Saturday, January 14, 2012


Why is this particular Ragnar delicious? Because it's the only one where you can get Key Lime Pie at the finish line. And that my friends, was a huge motivator. During all of my miles I kept thinking, "Key Lime Pie on a stick! Key Lime Pie on a stick!" It worked too as this turned out to be my personal fastest relay ever.

This year we were "Smoke on the Highway" (the name was taken from an incident during last year's Florida Keys Ragnar that has become a family joke. We think we're so cute and clever!) Runners were myself, my mom, my siblings, Shiloh, Skye & Cody. Shiloh's husband Jason, his brother (and Cami's husband) Jacob, their dad, Mike, their Aunt Wendy, Cody's friend Roddy, and two of Mike's friend's Mason & Barry. We also had my dad along as driver of Van 2 and Wendy's daughter's Jenna and Charliegh for support. My sister Hillary & her husband Jake worked as volunteers as did Cami. And Cami, Jesse and the babies, Skye's husband Ryan & his mom Donna were all there for support as well. Donna also saved our necks by coming through with our t-shirts and stuff at the last minute.

I was runner number 1 this time. I've never been the lead off runner before, so I was a little nervous as we were packing the van at 5:00am. but actually, it turned out to be really fun. To be the first to be finished so I could sit back and enjoy myself.

Van 1 has several legs that run through the Everglades, so we had had to sign special "Gator Waivers." In the van with me were Shiloh, Jason, Jacob, Mike and Mason.

So funny story: Last year I won a little Ragnar necklace at the start line when I knew the answer to the trivia question "What was the first Ragnar and what year was it started?" (FYI the answer is Wasatch Back 2004) So I'm standing under the arch waiting for the gun and they ask the exact same trivia question and the prize is another little Ragnar pendant necklace. I won it of course and promptly gave it to my sister Shiloh. Although that could have started a dangerous precedent since I have at least 2 other sisters who have run Ragnars and may now expect me to win them a necklace as well.

And we're off!

So I should warn you about these next pictures.

Ever since last year, we adopted the turtle as our mascot. It's just a fun way to identify ourselves and it makes our vans easy to spot in a crowded parking lot when there's a giant inflatable turtle on the top. This year my mom came up with a design that incorporated a fireman's hat on the turtle. The only issue came when we realized the valves to blow-up the turtle for our van were in places that made it look like you were doing very bad things to the turtle. I have other pictures of Mason getting very friendly with the turtle, but I somehow deleted them from this post. Bummer.

I kind of like this photo because I look all serious like a real runner.Aww...I somehow missed the picture of the hand off between Shiloh & myself. Oh well. Here's the hand off between Shiloh & Mason.

This was Mason shortest leg of the race. A quick 5K which he totally rocked. His othere two legs were both like 9 miles longMason hands off to Jacob.

Sidebar: I love that Ragnar gave us an air freshner in our goody bags this year. That was a genius idea!! Way to go Ragnar.
And here comes "Uncle Bobo" as the kids call him.

Mike looks so chipper starting this leg, he almost seems to be prancing.

So last year during their first exhange, Jason and Jacob managed to miss one another and drop the bracelet. They got it picked back up of course and moved along, but it happened again this year when Mike handed off to Jason. Jason is clearly not coordinated at passying off a slap bracelet. I thought I had a photo of the botched exchange, but apparently it didn't make it onto this post either.

And now, we get to see Skye & Ryan's handiwork as van 2 is sporting the turtle riding the fire engine they made. We actually had little plastic fireman's hats for the turtles, but could't figure out how to attache them without ruining the turtles.

Thanks to a sharpie and Charliegh's skills, Cody got a temporary tatoo of our little mascot. Actually my mom really did print off some temporary tatoos so you'll see us sporting those later.

That's mom, Skye, some random lady & dad at the first exchange. Okay this pic makes me smile for 2 reasons. Mom is wearing my old running clothes. That's awesome because I don't fit into them anymore (and yes, those were the exact clothes I was running in just a year ago.) And it's also great for mom because you can see how much weight she's lost to get into them.

During our "off" time we went and had a surprisingly good lunch at Pollo Tropical and then went out to the Speedway to try and rest a little bit before it was time to go again. We also took the opportunity to apply our tatoos. We even gave each other a tramp stamp because we think we're just that funny.

That's Cody in the red shorts, running up into the speedway. This is an absolute killer run! It's so mentally tough because by the time you reach the speedway you've already run like 8 miles. And then you have to do another mile and a half around the track! Glad it was him and not me!

I'm just noticing there are a lot of pictures of the back of my head in this post. I think it's time to grow my hair out again. But moving on, it was a successful exchange. You'll notice that I had to wear night time safety gear on all three of my legs. It was a bummer, because as most of you know, I'm all about being cute when I run. And it's tough to be cute in a reflective vest & head lamp.

And I somehow managed to skip over all of the night pictures. So here we are Saturday morning on our last legs of the race. This is waiting at the exchange off of seven mile bridge. Which, if you've ever driven down to the Keys you know, is actually a 7 mile long bridge.

It was a beautiful morning and a gorgeous place for an exchange. Even if it did slow down traffic.

At least the exchange point had a lovely view.

