"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philipians 3:13b,14

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ragnar Relay Race Report!!!

Fun, fun FUN!!!! That's what I think about Ragnar Relay! I would do it again in a heartbeat!!

To give a little background, it's a relay race that starts in Huntington Beach and ends in Coronado Island. A tad over 200 miles, and you run the race either in teams of 6 (an ultra team) or teams of 12 (what we did).

So our start time was 8:00am in Huntington Beach. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning!!!!

Here's our team! (Aren't we a good looking bunch?!)

So, off we went! There were two vans, van #1 started the race, and van #2 (that's the van I was in) went to the first van-to-van exchange, which was in Corona. The van-to-van exchanges were called "major exchanges" and had areas to eat, sleep, and go to the restroom.

When we got to the first major exchange, we checked in and walked around a bit. I was the first runner for our van, so I was anxious to be in the right place to be ready for the last runner from van #1. (That was my friend, Becca. She was always my person to look for! She did great!!!!)

This is Eric, an amazingly fast runner and the co-captain of our team, and his dad- his dad volunteered for 12 HOURS during the race!!! Awesome!!
So my first leg was on the SART (a bike trail) through Corona. This leg was 7.3 miles. It was HOT! It was so great to see my teammates cheering me in at the end of the leg!!

After a few more hand offs, we ended up in this pretty park in Corona:

I took a few shots of our van- it looked really cute!! Kristin and Allie took care of the decorations!!

As I was taking a photo of this van- which apparently contained "the most interesting team in the world" one of the team members came up! So I took a random photo with her!

So after our next major exchange, we ate some dinner at Rubios, then headed to Fallbrook- the site of our next start. We were thinking our next legs would start sometime around midnight! We took our sleeping bags into the designated "sleep area" and tried to catch a few zz's. Yeah, sounds easy, but it ISN'T!! I was all keyed up and didn't want to oversleep, plus you can hear other runners pulling in etc. Karen, LeAnna, Eric and I had a BLAST though- we laughed it up and had a great time NOT sleeping!!

So, I started my second leg from this exchange, around 12:45 am. It was a hilly leg, 8.2 miles (even though it was actually 8.7..... MEAN) but it was nice and cool, and I had a TON of fun running it!! Of course I had to fall down once. It's some type of rule I think. Until I fall down, it's not an official race. It was just a few scrapes, thankfully, so no harm done!! Bruises and scabs are attractive, right??

After our night legs, we grabbed some breakfast and coffee at Starbucks, and headed to La Jolla, the site of our third and last major exchange!!

It was gorgeous!!

So after this last rest/recharge area, I headed out for my third and final leg! It was hot, 9.7 miles, and after an initial downhill, slightly uphill most of the way. It was TOUGH!!! I was SO SO glad to see my friends at the end!

We headed out to keep ahead of Ron, who was running after me. He was speedy!!

We got to wait for Karen in Mission Bay, right by the water, it was a beautiful, calm, relaxing place to wait for her to come in from her run!

LeAnna in front of the bay!

There was Karen coming in from her run! Several of the runners coming in from her leg had gotten lost, but she stayed on the right course! Way to go!

So off we headed, to more exchanges.....

That's Janet waiting to take the hand off from LeAnna!
Then, finally, it was time for Eric to run us in to the finish!! He was amazing, SO fast, on his last leg! We were all waiting for him a hundred yards or so from the actual finish, so the team got to run in together! It was sweet!!!

Here's Karen with the medal- the medals were AWESOME! Really big and shiny with a bottle opener cut out!

Allie and I at the finish

The finish line festivities! There was delicious food, a pasta bowl with fresh veggies, and each person got a beer too at the finish! There was a massage tent and a shop to buy race items.

After the race, we all convened at El Torito to "spend" some of those calories we burned over the last few days!! It was fun to tell the jokes and memories we each had from the race!

This may well have been one of my favorite races ever. There's a couple of reasons for that. First, it had two things I love- the team aspect, where you're encouraging and cheering for your friends and they're doing the same for you, plus the individual aspect- where you can push yourself as much as you want. Also, it was just FUN; navigating (even when the stinking directions told us to go to the wrong place and it got tense for a minute....) trying to get out of the parking lot gridlock (Ron had to go and direct traffic for a bit), trying to sleep despite the nearly constant sound of the port-a-potty doors being slammed, picking burrs out of our hair after NOT sleeping in the field, watching Peggy navigate through some pretty amazing U-Turns, eating more tortilla chips than any human should be allowed, trying to dry our sweaty, stinky shirts out between runs, shivering during the night while watching for our friends to come in.... seeing Eric, pedal to the metal, charging into the finish area.... it was a great experience. One I've smiled about over and over. We had a great team, amazing drivers, awesome volunteers........

....it was a good weekend. A great race.

To find more information on any of the 15 Ragnar Relay events, held around the country, visit The Ragnar Website

Skillet Gnocchi with Spinach and White Beans
Green Salad

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