Monday, June 20, 2011

Ragnar Race Report

This year’s Ragnar was awesome. I mean seriously awesome. There wasn’t a single moment during the entire 34 hours in which I wasn’t glad to be doing exactly what I was doing. And that’s saying something…

It started out (for me) at 5:25 on Friday morning when I woke up out of a dead sleep and immediately texted my peeps in van 1. They had been up since 2am driving to Logan so they could be ready for our 6:15 am start time. It looked cold and windy…

The text I received back stated that they were running late, drunk, and plagued with diarrhea. It was a bunch of crap (no pun intended) because they were all right as rain; just having a bit of humor in their delirium. I got a text at 6:17 with the picture of our first runner Craig starting us off. I panicked a little, thinking that I was still cozy in bed and they were already running. I was right to panic; our team ended up being a lot faster than expected and we were always rushing to be at the right exchanges for our van-to-van hand offs. I’m not complaining; getting home 3 hours earlier than last year AND getting to finish with the whole team was worth it, but we were all a little out of breath from more than just running.

We had rented a van, so Shane and I picked up the van that morning. Shortly after we got home, our team members started showing up at our house. It was so exciting to see Sheila, Dave, Mike, and Amy with all their running shoes and gear, ready to run Ragnar.

We left at 10 am and drove to Liberty Park in Liberty Utah (I’m assuming; it might have been Eden, Utah. Those little towns get squished together afer a while.) We had all of 20 minutes to park, get over to our safety orientation, get our flags, numbers, and swag bag before the first runner in our van (Sheila) was off. It was a whirlwind, but exciting all the same. Last year we were behind the game from the beginning so we saw a slower paced Ragnar. This year, we were caught in traffic for a lot of the time, as everyone was trying to get to the same exchanges all at once. It was exciting, but also hectic and stressful. My team saw exactly how I deal with stress on more than one occasion.

We cycled through our van’s legs: Sheila’s leg through Eden, Mike tearing it up near the north end of Pineview Reservoir, Shane’s first run of 3 miles with pain in his calf, Dave’s awesome run in his red kilt and hat, Amy’s climb up Snowbasin Road (wherein she reached the exchange before the van; she had to backtrack to give me the bracelet!), my climb up the second part of Snowbasin into the ski resort. I loved my first run; it was a tough hill, but since it was relentless, I could work out a good pace and stick to it. I didn’t walk at all, which was what I clung to instead of the thought that tons of people passed me while I passed no one. It was a beautiful run; I would love to do it again.

We ate some lovely dinner at the lodge at Snowbasin. I had memories of last year where we literally took naps on the chairs inside.

Then we got in the car and headed to Morgan High where we laid down for an hour or so. I couldn’t sleep so I spent my time listening to everyone’s stomachs growl, Dave snore, and the texting alert on my phone go off. I had run into a friend from my Ogden Relay team and we were texting back and forth for a long time until I got a text from van 1: their final runner was halfway finished with her leg, and we were 11 miles and hundreds of cars away from where we needed to be. W e rushed out of the school, jumped in the car, and headed to the exchange. We had just enough time to change (in the car, btw. No one looked too closely I don’t believe!) when we got to the exchange point. Our van’s members got separated for a while; some of us were using the Honey Buckets, others getting hot chocolate and coffee, and all of us trying to get to the exchange which was nowhere near where we had to park. At last we had Sheila off again for her night run, and we were back in the van.

All of our night runs seemed to go well. I had 6.9 miles from the south end of Rockport Reservoir to the Fairgrounds in Oakley, Utah. I watched the sky turn from black to midnight blue; I listened to the chatter of birds, watched some men getting ready to go fishing at 4:30, and enjoyed the quiet, peaceful dark. I had my one “road kill” a quarter of a mile from the exchange point (I finally passed someone instead of just being passed.) I tried to be nice about it; but really, no amount of encouragement changes the fact that someone is passing by you going much faster. I had the words “after the trial of your faith come the blessings” but I feel insincere about that since my blessing was at the girl I passed expense. I had hoped to just pass one person, and one person I got.

