It has been bugging me all week because I've really wanted to share with you what a fun weekend I had last weekend running the Ragnar. I had a ton of fun last year but this year was even better because Ben ran with me. In fact Ben even handed the baton off to me.
Last year we were in the first car meaning we had to be at the starting line early. This year we were car two meaning that we all got to sleep in. That was really nice but our joy at being in car two was short lived. I'll get to that later.
In car two was the Bird Family, Rick Daynes and Jeff Barnett. OK, it wasn't the entire Bird Family but close. To be specific, Alan Bird, Chris Bird, Ryan Bird and Jared Bird.
In my car we had Ben and myself, Brent Haws and his daughter Kelly, Joey Moore and his friend Robert. As it happens, Joey and Robert went to school with Brandon at Pepperdine. What a small world. Robert came all the way from North Carolina to run this race.
So Van 1 started at 9:15 at Huntington beach and we took over from Van 1 at Yorba Linda Park in Anaheim. Ben was our first runner. You can see the hand off from Jared finishing up for Van 1 to Ben leading out for Van 2 in the following video's. I think the hand off happened somewhere around 2:00. Ben didn't know what he was in for.
This is Ben coming into the little park where we cheered him on. He was doing really good despite the fact that he's already run four or five miles at this point.
Each van received a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts for free. Since Ben had to run his race we saved a donut for him. I think this little donut made the entire 8.8 mile run worth it for Ben. He's always loved his food.
After Ben, I took over. Unfortunately the only pictures I have of me are the ones that Ben took and obviously since he was handing off to me we couldn't get any pictures of that. Ben did take a video clip of me climbing my massive hill. That was a real killer. My run was only 4 miles but I climbed 742 feet and by the time Ben finished his run the temperature had climbed to 98°. I had plenty of wind and my legs were strong enough but the heat just sucks the energy right out of you. It was the strangest feeling and by the time I handed off the baton I was feeling rather woozy.
Ben took this picture of me shortly after my run. It felt so good to lay in that shade in the cool grass. The funny thing is that after a bottle of gator aid and five minutes of rest it was all over. I was good to go. Very strange.
Poor Robert made a wrong turn on his run. I don't think he went too far in the wrong direction before the Ragnar people got him turned around and back on track. I would be so mad if I ran even a hundred yards further than I had to.
Robert handed off to Kelly and Kelly handed off to her Dad. I'm sure that was as special to them as it was to have Ben hand off to me. I think the symbolism would be better if I handed the baton over to Ben but I am certainly glad I didn't have to run that 8.8 mile leg. Yuck. We stopped on the road to cheer Brent on and Kelly handed him a bottle of water.
By this time the temperature hit the 100° mark. It eventually peaked at 102° during Kelly's run and gradually fell off again. That was great for Van 2 but for us the damage was done. Joey finished up for us and it was about 7:30 when he finished up. I'm almost embarrassed to admit it but our night time accommodations this year were a whole lot better than what I had last year. Last year I slept on the golf course at Taylor Made's head quarters but his year Jeff Barnett was able to get a room at the Lawrence Welk Resort. After we cheered on Van 2 we went and got a sandwich at SubWay and headed to our room. What a nice place that was. It had two bedrooms and a nice big living room. I rolled my sleeping bag out on the couch, set Martha to wake me up at 2:00 AM (yuck) and then I was off to never never land.
The major exchange this time was right at the Lawrence Welk Resort so we simply headed down the hill to the street and waved a fond farewell to Ben as he once again took the Baton from Jared and headed up a rather nasty (although short) hill.
We had to hurry on because Ben's second run was only 3.7 miles and in the middle of the night he had no problems with over heating. He did book it and no sooner did we find a place to park than it was time for me to start my run. This was another 4 miler for me and boy how different it was from my previous run. I felt really good and I made good time. My pace on the first leg was a little over 11:00 minutes but on this run I was under 9:30. Yes I know that isn't all that great but this is me we're talking about.
