Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Las Vegas Ragnar – Leg 2 – Walking Lunges, Baby. Walking Lunges.

We made it to the exchange in time. We kicked back and texted back and forth with Van 1. After a few minutes, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t leave anyone standing, so I decided to go to the exchange chute to wait. After waiting around for about 30 seconds, I realized that I had given my race number to Majlinda and that I wasn’t wearing one. CRAP! Roch raced back to the van to grab one for me. I got it on just in time. Van 1 arrived as I was pinning it on, and the runner arrived about a minute later. I took off knowing that I was actually looking forward to this leg.

This leg was to be run in the dark (which I love) and it was basically all up hill. It wasn’t straight up like Guardsman Pass or anything, but it was a steady gradual climb for a decent enough distance that it was classified as “very hard.” I volunteered to be the runner who did this leg because I know that other people hate stuff like this. I wanted to know that I could do it as a challenge to myself.

Overall, I took very few walk breaks on this leg and only towards the end of the mileage.

Having this be in the dark, I couldn’t see what was ahead that was supposed to scare or intimidate me. I just had to keep running in order to get done. No distractions. No problems. After a few twists and turns, we were directed on to a straight road that was closed off to all traffic except Ragnar vehicles. (Note to race organizers: Niiiiiice……. Loved it.) I must say that my quads and hammies were feeling great. Very strong. I managed to pass several people. Oh, sure. I was also passed, but I did have consistency and strength in my legs that other people just may not have had.

What better compliment for a weight instructor to hear than “the walking lunges that you make us do helped me kick ass on this section.” And, it’s true. I hate doing those walking lunges, but they worked. I felt like my legs were really powerful for the entire distance. And, I was running into the wind. Cold, biting, crappy wind. But all along, my legs felt good.

I’m guessing that those who were able to run this section during daylight hours saw what I would have loved to see for scenery. It was along I-15, but it was desert-y. There were also train tracks along the way. At one point, a train actually scared the heck out of me. I was so busy focusing on the shoulder in the dark and trying to mentally block out the wind that I didn’t even realize that the train was there until it was right alongside me. It made me think of my little Peanut, of course, who is obsessed with all things train.

This leg was basically uneventful. My van leap-frogged me and made sure that I was doing well. Our cheerleaders shouted words of encouragement from the warmth of their car. Other teams gave a few high fives and words of support when they were actually outside of their vehicles.

That’s one thing that I missed about this particular race. I’m not a super-outgoing person, and I don’t chit chat well with strangers, and I don’t punk other teams’ vans. But, I do exchange pleasantries with people that I see frequently along the course. It was so dang cold and windy that nobody was outside of their vans long enough to become familiar with them! I could have told you all about their vans, but nothing about the people. That was really too bad, but it was nothing that could be helped. After all, who can control the weather?

Towards the end of my uphill slog, I did start to tire a bit. I could have run the entire thing, but I chose to take some speed-walk breaks. We weren’t going to win this thing, so what was the point in killing myself over it? Besides, I wanted to have something left for leg 3.

If I remember correctly, this leg ended up being longer than expected, but I didn’t mind too much. I just kept running. My van mates kept giving me water and making sure that I was warm enough, and I just got it done. The rest of the night seemed to go according to this pattern.

I did make sure to FB the VP of my department and let him know what he was missing out on. He and his team WON the entire race in 2011, and he was a bit bummed to be missing it for 2012. However, I assured him that he made the right decision (to go on a Caribbean cruise to celebrate his 40th birthday).

Our handoffs were good, we had a good time, the wind never stopped blowing, and we froze our asses off. We all tried to get a bit of sleep, and I think that I succeeded for about 30 minutes, but that’s hard when the car keeps stopping and starting and stopping and people are getting in and out and in and out and the radio has to stay on so that at least two people stay awake and that radio keeps playing the same three songs over and over and over. (By the way, I will never, ever, ever buy Taylor Swift’s song “Never (ever, ever) getting back together.”)

But, hey – sleep. Who needs it?

Apparently not me.

At sun-up, we made it back to the hotel. Since I was freezing, I decided to take a bath. Of course, Peanut woke up as soon as we walked in the room, so I pulled the curtain closed and had him play his trains in the bathroom so that he wouldn’t wake Bub and so that Roch could get some sleep. It only worked a little bit. By the time I was done in the bath, Meatball was also awake. I grabbed some cereal, milk, and some sort of food for me and took them both to the lobby. They played while I looked on secretly wishing I was asleep. Then, I played, and they played and whatever. I don’t even know. It’s all a blur.

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