Arikka and Callista from van 1 were at the exchange, along with Jared and Adam. It was fun to hear how their night had gone, and the runs they had experienced during the evening. Shane and I bid them a farewell and we rushed to a junior high in Heber to get a few hours sleep and prepare for our last Ragnar runs. I got exactly 45 minutes of sleep to add to the 45 minutes I had during Dave’s run in the middle of the night. This was all on the floor in the main hall of the school, I might add. I waited in line for the bathroom for a long time, only to go back to our sleeping area, find Amy awake and ready to get ready for the day. So we spent some more time in the bathroom line together. I managed to redo my hair and brush my teeth and change all my clothes. This made me feel like a completely new person.

Mike looks like this sleeping on a junior high floor.

After organizing the van a bit, checking out our Ragnar shirts for sizing, and eating a few bites of turkey and cheese bagel, we headed to the exchange point to wait for van 1. We got some awesome pictures of our van and had fun trying to stay out of the hot morning sun. Before long, van 1 was there and Melissa was finishing her last leg and we were off again (are you getting sick of me saying that? Well, that’s just Ragnar! Run, Rest, Sleep? Repeat.) All went well until Mike’s last leg when we lost him on the course. We drove forward and back and forward again only to go to the exchange point praying he would show up (or be there waiting for us.) We anxiously waited for him at the exchange for a good 20 minutes before he finally came up the hill. It was a terrible feeling knowing that we hadn’t stopped to cheer or encourage or even offer him a drink of water during his 7 mile run. We did manage to take a “where’s Mike?” picture to document our shame.

Mike handed off to Shane and we watched him battle Ragnar hill for 3+ miles. That awesome husband of mine beat the van to the exchange; how cool is he? Dave battled the second half, finishing strong in the bitter breath of the snow at the top of Guardsman Pass. We saw two ambulances hurtling down Ragnar hill while Dave was running; it was scary, and Sheila about cried when she finally saw Dave come smiling up the hill. Dave and Amy exchanged the bracelet and she took her sparkly skirt and twin braids down the hill above Deer Valley for 7 long fast miles. I was excited when I saw her sparkling down the hill toward the exchange; so excited, I danced feverishly to the Beastie Boys tunes that someone was blasting. We exchanged and I hugged her and set off for my final 6.9.

I was up and down all over the foothill neighborhoods of Park City, running on the trails near the road to Heber, and skirting the roads leading up to the finish at Park City High school. Before my run started, my iPod died, so I was listening to Amy’s spare mp3 player, which was one of the best events to happen to me. Every song was a surprise. Some songs were on my (dead) iPod; others were songs I didn’t know but enjoyed, others were songs that were so tinged with Amy-ness that they made me smile. I loved it when Ministry’s Stigmata started blaring at me; I turned it up as much as I could and remembered the times I used to hear it at dance clubs when I was young and far cooler. My last mile of my run were filled with gratitude for borrowed wool socks, sadness that it was over, and the realization that tails aren't the only things that can chafe (hello thighs!)

When I turned the corner and entered the track at PC High school, I saw the most wonderful sight: Team Chafing More Tail. I started crying a little and hugged the first one I could get my arms around (Arikka). The emotion and adrenaline kicked me into gear and I blazed through the finish line ahead of my team. I’m embarrassed now, but I just had too much going on inside and my body just wanted to be done. We all hugged and took pictures and enjoyed being done together at the finish. My cute mom and her friend had spent the day waiting for us to finish, so I hugged and talked with her for a few minutes. It was the best ending to my favorite 34 hours of the year.

Thanks to Adam, Amy, Arikka, Callista, Craig, Dave, Jared, Melissa, Mike, Shane, and Sheila for being the best team ever.

Thanks for reading my 1,278 facebook messages every day.  I was honored to run with you. I hope you all had an amazing time. And thanks to you, dear blog readers, for sticking around for this monster post.

Team Chafing More Tail fo-ev-ah.

A little info on my 3 runs:

Finished at: 4:27 pm Friday.  Time: 57 minutes

Finished at: 5:04 am.  Time: 1 hour 17 minutes.

Finished at: 4:23 pm.  Time: 1 hour 23 minutes.


Amy Sorensen said...

Here is what I didn't pick up on while I was busy freaking out about MY legs: your legs were ALLLLLL hard ones! You did such a great job. I'm still processing my experience. And, obviously, haven't had a chance to upload my pics! ;) Thanks again for letting me tag along. It was great. Jake wants to do it next year, lol, and Haley's running in my Ragnar shirt as I comment!

Apryl said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! This is so cool! I'm so proud to know you.