Thursday, July 29, 2010

More Ragnar...

Ok let’s get back to RAGNAR, shall we? I finished my first run and almost didn’t tell my team that I stopped to pick blueberries, if they had wondered why only had a 9:23 pace for 6.7 miles…that would be why? They were $1 a pound and I am a sucker for blueberries. Ok so maybe I never stopped but I thought it would be a funny story to tell them. Where did my sub 9 minute pace go? To the blueberries…that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

Leg #1 done
Miles: 6.77
Pace: 9:23
Time: 1:03
Calories: 858

We watched Shannon finish her first leg which she killed. She passed at least 10 people. She was our last runner, so it was time to re-fuel before our next run which would be in the early hours of Saturday morning. Got some burgers took some showers and with a minor detour (we got lost) we finally made it to our next exchange to start our next leg. It was cold and I was starting to get tired, not good with a “Very Hard” 5 miler at 2:30 am ahead of me. I tried to take a little bit of a nap but it wasn’t happening. We saw our running from Van #1 come in and it was time for Remy to start his hardest, longest leg through La Conner. I have never been to La Conner and can’t wait to go back in the day light because it looked like such a cute town. We were staying close to Remy since it was so dark and talking about what an amazing runner this guy is when we noticed him walking, then he started to run and then walked again and started limping…this is not good. Min and I jumped out of the car to see what was wrong. He had twisted his knee and was out. He was one of our best runners and had 2 long, hard legs ahead of him so that meant we were going to have to figure something out. Min jumped in and ran his leg and as a team everyone stepped up to take extra miles on to get it done. I loved seeing the team jump in and do whatever it took to get the miles done.
My next leg was coming up. It was right passed the Anacortes Ferry docks. I stopped to go to the bathroom, but decided to take my light in. Port-potties are scary during the day and knew I I would be in trouble without a headlamp in there. Luckily the gal in front of me warned me…thank goodness she did. Someone had literally peed all over the seat and didn’t clean up after themselves…REALLY, REALLY! I didn’t have time to wipe it off because I was about to start my run so I skipped to another. Thank goodness for the light or that would have been a WET, nasty mess. Note to all of you…always take a light into the porta-potties at night.
The body is an amazing thing. When you think you won’t be able to do something because of all the obstacles in the way…you can. The body and mind play against each other until its game time and then it just does what it needs to do. The nights leading up to my relay I woke up in the middle of the night wondering how I could I run at this insane hour. How would I feel? Could I do it? How would I do it? Would adrenaline kick in? Well it does and it did, it’s so amazing how your body does what you tell it to do…you just kind of go on auto-pilot and do it. Especially when you have a team of people to run for and they are there cheering you on as you do it.
Corinne came flying in yelling that she passed 13 people, but I am sure it was more like 15… or more. She is an amazing runner, even with an injury. I was excited and nervous to see how this run would go. Night, cold, tired dark…hmmm! I started off and it was dark. I was wearing a headlamp and also holding a light in my hand so I could see directly at my feet, the headlamp was shining a foot or so ahead and I was scared of repeating Remy’s injury so I wanted to be careful. I also wore a reflective vest and a red blinky light. I saw the first sign that told me to turn left but couldn’t see it until I was right in front of it. Hoped I was going the right way. I passed a gal in the first mile, which always feels great. I was nervous for this run because it was going to be hilly and I had been told by numerous Ragnar veterans that this was a very hard leg…that scared me. The good part…I couldn’t see in front of me so I had no idea what to expect until I was running the hill. The view on this run was one I will never forget. The moonlight reflecting off the water with mountains in the background, I don’t think I have seen beauty like this. The calm of the night was like nothing I had ever experienced, it was amazing…calm and peaceful. There were times I had a couple runner by me and cars driving by but for the most part it was just me with no one around, no sound, just the silence and the midnight view oh and I guess my own feet and my heavy breathing as I pushed through. I wish I could describe it better and I wish I could experience midnight runs more…it was a highlight for sure. I thought the worst of the hills was over until I passed the “One Mile Left” marker and in the distance saw blinky lights moving up, and up…That part was not a highlight…knowing I had a HUGE hill coming up, towards the end. It’s strange knowing you have a hill coming up by seeing blinky lights moving up and up…funny really. I couldn’t not see the end at all…it was dark, I made a turn and ran down a hill and heard Jen and Corinne say “We are right here, Jill” I couldn’t see a thing…just shadows of people and a big, bright light. Finally I made it to Jen who was taking the next leg which would take her over the bridge to Deception Pass.

Leg #2
2:32 AM
Miles: 4.74
Pace: 9:27
Time: 44:49
Calories: 602

As a team we finished our 2nd Leg and had 5 people run 6 legs, we were proud of what we had done as a team and were ready for some sleep. We got to our team exchange and watched Jen come in to hand off to Alice for the last leg. I was tired and cold and was kind of jealous that Van 1 only had the leg in front of them and then they were done, we still had a long way until we were done. We saw Alice off and we were off to the final exchange where we would sleep and get ready for our last legs. We got to the next exchange and were finally able to sleep and it felt so good. Again, amazing how the body can function on little sleep. It felt like I had slept for a while, but I think it had only been 45 minutes, but I had actually gone into a deep sleep. I felt so better when I woke up. The sun was out and it was time to get ready for our last leg. We still had to decide what we were going to do since Remy couldn’t run. Someone was going to have to run twice. I had been looking forward to my easy, short leg (for our last leg I had the shortest distance) but realized I probably would need to give that up since someone was going to have to run twice. I took Corinne’s leg of 4.3 mile which didn’t seem bad; it was labeled “Moderate” (I would soon despise that word and want to hurt the person who made that call) with a few more hills then what I would have run. Everyone was stepping up and I knew I could do it so I was that big of a deal.

