Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ragnar Relay- Wasatch Back 2010- Team WTF-Where's The Finish

Travel to-

Flight from Indy to Salt Lake City (by way of Denver) left a little after scheduled- but we still arrived around 7:30 SLC time. A couple of our teammates were already there and picked us up at the airport. We had a quick dinner and then to our hotel to get some sleep.

The next day we got up to pick up our second team van and pick up a few other teammates at the airport. After that, we picked up our remaining teammates at a nearby hotel and made the drive from SLC up to Logan, UT. Logan was the start city for the 2010 Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay.

Night before

When we arrived in Logan- we got checked in, grabbed some lunch as a team and then made the largest trip to WalMart that I’ve ever seen. We shopped for van food that was to feed 12 people for 2 days. After shopping and arranging – we did dinner at Olive Garden to carb up before the race. Then it was a van decorating party! (pictures)

We all tried to get to bed fairly early- as our team was to start at 5:45am.

Morning Start

The team was up and at ‘em around 4:00 in order to get to the start by 4:45 and have our safety meeting (required an hour before your start). With that, CJ- runner#1 kicked leg 1 off for our team.

It would go like this with all the teammates until it was my turn at about 12:30 that day- As runner 7, I was the first one in van 2 to go. All of my pass offs would be at the major exchanges, so more people to watch and more excitement.

Leg 1

There was so much adrenaline and excitement that even with all my other races and experience to not jump out to fast- there I was- trotting a 9 min mile pace for the first quarter-mile. After gasping and glancing at my GPS, I slowed down and ended up having to walk a little. It was only about 75 degrees, and not humid at all- but it was all sun and felt very hot. I had a total of 4 miles for this leg- and I was able to do a respectable 13:17mm pace. At first I was disappointed, but when I considered the elevation differences between Utah and Indiana, and my walk breaks- I did ok. Some of it was mental too- I could have run farther, but I let me inner voice tell myself that I had to walk…curses! But my team was fantastic by encouraging me at every mile or so and then meeting me at the end for the hand off- felt so great when it was done, I was off and in this race!

In between leg 2- sickness
That's me on the left!

Then there were 5 more in my van to run after me- and then all 6 other runners from van 1 to run before my second leg. Somewhere between our last runner and meeting up with van 1 for a major exchange- we had to descend down the backside of a mountain with fairly windy roads- the heat, sunburn and elevation made for a car sick equation for me. We made a quick stop at a gas station where I had to get sick. I felt a little better- but still couldn’t eat and couldn’t drink water to rehydrate. We had to drive an additional 20(ish) miles to the alternate rest point to eat dinner and maybe shower and/or nap. By the time we pulled into that parking lot, I was feeling nauseous again and made it out of the van just in time. However, that was the last of it- finally. I was able to get in a few pretzels, some soda and then get some rest. When we got back into the van, I had about an hour and half before I had to run again- so I ate a half a cheese sandwich and a banana and drank as much water as I could.

Leg 2- night run, pregnant partner

My next major exchange point was at about 11pm and was 3.8 miles. I’m currently waiting for the cord adapter for my GPS watch to be able to upload the data and see exactly what I did at different parts of the run- but after a short ascension up a small hill, I had a downhill for a bit- and I was flying then- running felt awesome and quick and light. THEN…..the big hill (for me) came- and the rest of the run (roughly 2-2.5 miles) was almost entirely uphill. I did a lot of walking and got pretty discouraged. My overall pace was 15:25 per mile for this leg – but I still think I enjoyed this one the most- it was so peaceful at night. And while I was walking- I managed to keep pace with another woman- and we kept each other company. Turns out- she was 7 months pregnant while doing this race….she still finished the leg before me. . .(but she did start before me too- so it flushes out).

Lack-o-sleep –

Throughout the next cycle of legs- there wasn’t much sleep to be had- but it was awesome to watch the sun rise over the mountains and encourage each other and enjoy the company of these people that I’m now somehow connected to for life.

Leg 3

My 3rd and final leg was to take place at about 11am starting from a high school in Heber, UT. Before the van 1 crew got there- we were able to get some sleep and take a shower and try to eat a little bit of breakfast. By this time, I think I’d had a full 1.5 hours of sleep in the whole last 24 hours. As my final run started- I was so exhausted – I was beaten up mentally, physically and had many thoughts of giving up. But thankfully, my teammates were there to cheer me on and support me, regardless of whether they were disappointed in my performance or not. The truth is- I still completed all of my mileage. AND- the pace estimator that shows how long it will take you to complete each leg based on your normal pace? I still came in a couple minutes faster than those for each leg. My final leg came in at about 14:20 per mile.

As I was the first one in my van to finish my portion of the race, I had to make sure to give them my full effort to encourage and cheer them on now. Our biggest hurdles were yet to come with the Ragnar hill and the downhill that follows. My teammates are amazing athletes- not just fast and able-bodied, but determined, supportive and plain awesome. We weren’t going to win any speed records overall- and we knew that going in. Our goal was to finish- and we did finish strong.


My good friend Jen was runner 12 on our team- and after a 5.5 mile run through the woods and up the final hill to the finish line- we joined her in the final bit to run through the finish together. I’ve never been so happy to finish a race, get a medal and drink a beer in my whole life!

I may make updates and additions to this story as time passes when other details come back- but this race was a shining start in lifetime experiences for me. I proved to myself that even the “big girls” can train and do a race and that on my quest to become healthier and smaller and more competitive, I can still have fun and accomplish goals.

Feel free to ask me any questions about this race- I’m sure I have left out lots of details, but I’m happy to answer anything about it!

Here is our team video:


  1. Congrats on your race. This was my second year doing the Wasatch Back Ragnar....loved it both years. My team has been doing it for quite a while, and they are done (I think), but I would love to try for another year....guess I will have to make some new friends and find me a team (one that doesn't care that I'm not super fast...about 10 minute miles).

    Anyway, glad you accomplished something so difficult! You SHOULD definitely feel an accomplishment! :)

  2. That really sounds like such a COOL experience! I'd love to do something like it!

  3. AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING!!! You did awesome and you have got to be sooo proud!!!