Golden Gate Relay Recap- Part One


I want to talk ramble on about my day yesterday, but I won’t. You’re welcome.

I WILL talk about the Golden Gate Relay though.

Gosh, was that really just three days ago? Craziness.

I’m still recovering a bit with my hip and the whole not getting any sleep bit, but I can’t stop smiling about the whole experience. I’m not sure exactly how I lucked out and got to run with some pretty darn important Runner’s World and belVita people, but I did and it was amazing.


I already shared how we fueled up for the big race, so we’ll go right into official relay race business, yes?

The Golden Gate Relay is a 191 mile, 12-member team run from Calistoga in Napa Valley, across the Golden Gate Bridge (usually around midnight), to the Pacific Ocean at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz. The race promotes donation through Organs R Us (“ORU“).

First of all, our team had the coolest magnets ever


and some sweet #rwbelvitarelay team outfits from Smart Wool.


We even got custom Halo Headbands.


Cool huh?

And I didn’t even plan it, but my Mizuno shoes of choice just happen to match the outfit perfectly.


Love it when that happens. I was tempted to bring a different pair of shoes for each leg I had to run, but I made due with just one pair. I’m trying to teach myself how to pack lightly.


The relay was different than other races where you have to be up at the crack of dawn. Teams have different start times all throughout the day. I took advantage of our later start to enjoy the Calistoga view


and suck down some hotel coffee while attempting to make myself presentable. I thought I should at least try to start the race without huge bags under my eyes.


We all met up in the parking lot for a group shot in front of van #2 around 8:30 am.


Our Runner’s World belVita team:

Jeff, Mindy, Steve, me, Jill M., Seth, Scott, Mindee, Stephen, Meghan, Lauren and Jill C.

The start line was just a short walk away so we headed down.


Obviously we found our friends at the belVita booth first.


Side note- I’m not just saying this, but if you haven’t had these biscuits yet, you’re missing out. We’ve been huge fans here at the STUFT house since we created this breakfast parfait with them. They are now consumed pretty much daily.


Stephanie and Jill were the amazing Runner’s World ladies that totally put everything together for us. There was so much work that went into the whole weekend, I can’t even imagine.


They are rock stars.


After we picked up our race numbers, I annoyed as many of my new friends as possible by making them all take pictures.


They staggered the start so that the first runner for a group of 10 teams starts every 30 minutes. I think that’s pretty standard for relay races, yes?


Mindy was runner #1 so she got to kick things off for us.


The first six runners were in van #1 and the second six runners were in van #2.

Since van #2 runners didn’t start for another 4 hours or so, we headed back to pack up and check out.

Thank goodness for huge vans.


Then we were on our way to spend the next 30 or so hours together, just the six of us, in our van.

Jill did almost all the driving, while Scott (THE belVita man) did a lot of the navigating.


The rest of us did a lot of eating and chatting while waiting for our turn to run.


Don’t even ask what that is hanging from the ceiling. It was there when we got the van, that’s all I know. Smile

The first meet up spot where van #2 would take over and start running was at a church. It was darn hot in that parking lot waiting for the rest of our team. I think it was in the 90s. Ugh.


Inside the church gymnasium they had a pretty cool set up for the runners. You could buy a pasta meal, munch on some homemade cookies,


take a nap on the floor and even take shower.


This was all new to me, but I guess with relays they have things set up like that often at the big transition spots.

We waited patiently for our turn to finally get out there.


Our van #2 group was Stephen, Mindee, Jill, me, Scott and Jeff (RW Gear Guy).

Finally, about 4 hours or so after starting the race, our van had our first runner, Jill, out on the course.


Um, yeah, did you know that people tag other vans in races like this? This was new to me also.


What the?


The drive through wine country was beautiful so while our runners took turns being miserable sweating and running in the nasty heat,


the rest of us enjoyed the scenery.



Since we thought it wasn’t the best idea to go wine tasting in between our running, I brought some goodies to make some race appropriate drinks instead.


FRS drink mix powder, CocoaVia packet, chia shots and nuun.

I was runner #11 and finally got to start my leg around 5:30 or so (I think).


Um, yeah, look at that guy.


I was not that excited to see that little panting guy on my leg.

It actually wasn’t too bad though. My hip and hamstrings were hurting, I had a few traffic lights in town I got stuck at for quite some time, I only missed one sign and one turn (and had to be told by another van that I missed the street), but once I was out of the little town it was nice. I managed one picture on the run.


