Ragnar Relay Napa Valley (Part 2)

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Our next runs were going to be night legs. Night legs are always really fun. The first leg for our van, Lauren’s leg, was so cool. The start was decorated with this long path full of lights. It really got all of us pumped for our runs! After Lauren took off I started getting all of my stuff ready. Night runs are crazy because it is so dark. Ragnar is awesome because they require everyone to wear a forward light, a reflective vest, and a rear blinking light on all night runs.

Leg 2

My run started at a park in Santa Rosa. I was ready to get my run started so I could conquer the hill and know I only had one leg left to run! As Lauren ran in and slapped to me I started running up the hill. This hill was killer. I ran a lot of it but did walk a lot of it as well. After the fist hundred feet or so, it was really dark. There were no street lights and all I had was my headlight. The fog was also really thick and my light just reflected off the fog. I couldn’t see more than 3 feet in front of me. There were also a lot of tree roots coming through the sidewalk. This was by far the most dangerous run I have ever done. As I came into the next exchange I was so proud of myself. I killed the hill and I finished super strong.

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I was so excited I jumped up to slap the bracelet on Valerie. As I came down from my jump there were a lot of wet leaves on the ground and I slipped and fell straight on my butt. It was so embarrassing as there were about 50 people standing around and saw the whole thing. Thankfully I didn’t hurt myself but it was really funny.

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After all of legs were finished we planned to go get food. On the way we ran into a lot of traffic. We found out that the other van, between a couple of runners decided to take a detour and go get ice. They were so far away from their exchange with their runner coming in soon. We decided to go to the exchange to pick up their runner and Lauren (our runner) would run their next leg so they could get to the next exchange without worry. Lesson learned don’t stop anywhere between your runners. Just go straight to the next exchange. When we arrived at the exchange they still weren’t there and I started to prepare in case I needed to run their next leg too. Thankfully they showed up just before Lauren came in and they were able to finish the rest of their legs.

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After the craziness we went to find food and chill before our next set of legs. As soon as we sat down to eat, we got word that the other van was almost finished with their legs and we were going to have to run again soon. We packed up our sandwiches and headed for the next meeting place. Since Lauren had taken one runners leg, one of their runners took Lauren’s run. (I was so jealous because Lauren was finished with her runs and the weather started getting hotter and hotter.) Finally I was ready for my final leg. I waited and waited. It got Hotter and Hotter. I was started to get worried that the heat was going to be a major problem on my run.

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leg 3Leg 3 Map

Finally I was able to start my last 2ish miles! With water in my hand I started running. It was so HOT! I was running by all these vineyards and grape vines and just praying for some shade. It was so hot that when there was a little piece of shade I would just walk through it so I could actually stay a little cooler. Finally I could see the finish line and I picked up my pace. The finish was beautiful with all these grape vines. I was so excited to be done! I had finished my second Ragnar!!

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When our last runner was finally off we headed for the finish line. We were all so excited to be Ragnarians and get to the finish line to meet the rest of our team and get our beers. We all crossed the finish line together and took a million pictures! Those of us who did both SoCal and Napa got our massive Gold Rush medals and took pictures as a team. Sadly Ragnar had not gotten our Napa Valley medals in time and we weren’t able to get our finishers medals. After all the pictures we headed to the party area and got our beers and hung out before our drive back.

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IMG_3164Our Fearless Drivers!

Every Ragnar is so AWESOME! We had such a great time. My runs sucked but I still enjoyed it so much! During every Ragnar I think “why the heck do I do this?” The day after through all my exhaustion I always start dreaming of my next Ragnar. I think the next one will be SoCal again in April! I can’t wait.

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Those of us that finished both SoCal and Napa got an extra medal that was huge!

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Ragnar Part 4- Last legs and Finish

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IMG_1996When we arrived at the Glider port at the top of Torrey Pines we were met with once again a crazy amount of vans. It was chaos driving in.  Finally we found a place to park and settled in for a little while. I knew I needed to sleep a little so I stretched out in the front seat and closed my eyes. I was finally able to sleep about an hour off and on. After I got up I realized that I might be sick because of dehydration and started drinking a lot of water and Nuun. After a few bottles I was starting to feel a little better. We walked around the glider port and waited for our other van. Finally they said they were on our way. We were so excited for our final legs. We were also pretty jealous of all the people walking around already finished with their final legs. Being van 2 is hard because van 1 is finished and so excited and we were just starting on a few more hours of running.

