I’ve been home for a week and I’m still at a bit of a loss for how, exactly, to recap my Ragnar experience. I’m sure I’m going to leave out a ton, but let me say this up front:
I loved it and I cannot wait to do another!
With that out-of-the-way, let’s get to it….
Wednesday was fairly uneventful. I arrived in Vegas late and met Lisa (our amazing driver) and Cheri at the airport and then we road-tripped to our hotel.
Now, I do have one complaint and I do want to make sure this does not reflect on my super awesome sponsor in anyway. Our hotel booking was for 2 doubles or 1 king bed. Someone I ended up with a queen. Not a huuuuge deal, but when rooming with someone you’ve never met before, extra room is always a plus. I raised the issue to the hotel and was given a “sorry, must have been hotels.com and we’re fully booked” shrug. Yeah. Not impressed. Then my awesome roomie Katie overheard the same guy giving a room with two queens to another guest. Yeah. Not impressed. I would not recommend the Aliante hotel in Vegas.
Room mess ups aside, the arrival was simple and the hotel was very nice (sadly, the same can’t be said for the staff) and I met up with Cami and Cheri for a drink. Then as we were heading to our rooms we met up with Katie. This meeting delayed us getting to bed until 1am or so. Thankfully, we had arranged to meet at 11am on Thursday.
We started out meeting for breakfast. Well, three of us (runners) and Lisa and our Bondi Band rep met for breakfast while we waited for Cami and Cheri as they had overslept (could this be foreshadowing). We grabbed a table and all ordered hearty breakfasts knowing we’d need the energy for the next day.
Then we split into groups with Lisa and Tina grabbing food and Katie, Cami, Cheri and I all running various errands, including searching for gummi bears (amazing!) and reflective vests.
While in one of the stores we found cute animals that we picked up for everyone. Tina had a unicorn from Ekiden in Banff and we decided everyone needed to spirit animal for the race. Sadly, we totally forgot to get a picture of all the animals together!
We were a bit delayed getting to the hotel and then had to drive to the Red Rock (the host hotel, exchange 12 and finish line) to check in and grab our goodies for race day.
After grabbing our bibs and shirts we decided to eat at the Red Rock and sadly, waiting a freaking looooong time for a table. However, the food was delish (I went with a burger and fries, pre-race fueling like a champ) and a beer and was fully satisfied.
Upon arriving back at the hotel, I assembled my running gear in ziploc baggies like a good Ragnarian and Katie and I chatted until we realized it was after 11 and our alarms were set for 3:45. Ugh. We didn’t want to do the math to see just how much sleep we weren’t getting.
Friday / Saturday
Oof. We were up before the sun. We blearily changed into warm clothes (the nights were cooooold, y’all) and stumbled downstairs. We tossed our gear into the van and noted two of our team members were missing. After sending a few texts with no response, Katie and I headed upstairs to knock on Cami and Cheri’s door.
Guess who overslept? Oops!
Thankfully we had allocated lots of time to get to the start and we helped the gals bring our food and goodies to the van. And then? We were off!
Our start time was 6am and we arrived around 5:40 – just enough time to walk up to the start and send Tina on her way! Then we found some snow and coffee (and flush toilets) and warmed up before driving back down the mountain to exchange 1 to meet Tina.
The whole drive down the mountain I was just thankful I wasn’t the one driving, it looked rough!
Next it was time to head to exchange 2 and that’s when most of us realized we hadn’t really eaten yet. It was too early to eat at 4am and now it was nearly 7am and I hadn’t yet eaten. Oops!
After we sent Amy off at the exchange (we were running double legs since there were six of us) I realized it was toasty out and I needed to change out of my sweats and into my shorts. Apparently California didn’t think it was quite as warm as I did.
We sent Cheri on her way at exchange 4 and headed off to exchange 6 to meet with our sponsors and take some pictures. I may have also grabbed a(nother) Ragnar jacket (I picked one up on Friday as well).
It was at this exchange Amy had the best idea ever. Subway. This was met with a resounding yes and after sending Katie on her way (not to worry, I picked one up for her) off we went to find some sandwiches. Oh boy, it tasted soooo good.
I have to say, it felt so weird to be sending off all my team mates and not yet be running. My legs were coming up soon, though as Cami was getting ready to kick some ass on her double legs.
When it came time to start my legs, I was met with a nasty surprise, the combo vest/hydration pack I purchased leaked. Tina mentioned hers was leaking earlier but when I tested mine out it seemed fine. Well, when I put water in the bladder the host completely popped out. The president (who was at exchange 6) stated “they don’t make the bladders” and was extremely unhelpful, so to say I’m displeased would be an understatement.
