Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ragnar Chicago- Fast and Delirious

Our team name, Fast and Delirious, describes Chicago Ragnar. Tracy, Chris, David, Jess and I met at the Milwaukee airport and drove to Madison, WI.  As I've gotten older, I'm more prone to motion sickness and by the time we got to Madison, I was feeling kind-of quesy.  I'd have to take something before the race.
Our team shirts and tattoo (temporary) on my leg
Everyone in our van had run Ragnars before and with me having 7 Ragnars under my belt, I expected the norm...tired, exhausted and cranky at 2am, upset stomach remedied with my trusty stand-by Pepto tablets and some muscle soreness.  Each Ragnar is unique and you can never plan the stories that are created throughout the race.

At the Sheraton where we were staying, other teams were preparing for the race and we couldn't help ourselves to yell smack at them as we drove off to dinner.  "Roadkill...we're going kick your ass" David yelled out the window.   Our driver, Chris,  quickly realized we were on a court and had to turn back around and drive back past our competition.  "If we don't get lost, then you'll be road kill" David hollered out the window.  When we forgot something at the hotel and had to turn back yet again, we crouched down hoping the team wouldn't notice us as they walked by.
Wisconsin State Capital in Madison
Dinner was a blast.  I had run with Tracy in Florida Central Ragnar and when she caught the Ragnar bug and wanted to run a team in Chicago I told her to count me in. I already knew 5 of the people from Central Florida and it was great meeting the other team members and we were a rowdy group.  After dinner, I didn't feel 100% and thought it was still motion sickness but grabbed some Day-quill just in case I had a stuffy head the next day.
Team picture at dinner
Friday morning we met for buffet breakfast and then jogged to the start to see van 1 off.  A couple team pictures and van 1 was off running.  Having 5 hours to kill before we started, we shopped the aisles in Walmart buying car markers and lots of snacks.  Lunch was next on the list and then off  to the start where van 1 was already ahead of our time estimates.  We rock!
David and Jess

Team picture at start

David competes in a handstand contest at the start
Our van members were awesome.
Jeff - uber ultra athlete training for double Ironmans could run his mileage in his sleep.
Brian - great runner dealing with a troublesome rolled ankle
David - fastest runner around could click off 6's in warm-ups
Jess- ultra runner coming back from an injury that would be our team lifesaver
Tracy - team captain and awesome runner fighting with achilles issues

At exchange 7, one of our volunteers was a finalist in the Wisconsin state fair mooing contest.  I guess he entered it as a joke and actually won. He sounded uncanny like a cow. From that point on we would moo to each other at our exchanges.

Dean hands off to Brian, our first runner in the van
My first leg was 6.4 miles and went well.  With my hamstring injury and my longest run being 5 miles, I knew I could run the 6.4 miles but wasn't sure how long I could maintain my pace.   Before the race I had dropped my estimated pace so minimize the stress if I couldn't hit my paces and so we could accurately plan.  The course was beautiful through rolling hills in Wisconsin through the farms.  I ran by a veal farm and saw the little cows standing within the wire of  their cages attached to a shelter no bigger than a large dog crate.  A woman was bottle feeding one of them. I ran my leg in 8:26 pace, much better than I hoped and felt great.
Jeff hands off to Jess
The next set of legs for our van went well.  We handed off to the 1st van and headed to the next major exchange for a short rest. The 2nd set of legs were short so our downtime was very limited. In the sleeping area there was only one mat and our team was lucky enough to snag it. I woke up at 11:45 seeing the last person of my team heading back outside. It was almost our turn to run again. Van 1 reported one of their runners wasn't feeling great and had a migraine but he had finished his 2nd leg. We hoped he would get rest and feel better for his third leg.
The front of the shirt said roadkill scavenger hunt
Me and a gnome
A wacky runner
Running at night is my favorite and I run well in the dark, with my vest and headlamp on.  Around 12:30am the baton was handed off to me for my very short 2.5 mile jaunt which I raced it with a 7:46 pace. Although I couldn't have kept that pace up, I felt good to be running that well and getting in some speed work.

