Friday morning I drove back from my boyfriend’s and took a shower before my team picked me up outside my apartment knowing it might be until Sat night or Sun morning before I could take another. The truck was already filling up fast with food, water, and running stuff. We headed up to Everett to pick up our final Van 2 team member, Nicole, and pack up her van. Luckily, she had a roof rack so all the sleeping stuff could go on top. Little did I realize the sleeping stuff would be useless. 😉 Well I think I realized, just it was just totally proven later.
We headed up to Bellingham to check in Van 2 and relieve Van 1 after their first legs. With safety training done, we had a few minutes to change into shorts and potty before the rest of our team (Van 1) joined us in anticipation of arrival of #6. I was lucky #7 with the longest distance of 20.7 (I LOVE DISTANCE RUNNING!!!) Before I knew it I was off for my first and shortest leg, 3.6 miles in about 94 degree weather with the sunning beating down. I ran into a guy who cheated going over a dock ramp and then headed for the finish but saw my team drive by me… going the wrong way. Um, I better slow down. But, even slowing down, they still weren’t at the Exchange when I got there. 3-4 minutes went by and then #8, Nicole was on her way. Signage for Ragnar wasn’t always so awesome. I was confused what direction to send her and then we stopped later and she accidentally headed the wrong way because of the confusion of all the vans being at that corner rather than heading up a brutal hill. Nicole’s legs were probably the most brutal of all the legs and she really rocked it. So proud of her!!! Near the end when everyone asked her why did she sign up for the hardest legs, she said, “I wanted a challenge. I got a challenge.”
#9, Mary, and #10, Margaret, went by so quick. But, we were all wishing we thought of bringing a spray bottle for Friday – the sun and the heat were intense. We had to splash cold water on our runners to keep them going. We probably used the most water drinking this day too. We had so many humorous moments along the runs. One of the teams was named “We’re off like a prom dress.” One van had “DON’T TOUCH MY BANANA!” across the back. Many of us had to potty in the woods (I’m sure no one who lives around there wants to know that…)
#11, Melissa, was a real trooper in the hottest time of the day and I think her longest distance of her 3 legs. And #12 Sarah our cheerful, adorable, youngest, and fastest always brought us in with such energy and vigor. Once we passed off to Van 1, we were on a mission to eat, shower, and find a place to sleep. We drove off to the next Exchange to meet Van 1 and tried to sleep in the school gymnasium, but it was so hot a couple of us went outside to try to sleep on the grass. But, then within a half hour the temperature dropped so much we were freezing so we tried to sleep in the van. But, then a half hour Sarah wakes me up and says Van 1 is already at runner #5, Erika, (who is a frikken’ speed demon and was called that literally by someone at Ragnar at a 6 min. pace) so I knew I had about 40 minutes before runner #6, Nancy, would be done after her. I geared up quickly as possible, reflective vest, headlamp, and tail-lights. I was so cold I decided to wear a windbreaker though I was really worried about overheating on the run. We decided not to wake up the rest of the team members until I started running. I was worried they’d be late forme at the Exchange again but they surprised me when 2 miles in they passed me cheering me on. I had them help me rip off my windbreaker cos I was overheating like I thought and then everyone knew what to wear running after me that night. Running in the middle of the night is my new most favorite thing in the world. I had my music on, I was just completely enjoying being out in the wildnerness and the darkness running through a mountain road for 8.7 miles. It rocked. I was so into it that this guy came running up to me and I jumped because I didn’t hear him coming and he goes, “Hey, how you doin’? Oh, did I scare you?” I had to laugh cos he did. But, I was really enjoying being out there. The run was over before I knew it and then #8 was off to enjoy the night with an awesome run over a walkway that went through Fildalgo Bay. Because you cool down so much so fast after running I had to strip off my soaking sports bra and t-shirt. I think in Ragnar you really don’t care where the hell you do that. So I’m in a parking lot facing a 16 wheel truck on stilts doing this not giving a crap who was around me. And then we were off to catch up with #8, Nicole, to provide support. But, we couldn’t find her anywhere and got lost and then got scared she’d beat us to the next exchange so we went there and about 10 minutes later she was there ready to hand off to#9, Mary L.
