Monday, July 25, 2016

Rangar PNW 2016!

This was the first time I’ve been on a competitive Ragnar team where I knew going in, that my pace was going to be important for the team’s success. I’ll admit it made me pretty nervous. The last time I tried to compete in a Ragnar was 2013 on the G.U.T.S Ultra team and it was kind of a bust due to inexperience in the intricacies of Ultra running.

I have to say…I had a blast this year! I was kind of worried that everyone would be really serious and uptight about racing, which can suck the fun out of an event faster than you can say “roadkill”.

Clearly I didn't have to worry about them being too serious:)
Top to bottom and left to right: Rachel, Me, Annika, Alisha, Katie, and Alissa
My van was filled with a great group of ladies that are both fast AND fun! We also got to enjoy the perk of having a dedicated driver. Rachel’s boyfriend Justin was awesome and drove us everywhere we needed to be, when we needed to be there, while simultaneously putting up with increasingly stinky, tired women and also going without sleep. I think he learned a lot about female runners that weekend. :)

Cartwheels for Canada!

Plank towers for America!

Our start time was 12:30pm on Friday so we had time to meet up and hit the grocery store before we started. All of us knew better than to fall into the trap of thinking we were going to eat Twizzlers and Doritos all weekend, so we managed to get a nice selection of fruits, veggies and protein to pack in our cooler.

Before we got started we also needed to get some photos for the Instagram photo competition. It’s Ragnar’s 10th anniversary so they had a list of 10 photos/videos for the runners to submit. I think we did a pretty good jobJ
The Peace Arch at the Canadian/American border

Happy 10th Anniversary Ragnar!
Five other teams started with me for our first 5.8 miles. The two men in our group took the lead straight off. It was clear that they were determined to stay in front and not get “chicked”. Since I had no intention of blowing up my legs on the first leg of the race, I let them do their thing. Which turned out great for me, and not so great for them…They were so focused on racing each other they missed the first turn and couldn’t hear any of us yelling at them. They ran an extra mile and half.
On a very sunny, hot day.

Lesson learned…don’t get so focused on the runner in front of you that you stop paying attention to the course.

The guy on “Those Aren’t Pillows” didn’t take it well…it didn’t help that the team mate that I handed off to is 5’ 2” and was wearing gold lame hot pants and a rainbow tutu. Pixie runners seem to hit sensitive egos harder than normal :)

We all ran great first legs and were able to hand off to Van 2 without any issues.

We enjoyed a delicious sushi dinner and everyone got but me got in a nap before we headed out for our second legs.

Everyone in van 2 was running faster than their projected times so I held off on the nap to avoid being grumpy and groggy when Jules came in, and instead spent the time doing a stretching routine I know that helps my hip avoid seizing up. The biggest difficulty in running long distance relays is how stiff you get running/stopping and running again without stretching.

I also had the time for a nice easy warm up. Or so I thought. I was doing one last lap of the parking lot and planned on being at the exchange about 5 minutes before Jules came in so we could have a seamless hand off.

I was about half way around the parking lot, and watching the runners coming in when I saw Jules' very distinctive hair. Thank goodness she dyed her hair bright pink!

I had to SPRINT trying to beat her to the exchange!

But I did itJ

And then I had to sprint again to beat a red lightJ

Boy my legs were tired after that one…It was a good run though, and Rachel was ready to run when I finished my 4.5 miles.

I had a great team that enjoyed cheering for other teams and kept a great attitude throughout the race…even as we got saltier, crustier, hungrier and tiredier. No sleep? No problem!

The team was amazing and everyone ran fast and strong so we kept needing to adjust the projected exchange time so when we went to sleep before the last run we estimated that Van 2 would arrive at 5:30am. I set my alarm for 5am…at 4:39am Katie was waking me up because we had just received a text that Jules had started her run and I needed to get up and be ready about 30 minutes earlier than planned. Not a bad problem to have, but after being awake for 24 hours and getting a 3 hour nap with the sound of someone snoring so loudly it sounded like a motor it was a little rough to get going in the morningJ

But we did itJ Even our intrepid driver. Justin was awesome. He did all the hard stuff and didn’t even get the endorphins from running…and for some reason there wasn’t any coffee at the exchange. I don’t drink coffee, but it still seems strange to me that with a population of tired, practically hung over people who are desperately trying to be lucid enough to recognize people they may or may not have met before, in the dark, blinded by headlamps there were no stimulants/coffee. Lost revenue…that’s all I’m saying.

But I ran like the wind and my team drove swiftly (but adhering to the local speed limits) and I handed off to Rachel. (While reminding her to keep herself in check because she had Iron Man the next weekend) My team told me “Good job! You can’t stretch because we need to beat Rachel to the exchange and she only has 2.7 miles and she’ll be there in less than 20 minutes!”

We beat her by maybe five minutes…in a CAR.

We sped through our runs and Katie blistered hers, just in time to meet her sister at an exchange so she could drive to an emergency family function that had come up 2 days earlier. She didn’t want to leave us short a runner so she made arrangements to be picked up on the course.

Everybody did such an amazing job. Strong runs throughout the race and great attitudes. You can’t ask for more!

We had finish line sprints (Alisha's was amazing!) and tons of high fivesJ

This isn't it, so just up the raw power and intensity by 10 and you'll have it:)

I was also told that I have an impressive whistle. So, thanks for that DadJ

The great thing about being on a fast team in Van 1 is that you get to eat meals at their proper time. A real dinner…a real breakfast. It’s small, but it makes a difference.

Jules was tired but she finished the last leg strong! Giving us a finish time of 24:22


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