Ragnar & Epic Relays

Today my husband, my son & i packed stuff up to go fishing at East Canyon Reservoir. Fishing here is stirring up alot of memories & it’s making me really depressed. 

You see, East Canyon is a major exchange between van 2 & 1 for the Ragnar Wasatch Back.

If you’re unfamiliar with what Ragnar or the Epic Cache-Teton Relays are, let me enlighten you. 

The Ragnar Wasatch back is a 220 mile, 36 hr relay run through the Wasatch Mountain Range. You usually have a team of 12 runners. If you have 6 runners, you’re considered an “ultra” team. I’ve always wanted to have an ultra team. 

The Epic Cache-Teton Relay is the same type of race, except it goes from Logan, Utah to Teton Village in Jackson, Wyoming. The views throughout this run are breathtaking. The views of the Grand Teton National Forest are beautiful!!

What i like most about these races are the camraderie between you & the others on your team & other teams. You’re having so much fun, you forget you havent showered or slept in 2 days. I just dont know how else to describe it. 

I didn’t see any runners as we were driving to go fishing. But i saw the directional signs & i saw the 1 mile to go sign. I just miss it. 

Sadly, i can’t even run right now. I can’t run because i’ve got that herniated disc in my back & because of that, it makes my feet go numb after running about 1 1/2 miles. 😦

Maybe i can run both these races next year. The company i work for sponsors a team for both of these races. 

I’m almost to the point that i say “screw it” to my back & start running again any ways & just get used to running with numb feet. 

I might have to do that because there’s a sprint triathlon i want to do on Nov 4. And if i’m gonna do it i need to start training now. 

Oh, & the only fish that was caught while we were fishing today was caught by my husband. 


Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay Recap

Wow! Say that title five times fast! That’s a mouthful.

This last weekend was crazy. It was fun, but it was crazy. This last weekend I ran in one of my favorite races ever!!! I ran the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay. I love doing this race every year. I have so much fun doing it.

Late last year a friend from high school contacted me and said she was on a team for the 2012 Wasatch Back and they just had a runner back out. They wanted to know if I wanted to run it. I jumped at the chance. I was assigned to be runner # 1. Runner # 1 runs the longest distance, with the total distance being around 21 miles.  Then about 3 months before the race, the captain called me and said we’d had a change of plans and wanted to know if I’d be runner 10. Runner 10 has to run the “Ragnar” leg, which is the hardest leg of the race. I of course said yes. I was up for the challenge.

Well, about 2 months ago, due to injuries and whatnot, almost the whole team fell apart and I became captain. Being captain has got to be one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done. Within 2 months I had to basically build half the team. Thankfully van # 1 stayed the same. So, when I had to put together van 2, I called upon some of the girls that I did the Las Vegas Ragnar with. So, in van 2, there was me, Lisa, Kirsten, Emily and Jamie. Jamie and I were the only 2 original people from the team. I knew Lisa, Kirsten & Emily from Las Vegas Ragnar. I had NO clue who Jamie was. I did have Aubree, who was going to be runner 11, so nobody had to run any extra legs or anything, but about 1 1/2 weeks before the race, Aubree injured her ankle and wasn’t able to run.

Me, always being up for a challenge, I wasn’t able to find anybody to replace Aubree, so I decided, not only was I going to run the miles I had to run, I was going to run the miles Aubree was going to run. Normally you would only see this on an Ultra Ragnar team (6 runners instead of 12). So, come race day, I would be running a total of 35.1 miles. ALOT of people thought I was crazy. I was told by friends AND family that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Well, that right there made my final decision for me. I was going to prove them wrong.

My team was super supportive of me as well. I knew it would be hard, but I was determined I was going to run a total of 35.1 miles.

So…come race day, we all decided we were going to meet at Jamie’s house. Honestly, I was REALLY nervous to meet Jamie. I didn’t know who she was or anything. I was worried that personalities were going to clash, etc. Jamie provided our van. The best thing about the van (I’m not even kidding) was…it didn’t have any door handles on the outside. It made it very entertaining.

We got the van all loaded up & headed up to where we were going to meet up and have van 1 hand off to us. Van 1 was supposed to hand off to us at 4:30 p.m. (they were super fast runners), but leg 5 slowed them down (a pretty nice sized hill) and so they didn’t hand off to us until about 5:15 p.m.

Kirsten ran first and rocked her leg!!! It was a nice 4 mile leg through the town of Eden and then she handed off to Lisa. I don’t remember how long Lisa’s leg was, but I know as we were waiting for Lisa to hand off to Emily, we saw one guy lying on the ground at the exchange point almost in convulsions. I’m assuming it was from dehydration it was SUPER scary.

