Ragnar So Cal
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
As runner 1, I was excited to kick off the race for our team. While it was also a little nerve-wracking being that the race was a little behind schedule, but whatcha gonna do? There were a lot more teams than I was expecting that had the crack-of-dawn start time like we did, so I was excited that I also wouldn't be mostly alone. Also luckily was that I knew exactly where we were running on this 6-mile leg 1. Bring it on.
I chugged out of the gate, way too fast naturally (oh, hey .25 mile marker at a 7:55 pace! Whoops!) and finally settled in and slowed down about a mile in (mile 1: 8:28), and then finally found a groove at the mid-point. I befriended another runner, part of team Group Therapy (don't you love that?) and ran with her for almost two full miles before I needed to stop.
The last bit of the leg went by super fast and before I knew it, I was done! Leg 1, check! Just one minute under projected (including the stop!), and 4 kills to get this Ragnar started!
And then I got to chill for a bit and just cheer and yell and cowbell my heart out. Unlike DC, which was mostly countryside, the cool part about So Cal is that because we're along major roadways and streets the whole way, there are virtually always runners to cheer for. Love.
Exchange after exchange passed and we were finally on our way to the first major exchange at the Great Orange Park in Irvine. Road construction and being near two freeway onramps didn't make this exchange the easiest to get in or out of, which made a lot of teams really irrate. We were a little hangry at this point, so beelined to the nearest Whole Foods and got ourselves some fantastic grub for lunch. Necessary, at that point, as it was about 2 in the afternoon by the time we got to Whole Foods and you'd think we'd been starved for days at that point.
After WF deliciousness, we headed down to Doheny State Beach, the next major exchange, so we could nap, stretch, and hang out for a bit... and do other things...
|Because Ragnar tattoos are |
vital, didn't you know? (Kim and Trista)
I have no idea what time we ended up at Doheny (as I was napping most of the way down there in prep for my night leg), but we had a few solid hours to kill. Time for beach playing, more napping, hanging out in the park. Seriously, Doheny has to be one of the prettiest exchanges ever. Oh right, I live here now!
We could only be so lucky. I got to spend some time stretching, hanging out with my co-worker Tom and his wife who got roped onto a team not too long ago. What a wonderful afternoon!
And then the nerves set in. I don't do night legs well - where some people get totally amped up about them (like Heather), they terrify me. Overactive imagination, you might say, but also that I'm terrified of tripping, falling, busting my knee and being hurt... stuck in the middle of nowhere. But I digress. My 11.9 mile leg was the longest leg of all of this course, but knowing that it was late in the evening (rather than 2 am), I was as prepped as I could be for it. We hung out at the exchange point for awhile waiting for Kase, and before I knew it, there she was!... go time!
|Nighttime selfie. Duh.|
My leg was also unsupported - which I think is the only part that made me really nervous. They said there was a water stop out on the course (turned out to be 3!), so I didn't take along anything to drink, just Shot Blox to get me through the long run. The course itself ran me down through downtown San Clemente, a super adorable beach city with some really cute looking areas (note to self: go back during daylight and check it out). I also then ran through some neighborhoods, ended up with at least a partial contact high, and down some residential roads that had literally zero lighting - all I could see through were the swinging blinky taillights in front of me and headlamps when I turned around occasionally.
So that part kind of sucked, but I trucked on. I walked a lot during this leg, and wasn't happy with how I forged on, but made the most of it. The other super crappy part of this leg was the last two miles or so, coming into San Onofre State Beach. The road we were running on was a side road, and while we were on the shoulder, the shoulder was all of one foot wide at some points. Kind of terrifying, even though I knew cars could see me. It was also along here that I saw a ghost bike on display, and though I'm by no means tied to the cycling community, I stopped there for a minute as it really touched me. I've seen a few of them, but have never stopped to think about it - and here, it just made sense. My heart hurt for whoever that poor soul was.
And then... it was finally over. All 11.9 unsupported miles - which, might I add, that at the last water stop (mile 9 or so), there were a ton of vans pulled over right at the water stop! Like it was no big deal! Apparently if you stopped on this leg, it was supposed to be an automatic disqualification, but that clearly was not an issue in the end. Womp.
Got my pint glass, miles done. And then the cluster of an exchange. The next exchange was just three miles down the road -- apparently the same road. So the maps gave you the same directions, to the same exit off the 5 freeway, but didn't tell you that the 3 miles were down the same parking lot road. While I was texting Ragnar central control, we were high-tailing it down the 5, trying to find where the eff we were supposed to be going. We were supposed to have received a mass text from Ragnar - which never happened. Luckily, this was the exchange where we picked up our runner, drove through Camp Pendleton, and then dropped the next runner, so the few extra minutes came off our "drive time." Whew!
After all that chaos, it was finally sleep time. I was exhausted - mostly adrenaline, mostly sheer exhaustion from the longest run I'd been on since Phoenix. Oops? Somewhere around 2:30 am, I passed out for good. Aaaaah, sleep.
What was your experience at Exchange 13/14? A total cluster like ours?