Over the weekend 12 strangers came together to run 194 miles from Huntington Beach down to San Diego in the So Cal Ragnar Relay. I was lucky to be part of this amazing group of runners who met at FitBloggin last year.
(Jill, Jamie, me, Debbie, Elizabeth, Kia, Carrie, Amy, Gillian, Jenica, Kathleen)
My new blogger friend, Melissa, invited me to join the group when a few people couldn’t do it any longer. I was a little hesitant at first because I’ve had so much going on lately, but I am beyond thrilled that I ran Ragnar with this group of fabulous runners.
This two-day relay race started bright and early Friday morning at Huntington Beach. We had two vans with a group of six girls in each van. I was in van 1 which kicked off the race along the beach.
I’d say Elizabeth had a pretty decent view for her run. Being one of the most consistent runners I have ever seen, she killed her first 5.9 miler leg and ended up running the farthest out of the entire group with 25 total miles!
Amy, Team Dirrty Dozen’s captain, did an impeccably good job planning out every little detail for our group. She made us all not one, but three T-shirts and tattoos! Our vans were stocked with more food than we could ever possible eat in two days, and she even made binders with information about the run legs, maps, and restaurants close to each exchange point.
Kia kicked off the second run of the weekend. She rocked the neon green compression sleeve and took this run leg to town!
Being the fourth runner, my first 2.7 mile leg wasn’t until late morning – my favorite time of the day to run. I really pushed myself to hold pace, and maintained a 8:38 pace. Not bad for this wannabe speed racer! I just had to do a handstand on our decorated van.
Apparently people count “kills” during these relays, which are how many people you pass during each leg. I only killed 31 people during the entire relay but my friend Gillian from That’s G killed over a hundred!!! It should come to no surprise because she can run sub 7 minute miles. Yeah, I know! I need some of her crazy juice too!
While we were waiting for Gillian to finish her first leg, Amy and I played around with a few handstands.
Once van 1 complete it’s first set of legs, we dined on Quest bars thanks to Pasadena Nutrishop. Later in the day we stopped to share a pizza in Dana Point.
Handstands were a big part of this weekend. Amy is a dance instructor and Kia is a yogi, so handstands come second nature to them…
… not so much for me! Look closely at the second palm tree. I was dying when I saw this picture because this is what most of my handstands resemble – me falling on my butt!!! After goofing around, we went to our second exchange point to meet with the van 2 ladies. Not only did Elizabeth run the farthest, she had the longest leg of 12 miles Friday evening. Our team was a few hours behind our projected time, because there were so many traffic delays at a few of the exchange points. One of our fastest runners, Jamie, even beat the van to an exchange point. This pushed my second leg out well into midnight. Luckily Gillian and I had our Halo Belt to keep our behinds illuminated! The Halo Belt was very comfortable for the entire 4.1 miles. I didn’t even notice I was wearing a belt. After our second set of legs, van 1 went to the next exchange point where we slept for two hours while waiting for the van 2 ladies to run to Carlsbad. On the way to the porta potties, I noticed this van above. It was so much fun seeing all the team themes and van decorations. Some teams got really creative!
Other teams tagged our van with magnets, stickers, and apparently aliens. I work in the aerospace industry, so this one is definitely going in my cubicle!
After too little sleep, the ladies in van 1 were off on the third and final set of legs on Saturday morning. We ran through the beautiful beaches of San Diego. I really miss the beaches of my home town. While I love living in LA, San Diego will always have my heart. Seriously, San Diego, Seriously!!! I am not going to lie, I was really nervous for my last leg through Torry Pines. It had the highest elevation gain and the steepest hill out of all the legs in the relay. I went into the run treating it as training rather than a race. During the first 3 miles of the 10k, I kept a 9:50 pace for the first round of hills. That all changed when I hit the monster of a hill…
…although this picture doesn’t do it justice, it was the hill of all hills! I ran 2/3rds of the way up to where my cousin and van mates were waiting for me. I walked the last third of the hill and then ran the next two miles to the exchange with Amy. It was surprising how good this leg felt! I was even able to maintain a 10:30 average pace for the hardest 10k of my life! I was sleep deprived and cranky but this leg felt AMAZING!!!
Doesn’t Gillian look incredible in the picture above? She finished strong for van 1! While Jamie, the founder of Sweat Pink, started the final set of legs for van 2, the girls of van 1 enjoy the ocean views.
We stopped for brunch on our way down to the finish line in San Diego. Real food was a nice change from PB&Js and nutrition bars. The eggs benedict from Cody’s La Jolla was incredible!
The finish line was packed with people and Ragnar goodies. They were even giving out pizza from what might be the world’s largest pizza. For the very final leg, the entire team came together to run across the finish line. This weekend was incredible and hard but mostly a party on wheels. I am so honored to have been able to run with these amazing ladies!
(Jill, me, and Gillian)
My name is pretty rare, so it was a nice coincident to have two other Jills on the team! Don’t you just love those medals? The medal doubles as a bottle opener!
Here’s to the next relay!!!