Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Las Vegas Ragnar – Leg 1 – Where Is She?

Van 1 finally arrived and found us which wasn’t very hard since we were holding orange pom-poms. We talked to them for a while and heard about how they had run through SNOW at the start line (in Las Vegas?), hail, and rain along the way. Oh boy.

We were all hanging around and talking when our cheerleaders ran over to let us know that our runner was in and waiting! Um, DUH! That’s me! I was the first runner in our van, and I had already failed! Damn! So, I ran over the exchange area and took the baton. Then, like an idiot who hadn’t checked out the course or watched any of the other runners, I shouted “Where do I go?” DOH! I was pointed in the right direction and took off.

Now, the idea, or the generally accepted custom, is that the van leap-frogs the runner to ensure their safety and hydration. So, as I started out, I was passed a few times – no surprise there. Then, as I ran through suburgatory, I managed to pass a couple of people. One was the cause of her own demise. She was way over dressed, and I think that it slowed her down. One was heavier than me, but she was giving it her all. It’s hard to be an overweight runner. You’re likely one of the slowest out there. You’re passed by other people more often than not, and that can be demoralizing. So, I felt bad passing her, but it had to be done. The third runner was passed simply due to my athletic prowess. (ha-ha-ha) She looked fitter than me, definitely thinner than me, wearing more pink than me… But, I managed to surpass her.

I continued to run and watched the other runner’s vans pass me. And, watched and watched and watched. I kept waiting for my van to arrive, and honestly, I was a smidge thirsty, but nothing that I couldn’t deal with. As I got further into the leg, the wind got stronger and stronger. We began the gradual uphill portion, and I managed to pass one of the MEN that passed me! It’s not often that I get to pass a guy, but this one – from team Asstastics – clearly had not trained for this uphill portion because he was definitely fitter than me. People – you’ve got to run hills! If this chubby old lady can pass you, you know that your training plan needs a kick in the pants.

I approached the park and the exchange place. I figured that my teammates had just got talking with Van 1 and headed straight to the exchange point. Great. I was feeling fine and picked up the pace a bit into the exchange.

And, there I was – all by myself.


OK – so they got talking too long, and they were on their way!

I asked if I could just keep running and have the volunteers let my teammates know to meet me on the road for the exchange. Because of the need to keep track of everyone and ensure our safety, I was asked to stay at the exchange until my van arrived. I totally understand that.

I stretched a bit and then sat down on the curb and waited. And waited. And waited.

Since we’re a one-income family, we’re also a one-cell phone family, so I didn’t have my phone with me. Let it be known here and now that I despise asking other people for help. For any kind of help. Emergency babysitting? UG. Can I hitch a ride? Bleck. Can I use your phone? OMG! I don’t like asking people I know for these things, and I’m surrounded by strangers?!?! Kill me now. (By the way, if someone asked me any of those things and more, I would gladly do them. I love to help out when people need it. Asking? Umm… not so much.) But, I did it. I asked a guy if I could use his cell phone (right after he got done calling HIS van to find out where THEY were!). I didn’t have anybody’s numbers, so I called my cell phone and asked Bub if she would call Roch and find out where everyone was. I got off the phone quickly since it wasn’t mine (and I was probably getting sweat germs all over it).

Then, I waited some more.

Did I mention the wind? Yeah, well, it started to pick up a bit more, and here I was in sweaty shorts and a t-shirt. I was starting to get chilled. Enter: Race Official. Super nice bald dude. He asked me if I had gotten in touch with anyone and did I need anything. Of course, my answer was no, I didn’t need anything and yes, I had reached someone. What I did not know was that my someone couldn’t reach the other someones. So, I continued to wait. And shiver. And wait. Awesome Race Official Guy felt for me, I suppose, because he brought me a protein bar and gave me his jacket. What a sweetie!

I continued to wait.

And wait.

It seemed like forever, but I waited some more.

Ragnarly Nice Race Official Man finally texted the main officials because we were worried that my van mates had been in a crash or something. No news. I borrowed another phone and called Bub again. She had left a message for Roch. I asked her to call again. She promised that she would.


Truly, it seemed like a million years, but it was only about 45 minutes at this point. (Sigh. Yes. 45 minutes. During a race.)

I borrowed yet another phone and called Bub again. This time, I got Carol’s number and called her myself. Luckily, she answered.

Me: Hi! This is Kaye. Where are you? Are you all OK?
Carol: We’re waiting for you. Where are you? Are YOU OK?
Me: No, I’m waiting for you. I’m at Exchange 7.
Carol (to other van mates): It’s Kaye. She’s waiting for us at Exchange 7. What exchange are we at? [pause] Oh, shit!
Carol (to me): We’re at Exchange 8. We’ll be right there.

So, I waited some more. I did feel better knowing that they weren’t dead on the side of a cul-de-sac in this suburban hell. They arrived, and I finally handed off to Roch, returned Groovy Race Official’s jacket, and hopped into the van to about 100 I’m sorrys.

Turns out that as they left the parking lot, they followed the wrong vans. Then, as the road that they were traveling on crossed the path of those running leg 8, they turned and followed the runners. Oops! No real harm done. We alerted Van 1 (who were much more competitive than we were) and went on our way.

We leap frogged Roch (who was rockin’ it) followed by Majlinda. Majlinda’s leg was a steady incline, and the wind had become torturous at this point. There was one skinny little runner guy who was having a very difficult time just standing upright as he tried to run into the wind. Just awful! Majlinda ran and occasionally walked, never letting up. She did a great job considering that she had only been running for about two months after a year-long break. She handed off to Carolyn who took off like a shot and ran the entire distance that same way. Carol was next, and I met her at the one-mile to go mark so that I could run with her. It had been more than a month since she and I had run together, and I wanted to be sure that she wasn’t pushing it too hard on that knee that had sidelined her. She killed it, of course. She handed off to Irnela, and we were almost done! During this time, we only got lost once more.

We met Van 1 at the next major exchange. They assured us that they would only be five hours, max. Crap. We were actually looking forward to some sleep! Oh well. After Irnela came in, we all got into our respective cars (cheer squad, latecomers, and runner van) and drove three separate ways for the exact same hotel. We all took at least two wrong turns in getting back to the hotel where Bub and the boys waited for me.

I was three hours later than I had planned. Bub was not happy, and she was getting sick. And, the boys drove her nuts all day. Being cooped up in a hotel room all day is NOT fun. It was too cold and windy to swim or go for a walk, and the closest park was surrounded by a tall chain link fence! After I hopped out of the shower, Roch and I took the boys to get a snack and wear off some energy. We all froze our buns off as we walked half mile to a fast food place. Walking back was just as much fun.

As soon as we got back, I convinced the boys to lay down with me. I managed to get 30 minutes of sleep with them before my phone buzzed. It was Van 1 letting us know that they were running ahead of schedule. We scrambled to get everyone in the van and took off. In the wrong direction. But only once this time.

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