Finally Emily ran and she handed off to me. So, I had two lengths to run since I was running for runner 10 (me) and runner 11. The first part of my run was fairly easy. It was only 3.2 or so miles. It was nice and flat, the only problem was, I started out too fast. Grrr. I hate when I do that. I looked down at my watch and I was running like an 8:45 pace for part of it. I tried to slow down, but I felt like if I slowed down I would be crawling.

The 2nd 1/2 of this run was alot harder than I expected. It was 7 miles and 5 of those 7 miles were uphill. It was tough. I knew it would be uphill, but there were parts that were pretty steep. Oh, it was an unsupported run as well. So, my van couldn’t go a couple miles ahead of me and stop and wait and give me water, etc. So, I just decided that I would run when I can and if I had to slow down and walk, I would. I LOVED when the 2 mile stretch came and I ran those entire 2 miles. I got water at all the water stations they had along the way and I was taking and eating gels every 20-30 minutes. By the time the 1 mile to go sign, I was SO relieved. I could hear people at the exchange and that gave me the extra push.

Finally, I ran in to the exchange and passed off to Jamie. I expected us to get in to the car and drive to the next exchange to meet Jamie, but since Jamie only had to run 2 miles, we walked across the parking lot and met her there. Jamie ran CRAZY fast and got us our first 3 kills (she passed 3 people)!! Woot! So proud of Jamie.

So, Jamie passed off to van 1 and we headed to East Canyon where we would start running again. We had about 3 hours before we would have to start running again, so once we got to East Canyon we got out our sleeping bags and found a place on the lawn and tried to go to sleep. It was SO cold. Even my sleeping bag wasn’t keeping me warm and it was one of those super-duper keep you warm sleeping bags. Plus, people were SUPER noisy. I can understand being noisy and cheering on your runner when you pass off to them, but we weren’t by that area. People were just walking through the campgrounds and were being really noisy. If I did start to fall asleep, as soon as I did, I would get a text message because I finally had cell phone reception. So…no sleep for us.

So, we started running again…on no sleep. My longest run was coming up. So, I made sure to eat 2 peanut butter sandwiches and have some snacks before it was time to run. Everybody rocked their runs! SO proud of them. I knew Emily was worried about her run because it was a 10 mile run…unsupported. But, she did awesome.

So, it was finally my time to run. This time it was a total of 14 miles…unsupported. I ran through Hoytsville and passed Rockport Reservoir. Why were they unsupported? Well the first 7 miles were on a dirt path. I SO wasn’t expecting that. It was flat, but it was on a dirt path. I was doing ok except my shoes were CRAP!!! I could tell after my first run that my shoes were done-for. Too bad I didn’t have any other new shoes. My feet were hurting. I could feel every little rock and pebble on this dirt path. For some reason, I was burning calories FAST too. I was having to take a gel every 20 minutes even though I ate 2 peanut butter sandwiches before. About 3/4 of the way through the first half of this 2nd run, I had to text one of my teammates and tell them that at the next exchange I needed more gels. As I approached the exchange, my teammates were there with more water and plenty of gels. They were even willing to run this 2nd leg if I needed them to, but I was feeling pretty good. I kept about a 10 min pace on the first half of the run. The 2nd half I wanted to try and keep that pace as well.

The 2nd half of this run was on pavement past Rockport Reservoir. I’d hear of Rockport before but didn’t really know where it was. It is really quite beautiful.

I was a little bored on this run, so I decided to call my brother and sister-in-law while I was running. Lol. I had a good little chat. Not long because I was running, but it was fun to call them. Then, all of a sudden, I had a running partner. A dog! This dog had followed one of the previous runners from town. He just kept following her and then he started following me, so I stopped to take a picture.

He was such a happy dog. I was just worried he was going to get hit. We were running on a very busy highway. One of the vans of one of the runners tried to get him to get in their van so they could take him back to town, but he just wanted to follow the runners. At one point, the dog just layed down in the middle of the road to watch the runners. That’s when I called the dog over to run with me. I was SO worried he was going to get hit. Finally when I stopped at a water station a Sheriff was coming by to get the dog so that he wouldn’t get hit.

The second half of the run was a little tougher for me. There were more hills and my legs were feeling a little tired, but I made it and passed off to Jamie. Poor Jamie, all of her runs were unsupported. 😦 This time Jamie had to run 6 or so miles and run in to Oakley.

I was excited about this part of the race. I have a friend that is from Oakley and I wanted to see what the town was like. Plus, at the Oakley Rodeo Grounds, where the exchange takes place, my mom and dad were volunteering, so it was going to be nice to see them.

It was starting to get warm in the day, so people were starting to pull out their water guns and squirt people with them to cool them off. I think Jamie got squirted a little bit.