Oh, okay, I forgot, I guess two.


I met the van at mile 4 for a little water. It happen to be right before a pretty big hill. Figures.

My run was over pretty quickly though.

photo 1photo 2

I guess when you’re used to racing marathons, 7 miles goes by fast. Thank goodness because I couldn’t get ice on my crotch fast enough.



My time was 56:10 for 7.03 miles (that darn missed turn made me go longer). I averaged a 7’59” pace. It was a little difficult to try to figure out a comfortable pace without hurting my leg more than I needed to. Plus after sitting in the van all day, my legs weren’t exactly feeling like they wanted to run.

Oh, and my poor friends in van #2. They had no idea what they were in for with me in their van. They don’t read the blog and they probably really won’t read it now, but I felt sorry for them. Not only did I ice my crotch more than once, but my Handful bra pads also made an appearance to try to air out a bit.



I guess that’s what happens though when you’re sweating like crazy and having to live out of a van for 30 hours.


So, everyone survived their first leg in the scorching heat. Jill tackled a massive hill,


Scott powered through the hottest part out there without any shade,


(Jeff’s picture from twitter)

Stephen pulled through big time after not feeling well all day,


Jeff “took it easy” with a 6 something crazy fast pace for his 8 miles (sorry, no picture, he was too fast, but you can see him eating his pre race meal here) and Mindee, our anchor, took her run like a champ and didn’t even seem tired afterwards.





Okay, that’s a wrap for now. So much for a concise little recap. Oopsies.

Enjoy your day!


Have you ever done a relay before?

Have you ever been in really close quarters with people you just met?

Have you tried belVita biscuits yet?


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  1. 1

    The relay looks like so much fun! I’ve never done one but I like idea…great teamwork! Hope you’re feeling better this week!

  2. 2
    Kathy says:

    Fun! So far I see why you pushed through it with your injury….how fun and who would want to miss that opportunity! ;-)

  3. 3

    How do you get involved in doing things like this?

  4. 4

    Looks like you had a great time. I would love to run a relay one day. I hope that your hip is feeling a little less cranky. Take care of yourself, OK? xox

  5. 5
    Jillian says:

    I did the Ragnar socal this year and knew one person on our team of 12. And it was also in the 90s for the first day, so we all got to know each other pretty quick due to our lovely sweaty yummy selfs being in a van together. But it was fabulous! :) Glad your relay seemed to be just as great!

  6. 6

    Love all the photos. I was just looking back at all the photos from the relay I did a few weeks ago thinking about how fun it was. Definitely an experience being in a van with people for a long time but totally worth it. I knew most of the people ahead of time but we ALL knew each other really well by the end. We learned each others (mainly mine) quirks and oddities but they all still talk to me so it can’t be that bad right?

  7. 7
    Kim says:

    I haven’t done a relay YET! I hope to sometime!! Your recap is awesome – looks like such a great time (even with the close quarters, sweat…)!!

  8. 8

    I always see the BelVita biscuits and think “huh, those look good” and never buy them. I will purchase them now!

  9. 9
    Natalie says:

    I want to do a relay really bad, maybe one day. I tried the chocolate BelVita biscuits and they were delish!!

  10. 10

    So fun to see pictures of where I was but from a different perspective! Man! You had a tough leg assign! Crazy how we went from HOT to super cold and WINDY! Still it manages to be such a fun experience :) Would you do it again?

  11. 11
    Mindy says:

    Great recap, StuftMama!!!! Everyone try some belVita Breakfast :)

    • 11.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Ahhhh……. thanks Mindy. So much happened in such a short amount of time. :) Yes, everyone needs to try some belVita biscuits. He he.

  12. 12
    kimberlee says:

    how cool is that you ran right past MY HOUSE during your leg !!! glad you had a great time !!

  13. 13
    Kristin says:

    It was your blog that actually made me try the Belvita biscuits!! I LOVE the blueberry ones the most and grab them on mornings when I’m rushed and don’t have it all together (let’s be honest…that’s a lot).

    I can’t believe you ran with your injury! Great job and hope you’re feeling ok!

  14. 14
    Samantha says:

    I ran one relay in high school and it was on a track. Yours looked way more fun. :)

  15. 15
    Stacey says:

    What’s ur favorite flavor belvita?


  1. [...] If you missed the first part of the Golden Gate Relay recap you can read it here. [...]

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