Tuesday, May 13, 2014

2014 Ragnar Cape Cod

It seems like just yesterday and forever since I wrote about going to Ragnar. My sense of time is all screwy now.

Our van. Van captain Rachel, me, Cindy, Sara, Jen, our driver Jenny, Allison

We started our adventure on Thursday night driving out to MA, near the starting point of the race. We got to the hotel relatively "late" and prepared for the next day. Our Van 1s were starting at 9 am but the Van 2s (mine) weren't starting until later so we could eat breakfast and "relax" before we headed out at 11. We took over for Van 1 at Exchange 6. They made good time so I wound up doing my first leg about 15 minutes early. It was supposed to be 3.6 but they cut it to 3.2, without actually telling us. I had been shooting for 10 minute miles for all 3 runs, but I got a little excited and my average pace for the first leg wound up being 9:19. I probably would have gone faster had I known it was 3.2 and not 3.6 so it's probably good I didn't know. I still had 2 more legs and no sleep to get to.

After finishing my first leg.
Note who's on my shirt.
My name is on the back too!

I passed the slap bracelet to Sara who had to run 12.8 miles for her first leg. Yup. Pretty much a half marathon which is why she got an extra medal for doing it! She totally rocked it. She's only been running for about a year and has come so amazingly far. The very best part was that I was able to give her the special medal.

Me and Sara

One of our runners has a house out there (her mom rents it out) so we were lucky enough to be invited to stay there after our first legs were over. We only had a couple of hours and tired as I was I couldn't sleep for long. Sara insists I slept something, so I must have bypassed the REM stage and gone straight to passed out. We got up at midnight and headed out again. That was when I thought "never again." My next leg was supposed to start at 3:30 but running at night sucks so got delayed a bit. I started out at 4:00 am. At first I was okay but then I started having a strange pain in my stomach/abdomen area. I knew I wasn't dehydrated since I had been drinking tons of water and monitoring my pee color at every stop. I attributed it to not having defecated in a couple of days but it wasn't quite right. I kept going and finished 5.6 with a 10:21 pace. I immediately went to the bathroom and produced nothing but pee. As I was sitting in the van I felt the oddest pinching sensation um, in my urethra. Then I felt so much pressure I thought I was one of those high school girls who didn't know she was pregnant and was going to deliver a baby in the van. It finally dawned on me that I was probably passing a kidney stone! As soon as the pain peaked, it kind of went away. I think I fell asleep in the van for 15 minutes or so.

Our van finished our second legs sometime in the morning and we headed to a local school gym to sleep on the floor. The other runners were WICKED LOUD so we didn't really do much sleeping. But I got as much rest as I could. We still had one more leg to go and for me it was going to be my longest distance. I hoped it would be easier than my night time run since I would, hopefully, not be passing another kidney stone. 

I was wrong. About it being easier, not passing any more stones. My 7.3 miles were nothing but rolling hills the entire way. We started out going up a big ol' hill and I thought okay, that's over. But no, oh no. Every time I thought there couldn't possibly be another hill, there it was! My van had said they would stop around mile 5 to see if I needed water or anything. I was happy to see them before mile 5, not because I needed water but because I was going to use it as an excuse to stop. I saw my van and snagged some shot bloks because I had forgotten my own. Then a little ways after I saw the other van 2, which was so nice because they didn't have to stop for me and they just did just because. Then I saw one of our van 1s and was shocked because they TOTALLY didn't have to stop for me, but they had passed me on the highway and decided to find a spot to pull over to cheer for me. I might have seen them first actually, it all kind of blends together. I know that immediately after passing them I wanted to just cry. I had been wanting to cry the entire run actually because of the damn hills, but this time I wanted to cry because I was just so touched that they stopped to cheer and see if I needed anything. If it hadn't been for all of them, all 3 vans, cheering along the way I don't know if I could have made it. I wanted to give up so many times but I kept saying (out loud) "just keep going." It would have been a hard run anyway because I am not good with hills, but on no sleep and junk food and probable kidney stone passing and my 3rd run in less than 24 hours, it was the hardest run I have ever had. I let myself walk a couple of times while I was eating the shot bloks and then when I was close to the end there was another damn hill. I made a deal that I could walk up the hill but only if I was going to fly down the other side. So that's what I did. I flew. I ran as fast as I possibly could once I passed that hill and then it was done. I wound up with a 10:22 average pace and I am wicked psyched about that. It was a hard run and I just kept going when I wanted to quit and I was only 20 seconds over my anticipated pace. 

Sara, Jen, me, Melissa & Tracy.
I couldn't have done this without them (and wouldn't have wanted to!)

I passed the bracelet to Sara who finished up her 3 miles & change and then Jen did her last 4.5. She too had rolling hills and her last mile was on sand. Loose beach sand. Which would be hard for anybody but is especially hard when you're 5 months pregnant! She could have switched legs and done a shorter distance but she wanted to finish her run. She did so amazing and was so strong and inspirational! I nominated her for the Ragnar moms contest but sadly they didn't pick her. Doesn't matter though, she will always be the strongest Bad Ass Mom to me! I can't even imagine doing all of that--running, no sleep, confined to a van for hours--pregnant. It was hard on all of us, but she didn't complain any more than we did. She was a total rock star and I am so honored I was on her team. 

24 Bad Ass Moms

We all crossed the finish line together in our Wonder Woman shirts (I had NOTHING to do with that) 32 hours and 40 minutes after we started. The big question everyone is asking is will I do it again? I said this was a bucket list, one time only deal. They're getting a team together for Reach the Beach in September but I can't do another one in just 4 months without getting divorced. Vader said once a year would be okay. During my 4 am run I would have said no way in hell, but just like childbirth, the end result was worth all the pain and discomfort and constipation. I think I could probably be talked into another one… 

The coveted Ragnar medal