Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay - Did I Run It?

I know you all have been holding your breath wondering if I was able to run the Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay. The relay kicked off almost two months to the day after I fell and tore the shit out of my hamstring on May 11. I'm happy to say, I ran all of my legs - 5.2 miles, 2 miles and 5.7 miles, all for a grand total of 12.9 miles! 

No, I did not feel like myself. No, I did not have any hamstring pain, but other stuff felt "off." Yes, I was happy with how it went. No, I did not tell my PT I was doing it. Yes, I averaged about a 10:30 pace and yes, I walked quite a bit. I was teetering on that edge of wanting to do what I wanted to do, but not wanting to further injure myself. I think I accomplished that.

I'm competitive by nature, so it's tough for me to hang back, let people pass me and not be able to show up how I would have liked. But the truth is, I was just glad to be there at all. This was my 8th relay. Here are the others (linking to my race reports):
Seems like these days Ragnar has taken over the relay world, and the smaller relays don't exist like EPIC and Wild West. That's too bad cause I really liked them. Ragnar is efficient and like a well oiled machine, but in my opinion in lacks some personality and character. Also - it's getting super congested.

These relays are a funny thing. I mean who thought, "Let's put 12 people in two vans and have them run for 25 to 35 hours, through the night and no one will die??" Honestly sometimes it seems so dangerous what with people running on roads all night, driving hundreds of miles in vans in unknown territory..but I've only heard of a few deaths - a guy in Maryland in 2010, a man hit by a drunken driver in 2011 at the Vegas Ragnar. There have probably been more, but not to my knowledge.

This is the first time our team has flown to a relay. It was fun having a new adventure in a new place. We rented a house on Whibdey Island (northwest of Seattle), where the race ended. 

We flew Alaska Air. Anyone else think their mascot looks like Bob Marley? (yes, I know it's an Eskimo)


Image result for alaska air mascot


The first night at the house involved  a lot of drinking because that is a good idea before an endurance event. The house we stayed in (Langley, Washington) was an Airbnb and was awesome. It was on the final leg of the relay route, so that was nice too. Interested? Here's the link to it. 

Cute courtyard for cocktails



I was in van #2, which means we start later. We hit the road heading toward Bellingham and started around 2pm. I was runner 10 out of 12, so my first run wasn't until about  5pm when it was nice and hot. These days, my injured self usually starts out walking but there was no way in hell I was going to grab the baton and walk out of the starting area like some gimpy ass. So, I took off, running until my problem child leg wanted to take a break. I was psyched with how the first run went. It pays off to have very low expectations because then you are never disappointed. That is my new life hack.


My second run came at 3am. It was only 2 miles, but I'd been cramped in the van all night and the run kind of sucked. It was dark (duh) and mostly on sidewalk (ewww) so I was terrified of falling on some damn sidewalk crack. PTSD. Plus I didn't want to break my mother's back. She already has osteoporosis. 

My third run came at about 2pm and after a huge plate of eggs Benedict (EB). I wasn't sure how all of that would play out. Turns out Ragnar frowns on crapping in someone's yard or on the side of the road. Which is too bad because that always makes for a good story. I did not, however, feel the urge to unload the EB. Despite some major hills and heat, the run went well. One major complaint about Ragnar - not even ONE free beer at the end.

Then just like that, we were done. 

My BFF, Erika, next to me in the pink did her first relay!


Usually we are in the masters division cause we are all well over 40, but our friend's daughter, 21, joined us, so we were in the mixed division.

32 hours with 11 runners. We placed 74/195 in our division. 

I was just a bit happy to be done.



We spent the next day eating our way through Langley - I might have had a few raw oyster shots with vodka.



Monday was spent hanging out in Seattle and after a delay, getting into Denver at 3am. I'm old so I'm still recovering - not from the race but from lack of sleep. And vodka And oysters.

We saw the gum wall in Seattle and it literally made me gag. We heard it is the second most non hygienic tourist attraction in the world after the Blarney Stone.

I'll give you $5 if you guess which piece is mine.

Overall, I'd say this relay ranks up there in my top three that I've done. I gotta say I don't love running on the road, so I missed the trails, but the scenery was lovely, as was the weather.

Deception Pass


And when you hit Bush Point, well you have to point at your....

Next year we're thinking about Ragnar Napa or Ragnar Niagara - anyone done either? We tried the lottery this year for Napa and didn't get in.

Until then...




Favorite relay you've done?

Raw oysters, yes or no? Despite the fact that they have the texture of a loogie and taste like you are eating sand from the bottom of the Pacific, I like them. I learned they are a great source of phosphate!

SUAR