0182_ML1_02760171_ML1_0251Holding up our third leg

After a lot of pictures and silliness, Helen was finally running in. There we so many people there and we all cheered her in and cheered Amy off on her final leg. Once Amy was running we got in our van and headed for the next exchange. We stopped to get gas along the way. While we were at the gas station, my mom and I ran across the street to a liquor store to pick up some beer for Amy as she finished her leg. She loves beer and kept talking about running for beer so we knew we had to get her some. We stopped at one point in her run to check and see if she needed anything as well. The place we stopped was a blind turn and we directed a lot of people to turn there as the sign was hard to see. We were worried that someone was going to miss the turn. As she finished her leg and handed the bracelet to my mom, she was so excited to be finished with her final leg. We surprised her with her beer and headed to the next exchange.

0174_ML1_0266Helen handing off to Amy

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At the next exchange my mom handed off to Kathy and I started to get nervous for my last run. My last run was 7.5 miles. Thankfully I was starting to feel better and was looking forward to getting my run over with. I also knew that my run was supposed to beautiful around Mission Bay. Finally we reached my exchanged at Mission Bay and I prepared to take the slap bracelet from Kathy. When she finally came in I took the bracelet and ran off. I only ran a few feet before I got stopped at a  stop light still in the exchange. Finally I was able to run and hit the Mission Bay board walk. It was a beautiful area, even though it was very crowded. I enjoyed watching the people and making myself keep running. Thankfully I wore my garmin this time so I knew my distances.

 

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KathyKathy Ready to go

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0199_ML1_0305Kathy coming in

0202_ML1_0308Kathy passing to me

0206_ML1_0312Me waiting at the light

At mile 2 my van met me with water and pictures. It was nice to finally be cheered on during a run. At mile 3 I turned a corner and was met with 31 stairs up. I thought I was going to die as I ran those stairs. I kept running and running and running. At one point there was a group of people standing on the side of the road cheering for all of the runner and holding beer yelling “this is what you’re running for.” It was a fun run but I was getting really hot and tired. My legs were starting to feel terrible. I knew if I stopped to walk for a little I wouldn’t be able to start running again. Finally after what seemed forever, I saw the one mile to go sign. After that I was hit with a lot of wind and smoke from camp fires. It made for a really long last mile. Finally I saw the exchange and all I could think of was jumping in the water. As I handed off the bracelet I took my shoes off and put my feet in the water. Such a good choice!

Jessy (3)

Ready to finish0214_ML1_0321waiting for me

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IMG_2015My moment of joy after finishing!!

We had planned to meet Casey at about 3 miles and Tina would take over for her there. Casey’s feet were really blistered and she was hurting. After that 3 mile mark there were some big hills on her leg. As we waited for Casey I changed, foam rolled, and stretched. I was feeling really stiff and sore but was so happy to finally be done with my legs.

As Tina took over we cheered for her and went to the hills to cheer for her there. She gave us the Finger as we drove by. These hills really were killer. Next we met Tina at the exchange to see how she was doing. Tina is so funny. She came into the exchange yelling, “what do I do, where do I go.” We just looked at her and laughed. She decided she was feeling good and kept running. We then started heading to the finish line. After getting a little  bit turned around in downtown San Diego we finally made it to the convention center and the finish line. We were so excited to realize we were finally finished with our legs! We waited and waited and waited for Tina to come. It seemed like her leg was taking forever and we were worried that maybe she got lost.

0229_ML1_0339running up what is now called whore hill

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Tina running into the exchange through our toilet paper finish line

Finally we saw her as my mom and Kathy ran in with her. Once she was in the last hundred feet or so the rest of us met up with them and ran over the finish line together! We were all so excited to be finished and receive our medals. We took pictures and signed the Ragnar wall.

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0245_ML1_0369Our team at the finish!

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Van 1 had bought us all cupcakes so we celebrated together by eating cupcakes. After our cupcakes we headed back to the van and to find some food. We originally had planned to go to this Pizza place but it was too crowded (it was a Saturday night). Instead we decided to keep driving. I was driving and everyone else was sleeping in the back. I decided we should just stop at Chipotle closer to Shannon’s house.

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We ate our Chipotle and headed to Shannon’s house to unload and drive home. Finally by time I was home all I wanted was a nice warm shower and to go to bed!

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I loved the entire Ragnar experience! I was really proud of myself for running all of my legs without stopping and felt like I really accomplished something great! I am definitely look for my next Ragnar and may just be training for a half marathon in the near future.

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Ragnar Relay Part 1-Prep

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Well there is so much to say about our Ragnar Relay experience. I can’t believe Ragnar is over. I am definitely going through withdrawals! It was one of the best experiences of my life and I am so happy I got to do it with my family!

