3 Hours of Sleep
200 miles later
RAGNAR IS DONE!
Let’s rewind 4 months shall we?
This all started at a 7:30 am Awesome Abs class I was teaching. This silly group of runners had been trying very diligently to convince me to run this insane race. I would literally laugh at them every time they asked and reply with the most certain and positive “no” I could give. Without missing a beat in their attempt they asked/tricked/possibly drugged me that morning. As usual, I replied with my laugh and “yea right, no!” reply! Of course that drove them to keep asking/tricking/convincing! Then….the moment happened. Another student in the class who is just as competitive as I am said something. He was clearly still half asleep and delirious because he hates running JUST as much as I do. He said “if you do it, I will do it”. He challenged me! I had never turned down a challenged from this guy and wasn’t going to let this be the first! We made a deal that if for some reason one of us quit, the other person also got to quit. Being the competitive monsters that we are, we both knew that neither one of us was going to quit!
The game was on!
We trained our bums off for 4 months! We complained, laughed, sweated, foam rolled, iced, band-aided, blistered, topricined, and trained our way through 4 months of training.
My friends, it was worth every last second.
This is a little something like how it all went down:
Thursday Night- 2:30 am wake up call:
I prepped all of my clothes, gear and supplies the day before and layed it all out making sure to not forget anything! I packed it all into the smallest bag I could fit it all into since space in our van was not on our side. I went to bed at 10:00pm, probably fell asleep around 12:00-ish and shot straight out of bed when my alarm went off! Very unusual behavior! I thought to myself that this is so freaking early that people are still up partying! The insanity was just beginning!
We had to meet at 3:15 am to pack the vans up. Everyone showed up on time, we packed the vans up and left for Blaine, WA by 3:45 am! The drive up was full of excitement and chatter!
We got to the starting line, signed our team in, decorated our van and got our first runner, my training buddy, to the starting line!
We jumped in our van and went to cheer him on. This is pretty much how the whole race was. You would drive up to your runner, cheer them on, give them water then drive about a mile or so ahead and repeat!
My 1st leg:
I was runner number two! I stood at the exchange super excited and ready to get this show on the road. My legs felt great, I was wide awake and full of awesome nervous energy! As I saw my buddy approaching my heart fluttered a little knowing that all this training lead up to this very point! This exchange! I cheered him on as he approached, he slapped the Ragnar orange slap bracelet onto my wrist and I was off! I had an awesome start! I was super calm, my breathing was on, my form felt great and my legs were moving. I kept on passing people and with each pass I felt a sense of achievement and success! This drove my whole first leg! I would see someone in the distance (we called them rabbits), gain speed on them and then pass them (they were then considered road kills). I started to count them! It turned into a fun game that helped keep my pace and mind off of running. At around 4 miles I saw my amazing team in the distance, this motivated me to run harder and faster. They were waiting for me, cheering me on, ringing our awesome cow bell, doing silly cheer jumps and offering me water! I loved it! So much encouragement!
With a little over 2.5 miles left I was still feeling awesome!! At around 6.5 miles I had 16 road kills and no one had passed me. I was determined to keep this going! AND THEN, I heard someone approaching me and approaching me fast. I didn’t look back, I just kept running harder and faster. I knew the end was so close and there was no way I was about to let him pass me at the very end. I turned the corner and saw my runner about 100 yards ahead. I started sprinting because I knew this runner behind me was trying to catch me, I was his rabbit! I looked back and he was about 4 feet behind me. I really started sprinting. He then yelled “ oh no no no! No you didn’t”. I thought in my head, “oh heck freaking yes I did”!! It was an all out sprint to the end with everyone cheering us on, I ran as hard as I possibly could! I sprinted my heart out! My friends, I slapped that bracelet onto my runner with the best sense of accomplishment ever!
The remaining 4 runners ran their legs and we cheered them on whole way. Stopping to give them water, shot blocks, chocolate and most importantly, encouragement!
1st Major Exchange:
As our 6th runner was finishing her run, she passed the slap bracelet onto our 7th runner! This meant that van 1 (my van) got a break while van 2 with runners 7-12 ran their legs. This was considered one of the major exchanges with lots of free goodies from various sporting vendors, hot showers and a place to sleep if we wanted. We all took a quick shower then went on a hunt for food! I ate WAY too much! This was my biggest mistake of the whole race. I was so hungry that I literally ate everything in sight. We then made our way over to the next major exchange to wait for runner number 12 in van 2 to finish.
Runner 12 approached, handed the slap bracelet back to runner number 1 (my training buddy) and the whole thing started over again!
My 2nd leg:
This run was terrible. Absolutely terrible! Nothing about this run went well. It was marked as an “easy” 3.8 mile run with slight hills. There was nothing easy about this run. It started out as a giant hill and this massive hill literally did not end until 3.5 miles in when it turned into a giant downwards cliff. It was so hot outside, my belly was still stuffed, and I was SO miserable. My legs felt like mush and it felt like I was running through hot soup. My poor team probably thought I was going to die by the look on my face as they were cheering my on. I am sure I must have looked like my puppy just died.
As I was running up the massive hill, I got caught. Yup, I was someone’s rabbit and then his road kill. I was sad but there was no way I could catch him. He was way too fast! As I was running down this hill/cliff I was just praying that I had enough energy in my legs to keep me from tumbling down the hill. This is where things got really bad. I literally could not control my breathing. It felt like someone had put a blanket over my face and a hot heater in front of it and told me to breathe! Not happening. I started wheezing a little bit and this freaked me out. This had never happened to me before. I knew I had to keep pushing. I started running faster because all I wanted to do was finish! I finally saw the beautiful site of the next exchange and saw my runner! I slapped that bracelet on him, found the closest piece of shade I could and literally collapsed to the ground. My amazing team was circled around me, cheering me on and helping me out.
This was what the race was all about. Pushing myself to my absolute maximum and testing out my own strength. Although I felt like absolute crud, I was so proud of my strength and so encouraged by my supportive team!
2nd Major Exchange:
Once our 6th runner was done with her 2nd leg she passed the slap bracelet onto the 7th runner from the 2nd van! Time for van 1 to take a break! This was around 9 pm….I think? Time was beyond me at this point. We got to take showers, uh hum, prison style showers that were a little bit less than awesome, but at this point this was the least of our worries! Let’s just say I got to know my team on a whole new level. We then took time to eat some food then drove to the next major exchange so we could sleep for a couple of hours. This was a whole other experience. We had 5 Star sleeping arrangements compliments of a high school gym. Woop woop! We “fell asleep” in there with literally NO ONE around us and woke up to people HOVERING over us waiting to take our sleeping spots. How long were those people watching me sleep? I don’t even want to know. After the “soundest” hour of sleep van 2 called us around 2:30 to let us know that their 12th runner would approach the exchange in a half hour. We rolled up our sleeping bags and made our way to the exchange. The 12th runner from van 2 passed the slap bracelet to our 1st runner around 3:00 am and we were off again for round three!
My 3rd Leg:
This leg was awesome! Who runs at 3:30 am? This girl does! It was a 3 mile hilly stretch. It was obviously pitch black out and not a person or car in sight. Kind of freaked me out a bit but that was incentive to run faster! There was a point where I literally laughed out loud at what I was actually doing…running a 200 mile relay race at 3:30 am in the middle of no where. I surprisingly felt awesome during this run! Although it was super hilly, I knew it was the end so I pushed myself as hard as I could. I wanted to finish strong and leave every bit of my energy with that run! I think I sprinted the last half mile and it felt awesome! As I approached the exchange I was mixed with emotions. I was excited to be done, so proud of what I had just accomplished but also a little sad that my portion was over. I slapped that bracelet onto the next runners arm and just like that 4 months of hard work and training was over. Mission accomplished!
The remaining runners all ran their legs and did awesome! We all ran under a 9:00 minute pace the whole way and probably averaged an 8:30 pace.
3rd Major Exchange:
We met up with the 2nd van at the last major exchange somewhere around 5:30 am. We took showers…pause…sort of regular ones. Minus the fact that the water was squirting so high above my head at a force that would have probably torn my skin off…the showers had curtains! We then headed to the finish line in Langley WA. We ate breakfast…the best meal of my life. Orange juice never tasted so good! We had some time to kill while we waited for van 2 to finish all of their legs.
As the 12th runner from the 2nd van was approaching the finish line, we all met up as a team and cheer him on. This is so amazing and powerful! Once he was about 100 yards from the finish line we all joined him and crossed the finish line as a team! They announced our team name, cheered for us and boy was it awesome! I tried to really remember it all in my delirious state of mind. We rang our cowbell and cheered, hugged and congratulated each other for such an awesome accomplishment!
Do I like to run? Let’s just say it is complicated. I don’t think I actually like to run but I will say for certain that I am addicted to it now. I love the rush I feel once I am done, the sense of accomplishment, the mental clarity it brings, the physical benefits and the healthy competition! I love that I signed up for something that I really did not think I could or wanted to do. With persistent hard work, training and mental/physical strength, I finished what I started and proved myself wrong. I loved every minute of this race. Even the miserable 2nd leg! I love an awesome challenge and this was just that! My team was so awesome and supportive and I had the two best training buddies I could ask for! I am so thankful for that delirious 7:30 am morning conversation.
Click here for the video of us crossing the finish line as a team!
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