Wow, I can scarcely even describe how much fun I've had in the last two days. Was it really two days? It has kind of blurred into a single event where time didn't exist except when we tried to estimate when our runner would arrive. We might then talk about how someone started their run at 1:00 in the morning but oddly I don't think any of us actually thought about how that was in the middle of the night. It was just a starting time so we knew when that runner should be arriving. Other than that I was scarcely aware of the time.
I was going to write this post and upload it Saturday night but I sat down to work on the pictures and my mind was mush. No matter how I tried I just couldn't concentrate. I apologize but I had to get some sleep.
So let me go back to the beginning. While the composition of the team changed many times over the last few months we finally ended up with the following people.
Joey Moore, Tricia Sutherland, Maricela Knapp, Itzel Mostert, Kim Garcia, and myself.
Van 2 (left to right)
Brent Haws, Chelsea Romney, Robin Daynes, Alan Bird (the creator of it all), Scott Spurgiesz, Chris Bird.
So that was our team. We'd had a couple of training runs together at Miramar Lake but I always had conflicts so while some of us have worked together I hadn't even met some of these people. I now am best friends with all of those who were in Van 1. Of course I still like the guys in van 2 but I didn't get to know them quite like I did Van 1.
|The Team Meal Thursday Evening|
When we pulled into the parking lot at Huntington Beach I thought we'd arrived on a different world. At least half of the teams dressed in costumes and their teams had themes. One of my favorites was a team of american Indians. The guys all wore breach clothes and the squaws had cool looking indian dresses. They also had the vans all decorated. Even though we cheaped out on our vans I thought we looked pretty good. The name of our team was, "A dozen donuts to go".
Maricella started out for our team and covered leg 1. About half of her run was along the beach and it was a beautiful run. She then turned north on the river bank and headed inland. When I say river bank it was a huge concrete channel about a hundred yards wide and had a trickle of water in the bottom that was maybe a foot wide.
We drove down a couple of miles and cheered her on and then we drove another couple of miles where we were going to cheer her on again but then we realized that she was running so fast that if we didn't get going she might just get in before we did. Can you imagine how it would feel to complete your five mile run and there is no one there to greet you? That would be sad so we hustled on to the first exchange point where Maricela slapped the little bracelet thing onto Itzel and off she went to continue the run along the river bank.
The road was too far away from the river for us to cheer Itzel on so we headed up to Centennial Regional Park where it was my turn. I have no idea why but I was very nervous. I didn't need to be though, Itzel ran in, slapped the bracelet onto me and I was off.
The adrenaline was flowing and I felt wonderful. The sun was bright, the air was calm and the view was actually pretty good if you don't mind a lot of concrete. After a few minutes I found myself getting a little winded. I couldn't figure it out though because I was way past that point in my practice runs. In fact, I rarely got winded in my practice runs and they were a lot more than the mile or so I'd been running. I pulled out my little phone to check out my status and saw that my pace was an 8 minute mile. That explained it all. I've never done an 8 minute mile so I slowed the pace a little and everything was great again.
|5.4 miles in 59 minutes|
Eventually I came to a water station. I was feeling good and I really didn't want to stop so I blew on by which was a big mistake. At somewhere around the three mile mark the started feeling the heat. I came to the golf course and called Ben again and him and Sharley walked on down the Angels stadium parking lot where we where the exchange was. At one point I run under one of the freeways and the instant coolness was a shock to my system and I started feeling a bit faint. I started worrying because I really didn't want to get sick but I was still OK and kept running. Ben called me worried about the time. This was a brand new job for him and he couldn't be late. I told him where I was and even though we could tell I was going to be very close he finally had to leave but Sharley stayed to cheer me on. Besides, I think we spent enough time on the phone that I can say that Ben ran with me.
Once I saw the big "A" for the stadium I got my second wind and on I went. I missed Ben by just minutes but there was Sharley and my team mates. Sharley gave me a big hug and one of my team mates later commented how she must be a cool daughter in law to hug me when I was all sweaty like that. I agree - thanks for being there Sharley. My time for the race was 5.4 miles in under an hour for a ten minute mile. Definitely a personal best for that long of a run.
|Kim Garcia just got the Bracelet from Joey |
and is about to complete Van #1's first turn.
|Our first major exchange. Unfortunately Alan|
isn't in the picture because he's off running.
|Our second major exchange. |
This time Itzel is off running.
