Ragnar SoCal – Part 5 (for real, IT’S OVER!!!)

The final – no REALLY, THE FINAL – Ragnar recap.  Don’t read if you’re over it, my feelings won’t be hurt.  I wasn’t even going to post this but I want it for ME.  I’ll have some new and current content… sometime.  Maybe.  Or another spacey and pointless vlog.  JK.  The novelty of video’ing wore after the LR endorphins died.  Back to grouchy/sarcastic/MS Paint Sarah.

(I am putting together a “Everything You Need for a Relay” post though, so if you have any questions send them over.)

*

continued from Part 4.

From the handoff I had a bit of a walk to the van and time to cool down from the exchange fiasco.  Unfortunately that didn’t really happen…  I got to my teammates and immediately blurted out something along the lines of where the F were you I was waiting for Margot forever.”

God I’m such a bitch.  Blame the adrenaline and lack of sleep, pretty please.

After realizing how small bones it was – two minutes wasn’t going to make a substantial difference and Margot was running so whatever – I tried to swing the convo in an upbeat, get-excited direction

‘Who wants to hear about my run?!  Guys I ran so fast!  I can’t believe it.  I still L-O-V-E the relay are you guys PUMPED or what?!!!’

The glares that came from those van seats were absolutely terrifying.

My attempts of Energy Contagion completely backfired.  SarahSR was the only other girl finished, all the others still had long hard roads ahead to look forward to dread.

It became VERY clear at that point just how different each of my teammates was handling the battle.  Stress, exhaustion, mental clarity – we were all ticking time bombs and you could tell everyone was walking on eggshells trying to keep the spirit in the van as neutral as possible.

The next few hours were VERY tedious.

We realized long ago we were going to fall laughably shy of our original (very ambitious) goal of 24 hours. I’m pretty sure we stopped tracking how far behind schedule we were before nightfall on Day1, actually. At this point it was really all about survival.

We went through the motions in a zombie-like trance – exchange by exchange, runner in, runner out.  Margot survived her 3rd and final leg of death-by-hills, Chiara tackled her longest leg of the relay, and Pam ran like freaking clockwork through her monster 17 (!) miler.  Each girl came “home” looking like the weight of the world had lifted from their shoulders.

(“weight of the world” = marathon+ distances, 24+ hours, malnutrition and severe coffee absence)

SR had to make a quick escape from Ex33 (of 36) to get up north for the SLO Marathon (her final installment of Man Up Week) so we said farewell to our 42 mile mule and made our way to Nicole’s final anchor leg.

Not the warm pleasantries Nicole HRM was looking for I’m sure.

When Nicole took off I was hit with a ball of emotions.  Well not really right then, since all I could feel was brain fog and exhaustion at that time, but I realized afterwards how many “things” I was feeling.

  • Relief – we were ONE STEP away from the finish line of this insane journey. One. Step
  • Worry – Nicole had a tough leg, and no matter how strong a runner is, ANYTHING can happen on a long run after 28 straight (sleepless) hours
  • Pride – In myself, sure, but mostly in my teammates. Everyone pulled together and gave it everything they had for the other 5 girls in the van. Being part of a TEAM was so fulfilling and uplifting
  • Excitement – the reality that we had a shot at a division win hit somewhere here. Many a telepathic run cheers were sent Nicole’s way as we pathetically tried to calculate splits and time differentials in our mush brains

We made it to the finish area on Coronado Island and shortly after got a text from Nicole saying she was 1 mile out but was having a tough go at it.

Back when we first assigned legs, I remember feeling envious of the anchor.  To someone who hadn’t experienced, nor could even begin to imagine, the pain of a 200 mile relay, I thought it would be such an incredible privelege to be the girl running the final leg into the finish.

While I would still consider it an “honor”, it’s got to be mentally THE toughest runner position to hold.  While your teammates finish their final runs and relish in the relief of being done, you have to sit there and just. keep. waiting. for yours.  Watch them fearlessly down whatever food they wanted and change into non-sweat-wicking clothing.  Chuck their bib and garmin in their bag and never look back.

I thought about that while we made our way over to the tunnel to pick her up for our big finale.  I vowed to have the BIGGEST smile on my face waiting for her.

We started our sprint through the homestretch – light one team member, half of us cleaned up in “real people” clothes, and with no plan other than GETTING ACROSS THAT DAMN FINISH LINE.

sidenote : many teams coordinate outfits, costumes, flags, and other photo op-worthy finish tactics. we obviously did no such thing.

