Thursday, March 5, 2015

Ragnar Del Sol: Part 1

Ragnar Del Sol | Wickenburg to Mesa, Arizona
February 20 - 21
Team Del Sol Sisters

My bestie, Tina, jumped on a Ragnar Del Sol team a few months ago... and apparently this team just couldn't hold on to folks because sooner rather than later, she had two more fabulous running friends on board (Erica and Mandy)... and not even a week before the race, I had an offer, too. Honestly, Ragnar is a great time but I wasn't sure it was in the books for me this year, but this offer was pretty financially amazing (I paid for van rental, gas, and my team shirts) and it was too hard to turn down. Perks to being unemployed? I can jump and go when I want.

Thursday I subsitute taught all day and at the first chance to get out after dismissal, I hopped in the car and beelined for the car rental facility (thankfully, not far) to pick up my car and hit the road. Without thinking that it was a Thursday afternoon at 4 pm, I hit monster traffic all the way through Palm Springs, and was already antsy to get to Tina's house.

Stateline! Woot!
Amazingly, I still made it in about five hours, but with the time change, I didn't get to Tina's driveway until just after 10 pm. With a 2:30 am alarm clock, I pretty much rolled in, got my stuff organized for the morning, and passed out.

Like I said, our alarm clocks were set wayyy too early - a 2:30 am wake up call so we could get up, get our stuff together, pack the van, and be on our way by 3:15 am for the hour drive to Wickenburg. Out the driveway at 3:12 am - are we good or what? We made it to Wickenburg in just about an hour, also right on tap, and in time to get me situated, fed, and dressed for our 5 am start time. As Runner #1, I was the one that really needed to be ready to go that early - lucky me!

Have I mentioned Wickenburg is kind of the middle of nowhere?

And that this middle of nowhere, desert town is really, really cold at 4 am in the middle of February? It was beyond freaking cold, but being the brilliant person I am, I brought one pair of pants to lounge in, and nothing longer than shorts to run in because in my head, "Oh, it's Arizona! I won't freeze." Wrong.

So I froze until start time. To further add to the mess, my Garmin died as soon as I hit 'Locate,' despite being charged all of Wednesday night (or so I thought). Frustrating to say the least, but luckily my rockstar teammate Erica let me use her Nike band.... until we realized its memory was full! What a weekend for technology!

So at 5:06 am, we were off! Bright dark and early, along with probably 25 other teams. Leg 1 was 8.6 miles, with a pretty nasty incline throughout:

Not a hard incline, just a long, treacherous one through dark desert hills. It got to me more than I had hoped it would, but I still knocked out 8.72 miles in 1:27 and change, just two minutes over my projected time and a 10:00 minute pace overall. I wasn't super happy with my first leg, but knew that it could only get better from there, right?! Right.

I had also hoped that my leg would get me some stellar views of the sunrise, but it actually worked in my favor that sunrise didn't hit until after my leg was over so I could enjoy it even more. Toni's leg was flat and gave her full view of the sun peeking over the cacti and brush, and left me seriously in awe of what I had woken up so early for. Arizona wins at sunrises, hands down, y'all.

The day was surprisingly cool, and just about any time I was outside the van, I had a hoodie on, if not pants and a hoodie too. Who knew Arizona actually had cool weather? I kid, I kid. Runner after runner, cowbell after cowbell... soon, it felt like we'd been going at it for hours and hours. Toni finished her first leg, then Mandy, Erica, Alicia, and soon enough we were on to Tina's first leg to wrap up the first round for Van 1!

We sent Tina on her way and made our way to the first major exchange to meet Van 2. Mind you, aside from the Facebook group, I literally hadn't met anyone in person, as I had missed van decorating fun the night before since I drove in so late! So I was excited to actually meet everyone - our captain, Stacy, and Olivia, Molly, Angie, Camie (runner turned drive due to injury) and Dawn! It was finally coming together - it's nice to meet people and see faces rather than just profile photos!

Del Sol Sisters, minus 1.
Tina came flying in (that girl ran her fastest mile EVER in the first mile of her leg, mind you!) and we got our team photo, amidst some chaos with the photographer, so really the 'team' photo turned into a team of 11, or 7, or 8, depending which version you've got. Hilarious. At any rate, we said our quick 'hi's' and 'byes' to Van 2, and we got our selves re-situated, out of the dust bowl of a parking lot, and on to our most coveted destination: FOOD. Chipotle on tap, which is pretty much the best post-long-run food ever and we were beyond excited. So excited, our van 1 photo had to wait until after food so we were all happy enough to smile...

And just like that, it was on to the next major exchange for a little downtime... but more on that soon!

Did you run Ragnar Del Sol?

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