Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ragnar Relay 2010

One more check mark on the bucket list - I was able to participate in the Del Sol Ragnar Relay!  The whole event was very well done and I really enjoyed getting to know the members of my team and cheering them on to success.  For those that don't know, the Ragnar is 204 miles (Prescott, AZ to Mesa, AZ) and you run with a team of 12 individuals who are divided into into 2 vehicles.  Each individual runs 3 legs which vary in length from 3 - 9 miles.  Our team was called the Cotton-Headed Ninny Muggins (see the movie Elf) and consisted of friends of Glade and Laurie Smith who organized us into a team.  I was invited to join this team because Camille and Laurie are in the same Bunko group.
Our team started Friday morning at 7:30 am.  Thursday night, Van #1 headed to Prescott together where they stayed in a hotel.  I'm told that it was a brisk 28 degrees when they woke up and it didn't get a lot warmer at the start of the race.  Glade was the first runner so he got the freezing cold, early morning run. After Glade, Julie went, then Jake, Janice, Laurie, and Charlotte. Our vehicle, which had runners Jay, Dave, Janelle, Brett, myself and Kristine,  left Mesa around 8:30 am or so on Friday morning since we didn't start our legs until about 1 pm.

The first van did great although they somehow didn't arrive at the end of Jake's run for 10 minutes.  However, they handed off to Jay only 5-10 minutes behind schedule.  Van #1 went to Wickenburg to get a shower, some food and hopefully some rest.  Jay flew through his run averaging under a 7 minute mile over the 4.6 mile run.  That seemed to inspire everyone and we all had good runs making up several minutes by the time we handed back to Van #1.

My run was the longest at 8.5 miles.  At this point in the relay, we were on a dirt road which was great for safety and for impact on the joints but the dust from all the vehicles was a bit annoying.  In addition, there were 2 washes that had running water in them.  Fortunately, the race organizers allowed me to ride in the vehicle through the wash.  I completed the run in 1 hour 7 minutes or about a 7:51 average.  I felt good after the run knowing that I still had lots left in the tank for my next 2 runs.

After we handed off to Van #1 in Congress, AZ, we headed into Wickenburg to use the hotel rooms that Laurie reserved for our team.  We ate dinner at Denny's, took a shower and crashed for a couple hours.  Before long, it was time to head back out for our the leg of our run.  We barely made it in time for Jay to take the exchange from Charlotte.

Towards the end of Dave's run, a runner on another team was hit by a vehicle while crossing the highway.  Both our vehicle and Dave were past the accident so it didn't effect our ability to keep going but most teams were behind us when the road was closed.  We continued our exchanges up to exchange point 22 which is where I was to begin my second run.  The race organizers stopped all the runners at this exchange point and said we all had to drive to exchange 24 where the race director would let us know how to proceed.  So my 2nd leg and Kristine's 2nd leg were cancelled.  Because of the timing of these events, Van #1 was not at exchange point 24 yet.  The race director determined to let the race continue beginning at exchange 24 so we decided that I would run leg 25 in place of my 2nd leg.  I was not mentally prepared for this leg and I hadn't even studied the map.  I had a vague idea of the length of the leg (turned out to be 8.5 miles) but no idea about the elevation.
I was finally able to get started on my run around 5:30 am on Saturday morning.  This was a difficult leg with a fair amount of uphill climbing but I felt pretty good throughout the run.  Camille was coming to pick me up after this leg (so I could be to Trevor's baptism - see next post) so I had Kristine call her to let her know of the changes in the race.  Around mile 3-4, I see Camille on the side of the road cheering me on!   What a supportive wife to get up in the early hours to pick me up and then she stands out in the dark and cold in her pj's cheering me on!  I finished the leg averaging about a 8:30 mile - not great but not too bad all things considered.
I went home, showered and ate before heading off with Trevor for his baptism.  Right after the baptism ended, I called my team to see how things were going and if they needed me to come back and run my 3rd leg.  They had shifted things around such that I was not needed to run but Camille and I headed to the finish line so the whole team could finish together.  We met up with other team members and waited at the finish line for Kristine.  When she arrived, we all ran, limped, shuffled (you get the idea) together across the finish line.  We received our finisher medals and took some pictures before heading back home.
Unfortunately, the runner that was hit early Saturday morning died a few days later.  He was a senior at a high school in Phoenix and his accident kind of left a dark cloud over the event.  In spite of this trajedy, our team had a great time and we are already making plans to participate next year.