I had no idea how much fun the Ragnar Relays were going to be...not any idea at all! I just knew that I was supposed to be at the VAN in West Seattle NO later then 6AM on Friday morning..AND that is where the fun began!
The alarm clock didn't need to go off..My dad was yelling up the stairs at 4:30AM for me to get up! Man oh man...4:30AM came fast! I packed all my crap the night before so I was ready to roll. GOOD thing I talked to Christine about what to pack or it could have been a disaster! The backpack consisted of 3+ outfits to run in, flip flops, 2 pairs of running shoes, a change of dry clothes for the end and my Boston jacket of course! I threw on my first running outfit and headed OFF to the VAN with my coffee! (yes I put on lip gloss and mascara...hello, that's a given!)
Made one stop before getting to the VAN at Starbucks! Ordered a triple skinny vanilla latte, oatmeal and banana loaf.. I apparently thought I would be running ALL 185 miles of the RAGNAR RELAY!
Finally at the VAN! Huge van...10 seater. 2 rows removed...you know, so you have more room to stretch... :/ The VAN mates started to arrive and pretty soon our VAN team was there..My first impression... Can't say. A arrived last with her foam roller and a bunch of stuff. Hmmm...the first thing she said "why the hell is there only 1 bench in the van...we need to put one back"... Little BOSSY I thought.... And just like that the bench was back in the van. Wasn't sure how A and I were gonna hit it off! In our van 5 chicks and one dude!
Off we went to Blaine, Washington...Which is right on the border of Canada! It took us a few hours to get there...all along my stomach in knots. YES I get like that before every race...AND I was the first runner so I had to set the bar high. In those 2 hours...I have never laughed so hard and learned that first impressions are wrong...I also learned that A and I are more alike then I could have ever imagined. C and I spent much of our time interacting with the group while tweeting and facebooking...JEEZE..that was ridiculous!
We arrived in Blaine..quaint little town on the Ocean! Is the Ocean the same as the bay? Anyway... K picked up our race stuff while we decorated the VAN! We ended up with number #17! All the other teams were doing the same...COOL Ragnar Relay VIBE going on...
I got ready to race...because that is what I do... I race.
START time...At the start line with the 9AM start wave there were 20 teams going out.. In total all day from 8AM 170 teams of 12 (some Ultra) were going in waves! 9 AM start consisted of 6 dudes (about) and the rest chicks...OH and Wonder Woman. RAGNAR RELAY about to start...the 10 second countdown was now underway!
Off we went...My first leg was a 10k.. Still trying to figure out my race strategy I worked my way in behind a chick who started with a fake ass on. She had a decent pace going and was right behind the boys. I had no idea who was behind me at this point..didn't look back, just trying to figure out how fast I could run the leg! I stayed with fake ass girl for awhile...and was pacing around a 8 min mile, I thought... I knew I had a little more in me so I picked up and passed the chick. The miles aren't marked in RAGNAR on the course, ONLY directions..SO pacing wasn't even an option because I forgot my Garmin in CA. I could see the dudes ahead of me...so I just pushed a little harder! My VAN was on the course in NO time cheering and supporting my run! At the 4 mile mark I asked the team how far back that chick was and Christine yelled..DON'T let her pass you! Which implied the chick was getting close to me..So naturally I needed to speed up. I pushed a little harder and there it was... the ONE MILE TO GO sign! All the other VANS of the other teams were on the course cheering, cow belling and being supportive of ALL the runners! I jammed in my last mile to make the exchange to Christine who was runner 2! Leg time 45:17 or so, pacing a 7:17! First chick in...right behind the boys!
NOW everyone GET your ass in the VAN! On the course we go! That's how it works! Ragnar! Run, drive, repeat! Sleep...we shall see! Our VAN drives the course to support our runner's race..water, cytomax, Gu...anything our runners need the TEAM is there to give our runner! Couple of cheer stops along the way and POOF! we are at the next exchange! RUNNER 3 is off..D, our only VAN's dude is on the course!
All the chicks in the VAN.. N resting up for her leg in the back...K driving the VAN and A navigating...C and ME... hanging in row one of the VAN! AND the day continues RUN, DRIVE, REPEAT until we make the our 6th runner exchange to VAN 2...
LUNCH time... Boundary Bay Brewery! Where the hell are we? We have about 6 hours until we get to our next VAN exchange...Everyone in their next running outfits...fresh and ready to run..we head to the next exchange town...Bellingham! My PRE race lunch is 2 beers and chicken nachos! HELL ya! That's how this chick rolls! Next exchange in Bellingham..4.4 miles for me...That's easy...Off we go to the exchange are to rest for our next races!
