The first ever Ragnar Relay was an awesome adventure! Our team name was "First Out Last In". We secretly hoped we wouldn't live up to our name. We started the race at the earliest possible time - 6 a.m. We had 12 runners on our team...6 in each van. I was in van 1 with Joe, Karen, Ryan, Gail and Chrystyna. Nicole and Mark were our fearless van 1 drivers.
My first run was at 6:45ish a.m. I started in the dark and run for a couple miles before the sun came up. The sunrise over the Tennessee River was absolutely amazing. Well, until the dog started chasing at me and barking at me. I think it was only for 3 or 4 minutes, but it seemed like 20 minutes or more. The best part by far was the donkey in the middle of the one lane road...actually, by the time I got there it was back in it's fence. But my team really hoped they would see me riding up on the donkey to finish my first leg. I finished my 6.2 miles, sadly not on the donkey. The picture to the right is one I stopped quickly to take...it was beautiful!
My second leg of the relay was at 8ish that night. I was decked out in my night running gear - reflective vest, blinking red light and headlight. Mark ran with me for this leg - thank goodness! This leg started in Winchester and then continued into rural Franklin County. What I learned is that after Winchester city limits there were almost no street lights and no shoulders on the roads. It was a really challenging 5.7 miles. Without Mark, I would have been a scared, crying mess. By far this was my most challenging leg of the race.
After van 1 finished all of our second runs, we got to "sleep". Though sleep is a very generous term. We were all trying to sleep in the van. We could have slept outside but it was freezing! During our runs this time the weather turned quite nasty. I luckily didn't have any rain, sleet or snow...but Chrystyna and Gail weren't as lucky! Poor Ryan had a really hard time during the race. He was battling time zone change, severe weather change and car sickness. Unfortunately, he had to leave us during the second round of runs.
When we woke up the next morning, Karen & Joe were both feeling really bad. Joe pushed through his run. Gail was sweet enough to change legs with Karen to give her more time feel better. My third and final leg of the run was really good. I was worried after the hard time I had the night before, but it was good and motivating.
The one mile to go sign was our favorite site during the runs!
I am so proud of our team! Much to our dismay, we did live up to our name. We were the very last team to finish...but barely. And technically, we finished ahead of several teams who didn't finish. There were a few teams we started with and really wanted to beat. "We got the runs" was the team we most wanted to beat. We heard they had some difficulties and didn't exactly run the race the right way...so we were last to the finish line but to us we still beat "we got the runs".
During the race, I made the big mistake and said I would never do another Ragnar race again. Of course, I have revised that decision and would LOVE to do another Ragnar. I'm thinking Havard to Yale or Wisconsin to Chicago.
Here we are at the finish line! What an amazing experience!