We get to the Exchange for #10, Margaret, and this guy comes up to our van and knocks on the window. We roll it down and he goes, “Have I talked to you yet?” No. “Do you know what Deception Pass is like? Who’s leg 34?” “She’s out there with our next runner. Why?” “Because it’s risky – many people have died from getting hit by truck mirrors.” And then he walks away and he has a big label on his reflective safety vest reading SEARCH AND RESCUE. Oh boy, great now this guy scared the bejeebus out of us and it’s still dark out. By the time runner #11, Melissa, got to run Deception Pass, it was starting to be light out. We missed the Exchange for runner #10, Margaret, driving and ended up getting a sneak peak of Melissa’s leg 34. It was a little scary, but they had cones out for the runners.
As we drove over Deception Pass we could tell it was extremely windy. But, it was also INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL! Melissa, #11, was a lucky gal. As she came in to hand off to runner #12, Sarah, she told us how windy and misty, but how majestically beautiful it was. Then Sarah sped off to hand off to Van 1 again for their leg 3.
After our first experience with the sleep thing, we were all pretty sure we weren’t going to get any sleep. We made it to our next Exchange for Van 1 and decided to just sleep in the van, except for one of us who decided to go sleep in the grass across from the van in the misty rain. I got maybe 15 minutes of sleep but there was so much noise around us and um my stomach completely fell apart and I was dealing a lot with that. Someone gave me an Imodium and had pepto, but my next leg of 8.4 miles was coming up. So I crammed a couple wipes in my water bottle holder thinking oh god I might have to pull over during my run and take care of business.
I was so freaking happy to be running on the road again. This time heading through farmland. I had a couple gradual inclines in the beginning which was no problem. I had 3 kills before I knew it. It was still sort of cool out which was awesome. My stomach finally stopped being an asshole. I was so happy about that. Mile 5 I reached some kind of ferry terminal with cars waiting. I’m sure people looked at me like I was insane with a bib stuck to my shirt and grinning like nobody’s business. I was sooooo happy! (Did I mention I love running?) Haha I never realize how often I get a big ass grin on my face when I run.
Mile 6 ok my left IT band started getting tight, but you know what the cure for that is right? Run faster. It loosened up. Then I get around this corner and I see this huge hill just going straight up and I think, oh god, is that the hill at the end of this run? I look down and see I’m at about 7ish miles which I know from reading the leg maps that there’s a hill. I keep looking up the hill to see if I see anyone in front of me go up it. And I don’t. Then I get around to the end and see a sign to turn. THANK GOODNESS! The hill ahead of me was much more forgiving then that that one. It’s almost near the end. My last leg. And I start getting super emotional. This is it. I’ve accomplished what I’ve trained for. I’m staving off getting an asthma attack. I get up to the Exchange and I don’t see my runner #8 and I start freaking out. And then I have an asthma attack. I see her finally and hand off the wrist band. And work out asthma attack. I think my teammates were probably like what the heck. I couldn’t believe I was done. It was such an awesome feeling. That I passed out in the back of the van and woke up a half hour later at the next Exchange. Then I started being useful again. I did a lot of navigation on this trip because I like reading maps and using GPS.
Mary L, runner #9 and Margaret, #10 had their longest legs next, of 6.7 and 5.7 miles. It was starting to get hot again. We drive by Mary L and she’s just grinning and it was so funny, Margaret goes, “I hate her. This is just so easy. She’ just so freakin’ happy. La de da de da.” Then #9 hands off to Margaret and she rocked this hard hilly super hot run in a much faster time than I thought. And she goes at the end, “I did this for Sarah!” Sarah had painted on her nails for the trip bold letters, “RUN FAST!” Then again #11 goes off in the hottest time of the day, with a neat run through mountain roads and then farmland to a school to handoff to runner #12 Sarah for our final and last leg to bring us home. I knew Sarah was going to run her heart out on this last 4.1 mile leg. We had to get to the finish FAST so we could meet her and dart with her into the finish line.
We met up with our team members rushing to the finish to make an arch to bring our amazing Sarah in. We peer down the street for a turquoise shirt. We were all wearing our team t-shirts. We mistook one runner for her. And then I look at my phone cos I estimated she would be in at exactly 3:41 and there she was flying down the street, her hair completely soaked in sweat, and sheblazes through our arch slapping our hands. We run after her but no one can keep up with her and run through the finish line. WE ROCKED!
We came in #4 in the Women’s Open division. For being first timers to Ragnar Relay with the exception of one of our team members, #8, we did amazing. And I’m super proud. It was an experience of a lifetime. And I’d do it again in a few years. Just wish I could get more sleep. 😉