Monday, July 2, 2012

Ragnar Wasatch Back 2012-The Run Fu Pandas!!

These are the ladies of our team, at the start of a most excellent adventure!

     For me this experience started about a year ago with a call from our team captain Darcy.
Darcy: "Hey Amy we are putting together a Ragnar team with couples from the neighborhood, do you and Kelly want to join?"
Me: "Oh, that's funny Darcy! I don't REALLY run.. just 5k's and I have asthma so probably not.
Darcy: "Just think about it, it will be fun and you have a YEAR to train!"
    More than anything I was amused that she would even think of me. Then I made the mistake of telling Sharla. I figured we would both laugh about it, but she said this instead. "If you have a better reason than fear for not doing it fine, but if your just scared that you CAN'T do it, well then you have to because you can't let fear keep you from doing things." Seriously great advice.
     That started both Kelly and I on a really fun road. For those that don't know Ragnar is a 195 mile relay race done with a 12 person team. You run up and down mountains all day and all night. It is pretty bad "A". The average runner does between 15-20 miles. I needed to train.
    During that year with Ragnar looming in front of us we trained, we trained hard. Neither Kelly or I had run much more than a 5k but in that year we ran 2 half marathons, did a triathlon, a 10k, a few cycling races, Duathalon, mud-runs and a handful of 5k's. We were Ready!!

This is our whole team. The "Run Fu Pandas" like the movie-get it?

The team of 12 is split up into 2 vans. These vans take turns running nonstop from Logan to Park City. I was in van 2 which meant that after we all met at the starting line to see off our first runner we had some time to kill. We wouldn't run until all 6 of their runners had run their first legs. So we decorated our van and took funs pictures!

 Cassie was our official window crayon artist!
 Kelly showing off his mad kung fu skills!

Once we had goofed around, napped, ate, explored, etc. It was finally our turn to run!

     Here I Go!

I learned two things pretty quickly.
#1 it was CRAZY hot!
#2 My legs were already tired! Probably shouldn't have been walking and standing around waiting for my turn to run. It ends up with the heat index this run was over a hundred degrees. My smile wasn't so big at the end of the run. My stomach was completely covered in heat blisters! Here are some pics from the rest of the team (well most of us, don't know how I missed Ryan)

 Lisanne- This was her 3rd Ragnar!
Darcy- Our fearless leader!
Kelly at the beginning of his first leg 7.5 miles straight uphill! 100 degrees remember?
Cassie Bringing it home!

Cassie finished up at Snowbasin and this is where we had our van exchange. As we left, van 1 sent their runner to run down the road that leads up to the ski resort. 8 miles downhill, VERY Down hill. We went to Morgan High and cleaned up, ate some dinner. Well tried to eat, Lisanne and Darcy were so sick they couldn't eat anything! Then we curled up, literally, and tried to at least cat nap for the few minutes we had before we had to meet van 1 at the next exchange.

This is as comfy as it got, picture the armrest digging into my back....

Before you know it, it's time to meet the van for the exchange. We are getting pretty tired now and think we are at the right spot only to find out that we are not. The exchange is a good 20 minute drive and our runner is due  in 15 minutes. This woke us up. We are getting anxious texts from the other van. "Where are you?", "Get here now!", If there is one thing you don't do at Ragnar you don't leave a runner waiting at the exchange. Finally we make it and I rush to meet our runner, 1:45 am my second leg up East Canyon starts.

 I'm so fast I'm a blur...j/k
My exchange to Lisanne

The night run was my favorite, mostly because it wasn't hot. Also it was so dark I felt like I was alone out there and was singing and dancing. It was fun! Then I hit the hill, WOWSA! But this is what I had trained for. Everyone was walking up this never-ending massive hill. If I could just go a little faster than them...yep! My plan worked, more kills (passing others) on this run than my last. I was very glad when it was through though.
More night Pics:

 Darcy :) Ready to Go!

Lisannes exchange to Darcy

Cassies exchange to Tyler, What a rockstar!

     With Cassie's exchange our second legs are over. We ran over 40 miles overnight and now finally get a little bit of rest. Katie and Shawn from van 1 have a cabin nearby. We hear heaven calling. We get a little lost which is hard becuse we are SO tired and feel each second before we go run again ticking by. We find the cabin, get some good food in us a shower and a real bed. It has never felt so good! Of course it goes by way to quick, just a little nap and we are headed to the exchange to run our last legs. I am still so tired but as I get ready to run, I can't help but think that this is it...I am almost done, I have almost completed MY Ragnar!
     We get to the exchange and it is HOT! People are saying 105 degrees. I am nervous... The run is flat and my easiest but the heat.... It was hot, I could feel my skin burning and my muscles aching. I could feel each and every step. "Get out of your head and into the music." I kept saying over and over, "you can do this your tough." It was so hot... Some kids would stand out in their driveway and squirt you with the hose, so sweet. I would feel better for a minute then look ahead to see if there were any more kids. Shade..., "just make it to the end of the block there is a tree." my internal monologue trying to find little goals to keep me going. There are ladies with ice cold sponges. As they drench my head I am like "Oh Yay!" Then quickly "Oh Crap!" as my eyes fill with sunblock. Just keep moving.... I am getting really tired, I want to really sleep, really eat and just be done. Then this song Lisanne suggested we download on the trip comes on. "The Fighter" by Gym Class Heroes. At that moment nothing could have been more inspirational. I see the half mile marker, "They'll say that ones a fighter, here comes a fighter!" I am crying to the song and looking for the crowd. Finally I see the shoot, I see Lisanne, I see Kelly, I am done, I made it. I start to sprint. I want to finish with all I have, and I do. Then a I bawl my eyes out and just about die from asthma and heat exhaustion. My year of prep, all the training, the early mornings, the miles, the sweat...MY Ragnar is done, I did it.

 Here I go!
 I'm so Hot!
                                            My finish, hand off to Lisanne "Skadoosh!"

I was done but the rest of my van still had to run. Hard runs, Ragnar Hill runs. I was really worried for them. It was so hot and we still had alot of running to do.

 Pep, and Lisanne
 It was so hot we had to get out and give our runners a wet cloth and ice to try and cool down. No doubt this lady is AMAZING!
 Little Assistance
 Finally a little Shade. Darcy and Pep each ran halfway up Ragnar Hill. The hill the whole thing was named after.
 We stopped at the top to see how far we had come and have a good cry.
Kelly got the honor of running down, down, down the backside of Ragnar Hill.

As soon as Kelly handed off to Cassie we left for the finish line to finish with the rest of our team.
Here we all are! The Run Fu Panda's!!
I cannot speak enough wonderful things about each of the people in this picture. You all amaze me. Everytime I think about the whole experience I get teary eyed and just feel SO proud. We Did It!! Wanna do it again?

Tips if you’re considering running a Ragnar:
·   Van #1, Van #1, Van #1, if you like to sleep ;)
·   Don't let fear tell you what you can and can't do.
·   Train, train, train
·   Do it with people you love
·   Never give up
Am I glad I did it? Absolutely! Will I do it again, ask me next year;)
Love Ya- Amy