Friday, January 18, 2013

Ragnar Relay Florida Keys - Day Two - Leg 1

You can read Day One *Here*


Before I get back into my summary, I thought I'd post a few informative tidbits about our Ragnar. First, a map:
 I was Runner Three and my estimated mileage was 20.3 miles total: a 2.4, then an 8.2 and finally a 9.7. In my opinion they did it ass-backwards. When I requested to be Runner Three, I mostly paid attention only to mileage; I wanted a challenge and since I would have just recently ran a Marathon, I thought high mileage would be ideal. I did not think about the fact that I would go from easy, to moderate to hard. I would say that's the way it goes without increasing mileage just because of sleep deprivation and fatigue! I say estimated mileage because apparently many of the leg distances weren't accurate and unfortunately I do not own a Garmin so I did not get to see exactly how far I ran. Here is a link to a breakdown of the different legs, if you click on the numbers, it describes each leg. Leg Breakdown

Friday morning I woke up bright (or dark) and early and got out of bed feeling wired and refreshed. Every early morning before a race, I wake up and my blood is automatically rushing and I am so full of adrenaline that I may as well have an unlimited supply hooked up to an IV. It's actually rather nice to have that extra burst of energy pre-race. After getting ready and drinking a couple cups of (unnecessary) coffee, I go down to meet the rest of the group at 5:30. I left Mark in bed and kissed him goodbye, he's no good that early in the morning anyway and I did not see any point in making him get up early on his first day of vacation. Besides, I was so nervous and emotional about the whole event that if he had gotten up, I may have started tearing up before we parted.

We split all the food between the vans and put our before and after magnets up on both vans. Then we set off for the start line. I was in Van 1 which meant my group ran first; our runners ran in this order:  Katie, Meredith, me, Ada, Andrea and Rik. Rik would then pass the "baton" (it was actually a slap bracelet) to Jen Roe in Van 2. While we were separating reflective vests and head lamps between the vans, John made a point to ask me how I was feeling (he is SO awesome about making everyone feel as though they count). I responded that I felt great... but that I was nervous about my knee acting up on my longer runs. John, sweetheart that he is, responded that if that were the case then I would just walk until it felt better and then continue on! I can't describe how comforting that comment was, almost as though he were giving me team approval to walk if I needed to! That helped when things got really tough on my last leg.

Once we got to the start line, we went through all the preliminary race stuff. The Today Show was already there filming and we focused on getting through the safety briefing (which took FOREVER) and rushing Katie to the start line.

This sign was actually posted in front of the safety briefing, super neat!
The whole group together to send off Runner 1!
It's REALLY hard to see Meredith, Carly and Ada in this one...  Not quite enough lighting =/

The Ragnar people held the entire wave (scheduled to start at 7:00 am) three minutes to wait for Katie! Is that not awesome?! They even made a little announcement about our team and the airing on the Today Show the Thursday following the Ragnar. It was pretty cool. So off Katie went!

We sped away to exchange point one, where we started "tagging" vans with our From Fat to Finish Line magnets while we waited for Katie. When we first started doing this, I was SUPER paranoid. I did not realize this was a Ragnar thing and I worried about pissing people off. After I got into it, however, the excitement of doing something "wrong" turned into pure fun for me! I felt like a black ops spy sneaking around slapping our magnet on every van I came across... the most fun was running up on a van that was driving through the parking lot, that felt super sneaky! Soon we cheered Katie in and sent Meredith on her way, at this point it's already super muggy and starting to get a little warm. Next it was my turn! I did not really have anything I needed to do to get ready so I just sat in anticipation as we traveled to our next exchange point. This run would be a piece of cake, it was only 2.4 miles and my knee typically had not been bothering me until 5 or so miles in the past few weeks.

When we heard the announcer call our team number, I started bouncing on my toes and warming up my legs, my nerves were on edge and I was ready to run, run, RUN! Meredith came running in and slapped the bracelet on my wrist and off I went! The humidity that had me sweating from the moment we met Katie at her first exchange point slammed into my body; it was as though my feet had turned to bricks and I was trying to run through a swamp! I just kept thinking about how nice it was that my first leg was so short and that 2.4 miles would take no time at all to run. I'm running along when I suddenly notice a silver Jeep driving quite slowly alongside me. I kept running. After a minute, I look to my right again and the Jeep is still there. I think to myself "Who the hell is that? Haven't you ever seen someone running before???" Suddenly I am filled with annoyance and am half tempted to throw my hands up in a "What-the-fuck?" gesture when I see a camera man pop out of the vehicle and I suddenly realize I was getting ready to go all gangsta on the documentary film crew. Needless to say, I felt a little dim-witted. This is the point that my run turned into fun, I spent quite a bit of my run making jokes and comments to Jay as he ran ahead of me, came running out from around bushes and trees and leap frogging me all the while. He was fast! And allegedly not a runner! I never would have known! He was also a good sport, I can be quite annoying at times! This made the rest of my run just fly by, before I knew it I was running into the exchange point and slapping the bracelet on Ada's wrist and I was done in 23 minutes!

