Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ragnar Relay Race 2015

Sunday afternoon when this thing was all over I spoke with my mother. She said, "I think this relay is about the craziest thing you and Fred have ever done."  I think she's correct. So,  I thought I'd start from the top and explain what all we did.
A Ragnar team is comprised of 12 people.  We had two teams (of 12) called Memphis Grit and Memphis Grind.  Running with two teams of 12 allowed everyone to have a partner.  We all left Memphis at 12:30 pm for Nashville to pick up our 15 passenger vans.
Each team of 12 had a van 1 and a van 2.  I was in van 1 on team Grind.  All four vans left Nashville and headed to Murfreesboro to eat dinner at Olive Garden.
After dinner we loaded up and headed to Chattanooga.  We checked in our hotel for a good 5 hours of sleep.  I think my alarm clock was set for 4:45 am (3:45 am central. Yikes.).  We kissed our hot shower and bed good by and headed to the start line at 5:30 am.  Van 1 from team Grit and team Grind left at this point.  Vans 2 were back at the hotel sleeping.  Here we are at the starting line.
Before our first runner left we had to watch a safety video and do several other things to check in.  We were given safety flags that had to be used each time someone crossed the street.  If a runner had to cross the street, someone had to escort them.  I think at one point I may have had a little too much fun with the safety flags.  
Our first two runners (Again, we are running two teams concurrently.) left around 6:30 am.  Since we ran in the dark you had to have safety gear on during dark hours...5:00 pm to 7:30 am.  
After they left the remaining team members loaded the van and arrived at our pick up point. We had a "race bible" that contained all the information you could possibly need: pick up locations, drop off locations, major exchanges (I'll explain later.), rules for each leg, etc. It was intense. 

My first leg was 3.1 miles.  About a mile of it was literally uphill.  I'm here with my partner, Amy. 

After the run, before you get back in the van, you have to stretch wherever you get a chance.  Ha!
Sometimes, you don't have time to stretch before you get in the van.  
You drive to the next pick up.  Once your runners finish they get in the van and the second runner gets out.  Then the cycle repeats itself until all six runners in van 1 have cycled through.  
Here is a pick up location: (and you should know they passed out temporary tattoos.  Good times.)
Once all 6 runners have run their leg we meet up with van 2 at what is called a major exchange.  We then passed off to them.  While van 2 was running, van 1 went to Cracker Barrell.  When we are running all there is to eat is water, bananas, Clif bars, granola bars.  I'm telling you, I've never tasted a Cracker Barrell that was so good.  It's the best meal I've ever eaten.  Ha!  Then we headed to a park and rested any place we could find.  Several of our team members napped on picnic tables.  
Our first leg was complete by 11:00 am.  Then around 4:00 pm our van took over again.  (I'm not really sure what van 2 did at this point. We were running. I'm sure they did much of what we did.)

We are here waiting at the second major exchange.  At major exchanges there are sleep areas, opportunities for food, and port-a-potties.  Oh, the port-a-potties. 

Vans 1 headed out around 4:30 pm.  Amy and I ran our second leg beginning at 8:30 pm (We were runners 5 in our vans.)  We ran 4 miles through the back side of nowhere.  It was a good thing we had head lamps on our heads because at times that was the only light we had.  Whew, it was dark.
Our van finished up around 9:30 pm.  We grabbed a sandwich from Arby's and then drove to the next major exchange to sleep while van 2 was running.  I "slept" for about 2-3 hours on the floor of our van.  Some people slept on the gym floor.  Some people just slept outside.  Just wherever you could find a spot to grab some sleep, basically.  There were also showers here and real bathrooms.  None of our team showered.  We chose sleep.  We didn't go all weekend without cleaning up though.  We had baby wipes.  Duh. (I can not possibly describe how nasty my hair was by the end of this thing!)

Van 2 came running in around 3:30 am.  At that point we headed out for our final leg.  
My final leg was 5.2 miles.  And we finished up our run around 7:30 am and then the last runners from van 1 headed out.  Our vans passed it over to van 2 around 8:30 am. 
 We tried to look really sad and tired.  It took me a while to get this picture without smiling.  

Done with our 3 legs.  Done and done.  

We headed for our last major exchange at that point and handed it off to van 2.  Vans 1 went to Puffy Muffin in Franklin, TN for a little breakfast.  Look at all those delicious pastries.  That is why we run, people.  

After breakfast we settled in the parking lot of the Wolfchase Galleria to rest while van 2 finished up.  Some of the girls (and one guy) even had our hair washed at JC Penny.  It's the best $25 I've ever spent.  
After a little while we met van 2 at the finish line.  We all ran across the finish line together.  Here is Memphis Team Grit and Grind.  

Here's Memphis Team Grind, Van 1.  

 And here's my favorite fella.  I'm so thankful we got to run this together.

Each team of 12 was presented a medal.  When we laid the medals out they looked like this...
We did it!  Each time I run a race I marvel at God's goodness to allow me the health to finish something like this.  This last year has been a battle for me, as far as my health goes.  Health is certainly not something I take for granted.  

24 friends + 4 vans + 2 days + 1 night + 200 mile relay = Unforgettable Stories

Would I do it again?  Ummm...I'll have to get back to you on that one!  I sure will cherish the memories that I have from this one though!  

One of our team members made a video of the weekend.  Enjoy!

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