(continued from Ragnar Adirondacks Leg #1…)
…and off Ashley went!
As she ran, darkness fell in the mountains. By the time we arrived at the next exchange where Erin would take over, it was pitch black outside.
It had been a long day and was getting late, but everyone’s energy and excitement was contagious; we were all pumped up and running on adrenaline. Literally and figuratively! Our team number was called as Ashley arrived (after absolutely killing it on her leg), and Erin shouted, “THAT’S ME!!” and proceeded to pick her up, spin her around, and shout: “Congratulations, you did it! World best cup of coffee!” (Name the movie!) It was hilarious and fun and as we sent Erin off into the night, everyone was in a positive mood.
Naturally Erin dominated her leg like it was no big thang; even though it included “The Ragnar” – the longest, most intense hill in all the Ragnar Relays. It was insane. Like, 4+ miles of a winding, steep, dark
hill mountain. But I’m sure it was worth it (right Erin?!) because she received a Ragnar Adirondacks pint glass for finishing!
As she handed the fancy slap bracelet off to me, I felt a little nervous for my upcoming 5.7 miles. The road up ahead was pitch black, and the other runners were coming into the exchange fairly sporadically. That’s one thing most people don’t realize about relays; you’re running alone more often that not. There’s so many start times, and the paces of runners vary so much that while the exchanges are busy and full of people waiting for their runner to come in, sometimes it might be 5-10 minutes (or more!) between runners. I was lucky to start about 200 yards behind a couple of other runners. Thinking it would be nice to hang with some fellow Ragnarians (AKA not run alone in the dark) I made an effort to catch up. But, I was feeling pretty awesome so I kept moving past.
Running alone in the dark wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be; not only was my sweet headlamp lighting the way, but my Maids of Dishonor ladies as well as the vans of other teams were driving by fairly constantly. (Sidenote: the Bondi Band is the perfect solution for a headlamp that won’t stay on your forehead! Pull the headband down and place the light on top of the band. Viola! Perfection.)
Sadly I couldn’t see the beautiful Lake George to my right…but I distracted myself by fist pumping and waving every time someone honked or cheered.
I was constantly thinking, “wow I feel great, but I should slow down, it’s 10PM, I’m on a mountain, I need to save energy, but I feel great, but I’m going to sleep in a van tonight, blah blah blah.” I kept moving based on how I felt (what a novel idea!) and fed off the motivating cheers. This is what I laid down during an hour when I’m typically already tucked away in bed:
I think mile two was when I stopped for a minute to chug water from a gallon on the side of the road. (Stopped on the side of the road, that is. Didn’t pick up some random gallon of water from the ground, guys. Wasn’t that delirious…yet…). My van hydrated and uplifted me and off I went again. There was a good mix of hills and I felt challenged but strong. I reminisced about my nighttime runs throughout college. I’ve always loved running at night; but I obviously only run on well-lit roads. (Safety first, people!) I felt a rush running on the dark, isolated roads…and I still felt safe. (P.S., I’m so glad the Ragnar staff requires runners to wear a headlamp! I probably would have assumed I’d be running on roads with streetlamps and would not have brought one.) Still, pretty sure I felt so safe because there was a team of Moms that was leapfrogging near me as well. I saw them a handful of times and, well, moms always know what to do.
I felt AWESOME as I handed off to Laura. Running high ensued. Best. Feeling. Ever.
Laura proceeded to kill it and pass a million people, just as my other teammates did. IT’S FREAKIN’ RAGNAR MAGIC. (Lies, they are all just really solid runners.) Even though we were certain we saw Laura push someone out of the way at one point, she swears she just tripped
Erin, Ashley and I cheered her on, and eventually made our way to the next major exchange at an elementary (junior high?) school where we met up with van 2 ladies. We missed them!
After seeing Lora and the rest of the team off for their second go-around, we went inside the school and dominated some spaghetti. Literally, a plate of spaghetti with sauce and bread and cookies. It was amazing and much needed after living off of coffee and candy corn all day. Future Business Leaders of America students, you made my night. It was genius to capitalize on tired, starving, carb-craving runners.
After our feast, we headed to the next major exchange to wait for van 2 to finish their legs. We seriously had trouble staying awake en route. I think we made it around 1:30 or 2AM, but then again I have no sense of time. We settled in to our cozy RAV and attempted to sleep. My pattern of dozing off and waking up to switch positions continued for about 2 hours. Sounds glorious, right? And then around 4AM, we received a surprising phone call…
Van 2 was 20 minutes away! Ashley was up again sooner than we thought. We scrambled to get ready and out to the exchange. Thankfully we had driven there before sleeping so we would be ready!
Leg 3 was certainly going to be the toughest…