Wednesday, October 21, 2009

RAGNAR Relay in Vegas

I'm all about experience and opportunities! I had the opportunity to be a part of a 12 woman team in the Las Vegas Ragnar Relay. You may have heard of the Wasatch Back race which starts in Logan and ends in Park City. The ladies in my neighborhood were putting together a team for the Vegas race and asked if I wanted to participate. They probably thought they were getting a great runner when they asked a racquetballer to join their team.

Unfortunately for them I'm not a fabulous runner! I decided to do the race in the hopes I might turn into a runner after training for the relay. The training part of stuff wasn't as fun or easy as I thought it might be. Let's just say the variety of things I do to train for racquetball holds my attention a lot easier!

After learning how to "start training" for a running race I started to enjoy my runs. I actually have a good time out running and don't dread 5 or 6 miles anymore!! The only part that keeps me from running a ton is the fear of killing my knees. I do prefer my bicycles to my feet for that reason. I'm hard enough on my body while playing racquetball...I don't need to add anymore insult to my inuries... :)

The whole week before we left for Vegas I started getting a bit nervous. This was funny because I don't experience nerves like this before racquetball events anymore. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to finish my legs or that I would be super slow...or that I would just suck!

I was runner #6 out of 12 so my first leg was about 3 hours into the race. It was, perhaps, the most beautiful part of the whole race. I ran up the road and into the Valley of Fire. I felt great and kept a decent pace up the hills. I came over the top of one of the hills and was mesmerized by the red sandy hills in the valley! It was gorgeous... This leg was only 5.2 miles but it was all uphill. My team was awesome! Every half mile or so they would pull the vehicle over to give me water and spray me with more water. It was awesome and I felt pretty pampered! My poor husband is going to be required to drive next to me and spray me with mist while I run now :)

Jason caught up with us when I had about a mile and a half to go. He actually parked the car and ran the last mile or so with me in his jeans. I thought he was going to bake to death in the Valley of Fire!

I got to the exchange point and our other van of six wasn't there yet. We waited for a few minutes and then we decided I should just keep running and have them catch up when they catch up... They caught me before I finished the first mile.

After I got done we stopped at the next 6 potty stops because the water/recovery drinks were going right through me.

We went to the next exchange point, got some real food and tried to sleep in a park. We were one of three groups in the park when I fell asleep. When I woke up there were no spots to lay down. It looked like a homeless park with a permanent line for the restrooms.

My next leg was around 12 or 1 am. I was running 5.8 miles on a trail next to lake Mead. I was a little disappointed it was night time because I'm sure the scenery was gorgeous! I was nervous about running on a trail without support or anybody to honk as they passed so J said he would run alongside me.

The trail turned out to be fabulous and paved! J still ran the trail with me which was nice because I wanted to walk a few times but he wouldn't let me :)

The next morning I felt nauseous and sick. I wasn't the only one in our van who felt crappy though. Needless to say....lots of running, crappy food, and no sleep is not a good combination! One team name was "eat, run, poop". Kind of a funny play on the words "eat, run, sleep" but it is definitely true!!

My last leg was only 2.8 miles but I felt soooo yucky. I didn't know how I would do it. The runner before me was not doing so hot either... She started to have some chest pain but she kept telling us she was ok. Finally we made her get in the van and I started running to take over for her. Shortly after Diane got out and relieved me so I could finish getting ready for my leg.

I was soooo glad to be done with my part of the race! Our other van was waiting for us at the exchange and we gladly handed off the last part of the race to them to finish.

Most of the ladies on my team did this race to get the "Saints to Sinners" medal. You could only get this medal if you ran the Wasatch Back in Utah (Saints) and the Las Vegas (Sinners) races. The medal was pretty sweet....but I'm not sure it's worth 180 miles twice!!! One side had a bottle opener and said, "Beer, Beer" and the other side was a bottle opener and said, "Rootbeer".

Our team name was "Run for Your Life" and our theme was Saints and Sinners. Our team found Halloween outfits at walmart that were devils and angels. They were t-shirts with halos and horns. I, of course, was a devil :) We got some funny looks with our outfits...but they were fun.

There was a really sad story from this experience. A young man was getting out to support his wife, who was running her leg, and he was hit by a drunk driver :( It made me reflect on how precious this life is and how quickly it can change. He left behind a young wife with three young kids. Our team donated some money to a fund set up for his family. If you would like to donate (anything will help) you can do so at any Zions Bank branch or through this link:

I made sure to tell my husband how much I love and appreciate him and all he does! Make sure you do the same for your loved ones :)

I'm not sure I will be doing a ton of these relays but it was definitely a unique experience!!


Empty Nester said...

Wow!! I'm inspired but do not think I will ever become a runner.... What a great story/experience for sure. And by the way, great match in Memphis!!!!

Brooke said...

You amaze me Kristen! Way to go! We can't wait to see you and J in a few short weeks!