Itzel was amazing. She had a run that was nearly ten miles long and it went through some very rough horse trails and up some very long hills. I am so excited to do the Ragnar again but my only fear is that I will end up with a ten mile run. I'm not up to that but by next year who knows. We stopped and cheered Itzel on at the bottom of a long nasty hill and by the time we got in the van and caught up to her she'd passed at least a dozen people. I think she loves to run and apparently she's got a bit of a competitive streak in her too.
|2.7 miles in 26 minutes|
Running in the dark was tricky however. With the headlight on your forehead you don't get any shadows because the light is so close to your eyes. With no shadows your depth perception is kind of messed up and you've got to be very careful with rocks, curbs and pot holes. On my run there were a lot of driveways and so the side walk kept sloping and if I didn't realize it I would jar my back because the sidewalk was lower than I expected it to be. I finally just gave up and ran on the road. That was risking a violation but it was midnight and I decided to take a chance.
Tricia followed me and she actually missed a curb and fell down. Head lights, tailights (we had to wear blinking lights on our backs) and ipods went flying everywhere. Some good Samaritons stopped and helped her out and luckily there was no permanent damage done to her or her equipment. She then thanked her helpers and left them in her dust. She said she was fine but I suspect she's sporting a bruise today.
Joey on leg 29 ended up running across a golf course. Out on the fareway, away from all the streets there were absolutely no lights so he turned off his headlight to see what it was like. He said it was absolutely beautiful with the almost full moon lighting up the rolling hills and then there was a long string stretched out in a line that went up another very steep mountain side. The hill was so steep that he almost had to go on all fours to get up it.
Kim then brought us into the Fallbrook into another major exchange that was probably the worst experience of the whole race. I would like to be charitable and chalk it up to growing pains. This is there third race in Southern California and I understand that it has grown so fast that it is now their largest race even larger than the Wasatch Front in Utah where their very first race was. Growing pains or not these guys need to do a lot of work on getting into and out of the major exchanges. We waited in line for a good twenty minutes with out moving at all. We finally gave up and parked on the street somewhere and walked in.
|Robin Daynes ready for her night time run.|
Maricela lead off our first morning run. It was still early enough that she had to wear her night time gear. A head light, tail light and reflective vest was required gear between 6:45 pm and 6:45 am. Her husband Chris was there to meet her as she came in. She never bragged about it but I'm quite sure she always had lots of kills when she ran.
My last leg was my favorite. I loved them all but this one ran along the coast not 20 feet from the surf. How can you complain about that? I started inland a couple of miles and wandered over to Encinitas. We ran right down main street and at 9:00 in the morning all of the restaurants had their tables set up on the sidewalk and for some reason I got real pleasure out of running right through the middle of all those tables.
|5.7 miles in 63 minutes|
|Me slapping the little bracelet onto Tricia|
Poor Tricia though. The directions told the vans to go a different route to the next exchange point but we wanted to follow Tricia and cheer her on so we risked another violation and off we went. We yelled as we drove by but then on our way we saw that she had to go up a hill that was probably two miles long and it was quite steep.
|Cheering Tricia on after a very long ugly hill|
|Joey Moore after cooling off in the ocean|
Kim then completed the last run for our team and ran up the Torrey Pines hill. That was a nasty climb and was we drove by her cheering her on she was doing great. As we drove up the hill there was one girl who looked like she was going to need the ambulance. People were helping her but she was in pretty bad shape.
|Our final major exchange and the end of Van #1's |
running. Once again Alan isn't in the picture
because he's out on a ten mile run.
|Alan handing off to Scott|
|Robyn Daynes finally going down hill |
after a very long climb.
At the finish line we saw the Biggest Loser Blue Team come in but I think we were able to beat the Black team. Finally Chris appeared and we gathered as a team about a hundred yards from the finish line and ran in together. What a cool feeling. By this time we were like family and people that I scarecel knew before were now like brothers and sisters. What a fun time.
|Brent Haws running under the Coronado Bridge|
Finally I want to take at least one line to thank Lisa. She's been very supportive of this thing by encouraging me to train, volunteering her Saturday and especially for being at the finish line to take pictures. Thank you dear.
What a great weekend. Let's do it again!!!
|Chelsea Romney just starting her last run.|
|Here we are at the finish line 200 miles in 34 hours.|
|Besides some wonderful memories, after 200 miles of blood, sweat |
and tears, this is what I got to show for all my work. It's getting
a prominent spot in my house.