Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ragnar Relays SoCal 2012 - There's Something Strange in the Ragnar Hood

It started April 20th at 5:30am. I woke up, got dressed, and was out the door by 5:50am. I arrived at our meeting point, loaded the cars and we were off. It was 6am on a Friday morning.  The day before, the team got together for dinner and to decorate the vans, and today, it was judgement day.  Our 12 member team was dressed in our costumes and ready to wow the judges and begin our 2 day journey for the Ragnar Relays.

You may be asking yourself, what is this thing you call the Ragnar Relays?!?!  Let me explain.  Ragnar Relays SoCal is a running relay race from Huntington Beach (woo Surf City) to Coronado (woo San Diego).  Each team consists of 12 members and 2 vans. Each van has 6 people in it. Each runner is essentially numbered 1 through 12.  There are 36 legs to the race, so each runner is responsible for completing 3 legs.  There is also another, more entertaining component to the race - costumes! Each team is themed.  Our team: The GHOSTBUSTERS!

The costume crew (Jo and Jemie!) did a great job with everything! We had proton packs, slimers, stay pufts...and silly string!! We were asked for so many pictures, it was like being a celebrity. There is a costume contest and the winner gets free entry into next years race.  The way to win is for people to vote and they can do that through text message.  Unfortunately, we didn't win :(  It was kind of a kick in the face because we thought everyone loved the costumes.  Groups of people would stop what they were doing and walk us walk into the waiting areas and whatnot.  We just didn't capture enough votes! Bummer.

My journey didn't start until about 2pm on Friday.  SoCal is hot but man it was a doozy on Friday afternoon.  The race goes from HB and heads inland and then heads back out to the coast.  This is so that we get the 203 miles.  My run was through Corona and it must have been over 100F.  It was so hot.  People had stopped running and started walking.  If someone gave me ice, I'd shove it down my sports bra to cool myself off.  I had to walk a good mile of the course because my heart rate was sky high.  I ended up really pushing myself the last mile to do a continuous run.  The key to that Friday afternoon was hydrating. We saw plenty of ambulances putting IVs in runners arms. After our 6 legs, we headed to the next major check point.  Here we could catch some ZZzzs on a golf course. It was only about 7pm at that point.  I wasn't really tired but really tired to rest.

Our next legs were to begin in the early morning. I think our first leg got started a little after midnight. My leg was about 4 miles and started around 2am.  It was fantastic. I loved it. It was the best leg of the race. It was a good 50F cooler than earlier in the day and I was flying. It was 2am so no one was out except for the awesome volunteers! I particularly appreciated the guy dresses as a T-bone steak.  At around 4am, I got to sleep again.  This time I slept in the van. By that time the van was not super pleasant and everything was damp. Gross.  Our legs started again around 730am. I didn't have to run until the early afternoon.  It was heating up and I wasn't looking forward to it. Jo got the majority of the heat and it started to turn overcast.  My last leg, oh my last leg! I got lost. I wasn't the only one, but I got lost.  I ran about 4 miles off course. Luckily, we were able to catch a ride back to the course. Man, it sucked though. 

For the finish, our team has to run across the finish line together.  Our last leg was slimer.  We had him, the other slimer and the 2 stay pufts run ahead of us.  The ghostbusters were chasing them across the line and right when we get to the line the "bad guys" turn around and silly string us.  It was a blast! We were supposed to have the theme song play but there were technical difficulties.  I'm really looking forward to our official team picture at the end, although, I'm sure I look like crap.  

The medals we got were awesome. The shirts were awesome (I've already worn mine 3 times). I ran a total of about 16 miles. It doesn't sound like a lot but after the start and stop, start and stop, it takes its toll on the body. I'd love to do another Ragnar, probably in a different location.  I loved the people I met and the friends I made along the way.  It was an amazing experience.  A special thanks to the volunteers! Especially the ones that were along the course in the wee morning hours. 

Also, a special shout out to van #2 aka Spicy Vanilla with a Splash of Soy Sauce!

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