04 August 2011

Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage: Part Three

Yes- that is 2:16am!
The alarm went off in our hotel room at 2am and it felt like I had just gone to bed.  Oh wait- I HAD just gone to bed!  All 3 of us (Will, Jason and myself) stumbled around the room, gathering our gear and headed out the door by 2:15am.  Luckily we were ahead of schedule enough to make it back to the hotel one last time before checkout and we didn't need to get ALL of our stuff at that early hour.  I honestly have no idea what I was wearing- I didn't bother with my contacts or even a stitch of makeup.  I climbed into the front passenger seat of the van with my blanky and proceeded to be a zombie for the next 2 hours. 

We arrived at the exchange area which happened to be at Deception Pass State Park and Jason took the bracelet back from Van 2 somewhere around 3:15am I believe.  I was still in zombie mode in the front seat so I am not sure what all happened.  Jason passed the bracelet to Maria (I still hadn't moved) and then Maria passed to Chris.  I slowly got myself together at each check point- I put my contacts in when Chris ran- at some point I changed my clothes in the back of the van (which was a bit tricky) and managed to eat a bit of food.  I was hungry but I could tell my stomach was a bit sensitive.  I nibbled on a few mini bagels and it seemed to calm down a bit.
Jason and our mascot Peanut Butter.  Fritos- they aren't just for breakfast anymore!
Chris finished his run just after 5:30am so Mandy didn't have to wear the reflective gear a second time.  I think she was happy about that!  Her calf was really bothering her but she was determined to finish her race- we checked in on her a few times and then Chris asked us to let him out about a mile before the exchange so he could surprise her and run the last portion with her- how sweet is that!  She then exchanged to Will and he was off for his last leg- the funny part is that he thought it was 5.5 miles.  He found out only moments before he ran that it was a "hard" 6.5 miles! 
I'm finally alive!
Are those toothpicks holding my eyeballs open?  Holy tired runners batman!
It was also a "no van support" leg, meaning we could stop and cheer him on but we were not allowed to touch our feet to the ground or offer food/water.  There were a few of these throughout the race where the race officials decided the roads were just too dangerous/busy for us to be wandering around.  There were always water stops run by volunteers on these legs so it wasn't a huge deal.  However we were suddenly enveloped in fog and a van in front of us had pulled over and flagged us down- apparently there was a text sent out by Ragnar to gear up in our reflective vests for safety- for this leg and the next also.  So we waited for Will to pass by, threw a reflective vest on him and headed off to the last exchange- MY TURN!!! 
Making sure my hubby is safe!  That fog sure rolled in quickly!
Good job Will!  His final leg- DONE! 
Will headed into our final exchange area right around 7:30am and I was on my way!  There was a girl in front of me wearing purple shorts and I was right on her heels for the first 2 miles- she was going at a pretty nice pace (maybe 8:40's or so) and it felt good so I figured I would keep it up as long as I could.  Then she stopped because her van had pulled over to offer some water, I yelled out "Oh man, now who am I going to follow???"  and they laughed and she said she would try to catch up to me.  Right after that MY van was waiting to offer me some water and thankfully a Cliff Shot Block as well (I didn't want to carry the package so I just ate one piece- should have grabbed 2!) and then the girl in purple shorts ran past and said "come on friend!" so off I went!
Here I come- up the lovely windy road!
We were running along Penn Cove for most of the run and the water and scenery were beautiful.  Good thing, because the constant rolling hills might have otherwise been unbearable!  The hills were not huge, but there really weren't any flat areas to catch your breathe.  I eventually passed my friend in the purple shorts- she must have run out of steam because she told me she was really tired and to just go on past her.  I tried to focus on the boats and cool houses- oh and not getting run over!  Finally at mile 4 there was a huge half mile downhill portion and I just flew down it, then I was suddenly in the little town of Coupeville!  It was quiet still, I guess not much going on in a little town at 8am on a Saturday morning! 

You know that saying- what goes up, must come down?  Well, that half mile I zoomed down was a lovely half mile straight back up on the other side of main street!  My legs were literally made out of jello at that point and there was a girl in front of me wearing the sparkle heart skirt made by running skirts that I really like- so I tried to catch her!  Anything to keep me focused and putting one leg in front of the other!  Then all of a sudden it leveled out and I could see sparkle skirt girl up on the other side of the highway.  I saw a sign that said "turn right" with some hand written instructions on it- did I read it?  Nope.  Just ran up to the road and I could see 2 police officer's on the other side of the road and I assumed they were helping us cross.  They yelled at me to go up and over the pedestrian bridge- that is what was hand written on the sign- DOH! 

So I ran back to the pedestrian bridge, ran up and around, up and around.  Then over SR-20.  Then down and around, down and around.  It was the craziest thing- kind of made me dizzy running those tight circles!  But then those guys radio'd ahead that I was heading into the exchange- that could only mean one thing- I WAS ALMOST DONE!!!!  So I picked up my pace and sprinted to the finish line- and Cindi wasn't there!  I wasn't sure what to do- everyone was staring at me and I was scanning the crowd for her, then all of a sudden she came sprinting at me and I passed her the bracelet- van 1 was finished!  Apparently she had stopped to stretch her calf a bit and I was a little quicker than they anticipated.  Total distance 5.5 miles in 52 minutes- pace of 9:27.
Passing the bracelet to Cindi- van 2 was ready to finish this race!
That is what tired + happy looks like!  18.6 miles DONE!
We then had the daunting task of driving back to our hotel room- which was about an hour away!  We got back to the room, showered and checked out of the hotel.  We walked across the street and ate some lunch at Subway then headed back down to the finish line in Langley.  We also made a stop for gas and some much needed coffee- thank goodness for Starbucks!  Then we realized it was a race against the clock- we were possibly not going to make it back to the finish line before Jody!  When the last runner crosses the finish line the whole team runs across together and I didn't want to miss out on crossing the finish line!  Luck was on our side and we made it with about 10 minutes to spare!

We were all wearing the shirts Mandy created for our team and as Jody approached they announced our team and we all ran across together- it was awesome!  We received our medals and they took our team picture and our entire team was done- it took us 30 hours and 55 minutes to run 188 miles for a team pace of 9:45. 
Team "How the West Was Run"! 
The crew of van 1- Me, Jason, Mandy, Maria, Chris and Will
We were able to just relax in the sunshine and get to know our fellow teammates from van 2 while enjoying some nice cold (and well earned) beer!  I am not sure what kind it was, but it was just about the best beer I had ever tasted!  Some people were getting massages, Jason was on a mission to collect as much FRS as he could get his mitts on and I was just happy to be sitting in a chair and chatting with some amazing people. 
Wonder who drank all of those???
Oh right...we did!
*I will probably do one final post about Ragnar next week with helpful tips for relays, my overall impression and other random tidbits.  Leave me a comment if you have any specific questions you might have and I will do my best to answer them*

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