Ragnar Relay New England, so much fun!
Monday, May 23, 2011
Those of you who read my last blog know I jumped into this thing 4 days before we were to head out on our 200 miles in about 24 hours. I was handed the opportunity to be part of a team of people I had never met, but I jumped at it anyways!
I met Valerie for the first time when she came to pick me up so we could ride down to Hammonassett beach to meet "Van 2" of our team. Van 1 was starting out at Yale in New Haven CT but it would take them about 5 hours to make their way up to us. So, down we drive to meet the other 3 members of our half of the team... BTW 1 person dropped out 2 days before so I took his slot plus kept the first and last legs of my slot.
Val and I were sort of annoyed driving down, we were down a man, people had been dropping out left and right (that's how I joined so last moment). Neither one of us had ever met them but held all of this against them anyways. lol. We get there, and see our teamates. immediately I think "oh no"... they were in jeans and shirts, every ones else was in running gear... on top of that, they inform us that our DRIVER is dropping out too and that they planned to drive us to all the excchanges... so they are running, driving and NONE of us are sleeping. I was ready to drop out... but I didn't.
As we are walking over to get our gear check and safety training I said out loud " we look like the bad news bears walking over here". The name stuck. So 3 guys, 2 girls and one soon to be leaving driver have now connected to create our van 2 team.
Our driver stayed with us for the first leg, she was absolutely miserable, I still don't know what was going on but she was so unhappy it put a damper on everything, No one felt comfortable, on top of the fact that we didnt know each other. Well, the three guys sort of knew each other and Val and I had gotten acquainted on the way down but that was it.
So I was the second runner and the last runner for our van (position 8 and 12). Chris, #7 was geared up to run from Hammonasset to the next exchange. As the time for van 1 to appear got closer, it was good to see the guys change into their running clothes. lol
The other van came, we took a group picture and Chris ran off and we jumped in our van to meet him at the next exchange so I could run. I was so excited to start! ( I am trying to give you guys all the details but I also want a record of it because it was so amazing). I think I saw the people in van 1 twice, maybe 3x... not sure. But we didn't get to know them at all and had no team vibe with them, which is sorta unfortunate.
We get to the next exchange, I hit the porta potty and wait for Chris to arrive, I was sorta nervous but super excited. He came through, slapped the slap bracelet on my wrist (that's the baton) and I was off at about 3:00 pm. I felt fantastic, I started cruising at a 7:45 pace and finally slowed myself down about 1/3 of a mile in because I still had 4 more legs after this 6 miler! lol. I ran through a small town of CT and finished up with an 8:22 pace for my first run. I was pretty happy and my team was really happy with that result (my van).
Now I had about a 2-3 hour break until I run in position 12. So I change my shirt and bra and make the fatal error of forgetting to change my socks. Stupid, rookie mistake that resulted in 2 blisters on my right foot. We cycle through the rest of our runners, and then I am up again. This time for a 5 miler. It's about 7 pm now and I am wearing a reflective vest over my running gear. I thought my legs might feel stiff or tired for this leg but NOPE, I felt great again! I ran this leg at an 8:23 pace, staying right on track, I was thrilled.
We now lost our driver, her mom picked her up at this exchange between me and runner 1. So the guys are now driving us. I have to say though, the mood in the van lighted up immensly now that she had gone and we started having actual FUN with each other. YAY! Now we had some comraderie and serious laughs going on.
Our team had 3 hotel rooms to use while we were between legs1 and 2 so we ate a sub at subway then headed to our rooms around 9:00 pm. we all showered, Val napped ( I couldn't, unfortunately) but at least it was a place to stretch out and lay down. At about 11:30 we got the call that it was time to drive to the next exhcange (an hour away) to meet the other van for our legs. Chris was up to run at about 1:00 am. He came in, ran right by me because you really couldn't tell who was who, I called him back to me and I headed out at 2:00 am for my third leg of about 5.6 miles. This was the coolest run for sure, a little scary but super fun. The first 3 miles were on sort of a main road, so there were some headlights and taillights along the way, that helped, especially to see the hills. There was one point where I thought I had hit the wall then saw the tail lights of a car going up, up and up some more. Once I realized I was on a hill I felt much better and sucked it up. The last 2.6 miles were on windy back country roads, I could see about 2 feet in front of me, I was so scared I was going to fall! lol I didn't though and finished this leg at an 8:59 pace (YAY still sub 9) lol. I was so out of it, I couldn't remember words and I couldn't stop yelling, I had no volume control whatsoever!
Val ran this leg of position 12, she was position 11 so she just tacked the 2.4 miles on to her 3.5 miler and did a 6 mile leg. I am SO glad I didn't have to run again at 5am. I slept in the van as much as I could but every exchange brought slamming doors and loud voices. We were lucky enough to be done by about 5:30 which meant we had more time in the hotel room! YAY. This time I think I got about 1.5-2 hours of solid sleep.
We had to head back out at about 9 am. grrr, I was tired.. I actually, at the next exchange met some girls and I was talking to them about how I was running 2 positions, there for had 2 more runs this day and they tried to talk me into giving at least one of them up, I will be honest, I considered it. But I knew, I would regret giving them up more than I would regret feeling like crap. So I decided to keep them. The weather was amazing and other than being tired my body felt fantastic. Chris ran, and I was up again at noon. I started out feeling really good, my vanmates passed me at mile 1.5 and I yelled "feeling pretty great so far". It hit me around mile 4.5 but I knew I had only a mile and a half to go so I powered through and actully felt good again by mile 5 or so. I finished this leg at an 8:40 pace, slowed down a bit but I was so elated at the end, so glad I ran!
The final leg I ran was the FINAL LEG of the relay started around 3:00 pm. I actually got to run into Harvards track and cross the finish line. I was definitely tired for this leg but it was so short (like 2.2 miles) that I knew I could do it no matter what. I ran through the streets of Boston, it was super flat (thank goodness) and felt pretty good, I got to the final track lap and my team wasn't there... crap... so I kept running through the finish line without them so we could at least get our time recorded and went off looking for them. About 10 min later, I saw them waiting for me at the entrance to the track... I had to break it to them that I had finished early... lol we all headed to the finish line to get our pic taken together and medals etc. This leg I ran at an 8:07 pace.
Overall, this was one of the most exhilerating experiences of my life, I personally ran 25 miles in 24 hours... Ragnar Relay, best 2 days in 1 ever! Actually my van of 5 strangers is hoping to run this next year as an ultra (we need to add one more, Bekka?) We wound up being friends to the end... lol
ETA my goal, rather than having any time goals were not to let anyone pass me during my legs of the relay. So I learned at the time that anyone you passed were called "kills" and anyone who passed you were called "deaths"... it was a good way to take your mind off of the mileage and turned it into a game, ! so i wanted to add my Kills and Deaths tally.
Leg 1 - 1 kill, 0 deaths
Leg 2- 2 kills, 0 deaths
Leg 3 - 1 kill, 0 deaths
Leg 4 - 2 kills, 1 death - the boy passed me at mile 1.5, I passed him back at mile 5 and beat his butt to the exchange YEAH!
Leg 5- 3 kills, 0 deaths