This will be long. With lots of pics. But it was a 31 hour race over 200 miles, so there you go.
You may recall I did my first Ragnar
in February, when I flew out to Miami to run with ten strangers and one
person I barely knew. Of course it was still fun and epic and awesome
(all the usual adjectives) and ended with some fantastic partying in Key
West. So when I got the option to do another Ragnar in the other corner
of the country with two of these ladies (and 11 more strangers) I
jumped on it!
I flew up to Seattle the day before and met
my teammate Lisa from Georgia, and we took the train into town for a
little sightseeing. Very little.
Yeah, that was about it. But then we met up with local Loopster Roger for some pre-race carb-loading.
hung out there, taking advantage of the happy hour specials on food and
beer until the rest of the team showed up. They drove the vans up from
Portland, where they all live, and met us for dinner. So, there was time
for one more beer. Doesn't everyone have 4 beers the day before racing?
For Ragnar, that's no problem. Because, you know, it's not really a
Here is our team name.
was in van 2, so we got to sleep in and have a leisurely breakfast
while van 1 got up and drove another hour to the Canadian border for the
6:30AM start. We eventually headed to transition #6 and decorated the
van and commenced worrying about the heat. I acquired the nickname
Bradass. OK, I gave it to them.
Here is our van 2 team.
The girl in crutches is my other "old friend" from Ragnar Florida and
team leader Nicole. She just had surgery so she had to bail, but she
still came to be our driver and head cheerleader and organizer.
The bricks made it easy to spot. Note the Kill count (this was from later).
was runner #7, so I got to go first for our van. My first leg was my
shortest at 4.8 miles and mostly flat, so I figured to burn off two
weeks of not running and run close to 10K pace. I jogged a little to
warm up and got some nerves like it was a real race! Silly me.
Eventually runner #6 arrived and slapped the wrist bracelet on me and
off I went!
I think I got about a half mile in before my first red light.
don't block off the 200 miles of roads, so we have to follow traffic
laws. And my leg started off right through a small downtown area with
lots of lights. You can see below where I had to stop 4 times in the
first mile. But then I started rolling and was feeling good, racking up
kills and enjoying running. Until I heard the train.
ha, I thought, I hope we don't cross the track...And then I saw the
crossing. And the train engine going through it. There was nothing to do
but stop and wait. And wait. Eventually 12 people backed up there and I
waited for 2 minutes and 40 seconds. We chatted a little. I tried to
figure out if anyone was faster than me. I didn't stop my G, but I used
lap to block out all the stoppage time.
we got going I was out in front of the small pack, although one guy
challenged me for a while. Until I dropped him. So that was nice. We
cruised next to the water on a nice trail. Almost the whole course was
really pretty scenery.
Including all the stoplights I was stopped
for almost 5 minutes. But if you take those out I averaged 7:21 for the
4.8 miles, so I was happy with that, as I handed off to runner #8, Lisa.
I cooled down and toweled off it was on to the job of team support from
the van. We would generally stop once in the middle of each leg to get
out and cheer and offer water. Rules said we had to use these flags
whenever crossing streets.
all had good first legs and then we were free at about 4:30PM for 5
hours or so before our next run. So, Chipotle! Well, for me anyway. Most
others had more sensible sandwiches next door at Panera. I did skip the
beans however. I do have a heart.
At transition 18 there was a tent city where we could chill.
It was too warm inside the tent, so we mostly sat outside. A few napped.
A few found other things to do...
Yes, her pants are around her ankles. This group knows how to party! And we like our cell phones.
also discovered the hilarity of the Crazy Helium Booth app. I didn't
sleep at all. Too early. And no beer. Because I was the next runner. I
started my next leg just after the sun went down. 8.7 miles in the dark
woods over a few hills.
was cooler and dark and fun to chase the bobbing lights up ahead. Not
as much fun were the hills. I dialed it back and just kept it at a good
comfortably hard pace. The downhills felt great, but I started to get
sore quads already. I don't have enough miles in lately for this kind of
racing, but what the hell. Those last two sub-8 miles felt good anyway.
Averaged 8:10 for the leg.
it was the dark hours, which have their own charm. We couldn't really
tell who was who until they arrived at the transitions. But we could see
lots of stars. It wasn't too cold. The group got along well and we kept
ourselves amused. And ate.
finished our 2nd legs just as dawn was arriving. With the short nights
way up North here in the summer, van 1 didn't get to run in the dark.
Too bad - I love those dark runs.
At T24 I managed to
connect with another Loopster! The fabulous Fenwick Razzleberry was
having her own adventures. Sadly we only managed to cross paths for
about one minute, but, we got a pic for you guys. But my van was
beckoning and I had to go.
drove to T30 and tried to sleep. But the high school gym was full, and I
had no sleeping bag. Eventually I dozed maybe 30 minutes in the van
before giving up and getting coffee. Had some of the worst pancakes and
bacon in my life. Yes, inedible bacon! It exists.
leg was 6.3 miles. My legs were already sore now. My plan was to just
run comfortable. Maybe stay close to 8:00 pace if the body allowed. The
first few miles were beautiful as I approached the Sound. Clear skies,
big mountains, blue water, and downhill running - it was great.
Until it went back uphill...
hill kind of sucked, but I just took it easy and got over it, and was
rewarded with more long downhills. Which were awesome.
was definitely tiring and the legs were sore, but I was working and
still passing people, and kicked it in pretty hard at the end. As you
can see in the last split.
I managed to hit 8:00 average pace for the leg. And my totals for the
three legs were 19.8 miles at an average pace of 7:56. Calling that a
But I wasn't done yet. Our #12 runner turned her
ankle on her 2nd leg. She toughed it out and finished the leg - over 4
miles on the sore ankle. But now it was swelling, and she couldn't do
the last leg, #36 to the finish line. It was 4.7 miles. So I
volunteered, along with our other strong runner Lisa, to split it.
was totally not racing now, so I told myself to just jog. Because my
legs were shot, and I was tired. But, you know, racing! It was hot and I
was out of clean running clothes, so I decided to go topless.
first mile was an easy 8:29, and the 2nd mile was all uphill and I gave
in and walked a few times and ran/walked a 10:13. Then we got this
classic photo at the hand off.
NOT staged! Ha ha. Enjoy.
Then it was on to the finish where we met up with van 1 and all crossed the finish together.
Then there was beer and pizza and medal jigsaw puzzles. And more beer.
It was a great time with a wonderful bunch of people. You know, runners!
dear wife arrived at the finish to collect me. And then the rest of the
team all headed out for the long drive back to Portland. No post-race
debauchery this time. Instead I started a nice 3 day vacation with the
wife and some of her friends who live nearby. After I slept 13 hours
What about the sore feet, you ask? Well,
after leg #1 they hurt. I was peeved and worried. But after leg #2 they
were no worse. Just a dull ache. And by leg #3 I hurt everywhere else
worse - mainly the quads, but also the back and the shoulders. So that I
wasn't even thinking about the feet. I swear they felt better after leg
4 then they did after leg 1. Not even a factor. By the next day it was
better than before the race started. As if the prescription was just
"more miles". I don't know. Pain is not gone, but it is better than last
week when I wasn't running. Still taking two weeks off and we'll see.
But I'm optimistic.