Over Easter weekend while I was minding my own business singing at the top of my lungs along interstate 10 heading east to Phoenix, I got an email from my roommate from college (CR). "we may need a runner for the ragnar relay April 23-24th. Are you interested? It is a challenging run..."
What's important to know about my old roommate is that I think she is, by far, one of the best humans I've ever known. She and I have both struggled with what turned out to be our lives and have both come out the other side having learned what we're made of. She is kind - so very kind and someone who I think of as a role model for me. So when she called and said, "we may need a runner..." without knowing anything about it, I said yes. I could have just agreed to run up Mount Rushmore, but if she asked me to do it, I would.
So, now, I'm committed to run in this relay race. I spend the weekend asking her questions she has no answers to. She sent me the Ragnar web site for the race and I go check it out. The first thing I see is:
Run, Drive Eat. Sleep (?) Repeat.
Then I start to look at the route - almost 200 miles from Ventura (the city not the Blvd.) to Dana Point.
Let me see if I am understanding how this will work. A 12-member team will run 3 legs each (of which I would be #1!!) from Ventura to Dana Point beginning at a time to be named later (very early in the AM) and there will be approximately 12 hours between my first and second runs? Then there will be ten hours between my second and third runs? But in those time frames, I will be with my team mates where we will: a) cheer each other on; b) nap (more later on the napping); c) eat (well and not so well); and d) make our way to Dana Point?
Uh, yeah CR - no prob - I'm in.
Oh yeah - my legs are 8 miles, 8 miles and 3 miles - 19 miles in 24 hours.
O.K. sign me up.
This turned out to be one of the most wonderful events of my life. Truly. It's up there with:
* Getting my MA (a feat unto itself)
* My wedding day (currently the best day ever in my life)
* Finishing the Pacific Half Marathon
So it was amazing. Why was it amazing? It was amazing because, well I'm not sure to tell you the truth. I met 10 new people who really are good humans. In the 40 hours our car of 6 women were together, there was not one whine, not one complaint, not one sarcastic turned nose. I really liked that. There was good karma everywhere. I dug that the most (Pulp Fiction...you thought I forgot about the movie lines).
We ranged in age in our car from 23 (I sooooo want to be this young woman [YW] when I grow up) to 50 (I also want to be this woman when I grow up and that's more likely, I'll call her Coach). Everyone came with their own stories, their own experiences and their own lives. It was so cool to get to know them.
Now, I don't want you worrying...I am still snark-o-matic, but I don't remember one moment (even where I was sleeping - o.k. napping - in CR's car for 2 hours at 3 AM after eating a triple bacon lettuce & tomato sandwich an hour earlier - yeah, that was good judgement) where I was whiney or complain-y. I loved that about me.
But let's back up (I really need a new phrase)...I woke up at 2:45 AM on Friday. Let me tell you, you feel really old when you're waking up and driving somewhere to be productive at the time you used to be coming home after a long night of no real production...but lots of debauchery - whatever your definition of that is).
O.K. I do have one complaint about the event.
THER ARE NO MORE 24-HOUR STARBUCKS!!!
I finally need one and where is it? NO WHERE TO BE FOUND!
I know I could have stopped at the Sev (7-11), but really, I do have my standards.
Got to CR's house at 4 AM where we loaded up and headed north to Ventura.
To me, Ventura is a place you drive through en route to somewhere else. Say, Los Olivos, or Santa Barbara, or Northern California the long way or Cambria. Not somewhere you stop to run in the dark.
But we made it - and I made it to the start line with about 2 minutes to spare (a long story about franticly getting me ready with the proper reflective equipment)
Yep, that's me - ready to rock and roll the first leg of Ragnar 2010. I am certainly "reflective" as my sister in law (SIL) said. I was the lucky runner that got to run with all the safety equipment
What you can't see is the red butt light that I have clipped to my pants - it gave me the opportunity to say "Switch me on" (Ghostbusters). Now how often in life do you get to do that? Not many I tell you.
And we're off....I meet a woman named Sarah (she'll probably never read this and I don't even know her last name) and she and I ran the whole 8 miles together. It was great...Not only was it great to have someone with me who knew the area (I would have gotten lost for sure - not fabulous signage Ragnar peeps!) but who also ran my pace and could talk while running our 10 minute mile pace!
The one request I made before I ran my first leg, was after my first run, could we go directly to Starbucks. My team said, sure....we went, I coffeed, I saw CR run by the Starbucks and we headed off to meet her at the end of her run.
When we made it to the end of my 8 miles and I handed the slap bracelet off to CR, I felt a real sense of accomplishment and that's when I knew this was going to be awesome.
This Ragnar debrief is going to be super long. So I'll stop here and pick it up soon.
Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer,