If you haven’t already, go back and check out part 1 of my Ragnar SoCal recap. It recaps legs 1-6 for Van 1 and leaves off at our virtual exchange 12. In the 3 Ragnars that I have done, I have never dealt with a virtual exchange. The first exchange 12 and the second exchange 12 were about 50 miles apart. We didn’t really understand how this work, so I know I was nervous. I did’t want to lose time with not knowing if van 2 finished or not.
It was estimated that Katherine would be done leg 12 around 7:45pm. So about 15 minutes prior, we all headed down to the exchange. It was right on the beach and couldn’t have been more gorgeous. Communication between Ragnar staff at each exchange 12 was spot on. All the teams waited and as the team heard their number announced, they were given a new slap bracelet and back on the course. All nerves were pushed asides once I saw how smoothly it was going. Number 57 was finally called and Lauren took off.
Leg 13 – Lauren started in Oceanside but quickly was sent to the San Luis Rey River Trail. Ragnar warned runners that the trail was not well lit and well, they were spot on for that. When we finally got to the exchange, it was pure darkness and all you could see were small head lights running up on the trail. When Lauren finished, she got into the van and described the darkness and running on that trail as a complete “mind f**k” and I could see why she said that. I am glad I didn’t run any of these legs.
Leg 14 – As Kelsey was getting to the exchange, she said really had to get to the bathrooms. We dropped her as we were parking the van. A few of us hopped out and as we were walking to the exchange (Kelsey just a few steps ahead of us), we all yelled “KELSEY — LAUREN IS HERE.. GO NOW!”. Poor girl never had a chance to go the bathroom. Again, this was the trail and for weeks Kelsey had been so nervous about this night run. We told her we’d meet her at the halfway point.
I was so nervous that when we’d get there, she would just have such a grumpy face on having to run this leg. She was worried about vagrants and coyotes based on past recaps she had read. Well, as the van was hanging out at the meeting spot, we saw Kelsey running up with the biggest smile on her face. She had met a friend and they hooked up and ran most of the leg together. Yes! Kelsey was not kidnapped or eaten by a coyote. Big win.
Leg 15 – Sarah’s second leg started on the trail and then hit the suburbs. She was feeling pretty and was determined to hit her pace for this leg. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to support her during her leg, so we had to go right to the exchange. She finally came through to the exchange, handed the slap bracelet to Wendy and still breathing heavy yelled that she had 17 kills! For the non-ragnarians, a ‘kill’ is a person passed. This group of men standing by us were in shock. Their eyes were just huge and they started whispering to each other about her comment. Sarah basically ate that leg for dinner. It had no chance.
Leg 16 – I think I forgot to mention in Part 1 recap, but I was originally set up as the 4th runner. A slight freakout prior to leaving, caused me to ask Wendy to switch and I would become the 5th runner. She was happy as it gave her more miles and I was happy as it gave me 14 miles instead. It worked out well for the both of us.
Well, as were were following Wendy along her leg, I was sure glad that I did switch. She had some pretty bad hills in this leg. The van was able to stop about half way and quietly cheer her on. Since we were in the middle of a neighborhood, we didn’t want to start screaming and wake up neighbors. The hills didn’t stop Wendy as she rocked them.
Leg 17 – It was time for my second leg! Even at 11:00pm, the weather was pretty perfect. I ended up wearing a short sleeve shirt and capris for this leg. I knew I would be on a course with other runners, but when it comes to night runs, I light myself up like a Christmas Tree. I wear my reflective best, two blinkies, an arm light and even carried a flash light. The flash light came in handy with some of the sidewalks. My eyes are just crap in the dark, so this way I have myself enough light to not misjudge a step and fall flat on my face.
This was a shorter leg, 3.8 miles, but it had a fairly decent climb – over 200 feet in less than half a mile. Looking at the map, I thought it would be bad, but I didn’t realize just HOW bad. Leading up to the hill, I was actually going sub 10’s and felt good. When I turned left to the hill though, I did my best to run as much as I could, but that really lasted less than a quarter of a mile.
I knew I could probably get up faster if I powered walked, so that is what I did. I was able to actually get some kills even doing that. At one point as we all turned to the hill you heard a collective “what the f**k” from several of the runners. I don’t think any of us saw that coming.
I gave that hill all I had. Before the hill I was going somewhere in the 9:40’s and then at one point walking up the hill, I saw my watch showing 19:20. Ugh. Kick in the gut.
Eventually I got up the hill and made my way to the exchange. I finished in 39:00 at 10:15/mile. For what that hill was, I was pretty happy with how I recovered for the rest of the leg. At this point, two legs done and one to go!
Leg 18 – It was Allison’s turn, so you know what that meant, right? More hills. Poor girl. This leg was a nice little roller coaster of hills. I have to say, she went on to absolutely rock this leg. I mean crushed it!! We were driving to exchange 18 and I made the comment that even my one big hill didn’t compare too all her ups and downs. I’m glad someone like Allison was rocking those hills, because I probably would have let the team down big time.
Once again, with Allison coming in and handing off to Jeanne, van 1 was done. We were now 2/3 of the way done with Ragnar. Our van had just run 24.4 miles in 3 hours and 55 minutes. This is also about the of a Ragnar Relay that things get to be a bit fuzzy. Kelsey and I lucked out as someone told us of this secret bathroom on the way to the actual exchange area. It is always nice to enjoy a real bathroom to use and change in during a Ragnar. We let the other girls in on this secret as well.
Since exchange 24 was only 10 miles away, we made the decision to stay at this exchange to sleep. We figured we could jet there pretty easily from where we were. We had parked a good distance from this secret bathroom and on our way back, Kelsey and I spotted a secret parking lot that was pretty dark. We had the idea that we would move the van into this parking lot as it looked to provide darkness and quietness, two things you want about this time of night. Kelsey told Lauren to let the other girls know (they were all headed to the bathroom together).
Well I guess that communication got missed handled because about 15 minutes later we were still waiting on two of the girls. Oh great. Here we are, in the middle of this exchange, we moved the van and they didn’t have their phones on them. Just great. I was ready to curl up to go to sleep, but I didn’t feel right to until we got the other girls back safely to the van. Lauren headed out and luckily within a few minutes found them. Great! Now it’s sleep time.
The 6 of us found “comfortable” positions within the van and tried to get as much sleep as possible. I think it was somewhere around 2-2.5 hours. Honestly, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but in Ragnar terms, getting that much sleep in one sitting in sometimes unheard of I think. I felt lucky and honestly, felt “good” for it being around 4am. I mean as good as one could in the middle of the night, no shower, still hadn’t brushed my teeth and crazy tired legs.
After everyone started stirring, we got ourselves together and headed to the next big exchange. One leg to go. We were all happy to know that and overall I think we were in great spirits! The sun was also coming up soon and we were headed to the Pacific Coast highway. It was sure to be a good morning! Only 28.7 miles left for our van!