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

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Top 10 Non-Running Rum Runner Moments

​Ragnar is NOT all about the running! Think about it.... 200ish miles split between 12 people. There is a lot of time spent NOT running! So much happens during this long, sleep deprived weekend. I've decided to try to compile my Top 10 List of Memorable Non-Running Rum Runner Moments. Enjoy!

1. It's Raining. We did attempt to sleep for a few, brief hours Friday night after our second round of running. The sun was rising. I woke up in the van to Amanda announcing, "It's raining?" with the most confused tone in her voice. How is it raining by her head but not out the other side of the van? I looked up, and saw no rain anywhere. Yeah, it was just the sprinklers. Thank you, Sleep deprivation.
My sunny, dry view when looking for the "rain".

2. The moment I nearly died laughing. Sometimes it is all in the delivery. "Shawn, did a bird poop on you?" Tabitha said so casually, almost as if it was common and Shawn knew he was wearing some fresh bird poop on his shoulder as a fashion statement. It was so put together, it looked as if a bird actually came and sat on his shoulder to do its business, then flew away. This combined with his reaction ... died. And of course forced him to wait while I got photos. Thank you, sleep deprivation ... and RUM.

3. It was a run-by rumming! The rum was gone. How do we explain this to Van 2? We needed to formulate a plan and/or story. The drunk girl from California!! She was in the van next to us and was over the top excited to have some of our rum... it had to be HER fault, not the other 6 of us that were indulging in it. In the spirit of Mrs Doubtfire I whipped out my best line to date... It was a run-by rumming! Valid excuse, I think. Go me!

4. Don't drop the bracelet! This one is essentially related to running I guess - the failed hand off. While waiting for Amanda to come in for her first passing of the bracelet to TJ we watched as another team dropped theirs. Naturally the whole group watching had a good laugh at that. Tabitha told TJ when he handed off to her she wanted him to come in with a cartwheel and flip and do NOT drop the bracelet. Ha ha ha ... of course he wouldn't drop it... and what happened at their hand off? No acrobatics AND he dropped it!
The drop!
Imagine not really sleeping for a couple days, running many times, not really eating. Go go go. Now put yourself in a post-race expo area and trying to shop. That brings us #5 and #6.

5. Up first is Tabitha... All she wanted to do is simply buy a shirt. The guy told her the cost and what did she do? She hands him $150 in cash and tells him to just take what he needs. I swear our math skills go overboard when running - computing paces, distances, time - by the time it is all done paying for a shirt is nearly impossible!

6. And now my payment failure. I was also trying to buy a shirt. It was $25 on the tag. I forgot about sales tax. The totally was $27.18. Okay, easy enough, right? I look in my money stash. There are 3 one dollar bills, perfect! That gets me to $28, so I'll get back some change. Right? I handed this money to the same cashier and he tells me I still need to give him about 4 more dollars. What? But I gave him $28... or did I? Apparently there is no such thing as a $25 bill like I computed in my head. Yeah, I gave him $23 completely believing I handed him a 25 and 3 ones. Uh yeah...

7. Come hither.  Let's stay up at the expo for this one. The slow motion walk by... Our whole van was sitting at a table with beer and pizza. From behind comes this girl. She locked her gaze on our van pimp, TJ. Holy cow - she was working it, ok!?! The look in her eye, the boobs on display. She wouldn't take her eyes off him and kept her head facing his until she physically couldn't do it anymore without looking like an owl. If ever there was a come hither moment, this was it. I just sat watching it, with my jaw dropped and then had to make sure everybody else witnessed what just happened. All that work and did TJ even get up? Nah.

8. Tickle me, Elmo! We are gonna keep it going on the TJ train right now. You can see by this photo, this really needs no explanation. I mean this outfit says it all! Some girls were overheard asking each other if that guy was in a onesie. And then something along the lines of Elmo and what would happen if they tickled him. Oh how I wish they did, and oh how I wish he would have giggled!

9. Twins! Perhaps the overall funniest moment of them all, and of course it involves the van pimp once again. (Seriously, imaging being a guy and you come running in with 5 women cheering your name, eager to see you! He had it made!) It was TJ's final run. We were going to meet him half way with water and snacks. Along the drive everyone had their eyes open for his turquoise shirt. Ooh, is that him? With confidence it was declared "There he is!" and we prepared to cheer as we passed.... Only it wasn't him. No, his clone? A shorter, curvy black woman. She DID have on a turquoise tank top though. We all decided NOT to tell him about this... but once alcohol was involved, of course we spilled the beans. Best part is, I found a photo of them together at the nighttime hand of. Twins!
Twins - the similarity is uncanny...
10. The Views. This needs no words.
The land on the right is Canada, eh!