And yes, that's Shiloh just coming into the frame. It was so bright out, I was having a hard time lining up my photos. She absolutely KILLED this run! 7 Mile bridge is not just a physically tough run but it's a mental killer. She had 9 miles of bridge, running next to traffic, no support & bright morning sun bouncing off the concrete and water. And she not only pounded it out but did it with her fastest split times of the race! I'm so proud of my baby sister! OH! And she's a big believer in barefoot, so she runs everything in Vibrams. Impressive!

Mike, Jason & Shiloh wait to give Mason some much needed water. It was starting to get warm out.

So Jason and Jacob are brothers, but they're also married to my sisters. So yes. Somehow we're that redneck.

Mason died after 9 miles in the hot Florida sun. (He admitted later he'd never raced a distance longer than 10K before. So the fact that he had two 9 mile legs in this one was pretty impressive.) He literally laid down and died. But eventually popped back up and kept going. The saving grace about this particular race though is that there are no hills!

Jason watching for his dad at our final exchange. We were almost done!

Mike finished really strong. Come to think of it, I think everyone did the best on their last leg. That's pretty much unheard of in a relay so I think we did pretty well.

And yes, the van looked like a bomb had hit it by the end. Trust me, as bad as it looked, it smelled worse. Thank goodness for the air freshner.

Our turtles meet up for the final hand off.

Can you believe my sister Skye ran this race after just having a baby 10 weeks ago! Turns out she was also suffering from an infection at this point so she was in a lot of pain. (We ended up taking her to the ER on Sunday afternoon to get her straightened out.) Anyway what a trooper!!!

I'm not sure why Jesse is running. In fact I think it's funny that she's running since she's my one sister who is adamantly outspoken against running.

Parker was so cute and happy to see her mommy! She hasn't wanted to let me go since.

Donna is so amazing, she not only made our team tshirts, but she made all of the kids and babies t-shirts, onesies, burp cloths & bibs, plus flags for the vehicles an extra shirts for our supporters and volunteers. This woman is amazing! I'm so glad we have her in the family.

Yum! Enjoying our post-race decadance! Key Lime Pie on a stick dipped in chocolate!!! It sounds weird I know but it tastes great. (Well, if you love Key Lime Pie anyway.)

I spy with my little eye, a pretty little Lily Pie.

Reagan and Tyree having a great conversation.

Apparently Regan didn't like being kissed so much.

And here comes team number 328 "Smoke on the Highway" led by our final runner, Cody.

I think he deserves a quick dip in the ocean after all that running, right?

Skye, Ryan, Reagan.......and.... Gage? No they don't have twins, Gage is of course, Cami's but it kind of looks like they have twins in this photo doesn't it?

One of the best things about this race is the finish line is literally at the beach. So getting to relax and enjoy the sunshine and surf make it all worthwhile.

And yes, Cody decided to put a tatoo on his forehead. What a goofball!

My family members who ran. Skye, Mom, Cody, Me & Shiloh.

And the rest of the family were all involved as well either volunteering or babysitting or both. FYI this moment right here is the first time in 2 1/2 years my entire family was able to be together. That's Came, Jesse, Skye, Mom, Hillary, Cody, Shiloh, Me & Daddy.

And our entire group (runners, drivers, volunteers, babysitters, support staff, kids, tatoo artists & photographers include) at the southern most point.

After arriving back at Cami & Jacob's at around 11pm, we had our own little "Tortuga Awards." Skye had made these cute clay medallions and so we had our own little ceremony. Jason got the "Gross out" award after an incident where he was drying the sweaty clothes he just ran in over the AC vents in the car. I walked away with best dressed only because I had to wear my safety gear over my cute clothes every time.

I have to admit I kind of LOVE being one of the first to have this year's Ragnar sticker on my window. Especially knowing that most of the people around here won't run a Ragnar until summer! So naturally the sticker went up on the day I got home!

And I really like the new Ragnar shirts this year. I'm glad they've branched out a little and done some new things design wise. I like the v-neck and the two color ink as well as the whimsical cartoon on the side. Good job Ragnar! Thanks for working to get better every year!

Okay I've decided I'm going to have to do a second post to get in all the pictures that I somehow missed. Keep checking back for that update.


Ryan and Skye Lowry said...

Great post! Though I have to say, for a girl who used to complain about unflattering pictures people posted on their blogs, you sure put a nasty one of me up.

Cali and Travis said...

When did I ever complain about a nasty picture of me on someone's blog? Cami's got beached whale pics of me up and I haven't said a word. You look great in all the photos so I don't know what you're whining about.

Darryl and Cindy Cunningham said...

You girls are so funny!! Love this blog Cali, it's the one I wanted to post but my pics are all out of order! I do like that I am wearing your old running clothes! I am so excited to do the next relay!! Hopefully Red Rock and Vegas Here we come!

Darryl and Cindy Cunningham said...

Oh.. and can I just say... MY FAMILY IS AWESOME!!! Kids, hubby, in-laws and out-laws!! What would we do without you. Thanks for a great time!!!

Ryan and Skye Lowry said...

First - 2008 singing at the Pepper Tree. I posted pictures and you called and told me I picked the most unflattering picture of you. That's when.
Second - the picture in question that you seem to think I'm "whining" about is the eighth up from the bottom.
All I was trying to convey was that it seemed a little strange for you to do.