Waking up...

Good morning...

Always the view you want to see when you wake up...

We waited for Holly to come in and for Van #1 to be totally done with their Ragnar running and it was our turn to finish this race up for our team. Corinne took a hard leg even though she had an injured achilles. It was foggy and cold but we were all excited to get the show on the road. We followed her and watched her do an amazing job on a long run that she had not planned doing. Next up was Min and this guy is a machine and such an encouragement to everyone around him. He had a very good size hill that was steep and he could have zoomed up, which he did, but he also helped people up…encouraging them to the top, I loved watching that. Next up was Jen and this was her hardest leg which was hilly and long. The decent to her exchange with me was a mile of STRAIGHT DOWN…it was so steep, it was scary driving down it. Next up was my leg which I was excited to do and finish my last run at Ragnar. I made my last trip to the bathroom and when I came out, Remy was running around? I was so confused. He said his knee had been feeling better and he decided he was going to run the next leg after me! What…we were so impressed with him. That was exciting to see. Jen came running down the hill with a huge smile on her face and passed off the bracelet for the final time and I made my way up a very steep climb! Was feeling good and had climbed the steep hill and was ready for a good run…started running down a hill and saw what was ahead…A mother size of a hill that makes NICE hill look…well Nice! It was huge, not only was it long and hilly but I noticed all the team, support vans stopping mid-way. Not a great sign seeing all the team vans pulling over to support their runners, I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I tried to get it out of my mind, but it was staring me right in the face, I was worried. I saw my team up ahead and then saw Min with water, but he wasn’t just stopping to give me water, he was going to run the hill with me! Oh my gosh…this was such a gift, one that meant more than he will ever know. I have to say, at first I didn’t think it would help me much but it helped me tremendously. Min is a personal trainer and has taught boot camp at our gym and is just a huge encouragement for everyone at our gym. He will stop and work with you at anytime at the gym if he thinks you need help, he truly is a great guy. While he was coaching me up the hill, (other vans were encouraging m e too) he just kept helping me visualize things and it helped so much. I made it…I had made it to the top and was so proud of myself and so thankful for my team and for Min helping me up that mother! Now time to finish! I was getting so excited, especially when I saw “One Mile Left”…I was almost done, but not before another hill that was very similar to “Nice Hill” at the very end…really, really Ragnar? Oh well…time to push it up and then it was straight down to hand off to Remy for his last leg.
Leg #3
Miles: 4.25
Pace: 9:09
Time: 38:05
Calories: 528

I was shocked when I saw my pace for this leg since it was so hard, but it was my fastest pace of all my legs. Never thought that by leg #3 that I would have a faster pace than all the others, figured it would have been my slowest! Guess your body will surprise you sometime!
Remy did amazing and ran just as fast as he would off without a knee injury…it was so inspiring to watch! Next up was Shannon and off she went for her last leg. The next time we would see her was at the finish line. We drove to the finish and waited for her to come in. We found Van#1 and waited. Shannon came running in and as a team we ran (all 12 of us) to the finish line! It was such a great ending to this race. The medals...Well it’s my favorite one so far, plus it’s a bottle opener too...NICE! We got a few pictures and then it was time to head back home.

Jen and Min waiting...


This is such a long post…

My next post will be about how much I loved RAGNAR, if you didn’t know that already and I will list some things I learned, what I might do differently and what I packed…as requested. Until then….

Pretty nice...don't ya think?


Misty said...

How do you post your stats in your blog?

Johann said...

You certainly love running…not only Ragnar! I enjoyed your post a lot. Running is great! You guys did awesome while having an awesome time. Thanks for sharing!

ajh said...

Congratulations. You did an awesome job. I especially liked reading about your night experience as I will be running in the dark this year on my relay and have not done that before in a race - or hardly ever.

Marlene said...

What an awesome adventure! Congrats to the whole team!

Lisa said...

Wow, you were able to maintain a pretty consistent pace despite running at all hours and lack of sleep. My hat is off to you. Great job girl!

Julie said...

Way to go Jill! Awesome job! I would love to run in a relay sometime...looks like a blast! Great pics too!

Courtney said...

Hey Jill, I love that tank! Looks like it's from Road Runner? Which one is it?

Jo Lynn said...

I hear relays are a blast! You certainly confirmed that. ;)

Lesley L. said...

Thanks, your posts about Ragnar are amazing! I'm the one who asked about what you packed so thanks so much and I'm really looking forward to all the important details! -Lesley

Julie said...

wow! you killed it, jill, with the hills and all! Sounds like such an amazing time and a great team! I hope I get the opportunity to run a relay someday!

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