THE SPEED PROJECT
I’ll be honest, this has been a hard post to write. It was such a special and, I know it sounds cheesy to say, life changing event that it’s hard to put into words the full experience. So it’s been a little over month since the Speed Project and I finally feel like my brain and my body are getting back to normal. It was nothing like I expected. I described to a friend that I felt like how I imagine people who go off into the jungle and do ayahuasca must feel. It was 60 hours of running, laughing, mental breakdowns, no sleep and more Uncrustables PB+J sammies then I’ve ever eaten.
If you don’t know what the Speed Project (TSP) is, it’s an ultra relay starting from the Santa Monica Pier to the Las Vegas sign, roughly around 340 miles. The official map/guide breaks down the race in 6 mile segments (there are some shorter and longer segments). No roads are closed off so you are running next to traffic. There are unsupported trail sections. Your team piles into an RV and you have an SUV to help shuttle the runners to different points. The teams range in size from 6-12 members. My team was made up of 6 women with 4 crew members who drove us, paced us through sketchy sections and kept us sane.
Chris and I spend a few days in Venice before the race, relaxing (as much as I could) and just enjoying the weather. Brooklyn had been so cold and gross it was nice to feel the sun.
The only person I knew on my team was one of the co-captains, Vics. I was familiar with everyone from chatting online and Instagram but never met anyone IRL.
Thursday I met everyone, we got the RV, did a massive Target trip, and went to TSP headquarters for the pre-race meeting. I saw some people from NYC that were running with MIP and Jessie from Girls Run NYC. It was nice to see familiar faces. It wasn’t really hitting me what I had gotten into. To be honest, I wasn’t that excited, just more stressed. After the meeting we did a quick team meeting and then tried to sleep to get ready for the 4am start time.
I barely got any sleep Thursday night. I had a hard time sleeping all week tbh. We packed up the Airbnb and drove to the Santa Monica Pier. It was madness, but in the best way possible. I feel like pretty much sums up the whole experience in general.
Im not going to break everything down leg by leg. It was such a wild experience I don’t think I can properly describe all of it. Plus when you don’t sleep for 60 hours memories get mixed up.
Through all 344 miles, I don’t think I have ever felt such a range of emotions. I definitely had a moment on the morning of the second day where I wasn’t sure if I could do it. And then I would start running, and everything felt good.
One of the things that I learned during Speed Project is no matter how much you plan, shit goes sideways. I had a detailed nutrition plan that a few hours in went out the window. I did manage to eat a Spring Energy McRaecovery gel after every run and their Canaberry gel before almost every run. But I basically lived off Smucker’s Uncrustables. I think they are the perfect ultra food: they have sugar, some fat & protein, and simple carbs. They’re also super easy on the stomach. I also had a Beyond Burger from Carl’s Junior and some vegan items from Taco Bell that tasted like it was straight from heaven. (40 hours on the road and any hot food sounds good tbh).
Some of the things I worried about ended up not even being a big concern. I was super worried about the heat (I mean, we were running through Death Valley) but it was actually really nice. The dust and the dry air of the dessert were more of a problem. I ended up in Vegas with no voice and a sore throat.
Physically, I didn’t realize how hard it would be to run and then sit in a car or RV for a few hours. I think running 55 miles straight is was easier then the constant start and stop. In hindsight I should have tried to stretch and warm up more but I totally forgot to. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t sleep for 2 1/2 days.
At the beginning of The Speed Project I didn’t think I’d ever want to do it again. And there where definitely times where I just wanted to quit. But I’m so happy that I did it and would love to have the opportunity to do it again.