Ragnar #26. This was a fun Ragnar. I was slow, but I never needed to stop. That doesn't mean I didn't stop; I just didn't need to. What made it really fun is that one of my favorite (now my all time favorite) blogger's, Tracy, flew in from Illinois to run with us.
We had a start time of 6am. We have to be there an hour early to go through safety training and pick up our gear. It takes an hour and a half to get there. So we should have been on the road by 3:30am. The plan was for me to pick up Mike and his daughter, Megan, swing over to Glen's father's house and pick him up, head over to Tracy's cousin's and get her, then cruise into Scottsdale and get Kristie. Tracy texted me the day before to ask what time I would pick her up, and I said 3ish. The night before I was up until 11pm trying to finish a work project and finishing packing. I went to bed, but I couldn't sleep. I don't think I fell asleep until after 1am. My alarm was set for 2:40 am. I got up when it went off and quickly jumped in the shower. That's when I realized I had told Tracy 3ish, and it was 3ish. So I texted her and told her what a Ragnitiot I was. (Ragnitiots was our team name this year.) I picked her up first, then Mike and Megan, then Glen, then a bag of ice at the convienient store, then another bag of ice because that wasn't enough, then some Arthur Fonzarelli hits to my headlight that wasn't working, and finally Kristie at the Target off of the Loop 101 in Scottsdale. We were now running a little behind. We got to the start line at 5:30am. The first thing I did was run to the porta-johns. As fate would have it, when I exited the honey bucket, Tracy was next in line. I held the door open for her and told her that it was already stinky in there before I got in. That was the first time she told me I was "so disgusting." It warmed my heart and I knew it was going to be a good Ragnar.
During the safety training I overheard the announcer calling for our team. I looked at Mike and said, "That's us." One of the volunteers saw my concern and motioned me over. She said, "Here are three important rules I need to go over with you and you can go get your gear." One of the rules was do not follow runner #7 when they leave the exchange or it's an automatic disqualification. Runner #7 was in the other van, so I didn't pay it much mind. We quickly grabbed our stuff and checked in with just enough time to take a picture.
I have no idea why my belly button is glowing. Maybe alien resurrection. Our group, which was about 20 runners, took off, and I quickly found myself in 15th place. One by one, they all passed me. I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but I have never wanted to run Leg 1. It's a beast. But I committed to it and even did a practice run 3 weeks back. My pace 3 weeks ago was 11:55 min/mile. I figured I would run at least that pace, probably faster. However, the lack of sleep was causing me stomach cramps. They weren't terrible, but they certainly slowed me down. The first mile and a quarter is slightly downhill, and I kept it nice and easy, saving my energy for the uphill. I got hosed at the stop light, just barely missing it, and had to wait for both phases (east and south crossing.) Had I not just barely missed it, I would have been caught up with a couple of the runners. Waiting there I realized I was in last place, unless someone started walking a long time ago, which I highly doubted. This was the only time I stopped during the race, which is a moral victory.
After finally crossing, I started the ascent. The cramping was still there, but I just pushed through. There's no van support for the first 4 miles, so I finally saw my van right at mile 4. They asked if I wanted water and I told them I would be fine for another mile. After the mile Mike asked if I wanted to take the bottle with me and they would meet me at the finish. I asked him to stop one more time at the top of the hill, which would be at 6.7 miles. Right around one hour and 5 minutes into my run, I could hear someone coming up behind me. Knowing I was averaging around a 12 minute pace, I figured that if they started half an hour before me, they must be running a 6 minute pace. It was a girl. I said, "Wow! You must be running a 6 minute pace." She laughed and said, "I haven't seen a soul in ages." I said, "Well, I'm very glad to accommodate you." She didn't really look like she was running a 6 minute pace, so I figured she probably missed her start time like we almost did, and just started late.
