Wednesday, April 13, 2016

#Ragnar4Rett: Race Recap {Part V}

Oh my goodness... Can you believe it?! WE MADE IT! Well, I mean, you made it to the last installment... Technically you still have a little more reading until you make it to the actual end, but I'm sure you thought this day may never come...

Before I jump into the conclusion of my #Ragnar4Rett adventure I just wanted to take a quick minute and say THANKS! Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read about our journey, thank you to everyone who donated or spread the word about our efforts, thanks to the families who entrusted us with the honor of running for your children, thanks to everyone who joined along with us and participated in the #TeamSparkle Virtual 5K, thank you to everyone who learned a bit about Rett Syndrome and shared the fight we are battling alongside of Girl Power 2 Cure, A HUGE THANKS TO YOU! Even though there were only six of us running the race, everyone has been an integral part of this journey!

And, just in case you happened upon this recap late in the game, make sure to check out the posts that led to this final chapter:

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

I left off with the completion of my six runs. #RealTalk: I'll be a bit selfish here, but I enjoy being one of the first runners, that way I can run early in the race (and get the nerves out of the way) and be one of the first finished. [Last year I was Runner 1 and 7, this year I was Runner 2 and 8.]

Legs 1 through 3

And then legs 4 through 6

So although my part was technically over, we still had a couple of hours to go before we made it to the finish line.

Oh... The finish line... Don't get me started... It was QUITE the cluster! I was hoping that with the change of location (from Mission Bay to the Silver Strand) that there might have been some consideration given to the finish line, but alas, I was WRONG! The parking lot for the finish line was tiny and so inadequate. The "race bible" said that instead of having friends and family join you on the course to have them come to the finish line... With that said, Ryan was going to join us (and then give me a ride back home since I wouldn't be joining the team all the way back up to Orange) and he was turned away... He sat in this uber long line of cars to turn into the parking lot (we legit thought we were going to have to jump out of our van and do some jay walking running because we were worried we would miss Elise coming into the finish with the line being so long and slow) and then was told he couldn't enter. WHAT THE CRAP?! He had to find some random street a ways away and then run over and still missed us crossing the finish line... I would say that most of the exchange areas were made MUCH BETTER than last year with the parking and ability to get in and out of the transitions, but man, you'd think the finish line would have had a little more thought put into it. #MajorFail <<end rant>>

Anywho, let's get back on track... The way that you finish a Ragnar Relay is TOGETHER! So the team waits for the final runner a couple hundred feet from the finish line and then when that last runner makes their way in, everyone jumps on the course and crosses the finish line as a team. Elise enjoys being the last runner, so once we finally got to the finish area, parked and found our way to some random tunnel we waited for her to bring it home. We didn't have to wait long before we saw the sparkle skirt and pink cape flying our way and knew the adventure was coming to a conclusion.

Like I said, we ran through some random tunnel under the road towards the finish...

And that, folks, is the finish line... 

I know the race wasn't about the finish line, it was about the journey, but I was still a bit disappointed with it all. To be honest, I felt like it was anticlimactic and lackluster. It was like the finish line (or area in general) was a complete after thought. Everything was so crammed into this tiny parking lot that we didn't spend any time there. We snapped a picture or two and then made our way over to the sand so we could at least have a little room to breath.

Obviously #TeamSparkle brings the lifeguards out of their towers ;)

Like I said, I am totally aware that this race was NOT about us, it was about the girls (and boys), their fight and us doing our darnedest to raise funds and awareness, but I at least wanted to voice my opinion that way maybe Ragnar will take it into account for future years and races. {And I totally understand this is just one person's opinion, but I guess since I was thrilled with the updates they had made from last year to this year I was stunned that the finish line seemed so lame.}

And just like that our 200ish mile relay was over!

#TeamSparkle had crossed the finish line with an official time of 27:08:37.9 (is it just me or does anyone else find it funny that they go to the tenth of a second with the times since it is anything but an exact science for this race?!).

Once the results were tallied {remember, they have to remove the travel time for the Ultra teams because we had to drive the virtual transition} and everything was made official, not only did we win our category (Open Female Ultra Teams), we were FIRST PLACE out of ALL women's teams (including the non-Ultra teams that had 12 runners)! HECK TO THE YES! And overall we were 17th out of 699 teams (which includes all-male, all-female, and mixed teams, no matter the number of runners)! Well, SHOOT DOGGY! Not too shabby for six sparkly ladies if I do say so myself!

After I had a bit of time (oh yeah, because as soon as I got home Saturday night I showered and had to get ready for the Carlsbad 5000 the following morning, HA) I was able to look at my individual times. I had given an estimated pace of 8:00/mile and I ended up with an average pace of 8:01/mile. With a wonky knee and this being in the middle of running three full marathons in the matter of three and a half months I think I'll take it!

And, what's EVEN BETTER is that the fundraising efforts have been calculated and we were able to help raise over $37,000 this year, bringing the total amount raised by #Ragnar4Rett in the past three years to over $120,000! BOOYA!

Looking back over this experience it's hard to put everything into words. These ladies, they are not only a team, they are a family. Although we may not have run as strong as we would have liked individually, our collective effort was not wasted and we came away victorious. Running for something more than yourself, for others who can't, will always make the experience more worthwhile, more heartfelt, more meaningful. I pray that I never take for granted the ability that I have been blessed with, the ability to lace up my shoes and go outside for a run. It has been an absolute honor to have been a part of the #Ragnar4Rett adventure for the last two years (and hopefully I'll have the opportunity for many years to come).

And just because the official fundraising efforts for #Ragnar4Rett have closed, I'd be remised if I didn't at least mention ways to give to Girl Power 2 Cure, which can be found here. Obviously there is NO PRESSURE, but in case it has been on your heart I wanted to make it as easy as possible. And for all of you who have already donated (whether it be your time, talents or resources) - THANK YOU! I know the funds will be used to help find a cure for this devastating disorder!

Have you ever been a part of a team that became a family?


brokenaspen said...

Carlee you and all the ladies of Team Sparkle are amazing! You inspire me to want to train to run faster and believe in myself! Thank you for all you do for the running community and the girls!!

ivieanne said...

I'm so grateful to have seen you all so many times on the course! Not only were you running for the 190 girls, you were running for the rest of us too. When we got tired during our 3 legs we would remind ourselves what you and your team were doing and sucked it up. Also not being road kill made me run leg 2 faster ;) You ROCK!