Enough of the dramatic pause…I’m ready to finish retelling the story of my first Ragnar Relay Race, which took my team -How The West Was Run- from Breckenridge to Aspen.
I left off with Karinn’s first run. We got to the Exchange 10, where we would switch out runners, from Karinn (#9) to Kevin (#10). Sounds like a good plan right? Except we should have gone to Exchange #9, because #9 was handing off/exchange our race baton to #10.
Yup, we skipped ahead an Exchange and left our runner to run an extra leg. Great way to show you care about your team member or even a perfect stranger (which we all were anyway).
We hopped back into the van, drove to where we could get close to Karinn and sent Kevin off to find her. As he was jogging back to find her, other runners, noticing the #14 bib on him (our team number), they told him “oh, she is so pissed off” and “can’t believe you guys left her”. Poor Kevin didn’t know what he was getting into, although I’m sure Karinn never thought we would leave her behind either.
Kevin found Karinn and they began jogging to Exchange #10, passing us along side the road. Karinn looked upset (duh!) but she refused to get in the van because she thought the race organizers would be looking for her at the Exchange.
Karinn had to eventually stop and she let Kevin go ahead to make the exchange with Stefanie. There were over 100 teams participating so the Exchanges were crowded. I took to screaming our team number and the name of the woman, to whom I was handing the baton (a slap bracelet) off because otherwise you couldn’t see faces very well. Since we were looking for two runners, no one paid attention to the guy runner who made it to the Exchange. I happened to look over and scream “Kevin!” and then Stefanie exchanged with him.
When Stefanie was going to hand off to me, it was around 7 or 8 pm so everyone had to wear their reflective vests, headlights and a backlight (while running). Our exchange was by an intersection, so Stefanie got to the light and started screaming “14, 14, 14” and I screamed back “I’m here”- she crossed the street, screaming my name but when I went to her, she said “no, I’m looking for Amber!”
Did I mention it was hard to tell who was whom? We all looked like aliens, very similar aliens.
Once she realized I am who I say am, I got the bracelet and took off. I ran way too fast, my first mile was 8:30. Way too fast.
But it felt good to run, since I had been hanging out and watching the others run all day, and night-time running takes me back to being a kid. Young, wild, free- free to do what I want, anytime I want. But I knew I had to slow down and enjoy this experience, not just try to run like a madwoman. So I slowed down and finished my 3 miles by screaming for Chris (I was handing off to her) at the Exchange.
Then it was time to try to sleep and relax before we were to run again. We drove to the next big exchange at Gypsum’s Rec Center. I changed into fresh running clothes, washed my face, brushed my teeth and took out my contacts. Everyone had a snack or two (licorice for me, Swedish fish for others) and then we all crashed. It was warm and our van was smelly, so we left the windows open and got to hear the wonderful conversations of the teams that were awake.
Some of the things I learned while “sleeping”:
-multiple men promised to run next year’s race in various thongs, from speedos to glitter ones
-a few teams were bragging about the number of kills they had (kills are when you pass someone while running)
-one guy was talking about his bowel movements, which sounded impressive
-someone else was crying about their team running outfits not being flattering
We rested and then it was time to run again.
Alas you will have to wait for the next installment to hear more!