Thursday, May 15, 2014

#RagnarCapeCod Part 2...During

So where did I leave off?  Oh yes the decorating of the van!  I would be silly not to show you even more pics of my frog jumps plus a first group picture of the day!
We were on our way to meet Van 1 in Duxbury for our first exchange and to start our part of this 192 mile journey to P-town!
There we were briefed...kind of...on safety (to my defense Lisa is a Ragnar pro and knew she would know what to do and what not to do) grabbed our shirts and waited for Jen to come on down!
Can't forget a selfie with my big sis Amy aka our fabulous driver!
Once we could see Jen's Spandits and yellow tutu we knew our fun was just about to start!
A slap of the bracelet and Lisa was off down the beach!
I was the last person in our van to run and as Lisa and Betsy cruised through their parts of the relay, the sun started to go to bed (and after being up since 5am I was ready too!).  Beth and her husband Brian flew through their legs (seriously after his first leg Brian earned himself the nickname Meb...that man is fast!)  Jill flew through her leg and I almost missed her as we were climbing down the stairs to my exchange!

A slap and I was off to run my first leg...4.8 miles along the Cape Cod Canal!  The first mile clicked by in 8:08 as I was trying to chase the one and only other runner on the canal...some may call it speed I just call it desperation not to be alone!  It was purely by the grace of God that I did not freak out during this leg.  The canal trail is a paved bike path that runs along the canal...very secluded from the road.  It was just me...the water...and a few fishermen as I ran along, over the bridge, and back along the canal.  Fear never entered my mind after that first mile!  Fortunately I was able to catch at least 2 runners and had my first 2 kills for the night!
Quickly after that we headed to our first sleeping station/intermediate school gym.  One quick change and wipe down with the Shower Pill and I was in my comfy clothes looking for a little rest.  One thing we learned was that a parking lot full of relay runners is....LOUD!  I think I scored maybe 2 hours sleep before we were up looking to start our next group of legs.  Since I was the last runner in my van I could have slept more but I was also the only person in the van who knew where the heck we were so I was navigator.  I will say that our Dad would have been proud of how well Amy and I made our way!
As the sun came up over Harwich I was ready for my next leg as Jill rounded the corner!  I had a few things to my advantage during this leg...I normally run early in the morning so 5am wasn't bad, I knew the route because it was part of the Cranberry Half Marathon which I have run several times, and it was only 3.1 miles.  Most of the route was on a bike path which meant no climbs and not a lot of turning...just a straight shot into Harwich!  I had fun finding people running and reeling them in before I passed them.  It helped me to pass the time and keep focused on the finish!  I averaged a 7:59 pace and was psyched to turn the corner and hand the bracelet over to Jill R waiting on the top of the hill.

I was also very excited to hit up the Corner Store in Chatham for a breakfast burrito...SCORE!!!
We then headed to Nauset High School to rest again and get psyched up for the last part of the relay.
These Shower Pill wipes were clutch!!!
We had a lot of laughs at the different vans and tagging them with our frogs!  This exchange was a lot less lively so I feel like I got a good hour sleep before we were headed out!  This part of the relay boasted a beach at every exchange and honestly some of the best scenery of the whole thing!  My favorite was the cliffs in Wellfleet where the sand dropped hundreds of feet to the beach below.  I forget how beautiful this part of the Cape is since it is still an hour away from where we are.

One thing in the back of my mind this section of legs was my 9.6 miler.  Yes I can run 9.6 miles no problem...but I was battling stomach cramps (dehydration???) the last leg and I had only slept about 3 hours in almost 24 hours.  I was also so nervous about letting my team down.  They were awesome and volunteered to run with me or meet me along the course but I knew I had to face this beast head on.  I had to prove to myself that I could do it!!
The last handoff!
I have to say that I said more swear words in that first mile than I have in a very long time.  It was uphill through SOFT ankle deep sand....You've GOT to be kidding me!  By the time I got up the hill my quads were toast but I kept my eyes forward!  We wove our way through Truro, up and down hills and along streets lined with Summer cottages until I saw the most amazing sign yet...Welcome to Provincetown!  Not to say the next 4 miles weren't hard...maybe the hardest I've ever run...but just one boot and rally and I saw the next awesome sign...1 mile left!!!
I sent a picture of the sign to my team so they would know when I would be crawling...I mean climbing up the WICKED steep hill to the top (seriously Ragnar...did we have to scale the side of a mountain to get to the top?).  I saw my team and we ran to the finish together...well almost since I didn't realize that they had showered and were in flip flops!!
I was so excited to hugs my teammates and get our medals but the most special hug at the finish was from my big sister!  I had to fight tears...she knew how I battled that last leg...the relief that it was over...the joy that I faced my fear and won!!

There are so many thoughts I have now that I am a few days removed from the relay but I'll say stay tuned!!  Thank you for following along this journey!!  I'll leave you with one last picture that basically sums up this a good way!


    (she shouts)
    I could have unlimited sleep and showers and... and I could not :-)
    you rock

  2. Congratulations! Ragnar is a beast! Although challenging, sounds like you had a great time. I had to run a solo night run on a secluded trail once (didn't see a person for 4 miles) and it totally freaked me out!! P.S. You're fast! :)

  3. You did so awesome, especially on that last leg - you crushed it!!! The whole thing was so much fun and I'm so glad I was in your van!

  4. So excited for Napa Valley in September!!

  5. YEAH!!!!! That last leg sounds like it was a killer but you dominated it!

  6. This is awesome! Running a relay is on my bucket list. Though I'm just nervous about the barely any sleep thing!

  7. Congratulations, you did amazing!

  8. OMG your pace during Ragnar is off the hook Nancy!! I have been dying to do the Napa Valley Ragnar for two years now {since they started that one} and I think I am on a team this fall. I have so much work to do, but I love reading your post. Very inspiring :)

  9. 1. You did fabulous the entire race- its not easy being the last runner.
    2. I can't believe you got 2 hours before 2nd run, thats actually pretty good!!
    3. I guarantee you'll do another one- they get better and better

  10. Awesome! Looks like you had a blast too :)