Thursday, May 19, 2016

We Live in a Van, Down by the River - Ragnar Style

If you've been following along, you've read the've read the Pre-Ragnar chronicles, and you've heard all about the party. If you *haven't*, go ahead and click any of those handy-dandy links, to get caught up.

Caught up? Excellent...then let's get going...

Friday morning dawned relatively bright and chilly in Hull. We had all agreed to go down to the start, to see the our first runner off, for his first leg, even though the fine friends in van 2 wouldn't need to get running for quite some time. We headed out around 5:15 and drove straight to the beach. The sun was just starting to peak it's head out on the horizon line and though it was a tad bit nippy to be at a northeastern beach, the sunrise was totally worth the shivers...
*almost* enough to make you not miss your blankets
Of course, we had to take advantage of the scenic backdrop and the fact that we were all in our snazzy outfits, complete with Glitter Skirts to get our first team picture.

After that, we passed the time by, what else, taking some selfies!

Photobomber on the loose!!
The Executive Pastry Chef accidentally photobombing
This kid just keeps popping up in photos!
We also had some more traditional pics...

Some dude asked The Flash for this pic...
because he looked like "A Serious Runner"
The Mighty B was all smiles and grins!
"Get this thing off of me"
Our first runner was the PIC's brother, who had 6.7 miles to run...3-2-1 and our race had begun! We quickly headed back to the vans and piled in to start driving up the road, so that we could met him and get his headlamp and vest from him...6AM was technically still part of the "nighttime hours", so he had to start off wearing them...even though the sun was up.

We caught up with him right around mile 3, and he was looking strong. We helped him strip and then rushed off to the first handoff...which was to TBC, for a 3.58 mile jaunt.

He took off like a ROCKET. We hurried back to the van, and ran into some congestion trying to get out of the parking the time we got out on the road and passed him, he'd already cruised through half of his course. So we sped up and went to the second handoff where I would start my first leg...I rushed over to use a porta-potty...thankfully they have a "runner on deck" one reserved, so that you don't get stuck in a line...I stepped out of the loo and they called out our team number, meaning he was in the final stretch...I actually had to run over to the chute to get there in time, because he was FLYING...
He didn't enjoy that *at all*, can see me running off in the background

...and off I went for 8.62 miles.

Now, let me step back for a minute...when the PIC was talking us all in to this race, one of the "selling points" was the fact that it was "such a flat course." I call bullshit. On this leg alone, I gained 200+ feet of elevation in the span of 2 miles. With each successive leg, we gave the PIC more and more sideways eyeball...flat my ass!
Note the sharp incline...followed by a flat...and then another sharp incline...and then *what the fuck?!?!?!* 
It was grey and damp but about 65 degrees, so not terrible running weather...there were a handful of runners in my line of sight, at any given time, but unlike any other race I have ever done, there were no crowds or spectators..which was kind of weird. It felt more like a training run then anything. The scenery was pleasant enough...I mainly ran through some residential areas. It was a school day, and it was a little after 7AM, so there were lots of kiddos standing at bus stops, staring at me in all of my glittery glory...I simply called out to them "Stay in school!"

All was well and good and my team mates appeared along the course to cheer me on...which is awesome...and all was well...until suddenly, my watch lost it's mind...and stated chiming off miles every 10 steps or so. Not bueno. Before I knew it, my watch had me at 12 miles...and I hadn't the foggiest idea how far I had actually gone. Nor how far I had to go. I decided to look at the time elapsed and then extrapolate how far I might have already gone...which was a fruitless endeavor.

As I finally ran up on the "One Mile to Go" sign, I was pretty relieved...this run was harder than what I had been banking on, and I worried that it might be indicative of how the rest of this experience was going to be for me...all thoughts of this promptly fell out of my head though as I rounded the corner and headed down the chute, to hand off to Mr. Man.

I can totally see him at this point...
Mr. Man took off and we scurried to get ahead of him...he had had foot surgery just 6 weeks earlier, and we weren't even certain he would be *able* to run...when asked to provide a pace for him, I kept it extremely conservative and quoted around case he needed to walk.


Ha ha ha ha!

That stinker blew through his 3.22 at a quickly that there were *no* pictures to be had of him. By either *us* or the official Ragnar photogs.

I'm almost done, right??
He handed off to the PIC, so that he could run his first 7.3 mile leg. We met up a couple of times, to give him water and praise, before finally heading off to the hand off, where he passed the slap bracelet to his SIL, so that she could bring it on home to  van #2, and the Flash.

Now, it needs to be said, PIC's SIL is not a runner. Or at least, she *was not* a runner before this. She and her new hubby - yes, they are newlyweds and A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E - decided to do this race together, as a means of getting fit and healthy and active together. That or they were drunk. I'm certain it was one of those...

Yeah! It's Mr. Man!!! any rate, this was a HUGE undertaking for any of us, but perhaps mostly for her. She bit the bullet and was running 3 legs, each of a distance longer than she had really ever run before. She set out on that first leg with a big smile and a great attitude...

We drove ahead, so that we could greet her a few miles in, with some water and love...and stopped and took some silly shots...cause that's how we roll.

That first major van exchange was WILD. There was music and cheering and shopping and antics galore. Getting in to the area was sort of awful, as the exchange is at a small, private drive down a narrow, 2 lane road that is being shared by van traffic in both directions *and* runners. A bunch of us bailed out of the van to go over to the chute, so that we could be sure to catch the hand off while Mr. Man worked on parking the van.
The Arch!
 With the slap bracelet safely on the arm of The Flash, we made our way back to our van and headed out to find ice, real bathrooms and food that didn't come from a cooler...

We settled on a Target parking lot, and all of the other van 1 folks were kind enough to GTFO so that I could reorganize the van, because my eye was starting to twitch from the chaos that was the inside of the van...before too long, everything was in it's place and we headed over to Red Robin for some grenade and then on to our next van exchange point, to rest...

...and that is where I will leave you for tonight.

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