After just this first leg I was completely drenched from head to toe, I literally could wring my clothes out! I did not think to grab towels when I packed my gym bag, so I did not have anything to sit on in the van - plus I felt disgusting. I grabbed my first gallon sized Ziplock bagging with my leg 2 running clothes in it and headed to a porta potty to change. First of all: don't judge me, second of all: don't judge me. :P Just so you know it was not nearly as difficult as you would think to change in a porta potty without touching anything. You use your thighs, your arm pits and your teeth to hold various things and you make sure you have some hand sanitizer and/or wet wipes to clean off with when you're done on the chance that you accidentally DO touch something.

We drove to the next exchange point to wait for Ada and to send off Andrea, then headed to the next exchange point. As Rik got ready to run his first leg, we decided that I would drive to the next exchange point and then after that, as well, so Rik would have a chance to rest after his leg. Most of the van did not want to drive at all, I think driving such a large vehicle made them nervous. To be honest I was not too thrilled when I volunteered to drive, but once I got behind the wheel it was like home. I have driven all sorts of ridiculously sized vehicles over the years so it was no big deal to me, but apparently I impressed the group with my mad driving skillz! ;) At our van's last leg 1 exchange point, we set ourselves to tagging vans again and then started decorating our van. On one side we wrote all our names and put check boxes for for each leg we completed. On the other side we wrote "I run for:" and then listed off things we all ran for and drew little pictures beside them.

Meredith in yellow, Andrea and me in front.

Of course there was picture taking during our newly found downtime. 
We decided to go grab some breakfast and maybe do a little shopping with our newly found free time. We found a Denny's and realized we were all pretty famished. Billy (another one of the awesome film crew and also a self proclaimed Miamian - though we won't hold this against him ;) ), came and filmed a bit of our breakfast. I ordered double egg whites, turkey bacon and whole wheat pancakes with sugar free syrup with plenty of coffee! It definitely hit the spot! Let me just state here that I don't normally advocate eating turkey bacon because since it is so highly processed, studies I've read state that regular bacon is actually not as bad for you. The thought of grease, however, really made me sick and they were all out of chicken sausage (and honestly I do love me some turkey bacon, nutritional value be damned!). After breakfast we decided to walk to the Dollar Tree across the parking lot to pick up some towels and other handy items. I wanted towels for sitting on and wiping off with, but they only had one or two large towels left. I suddenly was struck with an idea, towels would get all damp and stinky from our sweat anyways, shower curtains were what we needed! And awesomely they had plenty of shower curtains! We then hit up Winn-Dixie so people could get the special snacks they craved. I was completely and utterly satisfied with the apples, Cuties (those teeny, tiny, tasty oranges), and pretzel chips with hummus. Those are all some of my most favorite snacks!

After that we headed over to exchange point 12 where we laid out blankets and relaxed to wait out van 2. We talked a LOT and I read a little bit in my Kindle while we lazed about.

We also added some night time flash to our van for the upcoming night leg.

It was a lot cooler if you saw it in person.

After a few hours, we decided to go ahead and go grab some dinner before our next leg started. We found a nearby Subway and I got to drive again (I'm not being facetious, I really got to enjoy it, it had a calming effect on me for the most part). I started feeling pretty nauseous around this time and could not decide if I wanted to buy a sandwich or not, I finally decided on getting one and figured that so long as I did not get any creamy type dressing that it would last if I did not eat until after my next leg. As we are walking up to Subway I got a call on my cell saying that van 2 was getting ready to get to exchange 12 pretty soon and we had better hurry up!

We finish up at Subway and rush back to the exchange point so Katie could get ready to do her next leg. I decided to go ahead and eat so I would have fuel for my next leg and also because I felt a littler jittery and thought that perhaps I was nauseous because I was hungry. Eating definitely helped.

We went to the exchange point and met up with van 2, excepting John, who came flying in on a wave of glory shortly after. It was such an exciting moment, we got to see the first leg finale of van 2 and cheer John in and got to send Katie off to start our next journey! But this was also the point where I started thinking about my next leg... we were getting ready to send Meredith off into the Everglades in the dark for 4.7 miles and then I would pick up and do my 8.2 miles through the Everglades in the dark... This was going to be fun.

To be continued...


  1. This is so great to read!! Shower curtains!! Genius idea, btw! I forgot to bring a towel too and I never found one.

    1. I'm adding them to my permanent Ragnar list!

  2. A "little warm"? It was fucking HOT on my first leg, okay?! LOL

    I love reading this. Aren't you just dying to see the film?

    1. LOL!!! Okay, maybe I should make an edit "hot as hell"! I'm so enjoying everyone's Ragnar posts, and I am TOTALLY dying to see the film!!

  3. I don't think I spoke to any of the crew while I was running. My first leg was spent mostly concentrating on not getting hit by a car or passing out. It was nice seeing them around although I can't remember seeing them on my night run.

    1. Lol, I'm a jibber jabberer! If talking can be done (and I'm in the mood), I will talk your ear off!

  4. if only a museum about sponges had some method of cleaning up a flood! Florida man