but I did not try to down play or hide the fact that I was so scared.

I also felt like I was a hardship for the van and wanted to apologize to my team if I made this leg difficult, but they wouldn’t have it. They were beyond supportive and positive.

I got into the van after I was done, chugged water and said a little prayer.IMG_1174 (800x600)

Big big thank you to Monica for being the best banana ever.IMG_1173 (800x600)

After that the remaining 4 runners for this leg did great and it all went off without a hitch.IMG_1181 (800x600)

I gave myself a “D” for this leg. “D” for Dark that is – I’m super proud of how I ran and that I didn’t die. IMG_1281 (800x600)

On second thought, maybe that should be a “D” for Dramatic…

Question: What are you scared of?


  1. says

    Oh no, your post makes me want to cry! I’d have been super scared out there too. I don’t even like to venture into my own back yard at night (i’m terrified of spiders and bugs) so I feel for you. You did great though. And piss on being rough around the edges. You’re REAL and that’s why we love your blog :)

  2. says

    “The third leg is the hardest.” Hahahahaha! Naughty, naughty girls.

    My fears are more abstract- I don’t mind spiders, I can handle heights, and I’m cool with elevators. It’s the things I can’t control… (you know, since spiders are obedient).

  3. says

    That does sound scary! I’m a big crier when I’m scared so that would’ve been an awkward situation for me…

    I’m scared of the dark too and probably will have to run through the night to finish some of the races I want to do. Not sure how to conquer that fear yet!!

  4. says

    Great post Monica!

    Just so you know, the camera guys was completely on your side, and thinks you handled yourself like a champ the entire time. He knows you’re awesome!!!

    • says

      Thank you Jack! I felt like I was a complete mess out there :)
      I was impressed that you were basically working for 72 hours straight with a bunch of crazy girls like us! At least we got a little down time – you had to power through.
      I can’t wait to see what you put together.

      • says

        Haha! I hardly missed my sleep. Working with you ladies was a pleasure. You were all so gracious to a complete outsider in your presence, who had a camera, that I really felt comfortable and had a great time doing the work. Looking forward to showing you all the edits asap. Look for your team photo later today.


  5. Tricia says

    I am totally afraid of the dark. I would have lost my ish, totally!! Good for you for finishing. I don’t know if I would have been able to do it. It’s scary thinking that some freak might be out there waiting for you, or just that you don’t know what you’re about to step on! Great job, Monica!

  6. says

    I have a thing about running in the dark. I just don’t do it! Ah, it creeps me out so major major kudos to you for accomplishing this! Aside from the scary run, it honestly looked like you guys had such a blast! Way to go lady!

  7. says

    Running in the dark is super, super scary! I had to run in the dark last summer (to beat the sun coming up) and I refused to do it this summer because I was so scared last summer. I don’t like running scared so my heart really goes out to you in this post. So glad the van kept checking in on you!

  8. says

    this breaks my heart, but I would have been scared sh!tless, too! I do not like being outside at night by myself in a remote area. love that you stuck to it and had a kickass team and driver to support you.

  9. says

    When I ran Hood to Coast, my second leg was at 3am in the Coastal Range–aka Middle of effing Nowhere. It was pitch black and we were in a town called “Mist”–aptly named because it was so foggy my headlamp did nothing but bounce off the fog. It was really scary running in the dark!

  10. says

    Well, I’d give you an ‘A’ for Awesome.

    I’m actually most afraid of…myself, which is troublesome given that I’m pretty much stuck with my greatest fear 24/7.


  11. says

    1. No way in hell you let anyone down. Or needed to apologize. There’s no apologizing in relays.
    2. I just wanted to give you a hug that entire time you were out there.
    3. Way to power through!
    4. Call me…maybe?
    5. Never underestimate the power of the banana.

  12. says

    THE DARK! I am afraid of the dark, my neighborhood is surrounded by rural areas that are shady dark forest lined and it freaks me out too! If I run near dawn or dusk I am careful to go out just early or late enough that I am not in the dark dark. LOL

    That relay sounds like it was a lot of fun! I would love to do one like that!

