Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#Ragnar4Rett Recap: Part II

Yesterday we wrapped up the first three legs of my 2017 #Ragnar4Rett journey. If you missed that recap, check it out HERE so we're all on the same page. Don't worry, we'll wait for you... Done? Okay, good, now we can move along!

Let's pick up where I left off... My fourth run. This leg was slated to be flat-ish (the second half was uphill, but it was pretty gradual so it wasn't super noticeable). I knew this run would be slower than the rest up to this point, mostly because night legs can get difficult (it's dark, which makes it harder to see, and the energy is waining, because you have been running for a while already as well as you need to be respectful of the locals and keep the noise down while folks are sleeping). I was glad that it wasn't raining yet, since the weather man was predicting precipitation (but don't you worry your pretty little head, I was definitely prepared and had rain and even snow gear packed), but the temps still hadn't cooled too much. I was able to run these 4.51 miles in 36:34 (an average pace of 8:07) and with 19 road kills. By the end of the run I knew I was a passenger along the STRUGGLE BUS headed straight to the PAIN CAVE!

It looks hilly, but thankfully the difference wasn't huge

My "coldest" run of the race... Still pretty warm!

Stoked to run for these girls! They give me strength to push on!

These miles were for Samantha, Shravonie, Laura, Bailey and Teagan!

Now I briefly mentioned in yesterday's post that I think one of the hardest parts of a multi-leg relay race is the fueling and hydrating aspect. Sure, the running takes a toll (in my mind I feel it isn't the most difficult part though because it's expected), but I think the roughest thing for your body is the fact that you're running frequently and not really able to eat complete meals and don't really have time to properly digest whatever you are able to get down.

So, with that said, I'm sure you can imagine where this post is going... TUMMY TROUBLES! Don't worry, I will spare you the details - just realize that running every three to four hours over the course of 24 hours (combined with sitting in a cramped van between legs) can cause a major strain on your body... and not just your running muscles.

With my runs getting longer and harder, I started to freak out a bit. I put a call on my social media for prayers and positive thoughts to keep my stomach issues at bay and tried to pull strength from the Rett fighters I'd be running for.

Thanks for all my social media friends and followers! 

I knew from the jump that my fifth leg was going to be tough... not only was my tummy funky and were my legs feeling the two full marathons I had run during the previous six weeks, but I was going to be doing quite a bit of hills AND the rain that they were predicting was coming down (okay, so it isn't so much "rain" as it is thick mist, but we still had to use the windshield wipers). I told myself that my game plan was to take advantage of the flats and downhills and do my best with whatever I could going up. Let's just say I felt majorly defeated staring up at the huge hills that stood between me and Torrey Pines High... This leg contained a lot of tears (frustrations that I was letting my team down, that my body wasn't cooperating, that I wasn't feeling as strong as I would have liked, that I was mentally and physically beat, etc) and prayers (thanking God for the ability to be out on the course, asking for strength to get me through the miles, etc). When you're #Running4ThoseWhoCant, things quickly get put into perspective. What we're doing pales in comparison to what these girls and their families go through while battling Rett Syndrome, the least I can do is give it my all. I was able to run these 6.32 miles in 1:01:26 (an average pace of 9:43) and with 11 road kills. [PS Although the pace I submitted to Ragnar was 8:00/mile, they adjust it when taking elevation, distance, difficulty, etc into account and I was actually still able to beat the time they estimated me taking for this leg, which made me feel a bit better... but not much.]

And in case you didn't notice... the elevation is in meters... 

In case you wanted to know how they mark the course... You are supposed
to do the "tap and go" method... So you if you see this across the street you
have to go to the sign, tap it, and then do what it says (that way you are on
the proper side of the street to see the next signs). 

I guess you can say this emotion is a little fear mixed with some frustration and topped with exhaustion... 

Heading in to the transition

High fiving Allison for our hand-off

My final night miles were for Lauren, Rachel, Kaelyn, Megan, Ava and River!

