Monday, April 11, 2016

#Ragnar4Rett: Race Recap {Part III}

Alrighty, after a few days off from the #Ragnar4Rett adventure, I hope you are ready to hop back into it! We left off last time after I had finished my second run and we were rockin' out to some Journey while devouring our Chipotle in the van.

If you are feeling a little left out on any of that, or if you just want to relive the good times again, feel free to visit any or all of the posts below... But, for now, we're just gonna jump right in, k? LET'S DO THIS THANG!

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

The night legs are tricky - they're dark, somewhat cold and the energy level for everyone starts to dip. Thankfully by this time in the race we normally catch up to a lot of the teams that started earlier in the day {They stagger the starts based on the estimated length of time it will take teams to finish. [We are all required to submit our estimated race pace.] Faster teams start later in the day while slower teams start earlier, that way the finish line knows when to expect the party to roll through.}. At least for me, running with other people (and acquiring more roadkills) tends to keep me moving faster. Oh yeah, roadkills... Roadkills are people you pass on the course. And for every person we pass, Sparkle Athletic donates $5 to Girl Power 2 Cure. So not only does it give you something to do (remember the number of runners you've passed), it's for a good cause! We also give bracelets to runners we pass that say "I was roadkill for Rett Syndrome. #Ragnar4Rett".

But just because the legs can be tricky, doesn't mean we don't give them our ALL! In fact, my third leg (and first official night run) was the one I was MOST excited about. It was on the San Luis Rey River Trail - which I bike or run at least once a week! Yeppers, I totally had home field advantage. And I was running on behalf of Carly, Macy and Sadie.

The hubby was actually planning on coming out and riding his bike with me for this leg. Due to the dark, we totally missed each other (he was waiting in a dark park and I didn't realize he was there and he wasn't 100% it was me {he said it was because I was going 'too fast' - HA!} so we were like two ships passing in the night). It {eventually} worked out though.

A couple pictures Ryan took on the course. You can see how DARK it is out there!

Obviously since you can't "see" the runner I don't know if any of these were
actually me, but they are still some pretty awesome shots!

This leg is VERY dark (as are the other legs on this trail)! When I came up to the traffic light to cross over to the bike trail I was with two guys. I mentioned that it'd be super dark on the trail, but I thought if I could hang with them that three headlamps would be better than one. One of the guys started dropping back and although the faster guy was a few steps ahead of me, my game plan morphed into sticking with him for as long as I possibly could.

Officially this was Leg 14, but my
third run of the race

And I did it! I stuck with him (or at least didn't let him out of my sights) and KILLED the leg! My average pace was 7:10 for just under 3 miles. Having a 'pacer', as well as the cooler temps and knowing exactly where I was going and needed to go, made this leg near perfect! I was even able to help out a couple runners with directions when they missed the path.

Thankfully they had a few lights added near the transition
or else it would have been quite the cluster...
This is me coming in to hand off to Allison

I've gotta be honest, I NEEDED that run! My previous run was less than impressive and I felt like I was letting my team down (not to mention I added 3 minutes to our estimated finish time). With this run, I felt strong... Like I was flying! And I made up 2 or those minutes that I added on my second leg. But, no time to celebrate, we had to GO, GO, GO!

This gives me confidence that maybe I will be able to chase my 5K PR sometime

I don't know if I have seen numbers like that in a while!

We didn't have very long, since Allison is a SPEED DEMON and was running down to the skate park on the bike trail, so we jumped in the van and were off. I texted the hubby when we were on our way and we were bummed we missed each other. I told him that after the skate park we would be heading up to Lincoln Middle School (which is where we take Walt the Wiener Dog to run around multiple times a week) so he decided he'd meet us there.

THESE GUYS! They have my heart! 

1. How scary are Walt's eyes in the flash? 2. Isn't it funny
that you can see my reflective vest THROUGH the sweatshirt?

It was great getting to see my guys (and to introduce them to the #TeamSparkle crew and other friends who happened to be at the exchange around the same time as us)! Walt is quite the celebrity! Carrie, who was out running that leg, joked and said when she finished she wanted 'jazz hands, a chocolate milk, and Doritos'... She had no idea that she would get all that PLUS kisses from Walt the Wiener Dog!

Source@thisiscarrie's Instagram Feed

During the #Ragnar4Rett adventure I was trying to post updates on my Twitter, that way friends who were also running could see where we were and hopefully we could meet up. While heading into one of our transitions the AMAZING Ivie spotted our van and shot AJ a text to let him know we were coming. He was already there waiting for his sweetheart to come in and met me at our van! YAY FRIENDS! He and I went and waited for Ivie to finish rocking her run and then gave BIG OL' HUGS! [PS Did you know they started a blog?! Bookmark it if you haven't already!]

These two! They are ROCKSTARS! And two of my favorites! 

Since I had the least amount of miles this year (unlike last year when I had the most... 40+), I wasn't stressed about my runs and was able to escort more of our girls to and from the van. (Not to mention, I can't sleep in the van, so I might as well keep my legs moving and be useful, right?!) It's great getting to welcome back the current runner and send out the next. We always make sure at least one person walks the runner out to the transition, that way they can hold anything that runner doesn't want to take with them (blankets, water bottles, hoodies, etc) and can walk the incoming runner back to the van since they don't know where it is parked {I mean, a parking lot of white vans can be confusing on a normal day, but pair that with just finishing a run and you can get very discombobulated}. Team work makes the dream work, right?! 

Most of the night legs seemed shorter in distance, which was nice but a little rough because we were running more frequently and had very tight turn-around times with our speedy runners [we were literally having to race our runner to the next transition, which is difficult when you have traffic lights and have to take a round-about route]. My second night run had a decent amount of uphill at the beginning, which was rough, but I was able to catch a lot of walkers and passed 29 people (that's $145 towards finding a cure for Rett Syndrome!). I was able to open up a bit and cruise downhill at the end.

This was leg 20, but technically my
fourth run of the race

I like the negative splits. The elevation definitely helped with that!

The leg was mostly through a residential area. I always wonder what the neighbors would think if they woke up in the middle of the night to get a drink and saw hundreds of runners all lit up taking over their streets and sidewalks. Lexie, Ariya and Kylee definitely were my wings for that leg and helped me FLY!

Look at those lovelies! SO SWEET!

I guess I was coming in a little too hot at the end of my leg (as you can see from my pace above, even though I was 'only' averaging 8:04/mile, my pace at the end was cookin') because I fumbled the hand off to Allison. I didn't hit the slap bracelet hard enough to actually go around her wrist and I ended up just dropping it. #FAIL Thankfully Allison is AMAZING (both as a person and as a runner) and was able to grab it without much issue and head out on her leg.

Coming in (a little too) HOT


It's funny how much weaving and winding we did in North County. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED it, but we were constantly laughing that we were still in North County. I love running in areas I am familiar with, parking at schools I attend Friday Night Lights at, seeing neighborhoods where friends live, etc. But, legit, I think we ran about 40 miles in Oceanside alone! The crazy thing is that Oceanside was also hosting the Oceanside Half Ironman and Carlsbad had the Carlsbad 5000 (and 1-miler, kids' race, etc) so North County was POPPIN' OFF the ENTIRE weekend!

And that, my friends, is where we'll call it quits for today. Hey, at least I got through two legs in this post... Thanks for sticking it out till the end (that is if you even made it this far)! It was an ABSOLUTE HONOR to be a part of this journey and I want to make sure that every leg (and all of the girls and their families) gets the attention they deserve, so please forgive the length of these recaps. Thankfully Ragnar only happens once a year for me, right?!

Do you enjoy running when it is dark outside?

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