Running Blog?

This is a running blog right? Do I dare even call this a blog? So, lots have happened since my last post, and I’m going a bit unconventional by doing a very delayed series of race recaps… Super delayed… and I’ll begin with Ragnar So Cal.

Ragnar So Cal has always been a bucket list race and I never thought I would do it, but not only did I get to do it, but I had the most amazing team ever. Seriously though, I’ve never felt so at home with a team before and they were ALL strangers.

Meet the team! L-Katie Back C-Justin R-Lionel Front C- Nicole

I signed up about 2 months before the actual race date so I didn’t have the most time to prepare, but the captain was cool and just wanted fun people. I was also fortunate enough to be in Van one, as runner one. I arrived at LAX and was greeted a van full of happy strangers and we were off to dinner… and to get last minute race essentials. The team allowed me to go to Target to buy the snacks I needed and for everyone else to do the same of course.

Ragnar essentials

After our Target trip Nicole (who’s local), took us to the beach and of course… it was selfie time!

Katie and I split the hotel room, and a pre-race bottle of wine. We definitely got along very well right away.

Keeping it classy in our paper cups

We had an early departure time as it was about an 45 minute drive to the start, where we would meet our last teammate Dom and his wife who was following behind us.

My official relay outfit. These pants are great for layering over shorts

I won’t go until all the minor details of pace and distances and such, but just a general vibe from the perspective of Van One. We started bright and early at 5:15 am which is great since we got to get started early, but it sucked in a way because it was dark. Do I mine running in the dark? Nope. But… it starts right along Huntington Beach and the first mile is right along the beach, and I couldn’t see a thing (as far as water is concerned), but I could hear it, which was better than nothing!

After leaving the beachside the course took it through some neighborhood roads and to a school to the first exchange. It was a nice and easy three miler to get the morning started and I handed off to our fearless leader Nicole. Nicole did absolutely amazing and really woke the team up with her spirit and got everyone pumped to nail their first legs.

We wrapped up our first set of legs early and then came the dreaded downtime of Ragnar. The first major exchange of Ragnar is always the most exciting, and this did not disappoint. There was so much going on and I got to run into Emily which was fantastic!

There wasn’t a major exchange for this one but rather a virtual exchange. I was technically supposed to be up but I ended up handing this leg off to someone else who really wanted it.

I thought I was off the hook and had a chance to run one less leg. I was wrong and ended up taking a different once and hello California hills. I ended up running this one at night as well. We were running a tad bit late and parking was a bit chaotic (Thank goodness for Nicole being an amazing and willing driver), so we did a good ol’ fashion bank robbery drop. I was dropped at the exchange and Katie got out with me to wait and I was off. It started on a small little trail in a park and quickly went back out to some of the main roads of the city and into a beautiful, quiet, hilly, So Cal neighborhood. There were some steep uphills but some beautiful downhills as well.

Getting ready for the last set of legs

We wrapped up this set of legs, got food, and went to the exchange to await our final legs.

I was able to get a pretty good chunk of sleep and was up ready to run again at 3:45, this would be my longest leg and while my legs felt okay, my achilles did not. I really think the hills did a number on them, but there was no turning back. I don’t think my van mates would happy with me waking them up at 3am to take my six miler.

This ended up being the most enjoyable leg of them all. It ran through San Marcos (also the name of a Texas town!), California and past plenty of sights to see of local (but closed businesses). The team joked that this leg was made for me as it ended in a Target parking lot. I so excited to be done and handed off to fellow Orange Mud ambassador, Dom, and he was off on 8 beautiful miles.

The unpretty side of Ragnar. But I’m done!!

This is where the course really got pretty. Dom’s leg ended right along the beach and we were able to get some good selfies while waiting for him, and after he finished.

As a team we all banded together to step up and support one another. However, it got a little weird. We received an alert that there was an issue with Runner 5 being harassed on their legs and were advised that we could pick up our runner at any point on their leg for safety reasons. Fortunately/Unfortunately our runner had already left and he was not doing well and was happy to be picked up. We split, and Dom and his wife took their car to pick up Justin/James and we went to the next exchange to go ahead and send Nicole off for the final leg. She made a switch with Katie since she already had some hard legs to make sure that everyone did something to challenge themselves, including her.

Lionel’s final exchange

That last exchange was gorgeous but Katie and I were just set on finding food. They did have food, but it was only a buffet and we really just wanted something light. We did find the muffin Lionel talked about the entire race, and surprised him with one, and we hung out and watched the hang gliders.

The views were absolutely to die for, and in no time. Nicole was here and we were done!

Kinda.

We headed down from Torrey Pines to San Diego to do the dreaded wait for van 2. We slept. We ate food, went back to the van, and slept. We all agreed that this was the most we’ve ever slept during a Ragnar before. I’ve never ever came out of one so well rested before!

Well the rest of predictable, we finished the race like rockstars and took bomb selfies.

One picture was super amazing because I go to see Emily there! It’s always fun to run in to social media buddies, but seeing Emily again was even better since we’ve Ragnar’d together before and she’s just an amazing person.

After that we were dropped off at our hotel room, and after some miscommunication and what not we found our room… 300miles away I swear, in an older part of the hotel. But whatever, the before and after of the race is a different story.

Katie, Justin/James, and myself headed out to at Soda and Swine for some delicious meatballs, and frozen mimosas. So good.

Afterwards we hit up a grocery store to buy wine, and sat on our patio drinking until midnight. Four hours later, I was up and heading out to the airport for a 5am flight back to good ol’ Texas.

I’m sad I didn’t spend more time in San Diego, but I just gotta go with what the budget and time allows. Overall, I had a great experience and wouldn’t change it for the world. Next on my list, is to just go to California…without running a race!

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