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Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage - RunOther

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Blaine to Langley, Washington
United States
Ragnar Relay Series
Total Time = 29h 00m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Steve "told" me I'd do this relay -- he knew people that had a team and lost some runners. OK, I'm game. Friend Heidi was on board too, but she flaked, and Ryan P. filled in. Twelve people, I know 2, it's all good!! Pre-race logistics super easy for me -- read a few emails, shop for some snacks, know where to be and when to be there.

Relay weekend began with a meet-up at Steve's at 4:45am for RP and me, and we all headed to our leader's house to pack up the vans. We had two 15-passenger vans, and we had two groups of six runners, depending on the legs you were running. Runners 1-6 were Van 1, 7-12 were van 2. I was 11, so van 2 for me. Meet nine new people, try to learn names, load 'em up, move 'em out, and hit the road!!

First stop: Starbucks. Next stop: Gas. Third stop: Peace Arch (Canadian border) in Blaine, WA for the initial check-in and race start. It's pouring rain. Sucks for the first runner, ha! Van 1 undergoes a safety briefing and gets ready to roll for our 9:15am start. Super fun listening to team introductions -- there are some VERY creative people out there in terms of names and such. We were Team Average. We came up with more clever names but they were too late to change, so Average we were!!

First leg started and our lead runner, Ryan M., took off like gangbusters!! We drove ahead a few miles to meet him, first leg was about 6 miles. He got us off to a great start! We hit the first couple of exchanges, but then needed to peel off as, technically, Van 2 was not supposed to be at any of the exchanges (just the major ones at 6, 12, 18, and 24).

We had some time to kill, since our first runner likely wouldn't start until about 1 or 2pm. So we hit a grocery store for some snacks and sandos. Then we went to REI -- our home away from home. Ahhhhh. Did some purchasing of warm, fleecy things, cuz it was COLD!! I got an awesome hat and a fleece blanket -- ahhhhhh. Perfect for cozying up in the van in the middle of the night.

Then we worked our way to Exchange 6, where we needed to check in and do our safety briefing, etc. Watched the bubble shopping tent almost blow away in the wind, yikes!! The weather was not ideal, but as always, it was the same for everyone... We eventually got word that RP was doing his run, so we knew our #7 runner would be ready to roll soon. Awesome!!!
Event warmup:

Cheer on the first 10 runners!
  • 29h 00m
  • 200 miles
  • 08m 42s  min/mile

My first leg was slated to start around 6 or 6:30pm. It had been a long day already, but our team was running well and my start time got bumped up a bit. A bit tricky to plan diet for the day, but I didn't stress too much about it, must made sure to eat mild stuff the last couple of hours and no start off hungry.

I went into the race thinking I'd just run a nice, steady pace for my three legs -- almost like a long, slow run. (I was entered in an Olympic triathlon on Sunday, so didn't want to trash myself.) Well, as my leg approached, I started to get excited to run. Van played Foo Fighters for me -- yeah! This was gonna be fun!!

Darcy came in and did the hand-off, and off I went! First course for me had some good down, then some long up, then some down, then finish with 3 miles of flat. I took off all pumped up, going down the hill at a good clip. Checked my pace: 6:45. Ooops. Dial it back, girlfriend...!!

I tried to settle in to a pace that was pushing it but also mindful of the rest of the weekend. Cranked my downhill, then came a steady climb (1+ mile). My van hadn't passed me yet, and of course I had to look good on the hill, ha!! I just tried to settle in to a steady pace and get 'er done. Passed a couple of people (whee!!!). Missed a traffic light at the top of the hill, rats. The next downhill section I was opening it up pretty well, but then thought of Kim in Boston and tried to shorten my stride a bit to save the quads for the rest of the racing. Made some nice time.

When the flat portion came, it felt like I was going up hill again -- hard work!! I was pushing pretty hard at this point and wanted to keep it rolling well. Intially I thought I'd be very happy to do 9:00 pace for any of my legs, but decided I wanted to finish this leg in less than an hour. I had no idea what pace that was, other than I wanted to make it. Pushed on, saw the "ONE MILE TO GO" sign, work it to the end... See Steve... hand off the slap bracelet, done!! Fun!! Made my sub-hour goal time, awesome!!

Steve ran his 11-mile leg (and got hard-core chicked by some fast Brooks girl, Lauren B., who became somewhat of a legend for our van, ha!). He did great. We made it to the major 12 exchange, met up with the other van, cheered on Steve to the end, then made our plan for the next 8 hours.

We were hungry, so went to Red Robin for eats, then we headed to Exchange 18 to rest up before we started our next running stint. Van 1 continued to run pretty fast, and when all was said and done, we were only at the exchange for about 90 minutes before we needed to get ready to run again. We had about :45 of quiet "sleep" time -- some out on the grass, some in the van. Soon we got word that Ryan P. was running, so we started to get ready again.