Throughout the night we ran and handed back off to van 1 and drove to exchange 30 for rest.  There was no indoor sleeping and I found a spot outside.  The weather continued to hold for us and was damp and misty but luckily not raining.  I was cold sleeping outside and completely forgot that I had an extra jacket and a towel I could have covered myself up with. At 6am, tired of trying to sleep, I got up and saw everyone still asleep in the van. Not wanting to wake them up. I brushed my teeth and stood in the growing port-a-potty line before opening the car door mixing in fresh air into the thick, stale, heated air of the car. How could they sleep, let alone breathe in there?  But in Ragnars you learn to sleep wherever and whenever you can.

About this time I was starting to feel not great but didn't think much of it.  Tracy was having bouts of diarrhea and doubled over skipped to the front of the port-a-potty line. I wasn't having diarrhea and was actually more constipated not having went since the Thursday night before. Would I be able to go before my run  or would the brown turtle come visit during it?

We expected the last runner of van 1 in at 7:15am, at 7:45 I was wondering what was going on. If our first runner was out, we needed to get going. Unless something was wrong. The 6th runner was the guy that hadn't been feeling well.  The report came back that he was doubled over a mile up and was walking in. Jess, ran up the mile to try and encourage him in. I heard about this after the fact because my stomach revolt was beginning and I finally got in my poop but had to turn around and throw up too.  Throwing up is never fun and there isn't a great location to do it but throwing up in a pooh, filled port-a-potty with your pants down is truly less than ideal.  I was hoping it wouldn't come out at both ends.  Thank goodness the weather was cool and not heating up the contents of the port-a-potty.

Walking back to the vans the sirens wailed through the air.  I turned and saw the fire truck and hoped it wasn't for our 6th runner. Jess, while she tried to talk Dean through his last mile, eventually deemed him unfit to run, let alone even stand and got the police to assist and the team life saver ran her first extra mile in. Dean was taken to the hospital, given 3 IV's and released a couple hours later.

I started my third leg feeling horrible and within 100 meters I thought I was going to throw up.  I didn't and kept creeping along. A runner came by and yelled ROADKILL to me.  I shouted back, you're lucky I don't throw up on you. He called back...you guys gave us all the crap at the hotel.  I thought to myself,  I guess we had that coming but we're still going to catch you.

I had zero food in my system and didn't know how I could possibly run the miles and didn't want to throw off the team's pace since we were still ahead.  I was hot and took off my jacket with the intention of handing it off yet when Tracy asked if I wanted to Jess to run for me, I replied yes. 1.6 miles was all I ran. I wish I would have run longer;that I would have toughened it out a couple more miles but I felt horrible. Later in the van, still feeling awful, subconsciously decided the van decorations weren't enough and decided to add my own personal contribution.

Our team lifesaver, Jess,  later ran her own 3rd leg and then the two last miles in with Tracy who was really struggling too. Jess ran a total of 25 miles in the race when she only supposed to run 14. While Jess and I didn't click, I admire her bubbly laughter and happy disposition. She was awesome.

David anchored the team and we finished at Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is gigantic, like an ocean and the finish was on the beach.  It was overcast and cloudy and we didn't hang around long.

Despite having a minor case of the flu during my 3rd leg, overall Chicago was an awesome race and I loved the course and finishing on the beach.

Happy Running!


Jamoosh said...

I would have had to run the other way (Chicago to Madison) for beer reasons.

You had a tough race and survived. You'll be ready for the next one!

misszippy said...

Awesome...I love all the ups and downs of a relay race! You hung tough.

Johann said...

Tough race but you did it. So different when there's a team involved. I hope you feel 100% again now. Some day I hope to see Lake Michigan.

Adrienne said...

Oh man, sounds like a lively team. Sounds hilarious about hackling the other runners then having to turn around twice.....sounds like something I would do....okay maybe not but still funny. Sorry you were sick, puking while going to the bathroom is the worst and in a port a potty makes it 10 times worse....ugggg. I've only done one relay race and it was ups and downs and all arounds....good for you for such a positive attitude.

Giorgio said...

Great tough adventure! I sometimes drop my estimated pace too :) Beautiful report! The team shirts and the tattoo are nice too!

Amy said...

What fun! Someday I'll do one of these.... ;)

Black Knight said...

It sounds like a tough race. Unknown experience for me, here we don't have such events.
Beautiful post and wonderful pictures.

The Green Girl said...

Wow. Way to push through, girl.

Adam said...

Joking aside, that really sucks. Hopefully you're feeling loads better and are looking towards the next race!!

BUT, you put forth everything you had - and then some I'm sure. that is all your team could have asked for