Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ragnar Relay Recap - Part 3

Just in case you can't get enough of all of my recapping, here is Ragnar Part 1 and Ragnar Part 2.

I realize I don't have a lot of actual running pictures for Ragnar. *Notes to take more running pictures on my next Ragnar Relay*

I used my stick non stop during Ragnar.

Our non stop picture taking in general was slowing down at this point. We were all starting to feel exhausted. Not to mention, it's hard to take good pictures in the dark!

After our second round of running, we ended up at the Anthem Community Center. Next time, I'm bringing a camping mat or yoga mat. We literally stretched out on a wood floor and tried to catch a little bit of sleep before we had to head to the next exchange point at 4:00am.

I think we only managed a couple of hours before we were back on the road. I was dreading this leg. My last leg was my longest and listed as "very hard" which, if you read my Ragnar Top Ten, you know means "crippling",

I won't go into all of the details, but this last leg was one of the most difficult runs I've ever done. The second half was almost entirely uphill, with the last couple of miles being ridiculously steep. It was 24 hours into our race and we had slept a total of maybe 2 hours. I was freezing and pretty much all around miserable. And yeah, there may or may not have been a few tears.

The was only one little area at mile 6 for van support, so my wonderful van mates kept pulling u-turns so that they could yell out support. It was the only leg where I saw more than one person fall apart.

On one of their drive-bys, Tara yelled out the window, "Everyone else looks like shit, too!" And that made me laugh.

But then I was done! I was runner 2, so 10 more of my team mates had to finish up their last section, but I was done! Now I could relax and watch the rest of our van finish.

Melissa and Jenna (Photo by Megan)


Grumpy Cat doing some driving...

Lance offering water to Megan

We met up with van 2 at the last van exchange and waited for Megan to finish her leg.

Nicole, Jenna, Megan, Jenn, Lara, Me, Chris
Stacie, Tara and Megan
Van 1 was done! We went to lunch, picked up various cars, and then headed down to Tempe to meet at the finish line.

Finish Line at Tempe Town Lake

Team Dessert finishes Ragnar Del Sol 2013

Doing Ragnar was an incredible experience. I loved my team and the girls in my van were awesome. We had so much fun. It was harder than I was expecting, but I'm so, so glad I did it! I would definitely do it long as my van mates were as awesome as the Ice Cream Van. Thanks, Team Dessert, for a most excellent adventure.

Ragnar Relay Recap - Part 2

I don't know why it's taking me so long to organize all of my thoughts and pictures about Ragnar. It's such a surreal, awesome experience that I'm sad I didn't take even more pictures. Anyhoooo, if you missed Part One, you should clickety right here.

After seeing Nicole off at the start, all of us from the first van raced back to the vehicle to follow after her. Being newbies at this point, we weren't entirely sure how to do the whole "runner aid" thing, but Nicole ran with water, so she was a-ok.

Exchange 1...middle of Nowhere, AZ.
Not much fanfare at the runner exchanges.

We learned really quickly that the course maps are pretty misleading. I present Exhibit A:

That elevation looks like it should be really easy, right? Well, let me just tell you, it was not. There may be a net elevation loss, but there were hills along the entire route. And this was my easiest leg, for sure.

The good thing is that I was rocking it. My first 2 legs were really speedy for me. Soon enough, I was at the exchange and then Jenna off and running. That girl was fast. Like super fast.

Exchange 2

Later on, we had a little bit of time to kill at one of the exchanges.


We became obsessed with Grumpy Cat.

And Grumpy Cat liked our photos..

Before we knew it all of our runners had finished their first legs and we met up at the van exchange, where van 2 would would be active and we could relax for a few hours.

The van exchanges were a lot more crowded than the regular runner exchanges and there was definitely a lot more to look at...

I don't know how people ran Ragnar before the invention of the smart phone. As soon as we were back in the van, we were Googling lunch options. We were starving. We ended up at Macayo's for Mexican food. Oh man, the margarita's looked so delicious! But Ragnar also has a no drinking during the race policy, so there's that.

Despite how yummy the margis looked, I really wouldn't have wanted to run with alcohol in my system. After snarfing everything in sight, we were excited to be able to use real bathrooms instead of port-a-potties...

Me, Nicole, Melissa and Megan.
Real running water!!!
We had a few more hours before we were to exchange vans once again. Exchange 12 was at a high school in Surprise, AZ. We took a little nap on the soccer field...not a comfortable napping location, but a hell of a lot better than the gym floor we slept on later.

I think other places in the country have grass that is actually green...
I think we only managed to crash for a short period of time before we were getting the text alert that night time hours were in effect. I wasn't kidding when I said they take this safety stuff seriously! So we trudged back to the van, put on our safety vests and had a quick snack.

