April 06, 2014

Ragnar SoCal, Part 2

(...continued from Part 1)

I left off when our team was at Exchange #12, waiting for Van 2 to get there. Colleen was the last runner for Van 2, so she was out running while her van was trying to get to the exchange before she did. Traffic was really bad, and they weren't able to get there on time. But Van 1 was there, ready for Thomas to start us off with our second legs. Colleen came FLYING in, at a 7:47/mi pace for her 6-ish mile leg!

Thomas headed out for his second leg, which was a 11.9 miles with NO van support (meaning we weren't allowed to stop along the way to offer water or anything, because the location didn't allow it). We knew we'd have over an hour and a half to get to the next exchange, where I would start my leg. That turned out to be a good thing, too, because the exchange site was SO congested with traffic.

My leg was only 3 miles, so that didn't give the van much time to pick up Thomas and get to the next exchange before I got there. John's second leg was 3.3 miles, so he suggested that I run both mine AND his, and then he would run both of our third legs on Saturday. I loved that idea, because it meant I'd be completely done after that run!

We had forgotten about the fact that Ragnar made a big mess of the SoCal course this year. They couldn't get permission to use a particular area for the race, so instead of rerouting, they had it planned to where Runner #2 would finish the second leg, and then instead of handing it off to Runner #3, like you normally would, we had to drive all six of us to the next exchange, which was miles away! Then, Runner #3 would be dropped off at a new location to start the second leg. It was the only exchange like that, but it was weird and it ended up adding an hour to our overall time, because of traffic.

Anyway, I got to the exchange point to wait for Thomas to hand off to me. Thomas completed his second leg (the longest leg on the course) like a total champ.

I headed out on my three-mile leg in the dark. Thankfully, there weren't any spots to turn, because it was some sort of path, so I didn't get lost ;) My pace was good, at about 9:00/mi. When I got to the exchange point, I wasn't expecting to see my van there, but John told me that we had forgotten about the fact that we had to drive to the next exchange. We still decided to swap legs, though.

We drove nearly an hour to the next exchange point, where they dropped me off to start John's leg. It was a scary leg! It was pitch black, and went through some sort of park. The path had really deep ravines on each side of it, and I just kept picturing falling off the course to my death ;) I tried to get pictures in the dark, but this is how well they turned out...

You can see the reflective vest of the runner ahead of me, but that's about it. I tried to keep up with that person, so I didn't feel so alone, but they were too fast for me. My legs had stiffened up a lot in the car, and my pace was about 9:40/mi.

I was absolutely FREEZING the entire 3.3 mile leg. I was in a tank and capris, which I thought would be just fine for Southern California, but I wished I had my Cold Gear with me. I finished the 3.3 miles without falling into the ravines, and I was done! I handed off to Caitlin, and then got in the van to warm up.

After the rest of the van finished their legs, we handed off to Van 2 at the major exchange, and then immediately headed to our midway hotel. It was almost 1:00 AM. Everyone showered and went to bed ASAP, because we had to wake up at 3:30 AM to leave again. I ended up falling asleep for about an hour, which was enough to reenergize me. John woke us all up at 3:30, and we headed to the next major exchange to wait for Colleen to run in and hand off to Thomas for his final leg.

Once Thomas headed out, we drove ahead to a gas station to use the bathroom and buy some snacks. John was outside, and I was trying to pick out something for Thomas to have for a snack, when Thomas flew right by. I felt awful about missing him, because he'd had no van support for his first two legs! So we drove ahead a little ways more, and then jumped out of the van at the last second as he ran by, so we could at least cheer him on.

Thomas handed off to John, so John was running both my leg and his own, a total of about 6 miles. We decided to have some fun with John by leap frogging him every quarter mile or so. Usually, we would only stop once or twice during a leg, depending on how long it was; but for John's last one, we stopped so much it was a bit ridiculous. Very fun! I started offering Twizzlers to the runners who went by, too.

The scenery for the last legs was absolutely GORGEOUS. Pictures don't do it justice at all. It was right along the ocean. We even saw some sea lions sunbathing on rocks down on the beach.

While Caitlin was waiting to start her last leg, we were so cold. We huddled together to try and keep warm, and especially keep Caitlin warm. Someone took our picture, and it ended up being one of my favorite pictures of the race!

Once the rest of the van was done with their final legs, we were so excited to be done! Van 2's final legs were long ones, so we had a lot of time to kill. First, we leap-frogged Dean for his whole first leg, which was a blast. Dean is so much fun to watch--he runs the entire time with a big goofy grin on his face. He looks so happy the entire time!

After Dean's leg, we ended up going to get lunch and then taking it to John's house. We went to In 'N Out, a burger place that I'd never been to, but everyone else said was amazing. I hadn't had a hamburger in a long time, and it was really good!

Caitlin, Thomas, and I booked a hotel about a mile from John's house, so after lunch, we went to check in. We took showers and rested for a few minutes before we had to pick up John, Hilary, and Paige and go to the finish line to wait for Van 2. When we got to the finish line, I was stunned at how amazing everything looked. The scenery was gorgeous, and there were so many people!

(To be continued...)


  1. Omgosh I feel like i'm watching a mini series! Can't wait to hear the rest of your story!

  2. Sorry the weather didn't cooperate and the course was not well-marked, makes for good stories to tell later though. The scenery is gorgeous, of course I speak from the perspective of someone who has lived her entire life in landlocked Nebraska. Coming from the Great Lakes area, you're used to those beautiful coastal scenes. Looks like you have indeed gone from "Strangers to Solemates!"

  3. In n' Out is a California tradition - you can't come here without having it! Sorry our weather has been so atypically cold... go figure! I'm so excited to hear the rest of the story, and I'm glad you've made some amazing new memories with Strangers to Solemates!!!

  4. Thanks so much for sharing your stories! Love it - sounds like lots of fun :)

  5. What a saga! It still sounds completely awesome though! I love all the pics, and I can't wait to read all of the rest. Go, team, go!!!

  6. sounds amazing so far! Can't wait to hear about the rest!

  7. What a bummer that you escaped the snowy midwest only to find it cold in Southern California! At least the scenery is gorgeous!


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