At this point I’m going to ask GoMotion for a full refund; however at this point, I would 100% not recommend ordering from them as it seems they do not stand behind their product even though they are a sponsor for Ragnar. So disappointing and definitely unnecessary stress before my legs. Originally I was just going to run through, but because it was dark, I opted to not carry water and have my team meet me at exchange 11 for some water and then I’d carry on my way.
I loved starting at night and it felt so so good to be running. I decided to break in my newest Newton’s (Kismet’s) and man, I freaking love these shoes! They may very well be my favourite shoe!
I’m not sure if it was the standing around, the Subway, or not eating enough, but my tummy was not a happy camper on my legs 🙁 I held it together but all I wanted when I finished was some sparkling water to rehydrate and settle my stomach. Thankfully Katie and Cheri needed some food and I was able to find some water for myself. Running this race in a populated area was definitely a blessing.
At this point I decided I should probably sleep. I changed into warmer clothes (guys, I was freezing! I ended up wearing a hoodie over my flyte top) and laid down with a blanket. And? Nothing. I probably spent 3 hours attempting to sleep.
At exchange 18 I hopped out of the van to pee and ended up paying $10 to recline with elevated legs with my team. It was great, although pretty darn cold.
Then I changed my game plan. I put on some Taylor Swift (1989 is seriously amazing) and bam! Sleep! After probably an hour or so of sleep I woke up to some bumpy roads and the smell of food. Cami was kind enough to share half her Jack-in-the-Box burger with me and I wolfed it down and promptly went back to sleep #nojoke
I woke up around 3? 4? in time to meet Katie at exchange 20 and send Cami on her way. Those 2ish hours of sleep turned me into a new woman. Cami’s legs were short (about 5 miles in total) so I started to get myself ready for my 13.5 miles. It was my longest of the day and to say I was nervous was a bit of an understatement.
Since I’d be running 8 miles unsupported I borrowed Amy’s hydration belt and had Lisa meet me at the exchange to top me off. I also changed into short sleeves because it was heating up! I started just before 6:30 and finished my 13.5 in just under 2.5 hours. Solid times for me.
We sent Tina on her way and all noted we were a bit behind the pace (I seriously thought I was the last person out there on my 8.2 mile leg. It was pretty lonely). After we met Tina and sent Amy on her way (for 10.5 miles in the blazing sun) we were stopped by Ragnar staff and noted that we were super far behind and probably weren’t going to make some of the cutoffs. 🙁
It was time for a pow-wow.
Since we basically had 1/3 of the race to go and it was 11:30 it was pretty obvious we weren’t going to finish by 8pm (the required cutoff time to finish). We had the option to skip certain legs, or double up and send runners out at the same time (but at different exchanges). I can’t recall who came up with the idea (Lisa? Cami?) but we came up with the best idea of the day. The five of us who still had our third legs remaining would pair up and run the last seven miles together.
We quickly checked in and made sure everyone was okay with that and drove to find Amy. Since we were in a creeper while van, we thought we might see if Amy would be interested in puppies and candy while informing her we had the option to skip the rest of her leg and get suited up to just run the last leg.
We texted Ragnar so they could use our average pace to determine our time of the legs we missed and set out on our way.
We all ended up matching (kind or accidentally on purpose) and made sure we had water. Given the aforementioned POS hydration pack, I had to carry a water bottle (thanks for the hookup nuun!!) and thankfully there were two water stops on course because I needed fill ups both times.
Guys, this was probably the most fun of the whole thing. We ran a little and walked a lot and chatted a lot. Sometimes people were ahead, sometimes people were behind, but it was totally perfect. I was so very thankful that I wasn’t running those miles alone because it was hot and I swear it was all freaking uphill. Gross.
(Let me tell you, the course elevation looks flat but very little of the course is flat. Many of the legs seemed to have a pretty steady uphill climb to them. Dislike).
Sadly, there wasn’t a “one more mile” sign because I know we all wanted a picture of that sucker! Once we knew we were close to the finish we resigned ourselves to a shuffle run, met up with Tina and all crossed together!
We did it.
Team BONDiGirls completed the Las Vegas Ragnar Ultra. And? We were the first place fourth place finishers in our division.
(When we told the Ragnar staff we’d probably skip legs it was met with a “Then you won’t win”, we couldn’t help but laugh).
I feel like I am forgetting so much, but I also feel like this is a freaking looooong race recap.
I will say that Ann is right, Katie and I slept like logs. We fell asleep around 9pm (after eating cheese pizza on our bed – best decision ever!) and didn’t wake up until 9am. Then we ventured out to find coffee and stood in the pool until we realized we needed to pack our crap and check out of the hotel. Also, cold cheese pizza the morning after Ragnar is always a good decision.
And, with that, the rest of my Vegas adventures shall be covered tomorrow 🙂
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