Thursday, September 25, 2014

San Francisco to Napa: Part 2, Ragnar Relay!

Now to the "meat" of the trip.....the race.

For those of you not familiar with "Ragnar": it is a 205 mile relay running race composed of a team of 12 runners (or 6 if you're really crazy). It starts Friday morning, and goes straight until Saturday afternoon! Each runner does 3 legs. When you're not running, you hang out in a van and cheer on your team. The race takes you through some amazing scenery and experiences - and it is an incredible experience! There are 36 different legs (exchage stations)

Our race started at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, followed through some coastal towns (with insanely beautiful homes and massive hills), and into the orchards of wine country. The race finished in Calistoga, CA (which is cute town Northwest of Napa).

I was runner #5 - and my legs were 6.4 miles, 8.6 miles, and 4.9 miles. I added an extra 2.2 miles on at the begging to run across the Golden Gate Bridge with Ryan and my friend Sharon. (Ryan was the lucky dude who's leg took him across the bridge, but we decided to "pace" him - which was an excuse for us to run across the bridge!)

I have the say, running across that bridge was one of the coolest feelings ever. There was such an energy and excitement. It was a misty and windy morning, but that just made it all the more exciting. The wind whipping in your face, the sight of the fog rolling across the bay, it was so envigorating!!!

The pictures turned out kind of goofy, since they were action shots & selfies.
There's that happy face


My friend Sharon and I getting ready to cross!!!

We stopped for a quick photo - it was worth it.
My 1st leg was the most beautiful - which took me through Tiburon Valley. In fact, I saw some of the most breath-taking views my eyes have ever seen!
It was super challenging.  The hills were so steep, that it made me laugh at times. And then when you got to the top of a hill, I took 4 flights of stairs, which took me to a trail - it was insane!
Here are a few pictures from leg #1.

My night run was kind of scary. You were on these country highways, it was misting, you could see vineyards around you when you turned your headlamp, traffic was insane, and there was barely a shoulder. My complaint here was no race support. No cones for safety. I was seriously terrified of getting hit by a car in the dark (especially being in WINE country. Hello, drunk drivers!). We had one runner take a hard fall and another runner get lost during the night.
After my night run, I got pretty really sick. I didn't eat right away - since it was 1 am, and I was going to wait for the rest of my van (6 runners) to be done. Then I got nauseated and couldn't eat. Then I spent the rest of the night hunched over a porta-potty dry heaving. Sorry for the TMI - but it was a huge reason for my tears when I finished this race!!
Going into my 3rd leg was a little nerve-wracking considering my ill, sleepless night. The 1st mile I was grabbing at my sides in pain from cramps. But once I figured out my breathing, I was able to press on and finish!! This is the 1st time ever that I've finished a race in tears. When I handed off the paton to my team-mate, I was seriously sobbing uncontrollably! (and I am not a crier!!) (I kept saying, "I don't know why I'm crying!!!")
This was my face was I approached the exchange station. I have never had to focus so hard on a run! Not even in my marathons! It took so much mental strength and breathing control, since I had so much stomach pain. But I did it!!!
The race was so much fun. The memories, the laughs, the bonding with your team-mates, the sights/countryside you all makes it worth it!
This was taken somewhere between Golden Gate Park and the Golden Gate Bridge. Sharon & I were waiting to catch Ryan so we could cross the bridge with him!


Here is an example of the attire that needs to be worn at night (with headlamp and flashing back light) for safety!

It was so exciting Saturday morning when the sun camp up, and we were in a vineyard!! The grapes were ready for harvest!

My friend Kristy and I found it hard not to taste the grapes. But one must "respect the grapes"
One of the exchanges has the most beautiful trees with changing colors!!!
This was my van of 6! There was originally supposed to be 2 guys, but one of them had to cancel. So Ryan "got" to spend 32 hours in a van with 5 women. He could also be known as "The Survivor". Ha!

And here we are post-race celebration! Yes, we are double-fisting the beers! We earned it!!

This team picture has 18 instead of 12. That's because we had 6 people who were part of another team - called a 6 pack! Our team was called "Corked" - the other 6-pack was called "Half Corked".
It was such a fun group of people - and we had such a blast! It's amazing to put this many people in such close quarters with sleep deprivation for 32 hours, and there was no drama. It was all fun and smiles!!





Marlys said...

That was quite the recap! I can't imagine how awful you must have felt running with that kind of stomach pain! They always say you shouldn't run if you have pain so that was taking a risk! I would have cashed in my chips right away so you are a fighter!
Beautiful views and good friends made it a great experience!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Ugh your stomach problems sound horrid. I am glad you made it through and still had a good experience. I would have cried too from the exhaustion and all the time spent sick. :( my natural reaction is to cry when I am over tired or stressed or sick. I am glad you all had fun. Ryan is a trooper to hang with the ladies but it sounds like you had a super fun group!!