Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ragnar 2013

Wow, what a wonderful few weeks this has been. I have so much to talk about that I scarcely know where to begin so to make it simple I will start with this last weekend. You may remember that for the last couple of years I've participated in the SoCal Ragnar Relay. I have done this for the last two years. 2011  2012. Alan Bird has been a team captain for the last two but this year he couldn't do it so I decided to put together my own team. I was rather excited because it looked like I could put together a team almost entirely from my own family. Somehow I was able to talk Lisa into running, Kira and Justin both wanted to, Ben and Sharley were game, Alycia was ready, Sarah and Sam wanted to and Alex wanted to. That is ten people and you only need twelve for a full team. In the end Justin couldn't come because their son Cameron can't fly yet, Alex, Sarah and Sam were in the middle of finals and Alycia decided her knee needed more time to heal after the Marathon. The problem is that by the time I realized they were "no go's" it was too late to recruit people. It is not easy to find people who are trained enough to just go and run fifteen miles on three weeks notice. In the end Maricela Knapp who has run with me before was willing to run again and Ben was able to recruit six people. We had a team and we were ready to go. 

Our day started at 4:30, we picked up Maricela Knapp and Patrick Carey at 5:00 and arrived at Ben's apartment by 6:30. Van 1 then loaded up and headed for the starting line. Our race started at 9:00 but Van 1 had to check in by 8:00.

Sharley started Van 1 off.

Sharley ran along the beach for a couple of miles and then headed inland. 4.9 miles later she handed off to Maricela.

Maricela half way through her run.

Maricela ran for 5 miles and then handed off to Ben.

Ben then handed off to Jose who ran for 5.7 miles.

Ben survived his run.

Ben then handed off to Pat but I don't have any pictures of Pat. Sorry Pat.

Pat ran an easy two and a half miles and then handed off to Chardonnay. By this time it is climbing over 90° and getting a bit rough. 

Chardonnay finished up for Van 1. After running 3.8 miles she handed off to Ken from Van 2 and now we were carrying the baton. At this point in time we were seven minutes ahead of our predicted schedule.

Van 2 consisted of me, Lisa and Kira, Ken Francis, Aaron Hoke and Jeff McAninch from Ben's ward. We had a very fun time and are now good friends. 

Ken is a beast. He ran eight miles through a hot dry riverbed and still made seven minute miles. I have no idea how he managed that. After ending his long grueling run with a steep uphill climb he handed off to Lisa. Check out how Lisa jumps when a big truck cheers us on with a loud honk of his horn.

Lisa's run was only 3.8 miles long but she climbed 775 feet in near 100° heat. If you know Lisa you may know that she doesn't do well in heat. By the time she made it to the exchange point she was experience chills and was no longer sweating. Not a good sign. She was a very good sport about it and was handing out high fives while flat on her back. She did great. She handed off to Jeff who ran 4.9 miles through suburban Corona. Jeff then handed off to Kira who ran 5.7 miles. 

While the rest of us were cursing the heat Kira was worshiping it. Up there in the snowy north country she doesn't get to see it much and every chance she gets she tries to generate as much vitamin D as possible. 

Here she is heading up a hill.

And here she's coming down the other side.

Kira handed off to Aaron who ran 5.4 miles.

Aaron then handed off to me. You may notice that unlike everyone else I am wearing a reflective vest, a head light and a flashing red light on my back. I wasn't too thrilled about that but the rule is that if you're running between 6:30 at night or 6:30 in the morning you have to wear them. I suppose it was a good idea because it was pretty dark by the time I arrived. 

I ran my longest run on this leg which was 8.5 miles. The 8.5 miles wasn't so bad but three of those miles were up a big long hill. The hill itself wasn't so steep but it was so long and it just wore me down. The only cool thing about that is that I crossed over the highest point on the entire race at 1,519 feet. I also finished the race at sea level so that is pretty cool. 

Here is Lisa and I with Kira by a little fishing lake just north of Lake Elsinore. This is where I started my first leg. 

I like this shot of me heading out of the exchange point. 

And like I said, by the time I ended my run it was pretty much dark. This is me handing off to Sharley who started Van 2 for their second turn carrying the baton. At this point in time we were eighteen minutes ahead of our predicted schedule. Van 2 had gained eleven minutes.

Sharley ran 5.9 miles and handed off to Maricela. After the heat of the day running at night was very refreshing.

Maricela ran 8.6 miles and handed off to Ben. Maricela loves to run and has run every single SoCal Ragnar since the very first one three years ago. This is the third Ragnar for both of us. The difference is that she can run much faster than I can. She calls herself the "Feline" because she feels like a cat when she runs. She looks like one too. 

Maricela also calls Ben the Cheetah. They were both making extremely good time during the night. 

Ben ran 9.4 miles and handed off to Jose who ran 6.7 miles. I think Jose was our only casualty. His route took him across a golf course. With no lights the golf course was pitch black and a group of them ended up getting lost. Somehow a Ragnar team found them and got them back on track. 

Jose handed off to Pat who ran 5.8 miles and handed off to Chardonnay who ran 7.5 miles bringing the baton back to Van 2. All in all, everyone ran faster and enjoyed their runs a lot more during the night than they did during the heat of the day. It is common for people to fall during their night runs but Van 1 was incident free. 

