Yay! I my race report did not disappear forever!! <img alt="banana.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/banana.gif"><img alt="banana.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/banana.gif"><br><br>
This weekend I ran the Ragnar Del Sol Relay, 182 miles of desert fun! The course runs from Wickenburg to Mesa, Arizona. It was such a blast. I was nervous going into the race because I've been having some trouble with my IT band in the last month, and I wasn't able to train as well as I would have liked.<br><br><br>
Our team's (UnNatural Selection: Fighting DNA Every Step of the Way) started the race at 1 pm on Friday. The gun went off, the runners started, and then the waiting began. I was runner 12 of 12, so I had about 10 hours before my first leg began. Our first 6 runners finished their legs in about 5 hours, and our van of 6 runners started our first legs just before sunset. It was a lot of fun to cheer everyone on along the way.<br><br><br>
I started my first leg at about 10:45 pm, 7.3 miles. I was most nervous about this leg because it had some pretty sustained hills, but they weren't as bad as I had anticipated. My pace was slower than I had hoped, but I felt really strong as I finished that first leg. By that time it was midnight, so we threw down a tarp and some sleeping bags and tried to get a little sleep. I didn't get much, I think I was still wired from running.<br><br><br>
A few hours later we were off again. The sun came up during these next few legs, and the desert was beautiful. I started my second leg at about 8 am, feeling a little stiff but ready to go. This leg was 5.4 miles. It was harder than I expected, there was a hill at the end that kind of surprised me. I was pretty beat up when I finished that leg, and my knee was aching. Fortunately it hadn't slowed my running yet, and for that I was happy. One of my teammates has a degree in athletic training, so she stretched me out really well. I didn't have any more IT band troubles after that. Yay for her!<br><br><br>
When our van started our last leg, it was pretty hot. We had been lucky earlier in the race, temperature-wise, running mostly at night and early in the day. Now it was our turn to face the Arizona desert sun. Our first runner, Diana, had it the worst: 5.1 miles in the beating sun, with the last 3 up a huge hill. She kept an awesome pace and didn't stop once, that girl is a machine! We got into town in pretty good time (for us), and I got ready to start the final leg of the race. I was looking forward to an easy 3.6 miles over mostly flat terrain. I was hoping to be able to pick up the pace, but I knew I didn't have much left in the tank. I started running, and almost immediately got a huge stomach cramp, which didn't go away. I pushed (slowly) through it. With about a quarter mile left, one of my teammates joined me. She knew I was hurting, and I was happy to have a little distraction to finish up the race. As we ran into the park, the rest of my team joined us. I led the pack and we crossed the finish line together. It was such a great feeling, and I've never been so happy to finish a race. I got my medal, grabbed a bottle of water, and was finally able to lay down and rest.<br><br><br>
So now Del Sol is in the books. It was so, so much fun to be a part of a team, knowing they are supporting you every step of the way. That's not something that I'd really experienced in running before, and it was great. We're already talking about doing another relay next year. Maybe Northwest Passage in Washington, maybe Wasatch Back in Utah.