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I am going to break up Ragnar into a few posts otherwise you would probably get bored before finishing the first scroll

As you know we have been training for months for Ragnar Relay. My mom and I were on Team Tough Chik. We couldn’t decide whether we were more excited to run Ragnar or meet the other chiks? Either way as the day approached we got more and more excited! We had created a face book group that was essential to our team. With people living all over the place and most of us never meeting before, Facebook was our main communication. Through facebook we were able to plan costumes, make sure only one person per van was bringing big items, and discuss logistics.

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I felt like my running training was going well. I would have liked to get a few more back to back long runs in but, I was feeling good on the running side of things. Our Mojave trip was great training for long hours in a car, getting dirty, and going to the bathroom where ever you can. We felt pretty well prepared. Well as prepared as you can be for first timer.

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A few weeks before the race mom and I went to Target and stocked up on essentials for both vans: baby wipes, tissues, hand sanitizer, hair ties, dryer sheets, trash bags, fabreeze, paper towels, sunscreen, tampons and whatever else we could find. We ordered cowbells and party supplies online, gathered reflective gear, and found anything else that could possibly help us through the race.

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Part of our Target Shopping trip

A few weeks before the race Shannon and I went to the team captains meeting in San Diego. This meeting was great to familiarize us with rules and course changes.

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The week of I made some stencils so we could draw our “chik” logo on the vans, and made binders for the vans. In the binders would go our “race bible” (all the rules and information about Ragnar), our cell phone list, and emergency contact information, legs maps, and our end of race shower information (more about that later). I made a few other decorations that would be able to go on the vans as well.

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A few days before, I started packing my bag. I learned from a lot of different blogs how to pack for a Ragnar event. Most people said to pack each outfit in a separate Ziplock and make sure all your night gear is together. That is exactly what I did. I had a bag for leg 1, 2, and 3. I had a bag for my night gear (headlight, taillight, vest), a bag for my after clothes, and I made a bag for just in case. My “just in case” bag had an extra pair of pants, extra socks, my number belt, and a pair of gloves. My number belt was in this bag because my mom and I were using magnets to hold our number on.

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I also packed a second pair of shoes. I wasn’t sure I should bring them but was really glad I was able to change them out when my toe started to get a blister. The hardest part of packing was deciding what bag to bring. I didn’t want something too big and take up room in the van or too small that I couldn’t fit everything. The other essentials that I packed were things to sleep with. I packed my hammock (sadly didn’t get to use), a sleeping bag, small blanket, and my travel pillow.

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Thursday night before the race our team all met up at Shannon’s house to decorate the vans and eat dinner. It was so much fun decorating and meeting everyone. We had a great group of girls and were excited for the following days.

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IMG_1892Our team All ready for tomorrow!!

Julie, my mom, and I drove one van home as we were planning to meet everyone at the start line the next morning. There was no reason for us to drive from Huntington Beach to Lake Forest and back to Huntington Beach for the start. On the way home we lost almost all of our fringe, and the magnets. We learned very quickly which decorations would not work on the freeway.

A Couple of Tips for packing:
-include a dryer sheet in each bag (cuts down on dampness and stink)
-night gear: spend money on a running vest
I bought a light that attached to the end of my visor it was so much better than a band around my head
-test out your clothes and night gear before the day of

Thing I should have packed:
-a warm comfy sweatshirt (my running jacket wasn’t enough)
-my sweats (my running pants just weren’t warm enough for sleeping on the beach

0152_ML1_0224we were so cold we wrapped our blankets around us. We did get a few great complements on our fashionable outfits! 🙂

IMG_1801Leg 1 Flat Jessy

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IMG_1870Leg 3 Flat Jessy

 

My Packing List:

Running Gear

3 sports bras

3 bottoms

3 running tops

3 running socks

Visor

Headband

Sunglasses

Jacket for night

Neon vest

Head lamp and blinking tail light

Sweats/ sweatshirt (should have brought)

First aid kit

Pillow

Headphones

Purple Nail Polish

Random:

Ziplocs

Trash bag

Sharpie

Towel

Blanket

Hammock

Paper towels

Cell phone charger

Toiletries:

Toothbrush

Toothpaste

Painkillers

Sunscreen

Baby wipes

Shewee

Hand sanitizer

Hair ties

Shampoo/conditioner

Deodorant

Facewash wipes

Chapstick

Dry Shampoo

Van time:

Rainbows

Regular comfy clothes(after)

Video camera

Phone

Window paint

Compression socks

White board

Dryer sheets

Eye mask and ear plugs

Foam roller

Van Decorations