My next leg was originally slated to start around 4am or so. I had the honor of running over the Deception Pass bridge -- it is stunningly beautiful, what a treat!! My dream was to be there around sunrise, awesome!! Well, our team was keeping up the good pace, so my start time ended up being around 3:20am. Ugh.

Darcy's leg finished with a large uphill, and mine started with a big uphill as well. The exchange was pretty sparse, so the van couldn't be with me. Tom walked me down, but then I had to give him my monkey (fleece jacket) and wait for Darcy on my own. She ran with so much heart and soon 111 was coming up the hill! Game on!!!

This leg started with some long climbs. It was dark, foggy, and misty. I don't know if the road was under construction or what, but there were orange poles along both lanes, so vans couldn't really stop like on other legs. I just went into a zone, super focused on the ground in front of me, and started to run. This was my best leg in terms of passing people (about 6), and I only got passed twice.

I had to concentrate on running and placing my feet. It was a very different run, mentally, super meditative. I could hear my Garmin beep at miles, but I didn't dare look at it and take my eyes off the road. Vans would drive by, but they weren't honking and yelling due to nighttime quiet hours for the area. Kept looking for my van at the few places they could stop, but never saw them. (They forgot what I was wearing, had a hard time seeing well, and stopping places were sparse.) This leg was very solitary!!

After racing my first leg, I mostly just settled into this one. I knew it went up a bunch, then down a bit, but overall lots of ups and downs. I passed a woman just before the bridge, and the area to run on the bridge was very narrow, and with the fog I just had to concentrate. I heard her behind me, asked her if I was slowing her down, as there was no way she could pass me back. She assured me I was fine and she was just concentrating on running. She never passed me back.

Off the bridge I just worked on finishing as strong as I could. I don't even remember the hand-off to Steve on that run -- brain was clearly shutting off!!

Steve ran his leg (8-ish miles?) and then we were off to exchange 24 for some hardcore sleep. Made it there. Steve passed out bigtime in the back seat, Tom slept hobo-style on the sidewalk, not sure where others were. I was in front of Steve, who started sawing logs major. I plugged in my audiobook and checked out. Soon it was time to get up again for our next stint. We "slept," an hour or so??? Oy.

They had bad coffee in the gym, plus eggs and pancakes and bacon, but we all had our hearts set on a trip to Starbucks and some breakfast sandos. Yum.

So Van 1 was all done running by now... it was around 9am, SO NOT FAIR!!! They could just enjoy the rest of the day!!

We got Tom all off on his run and then it was Sbux time. Yeah!! Only crap, there isn't one around here at all. No worries, we'll hit a little coffee shop along the way. One shop, packed with runners, sit-down food, not gonna work. We needed to get Leah off to her next leg and realized it was a ways away, so breakfast would have to wait.

This was when I went to my Dark Place... I was very hungry and my coping skills were dwindling. Nothing to eat in the van sounded good. I tried really hard not to be bitchy, but Steve started playing techno-rap-whatever music really loud. I totally owned up to my low blood sugar grumpniess and told him I just couldn't handle that until I had food. Hated being in my grumpy place but I just can't control it once I get that hungry.

Tom finished, Leah set off, and it was time for FOOD!! Tom needed some good recovery time, as he ran a tough leg and ran it hard... hard to be patient but it's not all about me, I know!! We got him in the van and eventually found a little market place and they had some breakfast burritos in a warmer (looked like hot dogs). I bought one and ate it in about 30 seconds. I was shortly a new woman, ready to take on the day.

People kept running well, yay!! After a foggy, misty morning, the sun came out, and the scenery was stunning. We were on Whidbey Island now, running legs near the coast of the Puget Sound. Super fun cheering people on, and Van 1 was with us on several of the exchanges.

My quads were barking -- was a bit worried about my last leg. It was shorter, but how on earth were these quads gonna run??!! Ryan P. suggested short strides. I knew I'd just go out and see how it was and go from there.

At this point I was still contemplating running the last leg with Steve -- which, if I did, I would just run my last leg nice and easy and then continue on with Steve. He talked about how trashed he was, but then told me we'd run 8:30's for his last leg. I knew I couldn't do that, and I knew he had a mofo of a big hill, so I pretty much put the kabash on that. And that meant I'd have to give my last leg what I could.

Darcy came to the exchange pretty much dazed out and couldn't find me, poor girl! We dropped the bracelet and it was all pretty funny, and off I went. My leg started with a good climb -- ooof, just settle in. Then I had some down, and I started to open it up. Knew I wasn't gonna run with Steve, so that meant I had to bring it. Tried to push. One Mile to Go sign -- awesome. Last .5 miles, I just pushed and kicked. It was hot and I was trying to leave it all out there. Turned the corner and kicked out my last .2 with all I had -- hand-off to Steve and I could barely breathe. I had worked hard. DONE.

