We got off to a late start and ended up leaving my teammate's house way later than we should have. Plus, it turned out that we didn't have the required # of LED back lights, so we had to stop at the home of our team captain (in Van 2) to grab one of their extras. And then there was the stop for gas.
Finally we were on our way.
Now, Van 1 is supposed to check it at least one hour prior to our start time. We were supposed to start at 6:30, and I think we arrived somewhere around 6:20. Parking was full, so we had to park down the mountain a tiny bit. Then there was checking in, the safety briefing, and picking up our flags, shirts, and goodie bag. Phew!
And I cannot neglect to mention the COLD!
|We all look so damn cold!|
By cold, I mean 30s with some slight snow flurries. Nothing compared to winters in MN, but very traumatic for unprepared Las Vegans. :-/
After completing all our pre-race duties, we sauntered up to the start line to find hear the announcer saying:
Get ready to start in 10 ... 9 ... 8 ...
Shit! Our first runner barely had his shoes on let alone a race number and the slap bracelet. We slapped that bracelet on his wrist and he was off for his first run. 7 miles down Mt Charleston in the cold and HAIL. Yes, the snow had turned to hail at that point.
He still didn't have a number because, well, I'd forgotten about that in the flurry of getting our runner to start with the 7 a.m. wave. We were only a half hour late. Woot!
About halfway through his run, we offered him support. Ok, actually, we mostly just handed him his race number, which he put in his pocket. He did not want to slow down to pin it on. :-)
Now, I was runner #4, so I still had a little time to relax and prepare before my first leg. The chatter in the van - despite the cold and early rising, was quite positive, relaxed, and fun. Prior to this morning, I had only met one other person very briefly. I was very relieved that we all got along so well!
There was no bickering or power struggles. Just lots of fun banter.
I pretty much kept my sweats on until runner #3 was out on her first leg. My awesome 80s outfit wasn't the warmest. I also didn't put my contacts in until runner #3 was out there. It was not only COLD but WINDY! My contact flew right off my finger!! In hindsight, I probably ought to have been doing it sitting inside the van rather standing outside of it. Two teammates were standing nearby, and I had all three of us STOP, and we all started looking for it. I'd pretty much resigned myself to running with my glasses, when runner #1 suddenly bent down, picked it up, and handed it to me. THANK YOU!!! Luckily, it was not ripped or damaged. Woot!
|Awesome 80s Outfit #1. I'm ready to rock.|
Finally I was ready to start my first leg. Runners #1 and #2 complained about the wind but were grateful that it was at least a tailwind. I joked that it would probably turn into a head wind by the time it was my turn. Self-fulfilling prophecy?
Perhaps. The wind was relentless. AND I'D FORGOTTEN MY WATER! This was a no support leg. I was so grateful to see the water stop. Unfortunately, a girl I'd passed earlier was quickly catching up to me. It had taken me forever to pass her, so I naturally didn't want her to pass me again. As she approached the water stop, I could tell she wasn't about to stop, so I took off again just steps before her. I probably could have gone with more water, but I was determined to stay ahead of her.
I'm not sure why, but this Ragnar really brought out my competitive spirit. I was all about the kills. Kills, for the non-Ragnarian, is the term used whenever you pass another runner during your leg. It's all in good fun. I promise.
Two more runners to go until it we could stop, get out of the van, and really rest. Bonus: As we passed off to Van 2, we realized that we'd made up the time we'd lost with our 7 a.m. start time. Sweet!
I don't know what it is about me and Ragnar, but I am rarely hungry for a meal between legs. I'll snack on chips and water and other randomness in the van, but actual food? No, thank you. I think I'm a rarity. At least I was in this van.
So, after runner #6 finished his leg, we headed out for chicken and waffles. Or just waffles. Or just watching everyone else eat while trying to stomach all the smells of unwanted food. It wasn't really that bad. :)
Runner #5 lived nearby, so we headed to his house to relax, stretch, change, and maybe even nap. a little.
|Awesome 80s Outfit #2. Stretching between Leg 1 & Leg 2.|
Leg 2 was my nighttime run. I had a little difficulty with my headlamp, but after taking it off twice to readjust, it was fine. Not sure I would have made it otherwise. :)
Remember that competitive spirit from leg 1? Of course you do, it was just 6 paragraphs ago. :) Well, it made another appearance in leg 2. I really thought I was done getting kills after 10 or 11. There didn't seem to be many people ahead of me, but then the distance narrowed, and I squeezed out a few more - including one who had passed me earlier! I couldn't believe it!!
By now, I was TIRED. My teammates? You guessed it. HUNGRY! Runner #3 lived nearby, so the plan was to sleep at her house. They ordered pizza ahead of time, so it would be waiting for them upon arrival. I, of course, headed directly to bed. No pizza for me. I slept soundly until my alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 3 a.m. to get back out there for leg #3.
Finally the weather was starting to shape up! I'd had a feeling it was going to be my warmest leg, so I'd chosen the outfit with the most skin showing for this one. :)
|Awesome 80s Outfit #3. Waiting for Runner #3 to finish.|
My 3rd leg was an off-street trail and should have been my easiest leg, but I was tired and sore and my tummy didn't feel too yummy. Turned out to be my slowest leg, understandably.
It was also the leg in which my competitive spirit really rared its ugly head. :) As I approached the finish, there was a girl in a tutu ahead of me. Ooh, I just wanted to beat her to bring my kills for that leg up to 3. I don't know from whence I mustered the energy, but I kicked it up to full tilt. I could hear her teammates yelling out to her. Looking good, Ashley! Way to go, Ashley! I *almost* started to feel bad for sprinting at the end to finish in front of her. Almost.
I passed her just before crossing the street and rounding the corner to the exchange chute. Steps prior to the exchange, I saw runner #5 bent over tying his shoes. I yelled out to him and continued to the chute where I panted and panted until I was able to slap that bracelet off to him.
I. Was. Finished!
And completely exhausted. So, when runner #6 finished with his final leg, and everyone wanted to eat, I, of course, chose sleep over eating and stayed in the van to catch a little ZZZZZs.
Of course, we were parked next to a McDonald's drive-in. It took me way. too. long to figure out that was where all the voices were coming from. Oh, to be in my head sometimes. :-)
This post was long. Thank you so much to all of you who made it all the way though. It's not really the end of the recap, but I think I'll stop here for now. The ending deserves a post of its own, plus there are a few other comments to make about this Ragnar in general, so STAY TUNED!
I promise it won't be another two weeks.