I already posted my review of the race, now, on to the fun part!
My team name was conceived about 2 months before the event: Slow White and the 7 Drunks.
This crew of runners is amazing with team names – Must Dash, F* that hill, I Just Blue Myself (Arrested Development, anyone?)… and this idea was no exception.
Meet Slow White, Mumbly, Dizzy (me!), Surly, Easy, Stumbly, Tipsy, and Jeff:
Mumbly, Easy and Jeff showed up WAY early and secured us a campsite.
Our start time was 2:30pm on Friday – I was runner #5, so I wasn’t running until sundown, thankfully. It was warm out there! Of course, that’s to be expected in the desert…
I had been sick since Monday, but I was finally starting to feel better, and I was itching to run!
My first run was the shortest – but also the most technical. In the dark. I started out with a light that clips onto the brim of a visor/hat, and it was definitely NOT bright enough! I had brought a spare, and ran with that the whole time. The yellow trail was an absolute blast! I actually passed a handful of people – some of which said they had never run on a trail at night before! This trail had lots of ups and downs, and even a part where you ran over a bridge, then under it, through a tunnel. The full moon was so bright and pretty! The temp had cooled down and the dips into the washes were nice and cool. I really enjoyed this run, even though I felt stiff for the first 2-3 miles. I took this as a good sign – feeling better later in the run meant that my 7+ mile run the next day would be nice, right?
4.40 mi | 47:16 @ 10:45 min/mi
After this, I grabbed my dinner (which was included in the race fee) and a beer (they even had a gluten free option that didn’t suck! Not that I am GF, but lots of athletes seem to be…)
I slept HARD. I woke myself up around 1:30am with a coughing fit – right as Slow White showed up to wake me up! Jeff was running the long leg, so I had plenty of time to get ready. I topped off the Camelbak, grabbed my lights, and headed down to the fire. First, I stopped at the port-a-potties. While using it, I blew my nose. It started bleeding. A lot. Everywhere. The stall looked like a murder scene! The EcoCommode people had left cleaning supplies out, so I was able to clean things up a bit after I got it under control. I was worried I’d be out there and just bleed all over myself. (Spoiler alert: didn’t happen).
I spent some quality time by the fire, and waited for Jeff to come in. I had some coffee and a s’more (not my recommended pre-run nutrition!). I felt awake, the weather was amazing, and I was ready to run.
Around 2:15am, I was off on the green trail! It was slightly longer than the yellow trail, but MUCH easier. Lots of double-track meant I could take in the scene! There were headlights bobbing all over the mountain. It was pretty, the air was cool, and I was pretty much in my happy place. I was happy to cross the timing mat that was 0.4 miles out though – I still had that long run looming! Those last 0.4 miles were pretty rough, too, compared to the relatively easy trail.
4.59 mi | 45:26 @ 9:54 min/mi
I woke up Mumbly for his run, and went back to sleep. This lasted until about sunrise. I got dressed, and tried my best to stay hydrated for the long run!
Around 10:30am, it was my turn to run! The temps were rising, the shade was disappearing, and I had my full Camelbak on. I was ready to run!
The first few mile of this one are through a canyon. As I passed the parking lot, I thought that I should have rucked my gear for the first mile, dropped it at the car, then took off running. I also passed a HUGE pile of poop in the middle of the trail. The runner I passed shortly after that was no amused when I asked him if it was his. I thought it was funny – but I guess he didn’t share my sense of humor – or maybe he didn’t have one at all.
There were hikers out, who were mostly friendly – and they all moved to let runners pass, which was super nice. I came out of the canyon and crossed to the aid station around the 5k mark. I checked my water – I had enough. But, I thanked the volunteer and stood in the shade for a minute while I downed a PowerBar gel. Then I was off again!
An ultra runner passed me around this point. He was the last runner on the last leg! I wished him the best and told him he better not let me catch him. He certainly did not. Dude was fast.
This led to a popular mountain bike trail. The bikers were friendly. It was neat – the right side of the trail was all footprints, the left was all tire tracks. I think we shared well. I said hi to a few. At the crest of a hill, a MTBer was stopped. He asked what was going on. I gave him the 8 second explanation, wished him a fun ride, and took off again. A short while later, a friend caught up to me. We ran and chatted for a bit. I looked at my watch and saw sub 9’s, so I told him to take off. This brought me to the prettiest part of the run! There was a service road that ran along a ridge. I could see all the way to the huge fountain in Fountain Hills! I took in the view and tried not to slow down too much. It was also a gentle downhill, which turned into MORE of a downhill around mile 5. WHEEE!!
I felt great! I always feel a little proud when I run by people walking. I offer encouragement – which I hope gives them a boost – while I get my boost from knowing I’m still RUNNING. The red trail met up with the green one – it was pretty during the day, too! I ran through a wash with this huge, pretty mesquite tree that I hadn’t seen the night before.
As I neared the end, I was catching runners left and right. I got past a few times, too. Some of those people are FAST! I was coming up on the final few short, but really steep, climbs. Some chick told me to go catch all of the boys ahead of me. I did! I came running into the finished happy to be finished running, happy with my pace, and excited for my next Ragnar.
7.64 mi | 1:14:19 @ 9:44 min/mi
Slow White had to leave his 7 Drunks before the finish… so, this happened. Hahahaha.