My van was stopped at 6.2 miles (not 6.7.) They handed me the water bottle and I began the hardest half mile of the race. It gets real steep here, so I just put my head down and headed up. After the hill, I was averaging a 12:20 pace, but I got it down to a 12:15 pace by the time I finished. That's 20 seconds slower per mile than 3 weeks ago. Around mile 7 I started getting passed by runners from the next group. I want to say about 5 of them passed me. But I also passed three ladies that must've started in the group before us. That was nice because those were the only people I passed the entire race.
With a little under a mile to go, I saw my van driving back toward me. I waved and then put my hands up like, "What are you guys doing? I know I'm slow, but surely you don't think I died. It wasn't too long ago that you saw me." When I finished, Mike told me that they were heading back to the start line because we forgot our slap bracelet. Oh, you mean the slap bracelet that I've been wearing for the last 8.7 miles? Hmmm...what a bunch of Ragnitiots. I called Tracy and had them turn around. The remainder of the runs for our first legs were all downhill. Everyone did good, including Tracy who was running around noon when it was starting to warm up.
We went to the motel and I was able to get a couple more hours of restless sleep. Mike received a text message from race headquarters that we had been issued two violations. One more and we would be out. Apparently the other van did indeed follow the runner out of the exchange #7. Instead of disqualifying us, they gave us two violations. Mike was mad, but we managed to follow the rules for the rest of the race. My next run was at 8:15pm. Rebecca had just finished up her 11.5 mile leg, which earned her the special medal. This was 4.3 miles flat. The only problem was that I thought it was my 4.0 mile leg. I estimated my pace to be 11:00 min/mile. My first mile was 10:09. A little too fast, as I started to slow down after that. As I was approaching 3.8 miles, I started speeding up, just a tad, thinking I was almost done. But that finish line just never showed up. After a while I started getting angry. Ragnar has been known to be off on their mileage before, but I didn't think they'd be off by this much. I finished at an overall pace of 11:01. When I realized it was my fault for mixing my final two distances up, I couldn't be mad at Ragnar. In fact, I was happy that I only had 4.0 miles to go.
Tracy hands off to Victoria, Rebecca's daughter. At some point during her second run, she stepped on the edge of the pavement and twisted her ankle. She was done for the race. Bryan, from her van, took over for her. Back at the motel, I got another couple of hours of sleep in and it finally felt like sound sleep. My last 4.0 miles was up in Anthem; mild rolling hills. I estimated my pace to be 11:30, but it was 11:52, and I didn't care. It was 5:40am, which means all of my runs were night runs. I'm ok with that, too. I was just wanting to be done. The rest of my van finished their legs, but we had planned on running Victoria's final leg. Tracy had just finished up 6 hot sucky miles. They really sucked, or so I hear. Victoria's final leg was 5.1 miles. Throughout the whole race we kept leapfrogging these two ultra teams that were wearing bunny ears the whole time. They were running together, always a man and a woman. We decided we hated them and made it our mission to pass them. Knowing they had just come in a few minutes before Tracy, we were off to the chase. Glen ran the first mile. He then handed off to Kristie who ran the next two miles. She came close to catching them, and was a bit upset when she realized how close. Mike ran the final 2.1 miles, and he caught them! Was it cheating? No. Maybe. Was it cheap? Yeah. But that's ok.
So, we were done running, and just had to wait for Van #2 to finish. Kristie's husband picked her up, and the rest of us drove back to Mesa to go home and shower. I got another hour nap. Now I was really missing Emily who had stayed the night at our friend's house because one of my other daughters, Katelynn, had her birthday party the night before at Castles and Coasters, and it would have been too hard to keep an eye on Emily. Since our friend lives less than a mile away from Mike, and since Mike's other daughter and brother-in-law were coming with us to the finish line, I decided to pick her up. I really love her, and for the most part she behaved herself. She took this picture of me and Tracy.
There was a petting zoo at the finish line which kept her occuppied for a little bit. I bought her some mac and cheese. Then we waited for Rebecca to finish so we could run across the finish line together. Another Ragnar done, another sticker to add to my window. Thank you team. Thank you Tracy for coming down. Thank you to my wife for staying up all night and decorating the van. Can't wait for the next one.