Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A New Learning Link to Try

Hey 4th graders and families, I am at a Tech Conference this week.  One really fun site I learned about was Turtle Diary.   Check it out!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Finish Line

Before we ran again we had a couple of hours.  We went to where we thought the BIG exchange was.  We were the first van there. We parked and rested for a little while.  A few other vans pulled in but not many.  It seemed strange that there weren't more vans coming.  One nice thing was that these porta potties were SO SO clean.  Did I tell you how disgusting the porta potties were at the start in Warner Park?  Even when we were there at 5:30 am, they were GROSS.  We waited at this parking lot awhile.  Finally we realized through some messages with the other team that, in fact, we were at the wrong spot.  Nikki (Runner 12) was expected to be hitting the exchange point and we needed to get to the right place.  With some excellent driving from Crystal, we made it to the spot.  
Dustin was ready to go!

Nikki looked strong coming in!

 And the hand off was complete!

We quickly headed back to where we had spent the afternoon because that is where Dustin would be passing the "baton" on to Anne for her 2nd leg.
And Anne was off.  We would meet her again at Caroll University.  She had 4.5 moderate miles ahead of her.  What exactly does moderate mean anyway?  After running these miles, I think they could have marked them all as VERY HARD--just sayin'.

Anne's miles were along the Glacial Drumlin Trail which was the same place my 1st leg was.  It was a really nice trail.  My miles were on gravel and sometimes between farms.  While I was running my 1st leg, I made lots of comparisons between the trail and Heritage Trail from Dubuque to Dyersville.  By the end of this journey (even after leg 2), I had decided that I would much rather run another Run4Troops marathon than ever run this again (and I don't plan to run another marathon....).

We were able to enjoy the indoor bathrooms at Caroll University before Tiffany headed out on her double leg.  Did I tell you that we were short a runner?  It didn't sound like such a big deal but once I saw the hills Tiffany had, I felt twinges in my legs (just looking at them).

Tiffany was ready to take on 2 legs (15 and 16 for a total of 10.2 moderate (what I would have labeled VERY HARD) miles.  

We sent Tiffany on her way and then headed to the exchange point that she was going to just pass through and keep going.  As we drove to the next exchange point we could not believe all the runners that were actually walking already....Then we saw the hills that were part of this leg.  YIKES.  Again, how did they determine that this was a moderate leg?  As we were driving we were super impressed to see what an AMAZING pace Tiffany had.  She had passed many of the runners that we had all watched leave the exchange point.  She was going to be at Poplar Creek Church in Berlin, WI, in no time.  Good thing we stopped there to check in because when we did, we realized that the cooler that was sitting between the 2 front seat had leaked.  It was like a small wading pool underneath Anne's seat.  Wouldn't have been even a deal since it was just water but unfortunately all of Anne's things were there and now they were SOAKED.  
We did what we could and Anne hung all her things over the back seat to dry out.  We cheered Tiffany through the exchange point and we were off to exchange 16.

At this point it was starting to get close to 6 pm.  Night hours required a few more things:  reflective vests, headlight, and tail lights.  
Tiffany looking strong and fast the exchange 16.  She was on to Waukesha and the New Berlin trail to meet us in New Berlin.

Headlamps make runners have amazing profiles ;-)

Crystal was ready to meet Tiffany and take off on leg 17.  

We headed to the next exchange where I would take over.  We were watching for Crystal but she was so fast that she was there before I had even gotten out of the van.  As I saw her coming I quickly got out and took the slap bracelet to get on my way.  I had pretty high hopes for this leg since it was my shortest one (3.1 miles).  
The leg started on the Root River Trail.  That was great but then it went into the "neighborhoods" of Greendale, WI.  There were no people along the way and the whole time I was worried that I was in the wrong place.  It had gotten pretty dark by this time.   Even though I finished before 9 pm, I could not see anything.  As I went through the exchange to hand off to Nate, I felt COMPLETELY LOST.  I couldn't see anyone I knew and nobody called out to me.  I wandered around outside Martin Luther High School looking for my team but had no success in finding them.  After awhile I went inside to see if someone could help me.  No luck.  As I was walking back outside I finally ran into the other 4 runners that were in Van 1.  They were heading inside to use the bathrooms and shower.

It was nice to get a couple of hours inside with indoor plumbing and more room to stretch than a large white van.   I enjoyed the time by plugging in my phone and resting in the hallway of the high school.  I heard some funny conversations as I was there.  There was a small group of 4 (3 girls and a guy) chatting about underwear and having kids.  They provided some fun entertainment as I rested with my eyes closed for a bit.  I ate a couple of Smuckers Uncrustables and just checked in with the kids and Roger.

By 12:30 am, we needed to get on our way to the next big exchange so that we could meet Nikki again.  Van 1 had the next 36.2 miles to complete.

