Friday, February 20, 2015

Florida Keys Ragnar - Part II - The Race!

Friday - the big day! Well, I guess there are two, since we'd be running through Saturday as well. We woke up to a sunny view and packed the van.

When you run on a team with 7 pharmacists, you're hooked up for the pain. Julie has a special migraine cocktail (all OTC - no worries). 

Suited up. Oh boy. At this point I just kept thinking - what did I get myself into? Being sick for a week in December and having vertigo in January threw off my training and I didn't feel prepared. But we're in it for fun and to finish, so do my best!

We drove out to the exchange to check in and meet up with Van 1, stopping at Subway to grab some sandwiches for later, since we'd start running about lunch time and not be free til dinner. Also, running makes your gut move things along, I think we all got that started in the Subway bathroom. Ugh.

Decorate the van time, since we didn't get to it the night before.

Team photo! Minus Jorge, who was running.

There comes Jorge from Van 1, handing off to Jason in my van. Here we go!

Studying up on my 7-miler. Yikes.

Kim was next.

And the hand off....

Go Kim! We made a toilet paper stop at Walgreens while she was running. Those porta potties aren't well stocked.

Julie got ready with her hydro-quiver.

And go.

I was up next. Eeeek. Especially since I'd never run a full 7 miles before.

At the starting line.

And there I am! You have to at least keep running until your van passes you on the way to the next checkpoint. It was pretty hot though. And not a lot of shade. Everyone I passed was taking some breaks.

Nice neighborhoods and canals on my way.

And the end in sight!

Hooray! Done with the hard one.

Crocodiles were awaiting us at this exchange.

There goes Jesse.

We stopped to cheer him on, using our orange safety flags to cross the street.

And finally, Dan, runner 12. He'd been waiting to run in his very first Ragnar all day long.

People go all out on their decorations, and lots of rum/run jokes.

Finally, Dan was off.

We drove to Exchange 12 and found our other van.

Hooray, we're all done with leg 1!  Two more to go.

More Florida sunsets.

We were off to find some real food, and Yelp led us to Shiver's BBQ.

My sandwich was great. And fried okra! My favorite.

This was the first of many key lime pie tastings. No  before photo, but we finished this one off quick.

We drove on to the next major exchange at a high school, to try and get some sleep before we had to run again. I'd though about taking a shower, but eh.

Alarm set for early, our best guess on when we'd need to be up again.

And we tried to get some sleep. Julie hit the floor and looked more like she was in a coffin.

So much for sleeping. It really didn't happen. And as we checked our app to see where Van 1 was, we realized they were running way behind schedule. They had some tough legs this round, running through some dark parts of the Everglades, with warnings to stay to one side of the road, because critters were on the other. As we drove past it, it was so dark. I was glad we didn't have that area.

We were scheduled to start running around 1:15, and didn't get to start til about 5:30. Yikes. I managed to get a little sleep from 1 to 4, and Kim went to visit a friend in another van for a couple hours. We had so much time to kill.

We'd all been stoked for our  night run, as that was my favorite last year, but it looked like most of us wouldn't get one. We suited up in our gear anyway.

Jason took off and got to Julie in the dark.

She ended up with a sunrise run, so we weren't too mad to be thrown off schedule.

Julie made it through her 11 miles. It was originally supposed to be 8, but they added 3 to her leg due to some last minute construction. She was worried, but did great!  I was up next. Four and a half. It was so windy and a bit cold, and I decided to run with my jacket on, but quickly needed to shed it when I started running. I was also still half asleep.

Super pretty morning run over a fishing bridge! I wanted to stop and ask the fishermen what they were catching.

Airing out that sweaty slap bracelet before Jesse had to wear it. It's the nice thing to do.

And finally, Dan waiting to go again, as his night run has now turn into a nearly midday run.

Our next major exchange was at an airport. We had a bit of time to hang out with Van 1. I just wanted to give them a hug after their tough leg 2. We'd also started to worry that we weren't going to finish on time. The exchanges were closing soon after we left them, and we knew we were at the back. We were scheduled to finish around 4:30 but were about 3.5 hours behind schedule at this point. The finish line closed up at 8pm, so....

Dan got in, and we took off again.

Adios, Cortney.

Julie had a recommendation from a friend for a good place to eat. It was back in the direction from which we came, but we figured it'd help traffic clear out if we went the opposite way for a bit. Traffic in the Keys in no joke. We pulled up to Grassy Key Outpost and had ourselves a delicious brunch.

And of course, key lime pie, round 2. This one had a nutmeg cinnamon crust of sorts. It was different, but good. And one of the waiters (more on him later) came to ask us about our van that was plastered with 'Drug Runners' all over it.

Back in the car, we had not that far to drive, but it was going to take us a long time.  We passed some old bridges on the way, one used to be a railroad bridge.

As we were driving, it was time for Dan to hit the !Panic! button again on our app. It was an accident and he dropped his phone, but I got the 'Dan needs your help!' message while I was sitting next to him in the van.

We got to our next exchange at another school and saw a mermaid. Florida - keeping it weird. Also, we all agreed that Florida has the WORST drivers of anywhere any of us have ever been.

We started our last leg, and I was feeling pretty good. Not too tired. We had to tell Jesse to slow down during his 1.8 miles, cause we were sitting in traffic and he was passing us!

Julie drove this stretch. She never drives in Ragnar.

While Julie had been running her leg 2, I had texted Ragnar to ask about being so far behind. They said not to worry, and since one runner in Van 1 skipped a leg completely due to injury, we were getting caught up.

I took off for my last two miles and watched some jets fly around overhead.

And done with my part! Thirteen and a half miles total. I feel accomplished.

After Dan started the last leg, we drove towards the finish line, wondering if we were the last team. Didn't see too many runners out there, but there were definitely some behind us. However, some of the super fast teams had much later start times, so we were in their pack and getting smoked.

Roosters awaited us in the parking lot.

We walked to the beach, and I was glad we'd get a sunset ending. We texted Van 1 to meet us there at 630. They'd just sat down to eat at a steak place that was also a strip joint of sorts, and I think some of them were glad for our timing - they had to get up and leave.

Waiting for Dan to get in.

As Dan rounded the corner and came onto the beach, we all ran together into this sunset to cross the finish line.

We did it! 

Our medals made a puzzle. We were too lazy to do it, but someone on social media did it for us. 

We were beat and needed showers and food. We brought the food to us to make it easier.

We had an early call time the next morning, so we tried to get to bed early, but we all had a major case of the giggles. First, Kim checked in on the app - you can't really put a message in - it just says - Kim checked in - GPS coordinates - everything's okay. She kept hitting that check in accidentally. Then people in Van 1 on the other side of Key West checked in. Our phones all started going off, so each of us checked in, one after another. This went on for awhile, and we just laughed and laughed. I guess you had to be there.

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