Carb load Thursday night at Jack and Ayelet's townhome, drive up to Oceanside to spend the night at Chris' awesome new home, then drive up to Huntington Beach where the start line of the 2011 So Cal Ragnar Relay was setup. Lasagna, spaghetti, salad, friends...little did we know what we were really getting into. We knew the basics; the route, the timing (via an awesome amazingly programmed Google Spreadsheet), the forecasted weather, the big exchanges and where we'd end up but it would be just the beginning of a great trip. I forgot my Garmin Edge 500 at home but instead just relied on Runkeeper Pro on my iPhone 4. As they say, 2 vans, 12 friends, 36 legs, 200.9 miles. When we reached the start line, the registration area was filled with people from all over. Some dressed costumed in elaborate and amazing themes such as Super Mario Bros and some in just underwear w/ suspenders. Their vans also decorated from front to back with markers, pictures and even props glued to the sides...the Ragnar Relay was definitely something else. I picked up a couple of shirts for memorabilia sake, we loaded up on some Protein Shakes and FRS giveaways, and then as 9:45am approached, we stood around and cheered for Chris as he was slated as runner #1. It was exciting!
For some reason, while recording the start with Qik, it came out blue, but for your viewing pleasure, here it is.
After Chris took off for his first 5 mile leg, we set out and made our way to the next exchange. We didn't know the van route and just did the best we could to find the stop. The weather forecast was calling for a dry and hot day and by the time it was my turn at leg #4, it was excruciating. The temperature had risen to around 85 F and I couldn't have gotten more liquid in my body. My exchange was located at Angel's stadium and running along the aqueduct just proved to be that much hotter.
By the time all of Van #1 was done, we met up at the the first major exchange in Corona where the first runner of Van #2 set out. Did I mention that it was hot and very dry? We were able to snap a team photo right after Ryan came in and before Christina took off. If you take a close look, Ryan (on the far left front crouching down) just championed the 2.7 miles downhill literally taking this photo just seconds afterwards.
We had a great opportunity to head to Lake Elsinore where Chris' aunt took us in, cooked some awesome spaghetti and let use use her house as a base for 4 hours while Van 2 did their six legs. Definitely some good spoiling. I even took a shower and rested quite well. I knew that my next leg was going to take place at night and I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive because I had never run that late before or in the dark at all. To top that off, I was running an unfamiliar path with headlamps, taillight and a vest in the middle of Wildomar / Temecula. Throughout the evening, all I could think about was running with a buddy and I found one! A girl from Salt Lake had told me that she was a 10:00 min / miler and I was game. We started out fast and actually made amazing time averaging just under 9:30 min / mile which was on par for a Personal Record (PR). It was an exciting finish for her and I and I was ecstatic that I had found a great person to run with let alone run some of the best I've ever ran. It was chilly too, but I'll admit that when comparing the heat from the earlier leg, I'd definitely take the cold.
Again, after Van 1 had ran their legs, we set out of Chris' house in Oceanside and had about 2.5 hours of sleep / rest until the next major exchange. It was once again a very awesome opportunity that we had that chance to be so close to a base to recover unlike other teams that only had their vans and sleeping bags. After an amazing second leg, I sought out thinking that I could actually finish strong during my third and final leg of the 2011 So Cal Ragnar Relay.
It started to get a little hot and when we approached the Loma Santa Fe Train Station Exchange, the heat was once again at full force. I started off nice and easy as you can see here:
I wound up walking here and there as I couldn't find that personal pace / high that I needed to maintain. The sun was getting the best of me. I knew that the big incline was going to happen sometime in the last mile or two, but boy, the heat coupled with the El Camino Real hill just took the wind out of my sails. I ended up with a 10:50 min / mile moving average which was definitely the opposite of what I forecasted, but I was still happy with it. My team met me at the beginning of the hill which was a great boost and I finished strong sprinting the last bit. I handed my slap bracelet to Charlette and I was done! What a feeling! She attacked Via de la Valle and took a couple of kills too and Ryan would endure Torrey Pines so in the bigger scheme of things, my hill was on the littler side. Props to those two for killing it!
All in all, it was an amazing experience that I wouldn't mind doing all over. In fact, if you're interested in running this race, hit me up! I'm always down for a challenge!
Here's a picture of that awesome medal up close! It's got some weight to it!