Tuesday, April 12, 2016

#Ragnar4Rett: Race Recap {Part IV}

It's a new day, so we might as well jump into the #Ragnar4Rett adventure as the sun is rising on the second day of the race, right?! I think it only makes sense (or at least that's where we are at in the recap, so that's where we must begin).

If you missed any of the recent posts (how rude... kidding... sort of...), or if you just want to relive the amazingness that is #Ragnar4Rett, head to any or all of the links below. In the meantime, I'm going to continue chugging right along.

     * Meet Ultra #TeamSparkle 2016!
     * #Ragnar4Rett: Race Recap {Part II}
     * #Ragnar4Rett: Race Recap {Part III}

At this point I had completed four of my six legs and was ready to tackle my fifth. I was pumped for my fifth run (which was technically the 26th leg of the race) because it was along the 101 where I normally do my long runs (starting in Carlsbad, at Ponto State Beach, and finishing in Encinitas, at Moonlight Beach). The one thing I didn't expect was that because the transition was such a cluster last year they changed the course slightly and I would be running UP stairs at the beginning of the leg (this is so the runners weren't sharing the same lane with the vans trying to exit the parking lot).

Looks pretty straight and easy, right?!
Well, looks can be deceiving... 

Um... I'm normally fine running stairs, but you're expending a lot of energy to go a very short distance so to put that at the beginning of a run was a bit rough, at least for me. And, although my knee had held up well until this point, I think the stairs tweaked it again. I could feel that my knee was angry at me before we even made it back to the road - GRRRRRR!

There I go... Off into the dark abyss (thankful I was very familiar with the area and knew right where I was going)

Before running I hit up the port-o-potty and I was freezing so I decided I'd throw on a light jacket for the run... BIG MISTAKE! It reminded me of when wrestlers are trying to cut weight and wear those garbage bag sweatsuits... I was overheating within a half mile into the run and was trying to strip off the jacket while trying to fiddle with all of my reflective gear. I felt like I was trapped in a straight jacket... with a wonky knee... Let's just say it was NOT my best run of the race...

Thankfully the leg was only 2.94 miles and once I got out of my head (running can be such a mental activity) I was able to focus on Jayden, Mia C., and Daisy Mae, the three girls I was running in honor of. It doesn't completely take the pain or frustration away, but it definitely does change your mindset and perspective. #UntilSheCan

Can you see the sleep deprivation in my face or what?! 

I was able to finish my leg with an average pace of 8:20/mile, not my best (by a long shot), but at least I didn't totally throw in the towel when that was exactly what I wanted to do. By the time I had finished the sun was rising and I knew I had to forget the bad parts of the run and move along. And this time I made sure that my hand off to Allison was perfection!

You can see my jacket is dangling on my back, hooked through my reflective vest... 

I made sure that the slap bracelet went AROUND Allison's wrist, not falling onto the ground...

A thumbs up for the hand off, but I'd give the run itself two thumbs DOWN!

Time to jump in the van and head down the coast. I know I say it often, but we are BEYOND BLESSED to live where we do. I was thrilled to be able to show off the area (in the rising sun) that I am lucky enough to run on a daily basis. We made our way down to Cardiff and waited for Allison to rock her run while oh'ing and ah'ing over the scenery.

My fifth leg was DONE (as was my knee...)

I know we pay a pretty penny to live in SoCal, but views like this are almost priceless if you ask me!

Trying to stay warm while watching the crazy surfers out in the freezing cold water

Before we knew it, we had all tackled our fifth run of the race and we were at the final major transition of this whole shin-dig! (And we had also all been awake for more than 24 hours at this point... But at least the rising sun was helping to re-energize us a bit. The views didn't hurt either ;) )

Life looks like a painting in SoCal, right?! If only the gnats would have stayed
away... Literally, they were like a BLANKET in some ares... GA-ROSS!

When your friend wears a banana suit, you document the moment!

After the race starts, we only ever have 5 of the crew together at a time

HA, who knows?! At this point we were probably a bit delusional ;)

I can't believe the adventure was almost over. I just had a mere 3.5 mile run and then I would be DONE! And I would be running those miles for the precious Megan S., Tori K., Laura P., and Alyssa L..

These girls will push me through till the end!

Leg 32, but my sixth run of Ragnar SoCal

Before I left from my exchange I met up with some AWESOME friends! It's always great when you happen across your friends, especially when there are 699 teams on the course all about Southern California. #RunnersMakeTheBestFriends

No more banana costume... Megan is back in her running gear!

Sarah, Linzie, Megan and I

What I wasn't exactly expecting for my leg was how nice of a day it was turning out to be... And, because of that, how many people would be out and about down in Mission Beach. My run was along the beach in Mission Bay and I was legit playing frogger the entire boardwalk. It was a bit tiring having to weave in and out of walkers, bikers, surfers, families taking up the entire sidewalk, etc, but I got it done! And when I saw that famed sign... ONE MILE TO GO... I had to take a quick selfie with it (they have the sign on every leg, but I felt it was official official on that sixth run).

I was thrilled with the pace I was able to keep for my leg, especially with all of the dodging I was doing (and the fact that I was running on zero sleep, a bad belly and a wonky knee).

You can see the pace slowed a bit when I hit the beach...

I crossed the final traffic light with a lady a bit faster than me (sometimes lights allow runners to catch up, even if you don't run the same pace). As we approached the park where the exchange was, #TeamSparkle was screaming "One more" (as in 'you better get one last road kill'... 'PASS HER'). I gave it all I had left in my tank that appeared to be running on empty and ended up barely passing her at the very end. Well, I guess you can call it that... I was so focused on passing the lady that I didn't realize Allison was on the opposite side of the transition area, so I had to throw on the breaks and go behind the lady I just passed (otherwise I would have cut her off and probably caused a collision) - OOPSY!

AJ and Ivie happened to be at the transition as well (which is how I was able to get the video footage of the finish). I grabbed a quick, sweaty hug, snapped a picture and then we ran back to the van because Allison was cruisin'.

How cute and matchy-matchy are these two?! ADORABLE!

At this point I was able to dig into the bagel I got earlier in the morning. (Eating while running a LONG relay is one of the most difficult aspects I've found. You don't want to eat gels and chews the whole time, but eating 'real food' with short periods in-between runs can be difficult for your body to digest. I think most of us come to the realization that we will probably have a 'bad belly' for most of the race and just try to deal the best we can with it.)

I found this combination while in college... A bagel with cream cheese
AND peanut butter is definitely my jam!

Now, just because my legs are over, it doesn't mean that our #Ragnar4Rett adventure is complete. Make sure to come back tomorrow for some final thoughts, numbers and (arguably the most important part) our results.

How do you push through a run when all you want to do is throw in the towel? 

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