Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My recent Ragnadventure - standing by the highway in the middle of the night in the wind and rain waiting for my runner -- it must be The Ragnar Relay Report - Miami to Key West 196 miles

Saturday morning at about 3 am I was standing on the edge of the highway hiding for shelter behind a parked "church van" from the chilling winds and waiting for my runner to come into the Ragnar exchange. Yup ... it's time for the Ragnar 2015 Team We've got the runs race report. Names have not been changed to protect the innocent.

I love Ragnar. It's kind of a mix between a road trip, a sleepover party, a running race and a hazing ritual.
gratuitous photo of another van.

It's really all about the van
There are 500 teams which is 1000 vans (I'm good at math). That's a little over the normal population of available 15 person rental vans in Miami. It turns out you cannot wait until the last minute to rent the vans. Too late! I found us vans but we ended up with vans from Sunrise Van Rental. Very nice guys there but these vans had seen better days. In fact, both our vans got dead batteries at some point during the weekend. A little stressful. But in the end they did the job and got us home safely.

Switching from driving the huge van back to your regular car is a little funny. I stopped short about three times driving the kids to school Monday morning ... my daughter definitely gave me the stink eye.

Part of the tradition of Ragnar is to decorate the vans. We are amateurs in my group at this so we employ child labor in the form of my children who love it and then the adults take over from there.  

People in the van bond for life but dropping out the day before the race gets you hazed
Unless you live under a rock you know the joy and torture of being included in a group text. During Ragnar we communicated via facebook and text.  We had one teammate who is not on Facebook ... I know I know how does she live? But she shared information with us all via text. Including sending everyone in the group every photo she took.

We did have a runner drop out of our group one day before the race. Her punishment ... we never dropped her from the group text. Hope she had fun ignoring all 3 billion messages and photos. Sorry but not sorry. Hope your dad is okay, you seemed not to worried from the selfies you posted from the gym during the race.

The Worlds Hottest 3 second shower, King Ragnar and Speedo man
King Ragnar. You're welcome.
Some people will make it the whole way without a shower. But not us. After the second leg we were all too ripe to go any farther unbathed. So after a quick stop at IHop for pancakes we headed to the Coral Shores Elementary School which for some reason has ample showers for 1000 runners to use during this race.

Clean from the worlds hottest shower. But still not sleeping.
I never showered at school in elementary school and I have children in an elementary school that barely has a cafeteria so I can't explain this phenomenon but I'm happy to be able to take advantage of the shower.
Other people sleeping. The only thing worse than not being able to sleep is clearly being surrounded by people who are sleeping.

You pay $3 and you get a bar of soap and a towel the size of a washcloth. As this was not my first ragnar I brought a shower bag including a towel this year. Then you head to the shower (in your shower flip flops don't be daft) and press a little button and you get 3 seconds of 300 degree water showered onto your body scalding off whatever skin it hits. Lather up, switch positions a little and repeat until all your flesh is either gone or your feel clean.
It's Ragnar the speedo works ... trust me. Actually Roy is on a team that won the whole race last year so he gets to wear whatever he wants.

The Battle Cry: Maddie needs her hair tie!
In van two one of our runners is a fire fighter who drives the big fire truck. She handled the van like a sports car. which created some hilarious moments like when she tried to teach me the official hand signals and I failed when I waived to a friend and she almost backed into another van. Grade "F" for amy on hand signal class.

That's Mario Andretti demonstrating the correct hand signals. Not like me who almost directed somebody to crash the van waving to a friend ... oops.
In leg 35 of 36 Maddie had a hair tie emergency. The wind had literally ripped it out of her hair and she was struggling to keep her pace. The Hair Tie Emergency team left runner 36 at the exchange and ran back to the van to give her a hair tie. Driver Arlene Mario Andretti  issued the command to, "hold on girls!" and floored it accellerating the ancient van from 0-75 in about 2 minutes. Always calm under stress runner Nicole issued commands to find a hair tie which was prepped for transfer.

Driver Arlene honked the horn about 75 times to alert Maddie we were on our way going the opposite way and then she threw a u-turn so fast I am pretty sure not all the wheels were on the ground. But I can't be sure because my eyes were squeezed shut and I was bracing for my life in a cross between preparing for an airline crash and curling into a fetal position. I may have wet my pants.

Then of course I hung out the window while Arlene screamed don't let her get too close to the van and carefully handed her the hair tie while we were still moving. Then we accelerated back to maximum van speed to make sure we were there in time for the final runner exchange.

Then I may have laughed hysterically for about 15 minutes.

Good times.

Sleep is for sissies!
For the second year in a row I got zero sleep during the race.

Mario Andretti not sleeping either.
I made a serious effort this year to get some sleep. In fact I made my whole van defer showering to turn off the lights and get some shut eye at our first break. But no luck. I was lying on my air mattress thinking how incredibly uncomfortable air mattresses are, listening to Lori sleep and wondering why I couldn't sleep so I checked my watch and it was 7:45 pm ... well that's one reason. It was a little early for sleep.

Look at me even with my eye cover and yet no sleep.

I was so tired by the end that it was a serious question whether I would fall asleep at dinner. I was in bed asleep at 7:15 Saturday night. zzzzz. Sunday night I also slept hard, Monday everybody kept telling me I looked like a zombie and finally today I feel human.

We finished the 196 miles in 29 hours. We were 119th overall and 66th in our category. Which is pretty great. We don't treat it as a race other that we do our best. We do this for fun so no pressure. Except to make shirts there is definitely pressure that next year we need shirts and magnets.

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