  13. says

    I’ve always said that I’m not afraid of the dark, I’m afraid of what could be out there in the dark! Especially if I were completely lit up and nothing else around me was. I’d feel like a blinding target! Then again, I’m also overly-dramatic. So maybe we’re both crazy. 😉

  14. says

    I’m so sorry you had such a bad leg 2. I love running at night but I’ve also never had to do it with absolutely no runners around me. So glad your van helped you out :) Can’t wait to hear about the rest of the race.

  15. says

    Don’t feel bad, I will probably be the same way when I run RTB NJ. I’m a big scared baby when it comes to darkness and even worse when you are out running. You did great though and made it through! Congrats

  16. says

    i was really freaked out and nervous on my night leg, like hyperventilating almost. i said when i finished, ill never do another relay if i have to run another night leg alone!

    so thats going to work out just great on my next relay…. at least you ran fast! congrats!

  17. says

    I’d say running without being able to rely on visual cues would really throw me off and make me anxious. I don’t like feeling like I don’t have 100% control of my run, so running in complete darkness would probably freak me out too! You rocked it, though!

  18. says

    Yikes–that does sound creepy, especially since you didn’t really know where you were. Your team sounds fantastic!
    I was scared on a run last week and my heart rate was out of control. It isn’t a good feeling!

  19. says

    Every year I have nightmares the week before the relay of animals attacking me on my night run. Luckily, it’s never happened. :) It is scary when you’re out there alone in the dark though!

  20. says

    For whatever reason, the night legs don’t scare me. I love them, actually. I only had a fear of maybe a coyote or something (and even that, they were probably too scared to come out with all the runners and vans).

    But the fact that so many runners were passing through the area over the course of the evening, it would be colossally stupid for a kidnapper/rapist/murdered to prey on a relay runner. Too many people and vans passing through not to get caught somehow.

    However, I would never run at night on my own outside of a relay.

  21. says

    I’m running an overnight relay on trails…so needless to say the whole dark thing seems rather frightening now! LOL! I think we need a banana suit.

    Great job!

  22. says

    Oh my gosh. My ragnar run was in the middle of the night too. On trails and golfcourse. I had to google my run so i could see on google maps where I was. All alone, very scary!!!
    My senses were so in tune!

  23. says

    Oh my God!!! I would have been so scared too!!! I cannot run in the dark, theres just too much that could go wrong. Abduction, tripping, getting lost! I just don’t like it! Despite everything though, you stuck through it and did a great job! :)

  24. says

    Ah! This is my biggest fear in life. Well, besides heights. But heights I can avoid, and I’ve got Ragnar coming up, which I’m choosing to not avoid, so I can’t avoid running in the dark.

    Was this your first middle-of-the-night run? I am a city girl and NOTHING feels more unnatural to me than darkness. (Streets should have lamps!!!!). So I want to be super cool and oh-yeah-I’m-not-afraid-of-anything when I run Ragnar, but I AM AFRAID OF THE DARK!

    I run in the dark all the time…in my neighborhood. With street lights. And my dog with me to protect me. And during October I get SUPER scared because then it’s dark and there are witch decorations everywhere.

    Sorry, longest comment ever, but I’m really really scared!

  25. Daphne says

    Very scary! I applaud you for not having a complete meltdown. Unfortunately, for me, I have watched a few too many episodes of “I Survived” and simply wouldn’t have the heart to venture out like you did. Sounds like a wonderful experience…now that it’s over. Definitely something you won’t ever forget! Kudos for keeping it real.

  26. says

    I don’t blame you for being freaked!! My night leg was much shorter, and I had 1 runner in front of me the whole time..and it was still freaky! You did awesome!!! Miss you!

  27. says

    Such a great post, and congrats on finishing this leg! I probably would have freaked out too. Being alone in the dark is scary!

  28. says

    Those are impressive mile splits!!!
    Especially for the pitch black. All of your girls are super impressive and I love all of the pictures. I hope I see a banana in my race this weekend!

  29. says

    It WAS so dark out there! I got pretty freaked out at some point too running along side the woods. I did enjoy it after awhile though and I think it helped me run faster too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *