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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Ragnar Part 2: 21 Miles of FAB

Part 1  |  Part 2   |  Part 3   |  Part 4
...this might be a tad long...

A couple weeks ago I detailed my legs that I was going to run at #SoCalRagnar!Yes! I was Runner 12...and I was totally clueless what it meant. Except that I was gonna run my heart out. I have to admit that I was stoked for the elevation drop. But I was NOT prepared for the hills. But I still killed em.

So maybe we should start from the very at about 6:05 am...waiting for the start.

We were supposed to start at 6:00am, but got pushed to 6:15. There were a LOTTA peeps at that start. So I am not in my run gear.

I have 11 ladies and about 10 hours (or so??) before I run. I think we calculated that I might start at around 4pm.

That's ok...I figure there is cheering and all day crazy before I go... And then I  learn after about 7 or 8 hours that patience is a virtue!
I was DYING to run...but still had two more gals to go! 
It was so fun to cheer em on...but the waiting was killing me...

And finally it was time...It was 530pm as we got up to the exchange point I knew I had to have the night gear ready to go. I would for sure have some dark-time in my 7 miler. God! I was getting antsy!!
Casey came down the pike with Theresa cheering her on, she slapped the bracelet on me. Off I went! 

It was beautiful. I was through a park, paved pathways and I could smell the eucalyptus trees. I inhaled deeply and had such amazing Australia memories. It was great just running and feeling the breeze on my arms and legs and loving the weather! It was cool, but perfect. And even when dark, it wouldn't be cold. Then I took a turn an was back on to running on a side walk and roadway...where big white vans were driving by and cheering like mad! There was a big group of us and we had a nice big hill climb and finally turned a few corners and got into park area...where I couldn't see road nor would I see anyone for a while...there was no where for vans to stop!
The scenery was gorgeous. Despite the rolling hills, but I felt amazing. Part of it was adrenaline. The hills were there, but the lungs were feeling SO STRONG due to the huge elevation drop! YES!Time really flew by. I was not as fast as I thought I would be...but still 11km (almost 7 miles) in 79 minutes. 

Of course, I took a couple minutes to shut off the GPS. I was disoriented at the finish....the whole team was screaming my name to stop. I was a bit disoriented at the finish....the whole team was screaming my name to stop. Lisa finally whacked me on the shoulder to give her the bracelet! I had kept running thru the crowd to get to the back part of the finish where I  THOUGHT the exchange would be... HA! 
How did I MISS the big Chick in the crowd?? 
Maybe cause it was so damn dark an my glasses were foggy! And after a quick snap...Van 1 was chasing their runner and we (Van 2) were off to quickly eat then lie down for a few hours...we would be running at 1am! We ate some light food (I had fish beans and rice). And then drove to the exchange where Helen would finish and Amy would start.
God 1am came too soon....
And we headed down to the BEACH to wait for the exchange.
But first...there was time to seek out the waves crashing on the nearby beach!! 
We collected Helen and met up briefly with Van 1...and off we went to their exchange so the other gals could lay down...for 5 hours before they would take up running again. 

I THINK we started running around 2 am. There was some snoozing and hi-5ing as Amy, then Theresa, then Kathy ran. I napped at one point as I just couldn't keep my eyes open between 3-430am! Jessy was off and then Casey for her leg...And then we got to my dark. I really wasn't awake!
I made one error. Didn't go to the bathroom. But was so excited to get out there...And off I went!
And it went from pitch black to sun up in minutes it seemed. Perhaps that is because I was slowly climbing one very long hill and was distracted! It was nice to hit some hi-5s with other runners at the traffic lights (good god there were a lot of those!!!) as that kept our spirits up as we laughed about the rising temps - it felt so WARM by 6:15 am. But we had been busting our arses up a damn hill! And then we see we turn right to go up ANOTHER hill! oh man...That whole time I think..gad...I gotta go...where are those biffies that Jessy said were all over the side of the road! And I finally see my girls!! They yell it is I rip off the night gear and keep going. I think I dreamt that I shouted at them to pull up and see me in another mile or two. 
And less than 2 miles from my exchange I have to GO. I was lucky to run into a lovely band of pirates who tossed me some baby wipes and cheered me on like mad making my VERY PUBLIC toilet break totally hilarious and a little less mortifying ( just have to laugh at this sort of thing!).

Finally the constant climbing comes to an end and we have a full mile of breakneck hot damn down hill run. It was AWESOME end to a nice early morning 5miler! 
I passed off the bracelet and RACED right to the portapotties...running right by the pirate team (more hi-5s)!

