Thursday, September 4, 2014

Reach the Beach in One Week!

Last year's weather at the starting line- cold and rainy!

Next Friday,  our 'Reach the Beach' team (#islagiatt, translation: it seemed like a good idea at the time,) will be starting at Cannon Mountain and completing a 24 hour+ running relay to Hampton Beach.  If you're not familiar with Reach the Beach, it's a 200 mile+ running relay race; each team can have twelve members or six members (or even less, I suppose) for an ultra running team.  

  Typically, each team has two different vehicles (vans are recommended...because as much as you love your teammates, it can be really cramped with 6 people in each vehicle!)  Each vehicle's team takes turn running their respective legs of the race, therefore, each runner usually has at least 5-6 hours of rest in between their running leg.  In total, each runner ends up running 3 different legs, and covers anywhere from 12-22 miles-or more.   This year, my mileage is expected to come out to 19 miles.   I'm horrible at explaining how Reach the Beach works, so instead of trying to decipher what I'm talking about, check out the link here.   

  Last year was my first time doing Reach the Beach, I had no idea what to expect, and was super nervous.  I had visions of being attacked by a bear or running down the wrong road in Northern New Hampshire at 3 am.  Since I am doing Reach the Beach again this year, I did not get lost nor did I get attacked by a bear.  It ended up being a ton of fun,  and I learned some good tips/knowledge to bring with me this year (and for my teammates that have not done Reach the Beach.)  Here are some of the things I learned:

1.  Don't expect to sleep unless you are lucky enough to be the type of person who falls asleep quickly, and can fall asleep anywhere.   I slept 5 minutes last year.  I was on the floor of our van, and between the other teams outside and general lack of leg room, it was just better to be sleepless. I was delusional the next day, and thought everything and everyone was hilarious, I think half of my team members thought I was doing some kind of recreational drug. 

2. Prepare for the weather: New Hampshire's a small state,  but there's an (obvious) big difference in elevation from the NH coast to the NH mountains.  With the elevation change, comes a major temperature drop.  Last year, it was 50 degrees and pouring rain at the start, I was freezing.  I was forced to buy a new running jacket at the Reach the Beach expo. I know, how horrible.   I had showed up to the Reach the Beach starting line, already dressed in my running clothes for my first leg (that wasn't until six hours later.)  Within an hour, my running outfit was drenched, and I only had two running outfits left for my three legs.  This year, I will be a better packer.

3. Don't expect to win any quality nutrition contests;  between legs, your team can stop at restaurants to get an actual meal, but the rest of the time, you're really just snacking on things that are in the van.  I think my diet for Reach the Beach last year was made up of the following: a plate of pancakes, granola, granola, granola, a Cliff Bar, more granola, a plain bagel, another plain bagel, more granola and a croissant. 

4. Most importantly, have fun! It's like a slumber party in a van, with a lot of running and reflective gear.  

There are many more tips, but I've got to get to bed to start saving up on sleep for next weekend!


  1. Reach the Beach sounds a lot like the Ragnar Adirondacks that I will be doing at the end of the month! So FUN! It will be my first time so I appreciate your advice & tips!

    1. You'll love it Annmarie!! Can't wait to hear about your experience!