Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay 2013 - Legally Dead

Oh how I LOVE this relay.  Sure, unless you are an Ultra team or 12 highly competitive fast runners who are in it to win it, it's just plain F.U.N!

I've run with Legally Dead now for a couple of years now and this time around did not disappoint!

Wednesday night was a van decorating contest so a couple of us met and got to work in hope of winning some sweet new kicks for the team

Thursday at about 5:30, I got the head nod from Darrell that I could leave work.  Van 1 girls (except Michelle) met at my house and we headed up north.

After a quick stop at Wendy's where I learned that Mindy puts saltines in her Frosty (wth?), we were at my sissy's house and bunking down for the night.

*Quick shout out to my sister for letting us crash there.  She always welcomes us in and let's us get a good night's sleep before events up that way*

4am came around all too soon and we were headed to USU stadium and meeting up with van 2.  A quick pic with everyone before our first runner Lisa led it off!

We navigated our way around wrong.  And then wrong again before we finally found where we were supposed to meet up with her.  This was the start of many mishaps along the way.  At least there was nothing serious enough to take away from any of the fun.

Mindy was next and grateful to get her longest run out of the way

Mindi followed her and sadly, when our runner wasn't at the exchange in time, she didn't know what to do so she just kept running (Forrest Gump anyone?).  By the time we connected, she had added two more miles to her already long leg.  SHE - is a supahstah!

Abbie was runner 4 she finished up her leg and then it was my turn.

My first leg was 7.8 miles and a tough trail uphill.  Avon Pass.  I put on my Brooks Cascadia trail shoes and took off.  After rehabbing torn calf muscles, I wondered how the uphill was going to feel.  I have to say - it.was.wonderful!!  A little IT band tightness at about mile 4, but the calves felt great.  The only bummer was that the support vans drive the same route and can, although discouraged from, supporting their runner with water.  That meant that the runners were either breathing dust from the cars or sucking the exhaust from their fumes.  The bandanna came in handy.  In fact, the vans were held up due to an accident on the road and I ended up getting to the exchange about 10 minutes before my van did.  Perfect time to stretch, chillax and recover before jumping back in.

Michelle was our runner 6.  She took right over and handled her leg like a boss!  We met up with van 2 at the next exchange, passed off the slap bracelet and then headed for Snowbasin where we had some time to nap, eat, rest and change clothes.  An actual toilet with running water and soap to wash my hands was the BEST!  And huge shout out to Don's wife Robyn who made sure we had great sandwiches again this year.

It was getting evening time when our boys came in and we took over again.  Again, all the ladies did a stellar job on their legs.

By the time I ran, it was a little chilly so I bundled in tights and a long sleeve tech tee.   I wore my Brooks Cadence this run and adding in the reflective vest and headlamp, I was rockin a hawt look!

This time, I only had 4.2 miles and it was lovely!  Perfect temps, twilight of the evening and beautiful scenery.  It was dark by the time Michelle finished her tough run and it was again time to pass off to the boys.

Of course, an important reminder:  what happens in the 'burb stays in the burb.....we get really comfortable there:

The next major exchange was SO crowded!  Holy cow!  And with it dark and cold, it was kind of miserable trying to find where we were supposed to be, meet up with the guys, and get them on their way.  We also had a teammate that couldn't get up until late Friday night so his car now needed to be moved to the next exchange as well.  I volunteered to drive it and Mind's came along as company.  This after watching an almost fist fight in the parking lot between teams.  A door opened and dinged a vehicle next to it (total accident) and the freak out ensued. All I have to say is this:  Stuff happens.  Especially on a relay.  Get over it.

Enter in OUR next series of mishaps.  Simple miscommunication that led to me driving around for a couple of hours lost, trying to listen to the navigator on my phone, in and out of cell service, and when I discovered we were now in Park City all we could do was laugh.  Okay, maybe a little swearing mixed in there by yours truly, but now, several days later I can laugh.  By the time we found where we were supposed to meet the rest of our girls it was now 2am and I was exhausted.  I laid the seat down in the car I was at, pulled my blankie over myself and crashed.  Mind's did the same.