Okay, so yeah, to appreciate this you totally had to be there. Glad I was!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ragnar Northwest Passage - the Final Run

Here we go, the final run of my Ragnar relay weekend!

If the first one is remembered for being the hardest course I have run with regard to elevation, and the second leg is remembered for being absolutely beautiful, the third might be the one I talk about the most and will be remembered for what happened with only .3 to go!

I felt like I was constantly referencing Murder, She Wrote and Cabot Cove every time we were near water. My final run started in Oak Harbor, Washington right at the water, and of course I thought I was in Cabot Cove! While waiting for Katy to come in from her final run we took time to enjoy the scenery. Picturesque. It smelled salty. The water was gently lapping on the shore. It was perfect! I have a Roadside Attractions app on my phone and was so giddy when I looked over and found a Flintstone's car that is on my app. Too cute! But all that relaxing had to come to an end. My vertigo kicked in as my nerves were getting ramped up. I was so excited, but my body wanted to fight me. I wasn't going to let the dizziness win. I kept drinking my water until I couldn't drink anymore. I felt as ready as can me and when Katy came in I jumped right in and took off for what Ragnar declared an "easy 3.1" miles.

Ragnar lied.

It might go without saying, but my plan was "run until the van passes me." Yeah, they never passed me. My plan failed all 3 times! I felt light on my feet and was in the zone, enjoying running through this pretty city. But it took no time at all and I realized I had been running uphill for quite a while. What??

I think I was near 1 mile in and I was passing another girl that I would leap frog with for a while. I told her I was going to try to not be annoying and she just laughed. She told me she thought we had a mile of nonstop uphill. Well, that was right, except then it kept going. This whole run was uphill except for the very end and the very beginning (and a mini dip in the middle by Walmart). WHAT??

The views from the top of the first here were really nice. I could see lavish homes and the water again. Also, I was able to see 4 deer in total. That's always peaceful. When I ran by their Walmart (which I didn't expect to see in a town like this) I had to pause on breathing after taking in a deep breath of someone's marijuana smoke. Lovely. It was after Walmart when I made a sharp right and started the next climb that things took a turn.

I texted Kari that I was going to need water at the finish line. I didn't carry any with me because I never drink during a 5K. I felt confident I'd be fine since I hydrated so much before and I thought I'd have a quick run. Yeah, I don't run quick and EASY up steep hills, okay? The sun was blazing down on me. I was getting thirstier by the minute. It got to the point that I was debating asking fellow runners for a tiny sip as they passed. But I didn't. I got too shy to ask a van off to the side if that had any sort of liquid to spare. Just getting my lips wet would have been good. In the final mile I even stared in ditches for water. What if I found a bottle? Would I be crazy and drink it? I looked in every home that I passed to see if maybe they were about to step outside and looked like sympathetic people. Nobody. Another runner assured me we were so close to the end and I could do it. Thanks, runner dude!

I was starting to question if I would finish or would I die in the ditch? Was I going to be taken away by ambulance? Would anybody know to call my mommy? I rounded the next to last major turn and it was almost like this light was shining down from Heaven. What was it landing on? A green Jeep. I told myself I bet that person is cool, they have a nice Jeep with perfect paint. A big, red truck and a nice boat. Maybe they will save me! As I passed the truck a choir of angels started singing! They had their lawn sprinkler on!! There was no shame in my game, I made a mad dash and ran and stood in it. Things couldn't get better. Or could they?

Behind me I heard a guy say, "You've got the right idea!" What was this?? Is this my savior? The owner of the Jeep and his son happened to be coming outside right when I got to their sprinkler. I laughed and then said, "this will sound so strange, but could I please have a cup of water?" It took no time at all and he was in the house and bringing me out a bottle of cold water. I bet I drank half of that, dripping it all over myself in the process. I told him that I saw that Jeep and knew somebody cool had to live here! He asked about the race and how much farther we had. I laughed when I said I only had .3 to go until I was done, but we still had hours to go over all as a team. I thanked him profusely and was on my way with a new spring in my step.

