Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Ragnar Adventure

It has been the year of running for me.  It started in January with my first half marathon, followed by my second half marathon in June.  And now, as of November 9-10, I have completed the Ragnar Relay Race.

For those unfamiliar with Ragnar,  it is a 12 man relay race across the city.  In total, we traveled 198 miles in two days.  We had two vans with six runners each.  Each person completed three different legs of the journey ranging anywhere from 3 to 10 miles each.  The race goes through the night and is incredibly fun, even when the running part comes up.

There was only one damper on our crazy running weekend.  It was cold.  Really really cold.  Instead of being out mingling and cheering, almost everyone spent the race huddled in blankets and in their vans whenever possible.  Even the Utah people were freezing and that's saying something.

I didn't know any of the girls in the first van of our team, but they started the day up at Mt. Charleston at 9:45 a.m.  This was one of the later start times, which I thought was weird.  We were definitely not doing any speed bragging.  Most teams with our pace started around 6:30 a.m.  But our girls were pretty grateful that wasn't us because their morning started with a little less snow than the 6:30 teams.  

Our legs didn't get started until about 3:00 p.m.  We decorated our van with our team name, We Make This Look Good, and headed up to North Las Vegas for our first legs.  It was the warmest part of the day and it was still so cold.  There was a really strong wind blowing so chilly it just went straight to your bones.  I was the first runner up for our team.

Here is the  map for my first leg.  I just kind of meandered around some neighborhoods for a little over six miles.  It was a slight incline the whole way but not too bad.  The hardest part was my two biggest hills were straight into the wind.  That sucked.

But I was still giddy and ready to go.  So for our team costume we had these sparkly skirts our Team Mom Mindy made for us (more on her later).  I wore mine over my running shorts... and you couldn't see my shorts anymore.  I guess my running shorts are a bit leggy.

Oh and I found out a few days before the race from the eye doctor that I am experiencing very bad eye allergies and and developing an intolerance for contact lenses.  Which meant a run in glasses.  Blech.

But, who is going to let a cold wind and a set of spectacles bring them down?  Not this girl!

I hadn't met the girl I was trading off with so I over jumped a few times in anticipation with arriving runners and made a complete fool of myself.  But she came at last, I slapped on my bracelet and off I went. 

My team would drive forward on the race, stop and then give me big cheers as I drove by.  I was totally spoiled.  I got more stops than everyone else because it just got colder from this point out.  

I am going to pretend I was passing this guy in orange.  I had some of the hardest legs in the race and had some serious runners in my pack.  Still passed 6 people total though!  Woot woot!

And then my leg was done and I got to pass off to none other than my favorite second cousin (that lives in Vegas), Rachel Roylance!

Rachel's running made the rest of us look like we were standing still.  Her strong, athletic legs just move so impressively, we nicknamed her Gazelle.  It was a sight to behold.  Although in my defense, she did get to run with the wind at her back.  Just sayin.  

As soon as the sun started going down we had to pull out the safety gear.  Headlamps, safety vests and the red butt flasher light.  Are we hot or what?

Shauntelle Rowberry-Pallat was another of my buddies on the team.  Shauntelle is one of those awesome people that I am pretty sure could have fun with anyone at any time.  She is so easy going and hilarious.  The perfect person to have in a car with you for 18 hours straight.

Tavia Hart was my other race buddy.  This was my second time spending time with Tavia.  We first met on our trip to Fontana for our half marathon and now Ragnar.  So the two times we have spent time together have been cramped in a car for long periods of time while barely knowing each other.  And I would totally do it again anyday.  If that isn't a sign of an awesome person, I don't know what is.

The two girls I met the day of the race were Jamee and Natalie, who are now my Ragnar sisters for life.  I don't know how it was possible to be in a car in the cold running that much for that long and have only the most fantastic people around you but we somehow made it happen.  There was no complaining, no contention, tons of laughs, tons of food, and a Ragnar bond that is hard to describe but oh so very much there.

