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Friday, October 28, 2011

Las Vegas Ragnar Relay 2011

Last weekend I had the privledge of participating in the 2011 Las Vegas Ragnar Relay. I had SO much fun and made 8 new friends. I already knew 3 of the people on our team.

Now, let's back up a second. When I found out I'd be doing the Las Vegas Ragnar, I had just got done running the Epic Cache-Teton Relay. In the Cache-Teton relay I ran a total of 4 legs and it wasn't a challenge, so I told my Las Vegas Ragnar captain (Sylvia) to give me a challenge. A challenge I did get!

I was originally going to be in van # 1 with Sylvia, David and Khris, because we were all co-workers, but when I told Sylvia to give me a challenge, that put me in van # 2. I became runner # 7.

We left Thursday night from Sylvia's house and drove down to Mesquite. We didn't want to stay in Las Vegas Thursday night because we knew hotels would be expensive. Plus, Mesquite was only 1 hour away from the starting line and 1 1/2 hours away from the first major exchange. Half of us left Sylvia's at 4:00 and the other van left at 6:00 because they ahd to work.

We ended up carbing up in Cedar City at Arby's. Not my ideal way of carbing up, but when you're traveling, you take what you can get. Lol. Had a BLAST on the way down. Got to know Rob and Katie well on the way down.

We met up with van # 2 when they got down to Mesquite and we quickly called it a night. Van # 1 had to get up at 6:30 a.m. to head to the starting line. We had a start time of 9:00 a.m.

After van # 1 got off on their way, I met up with my van mates (I didn't know ANYBODY) and we started to get things ready to go. We knew we had to be at the major exchange between 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. because we still had to go through safety training and check in and I would start running around 2:00 p.m.

Side note: My only concern about running the Ragnar Relay in Las Vegas was the heat. Granted, it was the end of October, but it's still alot hotter than it is up here in Utah down in Las Vegas.

Well, we went to the local Wal-Mart, picked up the stuff for PBJ's, went and carbed up at McDonald's and then hit the road.

Not long after we got on I-15, we had a VERY unpleasant surprise. Traffic was HORRIBLE. It was backed up as far as we could see.

I started tweeting out to my fellow Twitterers that were doing the Las Vegas Ragnar to see if they were running in to traffic, but they stayed in Henderson, so they were already at the exchange.

I was starting to get SUPER nervous about getting to the exchange on time. I didn't want Khris to have to run in to the exchange and have nobody to pass off to.

We finally came upon what was holding us up:

I don't know if anybody was hurt. There were no ambulance or anything there. The truck that was pulling the trailer didn't seem to be too banged up. I hope nobody was hurt too bad.

After we got through the traffic jam, Ryan FLOORED it. We finally made it to the exchange and got checked in. Got to go to the potty. We were standing in safety training and we'd been listening to the schpeel for about 5 minutes and I see Khris run in to the exchange. I decided to duck out of safety training (oops) and go get the hand off from Khris. I promise the safety training was almost over & I'd heard it from a previous training.

As we were driving in to the exchange, I got a preview of my run. OMG!!! It was NOTHING but hills. I didn't think it would be too bad. I'd have water with me, it was only 6.1 miles. Oh Lord was I in for a treat.

First off, I started out on that leg too fast. :( Second off, this was an unsupported leg. My van could have stopped and helped, but because we were told this was an unsupported leg, nobody stopped. At mile 0.5 I ran out of water. Not good. I stopped and was walking, I felt weak, I just kept saying over and over "I need more water". Well, another runner must have heard that and told some people ahead, because not long after, a girl came up to me and said "Someone said you need water. Are you ok?" I told her I didn't have water and needed it. She was so kind. Her name was Emily. She walked with me for a while, filled up my water bottle twice with Gatorade, and gave me ice to stick down my bra and on my forehead. Finally she had to leave and stay with her van and I made it a little farther.

Then, another guy stopped and walked with me and gave me his water. I don't know his name, but I remember talking to him and he said he was from Kaysville. He gave me ALL of his water & we walked & talked for a little bit. He then left me & said if I needed anything to holler. Well, a few minutes later, I see him walking back towards me. He asked if I'd had any salt. I told him I'd eaten a pack of energy beans before I started running and then I'd had 2 bottles of Gatorade. He gave me a salt tablet thing and that seemed to help a little bit.

We FINALLY made it to the first water station at mile 4. I drank alot of water & and filled up my water bottle again and headed off running. The guy from Kaysville left me again. He said I was looking much better and said he'd see me at the next exchange. Apparently I wasn't looking too hot during that leg of the race. But, I was able to run the last 2 miles to the next exchange.

