Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Race Report: Ragnar Relay Part 2

The alarm went off at 5am on Friday. I quickly dressed and headed down to the lobby to meet the rest of the Van 1 crew. The people in Van 2 surprised us and got up to see us off. True teammates!

We made our way to the start. Our team was scheduled to begin at 7am, and we had to attend the safety meeting at 6am. I was instantly in love with the race slogan.

We had some time, so we headed back to the van to stay warm. Andrew knew how to do this well.

Before we knew it, we were back at the start line.

Judy started us off - it was so exciting to be at the start line and know that we were embarking on an exciting adventure!

We all hopped back into the van and quickly realized that we had no clue where we were going. A quick consult of the Rag Mag got us on track, and we were soon waiting at the first exchange.

Cindy started getting ready, and we stayed in the van as long as possible to stay warm.

When it was getting close to time for Judy to be in, we headed out to the exchange. The air of excitement out there was so fun. Everyone was laughing and talking and cheering on the runners.

As runners started coming in, we were getting nervous about Judy. She was past her anticipated finish time, but we also heard some of the other teams saying the same about their runners. Eventually, she popped up over the hill and handed off to Cindy. It turns out that several of the runners took a wrong turn and ran an extra mile!

We hopped in the van and headed toward the next exchange, slowing down to cheer out the window when we passed Cindy. This was something that we definitely did well throughout the race. It was always cool to see how far the runner had gotten before we passed in the van.

I had plenty of time to get ready and use the bathroom one more time before it was my turn to run. I was glad that the sun had come up, even though it was pretty cloudy. I felt great, and I was excited to see how I would do.

My first leg was a 6.1 mile jaunt along the Tennessee River. It was certainly hilly, and it rained lightly for a few minutes somewhere along the way. Honestly, it could have poured. I was thrilled to be out there, and nothing was going to bring me down. I also opted to go without the iPod since we were running on open and unfamiliar roads, so I enjoyed the scenery. I also got a kill when I passed a guy early in the run.

While I was running, Kevin struck a pose in front of our van.

I really pushed myself and managed to finish in 52:10, keeping about an 8:34 average pace. I passed off to Kevin and considered the run a success!

One of the coolest things about this relay was definitely getting to check out some of the beautiful Tennessee scenery.

What I love about this picture is that you can totally tell we were cracking up. We had decided to get a group shot, and Judy thought it'd be cool to be on the fence... until it broke. Shhh... don't tell anyone.

Before long, Kevin was coming into the exchange. After a quick chest bump, Andrew was off to run one of the longer, hillier routes.

Andrew totally killed it, getting eight kills and running 8:00 minute miles. SO exciting! He passed off to Bryce, and we made our way to the first major exchange to hand things off to van 2.

The funny thing about relays is definitely that you don't see half of your team much. I loved the major exchanges because it gave us a few minutes to catch up with the six people in our other van. Granted, we kept in the loop with them pretty well. We were constantly calling back and forth throughout the race to give updates on progress and to talk strategy. Loved it.

After turning things over to Van 2, we stopped at a little Italian place in Jasper to have lunch. We headed out to drive the course to get to the next major exchange to wait until it was our turn again. This is when it started sleeting.

We pulled off for a quick stop to check out Foster Falls. (Are runners the only people crazy enough to stop and get out of a van to go see a waterfall? I think maybe we felt guilty because we knew someone on our team was out running in the weather.)
The sleet soon turned to snow. Ridiculous. Less than a week ago I was sitting on a patio eating ice cream in a short sleeve shirt.

We managed to take a wrong turn somewhere along the way, in part because of the snow/sleet making things difficult to see well. We had plenty of time so it was no big deal, and we saw a bit more of the plateau.

We were soon at the next major exchange where I finally got to see Erin! She was on another team, and we texted throughout the race to keep up with one another.

It was at this exchange that we realized we had a small problem. At some of the exchanges, if you got there too early you'd be held for 2 hours. Apparently, we were running faster than anticipated. It was a little annoying... it's a race. You're supposed to run fast. Why is this a problem? It ended up we came in right on time to not be held back, so the bracelet was passed to Judy and we were the active van again just before sunset.

Stay tuned for details on the second leg. In the meantime, here's a little video sharing our disbelief over the SNOW!


Nicole said...

SO jealous! I want to do this SO bad!!! :) :) :) congrats!

Chris said...

That is an AWESOME snow video.

Looks like you had fun, and you are getting fast. :)