Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ragnar: Run. Drive. Sleep. Repeat.

What an experience it was to run in the Ragnar Relay from the Valley of Fire to Las Vegas in the warm state of Nevada. I now get the phrase, "Run. Drive. Sleep. Repeat." that is on all Ragnar logo stuff. There was plenty of all of that (except sleep) during the whole experience. And it was totally worth it!

When I told people I was running in this relay race I got a lot of funny faces and remarks. A lot of people seem to think they could never do something like this. Well, yes, you can. Running is only part of the experience and if your team is there for fun and not to be the first across the finish line, GO! DO IT! You will never regret the experience. Here is what you get if you run a Ragnar:

1. An opportunity to make friends.

The only people on my team I knew at all were Wendy, Melanie and Lisa. At that, I knew Wendy the best. Through our training runs and the race itself I got to know Melanie and Lisa better and made lots of new friends.

Van #1 - Yolanda, Laura, Melanie, Me, Christine, and Cheryl.

I spent the next two days with these awesome women racing around the Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, Henderson and into Las Vegas. We shared food, laughter and lack of sleep. I will always remember our choice of conversations and topics. The honesty of it all! Wow!

The hand off from Melanie to Yolanda. Everyone of you ran a great run!

2. In a race like this your teammates give you lots of support.

Cheryl handed off to Melanie but Melanie forgot her gum. Christine set her right.

We were always supportive of the girl on the run and did our best to offer them whatever they needed to make their run good. Everyone had different preferences. Thanks for spraying me down with water, the drinks and lots of cheering. Cheryl was an amazing sprayer. She was always on top of that with everyone. I hope we didn't let you down when you were out on the road! You all rock!

This was my favorite run - into the Valley of Fire. It was beautiful. The moon and the sun where out. The rocks were a beautiful red. We also got to talk with the gals from van 2 at the exchange. I was the last to run from my van everytime and got to hand off to Tiffany in their van. It was just nice to see them there.

3. The scenery you encounter on a Ragnar is varied.

Dusty straight roads. Winding sandy roads. Mountains, desserts and city scapes. We got some of all of this during the race. Early morning sunrise, late afternoon heat and moonlight trails. For an area as "out there" as Nevada, there was actually a lot to see. This is one of the reason I prefer to run outside instead of on a track or treadmill. The view outside is so different from riding in a car.

In the city - Yolanda offers Laura a drink.

A long straight road outside of Las Vegas. Tiffany is greeted with a drink from Rachel and a cooling spray from Libby.

One of my favorite pictures. Lisa is running out of a canyon and into Las Vegas. This was the last leg of the race. It was a beautiful area. Can you see how the experience would be different from driving it?

4. Running makes you feel good.

Whether you feel good because you get the runners rush of adrenaline or because you have done something you didn't think you could do, running will make you feel good in one way or another.

Rachel hands off to Libby. Check out Libby's smile. She's feelin' good!

Here is our team captain Wendy with Jamie. Wendy. I hardly know the words to describe the admiration I have for Wendy. She organized the whole experience. I would never in my wildest dreams take something like this on. BUT - I will happily take part in anything she plans in the future. I told her she make my dreams come true. I apparently have a hard time nailing down what those dreams are, but she gives me a heads up when she finds one for me.

Here's a hightlight - Carp drove down to Las Vegas and cheered me on for my last run. Then we road around together to cheer on the ladies from Van 2. It was really fun to have him there!

Wendy's family also drove down to give her support during her last run. I love this picture of Carp and Jeff. They are so GQ, aren't they?

Back: Libby, Tiffany, Wendy, Jamie,Laura and Lisa. Front: Melanie, Kellie, Yolanda, Christine, Cheryl, and Rachel.

After we were done, with medals in hand we checked in our hotel, showered, dressed, and headed off to the Rio for a buffet. We were all tired but were still able to enjoy ourselves.

The entire experience was great. I am grateful I had this opportunity and that we all arrived safely home. Not everyone made it home from the race. One runner was hit and killed in Henderson - the first in a Ragnar. His family and friends have been in my prayers and will continue to be.

Thank you to all you fabulous women I ran with. Thank you.