Hopefully by now, you have read Part 1 and Part 2 of my Ragnar SoCal recap. By this point of a Ragnar race, things can get a little crazy due to the lack of sleep, tiredness and being confined in the van with 5 other people. This is also the best part at the same time because it’s almost over! One more leg to power through and you can say you are done!
Last we left off we were just waking up and heading over to exchange 24 to start our last legs. Wendy was driving and thank goodness. My eyes were so glazed over I could barely see straight. As we start getting to the exchange, we hit “traffic” or what I would call traffic. Really it was just a back up of Ragnar vans trying to get into the exchange. It wasn’t the best exchange in terms of getting in/out of and we had to actually drop our runner and two other of us as we couldn’t find parking.
I believe it was myself and Sarah that headed over with Lauren. As we were waiting for Katherine to come in, I look in the exchange area and see someone that I think I know. I called out “Carlee McDot” and this face turned around with the biggest smile. It was in fact Carlee! Here it was at 4:30am in the middle of SoCal and the late night hours of Ragnar that I run into her! Shocking! We had tweeted back and forth to each other that we would try and meet up, but with the crazy of Ragnar I didn’t think it could happen.
Finally Katherine came in and handed off the slap bracelet to Lauren. Van 2 was now 2/3 of the way done! They were rocking it! At this point as a team, we were 59 minutes off our pace calculator. Typically the third legs are the slowest since you are just plain tired and your legs feel like lead weights. Well, apparently George’s Girls didn’t get that memo!
Leg 25 – This was Lauren’s hardest and longest leg. Ragnar thought it would be fun to put her 7.8 mile run at the end. The best part of Lauren’s leg is that just after mile 4, she headed right into the Pacific and got to run alongside the ocean for the last part of her leg. It was pretty stunning! When Lauren was done and she collected herself she yelled out that she had 42 kills. WHOA!! I don’t even know how could count that high during her run. To say she beasted that run would be an understatement! She also went 7 minutes faster than her proposed time.
Leg 26 – Kelsey’s third and final leg. Again, I think the poor girl got screwed in having enough time to go to the bathroom. Oops! By this point, lines for the port-o-potties just seemed forever long for some reason. She said she started slow, but by her last mile had much improved. Kelsey ended up shaving off 2 minutes off her proposed time. We were slowly catching up on that hour!
Leg 27 – It was time for the van Ragnar Virgin to head off for her last 3.6 miles of Ragnar! She got to race along the ocean and enjoyed racing to the sun coming up. To say it was a gorgeous morning would be an understatement. Again, van 1 was making up the time and Sarah shaved off 6 minutes from her calculated finish time.
Leg 28 – Wendy’s last leg was a nice little 10K with some decent hills, Err.. very hard hills. The shirt she wore for this leg said “embrace the hills” and it seemed absolutely perfect for this! These hills were no problem for Wendy though. She tackled them like a champ and even shaved 5 more minutes off that hour! We were cruising!
Leg 29 – My last leg! Yes! It was almost over. I had another 3.8 miles to finish and for the most part it wa sa net downgrade with just one hill at the beginning. I told the van I wanted to beat the time the pace calculator proposed, but didn’t know how the lead legs would hold up. Looking back, that was all just some garbage. My legs were apparently just fine.
After getting the slap bracelet from Wendy, I immediately got stuck at a stoplight within a 0.15 miles. Once the stop light and volunteer let us go, we headed up the hill. For the most part, I got to run through Torrey Pines neighborhood area. It was nice and glad the sidewalk provided some shade.
From mile 0.5 to 1.5, I had about 200 ft net downgrade. I used that hill to my advantage, but didn’t think I had any speed. Then I finally got the end of the hill and on the flat part of the leg, I finally looked at my watch and realized I was going sub 10’s. Whoops! At that point, I figured I would continue to push and see what happened.
During the downhill, I was passed by two guys. I get it, they were just going and much faster than me, but with about a half mile to go, I caught up to one of these guys. He was walking and looking in bad shape. I easily passed him and secretly felt really good about myself that I was able to pace myself out and catch up to him.
