Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ragnar Relay TN: Book Four

If you missed the first three posts about my Ragnar experience, check them out: Book One, Book Two, Book Three.

Saturday, November 10, 2012
It was the wee hours of the morning, Van 2 finished their second legs quicker than we expected.  We, in Van 1, were already at exchange 24, but we were sleeping.  Greg was sleeping on the floor in the high school gym and the rest of us were sleeping in the van. Come to think of it, I have no idea where Driver Kurt was sleeping, but I'm pretty sure he took a nap.

Van 2 called us (I think?  This is all a bit hazy) to tell us that their 6th runner, Ken, was on the road.  Melissa didn't have much time to wake up and get ready.  Good thing we were sleeping in our clothes.

There was a runner from another team at the exchange waiting to hand off the bracelet, but his team was nowhere to be found.  Luckily, that wasn't us.  Melissa was ready and waiting when Ken came into the exchange.

Like the rest of our legs, we cheered for Melissa along her route.  I was a little nervous for the third leg.  I was tired, we only got a few hours of sleep, and I was hungry/nauseous.  I wasn't sure if I was feeling a little queasy because I was hungry, or if eating would make it worse.  I munched on a few pretzels and one serving of Honey Stinger Chews.  I packed another serving in my hydration belt in case I felt sugar-deficient on the road.

At 6:21am Central Time, it was my turn.  Please don't vomit.

After about a mile, my stomach settled, and the cold air was waking up my body and hearing the crowing roosters were waking up my mood.

At mile 2, I hit the wall.  Similar to the wall at the end of a marathon.  My body was done.  My legs were done.  They felt like lead, I felt like I was moving at the speed of smell.  But, like during a marathon, I had to keep going.  I wasn't in pain, I wasn't climbing a ridiculous mountain, I wasn't going to walk.  It was a mental game.  I won this one.

By mile 3, I was feeling better.  I hadn't taken any pictures during my runs until that point.  During my first two legs, I was more focused on getting to the top of the mountain and not getting run over by cars, but at mile 3, I was at the top of a hill and the view was beautiful.  I wanted to remember it so I took a moment.
We don't see this in Ohio.
After mile 3.5, it was all downhill to the exchange.

I felt such a huge wave of relief to see my team waiting for me.  I slapped the bracelet on Anne.  She took off and all I could think was "Thank God, I'm done!"

Garmin Stats
Distance: 5.06 miles
Time: 35:02
Average Pace: 10:29mm
Elevation Gain: 138 feet
Elevation Loss: 164 feet
(Ragnar's elevation info: elevation gain 220 feet and elevation loss 213 feet.  I'm not sure how they measured.)
We all jumped in the van to drive toward the next exchange.  We stopped near the 4 mile mark to cheer for Anne.  I was sitting in the van, enjoying my chocolate milk (best recovery drink EVER!) and feeling thankful that I survived all three of my legs when I received a text from Anne:
Don't change [your clothes]. Leg might not make it.
This made me nervous.  I knew Anne had been more sore than the rest of us because of her run down the mountain.  Downhill hurts.  But I didn't know that the pain was so bad that she'd consider not finishing her leg.

I knew she couldn't be too far away, so I started walking the course backward to meet up and check on her.  She was limping when I got to her.  As soon as I saw her face, I knew she was in a lot of pain. Anne is no wimp and she's not one to give into a mental challenge.  She is my definition of "beast mode".  In fact, I pull out my "inner Anne" when faced with a mental challenge.

Saturday, November 10, 2012
7:51am Central Time:
My BRF (best running friend) was hurting and she cried when she saw me.  I hugged her and after a minute of discussion, she slapped the bracelet on my arm and told me to go.

I knew what a tough decision that was for her to make.  I also knew that later on, she would second guess herself.  As I ran away, I even second guessed it....Did I rush her in to the decision?  Could she, should she have finished?...until I came to the top of a long downhill.  It was at that moment that I knew.  Anne made the right choice.  I was only a little sore and I felt every impact of that downhill.  There is no way Anne's leg would have tolerated that...and if it had?  What kind of damage would she be left with?

I know that she has battled feelings of failure since passing the baton, especially since there was only a few miles to go, but in the end, permanent damage, that could have been prevented, just isn't worth it.

Anne, I know you're reading this.  It took a lot of guts to make that call.  Should I ever face a similar situation, I hope I can be so brave.
Garmin Stats
Distance: 2.39 miles
Time: 24:24
Average Pace: 10:13mm
Elevation Gain: 143 feet
Elevation Loss: 117 feet
Special thanks
~to Angie, Greg, and Kate for taking some of the pictures used in this post, the previous posts and will be used in the next post.
~to Mary and Kurt who took 2 days off work to drive our team around Tennessee for the weekend.
~to my fellow Rummers. Without you, I would not have had this wonderful experience.
~to my husband, Randy, for holding down the fort, keeping our children alive and supporting me and this crazy idea.


  1. Can't stop crying. So happy that you made the decision to become a runner and join me in my craziness. LOVE YOU!

  2. I wasn't there and I am tearing up...

  3. You guy's are awesome what a great BRF!


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