Last year I jumped on a team last minute-ish to run this relay. I had missed it the two previous years, but was feeling pretty good last year, and didn't want to miss it again. The team that I joined was an RWB team out of Sierra Vista. They actually had three teams, and this year they put together four teams. Scott, Victor, and Joshua, were returning from last year. Theresa from last year was on another one of the teams. The other three didn't come. In their place was Victor's wife, Brenda, newcomers Lulu and Jackie, and returning from last year, but on a different team, Katherine.
The order we ran in was Brenda, Joshua, Chris, Lulu, Jackie, me, Katherine, and Victor. Everyone was able to run all of their legs without a problem. Joshua even picked up an additional leg from one of the other teams. Joshua was our fastest runner, followed shortly by Victor. But Victor was having stomach issues, so he struggled on one of his legs, but still ran faster than me. Being runner #6 means I started with the red loop, then the yellow loop, and finally the green loop.
My boys had a survey Friday morning, so I had them drop me off on their way. I saw Rae checking in the vehicles and charging everyone the park entrance fee of $10. The line was a little longer than I though it would be, but we finally got to the gear drop and it ended up being right in front of our campsite. Lucky. I took my gear to camp and was surprised that I actually got there in time to see Brenda start us out.
I did a lot of sleeping. I took about an hour nap before my first run. I ate a light lunch around 11am. I don't like running with a lot of food in my belly, but you need to eat something. I finally started my red loop at 2:39pm. It was warm. Probably about 80º. I'm used to that kind of heat, even though it's cooling down here, so it wasn't too bad, but I believe it did slow me down some. The red loop is the longest loop. 6.73 miles. I ran it 46 seconds slower per mile than last year. I felt strong going up the hill, but just like last year, when I reached the water station around mile 4.3, it was hard to start running again. I finally convinced myself that I could do it, but I had to take off my shirt because I felt like my nipple was going to explode soon if I didn't. There's a hairpin turn around mile 5.5. I had to walk some of that briefly, but after that I had no problem finishing up. I put my shirt back on about a quarter mile from the finish line. I saw my friend Josh (a different Josh, from the Adventure Run) while he was running the green loop. I gave him a fist bump as he passed me. When I finished and handed the bib off to Katherine, I apologized. She thought I was apologizing for being slow, but it was for sweating all over the bib.
I decided it would be a good idea to eat dinner as soon as possible right after running. There were food trucks of all kinds and we got a dinner included with our race entry. I wanted to get a gyro sandwich, but the line was real long, so I ended up getting a Sicilian mac 'n cheese bowl. It has Italian sausage, grilled onions, and tomatoes. It was delicious, but 6.7 miles in the heat wiped me out, and I couldn't finish it for lack of appetite. But one of my favorite parts of the race happened during dinner. I met another blogger in real life. And yes, nobody blogs anymore, but it still counts whether they actively blog, quit blogging, or even just created a blog and never made an entry. If there's anyone I'd really like to meet in real life that I haven't yet other than allie, it would be this guy. Twinkies!!!
I also got to meet his lovely wife, Susie, who was once upon a time a blogger herself. Apparently I passed Susie on my first loop. She remembered my orange outfit.
After dinner I took another nap. It started getting cold when the sun went down so I put my sweats and sweat shirt on. About an hour before it was my turn to run again I rolled out of my sleeping bag and got ready. I took off my sweats and sweat shirt and found that I was actually hot even though it was cold. Menopause, I guess. On my way to the transition tent, I saw Kelli. I can't hyperlink her anymore because she's deactivated her blog, but I gave her a side hug and talked to her for a few minutes. Now it was time for the yellow loop. Jackie handed off to me and I started my night run. It was 11:23pm. I wore my headlamp. There was no moonlight. It wasn't too long into my run that I noticed my headlamp wasn't shining as bright as it normally does. Rookie mistake not to change the batteries before the race. I ended up having to take it off my head and hold it in my hand so I could see. Running the yellow loop at night is no fun. Actually running the yellow loop in the day is no fun, but at night it's very difficult. I slipped, stumbled, and tripped, but never fell down, thank goodness. I only stopped briefly to text Kathy that I had one mile left. Yellow loop really works your muscles. There's lots of ups and downs. Even though it's 4.72 miles and doesn't go as high up as the red loop, there is more overall elevation gain because of all the ups and downs. Kelli says it's her favorite loop. I remember thinking, despite the imminent danger, it wasn't too bad. But then there were a couple of places where it was just up, down, up, down, and I thought, "This isn't cool." I was 77 seconds per mile slower than last year.
After finishing yellow I went back to camp and slept some more. (Actually, before that I saw Kelli again. I told her no more hugs for her because I was dripping wet with sweat. Her friend that she was with gasped in horror with the amount of sweat that I had produced.) When the morning came, it felt even colder. And of course, the wind picks up once the sun comes out. Still, the high was supposed to be 85º. It was 9:05am when it was my turn to run again. Now was the green loop. The green loop is by far the easiest. The climb is very moderate, almost unnoticeable. There is one quick steep climb right before the street, but that's it. I remember wishing I had run this leg last year during the day where I could see better, because I believed I could have run it real fast. So I was excited to be able to run it this year in the daylight. And I didn't feel to bad before running it, but as I got going, I realized I didn't have much left in my tank. I ran it 61 seconds per mile slower than last year. Oh well. What I remember most was a kid passing me real fast about half a mile in. He was running the red loop. The green loop is a loop within the red loop. They share the same path for the first three quarters of a mile. Then red turns and makes the big climb up the mountain while green continues forward on the gradual incline. The meet back up at the two mile mark and diverge again at the 2.4 mile. Then they meet back up for the final quarter mile right before the timing pad. The kid was wearing a black T-shirt with a giant middle finger on it. I was like, "That's kind of rude." But at the same time, it's kinda funny. Cuz really, what am I gonna do about it? I can't catch him. Anyway, I saw him charge up the mountain and we parted ways. But of course right before the finish line he caught me again for one last you know what. Ha! As I was making my way into the chute someone was cheering for me. I looked and saw it was my friend Ricci, Josh's girlfriend. Josh was there, too. Then I heard other people saying, "Great job, Burt!", but I didn't know who they were because I was focused on that final hill and not falling. Maybe it was Twinkies and Susie?
So, I finished another Ragnar. I was still a little sick, but was grateful that I was able to run at a decent pace the entire time. I had a fun team and had a good time. My wife picked me up and we went to Baskin Robbins to get a Rocky Road milkshake.