Waiting, waiting, waiting....I have no patience... In touch with VAN 2 trying to figure out when to expect the next exchange...It's hot out! Sweating just sitting and waiting...Anxious. WANT to go...Finally we get the call! Ready to run..In purple... Almost 8PM.. (Ragnar rules say I have to wear a reflective vest if running after 8PM)...Here comes RUNNER 12...The exchange is made...
I blow out of the exchange at a 6:30 PACE...why? I have no idea.. I was alone..on the RAGNAR course.. I knew there was a chick a mile or so ahead...GOAL, catch her! I turn up the Ipod and power on! Working on my form, lowering the arms and relaxing the shoulders. I see the chick...and keep my pace...round the corner and pass her! My VAN on the course! C is waiting with water..the chick tries to sprint with me..not sure why...I say to her "if you can hold that pace YOU are my HERO!" I grab some Nuun and keep going... NO-ONE told me about the effing hill that I'm looking at... I am ahead of the chick still...BUT I know I need to power up that hill...SO...I use the arms and push a little...then I decide to Galloway it! 60 on...30 walk...The hill levels out..I look at my watch...OMG! I can still sub 32 mins this 4.4 miles.. I kick at the ONE MORE MILE TO GO sign and push thru to the exchange....31:27! Yep...a 7:08 AP! HOLY crap...C takes the exchange and she is off!
AND just like that we are back in the VAN..on course! Cheering, supporting, having fun! The SUN is setting and the sky is a little grey..yikes! RAIN? Lightening...RAGNAR rules..If lightening strikes CLOSE by the runner must get in the VAN... apparently the lightening wasn't close enough..C keeps on running...makes the exchange to D..and runner 3 is off! INTO the dark...
Run. Drive. Repeat. Sleep....nah! BEER time...stop in at a cute little store in Mt Vernon, Wa. Couple 6'ers of beer and some sunflower seeds.. I'm not hungry...but man did I need salt! On the course supporting the team again...drinking beer out of my water bottle.. RAGNAR rules..what happens on the course stays on the course! We make our from Bellingham to La Connor, Wa. NEXT exchange to VAN 2....11PM...need food now...we try every place in that little town..NOTHING open. We find a bar...have a beer, some popcorn and decide to head to Deception Pass our next VAN exchange...SLEEP? Yes...sleep is a must!
Pull into the Deception Pass park..about 1AM...A, D and N sleep in bags on the grass and K, C and I in the VAN. Nothing like sleeping in the front seat of the VAN with a beach towel. My next leg should be at 5AM based on the text messages and tweets we are getting from VAN 2! Alarm is set for 4AM...I actually slept..miracle....
FINAL VAN exchange...awake at 4AM, a little chilly out...dark. Get a text at 4:20AM that RUNNER 12 should be at the exchange in 30 mins... I'm ready.. head light on, ass blinker on, reflective vest...layered up, ready to go... PHONE rings...VAN 2 wants to know where we are...4:39...They lost RUNNER 12 and underestimated her speed...SHE was waiting for me...7 minutes...DAMN! I now had to make that up...
I hurry to the exchange take the bracelet and head up the hill...wait I mean hills...OMG! Did someone forget to tell me about this HILLY course...I start climbing...I can see 2 blinking lights in front of me...I'm alone in the dark...The blinking lights are getting closer....I push a little harder...I round a corner...pass one blinker...pass another blinker and start heading up another hill...VAN meets me at mile 2 with H2O...Can't take it...too early, might barf! I tell them to meet me at 3...They are there waiting...I say not yet...mile 4! I am busting it on a down hill and don't want to slow down...passing a few more people..I round another corner and start another climb...a cool chick catches me and we run awhile together! My VAN drives along me and I hand them my head light. The sun is rising...I tell them to meet me at the exchange.. Miles 4.5 until 5.5 was all down hill. The friend I made on the course started cruising and my IT band starting to hurt a bit! I pick up speed and try to ignore the annoying pain...hit the bottom of the hill and start my sunrise run along the ocean, harbor, whatever the hell you call it. It was an awesome morning to do my final leg!
Final push of my last last was 2 miles UP hill...what the heck!!!?? UGHH...definitely not the speed I had day 1...BUT I'm still moving. I start climbing the hill...slowly...I see a few people in front of me...passing 1 of them was my goal..so I keep pushing thru...ONE MILE TO GO sign shows up just in time..yeh 1 more mile on the hill! I pass Wonder Woman...AND finish my final leg! 7.9 Miles in 1:04:20...pass off to C... AND we get back in the VAN!
On the course we go! RUN, DRIVE, REPEAT! About 30 miles until we hit Coupeville...OUR VAN's LAST exchange...
A lot of fun on the COURSE....laughs, new friendships and challenges!!
PART 2, THE Finish! Coming soon....WITH funny as hell highlights and so much more..
PS: if you want in on Ragnar next year let me know... we are looking for 2010 teams NOW!