continued from Part 2…
Noted : Start time – 11:43 pm.
While this is not exactly an ideal time to go for a long run, I really can’t complain. There are still people out and about (especially Old Town Temecula – hello Friday bar crowd!) and it set me up for a normal-timed Leg 3. Most fortunate/lucky SMCOL runner award def goes to SarahOUaL.
The first part of the run was very friendly and easy. I mean if the Queen of Uneven Pacing can put out even splits like that (note the blue line on above graph) it’s saying something.
At this point we’d caught up to some other teams, but runner traffic was still sparse. There seemed to always be a taillight in the far distance or a headlamp creeping up behind me, but I spent most of my time alone.
2-lane industrial side roads turned into commercial blocks turned into the main drag of party central Temecula. 8.8 miles and a brief run in with a group of drunk girls in skanky dresses later, I approached the exchange to pick up my pacer.
Hi neighbor’s girlfriend Kristina! (From NYE since 2am Ragnar Sarah didn’t think to take a photo)
A few hours earlier, our neighbor text Brian saying one of the exchanges (18) was at their resort, just a short drive from where I’d be running. I immediately called his gf (who’s an awesome sub1:40 half’er and probably the nicest person alive) and begged her to run with me.
OMG I was hoping you’d ask! This is so cool I was just going to jump in and start running with strangers if you didn’t want me!
I didn’t know at the time just HOW badly I’d need her, but GOOD GOD am I glad she was all dancy-pants about it.
Immediately we hit a stop light, which is one of the few major bummers about relays, and she gave me the rundown on what we had ahead of us. Girl knew turn-by-turn, elevation, and landmarkers by heart. Talk about an awesome pacer.
(foreshadow : SO SO SO CLUTCH)
We’ve got a few little rollers then we’re gonna head into the golf course – you’re looking great, do you feel great? No don’t answer, just run. You don’t have to talk. Alright what else can I tell you about? … (more stories)
We kept moving, locked right in at 8:30ish and I felt great. A little tired, but thankful for the company and the easy, mindless route.
The golf course came, and we turned onto the cart path. As soon as the appreciation of the change of scenery set in, I stepped RIGHT into an ankle-deep puddle.
[squish, step, squish, step, squish, step]
Well, I guess it’s a good thing I brought an extra pair of shoes! hehh heh…
A few soggy minutes later, Kristina makes a turn off the cart path and I stop in my tracks.
S: ‘No. No way are we supposed to go that way. Some asshole’s just pulling a prank and moved the signs.’
K: ‘Yeah, we are. This was on the map. Come on – up this hill…’
I looked to my left towards the safe, paved cart path. Then back over to Kristina, standing on the fairway of Hole 5, next to the blinking “TURN HERE” course marker, with the sprinklers going off all around her.
No f’ing way.
I could see a faint red light (another course marker) some undeterminable distance past her, and decided to follow.
Uphill through the slick, muddy grass, our headlamps reflecting on the sprinkler shower all around us. I yelled out a quick “WHAT THE F*CK SERIOUSLY??!!” while trying not to laugh. The off-roading seemed unfair after 10+ miles, but running through the sprinklers in the grass in pitch black was stupidly juvenile and fun.
Plus, it’s Ragnar. I reminded myself I could’ve signed up for a road race if I wanted a boring pavement-only course during the daylight.
Kristina let me know we were in for some more climbing – my only real hills of the whole race – and we ran until it just made more sense to walk. There’s a point when you can move at virtually the same pace but conserve a bunch of energy by taking the extra little hop out of your step and admitting to a walk.
At least if you’re a shitty climber like me you can.
At this point the taillights become more frequent. We passed a few people trudging uphill (running when we/I could, walking when we/I didn’t want to) and eventually Kristina let me know that,
‘This is it, last climb – we’re all downhill from here!’
Which, to my downhill-loving legs and all the fresh meat (runners to pass) around, meant one thing :
Time to run fast.
I started silently ticking off “kills” as the sub8’s carried us down the course. Eventually I got to 10 and explained to Kristina what I was grinning about.
‘When you pass someone it’s called a “kill”. That was 10. This is fun.
Yeah, she thought so, too. Every kill after that got a verbal shout out – “11! 12! There’s 13, let’s catch him!” – and I didn’t have the energy to care about being polite. If Kristina wanted to call out live-action course commentary, who was I to stop her?
Plus, you know competitive Sarah ate that shit up.
(Leg kill total : 15, FTR)