Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Las Vegas Ragnar, Leg 3, Where is my support (and my kids)?

In the meantime, Van 1 was rockin’ it AGAIN, and we started to get texts about when to meet them. We all got geared up and ready to go. Bub was officially sick now, so I needed to take the boys along with me. No problem. They promised to be good. They would get to see me running (which they rarely do since Bub hates to go to races). They could cheer for other people. It would be fun. The boys and I followed Roch’s van as we high-tailed it to meet up with Van 1. We made it to the exchange with just seconds to spare. TOO BAD WE WERE AT THE WRONG EXCHANGE (AGAIN)! Oh my hell. I don’t know what was wrong with us!

Realizing our mistake, we hauled ass to the right exchange where I threw the car into park, jumped out, threw the keys at Roch, and ran to the exchange chute where my runner was waiting for me. I didn’t even say anything, I just grabbed the slap wrist thing and ran. (No, we weren’t going to win this thing, but giving it our best was the least we could do for Van 1. They were actually a competitive team until we came along!)

Unbeknownst to me (because I hadn’t read the Rag Mag very well), almost my entire leg was unsupported. So for the short mile and a half that I could have had support, my van wasn’t there because, well, I don’t know. Potty breaks for the boys? Talking to Van 1? Lost again? Who knows? But, as I entered the un-supported portion of my run, I was sad that I hadn’t seen the boys yet. Of course, what they would have seen wouldn’t have been pretty because my bagel and turkey were fighting about who was going to come up first. Luckily, neither did, but it was a struggle to keep them in their rightful place.

THIS leg was what I wanted to see in Vegas. I love the desert. I really do. Almost this entire distance was run on a trail that skirted the foothills of Boulder. It was really quite lovely. There was a very well-stocked water station made possible by the Ragnar staff and lots of small rollers. There was also an extra mile that wasn’t part of the course. I joked with people who passed me and who I had a chance to pass, but I remained strong. I only took a few walk breaks on the ups towards the end of the course.

I was so happy to see the exchange because by this time, I was tired. It also meant that I would get to see the boys, and they could see me sprint into the chute. So, I picked up the pace and really gave it everything that I had only to be greeted by AN EMPTY CHUTE.

I’m sure that you’ve noticed a pattern…

I believe that the race staff had to move this exchange at the last minute because there were a lot of us waiting around to pass off the slap stick. Again, I borrowed a phone. This time, someone answered! They were at the wrong exchange again, but they promised to race over. After only 15 minutes, I saw Roch making her way through the crowd. I handed off to her, and she took off.

It was at this point that our cheerleaders presented me with my motivational poster. Since we were on the Super Powers team, we had to identify what our super power actually was. I told them (and maintain my position today) that my super power is the ability to piss Bub off – sometimes without even opening my mouth – hence the zippered lips.

Then, I found Carol and my car and my boys who were being incredibly patient considering everything. They had been in the car for two hours and not done ANYTHING fun. So, I promised to take them to lunch while everyone else was running. I drove into Vegas armed only with my cell phone’s GPS and took them to the Rainforest CafĂ©. They thought that it was amazing. I thought it was incredibly overpriced. (Seriously, $10 for a grilled cheese and half a bag of potato chips? The hell!)

Then, on our way back to the hotel, my cell phone battery died, and guess what? I got lost.

Lost, lost, lost! Mother…..

We drove through the airport and all through Henderson-frickin-Nevada. I stopped at three gas stations to get directions, and they all seemed to point me to opposite places. I was tired and frustrated and probably not a ton of fun, but the boys didn’t seem to care. (Until I got REALLY mad at them, then they were convinced that I was being a horrible mommy, which I probably was.)

Once I found the hotel, I was soooooooo done. But, guess what? I still had to go to the finish line! UG! Make it end! I want sleep! But, we needed to turn in our night-time flags, and one of them just happened to be at the hotel. Sonofa….

I stayed at the hotel long enough to charge my phone half way. While waiting, I got the boys in their jammies and got some snacks going while they jumped on the bed (why does that never get old?) and told Bub all about having lunch in the jungle. OK. It was fun, and their cute faces were enough of a trade for the overpriced food.

Once my phone was charged, I headed to the finish line. It was still windy and damn cold. I met up quickly with my van mates. We looked around while we waited for Van 1 to show. Our final runner came in while we waited for Van 1. Once they arrived, we all ran across the finish line as a group, had some team pictures taken, and collected our t-shirts and medals. (Note to Ragnar staff: this medal = boring!) Sadly, it was still too cold to hang out and have fun. We all just wanted to get in our cars and leave! Carol rode back to the hotel with me and filled me in on all of the running that I missed by taking the boys to lunch. Apparently, our team did a great job. Yay us!

The next morning, the wind had died down a bit, and our hotel’s pool was (supposedly) heated to 80*, so I took the boys swimming. We weren’t out there long, but we still managed to have fun. We all took a hot bath when we got back in the room.

I was hoping to meet up with my little brother and his wife for breakfast, but it just wasn’t happening especially with Bub feeling sick. We eventually gathered everything up and packed it into the car and headed out of town. From watching the news for the past two days, we knew what we were headed into: SNOW, and lots of it. It just kept getting colder and colder and the snow kept piling up more and more as we traveled. YUCK. We got home to a driveway covered with at least a foot of snow.

In all, it was a fun experience, but I did learn a few things:
1. Relay races are not a family friendly event. There’s nothing for kids to do while mommy is running all day or all night. There was, however, a family with three 10-12 year old boys running the race. I can’t wait until my boys are old enough to run with me. THAT will be a good time!
2. Don’t go if you don’t have the money. If you insist on going, expect to hear about it for at least a month afterwards. (I say “a month” because I just heard about it again today. I’m guessing that I’ll be hearing about it for several months to come.)
3. Review the Rag Mag thoroughly. For me/my van mates, this means writing very specific notes about who is running in and out of each exchange. We were SO confused (as evidenced by constantly being lost).
4. Always make sure that you have the phone charger in the phone when you’re in an unfamiliar town and need to use your GPS. That app saps the battery of your phone, and you don’t want to be lost with two five year olds.
5. Keep up with the walking lunges and leg work during weight class. This really did save me during my 2nd leg.
6. If your spouse is not a runner and doesn’t really like running events, don’t ask him/her to come along. It won’t be any fun. (So, why did I just ask Bub if she wanted to come along while I do Ruby Mountain next summer? I’ll never learn.)
7. Running a relay with friends and acquaintances is one of the best ways to become great friends. We talked about serious stuff, funny stuff, told stories about ourselves when we were younger, and generally commended each others’ bad-assed-ness. It’s great to have people around you who build you up instead of tear you down.
8. Make an effort to get to know the other participants. I do feel kind of “shorted” that I didn’t get to know the other teams since everyone was huddled around their car heaters.
9. Find a way to have fun, no matter what. If that means jumping on the hotel bed, then do it. If it means paying too much for a crappy veggie burger and grilled cheese, then so be it. If that means just snuggling up together to watch a movie, then great. Possibly commandeering half of the hotel lobby with trains and art paper, awesome.

Thanks to my running buds. I love you all.

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