I’ve been slacking in the blogging/Ragnar recapping department this week so I figured it was finally time for me to get on that. All the fun pictures and excitement from last weekend can be found here, but now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and not-always-pretty details (I’m so clever, huh?).
After meeting up with the rest of Van 2 around 7AM, we headed to the first major exchange to await Madison. It was already really warm out when Ashley headed out for her first leg – 8.8 miles. She wasn’t feeling great thanks to the heat, but she knocked out that leg like a total Rockstar before handing off to Linzay.
Linzay was a total champ, covering one of the hilliest legs of the race and it was just about noon when she handed off to me in Corona. By the time I took off on my first leg of 4.9 miles, it was close to 90*. In any other situation, 4.9 miles would be a breeze that I could easily knock out at a 9:30-9:45 pace, but this was far from my normal comfort zone of running in 60-70* weather.
I immediately felt the effects of the heat combined with my lack of actually fueling for this run. I guess half a Krispy Kreme donut and a banana don’t exactly work as well as my normal PB-Toast breakfast. But it was tasty. My first leg ended up being a sad, slow 11:55 pace for 4.9 miles. I was taking in lots of Nuun but it was so hard to keep drinking as my bottle was downright hot, and hot Strawberry Lemonade doesn’t taste fantastic when you’re running in 90* temps. I felt dizzy and my face was cold which I knew was not a good sign. I also felt SO defeated because I know I am so much better than such a slow (for me) pace. It didn’t help that I got stuck at two horrible stoplights, including one that was almost 4 minutes! The other runners and I were sharing water and spray bottles and it was so great how everyone was working to lift each other’s spirits. I ended up running the last mile and a half with a girl in a tie-dye shirt from Chino Hills but I totally forgot to get her name. She was so nice for sharing her water though!
I initially thought I ‘d be running my second leg around midnight, but because of Satan’s Death Legs from Hell (aka all the legs through the boiling hot Inland Empire) we ended up a couple hours behind and I set off for leg 2 at 2:00AM all decked out in my stylish reflective vest, headlamp, reflective BIC Band, some killer knuckle lights (which really made the run way more fun) and about 30 glow sticks.
This leg went MUCH better. Let me just tell you that running through San Marcos at 2:00AM while strange dogs are barking in the yards around you keeps you VERY motivated to stay as close as possible to the person in front of you.
3.8 miles in 36 minutes. Much more my style.
Luckily, after Elisabeth finished her 2nd leg we had a few hours to get a little sleep. Ashley and Phil live just a couple miles from the final major exchange so they were amazing and let all of us crash their apartment and get a couple hours of rest before we had to be up and running at 8AM. They also let us all use the shower which felt AMAZING after running and sweating and sitting in a van all day. Best shower ever.
I set out for my final leg of 11.1 miles at noon on Saturday and that’s where things went all kinds of wrong. The first 4 miles were ok. I had to stop to pee and my legs were sore and my body felt exhausted but I held a steady 10:30 pace despite the stop and the headwind for the first 3 miles. At mile 5 I saw my team waiting for me, but little did I know I also had the biggest beast of a hill ahead as well. Sharon was amazing and paced me up half the hill and basically talked me down from the “I hate this and I hate myself for doing this” ledge. If it weren’t for her I probably would still be curled up in the fetal position at the bottom of that mountain.
The second half of the hill was… interesting… Basically this was my view for half a mile:
Those would be Ragnar temporary tattoos on his cheeks. Yep. Half a mile. Uphill. Staring at THAT.
I finally made it to the glorious downhill and I was tired but trucking along just fine. I did start to notice that I hadn’t seen any Ragnar signs in a while but I was following closely behind Man-Thong and tons of other runners so I really didn’t think too much of it.
Around miles 8 is where the fun really started. A bunch of runners I had been following about 1/4 a mile behind all of a sudden came running back toward the rest of us yelling that we’d gone over 2 miles out the wrong way. Commence mental breakdown. I was so sore and so tired and so beat up over that damn hill that I just couldn’t hold myself together. I called my team practically in hysterics and told them what happened. Luckily, they swung by and picked me up, fed me some water and goldfish, and got me back to the road where I should have been.
By this point I was verging on tears. I really felt like I’d let them down and I felt HORRIBLE. But they put me backed together and Ashley was the sweetest thing ever and busted out the final 3 miles with me. She pushed bums out of the way, yelled at moms with strollers to move, and pretty much paved the way for me to survive those last few miles. Champ.
13.13 miles – 10:45 pace. Eh.
I was so relieved to hand the wristband off to Erica at that point. She rocked her final leg and Elisabeth held strong to bring us home to the finish line. It was such an amazing feeling to be done! Driving home was exhausting but coming home to my sweet boyfriend with champagne and flowers was so worth it. I definitely broke down a couple times during the week (after plugging in my Garmin and seeing some pretty dismal numbers), but I wouldn’t trade the experience for ANYTHING. We all ran in the heat, we all hit horrible hills and we all had to pull through and tough it out. I am so inspired by the performance of my teammates and I’m working even harder to become a stronger runner so that one day when I do another Ragnar I can feel as proud of all my legs as I did of my 2nd leg this time.
Seriously how cute are we? That’s after 41 hours awake and only 3 hours asleep BTW.
So in an effort to become a stronger, faster runner I’ve recruited a new running buddy that pushes me a little more:
We had 2 great runs last week and I think if I keep running with him I can be busting out some consistent sub-9 paces on the reg
No more double-digit mile paces for this girl. Time to get fast. Pinky-proms.