Ragnariffic – Part 1
As I write this I am about 90% recovered from the no-sleep weekend that was running, driving, cheering, sweating, and complaining. The latter being my specialty in life.
The first of the Ragnar teams took off at Friday 6am but we didn’t leave until Friday 2pm. At first I was bummed about this especially considering that our wave had maybe 10-12 teams and as we ran the first 12 legs we were rather lonely, hanging out with the same speedy teams at each exchange (watching about half of them pull away from us). It would turn out though that leaving that late minimized the length of time we would have to endure the heat in inland OC and Riverside County.
This 2pm wave we found ourselves in had the eventual winners, Pants Optional, a bunch of dudes running in just speedos and HR monitor straps with an average pace of 6:00. Yeah. Some other interesting ones were Bros-N-Hose, Hair Force, and Barely Running. Barely Running was a coed team wearing nude leotard type stuff with faux green foliage bushes over there na-na region. They were fast!
As Runner 4, my first leg took off from Angels Stadium down into the Santa Ana river trail and continued northeast for 4.3 miles. It was 3:30pm and holy frickle it was hot. 90+ degrees and no breeze in that nasty crevice of a trail. Like running in someone’s sweaty ass-crack while they blew a hair-dryer on you. Per my usual poor race planning, I took off like a bat out of hell clocking my first mile at 7:34. Dumb. Around 1.7 miles, I was fried and had to walk; from that point, I walked-ran the rest of the way. My lips were tingling/numb when I finished – overheating and dehydration much? The only consolation was that while I let the Bros-n-Hose team who was only 200 yards ahead of me at the start get further away (I hung with him for that first mile), I was never passed (and I kept peeking behind me at every stupid crosswalk I had to wait at). Which meant that the teams behind me were likely also in pain. At that point, I was pretty dejected about my performance. I probably added 5 minutes to our deficit.
We hit the major exchange 10-ish minutes behind schedule and started up again around 11pm in my old stomping ground of Lake Elsinore. It was 55 degrees and just perfect running weather. My second leg was 5.6 miles and went from south Murrieta to the end of Old Town Temecula. I got the handoff somewhere around 1am, I can’t remember exactly, but I cranked out my miles around 7:55 pace. Redemption! This leg was probably the most interesting one for me. Here I was, in a running skirt, orange and grey animal print knee high socks, a bright orange reflective vest, flashing red strobe on my back, and a headlamp entering Old Town Temecula at 1:30am. On a Friday night.
Can you say drunk people?
Yeah, hoards of drunk people leaving the bars since that’s usually “last call” time. I was barreling down the sidewalk and what do I see ahead but a dude vomiting into a bush with his buddy patting his back. Nice. I then run past a group of 20 people outside a bar and this stupid terd-chick is like “They’re still running?!” and they way she said it made me want to smack her. But I was on a mission to redeem my previous shitty leg in Anaheim. No time for bitch-slapping.
As I am hitting the tail-end of Old Town this guy starts running with me and asking me “Where are you going?” Really? Can’t you see I’m busting my ass running at 1:30am in a ridiculous outfit? I don’t time to chit-chat with you. “San Diego.” “How long will you be running?” Again with the stupid questions? I really had no idea so I just blurted out “24 hours” and then he asked me something else and I didn’t respond. I was done with him. He left me at that point. Maybe it’s because I ignored his question but I’d like to think that he just couldn’t keep up with my blazing speed. Ha! I was coming close to the end of my leg so I think I was probably in the 7:45 range at that point. Then I hit a damn light and had to wait at the cross walk because there were actually cars on the road. I like to think I could have broken 44:00 on that leg if I hadn’t hit that stupid light.
The team blazed through our last two legs, one nasty uphill leg and a then a long downhill leg to meet van 2 at the major exchange off the 76 in Fallbrook. It was around 3am I believe. By this point we had started catching up to teams that had started anywhere from 11am to 1pm. Which was a total confidence booster. It was time to get what sleep we could before our van started the final 12 legs of the relay…