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Monday, June 22, 2015

Girls Just Wanna Run the Wasatch Back!

Every year after running Ragnar's Wasatch Back (the 200ish mile relay) I say, "I think I will sit this one out next year." Then the next day I say "I can't wait until next year!" So after my 6th finish, I was back for a 7th year with my "Girls Just Wanna Run" teammates (my 3rd year with these great ladies)! 

After 2 years of being in Van 1, we decided to make a change and move to Van 2 just to mix it up. Another change was after many years of running from Logan to Park City, UT, this year's finish moved to Soldier Hollow, which was closer to our Team Captain, Sue's house. 

The good thing about being in Van 2, is that I didn't have to be in Logan on Thursday night! I was able to work at Wasatch Running Center on Thursday, go home, pack and meet the girls on Friday morning to decorate our van (or in this case, Jennifer's Suburban), and make the hour drive to Eden where our Van 1 would had off the Ragnar slap bracelet to us.

Now, this report is very Van 2 heavy as I was in Van 2 and I never saw the girls in Van 1 except at the last exchange, but I do know that that they ran great! Way to go Rachel, Brooke, Kristi, Janielle, Lisa, and Malia!!

Jennie, Abby, Jennifer, Me, Sue and Kim ready to get this adventure started!

Van 2! She got a little dusty, but we it still looks cute!

We got to Eden and picked up our race bibs, attended the new video safety presentation and waited for the girls in Van 1 to get there.

Sue and Kim!

Chillin' at the safety presentation! Good thing Sue and Jennie are listening! Hee Hee!

Jennie was our first runner (runner #7 on out team) so after the hand off we headed back to the Suburban and I got ready for my first leg. As I walked back to the car, I was told that at 8:30am a runner had died. His name was Tyler Rasch and he was 46 years old. 

I did not know Tyler, but as a runner it is scary. It was 95 degrees out at the moment we found out about this man's death. We don't know the details of what happened, but we all felt a sense of loss and fear. We all made a pact at that moment that we would be extra careful out there. If we got to hot, it was OK to stop and take a break. Better slow and safe than speedy and sorry.

I was runner #8 on our team. As I started, I felt great. My first leg was 7.2 miles and the first mile went fine. Then I started to over-heat. Anytime we were running on the street, it felt like running into an oven as the cars drove by. I had to stop and walk a few times just to have my teammates and other teams dump water down my back to cool off. That saved me. It felt like hell!

It took me much longer to to run that 7.2 miles than I wanted, but I had to slow way down to avoid passing out and I didn't care. Every time I had to walk, I would take a photo of the beautiful scenery.



Beautiful scenery!

I finished my run and handed off to Abby (runner #9), the youngest member of our team who had one of the hardest legs on our team. Her run was 7.8 miles in the heat, uphill (elevation gain of 2,084 feet)! She was a trooper!
Abby kicked butt going up that hill!

I am driving and Sue is navigating! We might be in trouble! Ha Ha!

The Italian Stallion, Sue looking strong despite the heat!

Abby handed off to Sue (runner #10). Sue had 8.10 miles in the heat, but her leg was one of the most beautiful legs and she had some nice downhill as well. Funny thing is, this is a leg that Sue ran a few times over the years in Van 1, but with all the course changes, it was now a Van 2 leg and she got it again!

Stores love Ragnar!

Sue handed off to Kim (runner #11) who had a beautiful 7.7 mile run. By this time the sun was getting ready to set and the temps were cooling down. By the time Kim handed off to Jennifer (runner #12), she had to wear her night gear for her 4.1 mile run.

Getting ready to run over night!

Once we handed off to Van 1 again, we headed into Morgan High School to get a few hours of sleep. We unloaded our sleeping bags, towels and a change of clothes and headed upstairs in the gym of the high school to sleep with a bunch of strangers on the padded floor. It was dark and quiet until one guy started snoring so loud, I wanted to shove a sweaty sock in his mouth!