It seemed like no time at all and I was seeing my team waiting, with more cold water!! I DID IT! What a freaking challenge that was!! Hard, but completely Awesome! I cannot wait to do it all again!

*Here's a side story .... I told Shawn about the Jeep guy since we are a Jeep family... thanks to Facebook and the Jeep community, the super cool water supplier was tracked down and told how appreciative I was! Cool!

So that's the running!

Prior Posts:

Coming Up:
Top 10 Rum Runner Ragnar moments involving rum and TJ's on-course twin!

Ragnar Northwest Passage - Run #2

After hours of downtime while Van 2 ran their first leg and we ate (and failed and sleeping), it was time for my second run. The biggest debate I had on this one was "Do I wear my sunglasses or not?" In the end, I opted to skip them, and that was the right choice. What wasn't right was that I completely forgot to pack a visor or hat. We'll get to that....

My second run was 6.6 miles and started while the sun was still up. By the time I'd be done it would be dark, meaning I had to set out in my reflective vest. I also had to wear my headlamp and flashy light thing on the back of my body. Once I started running my headlamp kept moving and that's when I remembered I always wear a hat of some form to hold it in place. Dang it! It was probably a good 4 miles or more before I got it in a spot where it would just stay put -- or maybe the sweat helped it stick to me?!

Let's back up again! The hand off from Kari to myself was nice and smooth, and I was easily on my way for one of the most beautiful runs I have ever done in my life, maybe second only to the entire Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon in Vancouver, BC. For only a short distance I was in a small city and neighborhood. The rest of my run I was in a living postcard. The sun was setting, giving the sky the most beautiful array of colors. The fields I ran by were immaculate. These people have money!! I saw barns as glamorous as the homes they belonged to. Everything was just perfect. Like a Better Home and Gardens magazine article or something.

I had my same plan of "Keep running until at least our team van passes me", then I can be lazy and walk. As in the first leg, I never saw my van. So after 2 miles of moving I decided it would be okay to pause to grab a still photo of the area I was running through, versus all the action shots I had been taking. The elevation was as flat as can be, which was very welcome after the 8.25 miles of non-stop climb. There wasn't much of a shoulder, however, so when cars would approach I'd be running in the gravel on a slant. No biggie, it was too pretty to even complain. Runners were very spread out, but I did get encouraging words from those I did encounter, and that always makes me smile!

After those first 2 miles I decided to "Do the Galloway" and mix it up with walking/running intervals. I basically ran .4 then walked .1 for the most part. My body was happy with this, since, again, there was zero training and I haven't run this long of a distance since the end of 2014. Before I knew it my time in the country was coming to an end. I did have some Meniere's issues to deal with during the last mile, but I wasn't going to let any vertigo stop me. The biggest challenge was the last stretch over a small river. Running on bridges isn't easy anymore since I inevitably have those vertigo feeling start.

In the dark I had a hard time figuring out the exchange point. Volunteers told me "Just keep going straight. It's right in front of the church!" Simple enough? I kept running straight and saw the church, but never saw hand offs happening. Our tiki guy with his eyes all lit up was a relief, so I at least knew the Rum Runners were there waiting for me. Now I just had to find Amanda. Right when pure confusion was about to hit the last volunteer told me to take a hard right. I did, and there was Amanda ready with a big smile on her face. Hallelujah! (Get it, Hallelujah - I was at a church....)

This time I finished with no bad words coming out of my mouth like at the first run. Woohoo!! I'd run this stretch again any time. It made that first leg worth it, by letting me be the 3rd runner and able to do this section. Absolutely glorious!

Prior posts: 

Coming soon: 
The final leg of the race
Top 10 Rum Runner moments NOT related to running. They involve rum.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ragnar Northwest Passage - Leg 1

It was 0'dark thirty and our van was waking up Friday morning after a very short sleep in a motel parking lot. The sounds of snoring were a blessing for me and helped me get a couple minutes of sleep now and then. Imagine 6 adults sleeping in one van. Now make one of those 6 feet tall and another one 6 feet 7 inches. Okay? And then a cooler, backpacks... now imagine all of this and trying to get comfortable sleep. HA! That's basically NOT possible, BUT it is all part of the experience when you do a relay! We popped across the street to the gas street bathroom where I was very happy to brush my teeth. I did freshen up my face, brush my hair and put on deodorant. That's about all I could do every day seeing as we wouldn't have showers until Saturday night!

The sun was starting to rise as we got to Peace Arch Park right at the border, where we would start this 200ish mile race. Before we could begin our Captain got us checked in, bringing back our bibs and race numbers for the van. Then all 6 of us had to head over the safety meeting. I'll sum up what it told us... don't litter, wear your night vest and headlamps, don't wake sleeping babies in neighborhoods... and don't forget breaking and entering is illegal. I can't make this up, guys!

At 6am Kari started us off as our team began the race with the official first wave of runners leaving the park! Once she was gone we were on a mission for coffee, unless you are me. I was on a mission for a bathroom to wash my hands after accidentally getting muscle rub all over myself instead of the anti-chafing lotion I meant to apply. Time flew by and we were welcoming Kari back at the first exchange... which is when my nerves turned on. I was runner 3, the next one to go!

Still in Blaine, Washington, I was standing in a parking lot with my full water bottle, music playing, a Garmin getting its signal and antsy to get going on my first leg of the relay. 8.2 miles was my distance and I knew I was in for hills. I tried to not freak myself out, so I think I underestimated how serious these would be. It felt like no time at all and Katy was coming up and handing off the sweaty slap bracelet to me. I was off!

My legs were feeling awesome, no doubt due to the fact that I had major adrenaline and they certainly weren't tired from over-training since I didn't even do a single run after agreeing to participate. I was going at a pretty awesome pace and determined to run until the team van passed me. Uh, yeah, I never saw them. The vans didn't pass by the first section of my leg, so that was a failed plan.

After maybe 1 straight mile I made a turn and I never turned again for 4 miles. What else did I do for that 4 mile stretch? Continuously go uphill! Leg 3 is classified as "very hard" and had a 509' gain. A downhill every now and then would have been nice. I kept making destination points ahead of me as a goal to run to before taking a short walk break. I would think I had crested "the hill", but each time I'd think that I'd see that it just keeps going and going. Leg 3 was the Energizer Bunny, and I was starting to feel like a draining battery.

How did I cope? I took in the views! When would I ever get to see this again? Maybe never. So I kept my phone handy to capture photos you are seeing in this blog right now! What else did I do? I texted with my mom and sent her photos. No shame in my game! Running is mental, too, and I needed my Mommy! Later in the run I actually gave in and called her on speaker phone to talk while running and wish her a Happy Birthday!

This leg was also one with no van support, so I was out there on my own, relying on myself, fellow runners and the super sweet girls that set up water stations at their homes! The first girl I met up with was such a dear and helped me figure out where I was. I was standing there facing Canada and looking at its snowy mountains (photo above)! I even saw Vancouver, BC!! While running I was running right toward Mount Baker, and WOW! That was an impressive sight for sure! At some point after I had made another turn up another hill I was met by two girls with their own version of a lemonade stand, except this was free Gatorade in a variety of flavors, as well as 3 bowls with various snacks. This made me so giddy! I was more than happy to pause and enjoy some red Gatorade and have a brief chat, thanking them profusely for being there.

Other things that stand out from this run.... smells! As I recall I documented them on facebook so I'd remember them for this post. It started out with standard farmland smell. I totally don't mind the smell of farm animal poop, believe it or not! Then it went to the same smell as the Frontierland section of the Utilidor in Walt Disney World. The worst part, oh my gosh, it was awful. Sulfur. Terrible. I almost threw up. For real. Just no!

With regard to my running, I don't know that there is much to say. I was feeling strong and then started to crash when my mind gave out on me. I persisted and kept trying to run as best as I could, but also made sure to never feel bad when I was passed. There were some great runners out there! At one point though, something bizarre happened. I was running at a lovely pace and it felt like someone punched my right calf. I even turned to look behind me, and found nobody there. I immediately started walking because I had no idea what was going on and wondered if maybe I was getting a cramp. **Nothing ever came of it during that or the last two legs!

Time to finish this bad boy off... I made the last turn and got to do a small downhill before going back up again. At the final corner I was greeted by the best sight ever - the exchange and runners cheering us all on. I was more than happy to see Amanda waiting for me and forced that bracelet on her so she could take off and I could be DONE!!

With all the whining I felt I did during and after, I never once wished I wasn't doing it. Part of the Ragnar experience is pushing yourself and having those hard moments that really test you. I loved being tested!

*Ignore those numbers on that chart. I have yet to figure them out since I had a 509' elevation gain.

Prior Posts: