Monday, September 22, 2014

Ragnar Relay DC Race Recap: Part II

 Ok in case you missed Part I of the Ragnar Relay, you can read it here.  Part II is a long one.  Sorry!

After we ate a nice big filling breakfast for dinner, we traveled about 20 miles to our next exchange where we hoped to get some rest before it was our turn to run.

We pulled into the exchange and parking was a nightmare.  It was backed up and suddenly a volunteer started waving us away from the other traffic to a new parking area right near the exchange point.  We didn't think much of it until we were parked and ready to sleep.   There was an announcer there with a megaphone calling out race numbers as racers entered so the person waiting at the exchange would know their runner was coming.  As you can imagine this was loud and happened, oh I don't know, every 20 seconds.

No matter, I took my spot lying on the floor behind the driver and passenger seat and willed myself to fall asleep.  I am not good with sleep depravation and I knew sleep was a must for me.  I wasn't sound asleep, but I definitely slept.  Tracey said I was snoring at one point, so I must have been out.  I don't know what that "nap" amounted to, but at MAX 2 hours.  I think Diana and I were the only ones who truly slept.  The other ladies got maybe 15 minutes max.  They just couldn't make it happen.

Diana was the first off to run in the night.  She had 4.9 moderate miles.  To be honest, the hours through the night are a little foggy for me.  I think I rested my eyes the whole time Diana ran.  She returned unscathed and not eaten by any monsters in the night, so we sent out Tracey.

Tracey had 6.9 hard miles (why would you expect anything else).  She hooked up with a lady at the beginning of her run and they ran together the whole time.  Tracey was super speedy on this run and got to the exchange earlier than we thought she would.  She actually had to call me on the phone and tell me she was there.  I felt really bad, but Tracey wasn't mad.

Danielle was off for her 6.7 miles and I knew that meant one thing-- I was next.  I prepared myself for my night run and was talking to Tracey.  Tracey said the lady she ran with on her last leg was a veteran of Ragnar and told her my leg was super creepy.  So creepy, in fact, that one of the runners on her team last year actually cried.  I guess Tracey felt really bad for me and she offered to run with me.  I certainly wasn't going to turn her down.  Running in the night was definitely my biggest fear going into this.

My night was was 3.5 easy miles and for that I was thankful.  3.5 miles didn't seem all that easy to me however.  I was stiff, my ankles hurt and my stomach was just off.  I ran first through a neighborhood and then on a dark rural road surrounded by cornfields.  It was creepy, but it really wasn't that bad.  Tracey and I decided maybe the girl she ran with got her legs mixed up.   Nonetheless, I was so happy Tracey was with me and my night run was complete.  (We averaged just over a 10:00 pace).




Next up was Charlene and I felt really badly because it had been drizzling on and off, but had really started to rain.  Charlene's leg was 7.8 VERY HARD miles.  We set off behind Charlene and made our way on the course.  The road quickly became a dirt road that was VERY narrow.  We were driving VERY slowly and couldn't even safely pass runners.  On runner even got mad at us and said, "The vans are so annoying, just pass me please!"  I understand bright lights at your backside aren't exactly appealing, but there were points we truly couldn't safely pass.

Eventually we did pass him and catch up with Charlene.  Considering the conditions (rain and super creepy forest) she was in good spirits.  As it turns out, I think the leg that freaked out the previous runner must have been Charlene's leg.  It was in the middle of a state park of some sort, on a dirt road with nothing around by trees.  She was literally running in the middle of the woods.  We HAD to pass her so the other vans could get through and that's the last we saw of Charlene on that leg.

I took advantage of Charlene's longer mileage and slept as much as I could.  As a matter of a fact, when Charlene got back, I was still sleeping and awoke to the sound of poor Charlne crying.  She had been running in the rain, up a MOUNTAIN (forgot to mention that), AND her headlamp broke.  Despite telling other runners she was lightless, they all passed her by and didn't help.  I think exhaustion, and relief hit her all at once as she finished and she cried.  I felt so terrible because while she was out suffering, I was sleeping!  Charlene really was a trooper that night and gets the badass stamp of approval in my book!

Next up was Erica and she had a LONG leg ahead of her.  It was 11.1 miles, but luckily it was now getting light outside and by mile 5 it was completely light and she passed off her headlamp.  I was completely selfish and was sleeping (AGAIN) during Erica's leg.  I think I probably slept for 4 hours between the 3 times I slept.  Of course none of it was sound sleep, but it was better than most the other girls and I was thankful I was even able to fall asleep.

When we met back up with Erica and handed off to Van 1, we headed straight for coffee and food at Starbucks.  Coffee never tasted so good, but my stomach was still so nauseous.  I got a muffin and some yogurt and forced myself to eat it.  I HAD to eat, but my stomach did NOT want it.  After we ate and got gas in the van, we headed to our exchange to wait it out.


We got to the exchange and really didn't have THAT much time until it was our time to run again.  The coffee had rejuvenated me and I felt at least alive again.  We suited up in our Wonder Woman gear and had some fun with pics while we waited.  

My wonder woman pose leaves a little to be desired


Most epic picture ever 

Soon enough Van 1 came in and it was about Diana's turn to go out on her last leg.  Diana had just 2 miles leaving us barley enough time to maneuver our way to the next exchange.  We made it, however, and Tracey was off and in the rain.



Tracey had 7.2 moderate miles.  Once again I was driving and as I saw her course I was crying inside for her.  NOT MODERATE.  It was hill after hill again and I felt so badly for her.   I would have cried, but one again she was an absolute trooper.  This time she said she did NOT want to see another hill, but she didn't complain.

Tracey handed off to Danielle for her 2.2 miles.  You know what that means right?  I was next.  I was really worried because my last leg was my hardest.  It was rated moderate and was 7.2 mies.  I just didn't know how my body would react to having to run that long on little sleep and not that much fuel.  Danielle had talked to me about the run/walk method and loaned me her galloway beeper.  She said it to beep at intervals of 1:30 and 30.  That means I would run for 1:30 minutes and walk for 30 seconds and repeat that for the duration.  I took the beeper "just in case."

When I started off on the run it was raining and it was kind of miserable.  My body hurt and didn't feel up to running.  I was at just about the mile mark I decided I would adopt the Galloway method and turned on the beeper.

It stopped raining and the run/walk method was really working for me.  I was cursing on my runs (running 9:15 to 9:45 pace depending on terrain) and walking my 30 seconds.  I was running toward those walk breaks.  It was almost as though I was thinking if I ran faster my walk break would get here sooner.

I got to see some beautiful sites along the way, I felt so spoiled by my leg.  Once again, I was on a paved pretty much flat trail and the other girls had suffered so much on their legs.


As the end of my run came nearer, I kept passing this one guy.  I'd pass him, then I'd walk and he'd pass me and so on and so forth.  It was aggravating for me and for him I'm sure.  I told him of my method and tried to encourage him to join me.  He said, "I wish I could just get a consistent pace and keep with it."  Well, that obviously wasn't working for him.  Eventually on one of my run intervals I really kicked it in and lost him.  He was finally behind me and we were no longer playing leap frog.  

I was so happy this whole leg.  Happy knowing I was going to survive.  Happy that I chose run/walk and it was getting me through without making me hate it.  I was actually enjoying myself.  Now don't get me wrong,  I was ready for it to be over, and soon it would be.  



As soon as I could see the finish line, I stopped the run/walk method and just ran.  I was extremely anxious to get there.  I kicked it in pretty much as hard as I could.  Who knows what that was at this point.  Just under 10:00 miles or so.  

As I'm coming in, what do you think happened?  You guess it.  That SOB I'd been leapfrogging was coming up on me.  I really did not want him to pass me. Once again, I was sprinting with some dumb dude by my side.  Ha! 



Despite my efforts, he came in right in front of me.  Oh well!



The good thing was, I was finished.  I had completed my legs and successfully run 16.6 miles!  

I was as happy as I look
With my legs complete, all the stress was over and I was just downright happy.  I was reveling in the experience and I was just overwhelmed by what I had accomplished.  

Charlene had 4.4 miles left and she knocked them out quickly with her friend (who also was our driver).  

Christyn (drive), Charlen, Danille, Diana, Susan, Tracey 
Erica was out on her last leg, 4.6 miles.  So we headed to the finish area where we would meet Van 1 and all run in together.  


It was such an invigorating feeling to run in together.  12 ladies, all busy as moms and/or their careers, but we ran 199 miles in 35 hours with little to no sleep.  To be honest, it's empowering.  I was truly inspired by each and every one of these wonderful ladies.  







Doing a Ragnar Relay isn't something you just put behind you.  At least I don't.  I feel like this race will stay with me forever.  I will feel forever bonded to these ladies, especially the ladies of Van 2.  Thank you to each an everyone of you: 

To Diana: You make me laugh!  Who doesn't want to laugh while going through something like this? You also ALWAYS have a smile on your face and have such a positive attitude. I love that about you. Thank you for brinfing both to our Van. 

To Tracey:  As ALWAYS you are my hero, my inspiration.  I stand in awe of you and everything you can accomplish and with such ease.  You are a warrior my friend and someone I look up to with such admiration.  

To Danielle:  You have such a positive attitude and are the constant listener and encourager.  You lift everyone up when they need it and help everyone to remember just how amazing they are.  Your attitude should be contagious.  

To Charlene:  The thing that comes to mind is "trooper."  You were dealt a bad hand and you pushed through.  I think you surprised even yourself with how strong you can be.  Never forget that night and how you sister (ALL YOU, ALL ALONE) pushed through and made it.  You, my friend, are a BAD ASS MOTHER RUNNER!  

To Erica:  Sweet, quiet Erica.  You are so easy going.  You never let out a negative comment, never complained, never even asked anyone to move over.  You're a quiet leader, but someone I learned so much from over the 2 days we spent together.  Thank you for being YOU!  


Wow Ragnar DC.  Ladies, we can say remember when.  Our FIRST, but not our last!


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