We only got 2 1/2 hours of sleep before we had to head out for our second run!

Joshua was stalking me! We decided to take a selfie of ourselves at the same time! Now that's talent! Ha Ha!

This lighted Ragnar sign was so cool at night. It changed colors!

We all were doing great on our night runs, until we handed off to Sue. Sue was kicking asphalt and we checked on her about a mile from the finish and went to drive to the exchange where Kim would take over. We missed the turn to the exchange and drove about 2 miles down the road until we realized what we did. When we turned around, we were met by a man in a hard hat telling us the road back was closed and that we were going to have to take a detour. What he didn't tell us was that the detour would take us 30 minutes to get back the 2 miles!

We ran into another van that did the same thing when Jennifer flagged them down and asked them, and I quote, "Would you guys like to break through the barricade with us?" It was the quote of the night!

We did not break down the barricade, but we dropped off Kim and Jennifer who ran both of their legs together in case we did not get back in time. Good thing, because once we made the detour, we had to wait about 45 minutes in traffic to pick up poor Sue who had been waiting in the cold at 5:00am for over an hour!

Our girls got the legs in and we were able to catch up to them once they had finished and Van 1 didn't have to wait.

It's 3:45am and I had just finished a really fun night run!

Sue getting ready to run. She didn't know the adventure that was waiting for her!

After we all finished our 2nd legs, we headed over to South Summit High School and changed our clothes and had the pancake breakfast. We had to drive to the last major exchange at Park City High School and didn't have time for a real sleep, but on the drive there, I took a nice cat nap.

At our last major exchange all decked out in our team shirts!

Our last exchange was fun! We ran into so many friends! We could have taken a little nap on the grass while waiting for our last Van 1 runner to come in, but we were having too much fun socializing!

Sue and I looking for the van! The blind leading the blind! Ha Ha!

It was love at first sight! 

Our last legs began with Jennie doing the 10.30 mile "Ragnar" hill! With 2,608 feet of elevation gain, this was the hardest leg of the race. It was not only hard, but it was hot! This leg was so hard, the runner doing it was given a special medal after finishing it! 

The Ragnar leg was also the prettiest part of the race at the summit of Guardsman Pass (elevation 8,900 feet).   

At the summit of Guardsman Pass. 

"Ragnar" Exchange

It was great to see fellow Maniac Matt kicking butt up the Ragnar Hill!

Jennie finishing the "Ragnar" hill!

Jennie handing off to me! Do we look like we are having fun?

Jennie and her special medal for taking on "Ragnar"!

So beautiful!

My last leg was only 4.1 miles down the back side of Guardsman Pass. It was one of my favorite runs. It was all downhill, some parts so steep it was a little hard to run, but overall I flew down that hill! 

I was cooking down that hill!

Handing my water bottle to my team to fill up. There was no stopping on this run!

Kim starting her final leg!

Jennifer was our last runner and unfortunately, the finish line at Soldier Hollow was so congested, she beat us to the finish. We were left doing the ceremonial finish with only half our team, as Van 1 decided to go home.
Our finish photo!

All done and still having fun!


As for the new course, I liked it. The traffic was terrible at places which is expected, but the new finish area at Soldier Hollow was the worst! The flow was all wrong. It was congested and confusing.

We got our Fat Boy ice cream and pizza and left. Rob was nice enough to come pick me up so I didn't have to drive.

All in all, I had a great time with the greatest group of ladies! I am now thinking of doing an ultra team next year!
This year's shirt.

This year's medal.

When you turn over our team's medals and put them together, they have a message!

On behalf of Girls Just Wanna Run, we would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to Tyler Rasch's family. I can't imagine what they are going through. His friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help his family. If you can give a little to help them please do.

We run to live and we live to run,

1 comment:

Jessica I said...

Ragnar is always fun when you have a great group of people to run with. The medals are super cool. Nate dos the ultra one year and ever since I wanted a crack at it. You would rock it!