Wouldn't you know that the rain kept hitting us.  In the end, I am thankful for the rain in my 3rd leg (Leg 27) because it kept me cool.  I ran at 4 in the morning (5.6 miles hard) and 6 am (6.5 miles moderate) to hand the slap bracelet to van 2 of Team Fired Up.
Just as I was nearing the 5 mile mark on this run, a hard rain started.  It was unfortunate because it continued for the next couple of hours.  

My average paced slowed for these last 2 legs but I was happy to finish them with a 9:14 avg pace and 9:43.  Even when I set out, I felt like a 10 minute mile was what my body and mind could do.... 24 hours of no sleep with no more diet orange sunkist was starting to do me in.

We celebrated with IHOP.  I had been so good about drinking water during RAGNAR but I though I wanted a diet soda.  It tasted disgusting (probably because it came from a soda fountain and the waitress added ice...)  My food was delicious and well-earned.

Our running was DONE!  After a quick stretch session in the IHOP parking lot, we headed to Chicago to wait for the rest of Team Fired Up to arrive.

The finish line was right on the beach (right now where the Zooma 1/2 finish was last summer).  We had a few hours to wait so we checked out some of the tents that were set up.

Van 2 arrived and we enjoyed running through the finish line all together.

Van 1 quickly departed Chicago and headed back to Wisconsin.  After being up for 41 hours (arrived home just after 7 pm last night) I was ready for a little sleep.  

Closing thoughts: 
*  When it's really hard to find someone to fill that vacant runner spot, maybe you shouldn't do this.
*  I am not made for this type of event.  I like knowing where I'm going and I like being able to see. 
*  Diet Orange Sunkist from a 2-liter bottle is my favorite thing to drink.
* My husband is my biggest supporter (and I am his) so I like having him around when I run/race to cheer me on at the finish line.  Not having any support at the end was tough for me. 

Congratulations to those people that run.  I have huge admiration for anyone that runs more than one of these things.  
Now to spend some fun time with my kiddos and husband at the Happy Joe's Franchise Meeting!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ragnar Chicago 2015

Oh what an experience.....Here is my account (please know that this is my account.   Others may have an entirely different experience,)
(Caption - Tiffany, Anne, and Crystal walking to team check-in)
The day began bright and early.  My alarm was set at home for 2 am so that I could leave my house by 3 am to arrive at Crystal's in Verona by 4:30.  By the time I returned home with no sleep in between it had been 41 hours of elapsed time.  Not sure how I did that and I would not encourage anyone to do that to themselves.  We packed up the 2 vans a Crystal's house and headed to Warner Park in Madison.  Our team check in was 5:30 am.   It was a little bit rainy but nothing too extreme.  We hoped that the rain would move through quickly and we'd have a sunny run from Madison to Chicago.   Unfortunately that is not the way things went.

(Van 1 at Team Check In)

After we had picked up the flags and race necessities, our team had to watch a little safety video and then we picked up a few different things from other tents (garbage bags, recycle bags, shower wipes, energy chews, etc.)

We saw some fun running costumes along the way.  These were some at the start but I have to say that I liked the group that had a rocker like Van Halen.   I'm not sure if he was ever a runner or if he was simply a driver....

The video we watched was pretty cheesy but I'm sure that's part of the way that Ragnar insures that all teams watch it.

Our team number definitely allowed for some giggles.  Once we had watched the video and picked up all our goodies from the start line we had some time to wait before Dustin would be starting Leg 1.  We headed back to the van.  The rain continued to come down but I was still optimistic that it would all be done by 6:30....

(Dustin before any running)

As we headed out to send Dustin off, the rain was coming down pretty hard.

Dustin was ready for it!

Our team was excited to cheer Team Fired Up on as this crazy relay began.  By 6:30 am, Dustin was off in the rain on his way to meet us at Exchange 1 in Olbrich Park (still in Madison).  His entire 6 miles were in the rain...

 The day was still young and we had a lot of miles to cover to make our 196.5 miles journey to the beach in Chicago but we were going to get there!

Before any running

After Leg 1 - 9.9 miles

It was STILL early.

My first leg was 9.9 miles.  I was REALLY worried about meeting my own time expectations with this leg.  It was a LONG leg.  When we registered we had to put in our 10K time.  That is only 6.2 miles.  RAGNAR then gave an estimate of times based on that....  I can't run 10 miles at the same pace as I run 6.   I was worried about letting my team down and disappointing myself.  It was especially scary since this was the first leg of 4 that I was going to run.
I was able to finish in just under and 1 hour and 28 minutes with an average pace of 8:46.  I was REALLY HAPPY with that.    I felt good the whole way and was able to pass about 7 people.  It really surprised me to see people walking so early in the journey but to each their own.  There was only 1 little spot along the trail where I wasn't sure which way to turn.  Other than that, the trail was marked well and I enjoyed this leg!

We took a break after Van 1 finished our first legs.  37.1 miles were complete.  Lunch was served at Olive Garden!    Next stop was to meet up with Van 2 when Nikki would pass the wristband back to Dustin. 
 I'll have more details later.  Have you ever done a similar relay run?   What did you think when it was all over?  Did you or would you ever do one again?