Sunday, September 21, 2014

Ragnar Relay DC Race Recap Part I

I realize it's taken me a long time to write this post and I'm sorry.  It's just that I wanted to do it justice, so I wanted to wait until I really had time.  So here goes... if it gets too long, I'll split it into two parts.  

Our team (#thehashtags) was made up of 12 people spit into 2 vans.  My van was van #2.  Van #1 started the race at 6 am on Friday morning.  We decided to drive to our first checkpoint Friday morning.  So we got up nice and early and were on the road by 6 am.   It was still dark when we all loaded into what would be our home for the next 36 plus hours.  


Tracey and Charlene 

Diana, Danielle and Me (We hadn't picked up Erica yet) 
 I worked on decorating our van as we made our way to Cumberland, MD and had it looking pretty spiffy by the time we arrived.  The #hashtags were officially ready to do this thing.

We got to the first exchange where Van 1 would hand off to us in plenty of time.  We went through the safety instructions and got our bibs and such.  It was becoming real.  We were about ready to start this adventure.

Erica, Tracey and I are all part of the "I Run 4" community.  Basically we all have "honorary runners" who can't be as mobile as we can and we dedicate our runs to them.

Erica for Maddie, Susan for Jenna and Tracey for Gregory

This race was a big deal and there were lots of miles dedicated to our sweet honorary runners.

We hung out for a little while before Van 1 arrived letting us know their last runner was on her way in.  Diana was the first runner in our van, and we sent her on her way to 7.9 VERY HARD miles.  It was so exciting to get started and we quickly headed out so we could grab a spot and support Diana on her route.  

Poor Diana, her first leg was very difficult with steep, steeps hills, but when we saw her on the route, she said, "This is f#$%ing awesome," so clearly she was having a great time.

What the hill?  

By this time I realized I was REALLY hungry and needed REAL food.  The only problem was we were in the middle of nowhere.  We decided to just go to the next exchange an then deal with eating after that.  We pulled up to a Citgo gas station and I was no hopeful about what I'd find to eat inside.  We waited for Diana and then sent Tracey on her 6.8 VERY HARD miles.

Do you see that mountain in the distance?  She's about to run UP it!  

So after Tracey was off I set out to have some food.  We walked into the gas station and I was pleasantly surprised that there was a mom and pop cafe all set up in there and they had delicious looking sandwiches and other food.  I decided right then I would EAT because I had no idea when I'd get real food again.  I opted for the cheesesteak (yes really) and some caffeine.

I do NOT regret ordering this.  
Tracey's leg didn't allow for van support so we ate lunch leisurely and then made our way on her course.  The whole time I was driving, I felt so badly.  Her leg was so extremely hilly.  People were walking, barely moving and even running up the hill backwards.  It was so defeating TO ME and I was driving it.  

We eventually passed Tracey on the downhill and she was all smiles.  If I had run what she just did, I wouldn't have smiled for days.  She's such a trooper and really didn't even complain.  She just did the work and she did it well.  I was so proud of her for tackling those mountains.  

Next up was Danielle.  She had 4.5 miles and things all the sudden got real.  I had about 50 minutes until I had to run and I got EXTREMELY nervous.  I don't know why really.  My first leg was just 5.9 "moderate" miles so there was nothing to be afraid of.  I was just nervous I'd get lost on the course.  

Danielle's leg went by very quickly (for me) and before I knew it, she was coming around the corner and into our exchange.   

And just like that, I was off.  

Right away I felt completely alone.  There wasn't another runner around me and I was already worried if I was on the right path.  I was running through a rural old town, on what I imagine was main street.  I kept having to stop for traffic lights and such and I was nervous the whole time.  

Quickly (less than a mile into it), I made it to the park and the trail I was supposed to run on.  I'm not going to lie.  I got passed by a LOT of runners on that trail, but I was giving it my best effort and it was so pretty that I didn't let it bother me.  

I felt pretty darn lucky because what you see in the picture above was pretty much my terrain for most of the race.  After Diana and Tracey climbed mountain, I was on a shaded trail.  

Old people should NOT do duck faces #wrinkles 

Before I knew it, I had just one mile to go and I can't believe how fast it went.  It felt like I had been running for 10 minutes, but 5 miles had gone by.  

I was literally 25 yards from the finish and some skinny guy come up on me.  I hear him coming and as he comes over my left shoulder, I turned to him and said, "please don't pass me."  I had been passed by probably 8 people on this leg and I was just sick of it.  He looked at me and laughed and I picked it up to stay with him.

I think he's letting me "win" 

He and I were sprinting coming down the homestretch and I was trying with all my might to not let him pass me.  Everyone was cheering so loudly and it was exhilarating.  As I rounded the corner to hand off the band, my water bottle fell out of my belt.  Whomp, whomp.  I stopped to pick it up and everyone was screaming at me, "just leave it."  I just thought, well it's not a race really (not for us anyway), but they were so into our sprint finish they were disappointed I stopped to pick it up.  Ha! 

Bottle about to hit the ground 

I handed off to Charlene and my first leg was officially over.  

I didn't have my Garmin because for some reason, despite it being on the charger, my Garmin was dead when I got ready to do my first leg.  I wore either Tracey's or Erica's the whole time and I don't have my splits.  I averaged right at a 10:00 mile for this leg.  I was happy.

Checking off that my first leg is complete

Charlene had 9.4 Very hard miles (I think mostly due to distance) and then she handed off to Erica for 7.4 hard miles.

Before we knew it, Erica was on her way back in just as it was turning dark.  It was actually a lot darker than it looks in this picture.

We were relieved that our first legs were over and looked forward to our 5 (or so) hour break and the hopes of getting some real food.  As you know I ate that cheesesteak at lunch time, but Tracey hadn't eaten lunch and she was particularly hungry.

We managed to find a Cracker Barrel and ate like kings before we headed of to the next exchange to hopefully sleep before our overnight legs.

To be continued..... 


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