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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ragnar's 10th Anniversary for the Wasatch Back!

For my fifth Wasatch Back, I was fortunate enough to gain a spot on my friend and fellow Maniac Sue Mantyla's "Girls Just Wanna Run Team". In all my past Ragnar relays I have always been in van 2. This year I really wanted to experience the race differently than in year's past, so I asked to be in van 1, leg 3.  
Our start time was at 5:45am, so we drove up to Logan and stayed at the home of one of the past G.J.W.R. members, who could not run this year as she was expecting her first baby soon (thanks Hilary)! This was awesome as we were able to get a little sleep, before driving five minutes to the Start.

Our team Captain, Sue picking up our bibs.
Van 1 Girls ready to get started!
The 5:45am Starters are filing in!
Sue is getting the party started!!
The weather was much cooler than in year's past and I was looking forward to getting out there! Here is what my first leg looked like:

When I started, it was still a little bit cold, but I warmed up fast. I got about 3 miles into my run when I saw our "van" (aka Sue's Suburban"). The girls all cheered and drove ahead. I kept running when all of a sudden another van pulls up and a man gets out with his orange flag to cross the street. There were no other runners near me at that point, so I wasn't sure why he was in such a hurry until he started screaming my name. It was my good friend Kory and his lovely wife Ele!!
It was so great seeing Korey!!
I met Korey at the SLC Marathon 3 years ago, when he, Teresa Baker and I struck up a conversation during the last few miles of the race. The conversation went like this: "If we finish, we can go to Cafe Rio for lunch!" Which we did and we have all been fast friends since!
As I continued the leg, I felt like a rock star! Between our van, Korey's van and the other two vans that that were cheering for me (one had Julia in it, a former Galloway member and the other was another team that we had struck up a conversation with at the exchange), I felt well taken care of!
Deborah finishing her first leg with nobody there! We had a few exchange glitches, but made the best of them and had fun anyway!
Jennie handing off to Saranne!!
Saranne just killed Santa!!
As we were looking for Saranne, we noticed a fire on the mountain and called 911. We saved Ragnar! OK, so a lot of other people called 911 too, but we like to think it was our call that saved the day! Hee Hee!
Once all the girls in our van ran, our first major exchange was at Eden Park in Eden. We handed off to our "Van 2" then hurried up to Snowbasin Ski Resort (the site of the 2nd major exchange). Van 2 had a total of about 23 miles to cover in their first leg, which only took them a couple of hours to cover. We had enough time to eat something and rest for a little bit before it was our turn to run again.
The first major exchange is always a mad house, but fun!
I found Marsha up at Snowbasin! Teota was there too, but I forgot to get a photo with her. :-( 
This was the view as we waited for Sue to run down the hill on her 2nd leg.
Deborah killing it!
My second leg (which in year's past has been in the middle of the night), was the most difficult even though the mileage and terrain were the easiest. It was late afternoon and it was a little toasty. Here is what my leg 2 looked like:
Seems easy right? This was my hardest leg!
I don't know if I was tired, or it was the heat or both, but that second leg wiped me out! I kept leapfrogging one of the guys on the Santa team (they all dressed like Santa). I asked him to deliver a little snow for us as we were roasting! I also made the mistake of not changing my shirt after the first leg. The salt that was already on my shirt made me start chaffing! Man! Right under my arm was on fire! Luckily my team was there with some sunscreen which they applied and that took the edge off until I finished and hastily changed my top!

The Wasatch Back is Beautiful!
Ashlee getting ready to run.
Once our van finished our 2nd legs, Van 2 had about 40 miles to cover through the night, which meant we were going to get a good 3-4 hours of sleep! We headed to North Summit High School in Coalville where we would sleep on the floor of the gym with hundreds of other runners. We were one of the first people up on the second floor of the gym, so we spread out. When we woke up, there were hundreds of people next to us all cramped together! Oops!
Sue was next to run for our van, so at 3:45am, we were driving to the next major exchange, which we thought was South Summit High School. We dropped Sue off at the exchange, then drove ahead about 2 miles to wait for her. Sue left her phone in the van so when she got a text, one of the other girls picked it up. The text was from Van 2 and it read: "Where is Sue?" Hmmm.
When we figured out that the exchange was at the Oakley Rodeo Grounds and NOT South Summit High School (SSHS is where Sue would finish her leg), we rushed back to get her and drive her to the correct exchange. Poor Van 2 had to wait almost an hour for us! So sorry Van 2!! Poor Sue felt so bad, but hey, that is part of the adventure that is Ragnar right? 
I was not looking forward to my last leg. It was the longest and hardest looking of my three legs. Here is what leg 3 looked like:
Ugh!! My longest hilliest leg yet!
 Luckily the sun had come up by the time I set out for my last run so I didn't need a vest or headlamp, but it was pretty cold. I put on my arm warmers and headed out. The first couple of miles felt really good (looking at the elevation chart I see why), but right around mile 3, I hit the never-ending hill!
I feel great! If I only knew the hill that was waiting for be just around the bend!
I really wanted to channel the mountain goat in me, but I was just to tired to try and run the whole thing. I had to run/hike that hill! I was glad I did that as I was able to save my legs enough to do 8 minute miles the last mile and a half! I hit the exchange and was sooooo happy to be done! It was now time to relax and enjoy cheering on the rest of our team!
Once we handed off to Van 2 for the last time at Rocky Mountain Middle School (where we had one more exchange glitch, why stop now? Hee Hee!), we ate pancakes and bacon then we drove about ten minutes to Sue's BEAUTIFUL new home and took showers, cleaned out the van, and rested a bit until it was time to head down to Park City High School for the arrival of Van 2 and the big finish!
When we arrived in Park City, we hung out, took some photos and talked to some other teams we met along the course.
Saranne, Jennie, Sue, Deborah, Me and Ashlee- the lovely ladies of Van 1!
Then Van 2 called and said Andee (out last runner) had just left the exchange for her last 3 mile leg. She is pretty speedy, so we knew we only had minutes to get team corral to see her run in and finish the race as a team!
When she came in, our team came in behind her and ran her into the finish!
Andee, our last runner coming into finish!
After the finish, we all sat and had some pizza and ice cream (little Fat Boys are soooo good) to celebrate!

Girls Just Wanna Run 2013 enjoying some post-race pizza!

Like I said at the beginning of this post, this was my fifth Wasatch Back. Every year I think "I will take a break next year", but every year a couple of weeks out, I always end up on a team and every time I am so glad I did!
I would like to thank Sue Mantyla for offering me a spot this year and THANK YOU to all our fellow teammates: Deborah, Saranne, Jennie, Ashlee, Rachelle, Nayumi, Paige, Arwen, Paige, Nancy and Andee for the best time ever! Thanks to you all for sharing your photo too!
I would also like to give a huge shout out to Hilary, David, Tony and Amy for being our AMAZING volunteers! You guys ROCK!! THANK YOU!
I have said it before and I will say it again, the Wasatch Back is the most beautiful Ragnar Relay and it's right in our back yard! Will I do again next year, I sure hope so!!
The Bling!!

Our "Van"

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