To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ragnar Relay - Leg 1

So let’s talk Ragnar running!
Meet the Rum Runners of Van #1!
The leader of our pack!
Thursday night, after Downtown Disney, 4 of us from van 1 stayed at the Hilton in Costa Mesa. I was up at 3:15am to shower and thoroughly wash my hair and my body – twice! I figured I won’t get to shower for a long time, so I may as well make the best of it. At 4:30am we were out the door and on our way to Huntington Beach and the 2014 Ragnar So Cal start line. It was a parking lot full of vans, something we’d be accustomed to rather quickly. We parked and immediately met up with our other 2 van-mates. I just made that up. Teammates in our van… van-mates! Check-in looked chaotic from afar, but actually went really fast considering it was dark out and there was a mass amount of people everywhere not knowing what was going on. First up was our safety check for headlamps, butt lights and vests. We passed flying colors and moved over to our big safety briefing. Pretty common sense. Next bibs, Rag Mag, safety flags and shirts. In no time at all we were set and moving over to the official start line.

Heading off on my own adventure!
Garth was our first runner, and easy to spot with his long hair, kilt and bedazzled pirate on his sleeve! Once he took off the rest of us went to the van to make our way to the first transition point, which is where I started my running. We got to the designated spot and learned that it was moved about a half mile back. Quickly we jumped into the van and hurried back. I had time to get a swig of water, 2 small bites of food and then run up to have Garth hand off the slap bracelet to me. And there I was … beginning my Ragnar Relay adventure!

My Garmin was set, my music was on… and it was a perfect song for the perfect setting. There I was, running along the ocean at Huntington Beach with the sun rising, listening to Sugar Ray’s Every Morning. Absolutely wonderful! It was eerily calm. I had just been in the chaos of people and vans, and now was all alone with a handful of other runners, just watching the waves crash on the shore beside me. Immediately I had a huge rush of happy adrenaline! I had no plans for this run, other than to just go out and do my best and have fun. Along the way I kept hearing van-mate Tara’s voice. “Running is easy, you just keep going!” So that’s what I did! It never even struck me that walking was an option. I just pulled a Forrest Gump and kept running and running. I had turned to run east into neighborhoods and a major street with many businesses and apartment complexes. To get there though, I had to run up a long hill. Eh, no biggie – I just kept running. The van 1 Rum Runners passed by at one point cheering me on, which totally helped me not even consider walking. I can’t let my team see me wimp out, no way! At the top of the hill was a welcome surprise. I had a crosswalk I had to wait at, and also waiting for me was Man Friend with some water. Awesome!

The light switched and I was clear to run. And so I did. The only pauses were due to the crosswalks I encountered, but those also gave time to talk to other runners, all of whom seemed to be loving the day as much as I was. A couple of guys even let me “pass” them as we waited to cross – giving me a couple of pity “kills” – which I did NOT count in my final total, FYI. *"Kills" are when you pass people, and teams typically count them and track the numbers on the side of their vans! Around mile 4 things weren’t as lovely. The only Meniere’s attack I had of the entire race happened then. Fortunately it is where my van-mates were waiting with more water. Man Friend calmed me down a bit and just reassured me I could do it. Vertigo aside, I could do it! So I did! That was my last meeting with the team until the next hand off.

I passed all those people! Heading into the finish.
It was around mile 6 that I found myself in a cluster of women (that I was systematically passing). We were all at a crosswalk together and I was making conversation and giving a group pep talk since some looked like they needed it. I told them we only have just over a mile to go, we can do it! I then left a bunch in my dust and was focused on 7.2. I was running 7.2 miles, maybe I would kick it up in the last bit of my run? But then something strange was in front of me. I was 6.66 miles in and hit a sign that said 1 mile to go. WHAT?!?! It never dawned on me that Garth’s run was shorter so mine would be longer. Oh well, what can ya do? I just continued along keeping up a great running pace (damn crosswalks) and picked off runners one by one until I handed off to Man Friend. The “finish” area was pretty cool. Fellow Ragnarians lined the chute cheering on everybody that came down, teammates or not! I love that about runners, we all cheer for each other. Man Friend was waiting, wrist out, ready for the slap bracelet. It was pretty fun getting to pass off to him, and he looked set for a great run himself!

In the end I had 7.66 Garmin miles, zero walking, and 11 kills. Not too shabby! Ragnar was proving to be pretty damn awesome!

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