I was very excited that the sun was starting to rise on my fifth leg. Not only does that mean we could ditch our safety gear (you are required to wear a reflective vest any time you are out of the van between dusk and dawn and you must wear a headlamp and back blinker while running), but the energy normally starts to increase once the sun comes up.

Like I mentioned yesterday, the six of us are only all together at the start, the finish and while driving the virtual transition...
otherwise someone is always out running.

It would be a TRAGEDY if I didn't give a HUGE THANKS to these two... Skyler and Dave are the real
superheroes! They navigate us around Southern California with very little sleep and in a van with six stinky
women, not to mention they do it with a smile on their faces and are always willing to help! THEY ROCK
{smelly} SOCKS! Couldn't have a better crew along for the journey, that's FO SHO!
Source@elisewallace's Instagram Feed

My sixth leg was the one I was most nervous for... It was my last leg so that meant it was after a day of less than stellar fueling (thankfully the bad belly settled down a bit and wasn't raging against me), on legs that were super tired and with a body that had ZERO sleep (I didn't get a single wink during the course of the relay race). Not only was it my longest leg, but it would be run at mid-day, which meant toasty temps. So even though I had some elements stacked against me, I went out planning to listen to my body and give it my all. Unfortunately the first half was along the waterfront in Downtown San Diego - and although that means pretty views, it also means a traffic light what seemed like every block or two so it was hard to get into a rhythm. Once we got out of downtown we were running through some sketchy areas. There were spots where it seemed like industrial streets with semis lining each side. There were a couple girls in front of me, so I decided to hang back a bit so I could keep my eye on them and make sure no one tried to scoop them into a truck cab. Oh yeah, and who could forget the lovely set of stairs we had to run up and down to get over a main street?! Let's just say the run was rough and not one I was particularly proud of (the second half felt like I was doing just as much walking as I was running), but once I got close enough to the transition area I knew I was DONE! Kristen met me a little ways away and ran with me for a bit, then I saw Allison for my final hand off and gave her a big, sweaty hug. I was able to run these 10.64 miles in 1:40:39 (an average pace of 9:28) and with 11 road kills.

Thankfully the elevation wasn't much to worry about

It started off cloudy and around 4 miles in it was sunny and
at least 75*

Heading towards San Diego

Honored to be able to run for these littles!

My last leg of the race was done on behalf of Grace, Madison, Amber, Aubrey and Claire (PS Ragnar switched some of the final legs
about a week before the race so that's why the number of girls on my button differs from the miles I ran, but don't worry, everyone was run for!)

Once I finished there were two last legs before the team would meet Elise near the finish so we could cross together.

We were able to finish with an official time of 26:50 - WHOOOOO HOOOOOO! 

We also brought our #TeamSparkle Virtual 5K bling with us... because these two
races are forever intertwined! 

We started at 10am on Friday and finished before 2pm on Saturday (and had to
have our travel time subtracted from the virtual exchange)

That time was good enough to give us FIRST PLACE in the Women's Ultra Division, SECOND PLACE in Women's Teams (including teams with 12 runners), FIFTH PLACE in All Ultra Teams (including male teams), and NINETEENTH PLACE overall (including teams with 12 runners) out of the 606 teams who officially finished the race.


Although those numbers sound impressive, what we really care about is helping to raise funds (and awareness) for Rett Syndrome. And what matters is that over the last three years we have been able to help raise <<drum roll>> over $160,000! Our goal is to continue running for these girls and their families until one day they are able to run WITH us!

This is what the race is ALL ABOUT! Each and every one of these faces!

Looking back over this experience it's hard to put everything into words. These ladies, they're not only a team, they're a family. Running for something more than yourself, for others who can't, will always make the experience more worthwhile, more heartfelt, more meaningful and worth every tear, painful step and moment of self-doubt. 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 three years.

Left: 2015 / Center: 2016 / Right: 2017

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?

1 comment:

Jamie King said...

What a wonderful race adventure and what a wonderful cause! xoxo