Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ragnar Relay

I'm so lame at blogging that I copied this from my friend, Diana's blog. We really had a great time---I couldn't have written this better myself.

30 Hours 51 Minutes Later

I just finished the most grueling and the most awesome 200 mile race ever. It all started back in December when I received an innocent little flyer in my mailbox, tempting me with the awesomeness that is the Ragnar Relay. It begged me to find 11 of my closest friends and sign up for this crazy drive. run. sleep. repeat. race that was going to start in Santa Barbara and end 200 miles later at one of our favorite beaches a few minutes from our home. I get a hundred of these flyers a year {well, not really that many} and I usually throw them away, but not this one. I remembered that Katelyn had said she had run one in Utah and loved it. And well if there is a race that's totally cool and someone else has done it, then I get to feeling like I'm missing out and a bit jealous and think I have to do it too. It seemed crazy, at first glance incredible and a slight bit impossible... Sold! It was a no-brainer, I had to do it. And Team I Run Like A Girl was born.

Adrienne, Me, Tarah, Katelyn, Annalee, Lori, Jenny, Teri, Jenn, Julie, Kerry, Liz

After several team meetings, a few drops outs, and a bit of drama {who are we kidding, there were 12 women involved}, we finally had a team settled and ready to run. We trained our little hearts out and it was fun. We all took it seriously and made sure we were in the best shape of our lives. Girls were running further and faster than they had ever run, and this was just in training.

Does this van make my butt look big?

When Thursday night at 6pm rolled around, we were ready to rock it. We piled into 2 big white rental vans {scary molester vans if you ask Christy who looked out her front window to see one parked in front of her house all day, until she remembered it was race day!} and drove up to Jenny's dads house for a massive slumber party. Meet Van 2 {my van}:

Annalee, Julie, Kerry, Tarah, Me, Katelyn

Katelyn was my bunkmate and I don't think we slept a wink all night. I would have chalked it up to sharing a bed with someone new, but she's so tiny that there was more room in that bed than my own at home. Then maybe it was the killer sore throat that came on as I shut my eyes, but probably most of it was nerves. Although I was runner #12, and wouldn't run a step until around 6:30pm the next night, it was still pretty darn exciting.

The lovely orange flags we were required to use to cross the street.

As usual, Adrienne {who has anxiety} was in peak performance with an excellent rendition of SNL's Molly Shannon, "I kick & I stretch & I kick again. I'm fifty!" She keeps you peeing in your pants with laughter {did I mention she has anxiety}. Although there would be girls peeing in their pants later on because they ran so fast and couldn't stop. That's the kind of team I was on. I am so proud.

The most beautiful starting line.

Not everyone got so lucky with their legs {we each ran 3 times}, there were some super sketchy parts of L.A. to run through, but those who got to run near the beach were indeed lucky. On one of my legs I ran right by a Green Joy clinic. What is a Green Joy clinic you ask? Let me describe the signage and I think you'll figure it out. Picture a black circle with the word Green arching on top and Joy arching on the bottom and in the middle a medical staff insignia on top of a marijuana leaf. Oh yes, this was one really niiiice area of town.

Here's our girl Teri, starting us out right. Man, she was F-A-S-T.

The slap bracelet baton was passed on and on all day long {did you know Adrienne has anxiety}.

Finally, mid-afternoon, it was our van's turn to run. We flipped from totally relaxed and goofing off, stopping to cheer, honk and wave at runners, to being in the hot seat. It all happened a little too fast and we clearly weren't totally ready to handle it. We had to do a drive-by drop of Katelyn at the exchange while we went to park the van, not sure if we would make her hand off or not. She was already a little stressed from me almost running a major red light because we got a little lost getting to the exchange and were late, late, late. Then to add fuel to the fire, they told her she couldn't check in without an orange ticket that they were supposed to give us at the morning safety training but didn't. When we finally caught up with her there was a wild look in her eye and a lot of yelling, go here, do this or we're disqualified as she frantically ran to the exchange point where Jenny had been waiting to hand off to her for a while. Apparently she turned this extra adrenaline into energy because she ran her pants off.
Here's my bestie Katelyn after she busted out 7:53 minute miles for 5.5 of them in the hot afternoon sun. She totally rocks. I want to be her, or at least some version of her.
Or Kerry, I could totally handle being Kerry too. She busted out every leg in awesome time with a big fat smile on her face and a sweet, "I'm okay" when we tried to give her water. She would pass these poor blokes with a pat on the back and a keep up the good work wave.
We were having sooo much fun. It was such a great day, I love my girlfriends.

Tarah kills me. She took on these killer hills for 8 long miles and just ran, ran, ran. She ran fast and focused. She didn't even try to figure out how to get her borrowed ipod off of repeat because it would "waste too much energy", so she just shut it off. What? That's the mark of a really good runner. I am not that good. Not even close.

Finally it's my turn to run. Lucky me, since it's going to be just barely past 6:30pm when I start my run I have to don all the safety gear: Head lamp, reflective vest & butt light.

There are so many darn turns on my run that I have to sharpie them onto my arm to make sure I don't get lost. And this leg is only 4.5 miles! You just never know about the signage... will a local yocal have thought it was funny to turn a sign around or even have stolen it? Will there be any other runners on the course with you? I don't want to chance it.
Here's Julie with the big hand-off to me. I'm so proud of her, she's just run a super hard leg & the longest she's ever run in her life. She stayed on pace and made great time. Go Julie!