Unfortunately Margot experienced some [hilarious] not-so-faster-bunny footwear issues on the run, but DEMANDED Nicole (who was wearing the timing chip) get across that line ASAP, with or without her.

Nicole, thank you for being such a badass. I’ll pull anchor duty next time, pinky prom.

Finish time  –  29:14.05 (8:37 avg pace)

44th overall, 5th Ultra team (all divisions)

2nd Women’s team, and 1st All-Women Ultra.

We were hilariously naive, over-ambitious, and definitely under-estimated the toughness of the Ultra Relay.  But we freaking conquered every damn one of those 203.5 miles.  And good God does it feel awesome now.

More than the “W” and 1st place trophy, we walked away from this crazy journey with memories of a lifetime.  6 girls hopped in a van in Orange County and left San Diego 30 hours later permanently etched in each other’s run-lives.

(Because I pricked all your fingers and collected vials of your blood while you were passed out in the backseats.  You’re mine FOREVER.)

And on that note, I leave you with my second favorite part of Ragnar SoCal.  #1 is pretty much just every second between start line and finish line…

SERIOUSLY what does a girl have to do to get the Stone trailer to park outside her house? There must be a way to make this happen…

I’ll see you next April, Ragnar.  NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.

Well, unless I see you before then…

Sarah OUaL, your giant relay-loving #1 fan for life

To SR, Margot, Chiara, Pam, Nicole, and all of the 12man SMCOL girls – thank you for LEGITIMATELY making this one of the best experiences of my life.  For real anti-quitsies.  Can we puh-lease do it again?  With team tshirts this time.  And brownies.

Good.

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30 thoughts on “Ragnar SoCal – Part 5 (for real, IT’S OVER!!!)

  1. Thank you so much for posting about your Ragnar experiences! I’m running on a traditional 12 person team in September for Reach the Beach NH and am really excited, especially after reading your recaps! I’ve never done a relay before, so I can’t wait for your “what do you need for a relay” post! Our team is sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, so we’re doing it as a charity run – I’ve been a busy bee trying to get us team tshirts, etc!

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  2. Thanks for getting that last post in! It was worth the read. If you don’t mind explaining, whats the dif between being the 2nd Women’s team but 1st All-Women Ultra? My ignorance aside, it’s so bad ass you guys won this. You guys are serioulsy fast! And super strong, thats a shit ton of miles!

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  3. I’ve done 2 relays and can totally relate to how mentally challenging that last leg is, and how everyone deals with the stress differently. But what I can’t relate to is the crazy mileage you ladies were running! Congrats on that! That’s huge! I’m hoping one day i can convince 5 other crazies to do an ultra with me :)

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  4. I loved reading all of your recaps and reading the other girls recaps!!!! You are all increadible runners!!! Reading all about your relay inspired me and to get a team together to do a relay and I am looking forward to your post about what you need….

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  5. I have LOVED this recap. I still haven’t written mine, YIKES! And while I was on a “regular” team, I have to tell you we went through so many of the same things. Cannot WAIT to do it next year. And we’re doing Del Sol too!! By far this was my BEST racing experience ever!

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  6. your final re-cap of our unforgettable adventure was worth the wait. :)

    already looking forward to next year. you were the best captain Sarah!! thank you again for all the heart, time, effort that you invested to make our 24 hrs. a success. 1st place is just the cherry on the sundae!! :)) xo

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  7. Great recap(s)! I’m in the midst of putting together a 12-person team for Ragnar DC (8 confirmed participants, with lots of enthusiastic others who need to check their calendars – eek!). I’m a super planner/organizing fiend when it comes to stuff like this, so I look forward to your post on everything you need for a relay! :)

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  8. Loved hearing about your “Ultra” adventure!! I’m doing the Ragnar NW Passage ultra in july. Very excited! Congrats on your big PR in Eugene…even though you didn’t get the BQ…you kicked ass. Just reading about Yours, Sweaty’s, and Margot’s PR’s lead me to a PR in OC!! Thanks!!

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  9. This recap came in much earlier than I expected! Must be in line with your weird morning running (not weird to me but weird to you).

    Can we also vow to bring less shit into the van? Good Lord, we totally didn’t need all that stuff and just took up sleeping space.

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  10. Yes, I second what Pam said. Thank you so very much for all that you did in getting our team together and organized. You put so much time into it and I appreciate all that you did for us! Man, I cannot tell you how happy I was to see you guys in the finish chute. Can’t wait til next year!!

    Numero Uno. Love it.

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