Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wasatch Back - Take 2

Another 2 day running adventure, crammed into a van for 200 miles with mostly complete strangers.

How do I keep getting myself here you might ask?  Well when you're addict, you seem to always find a way to get what you need and for me it seems increasingly clear that my drug of choice is relay races.  I love other races too, but relays are just different.  There's less pressure, less sleep, more miles and tons of fun.

So back in March when via facebook a friend of friend posted that some friends of hers were looking for female runners to fill open spots on their Wasatch Back team, I didn't even have to think about it. I called her immediately and got myself on the roster.  A month later the team sent me a frantic message about having lost a couple of runners and asked if I knew anyone who might want to join us.  Cami and mom were the first two people I talked to and they both jumped at the opportunity to do the original and toughest Ragnar.  In the relay world, there is a certain credibility that comes from running the Wasatch Back.  Mostly because it's so challenging and it was the original Ragnar race.  And anyone who's run multiple relays will tell you, when it comes to organization and presentation, Ragnar has become the gold standard in relays.

Parker stayed in Idaho with Nana & her daddy, while Gideon, mom & I headed to Utah on Thursday to visit Hillary and run this crazy thing.

 Gideon has been talking for weeks and weeks about wanting to go visit his Aunt Hillary to jump on her trampoline and play with her dog, Toby. He was even more stoked when he found out his cousins would be there.  For days all I heard about was "Lilypie, Handsome Ransom and Baby Gage."
 So when Cami & her family arrived Thursday evening it was pretty crazy.  I don't think they so much jumped on the trampoline as just tackled each other and laughed.  Jacob & Hillary were great for keeping the kids so Cami & I could go running.
 Okay I just had to post this photo because it's funny, doesn't Gage kind of look like a puppy?  He's so stinkin' cute!!!!

Friday morning, the three of us running headed out to meet up with the rest of our team & head toward the race.  That's Gail & Bethann decorating the van while mom secures the luggage carrier (upside down I might add.  But we managed to get it flipped over at the first exchange.)
 One thing about Wasatch Back, it's MASSIVE!  You just can't imagine the hoardes of people everywhere.  But I think that's part of what makes it so much fun!

 Here are the girls from the first van, waiting on their runner to come in so they can switch off with us.  They're wearing turtle shells & tutus because we were the "Master Sprinters" which is a play on Master Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  When we found out this is what they were doing, Cami & I immediately called Mollie and she was gracious enough to let us borrow the "Turtles Don't Do Drugs" banners from our Fighting Tortuga contingent.  It was really kind of fun to have them in this race.  Now they've been across the country. :)
 Okay I have to say I'm proud of my mom for looking so cute.  Don't get me wrong, it's great that she's running when you consider she couldn't even walk on her bad hip two years ago.  But now that she's lost a little weight and is getting around better, I think it's fun to see her trying to be cute when she works out.  She apparently went to the Cali school of, "I may not be fast, but I'll look better than you at the finish line!"  Doesn't she look cute.
And of course, Cami looks cute.  Seriously I kept calling her "Malibu Running Barbie" because that's what she reminded me of.

 Mom's first exchange was in the town of Eden.  We thought that was quite ironic actually.
And yep, that purple-ish teal runner is my mom.
 It's always fun finding new places put Ragnar tatoos. 
 You can't tell it from this photo, but her hip was really hurting by this point.  She made the mistake of going out too fast and ended up in a lot of pain.  Plus she was fighting the altitude having come from sea level.  But give Granny some props!  She sucked it up, took a pain pill and finished the race.
 That's me with Bethann.  She was really super cute! We got so lucky, the girls in our van were just great!
 Mom, Cami & I waiting for my exchange.
All of my legs were kind of brutal.  But I have to say I loved that because it made me feel pretty tough.  This one was 7.3 miles uphill.  I gained over 1850 feet in elevation.  It was hard but I passed a lot of people and kept telling myself that these are the kind of workouts that will really sculpt the legs and rear, so that motivated me to keep going.
I handed off at Snowbasin resort to Cami, who was our final runner.  She's that tiny pink dot running down the mountain.
 Here's most of our team  except for Lexie who was running and Melissa who was just AWOL.  Van 1's driver, Stephanie is also in this photo.  So from L-R on the bottom, Cindy, Amanda, Bethann, Stephanie, Back: Becca, Me, Klea, Cami, Gail, Nicole & Brianna.
 Exchange 19 has always been my favorite.  The guy who works it every year is awesome.  He sets up lights and music and big mic.  He dances, sings, tells jokes and basically keeps you engaged and entertained.  Which is more important than you realize when it's 2 in the morning and you're trying to stay psyched up to run while your body just wants to crash.
I swear I have a photo exactly like this of Shiloh from two years ago.  Wearing a headlamp & vest, grinning into the camera.  In fact, Cami & Shiloh look so much alike here it's almost unnerving. 
 Oh, here's the fun dancing guy.  He's great!
And mom gets her hand off from Brianna.
 Okay these next photos somehow got out of order, but it's too late to fix it now.  So there's Cami, Mom, Bethann & Gail at the very last exchange of the race, waiting for me to come down the mountain & hand off to Cami.
 And here's the final handoff of the race.
 I ran my last leg in a tutu & managed to pass quite a few people, including several guys.  So that was way fun for me.
Okay here's all of us from van 2 with our infamous banner! 
Right and this is just after my last leg when I seriously felt like a rockstar!  19.8 miles total on the weekend and the last leg was a solid 7 of it!  And it was a strong, finish too!
 At the finish line, we met up with the rest of our team and then waited for Cami to come across so we could take some pictures.
 And there we are!  Yes, we're that tired.  This was the first Ragnar during which I didn't manage any sleep at all.  Not even an hour nap like I usually would. It just didn't work out.  Still I feel good about it, because we finished strong and got our medals.
After the finish line party, gathering everyone up, separating the stuff, and getting everyone home, the three of us didn't make it back to Hillary's until almost midnight.  By that time I was on hour 43 with no sleep, so I literally collapsed.  I didn't even shower until the next morning.  I was honestly afraid I'd fall asleep & pass out in the shower. But after a few hours of sleep, the world looked bright again.  Cami & her family had to leave and they took off just after lunchtime.  It was sad to see them go, but we had such a fun weekend with them.  I'm so glad Cami and I learned to be friends somewhere along the way.  We were always sisters, but I love her even more for being such a wonderful friend.
 Unfortunately, Lily and Ransom were both sick on Sunday and then Gideon started complaining about his stomach hurting and pretty soon he threw up.  He was also running a fever on and off all day Sunday.  So instead of going to church or heading home to see Travis and Parker, he and I stayed at Hillary's and rested.  Fortunately he woke up this morning much more normal, so we were able to get packed up and go to lunch at the Banana Leaf in Provo with mom & Hillary before hitting the highway.
 And now I have matching medals.  YAY!  What's even better is knowing that by the end of the year, I'll add a third one to this set, because I've already signed up for Vegas with Cami & Jacob and some other family and friends.
Next year, I'm doing one of these relays as an "Ultra" team.  Which means instead of a 12 person team, there will only be 6.  Yes, it's more miles and even less sleep, but it's something I really want to do.  I just want to know I'm tough enough! 

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