Before I continue with race coverage, I have to preface a little. Some of you may remember me talking about our ‘prep’ work for Ragnar in this post. I also talked about the need for all things race related to be pink. Stay with me here, this is relevant.
When we first formed our team, we also began the search for matching running shirts. This is a big deal when you have 12 women with very different body types and strong opinions. We knew it could take some time to find a style that we all could live with. After a
couple many weeks of looking online and at different stores, we finally found a shirt style that we all agreed on. They were quickly ordered before they sold out or before anyone could change their mind.
The shirts were sent to a teammates house were they sat for several months while we debated about getting a logo put on. We decided against it and I finally picked up my shirt about a month before the race. Right away I thought that it looked strangely familiar. This wasn’t the jersey that we ordered, though this new one was very similar. I liked the cut of the shirt and the material was light-weight and felt really nice. I think it’s pretty cute too, what do you think?
Ok, back to the race.
It was now 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon and we were at the first major exchange point. Our team in van 1 now had a 6 hour break and I headed over to find the showers.
I was needlessly worried about the showers being warm, they were actually really hot! There was only one button to turn the water on, and no off button or temperature control. I didn’t mind one bit! I ducked in and out of the scalding water very happy to wash the salt and stink off of my skin. It had been more than 4 hours since I had been running. Normally I would have felt bad for anyone who had to ride that long with me, but this time we were all totally disgusting so it just didn’t matter.
After my heavenly (and hot) shower I put on my new pink jersey, some clean running pants and started walking back toward my van. As I was passing two male runners, one of them smiled innocently and said, “hey, you are with the whores, right?” It was then that I remembered where I had seen my jersey before. There was a team who had won a Ragnar video contest, and we unknowingly bought the exact same jerseys they wore. (You can check out their video and other race videos here.) Their team name was “Women High On Running” or “the W.H.O.R.’s”, and now I was being mistaken as one of them. Great.
The other great thing was that this team had come to Arizona to compete in this race as well. They were wearing the same jerseys as in the video, so we were frequently mistaken for them. The majority of my team belongs to a very conservative Christian church, so at first I thought the irony of it all was a little funny. But after the tenth or eleventh time of explaining, “different team, same shirt”, I was getting more than annoyed.
To give them credit, the acronym for the name was pretty clever, but I can’t imagine what the W.H.O.R.’s were thinking. They gave all the men at the race an easy opportunity to be really obnoxious, (thankfully most weren’t) and it is just plain degrading to women. Period. I’m sure they are all very nice women and great runners, I just wish that we wouldn’t have had the accidental affiliation to them. That’s all. It’s not their fault that we bought identical jerseys…
Enough talk about that.
After everyone showered, we drove to the next major checkpoint to get some food and sleep. We were on our way to a high school for a spaghetti dinner, but I was so hungry that any restaurant that we passed (fast food or otherwise) made my mouth water. I only say this because I do not like fast food. At all. I have been avoiding it long enough that now when I do eat anything remotely greasy I feel sick immediately . Not a fun thing to be when you still have a lot of running to do! This thought was the only thing that kept me away from stopping at the In-N-Out Burger.
Fazolli’s catered the dinner and it was pretty good. I thought I was starving, but only made it halfway through the meal. I guess it’s easy to fill up when you have had nothing but power bars and gu all day. Now it was time for some sleep. Our options were to pay five dollars and sleep on wrestling mats in the gym, camp out on the parking lot in a sleeping bag or sleep in the van. I opted to skip the stinky gym mats and try the van thing. I was so tired that it wasn’t too hard falling asleep, even though it was still pretty light outside. It was probably only 7 o’clock in the evening, but sleep is a precious commodity at Ragnar and I was determined to get some.
I woke up to the sound of women yelling into a megaphone. I’ll give you one guess which team it was. It was only 9:30 p.m., but everyone was trying to sleep. So. Not. Cool. I couldn’t really fall back asleep, so I tried to just lay there and relax for an hour before I had to get into my running clothes again.
Night running in the race is taken very seriously. You have to have a reflective vest and a head-lamp on at all times or you can get disqualified. If you have someone running with you, or spectators cheering on the side of the road, they also need to be decked out with the same gear. My run started at 1:20 a.m. and I was so tired by then, that I wondered if I would be able to make it. This was my longest stretch at 6.9 miles and it was going to be my ‘hard’ leg.
Here is a picture of our nifty vest that we all wore to be ‘seen’:
Our van was going to ‘leap frog’ with our runners so that none of us had to be alone for long distances in the dark. We would drive ahead for about a quarter of a mile, wait for our runner to pass, and then go another quarter of a mile. My friend’s husband was running with her and we had to leave our 1st runner to pick him up. When she finished, she let us all know how angry she was that our van missed out on two miles, and that she had never been so afraid in her life. *Oops* Not only did I feel really bad, but I was now seriously freaked out about running in the pitch black with coyotes howling in the background. Really. Coyotes.
All I can say is that someone was watching out for me that night. My friend’s husband ended up running my section with me and not only was it well lit most of the time, but the run was not ‘hard’ like the race bible had said. It was 6 miles of flat with maybe .9 miles of a small incline. *Sweet* This was my best pace during the whole race. I’m sure part of my speed was that I just wanted to hurry and finish so I could sleep! The 2 hours of sleep I had earlier were not even close to enough, and I was starting to feel like I was having an out of body experience.
I finished my run and made my way back to the van. I can’t tell you how happy I was to be done with two of my three legs! All I could think of was sleep. I tried to get comfortable in the van, but I had cold shivers from my sweat. (I’m sure you all wanted to hear that) I wiped myself down with a baby-wipe as best as I could, changed my shirt, pulled my blanket over me and then totally passed out…
More Ragnar to come…