4:00am and a text comes in saying we need to leave in 15 minutes.  Oy vay!  Serio?  Less than 2 hours of sleep?  Nooooo.......  No chance for shower?  Nooooo.....  Oh well.  It is what it is.

We headed out, me following our van very closely to meet at the exchange and pass off the car to the boys and take the slap bracelet for our runs.  A few more miscommunication's and we finally got squared away.

Usually, by this time it doesn't matter how strong a runner you are, you are exhausted and wonder if you can pull off your third leg.  My girls?  BEASTS!!!  Absolute strong warriors!

My last run was only 2.8 miles.  Measly 2.8, but by this time, I'm totally okay with it.  By the time it was my turn, the sun was up, warm but not hot, and I was going to enjoy this!  In fact, I joked that I was going to skip the entire thing, but when I took off, the competitive side of me took over and I ran.  Ran hard, fast and strong in my Brooks Drift's.  I let myself skip the last few feet just because it felt so good!

Once Michelle finished her last leg, our runner wasn't there ready to go, so I started and clocked in another mile or so before van 2 dropped someone off.  Then we headed for Park City and the finish line to wait for our boys.  We found food, drinks and shade to crash in.  I saw friends, and did a lot of people watching.

People fascinate me.  As I thought over the past day or two, I'm reminded that a relay like this brings every kind of person to the table.  The competitive ones that don't do much van decorating (if any), no costumes, large passenger vans so that they can get plenty of rest and usually a sponsor taking care of them.  Then there is the other end of the spectrum.  Those people that don't even run.  They just get roped into doing it because a friend, or family members needs a warm body with two functioning legs.  They are the ones who find themselves completely out of their element in the running world, but are willing to jump in and have fun.  They might walk most of their legs.  They might not even do all three of their legs, maybe just a mile here or there, but they are enjoying the chance to be a part of something that they wouldn't normally consider themselves doing.

Then there are people like me.  Runners who love to run.  Competitive but not at the elite level.  Who see Ragnar for exactly what it is.  A party with friends in a van for 30 or so hours.  Running, laughing, eating, sharing, experiencing.  It's a chance to set aside the day to day grind, put on your running clothes and be a part of a team.  No pressure for a PR, no podium to strive for.  You want to run each leg you are assigned respectably and with a good showing, but overall, you're there for the fun.

Unless, you've had an opportunity to experience it, it's hard to imagine the camaraderie that occurs on a team.

We took 6 women who didn't all know each other.  Abbie and Michelle were complete strangers to me before Thursday, but now they are dear to me because of our time spent in a suburban running along the Wasatch Back.  Truly amazing experience.

Splenda Daddy and Luke came up to the finish line as did Michelle's boyfriend Brandon and Mindi's family.  We waited for word that our last runner had started and we made our way to the finishers chute to run in together as a team.  One of my favorite parts.

Kris and Lisa with Wayne photobombing in the back - my three heroes!

Got our medals, posed for pictures as seen above, gave out hugs and then.....it was over.  Just like that.  Over.

Home to the real world.  Work.  Family.  Home.  Dogs.  Church duties.  It was a delightful escape and one that I look forward to every single year!  30 something hours in a van full of fun, crazy, WONDERFUL women that inspire me to do and be better!

Some random shots:

a tractor pulling a trailer down main street in Midway.  Unbelievable

Can't beat that.

Now I just need to find a team to run Vegas Ragnar so I can earn my Saints to Sinner medal!

Final notes:

1.  A HUGE thank you goes to our team captain and otherwise all around the bomb.com - Wayne.  Serio kids, team captains don't get any better than this guy!  We have such a great experience because of him
2.  The same HUGENESS thank you out to Kris and Lisa.  Their poor suburban has seen many a relay and always comes through.  Granted, Kris has to exorcise all demons and re-dedicate it after each race but they go above and beyond to make sure everyone is comfortable and has a good time.
3.  Our team finished in 34:24:44.8 and 649 out of 965 in our category.  Best showing ever?  Nope, but just as fun as always!!
4.  I lifted some of these pics from my friends facebook pages, some came from my smart talkie boxie thingie and some from my camera.  I feel bad that I didn't get any of Abbie running, but I think with her following me - I just didn't get it.
And finally........

Legally Dead forever!