My van was so kind. They said I ran in to the exchange looking really strong. I wish I felt strong. But I passed off to Lisa and Lisa started running. I wish I had pictures from my first leg, but I don't. :( Sorry.

I ran/walked my first leg of 6.1 miles uphill in 1:23:34 (not my ideal time) and I burned 1,356 calories. :) No kills, but alot of deaths.

I believe Lisa passed off to Emily.

Emily passed off to Ryan, Ryan passed off to Kirsten & Kirsten passed off to BJ. BJ & Ryan are SUPER fast runners.

Before we got to our major exchange where we passed off to van # 1, we had some pretty good runs. Everybody ran really well. I was really impressed with how well our team did.

BJ passed off to Rob at the Lake Las Vegas resort. Holy cow that place is BEAUTIFUL!!! I wish I got pictures while we were there. I would LOVE to be able to stay there one day, but I don't know if I'm rich enough. Here is a picture of the resort I got off the internet.

By this time we were all hungry & we were in Henderson, so we stopped at Panda Express to carb up for our next time we had to run. I don't make a habit of eating there very often, so I asked Ryan what was good to eat there. I got 2 sides and fried rice. It was DELICIOUS!!! I got orange chicken & shrimp for my sides.

Weird thing that happened while we were at Panda Express. A couple of different Ragnar teams stopped there to eat. I was sitting at our table and this guy walks up to me and says "Hi, my name's Chris. How are you?" My first thought was who the crap is this guy. So, I was being friendly and said hi back. The next thing he says is "You do alot of races don't you? I think I saw you at the Layton Triathlon, the Willard Bay Triathlon and you did the Layton 1/2 Marathon two weeks ago, didn't you?" Holy crap!!! This dude is stalking me. Lol. Everything was right except for I didn't do the Willard Bay Triathlon. Come to find out, he trains at the South Davis Recreation Center where I train too. He was at the pool Thursday morning when I was there. He trains with a company called Blonde Runner. I didn't think people really noticed me at my races. Well, apparently I'm wrong. It's kind of cool.

After we got done running, we made it to the next major exchange and we were all going to nap, but my parents came to that exchange, so I was able to hang out with my parents for a little bit before I started running.

This was an awesome place to be a major exchange. There was alot of grass to nap on if you were given the chance, lots of restrooms, etc.

I felt kind of bad for Khris. When he came running in to pass off to me, he didn't realize it until he came upon it, but after running about 6 miles, he had to climb a TON of stairs to get to the exchange.

I felt pretty confident about running this next leg. It was only 6 miles, it was alot cooler because it was 11:00 p.m. There were hills, but they weren't as bad as I expected. It was all uphill, with maybe, if I was lucky, about 100 yds of flat. I was able to run the entire 6 miles.

I told my van to stop every 2 miles to see if I was ok. They weren't able to stop until about mile 3.5 because I was running fast and they had to pack up the van and everything. They gave me water at mile 3.5 and then just met me at the finish. I was good with that.

When you're running the Ragnar, you anxiously await the 1 mile left to go sign. I got to the 1 mile left sign and then that last mile seemed to take FOREVER!!! The last hill I had to run was the hardest, but I knew at the end of that hill Lisa would be waiting for me.

I ran my 2nd leg of 6 miles in 66 minutes and burned 1,156 calories. Towards the end of this leg, my hip and my knees were starting to hurt, but it wasn't anything too bad. I got 2 kills on this leg.

Everybody else ran their legs really fast. I was pleasantly surprised. After everybody finished their legs, we headed to the last major exchange where we would be able to catch a few hours of sleep before I had to start running my last leg.

Here is a picture of BJ getting ready to run his second leg. It's not a good picture, but that's what you get when you're running at night. :)

Ryan was our driver most of the time. In the Ragnar Bible, the driving instructions to our last exchange was basically to follow the runners. :( Not good. It took us 2 hrs (driving down a dirt road) to get to our exchange. By the time we got to our exchange, the place was PACKED. It was FREEZING cold because the wind was blowing. We found a place to park the van and we all got our sleeping bags out and fell asleep.

I got to sleep for about 1 hour until I had to wake up and move so another van could get out because it was time for them to start running. Once I got up then, I was awake. So, I got about 1 hour of sleep. By the way, we were sleeping on gravel. Here's a picture I got of the rest of my team bundled up in their sleeping bags sleeping.

Since I couldn't sleep, I decided to get up & get ready to run my last leg. I walked around & cheered on other runners, made a potty stop & found out that a local scout group was at that exchange selling pancakes, eggs, and sausage. I ran back to my van, got some $$$ and bought me some unlimited pancakes, eggs & sausage. What an awesome way to carb up for my last run.

