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May 24, 2013 / fionarwbl

Ragnar Relay Cape Cod Race Recap Part II: Nighthawks

For me, the night running aspect of relays are what make them so special in the first place. When else do you get the change to run under the stars? Relay night runs are a perfect combination of solitude, exhilaration  and community. There is nothing like running toward a blinking red light, and looking back and seeing a couple of lights bobbing along behind you, and know that you are surrounded by other people who thought that this was a good idea.

Kim took off at dusk, and we picked up Elena and attempted to warm her up. Mostly she was mad we met firefighters while she was running over a bridge. Who can blame her? We tried to appease her with some amazing homemade healthful granola snacks, but she wasn’t having any of it.

Side note: our van was split into people who thought that eating nutella, gummy bears, dunkin donuts, and iced coffee was a perfectly reasonable way to fuel, and those who seems to subsist mostly on nuts and seeds. You can guess on which side I ended up. However, we all agreed that a giant jar of pickles was awesome.

 

Who doesn't carry around giant jars of pickles?

Who doesn’t carry around giant jars of pickles?

Kim handed off to Shaya, who thought her ankle would be able to make it through another 8. So far, so good. Shaya handed off to Steph, who was dressed amazingly in eye-searingly bright neons that I cannot believe I do not have evidence of. However, the photo below I believe is pretty close. Steph ran her legs faster than we thought, and after spending 25 mins waiting at her mid-exchange, we decided to be smart and ask if our runner had come through. Of course she had. #teamfail We drove rather rapidly to her next exchange and bundled Katie out the door to be ready for her coming through.

stephneon

I was up next, and it was about 12.30am. The stars were out, the roads were quiet, and my legs were feeling surprisingly ok, all things considered. I picked out a This American Life to listen to to have Ira Glass comfort me in case I got the night heebie jeebies, and off I went!

Oh yeah. OOHHMIIIGOOODD I LOOOVEE NIIGHHTT RUNNIIIINGGGGGGGG!!

Can you tell what it is yet?

Can you tell what it is yet?

That was basically my thought the entire time. After my first 7 miles, my legs agreed too, and totally sped up “for fun” AKA “let’s pretend we don’t have another 10 miles to run after this. So much fun. Basically, the perfect run.

I was vaguely aware that my van hadn’t passed me while I was running, so when I charged into the exchange all hopped up on adrenaline and 8 min/miles, I was not surprised that the van wasn’t there. It was a small exchange as well, and aside from the guys hanging around the exchange, it was pretty quiet. 2am will do that to you. The people at the exchange were lovely and chatty, taking the edge of any anger I felt about being abandoned in the middle of the night.

After about 15 minutes, our van rolled in. Apparently there had been some missed turns and some lost runners. However, walking into the van was like walking into a wall of doom. Apparently, while I was out getting all runner’s high, spirits had sunk within the van due to a couple of things:

  1. Another potential runner down – Katie’s knee was starting to feel angry at the high mileage, and Shaya’s ankle had not enjoyed the 8m run. We were starting to have to do some complicated math to see how we got through the rest of the miles with less and less runners.
  2. We had made some critical errors in judgment around the placement of our driver’s legs, and both were desperate for sleep.

I cannot claim that I was a good captain at this point and rallied spirits. Instead, I grabbed something to eat, drank some nuun, and put a blanket over my head to get some sleep. No, I am not proud of this.

Kim was running Steph were sleeping, and the van wasn’t moving. Stephanie was promising to rally in 5 mins to get us moving. Somehow, the van switched on and we were moving. Shaya was driving and Elena was map-reading! Somewhere back in the fuzzy recesses of my brain, I remember thinking “her ankle is sore and her map-reading is questionable” (her words, not mine!!), but whatever, we’ll go with it. #GOTEAM

Next up: 4 runners, and 60 miles to go. Are we having fun?

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