I’m having so much fun reading all the Ragnar SoCal Recaps from my teammates that I can hardly sit down to write my own thoughts. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen much of my documentation of the weekend. I was planning to just give you some highlights, but I got a little carried away – so get comfy, this is long.
Let’s start by saying the weekend was unforgettable. Good, bad, hard, happy, silly – totally and completely memorable.
We met for dinner on Thursday night and I’m really glad that I was able to make it for dinner. The weird thing about running a relay race is that you are in two vans and it’s almost like 2 different races. You’ll see your other teammates at the major exchanges, but for only a few minutes as one van has to get going to meet a runner. I’m so glad I got to spend some time with the Van 1 ladies at dinner.
After dinner, we went back to our hotel and started to load the vans with food and supplies and do some decorating. I tried to replicate the Twitter logo on the side of the vans as my team is a bunch of social media junkies.
The night continued with a little chaos as Amy’s car battery died and Jamie (who missed a flight connection) arrived in California minus her luggage. Kind of a problem when all of your running gear is not in the same place as you are.
We all went to bed with a little doubt in our minds as to how the morning was going to go. But, we got off to a good start and gathered at the starting line just as the sun came up for some coffee and pictures.
In the picture below, I think you can tell that only Lizzie (5th from the left) looks ready to run – she was Runner 1. At this point, Jamie still didn’t have her luggage and we had yet to pick Melissa up from the train station.
The start line.
After cheering on Lizzie, we went back to the hotel for a fancy oatmeal and hardboiled egg breakfast and then loaded up to go. We made the trip through traffic to Irvine to meet Melissa’s train. We were each in separate cars in order to move cars to a central location for pick up on Saturday. Unfortunately, we had one more car than we had people and Jill’s map took her to the Anaheim train station (along with the keys to the final car), so after a little readjusting of the plans, Melissa and I went back to Huntington Beach to meet Jill and get the last car.
When we made it back to Irvine an hour later, we were excited to all be together and to learn that Jamie’s missing luggage had arrived! (Melissa had been ready to save the day and had packed a full supply of gear for Jamie before her early morning train ride) We got checked in and went through our safety briefing and were ready to go. The only problem at this point was that I was hoping to have a real lunch and the Chick-fil-A at the exchange didn’t sound like it was going to be good pre-run, so I had a pb&j and some trail mix and thought that it would be okay.
We pulled out the team tattoos and had some fun getting ready for the running – although it had already been almost 18 hours since we’d all been together and none of us had run a step. :-)
I was Runner 10. My first leg started at about 4:00PM – I had 6.5 miles in Aliso Viejo. Traffic was a little crazy getting to the exchange and I had to get dropped off down the street and run up a hill in order to have time to make a pit stop and to be ready for Kat.
I took off with a group of runners and immediately got frustrated that I couldn’t keep up with the group. I spent the first 2-3 miles having a mental battle between chugging along at my own happy pace and being frustrated at how many people were passing me. I tried to distract myself by enjoying the surroundings. My path took me off the busy streets and on to a side trail with a pretty bridge and creek. I even saw some bunnies. By the end of my run, I had mentally settled down and was enjoying it. Yes, I stopped to take pictures – it helped me get out of my own way.
I did finish with my first leg with a big smile on my face. 6.74 miles – 1:24:54 – avg. pace 12:36. I should have been super happy with that pace – considering that includes at least 3-4 minutes of waiting at stoplights, I managed to maintain my typical 3 miler pace for almost 7.
Debbie was our final runner for this round and we went to Dana Point to wait for her. We had a few minutes with Van 1 to take some pictures on the beach. It was right at sunset and the beach was beautiful.
Van 1 runners were going from Dana Point to Oceanside, so we high-tailed it to Oceanside to find some dinner and some sleep while we waited. It was about 8PM when we arrived in Oceanside and our food options were limited, but we found a cute place (The Hill Street Cafe & Gallery) that had something to meet all of our dietary requirements . I was really craving more ‘breakfast’ food, but thought that this bowl might be good too. We actually all had the same thing – cue the jokes about eating bowls of beans and getting in a van together and then running. Runners have such great table conversation
We managed about 2 hours of sleep curled up in our van. But, we were right near the Oceanside train station and I think a train arrived every 30 minutes. Oh, and then a van
crashed into bumped us as they were trying to parallel park, startling us all awake. I curled up in the passenger seat of the van (there are times that it’s good to be short) with my pillow pet and did my best.
By about 1AM it was time for Jamie to run. By this time we were all geared up for our night time runs.
Middle of the night runs don’t make for great pictures, but my run was pretty great. I ran without music and really settled into myself. I still got passed, but I just chugged up the hill and enjoyed the stretch of my legs and feeling like I was super speedy when I went back down the hill. 2.08 miles in 26:20 at 3:45AM – avg. pace 12:39. Nice hills, huh?
I handed off to Jill and who then passed back to Debbie. After Jill got back in the van, I had hit my wall and curled up in the back row of the van and promptly fell asleep. I awoke as we pulled in to the exchange at Torrey Pines. It was about 5:30AM. We found a parking spot and set our alarms for 7AM, when we awoke to this view.
It turns out that Van 1 got slowed down by some course map changes that caused some major traffic jams and delayed their arrival at the exchange. It gave us enough time to enjoy the scenery and I got to enjoy that breakfast that I’d been craving since 7PM the night before. I got my food and enjoyed the scenery and some quiet time alone. After spending so much time in close quarters, the time alone was wonderful. The food was okay, but it did the job.
Gillian had dubbed Ragnar the Coachella for runners. At every major exchange, you’d see things like this. I’m kind of happy with our decision to sleep in the van, I value warmth. But the culture of Ragnar is pretty awesome (that link is to Debbie’s blog – she has a great post about the culture).
Below: enjoying some coffee and the view. And some crazy clothing creations – comfort and warmth were the key factors at 7:30AM with very little sleep.
Van 2 took off and most of us had quite a large amount of miles – so, by the time my final leg began, it was 12:45PM. I picked up the course and made a large loop around Mission Bay. The sights were beautiful. It was the middle of the day on a Saturday and there was plenty to look at. There were boats, runners, walkers, dogs and even some birthday parties on the beach. Such an amazing location.
I continued with my 3:10/:50 run/walk plan for the first 5 miles. By then, my legs were shot and the change of pace was killing me. So, I decided it was best to just run. I love the picture below of my hand off to Jill. My awkward steps just show how much effort I put in to the run and how relieved I was to pass off that slap bracelet. Doesn’t Jill look super strong and ready to go? I loved seeing her smiling face every time I came in to an exchange.
Leg 3 – 7.38 miles at 12:45PM – 1:33:32 – avg. pace 12:40 (I don’t think I had to stop for any stoplights and the leg was very flat) I guess I’m pretty consistent.
Debbie was our final runner and because of crazy traffic problems, she actually beat us to the finish line, even with running about 8 miles. But, we made it about 10 minutes later. By the time we parked, Amy was texting us and saying ‘RUN’. We all laughed as our muscles were all so exhausted that picking up the pace to the finish was just not going to happen.
We did all cross the finish line together. And finally got a picture of all 12 of the team. Such an amazing group of inspiring and supportive women.
My total mileage – 16.2 miles – 3:24:46 – avg. pace 12:38
If you’re looking for more recaps, start with Jillienne from Chasing Raspberries and you can also read Gillian’s recap on That’s G for a Van 1 perspective and then you can move on to Jamie at Fit Approach and Debbie from Live From La Quinta for Van 2 perspective (Debbie also posted some great pictures and that post about the Ragnar Culture). If you’re curious about our musical inspiration for the race, you can read Melissa at The Valentine RD who chatted about the stabby music choices and also wrote about 6 Things You Need to Run a Ragnar Relay.
I seriously can’t tell you enough how awesome all of the women on my team are. I wish the weekend didn’t end. Although I was so happy to get home and in the shower and in a bed. I think I slept for 11 hours – that’s unheard of for me. And it was amazing.
Check out all of the ladies from Team Dirrty Dozen:
Kia – Bodhi Bear
Amy – It’s All About the Journey (our fabulous Team Captain)
Jillienne – Chasing Rasberries
Gillian – Thats G
Jamie – Fit Approach
Melissa – The Valentine RD
Jill – Tree Fitness
Debbie – Live from La Quinta
And a few days after the race, Jamie hosted an interview with a few of these awesome ladies on Fit Approach’s Google + Hangout. Click the video below to watch – these are some fantastic ladies.
We had such an amazing weekend, we’re talking about running Ragnar Napa Valley in September. San Francisco to Napa – I’ve got it on my calendar!
In the meantime, I have so many other thoughts to share about why running a relay race is so totally different from a regular race and why you should run a relay race, too. I hope I can get it all down here and share with you. Why are there not 4 more hours in each day?