Finally, as I come to the exchange, the volunteers called out number 57 and I didn’t see Allison. I started yelling for Allison and still no Allison. No teammates, NOTHING! WHERE WERE THEY!? Some guy could probably see the panic on my face and even started calling out for Allison. Finally, out of thin air, I heard “CHELSEA, OVER HERE” and here came Allison. I gave her the slap bracelet and then stood there like a lost puppy.
Still no teammates and I had no idea where the van was. I just started meandering around and I finally found the van. Wendy, Sarah and Lauren were there and were like WTF!? You are here?! Apparently, I went way too fast and they weren’t expecting me in for another 10 minutes. Oops, sorry guys, I just trusted the legs and let them take me away.
I finished the leg and it came up 3.68 miles on my Garmin and finished in 34:12, which was 9:18/mile average!!! My head was spinning because I honestly had no idea how I did that. I ended up shaving 10 minutes off the schedule finish pace time. To finish on such a high note was a great feeling. In both of my other Ragnars, my last leg was a total bust and just ended horribly. I was done! Ragnar number 3 was in the books for me.
Leg 30 – Here it was: Van 1’s final leg of Ragnar SoCal. And again since Allison was running, she of course had a nice mountain to climb. This time she had over a 400 ft climb and no van support. We had to go straight to exchange 30 to meet Van 2. We pretty easily found Van 2 and we all hung out waiting for Allison. Jeanne was in the exchange ready to go.
This exchange was right on a cliff of the coast. It was gorgeous and I honestly didn’t want to leave that spot. I think I could have hung out there all day. I wish all of the exchanges were in places like this. For running SoCal, we didn’t do much running along the coast until this last set of Legs. I think Van 2 had some legs along there, but we didn’t luck out until sunrise. Finally, Allison was in and Van 1 was done. Again, with the speed she shaved off 2 minutes!
So, if you are keeping up, Van 1 was able to shave off over 30 minutes and we were now just 27 minutes behind schedule. And they predicted these legs would be the slowest? Not for us! I was so proud of these girls!! It was now up to Van 2 to keep up that speed.. and that they did! We finished 28.7 miles in 4 hours and 31 minutes.
Van 1 hung around the exchange for a few minutes since we had about 6 hours. We were happy to be done and why not hang out in that gorgeous area. It was decided we would head to Lucha Libre for burritos. Lauren raved about them, so off we went. I didn’t know that was what decided so I was very confused about the whole thing. After slamming down some breakfast burritos, we were able to head to the hotel and check in early. This was so clutch! We showered and starting feeling like a normal human being again. I know Kelsey and I even got about an hour’s nap.
Around 1pm we headed to the finish line area which was in Mission Bay. As we were driving over, we actually saw Megan on her final leg. After parking at the finish line area, we actually immediately started cleaning off the van. It’s never fun, but it has to be done before returning the rental.
The finish line was right on the beach, but luckily the last runner was only running on sand for a very short while. We got to see a lot of teams finish and watching them is always fun. We actually saw one guy come in and NO ONE from his team was at the finish. I wanted to go out there, hug him and then run to the finish with him. Then we saw Katherine coming in and she was nothing but smiles!
The team gathered behind her and off we went trough the finish line! WE WERE DONE!!! George’s Girls finished Ragnar Relay SoCal in 29 hours and 36 minutes, just 19 minutes behind our pace calculator schedule. Immediately after the finish, van 2 picked up our pizzas and crushed them! Since van 1 had eaten, we let them enjoy.
Each year that I have run Ragnar, I have gotten a different medal design. Ragnar spiced them up even more this year by putting a saying on the back that only makes sense when you put all 6 together.
George’s Girls did an amazing job during this race. I feel so lucky to know these ladies and even luckier to complete a race like this with them. I have known many of these ladies for over 10 years now (whoa, I feel old) and it’s always great to catch up and check in with where life is. I know a few of us have already starting asking which will be the next Ragnar that George’s Girls will run! There are some good choices and we have to plan around life, but I am sure we will be back at it again soon.
The team ended up finish 7/55 in the Women’s Open division and 248/732 for overall regular teams. We know how to make our mark on SoCal! For me, it’s now time to focus on the Pittsburgh Marathon, which is coming up in less than 3 weeks. It’s one race to another for me and I wouldn’t want it any other way.