I found a friend, a little running buddy that was a bit faster than me but since there were so many lights to even things out, we ended up running together a lot. It helped to keep me fast. I wish I knew exactly how fast, but I messed up the stop watch on the Garmin I was borrowing so it only recorded half my time. I know I was running close to 9 minute miles, but I'm not sure how much faster I was... bummer! I was really excited to know.

And we're heading into the night section. It's somewhere around 2am or so, we've been "sleeping" in the van at the Santa Monica Pier. Which they told us we couldn't do. That we had to go up to the exchange point and throw down sleeping bags on the grass under the spot lights next to the Starbucks tent and all the runners. What the what? No thanks, we'll just chance getting a ticket because we're sleeping right here. And from what we could see in the parking lot, there was plenty, plenty to keep officers occupied all night. We were the least of their worries. While we are trying to get some shut eye, we can hear other vans schmoozing it up with each other. What are they doing? It's the middle of the night, you have to run 2 more legs, GO TO BED. We even got an invite to come sleep next to a team full of guys out on the beach. Whaaat? Where are my ear plugs, let's shut it down. Just look at all those vans...

But again, no sleep. It's kind of hard with a seat belt in the middle of your back or a street light in your eye, or Julie's shoe under your pillow. But you don't notice that you're sleeping on her shoe because you're so tired. And then she tries to find her shoe {and hopes it didn't fall out of the van} and is hanging over the cooler from the front seat with her buns in the air trying to grab at a shoe under the seat that just keeps moving away from her while she cries "I found it, but I keep pushing it away." And Annalee pipes up, "That's because my foot is in it! It's my shoe!"

Here's my girl Katelyn getting ready to run after a few choice comments back in the van: "I'd rather you kick me in the face than run right now." and "This is my sexy voice."
Katelyn will be singing Brad's praises in about 20 minutes when he catches up to her on the bike. Brad will announce to her that he's counted 28 homeless men so far and she'll agree. She'll even get a little wanna-be-racer run out from a bar and track her for a quarter mile until she tells him she's going to push him out of the way. So glad to have Brad tonight. So glad.

Smiles all around, all night long. I even ran a Personal Best - I busted out my measly 2.5 miles at 8:40 minute pace at 4a.m.-ish. I've never run that fast and it felt great, I even passed a few people. Again, Brad you are my hero. I was so happy you were right behind me when I got a whiff of pee and saw a homeless guy sleeping on the front step of a business. And most especially when I headed into the dark park behind another guy runner. At first I thought, I'm not alone there's this guy in front of me. But then it occurred to me that we both had our ipods blasting in our ears and there was no way he would have heard me being attacked. Plus I think it made me run faster not wanting to look like a wimp with you there. And Jenny's rad music mix was pretty cool too.

Breakfast break and bathroom spit baths. Our last legs are coming up soon.

Katelyn's last exchange. Finally in homegrown territory now, Huntington Beach.

The final exchange for Van 1. They are done and can totally relax. Now it's up to us to bring home the bacon!

A very relaxed Lori & Jenn with some free Starbucks hot cup of chocolate.

Kerry is always relaxed.

Julie getting ready. Super excited for her last short run.

Annalee just crushed it. Her longest run of the race (8.8 miles)and it was super hot. "I don't do gu. I'll just take a jolly rancher and I'll be fine. I'm not even bringing water with me." Tough as nails with a sweetheart of a hubby who ran with her.

I am the very last runner for our team. It's a grueling 5.5 miles from Aliso Creek Beach to Salt Creek Beach with 2.2 miles of a steady incline on PCH, dodging cars and no support. Then a 900 foot elevation gain in about a half mile {which nearly killed me} and the rest was mostly down hill from there.

I did it again. Another personal best. I ran this leg in under 10 minutes miles. I should have written it down because it escapes me now, but I believe it was between 9:30 & 9:40 minute pace. I'll take it, either one! Woo hoo for me.

Don't we look hot in our Lulu gear? We didn't think we would be the fastest team, but knew we would be the most stylish. And I swear those outfits made us run faster. In the end, we placed 4th! 4th in the all women division of around 20+ teams. There was only a 15 minute difference between 2nd, 3rd & 4th place. Wow! I guess we are one the fastest teams after all. Who knew?!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Christmas Day 2008

Notice the cement floors---I can't wait to post pictures of our new floors---coming soon!!

Taylor bought Steve a wallet for Christmas LAST year. He is very picky about his wallets---he hates when they are too big, so he never used it. Taylor always told him how rude that was, so for Christmas this year, she wrapped it up and gave it to him again. We all got a good laugh out of it.

We had a wonderful Christmas morning. I love that it was just our family. The kids were happy to get the presents from Santa that they asked for. Taylor asked Santa for a digital camera---we might be sorry that he brought her one---she has been taking pictures of EVERYTHING!! Parker wanted an I-pod and a robot (whatever!) and Lexi wanted a doggie and a horsie. Taylor was "testing" Santa Claus this year to see if he brought her what she asked for, without telling me or Steve what she wanted. I'm sad to say that I think this was Taylor's last year in Believing---