Yes, that is a Squeeze-it in the picture, courtesy of Nicole.
I didn't even know those still existed!
Waiting very impatiently for a text from van 2 to let us
know when their last runner was en route....
Pretty soon, it was getting dark, and so we headed over to the runner exchange area so Nicole could start leg 13.

Van 1 is ready to rock!!

Let's get this party started!

Ragnar Relay Recap - Part 1

Holy cow. I can not believe Ragnar is over. I also didn't expect it to be quite so amazing. Sure, I knew I would have fun and I would be happy I did it, but the entire experience was incredible. When I finally got to sleep in a real bed, I woke up every few hours thinking I was sleeping through one of my legs of the race.

For those of you that don't know what the Ragnar Relay Series is, it's a 12 person, 2 van (or 6 person, 1 van, if you're on an ultra team) point to point relay covering a distance of approximately 200 miles. The course is divided up into 36 segments and each runner runs three of those. Ragnar Del Sol is in Arizona running from Wickenburg to Tempe.

(from left to right, top to bottom)
Stacie, Karla, Jenn, Me, Bety, Lara, Tara, Nicole, Megan, Jenna
Not pictured are Chris and Megan- they joined us later.
On Thursday night, we met at Jenn's house to decorate and pack our vans and go over last minute details. Our runner assignments were shuffled around a final time and I ended up in van 1 as runner 2, so I was no longer running the leg with 13.5 miles. And thank GOD for that, because, honestly, it was a lot of pressure to have that leg. I know I could have done it, but I was able to enjoy my time more not having that hanging over my head. I ended up as runner 2...even though my shirt says 9.

Awesome shirt, right?


Our team name was Run To The Desert? We Thought You Said Dessert! Or Team Dessert for short. Originally, our team was made up entirely of bloggers, hence my blog name on my shirt.

We decorated our van, which was a souped up mini van rental with only 400 miles on it. I'm sure the rental place would be thrilled to see what we did to it.

Lara painting van 2

By this point it was already close to 10 and we had to leave for Wickenburg at 3:00am to be at the team check in by 4:30. We split up between Lara's and Jenn's houses to get some sleep.

Our two vans were reunited the next morning and off to Wickenburg we went!

There it is! The start line.

The starts are staggered through out Friday beginning at 5:00am and lasting until the afternoon. Our start was at 5:30, so we had to check in at 4:30. Everyone in the van is required to have a safety vest and each van has to have a few head lamps and runner lights, so there was a safety check before we were given our numbers. We were Team 260 and we all had the same number.

It's weird not to see corrals at the start.
After getting our numbers and safety flags, we were shuffled to an area to go over the safety rules. Safety is taken very seriously by the Ragnar peeps. A couple of years ago, a guy was hit by a car and died during Ragnar Del Sol, so they aren't joking around when it comes to safety.

It was really cold at 5:00am in Wickenburg. Like really, really cold.

Megan, Karla, Melissa, Jenn, Lara, Me, Nicole
Tara, Bety, Stacie and Jenna
(Chris was meeting us at the first van exchange)
Pretty soon, we were being called to the start. Our first runner, Nicole, was ready to go!

Nicole is rocking the safety gear!

We all lined up to see Nicole off. Here's a brief clip of the start. Not quite like a Run Disney event, is it?

Annnnnd, I even make a cameo at the end...okay, I suppose I would be considered an extra. But that is where stardom is made, folks.
Does anyone want my autograph?
Nicole was off for her 8 mile first leg. We jumped in the van and and headed out to offer runner support and then to the first runner exchange. Next up is ME!
Here is the runner chart:
Stay tuned, there's more!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ragnar Top Ten

Even though I finally got to sleep in a warm comfy bed last night, I still woke up every couple of hours in a panic thinking I was sleeping through one of my legs of Ragnar. After almost 48 hours, 18.8 miles and less than 6 total hours of sleep, I'm still a little wiped out. I started my Ragnar recap, but I'm too sleepy and a little distracted by the Oscars to organize my thoughts and zillions of pictures into a proper post.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I present my Ragnar Top Ten:

10. Wearing your night time safety gear is required from 5:00PM until 9:00AM. You'll look like a total moron wearing your headlamp while also wearing sunglasses if you have a morning leg after the sun is up. This rule is punishable by death, so you better not break it!

9. All of the legs are classified as "easy", "moderate", "hard" or "very hard". I think these should be changed to "hard", "really damn hard", "could be eaten by a mountain lion" and "crippling". Seriously, I don't think any of the legs for the runners in my van were easy.

8. Choose your van mates wisely. This will make or break your Ragnar experience. All of my van mates were awesome and I swear that's the reason my Ragnar experience was so amazing.

7. Grumpy cat makes everything better.

Nicole, Grumpy Cat, and me. Just hanging out.

