Thursday, April 3, 2014

My Secret is Out!

This morning I will board a plane and head to San Diego to run the SoCal Ragnar Relay Series. Yep, true story!  I’ve kept this as a secret of sorts because I’m not usually one to brag or make you all feel jealous (but just for the record, I am SO excited about this race) of the fun things I’m doing and also because running any type of big race (I’ve only done 3) seems to make be anxious and sometimes doubtful of myself and my abilities.  So I figured if I played it down until closer to race day, I’d be okay. Now that my secret is out of the bag, guess who can hardly wait to get to Cali??!!

Here is what the Ragnar Relay site says about Ragnar SoCal...

Yes, the Ragnar SoCal is one of our most popular races in the series for a big reason – the course is spectacular!  Running under the stars at night, seeing your team at three beach exchange points and finishing under the sun is a great way to celebrate with your friends.  Huntington Beach, the pacific coast and a big party at the finish line await you and your fellow runners.  … The ocean breeze in your hair, the sun on your shoulders, and your friends at your side at the finish line.  What could be better?

Okay, so I need to fill you in on what a Ragnar Relay is and how I even was given the opportunity to be a part of such a great experience. A Ragnar Relay is typically a team of 12 people, split into 2 vans, and over the course of 36 hours  they run approximately 200 miles. In my case, our team is running from Huntington Beach to San Diego. The race starts early Friday morning and teammates 1-6 start out on their journey. They each run varying distances and difficulty and then pass the “baton” or in our case a slap bracelet onto the next runner. The van is on the course when possible giving support and aid and this process continues until runners 1-6 have each taken a turn. Van 2 during this time is resting, fueling up, and getting ready to meet up at the exchange point where runner 6 from van 1 will pass off to runner 7 in van 2 and runners 7-12 then start on their journey for the next several hours. From then on it’s a leap-frog event of sorts and the exchange between the two vans continues for a total of 3 cycles. There is always someone on the course running 24/7. I can imagine at times it gets tricky. No sleep (except for what you’ve been able to sneak in), running in the dark (yes, I’m afraid of the dark) and for me, just having it be new territory --All things that probably don’t really even matter but still as a first timer, makes me wonder what to expect. 

Here is the BEST part about the whole thing. I’m taking this trip and running with total strangers! Yep, true story. Thus the team name of Strangers to Solemates. Ok, we really aren’t strangers at all anymore but we once were.  Here is our awesome team logo that one of our teammates, Dean made.
How it call came about: I was contacted by another fellow blogger, Katie back in September. She was wanting to put together a Ragnar team of people from all over the USA, who had never run a Ragnar before. She and a friend of hers, John (who lives in San Diego), were going to be the team captains and thought San Diego would be the perfect setting.  Since John lives in San Diego, he would be able to help with planning, organizing, and helping all of us newbies get acquainted with the event and have a great time. Believe me, these two have gone above and beyond. They are so organized and on top of things! 
The 12 people were selected by October and we immediately set up a private facebook page and have been getting to know each other ever since. Our team name of From Strangers to Solemates really is what we’ve become. It’s like a virtual family I have never met. Everyone on the team has an amazing story of weight-loss (over 100 pounds in most cases) and healthy living that has gotten them to where they are today. We’ve experienced a wedding, change in jobs, a couple of moves, lost family members, and just big-ticket items that happen in life that have brought us together to make us a tight nit bunch.  It has been such a good experience for me so far and I haven’t even boarded the plan yet and met these people.  Can you tell I’m excited?
Okay, so I am runner #6 so I am in the first van scheduled out. Here is a glimpse at what my legs look like and how the race will play out for me.  I will be running a total 15.6 miles. 
My first leg probably is the one I’m most nervous about, so to get it out of the way will be nice. It’s 8.7 miles and is listed as very hard. There looks to be a slight elevation for approximately 3 miles but my understanding is that I will hardly feel it. I sure hope so because I dread hills and they slow me down something fierce. Not only that, I never seem to have that much gas in the tank when I get to the top of any hill, so I would be worried about my progress from there on out. But no worries, I’m thinking positive here, right?  If all goes as scheduled with the runners in front of me, I’m scheduled to take the drivers seat at 9:41 am Friday morning. My second leg is an easy 2.7 miles and it’s my night run so thank goodness it’s short! (Like I said, me and the dark aren’t friends.) I’m scheduled for this run at approximately 10:21pm, so maybe I won’t be much in the dark at all. My last leg is listed as moderate and is 4.2 miles. I’m scheduled to run that one at 7:04 Saturday morning, give or take, depending on how the other legs have shaken out. 
When my van is not on the course we are off, I’m assuming, resting, getting food, restocking the van if needed and supporting other teams and runners. 
Following the finish on Saturday afternoon, we will do some celebrating at the finish line, rest, get cleaned up and then head to John’s house for a party that night. The following morning we have a team brunch scheduled before people start to slowly disperse in the coming days and head back to separate parts of the country to resume life as normal.
And the best part is??? It all starts today!! A couple team members arrived yesterday and the rest fly in this morning. After everyone arrives, we’ll be back on the road within a couple house headed north to Huntington Beach. We’ll have a team dinner, pile 12 strangers (not really, it just sounds funny) in 3 hotel rooms (time to get cozy), and let the fun begin!
In some ways this whole experience seems surreal to me. Just the fact that I was willing to step out of my comfort zone, meet 11 total strangers, come together as one, and now we are meeting up and running 200 miles across California! The other part that blows me away is that for a girl who was self-conscious, and had a weight problem for so many years of her life, to even think about doing a team event like a Ragnar, let alone even the thought of it only 6 short months ago, and now here I am? I’m excited and nervous all in one. I feel like the kid in the candy store or the child on Christmas eve. I can’t wait! 

Full Ragnar Weekend update coming up the end of next week on the blog and maybe a few pictures to the FB page over the weekend. Until then.....Here we go!
Believe in yourself! You never know the things you are capable of until you start somewhere. 

 I had to throw in the picture on the left as it was taken the last time I was in San Diego on Mission Beach. I believe I had lost nearly 50 pounds already at this point. 

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  1. I am so excited for you!! I love Ragnars. I actually just flew across the country to to the Florida Keys Ragnar. I would really like to do So Cal though. I have heard it is a great one. Good luck, sleep when you can and eat even when it is the middle of the night to refuel. I can't wait to hear about your story.

  2. YOU'RE RUNNING WITH KATIE!!!! :D That is SUPER exciting..since I feel almost famous that I follow both of your blogs. :)

    Have a great time!!!