Ragnar Relay: The Nuts n’ Bolts

You all have been so patient as I used my extra time to catch up on sleep and get my students under control since I took off 2 days. If you are not at all interested in the details of how a relay works, or my personal insights into how my body responded to this relay, then this isn’t your post. 🙂  [LONG POST!!}

[I have not yet developed into the picture blogger, BUT after this weekend, I’ve been inspired to take more…just was too late in the weekend to really embrace that new found excitement. You may have to settle to my beautiful imagery and some unflattering photos stolen from others cameras – HA. Again appearance was not the priority]

On Thursday, I got on the road early because in addition to the 200 miles of running, I had approximately 400 miles of driving ahead of me. The road trip came out to 7+ hours each way, which was not that too big of  a deal going down, but sorta drove me nuts on the way back! The last time I drove down to Southern California, it looked a little like this …and this

and just for some s&gs, like this…

because I drove with my brother down the Pacific Coast Highway.

Instead, this time, I embarked along well…. a lot of this….


…when all I wanted to do was this….

ANYWAYS. I got there and met them at our meeting point around 4:30. I was so surprised when I was one of the two who traveled pretty far for the Relay. Everyone else was local, but it didn’t take long for us all to bond when the driver’s window did not go up and we had to make a detour at Home Depot to make a make-shift plastic window for the weekend. Between that, and our drive north to Ventura with multiple “um was that our exit?” moments, we had multiple icebreakers that instantly made me feel ready and at ease for the weekend.

We stayed at a place Bobbi works at which was SO close to the start! We were so lucky because this cut down our morning commute to the start significantly. We stayed in cabins for the night and took off to cheer on Van #1. I was in Van #2, 7th runner.

Friday morning, we headed to the start and decorated our car.


And enjoyed the starting area…


A team photo was a must! Then we were on our separate ways until the first major exchange at about 2:00pm.

Since I was the first runner, I was ready to go when the first runner came in!

(Not sure why these are so tiny…)

My first leg was approximately 5.3 miles of hilly terrain, deemed “moderate” by the gods of Ragnar. Shoulda known the only thing moderate about this was the shorter distance… this was mid-day, in the sun and heat, after pizza (PIZZA WAS A BAD CHOICE[anchorman reference], granted I had it 3 hours before running…ha), and the hills…I died a slow death on this run. Thank GOD this wasn’t a sign of how the rest of the weekend was to go. I came in with a 9:58 pace overall probably due to a sprint at the end. First leg done @ 9:58…now what the hell do I do until 1:30 am?

There were lots of cheering, napping, snacking (my stomach hated me this weekend as you can tell), laughing, LOTS OF LAUGHING….there was nothing close to smelling like roses and using a real bathroom ha.

After all of our runners did their first leg, this is where it got interesting. We were to camp out on Santa Monica Pier. My excitement came when I realized that the handicap “Andy Gump” (Aka the porta potty) had not been used by ANYONE yet. I felt like I was in heaven as I changed into new running clothes and played the waiting game before my run. I took like a 1-2 hour nape then adrenaline kept me up.  (Gosh, tiny pictures. I suck at technology)

I didn’t have my red blinking vest on, but you can see the head lamp!! I was ready and I had half an Espresso Gu that gave me the Umpfth I needed. At 1:30 am, our 6th runner came in and handed me the bracelet…I was off on my 2nd leg – 7 miles of “hard”. The only thing hard here (twss) was the distance…the whole route was straight and flat. My route went through Santa Monica Pier, to Venice Beach, to Muscle beach, to Marina del Rey (going inland) then back out finishing at what I think was Manhattan beach? I think. It was a blurr at the end. Actually during this whole route, I kept my eyes straight ahead because of the headlamp. Probably a good thing because if I looked down those alleys I may or may not have spotted some illegal action going on, but then again, who would have messed with a girl in a head lamp and a blinking red vest running at 2 am?? It was sketchville that turned into partyville as I went through the bars at venice….I turned up my iPod at this point, but could still hear the WOOOOOO RUNNAHHHHHs being shouted. Leg #2 – 9:40 pace. I ran my little heart out on this one, but where’s my bed?