Finally, the rest of my team woke up & before I knew it, it was almost time to start running my last leg.

This last leg of mine, I was terrified. It was the "Ragnar" leg, which is the hardest leg on the course. It was starting to heat up outside. I decided that I was going to run with my music to keep me sane. I decided to run with my phone too. I was going to run with my phone because the van that was next to us, they'd done this race before and they said that sometimes you see interesting things on the side of the road. I thought, well, to make it more fun and keep my mind off of how hard this leg of the race was, I would run with my phone and if I saw anything interesting or funny, I'd stop and take a picture.

Well, no more than 10 minutes before it was time for me to run, I just got terrified. I ended up having a major anxiety attack. I called my dad and was just sobbing. I was terrified. I knew I just needed to start running. I just prayed that Khris got there soon. Sylvia saw me panicing and just came up & told me that everything would be ok.

Finally, Khris came running in and I took off. I made sure I started out slow this time because I knew that part of my problem on my first leg was I started out WAY too fast.

Luckly on this leg of the race, they had water every 3 miles. More lucky than that, van # 1 and # 2 decided to stop and support me. It was AWESOME!!! I SO wasn't expecting it. Plus, all the other vans that were supporting their runners had squirt bottles and water guns that they were spraying every runner.

Van # 1 was the first one to stop & support me. At about mile 2, Rob got out & gave me some cold water. I took whatever water I had in my water bottle & poured it over my head. Even though I ate some energy gel before I started running, about every 2 miles I ended up needing some gel or gu or sports beans or something.

Mile 3 I got more water from the water station and then between mile 3 & 4, Rob got out of van # 1 and gave me some energy gel 'cause I hollered at them that I needed some more. When van # 1 stopped and Rob gave me more water and energy gel, I ended up giving him my phone because I was soaking wet from pouring water over me I was afraid that my phone was going to get ruined. They met up with my van somewhere and gave them my phone.

Mile 4, my van stopped & gave me water and then about mile 6 1/2 they had another water station. When I stopped at the second water station, I told them, please tell me I am at least at mile 6. They told me I was about 0.5 miles from the top! I was THRILLED!!!

Van # 2 was stopped at the top to give me more water, but I didn't need it. I just told them to meet me at the exchange. The last 3 miles were all downhill and I was booking it. Everybody that I passed they told me that I was cookin' and I was going super fast. That gave me confidence.

On this leg, I got to run past a brothel. I wish I would've had my camera with me, but I had already passed it off, otherwise I would've taken a picture of it. It was disguised as a "bar", but hello, we were in Pahrump, NV, they're known for their brothels, I knew better. Lol.

I got to pass off to Lisa and Lisa had to run 4 miles downhill. She did awesome!!! But, here is a picture Ryan took of me running the "Ragnar" leg.

The "Ragnar" leg was a total of 10.2 miles (7 miles, uphill, and then 3.2 miles downhill). I gained a total of 1500 feet running uphill (can you see why I was scared Lol). I ran it in 1:53:05 and I burned 1,833 calories. I was able to run all but about 200 yds of the leg. I only stopped to walk when I was eating the energy gel and blocks.

When Lisa passed off to Emily, Emily got to run through Blue Mountain, NV. It's a cute little town. We pulled off to support Emily right by the Blue Mountain Town Park. Here's a picture of the park:

Yes, you are viewing this correctly. Donkeys in the park. They were SO cute. There was actually a donkey on the highway. It was really throwing the runners off.

Emily passed off to Ryan. Ryan wasn't too confident about running as fast as he normally would, but he did great! He ran faster than I normally would. We stopped & supported all of the runners.

Ryan passed off to Kirsten & Kirsten passed off to BJ. Both BJ & Kirsten ran like rock stars!!! Hell, everybody on my team ran like rockstars!

As soon as Kirsten passed off to BJ, we had to book it to the finish line. BJ didn't have far to run & he was running fast. We still had to find a parking spot at the finish line and wait for BJ.

My dad was at the finish line & we all gave him our cameras so he could take pictures of us running in to the finish.

Here's BJ leading the pack in to the finish. I was desparately trying to catch up to him and nobody really caught up with him until we crossed the finish. He was on a mission! Lol.

Here's a team picture of us at the finish line in our team t-shirts.

One last team picture.

My well deserved finishers medal!

Our two vans:

Chuck the Champion Chrysler

Donna the Dodge Destiny

I had a TON of fun with Team Kick ASSphalt on the Las Vegas Ragnar. I made a TON of new friends & I hope to do many many more races with them.

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