A while ago, Gail (in Pasadena Tri Club) asked me if I wanted to participate as a runner in the Ragnar Relay. The Ragnar Relay is a 24+ hour event, 200.6 miles with a 12 person relay team. Each runner gets legs that they run ranging from 2 to 8 miles (3 sets). I told Gail, that it sounded like fun…but to put sleep deprivation and running together would be my worst nightmare! So I offered to drive…
Fast forward to Friday morning, we rented the two 15 passenger vans from Enterprise Thursday evening and the team decorated them with some AWESOME decals that were donated by a fellow club member who works with that kind of stuff. I had to leave early for choir practice and they would drive the vans to my house to leave them overnight. I suggested my street, only because it is SUPER safe and we needed room to park a bunch of cars overnight and my street is great for that. It would also be very convenient for me in the morning not to have to drive anywhere 😀 I came home after 9 Thursday night and saw the vans and they looked great! Here are the vans:
Back to Friday morning, everyone was meeting at my place at 7AM, I was driver of van 2 and while we didn’t have to start till 2PM…we still drove up with van 1 to see them off at the start. We finally got going around 7:30AM and headed up to Oxnard for the start. We got there with time to spare and pulled into the parking lot. The instant we drove in, we realized we could probably have a good shot at winning the best van contest, our vans were really THAT good! We went through our little safety training session and before we knew it we said bye to van 1. Here is everyone at the start:
Since we didn’t have to really be anywhere till 1PM, we went over to Denny’s and pigged out on some food. Once we were done there we hopped into the van and headed to our first exchange point. By the way, I will use the word “exchange” quite a lot…that is where one runner passes the baton/bracelet to the other runner. There were a total of 36 exchanges. Here I am, hard at work (trying not to kill everyone in my van) 10 & 2, my mom would be proud:
Around 2:30ish (not sure because I was napping) Shawn came through and passed the bracelet to our first runner. We now started our set and we followed each runner through their run then met them at the next exchange. The first set took us till about 8 or 9PM, we had made our way into Woodland Hills by then and we had about 3 hours before our next set. George met us at that stop, so I got to be with him for a little bit and that was really nice. This is where I took off the passenger side mirror… I was parallel parking and the street was really dark and there was this HUGE oak tree next to the curb. I parked a little too close and the tree matched up with the mirror and the tree won. The actual mirror plastic thingy stayed on, it was just the mirror part. We were eventually able to tape it back up so that I had a little visibility on that side of the van, but THANKFULLY we had full insurance coverage on the vans. Phew! This is also when it was dark and everyone had to wear their reflective vests and lights so no one would hit them. Here is Neil and Marvin all lit up!
I am not really sure what Marvin is doing in that picture…I think he belonged in another van…. (Runagaydes? Marvin????) lol
While at that exchange they had a dinner for $10, so I got that. The team ended up eating at corner bakery…I just kind of hung around with George. We finally took off from there and headed down to Santa Monica where our next exchange would be.
We pulled up in a remote corner of the parking lot so that we could get some rest. I was 10PM and our runner would probably get there around 1AM. We set the alarms to 12:30AM and tried to sleep as best we could. Marvin had a sleeping bag and went for the homeless look:
Around 12:00AM a white truck parked RIGHT next to us and was bumping their music. Seeing that the driver was a little ghetto…we opted to just deal with it and not say anything. So our first nap was not that effective.
Around 1:30AM Shawn came through the Santa Monica exchange point and we would be going till about 4AM. Because these legs were a bit shorter, I had to get a little crazy with getting people into the van. Good thing though, at one of the exchanges a runner was waiting for their other runner because the van wasn’t there on time. Here I am around 3AM or so, videotaping the exchange. I am not really sure why I look so annoyed….oh yeah…I have been up almost 24 hours and had a short nap and it was cold….
Once we were done with our set we ended up somewhere near Compton…I just remember driving the streets trying to get back to the freeway and a little voice in the back of the van said… “I think we are in Compton…” That was really fun, considering that we were in a van decorated to the max in hippie decor! We quickly got on the 405 and were on our way down to another beach town. At this point, the places got blurry and Garmin was mostly leading the way.
When we got there, the group went to breakfast and I opted to sleep in the car since I had another set coming up and needed some rest (and since everyone got to sleep while I drove). Here are a few people from our van at the beginning of our final set:
Once we sent off Lisa, we headed over to a nearby hotel and got cleaned up. Marvin had this AMAZING idea of going to the bathroom only at hotels. It ended up being so much better than gas stations and we got to freshen up a bit too.
The final set went off without a hitch, I was pretty alert and we made sure to encourage our runners along the way. Throughout the whole trip, we also made sure to leave a mark:
Don’t worry….it’s removable paint…we think
For whatever reason, I can’t find any finish line photos…but it looked a lot like the start line photo except on sand (in case you are curious).
Overall, this is a great race. We had a lot of fun and I would do it again. Next year it will fall around the wedding, so I don’t think it will happen for 2011…but 2012 might be a different story…and I might actually RUN it *cringe*
I shot a lot of video, and once I figure out how to get the video off of the camera, I will be sure to put something together.
Thanks to Gail for all the photos!