Monday, April 22, 2013

Roadkill's Post Ragnar Post

I finally got home Saturday night about 8:30pm, unpacked my car, put away a few things, showered, caught up with my roomie and was crashed out by 10:30.  Woke up 8:45 well rested and raring to go again, so I spent the day catching up chores, cooking for the week and taking care of personal needs... yet somehow the day turned to night and here I am still up and blogging at the wee hours.

This was my fourth Ragnar, so there were no surprises just lots of great experiences... Eric was our driver and only other veteran Ragnarian in the van.  He would have been the perfect driver had he honored the team's driver dress code of hula skirt, coconut bra and gold tinsel wig, but then no one's perfect. Elise and Courtney were his alternating navigators and I was his back up driver... which only happened when he ran with Elise during her night leg.

I took the far back seat (I usually take the front bench but wanted to try a different experience... going back upfront next time) and shared it with Maggie.  In front of us were Marleigh and Ann, with Courtney on the front bench and Elise sitting shotgun.  First off... we all got along beautifully and I would race with any of these women again.  There was zero bickering, complaining, or short fuses from anyone in any seat throughout the entire race... no matter how tired, dirty, blistered or sleep deprived.  In my experience, that's rare.  There's almost always someone thinking primarily of them self and complaining accordingly.  My hats off to all our first timers.  Way to rise to the occasion!

We were in Van #2, which meant we were just loading to go at 6am when Van #1 launched in Huntington Beach. Yeah, they had to get up at 3am Friday morning to make it happen, but they also finished the race and were happily drinking beers while we still had another six hours of running on Saturday afternoon, so it all kind of evened out in the end.

Our team theme were stick figure caricatures of ourselves with key attributes.  Rose's husband Brian drew them on our team tank tops and I drew them on our vans.  Here was the breakdown, they looked hysterical. (You can see an example on Rose's really clearly on the last photo.)

Corlyn & Elise - muscles
Maggie& Julie - long hair
Ann - glasses
Courtney - pony tail
Kellie - Roadkill (tire track)
Marleigh - boobs & long hair
Linda - boobs
Lynn - Curly hair
Beth - hair standing straight up
Rose - Big booty

I'm not going to really describe the race, if you're not familiar with Ragnar Relay, feel free to follow the link and read up on it.  Bottom line our team ran 198 miles from Huntington Beach to San Diego... each of us running three sections. Lynn gave us an AWESOME spreadsheet to keep track of our individual and team stats through the course.  It was very helpful and insightful and I will definitely use it on the next race!  So, I was assigned the easiest of the legs because I was the slowest runner in our van.  Mine totaled just under 11 miles while Courtney and Marleigh came close to 19 miles. The rest landed somewhere in between.  

Granted I had the shortest legs, but they were still challenging.  The first one was in Corona and included over 775 ft of elevation gain.  It was a long steady climb for the first 2.5 then rollers for the rest.  I fueled with a Hammer Gel about 15 minutes before starting and Nuun in my water bottle during the run.  By the time I hit the 2.5 mile mark I was feeling the heat and ate a Shot Blok but it didn't go down well at all, so I didn't eat anymore through the weekend.

Maggie took this picture to try and capture the feel for the long slog I was chewing my way through.  I don't even think I saw her when I ran by... but I do remember the sidewalk drawings.  lol  When I got back in the van I was happily surprised to hear I'd kept my pace to an 11:02 average thanks to not walking at all.

My second leg was my favorite...  just after midnight, in a quiet part of Escondido, with a few rollers and lots of down hill... 4 miles in 36 minutes.  So much faster than the van expected me that I caught them off guard at the exchange.  It was a GORGEOUS night!  Bright moon, quiet streets, with nothing but the occasional runner to acknowledge.  If I'm going to run on the road, this is the only way to do it...  At night, beautiful area and alone.  Definitely a spiritual experience.

Now, my last leg, that was another story.  2.9 miles... short.  Supposed to be primarily trail.  Turned out to be about a half mile of trail, a mile of bike path and the rest on the streets of San Diego.  It was hot, still and not very pretty.  It ended on a climb with no route markers and I almost panicked and made a wrong navigation decision.  Thank goodness for a runner behind me who signaled me the correct direction.  Boy that leg couldn't end soon enough!

That was it for me.  No illnesses like my last Ragnar or black toenails like my first Ragnar... just a wonderful weekend spent with wonderful people.

My thanks to Maggie for treating us to her guitar and beautiful voice, I only wish we were able to hear more! Maggie was a real trooper, not only did she try to sleep outside with only a blanket, but she sprained her ankle at the end of her last leg... and NEVER complained.

Call outs to Marleigh for sharing her salmon and Nuun, even if she wouldn't share her brush.  To Ann for scouting out Corona Lake with me, to Courtney for being an excellent navigator and helping me take the path less traveled to pick up our runners, to Elise setting a fabulous "paleo on the road" example that helped keep me eating much cleaner than I would have on my own... and to Eric.  I'll admit I was a tad bit leery about sharing a van with my business partner for 30+ hours, but business stayed home and he was absolutely golden.

You were all the best van mates a gal could ask for, thank you!

Special thanks also go out to our supreme leader Beth Collins.  She was a novice captain who pulled it off without any serious glitches.  Not only did she create multiple bonding opportunities for us before the event, she managed the race itself with an easygoing grace that I could definitely learn from.  Both vans were in constant communication and were always where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there.  Not always a given or easy task... especially when dark and fatigue set in.

Lastly, to the rest of the gals in Van #1 and their also almost perfect driver Kevin... Rose, Corlyn, Lynn, Julie and Linda... you are all always great fun to hang out with and it was a great joy to be on a team with you!  

Next Ragnar for Roadkill... Las Vegas - November 8&9, on a course that looks quite different and exciting.  I can already feel the pull to captain another team.  If you're ready to give Ragnar a shot just let me know and I'll help make it happen.

OH!  And, if they have it again next year... RAGNAR Trail Race Series... Zion Utah, next April.  This year's was held at the exact same park where I spent my 50 birthday camping. Spectacular countryside doesn't even come close to describing the place. Now, that will definitely get my vote over another Socal event!

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