Thursday afternoon we got together and decorated the vans. Our team name was One Man Per Van - as our team was ten women and two men, and there was one man in each van :) clever. Once we were all packed up and decorated, van one (my new home for a few days) got underway! We went out to dinner at Bostons Pizza and then up to Ferndale to stay at Nikki's parents-in-law's house for the night. It was late when we got there, and race jitters really set in for me, so I didn't get much sleep. Maybe a couple of hours.
We had to arrive at Peace Arch Park (the Canadian border) in Blaine by 5:45am, so we were up at 4:15. I felt alright, had slept decently the week before so one lost night of sleep wasn't too terrible at that point. It was raining, though, which was sort of a bummer, because part of the allure of this run was that it would be beautiful to run through that part of the state! Oh well. We huddled under tents to hear the safety briefing, rules, etc. Then Jen, our first runner, started off at 6:45! Yay! The 200 mile party has begun...
As each runner was going throughout the whole race we stopped along their route to cheer them on, give them water if they needed it, and just be encouraging in general. It was super helpful as a runner to know that your team is cheering for you and supporting you if needed! I was runner two, so about an hour after the start Jen was reaching the exchange where we made the handoff. Instead of a baton, like in a regular relay, Ragnar uses a slap bracelet thing like we used to love in elementary school. Very clever. My first leg was 6.8 miles, and I was REALLY nervous beforehand. I knew I could do it but was worried about how slow I would go, how the rest of my team was not only mostly strangers but serious runners, etc. I need not have worried. My first leg was AWESOME - I ran better than I have ever run before, even with huge bullet-like rain drops pounding me the entire time. I never even had to stop to walk, and finished strong, feeling great, and smiling. It was awesome. Before that, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to finish. After that, I knew I could, and would!
|Me after my first leg - smiling, soaking wet!|
Once van two transfered the baton back to us we were on our way for leg two. It wasn't pounding bullet rain at this point, but it was cool and overcast and kind of misty. It felt good, actually. My run was 5.8 miles and it wasn't as great as my first, I did have to fight fatigue and some soreness set in, but was pleased with my own effort. Everyone did really well, and there was a ton of laughter in the van which was really great and made the whole thing just so much fun. Our last runners were in the dark but the majority of us were still in daylight which was great. We handed off the baton to Van 2 around 11pm, I think, then we booked it to find showers, food, and some rest at the next major exchange. I got about two hours of sleep, I think, and was moving pretty slowly.
|Sleeping in the gym... with a couple thousand other runners|
Once van 1 was completely done we headed to showers and then the finish line. By this time the sun finally made an appearance and it was nice to rest, eat, and wait for van 2 to finish up. We all crossed the finish line together and received our medals, then headed home.
Overall, it was an amazing experience and I've realized a few things. One, it's true you'll never regret shared adventure with friends. Two, I'm really much stronger than I give myself credit for. Three, I've officially claimed the title of badass. :) And four, not letting fear make decisions for you is an awesome choice. Always.
So huge thanks to One Man Per Van for letting me join you and for all the encouragement! Anyone considering doing a Ragnar? Just do it. Seriously. And thanks also to my teammates who took these pictures, as I didn't take a single one. You guys are awesome.
Peace out. Krissy