A few months ago I was invited to join team afterNUUN run, which was made up of San Francisco Marathon Ambassadors (an awesome writeup on each of team members can be found on Gametiime’s blog). Needless to say, I jumped at the chance!
We were split up into two vans (listed in runner leg order).
To add the already awesomeness of the team we were fortunate to have many generous sponsors!
Here we go!
I arrived in Orange County on Thursday. Met up with other team members at the airport. We then went to the rental car facility to pick up another mini-van #2. We stopped at Yard House for some lunch and a beer before heading to the hotel to check-in. Lucky for us there was a Target across the street from the hotel. We picked up a bunch of snacks, water and items to decorate the vans.
Later that evening we decided to run to Downtown Disney for dinner. It was a nice evening and run! We ended up having some delicious pizza at Naples. A few decided to run back to the hotel. While the rest of us opted to take the shuttle back.
The next morning we loaded up the vans, said our goodbyes to Van #2 and took off for the beach.
We had to sit through a mandatory safety meeting before we received our bibs. Afterward we decorated our van and anxiously waited for Keith to start the race.
12:45pm – it was time for Keith to start the race for team afterNUUN run! Off he went and so did we to the next exchange.
It was Friday evening and time for me to finally run. I was ready. I studied the route map, applied sunscreen and stretched. Yeah, I’m ready…I think. I waited at the exchange for Jordan (runner 3). The volunteer yelled out our team number. There she was! She handed off the slap bracelet and I was off.
My leg was pretty short, 2.7 miles. There were only a couple turns. Pretty easy.
The scenery was cars and more cars. I saw Angel Stadium in the distance. I knew I wasn’t far from the next exchange. At the traffic light was the Ragnar sign “Left”. The light was red. I waited and waited and waited until it finally turned green. Off I ran…left.
My Garmin showed that I only had a little bit to go. But I didn’t see the exchange. Where is everyone?! Oh no, I ran the wrong way! Doh! I ran back the way I came, which ended up being a mile. Yes, I ran a mile out of my way. Oh, THERE is the exchange. Doh. And there is Erin! SLAP! And off she went.
So much for studying the route map. However I did run faster than expected. Only 5 minutes later than my expected time.
It was now about 2:00am on Saturday. It was time for my second leg and my only nighttime leg.
I asked Chris to pace me during this leg. I wanted a solid run and knew that he could help me do that.
I heard our team number called. I saw Jordan running up. Off I go…again! Less than a minute into the run I asked Chris what the pace was, because it felt comfortable. He said 7:30. Whoa. I don’t ever run this fast…but I was and it felt great!
The route was flat and short, 4.10 miles. Not much to look at except the random jackrabbit running across the trail. We only passed one runner along the way. Before I knew it, we were at the exchange.
Thanks to Chris, I ran my fastest 4 miler ever. 7:37 minute pace!
My last leg. We were almost done! I was looking forward to real food, a beer, a shower and a long sleep in a real bed.
I planned to enjoy this last leg, not worry about pace and take it all in. There were a lot more runners on this leg than my previous legs. It was actually nice to run with other runners. I stayed behind a couple of runners for the first couple of the miles. Their pace was just right. Plus it allowed me to take in the awesome ocean view!
I knew there were a few hills on leg. They didn’t look too bad on paper. The first hill wasn’t that bad. But the second hill. The second hill was a beast! I started to run up the hill, but I just couldn’t. It was hot. I was tired and didn’t have it in me. So I walked/run to the top. On the way I started talking to two runners. We talked about where we were from and about Ragnar. Once we were within eyeshot of the exchange I said my goodbyes and passed off the slap bracelet to Erin.
And just like that. I was done.
To the beach!
Our last runner, Chris, made his way into the last exchange. Soon after we hightailed it to the beach! Van 1 was done! We waited for Van 2 to finish their legs and meet us at the beach to run to through the finish together. In the meantime we got lunch, hung out and relaxed.
A few hours later Van 2 arrived. We quickly made our way to the finishing chute and ran with our last runner Alisyn through to the finish line! 194 miles done!
Our official finish time was 26:40:57. We finished 8th in Mixed Open category and 24th overall. Not bad!
It was an amazing experience with a bunch of awesome runners. I would definitely run another relay with this group!