As I got into the van, one of the gals says are you ready to run 7 miles on your next leg...
I had a moment of sitting there thinking to leg is less than 6...hmmm. So over breakfast we decide that I will take over Casey's leg. Poor Casey had insane blisters and is suffering a bit. I still have miles left on my legs (bless you marathon training!!!) So it's decided I would take over at the 3 mile mark. So I would do the last 4 miles, then take a water or potty break and start my last leg! 
YES! this is going to be awesome. 
But first breakfast and a nap. 
Then we head to the next exchange - the beach where Van 1 finishes and we take on the last 6 legs. It is hot. thank got the coast is cooler. I am feeling a bit of heat so I have a lie down at first. Then I have a massage on the beach (oh heaven!) and chill as we wait for the first van! The view facing the beach is incredible! 
Finally, we send Amy off and grab a photo...and back off we go! 
It is hard as each of the girls finish their last leg they are spent! Energy levels are waning and I am getting nervous. I have to keep it up to bring us home...eek! 

Finally 4pm (or so I think) happens and we spot Casey coming. Theresa runs out to meet her and I start out to meet them and get the bracelet and go! The directions (read bad signage) are a bit spotty but after a few turns I head up the hill of all hills. Oh Jesus. That looks steep. But I press on! It is hotter than hell too. I am so glad I am holding a water bottle. This is some big ol hill training. I go and go (and curse) and finally the gals drive past me. Honking, hooting and hollering! Julie snapped a series of pics that made me laugh so hard. This hill was a beast (more than 12% grade) and hard work, but I felt so strong as I powered up it. I was laughable when I finally saw the gals and they made me laugh (and i got close enough to squirt em with my bottle)!
Just so you know this hill was christened #whorehill
At the top I turned around and  looked down....
Thank GOD! Lets keep going. I am finding it hot but at least the mile and half is flat.
 I round a corner and I see the exchange!! 
 I toss Theresa my bottle. sod it. No more carrying. I know i have a water station and I am done. I will be ok with one water station in another 2 miles. The gals have a little finish line (on TP no less) for me to run thru...I guzzle some water. Wonder out loud, 'Do I need a bathroom?' nah!! Lets get er done!! 
See you at the finish...I'm sad that the gals cannot stop to cheer me for the next 5.5 miles...but there is nowhere to park. So they wish me well and I go off in high spirits! 

Its a nice run. I am so glad when I get off the streets, cross the main bridge and hit the San Diego waterfront! I feel my legs a little, but I know i have to push. 11 runners and 2 drivers are waiting. 

I stop to take a quick bathroom break and snap a photo - it's so beautiful. Must keep going. I pass a rave party, and about 10 men sleeping on benches. I even get some hi-5s from the park residents! I ran really fast past two shady sections as it looked like gang drug deals. Perhaps I watch too much Law & Order! Clearly. 

The first two miles of my last leg were great. The next two drug on. AND ON. I am confused at where the hell the finish is. I see nothing. Then finally. FINALLY I see some signs that point to the right. Eureka! I race accross the main road onto a boardwalk. Still no 'one mile' sign. You have gotta be kidding me. Jesus. I take a bit of a walk break to gather my thoughts and kick my own ass. And I hear some yelling and cheering and a group of Ragnars race towards me saying seriously less than 10 minutes get going!!! YES! It was such a lift! I finally see the finish area. And put out the steam! It's funny...I didn't see this photo till WAY after the race...but as I was running this, I was tearing up hoping they were as excited as I was...and that I hadn't made them wait too long! Julie was snapping the finish and I didn't even notice.
  I did start to get a bit teary as each of the gals fell in line and began running with me! 
It really was overwhelming! 
And these last three shots of the race still give me goosebumps! It was so amazing to gain strength from the cheers and the noise to finish strong! 

AND FINISHED! I conquered 21 miles. Our team ran 194 miles. And it was freaking awesome.

I think after we finished I was speechless. Overwhelmed and exhausted. Mentally and physically. 
Not sure words can describe the true fabulousness of it all. 

And then I saw this picture of Shannon
THIS sums up the experience! 
And this divine dessert capped off the most amazing 2 days. 

Thank You AGAIN to my amazing team mates: 
Lisa, Krystal, Virginia, ValerieShannonHelenAmyTheresa, Kathy, Jessy and Casey!! 
And our FAB (more than word EVER) drivers Julie and Lauren!


  1. Congratulations on your adventure Tina and Team Tough Chick! Those are some great photos. It must have been great to escape the Canadian winter and head south to soak up the sun. There were ups and downs, trials and tribulations but you have created memories to last a lifetime. 194 miles. Way to go! :)

  2. Love this adventure. It's awesome you took all those pictures so we could live through you! It is amazing where running can take you. Was that chick not helluva hot in the costume?! Great job to you and your fab team.

  3. #whorehill! I'm not surprised.

    Great photos and you're smiling in every one which means you must have had a great time! What an amazing accomplishment for your whole team. I'm sure experiencing 194 miles in California is that much more fun with a group of Tough Chicks! Great job Tina!

    1. #whorehill indeed. But I killed it. In fact ran parts of that hill faster than some flat sections!!! It was just so silly fun! And breaking up the runs while it was hard to run when tired...made the miles workable!

  4. Damn! That is quite the race!!!!