Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just over a month ago, I completed my first Ragnar Relay in Las Vegas.  It was an experience I will never forget.  Words cannot express how much fun, that's right FUN I had running in this race.  This may be a bit of a long post, because I want to write down lots of the details.  I began this adventure with the usual impulsive me agreeing to be on my friend Robyn's Ragnar team that she was putting together.  This was back in July and I started training to run more than the usual 2-3 miles I sometimes attempt at the gym :)  Before I knew it the day had arrived to leave to drive to Las Vegas (by myself)...NO KIDS or Mark (he generously took time off work to stay home with the girls and adjusted his schedule so I could go do this).  I was a little nervous and excited about being gone for a whole weekend without the kids...unfortunately, I have never left my kids since they were born so that is over six years that I have always had the girls or at least one of them around.  I made it up to Vegas in record time, I am truly amazed how pleasant road trips are without children :)  Then I stopped to pick up my friend Aubrey and we headed to Mesquite to stay the night.  It was much closer to the start.  We had been asleep for about 45 minutes when the rest of our van arrived and knocked on our door.  Being economical as we all are, we squished our team into one hotel room...and unfortanetly all the guys had to sleep on the floor.  The next morning we all got up bright and early and headed to the Clark County Fairgrounds (about a half hour south of Mesquite) where the official start of the race was.  First our team checked in and decorated the car.  Our team name was the Leap Frogs and we ended up using my Santa Fe as one of our "vans".

I think it is pretty amazing that we managed to fit no less than 7 people, all our gear, sleeping bags, two huge cases of water from Costco, and all our food including a big cooler into this car!  Yeah, it was a little squished but that just made it all the more fun...although, most of the time there were only six of us actually in the car (since someone was out running their leg of the race).  I love my Santa Fe!  Here's Van 1 (that was my van) and our half of the team before the race started.  On my team...me, Robyn, Aubrey, Anne, Michael, Joe, and Brian!  We had the best group :)

This was the start of the race.  There were so many people dressed up in fun costumes milling around and some of the vans were seriously tripped out.  It was super fun to feel the excitment in the air.

Aubrey started the race for our team so she wasn't in this picture.  We still look pretty fresh because none of us had actually run anything yet.

Our first legs of the race routed us through the Valley of the Fire State Park.  My first leg was mostly up this huge hill.  It was not too bad and I was so glad it was my first leg.  Mostly it was just a little on the hot side because there was no shade whatsoever, and well, it was all uphill!

After our van finished up our first legs, we drove to Lake Mead to hang out at the Marina most of the day.  We tried to sleep but it was a little difficult since the day started to warm up and there was lots going on.  As night approached we started to get a little goofy...all the more fun and ended up playing some hilarious games of 20 questions.  All I can say is no sleep, running, and people you are completely comfortable with equals lots of laughing!

So after these first few pictures, my camera must have disappeared deep into my bag.  I wish I had cool pictures from the rest of the race...so you'll just have to picture it.  We started our second legs of the race about 8:30ish at night and we were so excited to get going again by that point.  I felt bad that the other van's legs were pretty tough and it had been a hot day.  At night we ran with a reflective vest, a little red blinking tail light and a head lamp.  Besides the whole running at night experience, many of the vans had appropriatetly tripped out their decor with Christmas lights so they were all lit up during the night.  I loved all the cheering and screamming and music from my own van as well as others.  It was fun to stop and cheer your teammates every few miles and yell and scream as we drove past them.  This is something we did from the very beginning of the race, but of course as the night wore on, we just got sillier, and then finnally a bit sleepy and oh so tired.  I loved running into the "chute" on my night leg because it was just fun to see everyone there and hear all the noise.  After our team finished up our night legs (this is a non-stop race so the next van continues running), we drove to the next big exchange point and rolled out sleeping bags to sleep in the grass in some park.  It was FREEZING, at least it was for me.  I am a Phoenix girl and I don't do outside weather under 70 degrees very well.  However, we did manage to catch three hours of sleep before Aubrey started our half of the team off on the last of our legs...all at around 4:30 in the morning.  Yup, cold, tired, a smidge cranky, hungry, did I mention cold, me and everyone else squished back in the van to finish off our last legs.  The last leg ended up being the most difficult for me because I had the worst tummy ache (that's what I get for being cooped up in a vehicle for several days and not eating food I normally eat) and I was super tired.  However, I managed to run the entire thing, even though it was a little slower than I would have liked.  After our last runner had finished we ate at McDonalds of all places...you would not believe the junk food that was consumed despite being runners :)  Then we had to drive all the way back to the Clark County Fairgrounds to pick up one of the cars from some of my teammates and then we drove to the Red Rock Casino/Hotel for the big finish.  Here is most of us at the finish line including the other team members that were in Van 2.  Ok, I'm a little biased on this one, but seriously I think I had the best van!  We had way too much fun and I laughed so much with all of you!  I think the people I was with is what made this race so incredible. 

So if staying up all night running and running and running wasn't enough...Robyn and Joe and I decided to go to the BYU/UNLV football game that night, and none of us even took a nap.  Ha, we were SO TIRED so I think we look beautiful in these pictures considering we had been up for over 35+ hours and only three hours of sleep in the field.  It was a fun game though as BYU fans always come out to support the team!  There were so many BYU fans...in fact there probably were more BYU fans than UNLV fans.

We had sweet seats!

I will look back on this memory for a long time!  It was one of the best things I have ever participated in and I can't wait for the opportunity to do one of these again.  I am thankful for the safety and protection our team had during this race.  It was a happy experience for me...but I was sad that one runner was killed during this race by a drunk driver.  And so I couldn't end this post without remembering this runner and his team and those teams that were involved in this horrible tragedy. 


Krystal November 12, 2009 at 10:20 PM  

what a fun trip :D what a good way to rejuvinate yourself

Auralee November 13, 2009 at 5:49 AM  

That sounded like a blast!! If you ever do another one count me in ;)

hillari November 14, 2009 at 9:41 PM  

Wow, sounds very cool. You ran right through my hometown! The Clark County Fairgrounds are in Logandale NV, and I lived in Overton NV, which is basically the same town, just farther south. I can totally picture where you were running and everything! Very awesome.
So sad about the runner who was killed though. That is terrible.

Mark Dacoron November 19, 2009 at 11:07 AM  

Looks like that was an awesome time. I'm planning on doing the southern california Ragnar in April 2010.

Robyn November 29, 2009 at 9:20 PM  

Awwww...it was so fun! I wish we could do it again!!! Maybe in a few years!

Summer December 8, 2009 at 8:18 AM  

Whoa that is some dedication! Wow! You guys do look great after all that! How fun!

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