Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Run, Drive, Sleep? Repeat---Part 1 of my Ragnar Relay FL Keys Adventure

I'm not certain that any of us rookies knew exactly what we were getting into.

Sure, we'd watched the youtube videos of years past and studied our individual legs. We had prepared our night gear, stocked the cooler with water and gatorade, and made sure we had ziploc bags to stuff our sweaty clothes into after each leg. We even brought a Keurig for a late night pick-me-up.

However, until I actually ran a cumulative of 19 miles over a 24 hour time frame with no more than 3 hours of sleep and a real meal, I had no idea what might happen. 

Thursday Prateek (AKA "Coach") picked up the van, we picked up a few of our other team members, and headed south towards Miami. After swinging by the Ft Lauderdale airport to grab Rachel (Running Backwards in High Heels) we made it to our hotel for the night. 

Our captain, Matt, is one of those super-organized people that has his own laminator (not kidding) and makes sure all the T's are crossed -- from checklists to pretty maps printed in color to a 3 ring binder with tabs and a table of contents with all information needed for the weekend, he made sure we had it all.

I tried my darnedest to get a good night's sleep that night, knowing it would be the last time I'd get an actual bed for the next 2 days.

Of course I tossed and turned all night, with fleeting thoughts of everything from pure excitement to going over the distances in my head to OMG I FORGOT MY COMPRESSION SOCKS!!

The next morning after a big breakfast and a Publix run for ice, pretzels, and gatorade, we finally made it to the starting line. 

We took some spare time to decorate the vans, take some photos, and pass along individual good juju to the "baton" that we'd all be slapping on our wrist 3 different times throughout the relay.

Van 2 is ready to go! 

Since we were the "saints" van, complete with angel halo and wings, we called our kills "baptisms". 
 (A "kill" is when you pass someone. You make tally marks on the van as bragging rights!) 

 Side note - on the way down to Miami, Emily asks if we had heard of the giant rats that had recently invaded the Keys. Come to find out, these things are completely real. They are called Gambien Pouched Rats. We nicknamed them R.O.U.S.'s. (Rodents of Unusual Size).

Watch this video if you're confused, and it will probably make you more confused. Or make you want to watch The Princess Bride.

So of course we paid tribute to the R.O.U.S.'s on our van.

We bid farewell to Van 1 after the start and made our way to the first major exchange to pick up our bibs and go through the safety briefing (basically, wear your night gear at night and you'll be alright).

 From left: Glenn, Rachel, Bob, Emily, Octavian, Me

I was runner 7 - AKA runner 1 from our van. 

Sure, send a newbie out first. Why not. 

I took off for my first leg at 1:59pm on Friday.

It was hot, but I still had fresh legs and good energy. Even after all those stupid traffic lights in which I was forced to stop, I still ended up with an average pace of about 7:50. Without those stoplights I could have killed it!
I handed off to Bob around 2:32 pm. First leg, check!

The nice thing about going first is that the rest of the time your van is running their legs, you can relax and cheer on your teammates. 
And shatter your iphone glass into a million pieces. 
But mostly cheer on your teammates.

Our van got the first turn at night running. Octavian (Doc Oc) and Glenn both had legs on pitch black middle-of-nowhere roads. It got to the point where our GPS stopped recognizing where we were, and we had to put in geographic coordinates instead of an actual address.

We were so happy to see Doc Oc and Glenn come through the exchanges, free of casualties from R.O.U.S.'s, alligators, or other indigenous species in South Florida.

After Glenn finished his leg about 7:45pm, we had approximately 6 hours before Van 1 finished their second leg. This was the time to drive to the next exchange, eat something, change, sleep, or do anything else that may be necessary before our second part of the journey began.

.......Continued at Part 2

1 comment:

  1. LOVE it!!! Can't wait to see what happens next! Oh wait... I love the pic of Matt with his 3-ring binder at our first exchange!