Speaking of fabulous people, I cannot leave our of seventh team member:
Mindy Warren wasn't able to run with us this year.  Instead, she provided the vehicle, she drove us around the whole time, she had supplies for any foreseeable circumstance, she is the only reason any of us have pictures of the race, and she was the only one willing to jump out at every single stop to cheer on the incoming runner, no matter what the temperature.

Everyone should have a Team Mom.  They are the best.  

After completing our first six legs.  We sat down for some good Claim Jumper protein and then headed to Tavia's house for a quick nap.  I got about an hour of rest in before we headed out the door.  I think I was one of the only ones that got some rest before we headed out.  Thank goodness I did as that turned out to be the only rest I got.

Our next leg was supposed to start at the M Resort but they moved the location at the last minute.  So that added an extra half mile to my starting run.  I got to take off at about 2:00 a.m. and according to Mindy's van it was officially 34 degrees.  It. Was. So. Cold.
This was my most difficult run of the race.  It was eight miles uphill.  And it was a straight road the whole way.  There were no mile markers and I didn't have any kind of GPS with me so it was just me and the bouncing light of my headlamp for a long, long time.
No matter how I am feeling I always like to give a good pose for the running cameras, but even after an hour  and twenty minutes of running, I was still frozen.  Too cold to smile.  But still incredibly proud of myself.

Jamee ran my same leg back down the hill to finish our set.  It was kind of a pointless down and back run for our team, which was annoying but it was nice to be on a closed road in the middle of the night.  You can see though from this picture the straight nothingness of the run.

So at about 6:30 that morning we finally finished and headed back to Tavia's for a few hours of sleep.  We ate some food provided by her very sweet husband and laid down for about 30 minutes when we got the call.  I guess our team was behind.  Ragnar had informed Van 1 that our team was going too slowly.  Our time would be disqualified and we needed to start Van 2 even before Van 1 finished.  It was a big bummer.  I really think our start time was just too late for the speeds we had told them we were running.  I know everyone in our van did a fantastic job keeping pace.  We were a little bummed but all of us knew we had done a great job so, with no sleep, we headed back to the car to finish up.

Things got a little confusing at this point.  They wanted us to run multiple runners at the same time.  So the van dropped me off for my run and then dropped Rachel off for her run and then came back for me.  We didn't have a slap bracelet since our Van 1 girls were still running so we would just go to the starting line and start running.  But we got a little off on the map, so instead of running my leg, I ran Rachel's leg.  And then Rachel ran it too!

Rachel's run was about a mile shorter than the run I was supposed to do.  So I didn't complain too much.  At that point, with no pressure to finish at all, it all just became fun and we all did really well on our last legs.  

And before we knew it, the finish line was in front of us.  We located our Van 1 girls just in time to run together through the finish line.

Team Mom was not very happy that we didn't give her enough time to set up a good finishing shot.  Sorry!

We really do Make This Look Good!

 It was such a blast.  Even with all of the setbacks, it was just such a fun experience.  I wear my tech shirt proudly.

Now this might have been the end of the story.  But then I got a package in the mail the other day from Ragnar.  It was full of 12 metal batons that said, "Not Quite First Place," on them.  I was surprised that they would send us yet another medal beyond the ones in the race.  Then I read the certificate congratulating us on our second place finish in the all women's division.  Yeah... they didn't disqualify our time like they were supposed to.  Oops!

There are Ragnars all over the United States.  I highly suggest everyone find a team and get running!  And if you are short a runner, give this girl a call.  I will be there!


Mindy said...

That is awesome. Great recap. I'll totally run with you next time either of us don't have an odd growth inside. :D

Katie said...

I am completely impressed. Way to go, you runner, you!

Kristy said...

Amazing Kacey, simply amazing.

hsw said...

I am so proud of you! Reading your 1st 1/2 marathon recap made me buy my first running shoes. Now I have run a hole in them and started on a new pair last week. Look what you and Mindy have done with all your you-can-do-it-ness. :) I love this recap and if I can get my pace to improve maybe I can do the next one with you!

Campbell Family said...

I am so NOT a runner but this might be the only thing I would consider... maybe. But only in California - I can't deal with the cold! You are amazing!