Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ragnar Part 2...And We Start

The Ragnar Keys races do not have one set start time.  Your start time is based on your team's average 10k pace.  Ragnar's plan is to try and keep teams from finishing before the finish is open.  Now your times are submitted based on the honor system but they do have penalties to avoid teams sandbagging.  If your team gets to an exchange area before a certain time, you can be penalized up to two hours.  We also needed to get one of the latest start times since we would be driving to the start from Tampa the morning of.  We were given three options and we took 2 PM which was the last one available. We loaded up three to a car and headed east to Plantation. I had the pleasure of being chauffeured by Jan and backseat driven by the Caribbean one. I mounted my GoPro on the dash but learned after the trip to the Meami Marathon that that wasn't a good idea. So. No video.

We passed many a McDonalds on the way and I didn't request to stop at a one. And no we didn't stop at all of them instead.  For the first time this millennium, I was not in the mood for McDonalds.  I was suffering from a bad case of the hiccups that started the previous Sunday night which made my desire for fine cuisine low.  Six days and nights in a row with hiccups. I tried all the home remedies. A Spoon full of sugar. A spoon full of peanut butter. Ten sips of water through a straw. Running naked in place in my driveway. Slapping a pregnant bull on the ass while wearing red. Breathing into a paper bag. All of them worked just once.  About an hour or two later the hiccups would start again until I fell asleep. I tried everything except having someone scare me which I knew would not work because I don't scare easily.

We made it to Plantation in plenty of time to get our rental vans.  For cost reasons we chose two 12 passenger vans.  More room than two years ago when we were stuck with a mini van.  That was up close and personal for a day and a half.  Surprisingly all of our stuff fit in the vans. And I did not have the most gear because I don't count the tent as my gear since it will be shared amongst the troops. We did bring lights to decorate our van but just never got around to it.  Since the Key West Ragnar was a first for some of us, we were just going to take notes on some things for next time.

As soon as we loaded up, we headed to a local Publix to grab some lunch.  See again I did not go to a McDonalds.  Several of us grabbed subs and I also got a jar of peanut butter and some straws.  Yes the hiccups were still with me.  We then headed to the start.  We relied on our race bible which had us ending up at exchange one.  Lesson here: reread the race bible the day before.  We then ended up at the start with an hour to spare.  Van 1 had to check in and attend the safety briefing.  Van 2 could have attended but would still have to check in at exchange 6 and attend the safety briefing there so why bother doing it now.

There were 8 teams starting at 2 pm but only 6 showed.  Once Jason "Shorty Shorts" headed out, we gave Van 1 some kisses and hugs and wished them well.  We would see them several hours later at exchange 6.  Off to exchange 6 we were.  I was already having a good time. Still sporting my red pimp suit.  The other passengers were all giddy.  We had three new members to my team in Van 2.  Two old friends and one newbie.  The three of them were not rookies to Ragnar, they were just rookies to Walt's Rules of Ragnar.  I love me some motivated, willing, enthusiastic running ladies. Anyways, I digress.

Exchange 6 was where we were to check in.  Attend our safety briefing and get our swag.  The safety briefing was very relaxed. Only three of us attended. We were then given our swag which was one drawstring backpack with some gels and a roll of toilet paper. I was soooo excited. We were also given a dozen of Krispy Kreme donuts. I hate several of those.  All of my van mates got in to their first leg running attire. We also somewhat decorated our van.  If you count writing bizarre sayings on our van as decorating then that is what we did.

Did I mention that I will have an art exhibit at the local gallery in April.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ragnar Keys 2013 Part 1

It is amazing to some that I am actually doing a Ragnar recap shortly after the event.  I am so behind in recaps.  Appalachian hike, Florida Ironman, Ragnars from years past and so on.  Anyways let's get to this one.

For those that are not aware what a Ragnar relay race is, it is 12 runners, 2 vans and about 200 miles of running from point to point.

I have participated in the last three Central Florida Ragnar races. The first time was as bike support for a team and the last two were as captain of my own team.  It goes without saying that the Central Florida teams I was captain of were memorable and will never be duplicated.  It's like when Coke tried to fool us with New Coke.  The original was the original for a reason.

I enjoy being the Captain.  It gives me a little more control of who is on the team and what legs my runners run. I have a few demands though.  I will be runner 12 and I ask that everyone show up to have fun and run the best they can without me looking at a watch.  Yes we do have a spreadsheet but it is just so the vans have an idea of when they need to be at the next exchange.

In 2011, Ragnar decided to cancel the Central Florida race.  That left the Keys race as the only Florida one.  There were four of us from my last team that wanted to do another Ragnar together and figured we might as well sign up for this one.  Time to get a new team.

Picking a team for Ragnar is kind of tricky and sometimes controversial.  When I form a team, I am not trying to stack the deck for a possible award.  I have plenty of medals and it is not always about the hardware but the journey itself.  I try to get 12 people of similar pace who can also get along for a day and a half.  Well, at least 5 people that can get along with me in Van 2.

Although Brandon Running Association does not sponsor my teams, I do offer the open spots to members of BRA first with the up front condition that the person can run a 9 minute mile, or faster, 10k.  It didn't take long to fill my team. 

When I registered, I had to create a team name.  I did not want to use the previous team name because it just wouldn't be right.  Kind of like those bands that change members but keep the same name.  C'mon, Queen adding Paul Rodgers was no longer Queen. It was more like Bad Queen or Queen Company. Because once you lost Freddy, you lost Queen. I chose Uncle Walt's Band.  Simple and tame.

As with any running event that is planned well in advance, there is some likelihood that one of your teammates is going to get injured and have to withdraw from the race.  It is always good to have some runners on stand-by because that is exactly what happened.  We lost two runners about a month out and a third with two days til the start.  With some bargaining, arm twisting and out right lying, we were able to trick convince others to join the team.

Some of my runners did have the Disney Marathon scheduled for the following Sunday after Ragnar.  This meant I needed to give them the least amount of miles and they were also told not to push it unless they wanted to. Again, my teammates are told they run at their own pace and I do not pressure them if they don't.  I rely on the inner runner in all of us that finds a way to show up come game time.

Van 1 roster is Jason, Tom, Lana, Jeff, Casey and Dave.

Van 2 roster is Dorcas, Jan, Holly, CSteve, Robin and Uncle Walt.