My alarm went off at 1:45 a.m. and I was out the door by 2:30 a.m. We met at Volee teammate Kaitlin’s place and was on the road to Winona by 3 freaking a.m.
After a slight detour due to road construction and missing our 5:45 a.m. start time, we finally made it to the start line. Alicia headed out with the 6 a.m. crew and then my third Ragnar experience was officially underway!
Leg 1: 6.6 miles, 9:16 pace
Thank goodness this leg went well because I felt like it set a good tone for my Ragnar experience overall. I felt pretty strong (legs were fresh after a few unintentional rest days prior). I had 15 “road kills” — mostly on the hills, where I felt the strongest and was able to pass some walkers.
Splits were: 9:30, 9:28, 9:21, 9:21, 9:08, 9:03. I was, however, SO happy to see the “one mile to go” sign and even happier to see my teammate Jacenta waiting for me at the exchange.
After our van was done with our first legs, we stopped in Nelson, Wisconsin at the Nelson Creamery for sandwiches. I was pleasantly surprised they had gluten-free wraps! It was raining by this point and everyone was starting to feel the effects from our early start, so we pulled off at Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Park to get in a quick nap. Half of the team snoozed in the van and Laura, Alicia and I found a pavilion to stretch out under. I slept a solid 40 minutes and felt like a brand new person when I woke up.
We got a text from van 2 that they were ahead of pace, so we drove a few miles down the road to the next exchange. Rachel, runner 12, came flying into the exchange and then Alicia was off! Van 1 was back on the clock.
At 7:11 p.m. I headed out on my second leg. My body felt tired and the first mile (9:39 pace) was pretty rough. The hills were steeper than in my first leg and my legs just didn’t want to turn over. I managed to pick up the pace just slightly as the elevation evened out slightly, but it was tough (9:34 and 9:19).
Our entire van was feeling pretty loopy from lack of sleep, so naturally we cranked up the music, ate PB&J sandwiches and then set out to find a place to crash for a couple hours.
We decided to throw our sleeping bags down on the grass and sleep under the stars at Stillwater High School, the location of the next exchange.
Unfortunately the foot traffic near our sleeping location kept me from being able to sleep much more than 30 minutes or so and I woke up feeling worse than when I had gone to bed. But before we knew it, it was time to meet van 2 at the next exchange and run our third and final legs.
Leg 3: 2.7 miles, 8:41 pace
My final leg was at 5:38 a.m. and boy, was I ready to be done. So, following Alicia, Laura and Kaitlin’s examples, I gave this one all I had left. The lack of hills and cool weather made this run feel pretty effortless, even on tired legs.
Once Jacenta and Rachel rocked their final legs, van 2 headed out to bring it home!
The next priority was real food and for some of us…..a bloody mary.
I think most of us were surprised when the final results were posted and we finished in less than 30 hours, and were the second place women’s team overall!