that's a big medal
The best way to explain how this all began is to just show you.
click to enlarge
Did you catch that? Early birthday present from generous and lovely friends. Also: there is an error, in that the relay race isn't 192 miles long, it's 198. When this transaction took place, I was only a few weeks into my training for my first half marathon, so the idea of participating in Ragnar at all was more than intimidating. That being said, a part of me had wanted to give it a try for a few years, and I was happy to finally have the chance to be on a team.
In the months leading up to the race I got to know the team captain, Karli. She's such an inspiring woman. I wish you could meet her. She announced that our team would have a Dr. Who theme: Team Don't Blink. (As it happens, Blink is the one Dr. Who episode I've seen, and I've seen it twice.) Karli also assigned each of the twelve team members their legs of the race (we each had three), and I was assigned to be runner 4, which looks like this:
also click to enlarge
Each team has two vehicles (runners 1-6 in Van 1; runners 7-12 in Van 2). Van 1 begins at the starting line, and each runner takes their turn running their first leg, relay-style (in lieu of a baton, a slap-bracelet is used), the van following along for runner support. Runner 6 hands off to Runner 7, which means it's time for Van 2 to have their turn, during which time Van 1 drives ahead to the exchange where Runner 12 will hand off to Runner 1 to begin the second legs. And so on. Get it?
Van 1: our TARDIS
Van 1 drove to Logan the night before the race and we all slept at Susie's in-laws' house. Speaking of people I wish you could meet: Susie's father-in-law? Not only greeted us when we arrived late at night and provided comfortable beds for each of us, when we woke up at 3:am (to be at the start line at 3:45), he was ALREADY AWAKE and had cooked bacon and eggs for us. I want to be like him when I grow up.
Superstar Susie at the start line
My first leg was mid-morning, sunny and hot. A nice family had set up a roadside stand where a small boy handed me a paper cup of ice cold water, a perfect treat which I half drank, half poured on my head. After our van was finished we drove to the first major exchange: Snowbasin Resort. We ate and slept and ate and slept.
My second leg was at sunset, which meant a beautiful view and bugs attacking my headlamp with plenty ending up in my teeth. I think we finished our legs a little before midnight, and eventually we made it to the second major exchange: Oakley Rodeo Grounds, where I took my sleeping bag onto a field and slept for just under two hours before waking up in a frosted-over sleeping bag popsicle, being told it was time to get ready to run again.
My third leg was my favorite and my most challenging (funny how often that happens). It was early morning, the sun had just crawled over the mountains so I didn't need a jacket. The view of the Heber Valley simply made me happy. There was a problem with a teammate, and I felt down for a while, but chalked it up to learning and moved forward.
the only pic I took while running any of my legs
The final exchange, and finish line, was at Park City high school. Karli's younger brother was Runner 12 and as he approached the track we joined him and crossed the finish line as a team.
Team Don't Blink
Would I do it again? Absolutely.
**Thank you to my brother and his wife for staying with my kids during Ragnar, during which time Darin was in Hawai'i. Poor baby.