Friday, January 11, 2013

Ragnaristic Reflections: Florida Keys Edition

  • Want to explore a part of the world you've never visited? Cram yourself into a van with family, friends, and complete strangers and take turns running a combined total of 197 miles of unfamiliar territory.
  • This is the first race I ever ran where I wasn't trying to PR.  As long as I wasn't letting my team down, I didn't care much about how fast I was going.  This was my fun run.  Too much fun.
  • Beautiful start at Virginia Key in Miami.  Perfect weather.
  • Met running guru/celebrity/Runners World magazine Chief Running Officer, Bart Yasso, at the start.  Good way to start a race.
  • Kat's first leg included a formidable bridge.  It didn't appear to be a problem for her.
  • First legs of our race included residential and commerce areas.  There was a clear look of puzzlement on some of the resident's faces. 
  • We found out early the humidity was going to be our foe on this race.
  • We found out early that 30+ hours of conch jokes is possible.
  • "Get to the choppa!" (with thick Schwarzenegger accent) while tearing of our shirts was our battle cry for our first legs. 
  • When one of your runners finishes his/her leg, a water bottle is much appreciated. A Nature Valley granola bar? Curtis couldn't find the value in that so much.
  • Shade was oh-so important.  Even a friendly cloud was helpful.  The moment you were exposed to sun, in addition to 90% humidity, life would start to drain from you.
  • Kicking myself that I didn't take more pictures.
  • My first leg went well.  I liked talking to people as I would come up to them and then abruptly pass them.
  • I was psychologically prepped to run an additional 2.7miles for Blake's leg, because I wasn't sure if he was going to get off work in time.  So, it was real nice to see him at the check point when I got there.
  • After our van finished our first leg, we crashed at Blake's a bit to stretch and catch a few winks.  Doesn't sound like much, but it helped a ton to keep us fresh.
  • A Key Lime milkshake is either a great way to get ready for 7.1 miles or a great way to recover from running 3.5.  Whatever, it was good.
  • Kat ran past a prison at night.  Freakay! 
  • I'm glad I didn't run leg 13.  It went right past some dudes cooking BBQ.  My race would have ended right there with a slab of ribs.
  • Mary and Curtis had the honor of running through the Everglades at night.  We're glad no runners were eaten by alligators, crocs, or cannibal rednecks during those legs.
  • Ragnar logo pasties, oh my!
  • Grant's second leg was 1.3 miles short of a half marathon.  Maybe it's his military stoicism, but 11.8 miles really didn't seem to faze him.
  • Running through Key Largo at night, I imagined palm trees, the smell of the sea, and sounds of wildlife.  Instead I got palm trees, the smell of alcohol, drunken couples arguing, and some dude looking for some meth.
  • We were definitely ready for a nap by the end of our second leg.  So very grateful the Randy's had the foresight to book a hotel room for us to get some sleep before our final leg.
  • I volunteered to do leg 26 which included the 7-mile bridge.  However, I didn't know there was a bridge ON the bridge! 
  • Thankfully, the bridge ON the bridge was a non-issue.  However, once the morning sun broke through the clouds, the humidity ate me up.  My IT band syndrome, which had been reasonably tolerable up to then, became a big issue around mile 7 requiring me to attend to it twice in the last 2 miles.
  • Never will I run in Reebok RealFlex again.  The blisters I endured on my last leg prompted me to throw those suckers in the trash.
  • Grant and Mary surprised me with BBQ ribs at the end of my run.  One of the coolest things anyone has done for me at a race.  Tasted oh so good.
  • We believe leg 27 was the hardest of the entire race.  The length plus heat and humidity made it look like a doozy.  Naturally, Curtis conquered it with style, class, and topless nudity.
  • We tried to throw Mary some water on her final leg, but upon hitting the ground, she got a bottle full of sand instead.  Sorry!
  • Surreal feeling once Blake finished his last leg.  Van 1 was done.  All we had to do was relax and wait for van 2 to arrive in Key West.
  • Blake and Curtis took us to a food shack in Key West that made a killer Lobster sandwich.
  • Curtis got to eat the conch (fritters) that he waited all race for.
  • In tired euphoria and delirium, the conch jokes and innuendos never got old.
  • Seeing the former home of Ernest Hemingway was neat.  Especially since I saw where he was buried in Idaho in June.
  • Having the finish line at the end of Duval street in Key West was a brilliant idea.
  • Nice lookin' finishers' medals.
  • The Randy's did a fantastic job of organizing this team.  Everyone had a great time.
  • Witnessing the birth of new Ragnarians is always a cool part of the experience.
  • Grant is going to have to run a dozen more relays to use up all the cool team names he came up with during the trip.
  • This team had incredible chemistry.  It is always a gamble when making running assignments, but many new friendships were forged.  There was no Van 1 vs. Van 2 mentality, just lots of laughs and support.  A great experience!


Vaughn Larsen said...

No mention of the AWESOME Belgium Waffles? I see how you are.

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