Sunday, August 14, 2016

Pretty in Pink, WICKED in Sneaks!

This is the story of my team running Ragnar Northwest Passage 2016.  We met at Eri's house, most of us meeting for the first time, on Thursday afternoon to drive north.  We went to a high school in Bellingham for registration and a safety video, and we picked up our shirts.  Pictured from left: Jen, Sierra, Marie, Eri, Laurie, Sarah, Kailyn, Lynna, me, Tiffany, Carlie, and Alex.  We spent the night in a hotel/casino before Van 1 started early the next morning.  I shared a room with Lynna. I think everyone had a hard time sleeping with race anticipation.  
This park where we started is on the Canadian border.  You can just wander into Canada, and then wander back.  It was pretty cool.  I'm not sure I was ever on the Canadian side, but this is the closest I've ever been to Canada.  
 This is me with the starting line behind me.  Tiffany was our first runner.  I was runner #5.
 This is me goofing off at the second exchange while we waited for Alex to finish her first leg.
 This is me pretending to be ready and excited instead of horrendously nervous for my first leg.
 And this is my post run selfie.  I was a sweaty mess.
 When Carlie finished for our van, and we passed it off to Kailyn for van 2, we took a van selfie and went to look for lunch.  I was still too anxious and over hydrated to eat. It's hard to drink the right amount of water when you are running multiple times in a day.  From the left we are me, Alex, Lynna, Tiffany, Carlie, and Laurie.  
 When we handed off to van 2, they finally gave us the markers so that we could decorate our van.  Eri even made a stencil cut out of a running girl.  It looked awesome.  I filled in the stencil and Carlie dressed it up.
 We kept track of our legs on the side of the van.  I brought the top carrier, but, while van 2 was over loaded, the van 1 crew packed light.  We hardly used the top carrier at all.
 We headed off to the next major exchange to await van 2.  We were there for over an hour when we started getting messages from the ladies in the other van.  "We're here! Where are you?" "We're here too." "At the high school?" Oops.  We were at a church.  We ran for the car and, thanks to some crazy driving by Carlie, we made it just in time for Eri to hand off to Tiffany.  Lucky Tiffany didn't have to run in the dark.
 My night run was not fun.  Eight miles in the day time is a lot of miles, but eight miles of long, straight lines in the pitch black of night in dairy country was pretty dreadful.  I sort of hated it.  Our team's strategy for dealing with running boredom was taking running selfies, but there wasn't even a street light for pictures.  I took this picture to show my team that I was only a few minutes away.
 After Carlie ran her second leg, we went to a hotel room that was recently vacated by van 2.  It turned out to be a tiny room with a full sized bed, a big bathroom, and hardly any floor space for anyone else.  I was so tired and sick feeling, from so much running and being out so late, that I just threw my sleeping bag into the space between the bed and the wall, said a silent prayer, and fell asleep instantly.  When Tiffany's alarm went off four hours later I felt so much better than I had when I fell asleep.  I popped up excited to run my last leg.  The rest of the team wasn't quite so cheerful.  Some of them were dealing with very sore knees, and all of them were dealing with sleep deprivation.  We made a tunnel for Eri to run through for her hand off to Tiffany.
 Here is Lynna finishing and Laurie starting her last leg.
 Alex was done, but both of her knees were killing her.
 My last eight mile run was great!  I took selfies, I video conferenced with my kids, I ran, and I ate some hills for breakfast.

 I even made friends with another runner from "The Team Your Mother Warned You About."  This is my selfie a quarter of a mile from the finish.  I took it to send to my team so that they could see that I was close, but I had no service here to send it.
 After my run, then Carlie's run, we had showers in a high school gym, and then we went out to breakfast.  I was hungry for the first time in two days.  After we ate, we tracked down van 2 and cheered for their runners until the very end.
 We all joined Eri at the end to run across the finish line together.  Our final time was 34:22:10
The medals were part of a puzzle.  When we put it together for the whole team, it said, "We believe that being a Ragnarian is about more than being a runner; that misery loves company and happiness is 'only real when it is shared;' that there is a badass inside all of us; that everyone deserves to be cheered at the finish line; that tutus make you run faster; that what happens in the van stays in the van; that adventure can only be found if you are looking for it; and that a little sleep deprivation is a small price to pay to watch the sun rise with our friends.  Together we ran 200-ish miles.  Together we can accomplish anything.  WE ARE RAGNARIANS."
This was an amazing experience.  We started out as strangers, but we ended as friends and teammates.  It was truly an honor to run with such an incredible group of women.  
It was insane.  The cars came home smelling much worse than they smelled when we left (Eri actually found a dead frog in van 2 *gag*).  We slept very little, but we laughed a lot.  I would love to do this again with this exact group of ladies. I couldn't have picked a better group. 

No comments: