07 August 2012

Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage- Part 3

There goes Matt starting off van 2's last set of legs! 
If you are just tuning in to my long and drawn out story of our Ragnar adventure, you can catch up by reading part one HERE and part two HERE.  When I left off we were waiting for Van 1 to arrive so we could begin our final set of legs.  The sun was out but the air was still cool due to a light wind so it was really pleasant outside.  Just after 11am on Saturday morning our runner arrived and Matt was off like a rocket- Amy and I tried to give him a "good game" swat as he passed but we only caught air and just looked at each other and laughed.  Oh, did I mention that this is about the time delirium sets in?  EVERYTHING is funny at this point in a relay -you are sleep deprived, sore, hungry and have been living on gummy bears and gatorade for over 24 hours!

Wating to give Matt some water
The water handoff
Our "tunnel" friends
We headed back to the van, piled in and went to chase down Matt and hand him some water down the road.  At this point the scenery was amazingly beautiful- we drove along a winding road with views of the beach and the water.  Stunning really.  We stopped and I decided to offer gummy bears to passing runners while we waited.  We did the tunnel so they could run under our stretched out arms.  Matt finished in record time and then Paul was off on his final stretch which was a 'no van support' leg due to heavy traffic on a busy and narrow road.  We honked and cheered (and maybe illegally stopped to fetch his shirt) when we passed him and headed to the next exchange.

Exchange 31, Paul ready and waiting for Matt to arrive
A water station on Paul's 'no van support' leg
Paul and Steve exchanging the bracelet
Paul came flying in and Steve was ready to take on his last run.  I was kind of jealous of all of the team members that were finished already- and I still had such a long time to wait!  We cheered Steve on and made sure he didn't need anything and then headed to the next exchange area to wait.  He had a pretty significant hill to climb up and down but did such a great job!  We were right on a beach at that point so we took some photos and stretched our legs.  This section of the race really has some great views, we missed this last year being in van 1!

Matt taking a stroll onto the beach- it was really windy!
And there goes Amy!
She made it to the top!!
Hydration is key
Amy was ready to tackle her final 5.8 miles and had several big hills to climb as well.  We waited for her at the top of the biggest one to cheer her on and get her some water- she was just cruising right along and looked great!  We headed to the next exchange where it would be Will's last run- he only had 3.8 miles to run- and then it would be my turn!  I was starting to get nervous and anxious- luckily my body felt pretty good even though I already had 20 miles in my legs. 

Parking lot full of crazy vans and runners!
Will is ready and Amy is DONE!
Will is focused and ready to pass me the bracelet one last time!
Will was carrying water so we didn't stop for him- just honked and cheered when we passed and headed to the last exchange so I could be ready when he arrived.  I was going to carry my water as well -I wanted them to have plenty of time to park, meet up with van 1 and be ready when I arrived so we could cross the finish line together.  It was pretty warm at that point and I believe it was around 4:20pm when Will slapped the bracelet on me for the last time and I was off! 

I am ready!!!
Off I go for 4.7 miles of fun!
I really wanted to finish strong- my first mile ticked off at 8:55 and I was pretty pleased!  Then there it was- the one mile long hill of death!  In one mile we climbed 350 feet- not sure if that is a lot or not, but it felt significant to me!  Seriously, I tried my very best to run the whole way up that dang thing and I only walked twice to catch my breath but then my Garmin beeped an 11:00 mile.  Ugh.  I did pass a couple of people on it though- and one guy passed me, but even he took one walk break!  Once I reached the top I could not find any speed though, and there were plenty more rolling hills to keep it fun!  I held a 10 minute pace the last couple of miles and just tried to focus on the beautiful scenery and the fact that my entire team was waiting for me to arrive so we could celebrate.

Love this photo- I think I need to buy it!!
It was so cool to approach the finish line and see my team there- I threw up my arms as I passed them and they followed me in across the finish line and we were DONE!!  I ran 4.7  'moderate' (my ass!) miles in 47 minutes.  Maybe it was the lack of sleep and the previous 20 miles that made that leg so hard -but to me it was a bit challenging!  We got our medals and had a group photo taken then headed straight to the beer garden with our free cold cheese pizza!  I think that was the best, most coldest beer ever.  I was so exhausted I didn't even take a group photo in the beer garden, but we sat and told funny stories and relaxed for a while.

Our group shot upside down- for the life of me I cannot get it to flip around.  It seems fitting though LOL!!  I think we all felt a bit upside down.
After a bit we said our good bye to Steve- he headed home so he could run the Warrior Dash the next day (crazy eh? that is a half fanatic for you!).  Then we said good bye to the ladies of van 1 and headed to get in line for the ferry.  Which took about an hour, not great but it could have been worse.  Matt had never been on a ferry so it was fun to enjoy it with him. 

In case you were wondering what tired looked like!!  Waiting in line for the ferry
Our awesome ferry ride- the view was great!
We were all ready for a nice hot meal, a shower and a bed!!  We headed straight to the nearest pub and had some food and more beer, then checked into our hotel- we must have been quite a sight around Muckilteo!!  I found a hotel suite that would sleep all 5 of us and had a kitchen, 2 bathrooms and a free breakfast and it was perfect!  It was fun being able to stay together as a group after the race and chat.  We had a really great group in our van this year- after all the stress of being a captain and finding runners it all worked out!  And it was fun!


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