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Monday, April 22, 2013

Ragnar Relay 2013, Run #1

I haven't blogged in nearly 3 months. Life has been good. Busy, mostly.

I am sure friends on Facebook got really sick of my posts about Ragnar. Oh well! Most people were probably thinking "What is Ragnar". So here you go:

Over a course of 2 days and 1 night, a team of runners run close to 200 miles between Huntington Beach, Ca to San Diego, Ca. The teams are either 12 person "Regular" teams or 6 person "Ultra" teams. The race is broken up by "legs" aka portions of the race. Each runner does 3 legs of the race.
For example, my team was a 12 person regular team. I was Runner 11. I ran legs 11, 23 and 35. Clear as mud? Good.

We, The San Diego County Firefighters Endurance Sports Team (SDCFEST), had 2 teams. A 12 person Regular team and an Ultra Team.

Our Team:
Runer #1 Ron
Runner #2: Jamie
Runner #3: Heather
Runner #4: Jill
Runner #5: Catie
Runner #6: Ahman
Runer #7: Chris
Runner #8: Melissa
Runner #9: Ramon
Runner #10: Katie
Runner #11: Me
Rummer #12: Abby (Team Capatin)

Thursday we picked up our vans and headed to J's house to decorate them. He was the captain of the Ultra team.

Our team was broken up into 2 vans. Van #1 had runners 1-6 and Van #2 (my van) had runners 7-12.
Poor Van #1 had to leave San Diego at 2am to be at the start line by 4:15. Van #2  left San Diego about 5:30am and got to our starting point about 8am.

I didn't start my first leg/ run until about 2pm. I was running along Temescal Canyon Road in Riverside. It was about 88-90 degrees outside. There was very little shade along my 5.4 mile route. It was very hot and dry. The course itself was mostly uphill. I was struggling. I've done 5 mile runs more times than I can count but this one was so different. Even running hills on a regular basis, this one was different. Our team vans were able to stop along some of the route so they could support their runner. My team stopped a couple of times but I was still doing ok. When I first started  running I had a guy behind me and I was determined to stay ahead of him. When you pass another runner and they stay behind you it is called " road kill". He was my one and only kill for that leg. He'd get close and I'd pick up my pace. I finally told him " I'm not letting you pass me". He laughed and told me it was ok because I was pacing him (helping him keep a steady pace). We talked a little, joked around. We finally hit a small shady spot under a freeway. I walked that portion to savor the cooler temp. Thanks to my job I am aware of symptoms for heat stroke, heat exhaustion etc. I got a quick chill just before the shady spot so I capitalized on the other teams' offer for water or gatorade. It helped and I continued on. I had water and energy gels with me but I knew my body needed sodium.  The last 1/2 mile or so was the hardest. I was really hot and the hills zapped my energy. I could see my stopping point at the top of the hill. I took a deep breath and dug deep. About the time I wanted to quit, a lady came up behind me, wrapped her arm around my shoulder and said "Let's kill this bitch. We've got this". I laughed. We powered up that hill and I handed off to our team Captain, Abby.

I was disappointed with my run. My mile pace has been in the mid 10's and sometimes dropping below 10 min/mile. For this leg I had an average of 12:40/mile. I cried once I got back in the van.
1) I completed a very difficult run that I never thought I could do.
2) I was really doing the Ragnar race
3) I felt like I let my entire team down because my pace was SO much slower than it should've been. I wanted to do better.

My amazing friend, Michelle, sent me many encouraging texts right after that leg of the race. I cried harder but my heart wasn't as heavy. Sometimes I need to remember that I don't have to be perfect. I don't have to have the fastest pace of my life. I simply need to give my all and leave it on the pavement. I absolutely did that on Friday afternoon.

Once Abby was done, van #1 was back on the course and we were off for a few hours. We grabbed dinner at IHOP, changed and headed to our next meet up spot. Lawrence Welk Resort was packed full of people waiting for their runners and/or their other van.

Friday was so much fun! We screamed, cheered, shook a cow bell and honked the horn for as many runners as we could. One guy was powering up a hill so we were cheering for him. Another team had a miser and sort of put mist on him. A second later he looked at all of us like we were absolutely crazy. Soon there after we realized he wasn't wearing a race bib. He was just some guy out running. haha oops!

 We blasted music and joked about anything and everything. We supported each other. We asked each person "what do you need when you get to the exchange" and we had those items waiting for our runner when they arrived.

I talked to random people at the exchanges. Weather, courses, life, running... we talked about everything then went on our merry way to the next portion of the race, never to see eachother again.

Friday night we arrived at Lawrence Welk Resort to wait for Van #1 to finish. We attempted to get some sleep but it was just too loud. Sleepy conversations and a giggle fest broke out in the van. Everything and nothing was funny. I was so tired, I don't even remember what we talked about. Soon we were off on our second portion of the race.

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