As it turned out, all of our night runs were quite short and before you know it we were at the Taylor Made headquarters handing off to Van 2. Those poor suckers really didn't get long to sleep. After grabbing a Sausage Egg McMuffin from McDonalds we headed to the glider port where the next major exchange was. We headed there because all of our volunteers were working there.
The morning was very cloudy which was perfect for running but it gave Lisa some very pretty little curls in her hair. She also had about four coats on trying to stay warm. Our volunteer were Lisa (my wife and Bens mother) Connie (Brents wife and Kelly's mother and Amanda (Chris's wife). They were really good sports because their shift started at 5:00AM. They got up about the same time as Van 1.
We just hung out sleeping and eating junk food and listening to Ben play some comedian over the stereo until Van 1 finally made their way in. I am really upset about his exchange. I video taped Jared running in and handing the baton off to Ben and then Ben running out of the shoot high fiveing everyone on our team. He even performed a cool little pirout for us all. The problem was that I rarely shoot video's on my phone so I didn't quite have the whole routine down and I lost the video. How upsetting. It was also cool because some guy was trying to pass Jared coming in to the exchange and he got quite violent when he could get past Jared. That would have been a good video to see.
Ben had another long run over 7 miles so we once again stopped to cheer him on and give him some water. I video'd him.
He really booked it on this run and it really messed things up for me. I feel rather foolsih. At nearly every exchange there is always a runner who comes in and there is no one to meet him. I always shake my head and wonder how anyone could be so irresponsible that they aren't there to meet their runner. Well I got myself all ready and figured I had time to upload a video to face book and then I headed out to the exchange point. I get to the street and I see that the actually exchange point was a block down the hill. We parked at a middle school but the exchange was actually closer to La Jolla High School. I start walking down to it and then I see Ben waving his arms to get my attention. He had run so fast that he came in before I got there. I don't know what his time was but I think it was under a 7:00 minute mile. Good job Ben. Bad job Dad. : (
This was my long leg. It was 7.8 miles and I have never in my entire life run more than 6 miles. I had no sooner got settled into my run when my legs started feeling tired. That scared me because I knew I still had a long way to go. About two miles into the run I turned and headed up a rather steep hill. Nothing like my hill on Friday but I was tired and my legs were starting to feel like rubber. When I was nearly at the top my team was there to cheer me on. What a wonderful feeling that is. Ben even tried to make up for my mistake earlier. I had asked Brent to video our hand off but since I missed that Ben ran along with me and held his hand out video'ing us. I haven't got the video from him yet but I will. They gave me a bottle of water which was a life saver as well.
The run was now mostly downhill until I got to Mission Bay. I was so tired at this point that the only thing that kept me going was how beautiful it was running along the bay. Families were out barbecuing and it smell so good. After what seemed like forever I finally came to the "one mile left" sign. I got so excited. I tossed my water bottle into a garbage can and got all ready for my grand finale. And I ran, and I ran some more and I ran even more and the end never came. I swear that they lie to you with those "one mile left" signs. Finally it did come and from somewhere I mustered up some strength and in this film you will see that I look like I have a lot more energy than I really do.
And that was it for me and Ben. The rest of the team did there thing and finally we sent Joey off for the finish line. I don't know how well you can see it but on the bottom of the windows of the van we have 36 numbers written and every time someone headed out on their leg we crossed off their number. Here is Ben crossing off Joey's number.
We beat Van 1 to the finish line but shortly after we got there Van 1 arrived and then everyone's wives and significant others arrived. The trail enters Coronado Island (which isn't quite an island due to a very narrow strip of land) on the bay side and then crosses under the street to the ocean side. We waited for Joey on the other side of the tunnel, handed him his shirt and then we all ran in to the finish line together. It was rather fun.
Our captain honored us all with our medals.
If you look closely you can see that the medal is actually a beer bottle opener.
And here we are at the finish line
The Caballo Blanco died not long ago and I didn't even know.