So, every point where a runner hands off to another runner is an exchange. There are the normal exchanges, where you hand off to a runner in your van, and then there are the major exchanges, where you hand over to your next van (at least, for the regular teams - ultras work a little differently) - these are really the only points during Ragnar that we saw our Van 2 runners.
Exchange 6 was our first major exchange. It was super, super crowded, compared to what we had been experiencing. Because we started SO early, there were not many vans on the course or at the exchanges yet. There were a LOT of vans at Exchange 6...
We met up with Van 2, and told them a little bit about the experience so far - Elisabeth was in their van, and ran Ragnar last year, and was a Ragnar ambassador this year, so they were in pretty good hands.
Madison handed off to Ashley....
And Van 2 was off!
I'll be honest - Ashley said she was running without water, and I about died - it really freaked me out. It was already super duper hot, and she was facing an 8.8 mile leg in the heat. It seemed really, really risky. But she powered through, with the support of her van mates.
We headed over to pick up our box of donuts (HOLY DELICIOUS)
...stopped at In n' Out for lunch, and straight to Lake Elsinore to wait for Van 2.
I kind of feel like Exchange 12 requires its very own post, but I'll sum this up as quickly as I can (edit - holy crap it was still long. Sorry). We went to the grocery store. We made friends with Cash 2 Gold guy...
We guzzled iced coffee. We pretended we were going to see Titanic (apparently the giddiness started kicking in here. or the heat delirium?). We bought friends in the shade with popsicles.
|All sporting our Run Pretty Far J'adore tanks - these were PHENOMENAL. Super light, super comfortable. LOVE them|
We met a friendly volunteer who was nice, but pretty bummed that we weren't the Skinny Runner team.
We found more iced coffee, and I was SUPER EXCITED to find they had caramel brulee....
...then I was really sad because the coffee was not good. boo. I compressed in my ProCompression socks...
despite the heat index being 115*
We were the friendliest, funnest team there (I am not even biased), and handed out Nuun to everyone we saw...
We practiced good personal grooming habits
We had SO much fun at this exchange, meeting other teams, and getting to hang out together - most of us were internet strangers, or had met briefly, this was the first time we spent any time together.
Good thing we are all awesome and had a great time.
Van 2 showed up around 4:30, and we headed over to the exchange to watch for Elisabeth (I also ran into my friend Jordan's girlfriend at this exchange - random, and something that I really loved about the experience!).
You guys. It was really, really hot. We headed down the road a little bit to a Rite Aid, and bought some ice pops to hand out again - it was SO HOT, and there was no Ragnar support on this leg - it was all van support.
|The only time we really hung out with Van 2!|
We handed out ice pops to anyone that wanted one, and had a bottle of ice cold water ready for Shannon.
Drove down the street a bit more, handed out some more ice water to random runners, and... played Color Guard.
So these orange flags - you are supposed to carry them every time you cross a road on the course, if you are not the active runner. We carry in style, I guess.
After Shannon ran by, we drove to grab something to eat, and then to Exchange 13 to get Becka ready. On the way there, we realized the signage was lacking - there was no sign to turn and we were paranoid that Shannon was going to miss it. Sandy dropped Becka and me off at the exchange, then headed back to the corner about a mile out to make sure Shannon was directed the right way.
There was some chaos, we forgot some of Becka's things in the van, Sandy had to come back, but we got everything worked out, and another seamless exchange...
Things are a little fuzzy, but I THINK I managed to show up at this exchange on time?? Not sure.
Becka made it in, and I took off around 10 (??) for leg 15 - 8.3 miles.
This run? It sucked. It sucked a LOT. It was dark. It was on these weird roads that had no space - two lanes, no shoulder. There were stretches where there was NO one around, and I was honestly not sure I was even on course. A lot of it was on some random dirt (trail?), that was HARD to run on. For some whack reason, I totally couldn't catch my breath - it was as if I was running with Becka in Colorado again with no oxygen (really??). It sucked. For reals. 8.3 mi, 1:30:26 (lame). We ran through old town Temecula here, and that was pretty rad - a random bunch of people running through the area, random Temecula'ns at bars cheering us on... that was fun. But all the rest of it can suck it.
Never so excited to stop running ever
Handed off to Julie, and bummed around picking up food for Becka and navigating to the next exchange. Julie handed off to Sandy, who destroyed a ridiculous downhill 6 miles.
We got a little ridiculous here, and I think... I'm pretty sure.... we met Sandy at the exchange, by telling her that we were picking up Maiden Bic Bands to bring her back to our Kingdom? I know. #Real.
OH! Also, I think this is also where the Arctic Zero team peed in the parking lot, when there was an actual, for REAL bathroom at this exchange. Lame.
After we sent Madison off, we headed to the next major exchange, Exchange 18, to hand it back over to Van 2....
Make friends with the other teams! We wandered Exchange 12 handing out Nerds and Smarties (because we're nerds, get it?), ice pops, Nuun, and just generally being friendly. We had a ton of fun.
Van 2 wrote their directions on their hands, and I wished I had done that for leg 15. I also wished I had brought my phone so I could double check my map if I needed to - I for REAL thought I was lost a few times.
Don't underestimate the importance of your headlamp. That shit was DARK, and even with the lamp, there were sections where we were directed to a trail, but I couldn't find it.
Eat when you can, and be smart about it. When we stopped for food during Becka's leg, I think everyone else picked up Subway, but I didn't want anything heavy - I knew I was going to run soon. I ended up with a protein box from Starbucks, and it was a good choice for me. At least, I didn't puke. So there's that.
Plan on finding locations to support your runner, especially if it's hot. One thing Van 2 did a LOT more of, was cheering on their runner - we did some, but I think we could have found time to do this more. Personally, I don't mind NOT being cheered on, I like the solitude, but it's fun, and something I'd change next time.
Don't stop hydrating just because it's dark out. Once the sun went down, and things cooled off, I wasn't hydrating as well as I had been, and I think that contributed to my overall shitty run.