While Van 1 was running we looked for a place to get some food. After a humongous hamburger we all headed for our Motel room. In its true tradition, Ragnarians are supposed to sleep in their vans or out on the ground. Aaron didn't think this sounded like a whole lot of fun so he booked two motel rooms. I wasn't about to argue with that so we cheated and slept in comfortable beds. At least we did for a little under three hours. At 1:30 Sharley called us and told us that Chardonnay had just started their last run. That gave us about 80 minutes to get ourselves put together and get to the major exchange point in time to take over. 
Most of Van 1 was sleeping in the van when we got there but we were able to sit and visit with Ben, Pat and Jose for a while. Exchange point 18 was at the Lawrence Welk Resort. Chardonnay came in at 3:00 and Ken once again got Van 2 back on the road. We were now 12 minutes behind schedule. Van 1's incident had cost us 29 minutes. 

Ken took off like a bullet and after 3.7 miles handed off to Lisa.

Lisa also took off like a bullet and surprised us all with her speed. We were at the next exchange point waiting and Jeff decided he needed to go to the bathroom. We figured we had plenty of time but no sooner was he gone than here comes Lisa. 

After four miles Lisa pulls in and see's no one there. She throws her arms in the air and calls out, "Where's Jeff?"

Jeff finishes his business, takes the baton and runs his 3.9 miles handing off to Kira. 

Kira runs a quick 2.2 miles and then hands off to Aaron.

I was only supposed to run 4.9 miles but as I'm heading down the final stretch I see that there is a rather serious car accident up ahead. All of the emergency vehicles are there and the Ragnar people have diverted us around the accident. The diversion causes us to miss our turn so we now have to run an extra half mile to the next light, cross the road and then run back UPHILL to our exchange point. My 4.9 mile run turned out to be nearly six miles. I was not a happy camper. 

Of course once the run is over all is forgotten and I'm quite thrilled. On my first run I got to watch the sun set and on this run I got to watch the sun rise. Of course that meant that I was the only person on the team who had to wear the vest for two runs but it was kind of nice watching the sunrise and sunset. 

I came in at 6:44 which was 9 minutes behind schedule. Van 2 had gained 3 minutes. 

While I was running both Vans are hanging out at the major exchange point which was the Taylor Made Golf Club headquarters. I'm not exactly sure that they are doing in this picture but I do know that Sharley and Chardonnay woke up feeling a bit queezy in the stomach. I'm sure it was some combination of the lack of sleep and the very irregular and less than healthy eating habits. While we were running we gave the keys to the motel rooms to Van 1 and they enjoyed a peaceful three hours of sleep. 

Sharleys run started at 6:44 when it was quite chilly but by the time she got half way through her run she had warmed up considerably. She decided it was time to strip. 

She then ran her 5.5 miles and handed off to Maricela. 

Sharley is now done all of her runs and she seems quite happy about it. 

Maricela runs her 7 miles hands off to Ben
and then she too is done. Van 1 had decorated their van and here Maricela is checking off her final leg.

Ben ran his 8.6 miles hands off to Jose and then he too is done. Ben had the longest run of everyone on the team running a total of 22.4 miles. After this last run which had a couple of ugly hills Maricela says that it looks like the Cheetah is dead. 

Jose ran his 6.6 miles and then handed off to Pat. Jose was now done.

Pat then passed off to Chardonnay who ran 4.2 miles and passed off to Ken from Van 2 meaning that Van 1 was done. They then headed off for dinner and Van 2 dashed for the finish line. 

I'm not exactly sure of the time when Chardonnay came but they were about 26 minutes ahead of schedule. Van 1 had gained 35 minutes. 

Many of us were running slower than the day before but not Ken. He seems have endless energy. Here he is at the top of a big hill. Aaron has just given him a bottle of water.

Ken ran 7.0 miles and handed off to Mom.

Mom ran 2.9 miles and handed off to Jeff. She did really well but someone had said that her run was flat. There was a bit of a hill at the end of her run and she wasn't at all impressed by it. Listen for her comment about "it wasn't flat" in the video clip below. You also need to check out the guy in front of her doing the cart wheel. 

Jeff got to run along the beach for a little while but then had to turn inland and climb a nasty hill. I can't believe that he is actually still running. I don't know how they do it. I always have to walk steep hills because they just suck out your energy and ruin the rest of your run if you don't. On the other hand I always run down hill. No matter how tired you are you can go very fast down hill. I love it. 

After running 6.2 miles he handed off to Kira.

Kira had a beautiful 4.1 mile run overlooking Mission Bay and then she handed off to Aaron. She was making great time but then a train came and she got stopped at a train crossing. She was not happy about that. 

She was happy that it was her last run.

Aaron had a beautiful run down the San Diego river. He followed the river until it hit the Ocean and then ran a short distance along the beach. We met up with him there to give him a bottle of water before he had to climb a very ugly hill. 

After running 7.4 miles Aaron handed the baton off to me to bring it in for the team. My run was a very easy 5.0 mile run along the San Diego bay. I started by Rosencrans street ran past the airport, around by the Star of India, past Seaport Village and ended to the Convention Center. I had to run through a lot of crowds by the Star of India and the cruise terminals but it was fun. I felt a little bad at the end though because in true Ragnar fashione the rest of my team met up with me about a hundred yards before the finish line to run in with me. They even made a cool little tunnel for me to run through. The problem is that I had been anticipating the end for five miles and as soon as I hit the tunnel my adrenaline took off and I sped up quite a bit. The team wasn't expecting it and I about left them all behind. Luckily they caught up with me before I hit the end.

We came in at 6:52 a full hour and eighteen minutes a head of schedule. Van 2 had gained 50 minutes.

It was so much fun. Here are some shots at the park at the finish line.


Peter and Mandy said...

Oh wow, that's a lot of running! I'm surprised by how much time you gained on lack of sleep and!

Kira said...

It was amazing!