Ragnar DelSol….you know just a 203 mile relay……..

So this past weekend I started my Ragnar season with DelSol.  I was off from Denver to nice and warm Phoenix, just in time for #snowmaggedon ………so much for that snow prediction.  This would also aid in the training for my 50k, oh yeah signed up for one of those this year too……

I like to run Ragnars and meet new people to add to my running/race family.   Its always great to get new people and get to know them, I mean after all we spend 30+ hours in a van together.  They see your highs and their lows.   So needless to say these people become an important part of your life, you will understand this more when I get to the story……its a good one!

My team for this Ragnar go around consisted of : Dick Foote, Doug Foote, Stephanie Foote Gomez, Melissa Coen, Mark Caron, and me.   This van was a great group of people to run with an experience Ragnar DelSol with!   For Stephanie this was her first Ragnar ever!! She did more than FANTASTIC!!! She basically showed the legs who is boss and kept on going with the biggest smile on her face.   I was so honored and proud to have met her and been able to be a teammate with her on her first Ragnar!

Now on to the fun part, well not everyone considers it fun.  Its my kind of fun.

Leg 1 was an easy 7.3 miles “downhill”……we were required to run on the shoulder with traffic coming at you including semi trucks, isn’t funny though after you have been running for some time now you are aware of the cars but aren’t completely scared that you stop running.  The run started out great, however I doubted the heat……It got fairly warm, fairly quickly.   I didn’t bring my camel back because I figured oh its not that hot I will be ok…… So glad I have an awesome team that was able to support me along the way.   I always try to start off nice and slow and see how my body feels, because let’s be honest I will never know how the lupus is or what its going to do.  I can control certain elements but not all of them.  I felt great however this day and started off my run what they said was downhill.  Now to comment on this….it really didn’t feel downhill in fact it felt like rolling hills and a final up hill climb.  But I was able to keep a decent pace about 9:00 to 10:00 minute mile which was great for me.  I set several PR’s this go around including one for my 5k and my 10k, fastest I have ran them in EVER!!!  I know its not easy running a Ragnar, you get so little sleep and let’s be honest not the greatest food.

We decided to sleep for a few hours….I mean a little over an hour…..and head off to the second leg, which happened to be in the middle of the night.

So I guess one could say I underestimated what leg 2 would be.  I didn’t expect what was coming, but wait no one did, let’s be honest.   The first mile wasn’t terrible minus running through the sticker bushes on the side of the road, but meh those aren’t terrible I have thick socks on.   Then we go down hill a little bit and turn on to this what appears to be a trail, but a trail defined by Ragnar, isn’t necessarily one that everyone runs on a regular basis.  This trail started out as nothing but huge and small rocks which when you are wearing minimalist shoes.  My feet had started to hurt, but that wasn’t the biggest part of it.  You get to the steep drop off, wait am I confused and running a Spartan race, oh wait nope I am still at Ragnar.  Anyway this steep downhill to the ravine below was loose sand and rocks, that with every step fell out below my feet.   I was slightly angry at this point, not going to lie, volunteers were giggling up at top on their 4-wheeler, and that just egged me on more.  It didn’t help that I almost fell down the hill and natural instinct kicked in and I caught myself, which in turn caused me to tweek my whole right leg. The next two miles in the SAND AND ROCK fun was slow, because of the rocks.  However I got out on to pavement, what an idea, pavement; I was hurting I had done something to the leg and it was going to be a slow one.  Now, before you all judge me yes I am stubborn and yes I will keep going, I knew this hurt a lot but nothing I couldn’t handle.   This wasn’t a trail this was a wash out were water , rocks, debris flows when it rains too much.   So needless to say I experienced rocks both large and small, deep sand, and no fun.   Anyway back onto the road limp running and no fun, because I was going to finish this if I had to crawl.  Fighting back tears I kept going.   It was a serious inner battle, of fighting what was going on and my own demons of running.  I marched on would run, not fast, then walk and limp.   Got to an intersection and got cat called by some guys in a truck, how do they think that is ok??  Anyway I let my team know that I was probably going to take longer than they expected me too.   I made it to the exchange tears falling and hurting.   This for me was a low, I broke out in tears right after the leg.  I finished but was hurting and mad about what I just ran through.  But you see this is where having GREAT teammates comes into play, you see they made sure I was ok, made sure I got back to the van ok.   That’s what makes the people I run with so awesome and great.   I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to run with.

Sleep deprivation and Ragnar go hand in hand.  Maybe an hour or two of sleep before the last and final leg.  I needed redemption on this final leg because if not I was going to feel discouraged.  I needed to be able to run well and stay on top of the final one.  This one was going to be a beast of a leg, 9 miles in the sun and knowing my muscles were tight from sitting in a van and the night before.   I took off, this however ended up being a no van support leg, so glad I took my camel back !  I know I was not running the fastest by any means but I was running !! I was running and feeling ok, I came back from what had happened last night and now doing great.  I took off and kept running and stayed strong, only took a few walk breaks but stuck with it, despite being passed by every person running I am sure.  I finished this last and final leg feeling strong!

Ragnar is awesome you go from highs to lows and its a roller coaster of emotions.  But it is an awesome race, yes it may be crazy running over 200 miles in a relay.  But heck why not?  Why not experience so many different places and run at the same time.

I can’t wait to get the chance to run with these awesome people again and run more Ragnars!!

I have another post to write about my awesome race family that are doing burpees for me so going to keep this one shorterish……

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