Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay 2009- Part two

The Energizer Runnies keep going and going and going....all through the night! After our brief stay on a church lawn we headed up to Snow Basin to exchange with our other van and give them a break. We even got to experience real bathrooms here instead of the delightful Honey Pot. Mel's husband was one of the volunteers here and she got to see him for a while. We met up with the other half of our team who had kept us right on track, time wise. Really, I can't explain how amazing the whole team was. We had some really accomplished runners on our team. I was grateful to be a part of it. It was getting dark and pretty chilly. But it was beautiful. The great thing about it being so pitch black was that the stars were stunning. I don't think I've ever seen so many stars or them shining so brightly as I did up there. It was incredible. Almost unreal.

Mel and the team chatting with her husband. It was really crowded and traffic was crazy up there.
Tancy gearing up for her first run in the dark. She cruised down the hill so fast that we missed her as we were parked on the side of the road. Everyone wore glow bracelets and necklaces so that we could see our runner coming. Somehow (maybe a little dozing...) we missed her and by the time we realized it we had to book it down to make the exchange! She put us ahead by over 7 minutes on this leg alone! By the end of all our nighttime legs, our team was ahead of projected time by 40 minutes! Everyone was amazing!

Mel all decked out and ready to run!

Sarai patiently waiting for her turn!

The hand off from Cameo to Angie-

Cameo finishing her 2nd leg! Go girl! Only one left!

A random runner who appreciated our lighting up the dark night!

Waiting for Angie to come by! Letting her know where we were!

There's the queen of the hills! 8 miler with a killer hill at the end! You're the WO man!

Showing off those guns!

The nighttime run was by far my favorite. I didn't have any music and was alone for most of the run. There were a few times I was worried that I had missed a sign to turn because I couldn't see anyone. But then a van would pass by and by the way it was decorated I knew I was on the right track. I could spot a butt lamp in the distance and that became my new goal. I passed 4 runners during my 4 mile run. I was having a great time and was in the groove. I had a particular song running through my mind that I kept repeating over and over. It had a good beat and my feet just stayed with it. I ran an average of 9 minute miles and felt great. I was pushing it but really felt good. If you've followed my times at all, you know that this is fast for me. Lately, on the last few training runs I've been able to run in the 9 minute area and it's been fun. There's something about the solitude, and the darkness and just trusting that you're on the right track and that your team will be there waiting for you in the end, that was almost spiritual. Lots of object lessons in that run- all the safety gear: reflective vests, headlamps, butt lights, signs on the road, rustling in the brush next to you, stars above, team mates cheering for you and keeping you on track, the last mile marker, the finish get the picture. I kept a prayer of thanksgiving in my mind especially during this run for the opportunity I had to experience this. Ten years ago I would never have believed it. Just goes to show you what the human mind, body, and spirit can do even when it doesn't know it yet.

After we completed our legs at 3:30 in the morning we had to drive 20 miles to our resting point. Our luxurious accommodations would be a high school complete with the most disgusting bathrooms (they had been well used by thousands of runners by this point) and non private showers and the gym floor to sleep on. Poor Mel couldn't stand the smell and slept in the van. The rest of us opted for the auditorium floor that wasn't as crowded as the gym. But it still was a sight. The stage, steps and isles were covered with sleeping bags and blankets with worn out runners. I really wanted to change into something that wasn't wet with sweat. A nice janitor (poor dude) let me into a small room and locked me in (it was a push door so that I could get out- I will admit that I was slightly nervous about this, although not nervous enough not to accept the offer) so that I could change in private. Needless to say that we took a sponge bath with baby wipes and ditched those nasty high school showers, ate a little something, brushed our teeth and tried to get some sleep. It wasn't easy with people moving all the time, zippers zipping, and me worrying about getting stepped on or something getting taken out of my bag. But I managed about a hour and a half and actually felt rejuvenated. We got cleaned up, ate a little breakfast, packed up the van again and headed out to meet the other half of the Runnies for our last leg. Clouds were rolling in and it looked like rain. Little did we know...
Part 3 to come...


The Hoyt's said...

Wow cant wait for the rest.. It sound like you had a blast.. Way to go Jen..

Michael said...

Congratulations Jen! I read your blog posts several times. I'm more than just a little envious. I'm thinking I'm going to have to put this race on my "to-run" list. The whole concept is amazing. I love the energizer bunny theme, very creative! Your report is great and captures the whole scene. Thanks for sharing. Rest well, cuz you know it, there's another race just around the corner. Cheers, Mike