6. Ragnar asks that teams keep their van decorating and costumes PG. Only about 3% of the teams actually follow this rule, so you might as well get raunchy, folks.

5. Gather up all of the things you think you will need on this trip. Lay it all out ahead of time in organized piles. Then divide it in half because you won't need half of the shit you think you will. You'll thank me when you're trying to stuff everything into the back of a van.

4. Tagging other vans is a thing. Not only do you decorate and paint all over your own van, other vans will "tag" your van, meaning they'll leave a signature on your van when you aren't looking while parked at a runner exchange. Some even make car magnets to tag other vans.

Now we know for next time...

3. Having a driver that is not one of the runners is awesome. We were lucky to have such an amazing driver. Thank you, Lance, for being such a great navigator and pace calculator! What a rock star!

2. If you are melting down during an extremely difficult leg, it's very helpful to have a team mate scream out the window as they drive past you that,"everyone else looks like shit, too!"

1. Take the time to enjoy every moment of this adventure. It will be over before you know it, so soak it all in!

Nicole, Lara, Bety, Karla, Jenn, Me,
Jenna, Megan, Stacie, Melissa, Tara and Chris
Check out Nicole's blog entry if you'd like to know more about the runners!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ragnar Bad Assery

I can't believe it's over! We finished the Ragnar Del Sol Relay. I have so much to write about, but I'm way too exhausted to even begin to process how amazing the last 48 hours have been.

I've had about 6 total hours of sleep since Wednesday and I have run many, many miles. We had a van switch up and I ended up not running the 13.5 mile leg (more on that later), so even though my total miles were not 23, I still ran about 18.

My last section of the race was terrible and as difficult as some of my hardest race experiences, But really, that was the only really bad part of Ragnar for me. Everything else was manageable.

Honestly, I had the best van mates. I couldn't have asked for a better group to to Ragnar with, so thanks, ladies of Team Dessert, you made this weekend incredible!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

So You Want To Run Ragnar, eh?

Considering how much I whined talked about Goofy, the fact that I'm doing Ragnar hasn't gotten much attention. My team of amazing ladies, a.k.a. Team Dessert, leaves at 3:00am Friday morning for Wickenburg, AZ for the start of Ragnar del Sol, a 202 mile relay race that ends in Tempe.

Preparation for races (in Jaime's world, anyway) typically consists of me going to work the day before, staying up all night scrambling to get things done, stuffing mostly dry clothes into my suitcase, and then flying out the door at 4:00 am to make some ungodly early flight.

Not this time, folks! I was smart and took tomorrow off. We're meeting tomorrow night to pack and decorate the vans, catch a few hours of sleep and then head out for Wickenberg at 3:00.

I'm sure I will have all sort of words of wisdom post Ragnar, but here's what I know so far:

1. I look awesome in a headlamp. Sort of coal miner meets the 70's.

Don't be jealous.

2. There's a lot of safety gear required. There's a lot of rules in general when running Ragnar. Like, a lot.

Okay, so I don't have any money. Moving on...
Any time you are out of the van after dark, you must wear a safety vest. If one of your legs is at night, you are required to wear a headlamp (or carry a flashlight), a super cool reflective vest thingy and a flashing light.

You'll be able to see me from space!
3. Lots of fuel is required. Especially if you are a ream member with fairly high mileage, like yours truly. Have I mentioned my 13.5 mile leg? Gulp.

I'm actually bringing more than this in case anyone forgets to bring enough fuel.
3. You should probably spend a small fortune at Whole Foods on healthy snacks. Seriously, this was like $50 worth of food.

Okay, yes, there's Sweet Tarts in there, too. Don't judge.
4. The people at Roadrunner Sports at Scottsdale 101 are awesome. They knew exactly what I needed because, apparently, many others waited until today to purchase their safety gear.

Note: You probably shouldn't wait until the last minute to get your safety gear. But in Jaime time, this is actually waaaaaay in advance, I mean the race doesn't even start for like 36 hours!

5. There's also something called the Ragnar Race Bible. I think you're supposed to read it before you leave...hmmm, I better get on that.

6. I'm SUPER UPSET that this sweatshirt is sold out. It's definitely the best one and I MUST HAVE IT. Ugh,what's a girl to do?

I want this to be mine. All mine.

Our team name is Run To The Desert? We Thought They Said Dessert! Or Team Dessert for short.

If anyone is just dying to follow what we're up to (or Ragnar del Sol happenings in general), here's a link to my Instagram page. Look for hash tags #TeamDessert, #Ragnar, #Ragnarrelay, #RagnarDS and #RagnarDelSol. I'm sure hash tags will be the same on Twitter.

Okay, I better get back to work. And by "work" I actually mean watching Modern Family.

Good night!