Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ragnar Relay 2010

Most of you have already heard some about my Ragnar Relay adventure, and this is a REALLY long post, so be forewarned. It is mostly for my memory.
Ragnar TN was a 12 person, 195 mile, running relay race from Chattanooga, TN to downtown Nashville, TN. Each person ran 3 legs of varying distances. Someone from each team is running at all times, day and night. There were 36 exchange points along the way.
My legs were about 8, 5, and 4 miles. My average pace for the 3 legs was 7:57 min/mi. Our team time was 27 hours and 8 minutes and our team pace was about 8:20. We had a couple of guys on our team that did awesome!- like 6-7 min. pace.
Here is a little about the adventure. Pictures really don't do the experience justice, but here it is:
This was when we arrived at the starting line location and I was getting ready to run. I seriously think the hardest part was keeping up with all my "gear" in my bag, in the vehicle. Every time it was my turn to run, I was always stressing out looking for something, right up until I had to jump out and run. This gives you an idea of how crowded it was!

When we got out at the start line, of course we all had to use the port-a-potty (the first of too many to count). Before I left I got myself a big handful of the sanitizer gel that was hanging inside to stall. Well, I would soon discover- it was NOT sanitizer gel, but SOAP. Nothing like having a huge lather of soap all over your hands with no running water in 30 degree weather, just minutes before you are to run 8 miles. Our sweet driver, Tracey, sacrificed her pants for me to use as a towel.

There was a staggered start and I think 14 teams started when we did. I was the first runner on our team, so that meant I was the first one done too!

Most of the time you could see a few other runners, but really weren't running with them and the roads were not closed to traffic like they are in most road races. Your vehicle was not allowed to drive beside you due to the traffic, but they could park and cheer you on as you came by then drive up a ways and do it again. They called this leapfrogging.

Someone on my team said I was like the firstborn child, since I was first. Everyone was still so fired up. On my first leg, they stopped to cheer frequently, yelled really loud for me and took lots of pictures. As time and legs went on. the enthusiasm died a little. We joked about it a lot, but toward the end, you were lucky if they rolled down the window and yelled a "Whooo!" for you!
After just finishing up a BIGG hill on my first leg. You know the kind of hill, that you can hear the vehicle beside you kicking it into high gear to get up it. This was at about mile 4. For my Oklahoma friends, those flat plains are good for something!
Our first exchange.

This next pic is out of order, but it it just after my second leg, and it was already dark. It was around 7 pm and right at the outskirts of a town, so there was a LOT of traffic and NO shoulder. This made me a little nervous.

We passed a lot of really cool places along the way. Too bad most of them were closed and we didn't have time to stop.
One of my teammates running through the beautiful hills of Tennessee.
A couple of my van-mates and I waiting at one of the exchanges. They are very big on safety and you had to have a vest on anytime you got out of your vehicle.

The next picture was the one and only time we got to go inside at an exchange. I didn't know we'd get to do this, so it was a nice surprise that this elementary school let us come in and use their gym. I expected to get more sleep than we did. With it being so crowded, and all the stopping and starting and cheering for our teammates, sleeping in the vehicles just didn't happen. It was about 12:3o am when our van arrived here and you could hear a pin drop in this gym. Everyone was wiped out. I slept here about an hour, then I got the call that my teammate was about 2 miles out. I had to jump up and go get my gear on for my last 5 mile leg.

Here is an example of our night gear. My last leg was out in the middle-of-NOWHERE, TN. There were no streetlights, houses, traffic- nothing. I passed one girl just as I started then didn't see or hear another living soul for 5 miles- well other that the wild animals howling at me. Also, it was about 25 degrees.
We all got to meet up with our last runner and come across the finish line together. It was really cool to see all the teams come in together!

Team Perpetual Motion Squad at the Finish Line-27 hours later. We were 20th out of 160 teams. Not too bad.

We were just a little tired. I got up Friday morning at 3:30 am for the drive to Chattanooga. By the time I got home at about 2:00 pm on Saturday, I had slept about 1 hour (on a basketball gym floor, mind you), and had run about 17 miles during that time. The word tired just doesn't quite cover it!
My great friend Heather and I at the finish line:
....and with my fans at the finish line.
I wonder what my kids think about all of this. When they come to watch me do a run or triathlon, they just see me do like the last 50 yards or whatever. They are probably thinking......"That's it? Big whoop-de-do!"

Anyway, it was a big crazy adventure and I would do it again in second. Actually I probably will do it again in about 10 months.


Katie said...

Oh my goodness! Superwoman. Can't believe people do this!;) That's awesome

Ashley said...

That sounds way exhausting.... But glad you had fun!

Janice said...

A chip off the old block. Okay,not really.

Dawn said...

You are amazing! I can't even fathom running, much less running a long ways!