I slept, or rather nodded on and off for the next few hours. Our Van was off again at like 5:30 am and we headed to Huntington Beach to take some more power naps and wait for the 6th runner to pull up again. When Van #1 got there, we took some pictures to kill some time.

I didn’t want to run anymore…I wanted to do this…

At this point all appearance was thrown out the window after my first leg. My third leg was 6.1 of “hard” again, “hard” was the distance, not the terrain. Terrain was similar to leg #2. This is where I began to feel like poooh…actually about 3 miles into my third leg where I was rocking a sub-9 pace then I got emotional thinking about my running this weekend and I think I fell asleep…and kept running at about a 10:20 pace. That is until “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” came on my iPod and I got out of my haze, pushed up the last hill and finished my 6.1 mile leg to end the mileage at 18.4 for the three legs. Leg #3 – 9:52 pace. I needed a burrito at 11 am. My stomach was happy again.

The race ended at approximately 4:30 pm. We waited for our last runner, and ran in together.

We had finished and we had the BIGGEST medal to prove it! (running child not included)

I decided to stay the night in Laguna with 4 other teammates. We went for dinner and it was wonderful to talk to some ladies who were in the other van!

We awoke to the beautiful beach the next morning, took a walk to loosen our legs just a tad, then grabbed some coffee and breakfast.  I got back about 6 pm which gave me plenty of time to get some work together and get to bed early 🙂 Mission: Success!

I had such an amazing weekend. It was picturesque and I would not have traded the experience for anything. I met some beautiful people who inspired me as we came from all different running backgrounds to support each other. I thought of the weekend as a vacation, a well deserved and needed vacation. My legs today feel GREAT and I am about caught up on sleep. I will be reporting about my future thoughts, post-Ragnar emotions, and a what’s next. If you missed my “Pre-Ragnar” post, you can get it here.

Thanks to all who stuck through the end of this MONSTER post and squinted their eyes to see some of the pictures. This is the longest post I’ve written and I think it’s time for a nap.

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One big cheesy smile.

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9 Responses to Ragnar Relay: The Nuts n’ Bolts

  1. i’m glad you had a blast. definitely looks like it was an amazing experience. i’ve always wanted to do a relay but i don’t know many runners in my “real life”…maybe i should move to cali? haha

  2. Yay!!! I am so glad you had such a blast! I love all the pics (tiny or not) and it made me so ecstatic for my own relay this weekend!

    Great job, girl!!!! Leave me any tips on my blog! (yes I have a tub of baby wipes already. Ha!)

  3. BostonRunner says:

    Aw looks like you had sooo much fun!! Such a great experience! Love all the pictures and great recap!

  4. Pingback: RIP Asics and April Rewind « Running on Faith

  5. How fun! And great job, I am really impressed with how consistent your pace was between each leg. I think I would have crashed with the weird sleep schedule!

  6. Wow! That looks so awesome and exhausting. You now have me pretty nervous for the similar relay that I’m doing in October. I don’t do well on little sleep…I’m like a two year old that way…

    But, CONGRATS! Wonderful job…also what short straw did you pick to get two “hard” legs? 😉

  7. jeri says:

    so jealous of you. After WWR I had planned on doing this one on Bobbi’s team, but then after I committed to doing the green bay marathon I couldn’t bring myself to do it. 😦 Looks like a BLAST though. I definitely want to do another. And how amazing did the shower afterward feel? I still remember its awesomeness. Hahah.

  8. Bridget Carney says:

    YAY Kerry!!!!! You are amazing and soooo inspirational!!!! xoxoxox

  9. Pingback: Ragnar Reunion | Running on Faith

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