Wow, what an experience! Friday morning we woke up and I ran. We packed, and went to the grocery store to get our food for Ragnar. (We are perpetual procrastinators) At 1pm, Matt dropped me off at Rick and Lynne’s as Terri and I were riding up with Van #1 to check in. The boys and our wonderful driver, Wendy, were staying in the Valley until 4pm so they could pick up Donovan from work then head up. At Rick and Lynne’s we attached our team signs to the vans. Now, this is not the name I voted for, although it is pretty funny! Runners have no shame at all. Really. About 1/2 of our daily conversations involve bodily functions while running. I thought maybe our team name was a little wild, then I saw some others on the course and realized ours was pretty tame!
When we got to Prescott at check in, it was COLD! We all stopped for some coffee and then Van #1 dropped Terri and I off at Starbucks to wait for our van to pick us up. Van #1 headed to the start line to begin the race and we sat at Starbucks for a good 2.5 hours waiting for the gang to pick us up. Luckily we found some nice comfy chairs and bought some gossip mags! We were kind of sad that we were not able to see the start line as we heard it was a pretty neat sight!
We were picked up and Donovan ran in to get changed as he was our first runner and we had to hurry to the exchange. We had a good 45 minute drive and Van #1′s runners were ahead of schedule. After a slight detour (oops) we found the exchange, (Yay!) We met up with Van #1 and some other friends from different teams, and waited for our friend Jason to come in. It was dark and cold outside! While we were waiting, I got changed, as I was running my leg after Donovan.
Donovan took off fast and we leap-frogged him as he ran. The roads were not closed, no cones or signs were set out for oncoming traffic, so that was a little daunting!
Our miles winded through the mountains and our last runners had to run through dirt trails. There were no other teams around us. In hindsight, we wished we would have padded our estimated finish time so that we were running with more teams. My first leg was 5.5 miles which I ran at a 6:16 average pace. It was so pretty out and I loved this leg of the relay. It was tough- some big hill climbs, but I was able to run some downhill as well. A male runner started before me and in the distance I could see his red blinky-light and knew I wanted to catch him. I am pretty strong on hills, so that was my plan of attack. I was closing the gap and passed him at mile 3.5. As I was beginning to pass, he said “Nice job man!” and in my little girly voice I said “Thanks! You too!” He laughed as he totally thought he was being run down by a guy! I was coming in fast, just under a 6:00 mile. I could hear the Ragnar time recorders in their walky-talkies saying “runner 119 coming in fast!” That made me feel good. I guess they were asking my team mates who I was. That’s always flattering. So thanks Ragnar peeps for inflating my ego. lol! I was so sick after I ran. My stomach was not o.k. yuck.
After I ran, Matt was up. He ran so well, he had a 7 mile all uphill leg and ran it with a 7:08 average pace! After Matt, Mark A. ran and was led onto the dirt road. That was really tough. Mark H. ran after, and Terri brought us to the exchange. Terri and I could not BELIEVE we stayed up so late!!! She finished her run at about 1:30am. Everyone did so did so amazing and ran so strong! Each finished their tough legs in under 7 minutes a mile. We all talked about how we could not believe the amount of cars that were just zooming by us. We were really happy to get this night running over with.
We met up with Van #1 at the exchange, saw Andy off, went to get some gas, and headed to the next exchange to get some sleep before we ran again. We figured we had about 4-5 hours. We started to settle down when Terri got a text from her coach Josh Trask who was out running with his team and informed us that Ragnar stopped his run at about 7 miles into his second leg because there was an accident involving a runner and they were closing the course. We were all freaked as no one had any details or knew what was going on. We tried to get some sleep and woke up to hear that Van #2′s second legs were all cancelled and we were to meet at exchange 24 to re-check in and basically re-start the race. At this point, we were pretty discouraged and saddened by what had happened. We heard some teams were quitting but I really thought we should finish.
We re-grouped at a Starbucks and headed to the exchange site 24 to check in. They told us we could start at 8:30 am but we had heard teams were just going as they were ready so we started at about 8am. We had to switch all of our legs around as *technically* Van #1 was up to run, but they had just finished, so they took our legs to finish the race and we took their middle parts of the race. I started us out with and 8.5 mile incline leg. I ran it at a 6:28 pace and felt great. (I heart Starbucks!)
It was fun running with others as I got to pass a lot of people. Men don’t really like that too much and I got a lot of exasperated sighs and grunts. I finished and was able to relax the rest of the day. It was so fun cheering on our team. Everyone ran so strong!! Matt even ran his 3.4 mile leg at a 6:10 pace!
We finished our legs, met Van #1 at the last exchange so they could finish up the race. We headed down to Tempe for some food and beer while we waited for our team to finish. We got word that they were arriving so we met Rick at the finish line to run him in. We recieved a medal (that doubles as a bottle opener- apparently some people drink in the vans during this! Holy smokes, how can you attempt to run and drink? Crazies!) we hung out with our team for a bit and headed home for a long-overdue shower and good food!
Pros- We had a great time with our friends, I loved running through Arizona!
Cons- No food/water/toilet paper left for us at the exchange sites as we were one of the last teams to start and there should have been more cones/signs/ road closures for the night runners. Just my humble opinion. We paid so much for the race and I thought there should have at least been water left for us! Oh well.
Big thanks to our drivers- Wendy and John. Thanks to Lynne and Rick for setting this all up for us! Great job team! Overall it was a great time and I will always remember it as a fun and interesting experience.Runningly Yours,