Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ragnar 2014

So this one time I ran a Ragnar and then I wrote a book about it. This is long, like really long! If you want the short version... It was fun, like way fun and hard, oh yes it was hard! But totally and completely worth it! And now that I've run one, I am addicted. 

Now onto the novel... If you intend to read this whole thing, you better grab a drink and a snack, you're going to be here awhile!

Running the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay has been on my unofficial bucket list for quite a few years now. My cousin Brady ran it last year and when I was talking to him about it, he suggested we put together a Ririe team. I thought this would be a good year to do it, so I bought a team and we started recruiting runners to our team - Riries Take on Ragnar! We knew we wouldn't be able to get a full team of Riries - there just aren't that many of us! We got a van full of Riries if you count Rog as a Ririe. (We'll claim him!) The other van was made up of friends from our ward - Bill and Mariah Petrosino, Zack and Michelle Cameron, Bill Burton, and Scott Wheelhouse (one of Bill Petrosino's bosses).

With the injury I had the end of February, my training wasn't what I would have liked it to be. But it was enough. I had the least total milage of anyone on the team which worked out well because after taking over a month off, I wouldn't have had time to increase my milage much more than I did. I may have had the least mileage, but all of my runs were classified as hard - meaning almost every mile I ran was uphill!

The day before the race they were doing a pre-race party at Scheel's where you could check in and not have to worry about doing it the day of the race. We got our whole team there for that, but it had started raining and they had to end it early. That added a little hiccup to our plans, but the rain significantly cooled things down for the race, so we couldn't be too upset about it!

Most of us went to Chili's for dinner that night as a team. Then Rog headed up to Logan with Van 1 (so they could sleep at his Great Aunt's house there) while the rest of us went home. Even though I was nervous about the race, I slept great! Poor Rog always has trouble sleeping in unfamiliar places, so he didn't get much rest.

Van 1 started running at 6:45 am Friday morning. All of their first runs were long, so that gave Van 2 plenty of time to get up there before it was our turn to run. Jared had a class that morning he didn't want to miss, so I picked him up right after that and we drove up to Salt Lake to meet the rest of the Riries at my Uncle Kevin's house.

{All 5 of the official Riries ready to take on Ragnar!}

After going through our safety orientation and getting checked in, Jared started Van 2 off with an easy 4.7 miles. This was his first real race and he was a trooper for doing it. We originally had recruited my dad to be on the team because he was a major runner in his prime, but he convinced Jared to take his place.

Next up was Rog. His first run was an easy 2.6 miles. I don't have his stats for this run because we hadn't quite gotten organized yet and he ran without our Garmin GPS watch. 

McKay and Taylor both had easy runs around 3 miles each and then it was Brady's turn. He had the most overall mileage and the hardest overall difficulty as well. He's also a machine, so he handled it nicely. We got lost driving to Exchange 11, so we kind of lost track of when he started and when we expected him to finish. I waited and waited and waited for him to show up and I really started to get worried that I had missed him and that he had just run my leg for me, but then I finally saw him come around the corner - I don't think I've ever been more happy to see him! (He had just run 7.3 miles of very hard difficulty, so I don't know why I was so worried that he'd go run my leg for me.)

My first leg was only 2 miles long, but it was on a trail at Snowbasin Resort which made it more difficult because I am used to running on the road! The first half mile was straight uphill, then a glorious mile of flat/downhill before finishing with another half mile of straight uphill. (It basically started and ended at the same place.) I didn't walk once and was able to "kill" a lot of people on the uphill sections. According to our Garmin, I started at 4:24 pm, ran 2.01 miles in 20:19 for an average pace of 10:06. That's a lot slower than my normal pace, but those uphill sections were brutal and even though I didn't walk, they definitely slowed me down! I was the last runner from Van 2, so I handed off to Bill Petrosino and Van 1 was off running again.

{Feeling good after finishing my first leg!}

We drove to Exchange 16 where we had some dinner and got the van organized. (Keeping it organized was a constant battle!)

Then we drove to Exchange 18. It was nearing nighttime hours, so we got out our reflective vests, headlamps, and backlights. After Van 1 finished, Jared took off for his 3.6 mile moderate leg. He had a pretty good hill to climb. He claims I didn't tell him he had a hill, but I remember telling him did. Either way, he survived!

Rog was next with a 5.9 mile moderate leg - mostly all downhill. We stopped to give him water at his halfway point. I had to watch very carefully for him because all the runners looked pretty much the same in the dark! Garmin says he started at 10:34 pm, ran 6.03 miles in 55:17 for an average pace of 9:10.

 Poor McKay had a very hard 11.6 mile leg (longest individual leg of the whole course) and then Taylor had a hard 7.5 mile leg. Brady had a moderate 5.5 miles and then it was my turn for my long run - 6.3 miles of hard. 

This was my favorite run of my three. It was my chance to prove myself worthy of the Ririe name! Around mile 5 a girl came up behind me and kept trying to pass me. I could tell she wasn't in much better shape than me, so every time she tried to pass me, I sped up. I never let her pass me and by the end I was so pumped up! Seriously I was on the biggest runner's high I've ever experienced! Garmin says I started at 3:21 am, ran 6.41 miles in 57:52 for an average pace of 9:02. I was so grateful it was in the middle of the night because I'm sure it would have been a completely different run in the heat of the day!

One of my favorite moments from the whole race was at the very end of my run - I saw Bill waiting for me at the exchange, so I stopped right in front of him to pass off the slap bracelet. He evidently couldn't tell it was me in the dark, so he asked, "Are you Chief?" (I found it funny because why else would I have stopped right in front of him?!)

One of Mariah's aunts (who was also running the race) lives right by Exchange 24. So after I finished we drove there and crashed for 2 hours while Van 1 did their final legs. Too soon it was time to get up and do our final legs.

Jared had injured his knee during his previous runs, but was able to do his last leg - an easy 4.1 miles - without too much pain.  

Rog's final leg was a moderate 5.5 miles. We stopped along the way to give him water - we were all tired and a needed a little more help to make it through our last legs. Garmin says he started at 9:22 am, ran 5.38 miles in 54:38 for an average pace of 10:09. 

McKay and Taylor were the lucky ones from our team that got to run the Ragnar hill. This hill is where Ragnar got its name and it is brutal! After watching them run it, I really don't think I could be convinced to run their legs if I ever do another Wasatch Back. All morning I could tell McKay especially was dreading it. Here he is walking to the exchange looking oh so excited for the 4.4 miles that lay ahead of him! 

We stopped a lot to give him water and encouragement. 

He walked some of it, but seriously did awesome! I just hope by now he's forgiven me for making him take that leg. I think this picture says it all!

Taylor apparently prayed and promised to never ever run again if he could just make it through this leg.

We didn't stop as much for him as we did for McKay, so I don't know how much he had to walk. But he finished! 4 miles of unrelenting uphill. These two are seriously my heroes!

Brady's last leg was no walk around the park either - 9.8 miles of very hard. It was mostly downhill, but there were some pretty good hills he had to climb in there as well. It was a no van support leg (all of his were as were all of mine), so we couldn't cheer him on like we had his brothers.

At the safety orientation they said that they had added half mile to my last leg to make it an even 197 miles total. What I didn't know was that I got to climb to the PC on the mountain. My goal was to not walk on any of my legs, but when I realized where they were taking me, I knew I would never make it if I tried to run up that mountain! At the very top I got a little lost with one of the girls from Mariah's aunt's team. They needed one more sign up there! I figured out pretty quickly that I wasn't on the trail anymore and got back on track. I was planning on carrying water with me, but then I noticed on the map that there was a water station at what looked like the halfway point - it ended up being pretty much right before the finish line, so I seriously regretted that decision. It was getting hot and my mouth was so dry!

According to my Garmin, I started at 1:39 pm, ran 3.72 miles in 42:51 for an average pace of 11:32. It was so fun to see my team waiting for me and to cross the finish line with them! I don't know why I couldn't manage a smile. Oh yeah, probably had something to do with being dead tired!

Total time: 31 hours, 22 minutes! I'm so grateful to all these people for making it possible for me to accomplish my Ragnar goal! I didn't get to spend as much time with Van 1 as I would have liked, but I got to know my cousins on a whole new level after spending hours with them in a car and especially after hearing them talk about their guy running problems. (Being the only girl in our van, they definitely didn't hold back for my sake!)

We made our team shirts jersey style with last name and number on the back. Rog requested his shirt say, Ririe-in-Law, and I went with Ririe for mine - never been more proud to be a Ririe! (I really wish someone would have told the girls to move our ponytails for this picture!)

They were giving out free Little Caesar pizzas at the finish line. Since graduating from college, I've come to think of Little Caesar pizzas as an inferior good, but it actually hit the spot after eating nothing real for 2 days!

And finally, the best part of running Ragnar... I got my sticker for my car!


The Petrosino Family said...

Ragnar was so much fun and we need to run it again! Bill and I think we need to shoot for one in 2016 :) Also... remember how we detroyed my aunt's team of seasoned Ragnar running pros? Woot! Ririe's Take on Ragnar killed it!