So the night before it all started, we rolled into town just before 4, with plenty of time to check in to our hotel, and get ready for a fun dinner out in San Francisco.
(All of these 'in the city' photos are from Lizzie.)
First time I've ever taken the trolley... I could just FEEL how picturesque it was. Hanging on to the handle while riding into the sunset. No matter that I was hanging on for dear life and millimeters away from being squished between mine and the oncoming trolley, and my purse was accidentally resting in an old foreign woman's lap in front of me, and two men that smelled like garlic were sandwiched on either side of me... a bit closer than I'd have preferred.
I love this shot Lizzie got of Roxeanne.
This is teacher Robyn, Mila's preschool teacher. I've heard stories since the race, of how she thought about every other van-member's strengths, and that's what got her through her 3 mile hill. Or how she declined music, so she could pray while she ran. :) I love this girl. She is one of the most gentle, kind, women I know. We were all reminded why she's the one who can handle teaching our children, while raising four of her own.
Ordering at Boudin. I know I look focused. Let me just confess that ordering at a restaurant can really be an ordeal for me. The problem is that it's just so important to me that I make the right decision. I get emotional about food, you see, and I hate wishing I ordered something else. In a perfect world, I'd have one of everything. I love food. It's a serious dilemma.
Tara and I decided to share the crab feast. And just in case you go there and the menu persuades you that it's enough to share by the title of "feast" and the waiter assures you that it's enough to share with large hand gestures... don't be deceived. It was NOT a feast. Although we are two nursing mamas, Tara... maybe we'll blame the fact that a "feast" is not enough for us on our beefy baby boys.
Now... back to the Ragnar... which started the next day at 4:30. Ok it started at 6. But we had to wake up at 4:30. Which we had just done the day before to drive up to San Fran. All this knowing we would get no sleep the night of the race. oh boy.
We literally ran past and through vineyards like this one. The scenery was so beautiful. I almost wish I was wearing Ross' head cam. But not really-- that head-light was annoying enough.
Meet van 1:
I ran track in high school. But that's about where it ended. I've run on and off over the years when I didn't have a gym membership. But I was never in it for distance, and probably rarely ran over three miles. When this was first planned, I was a little terrified for the distances. And of course the idea of running three different runs in the course of a day and a half with no sleep. Plus I had just had Finn and had like 40 extra pounds on still and had a hard time running up my stairs.
BUT--- as it turns out, I got off pretty easy with two 4.5 mile runs and a 5.8. Jenie had a 9.2, and Dayna had a 7 miler, and after last minute leg-changes from Ragnar, most of the girls in the other van had a 7 or 8 mile leg! Some of them a couple of them... I'm amazed at all of them still. I don't think I could have done it.
Pumping was.... a fun addition. Thanks for not being too grossed out by the water bottles filled with milk in the cooler, ladies. That stuff is liquid gold.We finished the first day at like 11 pm, at which point van 2 picked up with their second legs. They had it rough with those hours. If we were able to sleep, it would have been nice to sleep those hours from like midnight to 4. But we had a little mishap with the rag-mag (the ragnar magazine full of maps and directions that they try to keep very confusing just to toy with our already exhausted minds).
We finished up our second legs with Lizzie and then Karley. Lizzie came through the shoot with sheer anger on her face at the Ragnar for sending her through a pitch black "forest" with little to no signage directing her which way to go. She back tracked and tacked on milage to find other runners to join up with. Later they came across two random men (not runners) in the middle of the forest watching them. A little creepy, especially if your a 30 year old woman running all by yourself at 11pm. A while after her run, we got a text from Ragnar saying there were reports of "harassers on leg 17" and to watch out.
Thanks ragnar. Seeing as we finished 284 out of 330 teams, I'm gonna guess that text was a bit late for most.
We were all a bit freaked out, and sent Karlely off on her next leg determined to stay right on her. (Lizzie's didn't allow us to follow at all.) We stayed close to Karley, and it's a good thing we did since it still scared her to death. It was pitch black, she had like 3 feet of shoulder on a fast, windy, busy road, and dark trees and bushes on her left. It really was scary. I had always envisioned this big group of people... like for sure you would have people in front of you and behind you at all times. But there were lots of times when you didn't see anyone for miles.
Anyway, we ended our legs emotional and happy everyone was ok. Off to the high school gym for some sleep and possibly a shower?
We get there, and it's dark. Only a couple of vans in the parking lot and no gym open. We talk to one of the other vans
where is everyone?
Don't know... we'll watch for porta potties...
oh hooray (a little later) they've arrived... must be in the right place.. why is it closed? Who knows... we're tired... brains working slower... reconfirm address- it's right... check the rag-mag... weird. Where are all the people? Where do we sleep?
So we take out all of the seats in Lizzie's van and attempt to sleep with four of us on the floor and two in the front seats. I think I would have rather been running. It's a funny memory. But it was an awful nap. I was unsure how my body would work after being bent up like a pretzel for 3 hours. Dayna was wedged under the luggage and managed to sleep. Lizzie, Brooke and I were all in a row and had to be perfectly spooning to fit. And my knees were tucked up by my belly. If I tried to turn the opposite way of Lizzie, our bums would hit and my knees wouldn't fit anywhere. Sometimes I stuck them straight up to the ceiling to stretch... I probably slept for a scattered 30-45 minutes... it was... an experience.
But the worst part was when I headed for the shoot that morning and got a text from the other van, "where are you?"... I look around and don't see them. Look at Lizzie confused. And then it hit us. We were at the wrong exchange.
It was a huge bummer for van 2 since they had to wait for us to pack up our van now and drive over to the correct school. It was sickening to me that a mere FOUR miles away was the school we could have slept at--- stretching out on a highschool gym floor never sounded so good.
But we survived it all... and started our last legs at like 4:30 or 5 that next morning.
I almost grew to love these babies. Not bad for portas.Jenie on her LAST leg--- 9.2 miles. Mostly uphill. I think Ragnar should try harder to frontload the runs... and give the longest legs at the beginning and have them taper off. But then maybe that's supposed to be part of the challenge. No thanks. I did not envy Jenie, having to muster up the energy for this after two other runs and not ONE wink of sleep. This was a little after 6 am.
And this was when she was all done. Ahhh...
Brooke ran into Nordstrom to use the potty during Lizzie's run and came back with a new necklace. Of course she did. She's the one who named our team, mind you.
The girls in my van.
And the girls in van 2:
We are all friends from church. Stacy and Karley have both moved away over the last year and a half or so, and we still got them to come back and join us for the fun! I feel really lucky to have such an amazing network of moms and dear friends out here. I never would have guessed there'd be so many gems in one place.
The Real Housewives captains, and their diamond rings...
I thought it'd be the kind of thing that I might do again if you asked me in six months when I'd forgotten the pain. But I honestly felt like I'd sign up for another one right in the middle of it. Even bent in half in that van. There were challenges, but it was more fun than I ever would have guessed. There are bandwagons that are just worth jumping on. And this ragnar thing-- I get it. SO fun.