Ragnar Relay Napa Valley 2015

Ragnar will always have a special place in my heart. How else can you so quickly bond with strangers than shove yourselves in a van together for 36-ish hours, eating weird food at weird hours, sleep-deprived and potentially grossly smelly from running? Most of my regular teammates that come back year after year weren’t able to make it this year for one reason or another, so it was another semi-stranger teammates kind of year.

Van 1 was a mix of awesome Vacaville runners and a couple new folks from Oakland and even one who flew all the way up from San Diego to join our team (friend of on my my vanmates in van 2). After a VERY frustrating snafu with Enterprise, van 1 ended up with a giant Yukon instead of a 12-seater van, but they were good sports about it!

Karl the Fog always trying to photobomb.

“Van” 2: Dem bunz doe.

Half of van 2, ready to check in at the first major exchange. It was already warm at this point and we had barely had coffee yet.

At the first major exchange when the slap bracelet was handed off from van 1 to van 2; the first time all the strangers meet!

This was the view form my first leg of the race – it was warm and sunny and straight up rolling hills. I thought this one was over after this bend but when I got to the “top,” I realized it was actually straight uphill from there. Thankfully my van didn’t drive by while I was jog-walking up that beast.

I’ve done every single one of my Ragnars with Robert – best Ragnar partner ever!

Sexiest post-leg outfit you’ve ever seen! I love my pop Rogas because they make any legs look tan :)

Speaking of beasts – Robert is one of the best people to have on your team. Always down to help, always keeping the vibes positive, will always be there to pep you up and stand in front of your van having a mid-leg dance party with you, to make sure you have a little sanity left to finish your longest leg. And he can drink coffee before a run (my hero haha).  He’s also ridiculously fast, and if you see him on the course and scream his name, he goes even faster. So fast we barely got this photo of him as he ran by.

See? Look at that face! When he gets close to the exchange, he kicks it into “high gear” and sprints, even if he just got done running 10 miles at 6:45 pace. So intense that people actually move out of his way when he’s coming in. Every exchange with him is like that and it really gets your team (and everyone at that exchange) pumped up.

This is what happens when you try to apply your team tattoo to a dried sweat forehead, with not enough water, and partially over your eyebrows. We told him to keep it there for the rest of the race… and he did!
I’m normally in a van predominately male (and usually by choice), so this year was very different for me – 4 ladies and 2 gents, and it worked out really well! Ladies night shot while freezing.

After we finished our night/2nd legs, we headed to the next major exchange and attempted to get some sleep before our van needed to be up again for the final exchange and the start to our last set of legs.  We found van 1 in the large sea of white vans and waited excited for Alex to finish his final leg and hand off the slap bracelet to us.

So my last leg was supposed to be my shorter leg and I was really looking forward to being finished. My legs were tired after a long fall of races, but someone decided it would be funny to move the directional sign (never been a victim of this in all my Ragnars), and had us turn right instead of go straight. So here I am running at a pretty awesome pace, beautiful scenery, etc., and get to the end of the trail and there are no more signs, etc. Luckily everyone else on that leg was lost as well and we turned around to find the right way, yelling at others running our way to turn around in the meantime.

It ended up adding about 3 extra miles to my leg, but on the turnaround back I started running with this guy and we just pushed each others pace the entire way to the exchange. It was pretty awesome to be running 7:45 minute miles (and I’m pretty sure one of the miles was under 7:30/mile). I wanted to collapse after I handed off the slap bracelet haha

Van 2 love! Missing Michael, since he pretty much slept in the van the entire time haha

These awesome volunteers were along the Silverado Trail; the longest, flattest, most uncovered section of the race. People were running the longest leg of the entire relay during this leg, just over a half marathon in length, in brutal sun/heat, and they were out cheering, dancing and handing out water in chicken suits. BEST AID STATION AWARD!
When your team name is Suns Out, Buns Out, you don’t disappoint at the Finish. BUNS FOR ALL!

Team  finisher photo #2 with our hard-earned medals.  Look at my tiny baby foot!  
I still haven’t perfected “jumping in the air” photos, but I’m working on it and getting better and better haha

Team captain gets the honor of handing out all the goodies to her teammates!

And when you finally see a lovely familiar face after being in that van for so long! The fantastic Amy from Ragnar!

Goodbye from team #2 – Suns Out, Buns Out! Until the fall…  

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