This is the true story of twelve strangers… picked to live in a van… run together and have their lives taped… to find out what happens… when people stop being polite… and start getting real! The Real World: MC200.
Okay, so maybe we didn’t have our lives taped. And there were only six of us in each van. And some of us knew one another ahead of time. But photos abound, I really only knew three of my teammates before our journey the weekend, and you certainly lose all of your manners when you’re sleep-deprived and covering 10 – 21 miles on foot, some during the wee morning hours.
For those who don’t know, let me give you the basics of MC200. It’s a relay from Madison to Chicago, usually done by teams of twelve. (Although their were some teams of 4, 6, and 9… those people are just even crazier than we were.) Runners 1 – 6 stay in Van 1, and runners 7 – 12 stay in Van 2. I was runner 7. Charlotte passed off to me, and I passed off to Cristian. My team was put together by some of the fabulous ladies at Girls on the Run Chicago, and included only awesome people.
The day started off innoncently enough. I headed over to Emily’s house to meet the rest of Van 2, who I would be spending the next 36+ hours living in a van with. They were, obviously, fabulous. As soon as we got in the van, Emily (aka Mom of Van 2) had us go around and share a little bit about ourselves. It was very first day of school and got things off to an exciting start. I promptly began reading very… interesting… things to my van mates and we were instantly BFFs. (Just ask any one of them.)
We arrived in RandomTownNearMadison, Wisconsin at around 2:00, just in time for our safety talk. Basically, the talk went like this: be safe. Then we waited for Charlotte to come running to us. She slapped the MC200 Slap Bracelet of Awesomeness on me and I headed off for the worst 5k of my life. 3.1 miles sounded easy enough, but it was 3:00 on a hot, humid, disgusting afternoon. I had a hard time breathing and was pretty much instantly bored on the straight course. Luckily, even for a slow runner, 3.1 miles goes by pretty quickly, and before I knew it, it was time to pass the MC200 Slap Bracelet of Awesomeness off to Cristian.
Then a pattern began that would continue for the rest of the weekend: pass off slap bracelet, hop in van, drive like crazy for everyone’s transition areas until Emily starts running. Visit with Van 1 for a little while at Emily’s transition area. Eat a TON. Drive like 30 miles to the next big transition area. Have a break for a while and let Van 1 do all the running. Visit with Van 1 when they show up. Charlotte hands off to me. Run some more. You get the idea.
So, after my 3:00 run I had quite a bit of downtime. I read the rest of my magazine while other teammates drove us around in the van. By the time Emily was finishing up her run, we were starving! So her brilliant teammates (aka Grant) ordered pizzas to be picked up right around the time she was finishing. We gobbled down tons of pizza and were off to a high school in Milwaukee to “sleep.” I think I slept all of 20 minutes because I was so nervous that I would sleep through Char’s handoff. Around midnight, Mom, Dad, and Daniel showed up with popsicles and Dad’s bike. They lovingly waited around until about 2:00 am, when I ran my longest leg of the course, about 6 miles.
Dad rode next to me on his bike through some dark southern Milwaukee roads. I even got the pleasure of some drunk guy yelling out his window, “What the @(*# are you @#$(^$& @#$*&#$ doing?!” As soon as he said that, my dad turned to me and said, “And that’s why I wanted to come be here with you.” Still, the night was pretty peaceful, and there was something fun about racing at 2:00 – 3:00 am with a headlamp. After the handoff to Cristian I pretty much passed out in the van for a long time.
Emily finished her leg in the wee morning hours, and then it was off to our next big check point. It was a church in Zion, Illinois. I was supposed to navigate there but kept falling asleep in the passenger seat. Thankfully, Grant and Emily directed us there in one piece. We discussed going to get breakfast, but at this point in our journey, sleep was far more appealing. Whether in the grass outside the church or sprawled out on the seat of our 15-passenger van, everyone in Van 2 had a solid nap at this transition area.
Around noon, I was all suited up and ready for Charlotte. Van 1 had finished their third leg of the trip, now it was up to us to get the team home to Chicago. Until the thunderstorms started. Finding out that the start of this leg would be delayed due to “thunderstorms” in the area made me ridiculously crabby. The whole team waited for Charlotte to come in, I took the MC200 Slap Bracelet of Awesomeness, and we returned to our van. I did what any annoyed, sleep-deprived runner would do. I took a nap. I woke up to Emily telling me it was time to run. At this point, I was really not intersted in running. Having just woken up, I think I mumbled some crabby words to my team and then took off on my way. I had a pretty much awful run, but I made it back to Cristian in one piece. Woot.
One of the highlights of Saturday was the hotdog place in the parking lot where Grant handed off to Emily. After having talked about bacon and other delicious foods all day long, I was so ready for something other than bagels, bananas, and apples. Despite being delicious, I needed a “real” meal. So we filled up on some garbage and headed to Montrose Harbor to watch Emily come in.
Just after 6:30 pm, and about 32 hours after this journey started, Team Badass crossed the finish line at Montrose Harbor. We were deliriously overtired and deliriously happy. Despite being ridiculous, insane, and lots of running on little sleep, it was a blast.
So who’s in for next year? *ahem* Cousins, this means you. Karl? Craig? Kurt? Carolyn? Katie? DJ? Who out there is crazy enough to do this with me?