Monday, October 24, 2011

Ragnar Las Vegas 2011

What could be more fun than going to Vegas?
Running around the city in the desert with a bunch of complete strangers, of course!

This race was everything you expect (and hope) a Ragnar to be:  fun, rewarding, challenging, and something I could learn from.  And, boy, did I ever learn my lesson!!!

Here's the team:  Heather, Rachelle, Ken, Julia, Travis and me.  We were Van 2 and started running at about 3:30 ish.
Meet Ken- Team Captain Extraordinaire. He makes running look easy- even when it is running up a mountain... or two. Super organized, efficient, and he needed to run at least 5 miles BEFORE his leg even started so that he was properly "warmed up." If you were at the Ragnar, then there was a good chance you  talked to this guy because he started a conversation with everyone.

Great form, Ken!
He even had a giant smile at the top of the "Ragnar" leg in Las Vegas.
Then there's Rachelle. Super supportive, super enthusiastic, super encouraging.  It's people like her that make our sport look good.  Each leg she ran blew me away even more.  Heat, costume, fatigue- nothing can slow her down.  And man, she is FAST.
Run Spidey, run!
Travis- the guy just makes you want to yell OORAH!!!  The former Marine was incredible- especially for a new runner!  Super consistent, speedy, and he led our team with the most kills in a single leg- 54!!!!!!!!!!!!  Could  you expect any less from a marine?
Julia can do anything!!!!!  Hill?  Sure.  Heat?  Sure.  Her blog title fits her to a T and I was in awe of how well she ran her last leg.  Nearly 8 miles in the blazing Vegas sun couldn't even slow her down.  Julia and I had a great talk out by the hot tub between our first and second legs.  I'm so glad that I could run this race with her and Rachelle and get to know them in real life.  They are incredible, strong, women.
This was my favorite picture I took during the race.
Last but not least- Heather!  If I was in need of a laugh, I found it from this girl.  She kept me giggling from sundown to sunrise.  She ran some of her fastest times ever during this race, and it was so cool to cheer her on.  She was runner #12 and I couldn't keep up with her running into the finish.  She. freaking. rocks.
The blog wouldn't be complete without a lot of talking about how this girl did:
We all did jumping pictures in honor of Fast Cory.  I regret not getting our whole team jumping in this spot!
There is a lack of pictures from my first two legs due to them being unsupported and in the middle of the night.  It's really too bad because of the entire race, those were my favorite moments.

Leg 1:  3.6 miles with a 550 foot gain in the first 3.  This leg was harder than I was expecting.  Just when I thought the hill would crest, I would turn a corner and it would continue up another switch back.  Despite the challenges, it was awesomeI don't think I've ever ran so strong up hills.  I was able to pull an 8:02 average pace, 20 kills (not including a lizard and a giant beetle), and I raced a girl to the end and won :).  It was good times for sure.

Leg 2:  3.9 miles at 1:30 AM.  I ran comfortably, sang some, danced some, saw a shooting star, made sure I had high knees for my team, passed 38 runners, and finished with a 7:09 average pace.  Sweet.  This is the fastest I have EVER run in a Ragnar.  Very pleased.

Then this happened... Leg 3:
It was HOT.

Let's establish something right away- I live in the mountains in northern Utah.  This means that the warmest temperature I've been running in lately is about 50 degrees- and that's in the heat of the afternoon!  I'm more accustomed to 40 degrees than anything.  So the 85 degree day in Vegas was SHOCKING.

I totally wigged myself out before I ran my final leg at 1:30 in the afternoon.  I drank like crazy and ate some snacks beforehand.  (This was another big mistake- I hadn't had a meal all day.  I should have had breakfast at the very least.)

Julia came in after her killer last leg and I had to hold back tears watching her finish so strong.  I was fired up and ready to rock, so I took off.
That's when I ran a 6:50 first mile.
Then a 7:05 second mile.
I was hot.  Understatement.  I felt as dry as the desert.  All the water I had been drinking seemed to have just evaporated!  I wasn't sweating and my mouth was completely dry.  My team caught up to me at mile 2 and gave me some water.  I poured water on myself at the water stop, drank some water, and then drank the entire water bottle that Rachelle brought to me.  She could tell I was struggling.  I stopped and dry heaved, but was determined to keep going.  Rachelle told me to slow down.  Did I listen?

Of course not.  I ran my third mile with a 7:32 average pace- including the dry heaving.
Then I blew up.  I literally felt like I couldn't go another step.  I told my team to go on ahead to drop off Heather.  I just had to be alone (even though they were awesome- Rachelle was even offering to run with me).  I felt so defeated.  I stopped to walk for a few seconds and then made myself keep running, but I slowed down.  A LOT.

I ran the final mile at a 9:25.  There was no way I could go any faster than that.

I made a final push at the end for the last quarter of a mile and ran it with a 7:11 pace.  I have never in my life crashed like that!!!!!!!  Overall my final pace for my last leg was 7:42/mile.  It was discouraging considering this was the leg I was hoping to hit a new 5K PR.

Life went on and our team finished the race in roughly 27 hours.  I don't know our final time and they haven't released the results yet.  I'm super proud of us!  We all ran a great race- in spite of many different challenges and difficulties.

It was a memory maker for sure.

Vegas Sunset
Running a night leg in Vegas rocks my world.
Vegas Sunrise
Ready for our last legs!  Me, Travis, Heather, Ken, Julia and Rachelle
I missed Mindy more than words can say!  This was the first Ragnar that I had to run without her.  I hope I never have to do one without her again :).  (Is that a deal, Mindy?)  She came back from a tendonitis injury and rocked the Ragnar leg.  So proud of her!!!!!!
FINISHED!!!!!!  Ken got some air over the finish line.
Our sweet shirts that Heather made had our names on the back.  Only the girls got shirts this time.  Don't ask me what expression I am making because I have no idea.  Tough?  Sexy?  Pissed?  It's a toss up, really!
Van 1.  Mike, John, Jeffery, Lance, Ridge (12 years old!!!), and Roxie.
Serious bling thanks to 3 Ragnars this year.

Overall, I loved this race. The course was great, (the organization astounds me), the friends were stellar, and I definitely will plan on running this race again. Maybe next year? After all, I have to take revenge on that last leg!


Julia said...

AMY!!! you are so incredible and I cherished every moment that I had with get to know you better and to just appreciate the talent you have as a runner and your kind heart. you are so sweet sharing those kind words about each of us. your pictures are just awesome...each full of memories. i really cant believe how great this experience far my favorite ragnar experience. when you hugged me at the end i felt so emotional...i was so happy to be finished, so grateful for your kindness, encouragement and support and then just to watch you take off at lightning speed with a huge smile...truly inspirational to me. running is all about learning and experiencing to me...i could never look at your last leg as a "crash"...sure it did not go how you hoped, but you pushed through it mentally and physically and I know you are stronger because of that. you NEVER GAVE UP and that is something to be proud of. not to mentioned that you DOMINATED the first 3 miles. and all the miles before that.

your energy is incredible. always so positive. i looked forward to your encouragement and smile!

cant wait to hang out again! you are simply amazing!

The Hungry Runner Girl said...

These pictures were amazing...I loved them so much and I want to be on your team next year!! Loved getting to know your team and HOLY COW you are so speedy!

Christie said...

What an incredible experience! From these photos it looks like your whole team was a blast!

Suz and Allan said...

Great pictures from the event! It looks like you guys had a great time. Love the bling!

Heidi said...

Looks like you had a blast! And your third leg was still pretty killer. You are one fast chica!

Rachelle Wardle said...

Awww Amy I love you so so much! First of all can I just copy paste this recap on to my page? Seriously you did such an amazing job of recapping this crazy race. Your pictures are stunningly amazing. Wow! I must get copies of all these because they are so great. I am so incredibly proud of you and want you to know how much you inspire me. Not only in running but all around. I just love your positive attitude and optimistic outlook on life. You fought hard and you could have quit on that last leg but you didn't because you are strong and you are fast. You are a true athlete and the sky is the limit for your running. Love you!

Falon said...

Awesome recap! We're assembling a team for Madison to Chicago in June. This post makes me DOUBLY EXCTIED! Oh yeah and you're fast as all get out. Even in hot temps. Kudos!

Amy @ Run Mom Run said...

Man, I want to run on that team now! It sounds incredible!

I love all the jumping photographs!

Way to tough out that third leg. It sounds rough (and very familiar like a hot marathon I ran recently where I also exploded!). Isn't it amazing how quickly things can turn. You ran strong legs though and you did so fantastically!

I want to run an ragnar with you someday!

kalie said...

I love how even when you "explode" and run "slow" you still finish minutes faster than I ever have on my best day. YOU ARE MY INSPIRATION! I can't get over your Ragnar bling. That is pretty sweet, ma friend.

Should we run a half marathon this weekend?

Ali Mc said...

I love your recap...I love that you, rachelle and julia all did jumps for cory! I love that there were 3 medals and I love, like some others said that your "slow" pace was still fast according to me. You are awesome girl!!! great recap