Sunday, October 4, 2015

Five years of Tour d'Esprit

Tour d'Esprit is a 24-hour foot relay that benefits Haiti Medical Missions of Memphis. It's held every October and funds the clinic for the entire year. Breakaway has two teams each year: the race team (which is serious) and the fun team (which is more about having someone moving on the course for the full 24 hours). I have been a loyal fun team member since 2011.

October 8, 2011 (from Breakaway journal #1):
Friday night I did Tour d'Esprit from 9:30 - 10:00 p.m. (3 miles), randomly at the same time X was running [for the race team]. Talked a little to Y (he seems really nice), met Z (he seems really creepy), and overall had one of the nicest evenings I can remember having with running people. It was quiet and dark and everyone was serious about running and it was good. Instead of being too riled up to sleep, I came home relaxed and was able to go straight to bed.

The next day, Saturday, I came back for the grand finale (X was still running) and watched Breakaway['s race team] break their own record. 242 miles in 24 hours. Wow...

October 7, 2012 (from Breakaway journal #2):
It was 80 degrees this year when Tour d'Esprit got underway at 3:00 p.m. About 7:00 or so, a front pushed through, bringing strong winds and heavy rain and much cooler temperatures. By the time I showed up at 8:30, the few people remaining at the Breakaway/Speedy Cats tent were crouched and wet under lowered tents. 

Miles was running for the fun team through the front...

S. showed up to hang out and he let me borrow a jacket to run in. And thank God. It only rained on me the first mile and a half or so, but I seriously think I might have gotten hypothermia if I hadn't been wearing it. I did 8 miles total, in roughly the 9:00 - 10:30 slot (I think I started a little late).

Afterward, 2013
The run was good. Chilly, but peaceful. I like doing Tour d'Esprit at night. There was a fire going when I got done, and more people had shown up now that there was a break in the rain... I chugged a beer, then returned to the tent to put on some more clothes before heading home...

I came back after lunch on Saturday. Olaf and Cameron were trading miles [for the race team]. Bill and Faith were running for the fun team. [I was scheduled for 2:00 - 2:30, and] at 1:45 it started raining... For the second time in 18 hours, thank God for S.'s jacket.

I did 3 fast miles in the rain, then handed off to Miles, and Allie ran the final 3 for our team (she showed up late just to watch, but took one for the team and gave us a strong finish). The fun team wound up second among the co-eds, and the race team creamed the competition with an incredible 238 miles - only 4 fewer than last year's record-setter, and with fewer runners and intermittent downpours. (Cameron put in 23 sub-6:00 miles.)

October 4, 2013 (from 2013 daily journal):
7 miles (+ 3 walking) --> Tour d'Esprit. Was supposed to be at least 8, maybe 9 [as my last long run before the Chicago Marathon], but A. decided to pull me out after 5 and stick Mason in my place in an attempt to beat the Journeymen team. The shit hath hitteth the fan. We had it out, but she doesn't get it.

October 5, 2013:
2 hard miles --> Tour d'Esprit. The fun team was decimated by Journeymen, but we almost caught up to Fleet Feet in an inspiring last-ditch effort as a team (I ran an 8:42 mile; A. offered to run but she was drunk). I am exhausted from the past 2 days... 

October 3, 2014 (from 2014 daily journal):
8 miles --> Tour d'Esprit. Longest run without a walk break (7:30 - 9:00 p.m.) in...ages. And it was hard... Had an hour to catch up with Allie before she ran... COLD when the sun went down.

October 4, 2014:
...he called and we discussed our weekends, and he talked me into spending a farm day solo [rather than going back to Tour d'Esprit], which I did...  

October 2, 2015 (from 2015 daily journal):
3 miles --> Tour d'Esprit. I am SO TIRED today... I left right after my slot, which was supposed to be 7:30 - 8:00, but was pushed to 8:00 - 8:30. N. was drinking his thirteenth beer when I left, with a goal of 32, and why are we celebrating this behavior?

October 3, 2015:
8 miles --> Tour d'Esprit. 8:00 - 9:30 a.m. and my legs were already tired when I woke up! No walk breaks, though. Came back (after a shower, food, and attempt at a nap) for the 1:00 - 3:00 slot, but didn't have to run (whew!)... COLD and DARK day but really nice time around the fire, drinking and talking. Race team won with 202 miles. Strange, lightly-attended year this year, with several on the race team running solo instead of trading off, and a pregnant woman running the last hour. N. drank 38 beers and did 32 miles in 24 hours. And he drove home...


  1. Nice summaries! Next year the fun team will rise from the ashes. And the race team will be more filled out. The out of town races have become crazy distractions. So get ready world!

    1. I'm glad you read this one, Miles! I knew you'd like this entry! YES, long live the fun team! And the race team will continue its dominance. You can't make a triumphant rise without slipping a little, and I think next year, we'll get the enthusiasm back to full force. :)