I had a few minutes to chat with my mom and dad before Jamie came running in. I had got a couple of blisters (one was blood) on my toes from my last run and my dad (the EMT) made a suggestion of going to the medical tent at the rodeo grounds to have them pop and bandage up the blisters. I didn’t even think about that! So, after Jamie ran in, we headed over to the medical tent. They popped my blisters and bandaged my feet up pretty nice and it felt wonderful.

We had about 3 hours before we had to start running again. Not enough time to get some sleep. We all wanted some REAL food. I was tired of peanut butter sandwiches. If I saw another peanut butter sandwich I might barf. So, Lisa’s sister lives in Heber and was kind enough to invite us over and her husband made us home made hamburgers and french fries before we had to start running again. It was the best hamburger I’ve ever had! DDDDDDELICIOUS!!!! They had this cute dog too that loved to see everybody!

Before we knew it, it was time to start running again. It was starting to get REALLY hard. We were all just super tired from no sleep and we were just tired. My hardest run was coming up. Plus, it was getting HOT HOT HOT!!! We made sure that everybody had plenty of water. We knew people were having medical issues along the course because it was so blasted hot.

Poor Kirsten, on her first leg, it was SO hot, she was getting sick. We stopped almost every mile to help her get through this run. Thank goodness for all the people out with hoses and water guns.

Lisa, she rocked it!!! Unbeknownst to all of us, right towards the end of her run, there was a HUGE hill she had to climb. She still made really good time. She ran in to the Homestead Resort and passed off to Emily.

It was nice to see my mom and dad again at the Homestead Resort volunteering. I want to do a huge shout out to them for volunteering. It was greatly appreciated.

Emily was a rockstar!!! She had a 4.4 mile run and it was 1/2 way up Guardsman Pass. Emily passed off to me 1/2 way up Guardsman Pass.

Guardsman Pass is of the devil I tell ya!!! I’ve never ran/walked anything SO hard. I knew it was steep, but I still wanted to try and run parts of it. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Here is a picture of part of Guardsman. It doesn’t give the hill justice.

I had my van stop every mile to give me water, but this was taking FOREVER!!! The closer we got to the top, the more I knew we were behind. At one point, a van with Ragnar officials was starting to drive the course. I was SO close to the top. I knew I was past the 1 mile sign. I told them I felt like I was struggling but explained to them that I HAD to finish this leg and the next. I HAD to prove to people that I could do an ultra. So, 2 of the girls got out of the van and walked the last mile with me. They were in flip flops.

This picture is almost at the top of Guardsman Pass.

I finally made it to the top of Guardsman and had to have my feet wrapped again. Man, the EMT…he was HOT too. I almost told him too. Haha!! I’m sure he would’ve thought I was just delirious from running/walking so far.

We running behind so, Jamie opted to skip her last leg and run my last leg (7.2 miles downhill) with me. I honestly could’ve done it myself, but one, we were running behind, and two, it might’ve taken longer because my anxiety was starting to creep up on me, but knew I HAD to do it. My knee and feet were starting to hurt REALLY bad. It made me feel special, but it made me feel bad too that the Ragnar officials kept driving by periodically and cheering me on. They knew my story and they knew I had to prove that I could do this.

I can’t tell you how happy I was to be able to run down through Deer Valley. Good Lord there are some serious expensive condo’s and houses up there. You KNOW that rich/famous people live up there. We saw some deer out in the road too. It was a nice run. It was nice to have the company of Jamie too.

Finally, we ran down in to the exchange where I would’ve normally passed off to Jamie, but instead, we all piled in the van and drove to the finish line, which was at Park City High School. Once we got to the high school we had to figure out how to get to the finish line.

We probably ran an extra 1/2 mile trying to figure out where to go to run across the finish line. It’s ok, that 1/2 mile was fun. We only had van 2 to run across the finish line because van 1 lived 4 1/2 hours away and decided to head home early. So, we finally found the finish line and all 5 of us ran across. It was a glorious moment!

We crossed the finish line, got our medals and our free pizza! Real food!!! That free pizza never tasted so good.

I honestly had THE BEST van. We all got along. There were plenty of laughs, plenty of tears, but all in all, it was a good time.

Running this ultra for Ragnar was SUPER hard. It’s got to be one of the hardest races I’ve ever done. Would I do it again? Without a doubt!!! I wanted to sign up for an ultra team next year, but then I realized that it would be 1 or 2 weeks after my first 1/2 Ironman, and I don’t think that’d be a good idea.

I really want to do the Las Vegas Ragnar again this year, but it is 1 week after a full marathon I have down in Las Vegas, and I don’t know if I can afford it, so don’t know if I’ll be able to do it.

Until my next race, happy running folks!!!

Next race: Spudman Olympic Distance Triathlon in Burley, ID 7/28/12