We cheered on Steve and other runners for the last leg, then went to the finish party. We ran in the last 200-ish yards with Steve -- super fun!! Got our AWESOME medals -- bottle openers!! And then it was time to hit the beer garden, yeah!!! Had some beer and pizza and just some good fun hanging out with both vans. What an experience!!! Awesome!!!!
What would you do differently?:

Nada. I think Van 1 has an easier race -- shorter legs (For the most part) and more sane running times. But it was fun being in Van 2 and getting 'er done. It wasn't like I had a choice and I was just so happy to be there!!!
Post race
Warm down:

Beer garden, baby!! Hang out, shop, and then drive home!! Some people had spouses come up, so our van ride home was me, Steve, Ryan, Erica, and Jessie. Had to wait a bit for the ferry, no worries. Beer on the ferry (coffee for me), and work our way home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Darkness, running at 3am, but who cares, I ran well for me. Yeah!!

Event comments:

My first Ragnar Relay, and I hope it's not my last!! This race was amazing! It was super organized, run very well, great people and comraderie, and truly an epic and wonderful experience. I was so happy that I had this opportunity, and that my family and friends were able to make their own sacrifices for me to do this.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2012-06-20 12:00 AM
29:00:00 | 200 miles | 08m 42s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Leg 11: 6.8 miles/57:57 (8:35 average) Leg 23: 6.5 miles/58:28 (8:55 average) Leg 35: 3.7 miles/31:56 (8:35 average)
Course: Rolling hills!
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2012-07-22 2:46 PM

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Subject: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage

2012-07-22 3:02 PM
in reply to: #4324179

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Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage
Oh man, that was FUN!  My legs are definitely sore this morning.  I'm glad I was in Van 1... I'm not sure I'd want to experience Kyla's Dark Place.
2012-07-22 4:14 PM
in reply to: #4324179

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Extreme Veteran
NW Georgia
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage
Great job, Kyla!! That sounds like sooo much fun!Eta: great job by Ryan & Steve too!

Edited by tdl1972 2012-07-22 4:16 PM
2012-07-22 4:23 PM
in reply to: #4324179

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Wherever the trail takes me, WA.
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage
Ryan the dark place was really dark. Not pretty.
2012-07-22 4:24 PM
in reply to: #4324179

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Tosa, WI
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage

Nicely done, nothing beats running on a road you have never run on before at 4 in the morning!!! and I also agree that they are fun races.  Maybe we should do an MG Ragnar sometime, you get to ride in Fatty's van?  


P.S-  I checked, my medal is a bottle opener also, must be a Ragnar thing!  

2012-07-22 7:40 PM
in reply to: #4324179

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Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage
In a word, AWESOME!!!  Sounds like you had a great time, kicked some butt on your legs and got to hang out with all the cool kids.  So fun!!

2012-07-23 7:19 AM
in reply to: #4324179

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Brevard, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage
That race sounds tough, but soooooo fun.  What a cool experience and you got to make some new friends too.  NICE!  I like the idea of a MG relay! 
2012-07-23 11:32 AM
in reply to: #4324179

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Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage

AWESOME!!!!  We may have to punch one of these out someday.  At least for the beer anyways.  I'm not sure about Dino's comment though... well, maybe...



2012-07-23 12:52 PM
in reply to: #4324179

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Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage
I was smiling throughout reading your report, your enthusiasm is contagious! Love the pix.
2012-07-23 8:46 PM
in reply to: #4325827

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Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage
Awesome! It's like a rolling summer camp, isn't it? Great job pushing yourself, you ran really well!
2012-07-24 12:31 AM
in reply to: #4324179

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Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage
Well done, sound like lots of fun!

2012-07-24 9:05 AM
in reply to: #4324179

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Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage
Awesome RR.  Way to get things done even when you were hurting.  I am so up for a MG race.  :-)
2012-07-24 9:15 AM
in reply to: #4324179

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Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage
Thanks for posting.  I've been curious about doing one of these, and they sound like a blast.  Great job!!
2012-07-24 1:45 PM
in reply to: #4324179

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Pacific Northwest
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage

Sounds like fun....guess I'll find out during HTC!  Yikes!


2012-07-24 1:49 PM
in reply to: #4324179

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Extreme Veteran
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage
Great Job!  I'll be part of a team doing Ragnar Colorado in September.
2012-07-24 9:44 PM
in reply to: #4324179

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Almaden Valley, San Jose, California
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage

and this one time, at Ragnar......nice job.


Awesome.  sounds like Band Camp.

I'm in for a MG race!!!!

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