Friday, July 17, 2015

I'm bringing Gingerbread back

So I'm a little wistful and sad this weekend because for the third year in a row I'm missing the Great Lakes Relay. GLR, only the greatest weekend of running in Michigan, or anywhere really, is a 3-day, 300 (or thereabouts) mile relay race across northern Michigan. 10 person teams leapfrog across the state from Lake Huron (more or less, even less these past 2 years since the start has been at Tahquamenon Falls in the Upper Peninsula) to Lake Michigan (always Lake Michigan, no more or less about it, right on the beach in Empire, MI). 

I met my husband and two of my best friends at GLR so it means a lot more to me than just the running. 2008, 2009 and 2010 I ran on a coed team with Leo in which we won the Mixed Division all three years. I took 2011 off by choice and came back in 2012 with an absolutely stellar all-girl Open team, the Gingerbread Girls, made up of sub-three hour marathoners, including two 2012 Olympic Trials qualifiers, wicked fast college/just post-college girls, and sick masters runners (Peggy, over 50 and running sub-20 5Ks, gives us mad handicap). We finished in second place (after handicap), thirty seconds ahead of Leo's all-guy team (oh how they wept!). I couldn't run in 2013 because I had stupidly listened to my doctor when he said I'd have an easier time getting pregnant if I backed off my running, which I did and then promptly got hurt. Yes, I know that sounds backwards, people normally get hurt when suddenly boosting their training, but I'm also the one who managed to get the horrible anti-depressant side effect that only 1% of people on it get (still can't wait to tell that story). So that year I was hurt and out of shape. In 2014 I was pregnant and out of shape and this year I'm just plain out of shape. Plus, with Leo running (he lives for GLR weekend) someone had to stay home with the little schnitzel fritz (I have no idea what that means, but my mom said that's what her (not the slightest bit German) mother called babies and I think it's cute. [pause for googling] Ah! Apparently it's a German restaurant in Colorado. Somehow I don't think that's what my grandmother had in mind).

I've just now decided that I want to run one more Great Lakes Relay, but there's only two ways I'll be happy doing it. First choice would be with the Gingerbread Girls, but only if it's actually ALL GIRLS. They've had to add some guys the past two years because it's really really really really REALLY really hard to find ten fit and healthy runner girls, all willing and available that weekend and not already committed to a coed team. It's a very popular wedding weekend; Leo lost one of his best guys to a wedding this year. Apparently it's also a very popular family vacation weekend (talking to you, Tammy). Or I'd be happy running on a coed team with Leo, but I know there's no way he's going to leave his 2013 & 2014 champion all-guys team (he just called as they finished Day 1 and his team was first across the line, one minute and 40 seconds ahead of the second place team, which happens to have his brother on it).

So now I'm on a mission to return the Gingerbread Girls (none of this Gingerbread People crap like this year, no offense to the guys on the team. I'm sure you're very nice gentlemen, I just don't want you on my team) back to their original glory. My friend Erin swears this is her last year (she said that last year too) but I refuse to let her retire from relay. I can't imagine running GLR without her. Yes, I know, she's run it 3 times without me, but she's a stronger, much less co-dependent person than I am. I would love it if we could put together the fastest, strongest team possible for one final killer GLR. And by then I'll probably be emotionally able to leave the little angel pikey (that one's my mom's) with my parents for a weekend. I think.    

The original Gingerbread Girls, 2012  

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh, I feel ya on the slight "racing jealousy." There's a relay we do yearly. (Well, one year, I ran the ultra- whole thing by myself.) Our co-ed team has won many years in a row, and this year I wasn't in shape enough to be on the team. I had to be on the "for fun" team made up of all the non-serious runner wives.

    Here's to bringing back the Gingerbreads in 2016!