|Our vans had all of our before/after magnets along with our website and Sparkpeople sponsor. So many runners came up to us, congratulating us and sharing their own success stories!!|
|The winning van! Must have taken FOREVER to decorate!|
So, John, Runner 12, was running into Homestead raceway to hand the baton over to Katie to start Van #1 on their 2nd legs. While we were waiting to meet up with them and cheer John in and Katie out, the emcee was announcing the team numbers of the runners heading in to the checkpoint. There's a Ragnar volunteer about 1/4 mile out from the exchange, noting runners' team numbers and calling ahead to the actual announcer with the bullhorn so the next runner is ready. Well, one girl came running in and her #1 was nowhere to be found. They kept calling the team number and nothing. So, jokingly, the announcer says "Just go run it," and SHE DID!!! I would have flipped him the bird and staged a sit-in!!! Could you imagine? I wonder what the conversation was like at the NEXT exchange point. It might have started something like this: "WHERE THE FUCK WERE YOU ALL??!!!!???"
John came in and Katie went out and we were off. Van #1's legs were longer this time around, so we had more time to kill. We decided it was time for a real bathroom and a real meal. Jen had eagle eyes and found a place called Pollo Tropical, which is supposedly like Chipotle, but I'll have to take her word for it since I had never been to either. It was DELICIOUS and CHEAP!! I had the mojo pulled pork over yellow rice with peppers and onions and all the condiments I could dump on it and a drink for $5!! I had a great conversation with John about the young soldiers I had seen in the airport on my way down to Miami. Their holiday leave was over and they were returning to their various bases, saying goodbyes to moms, dads, girlfriends... It was so hard for us to watch, let alone imagine being in those parents' shoes. Since John is a Marine, he shared stories about his experiences. Lots of tears shed. I think we might have cried just as much as we laughed on this trip!
After dinner we did a bit of shopping, picking up ice, some snacks and two safety vests at Home Depot that we were missing, all of a sudden. I joked that there was a spot in the van, between the two front seats and the first bench seat, that was a black hole. Things would just disappear. Safety vests, tail lights, Rag Mags... It's amazing how things can get lost in a 12 passenger van. It wasn't like it was a camper or 4 bedroom house or something. After that we headed to the next major exchange (#18) and tried to rest. There's only so much room for 6 people in a van, so none of us were ever comfortable enough to really sleep.
At about 1 am it was time to get Jen ready for her second leg, 9.9 whopping miles through some pretty questionable neighborhoods. I can't blame her for being scared. That was the time I was supposed to be running, but because of the heat and humidity, our times were lagging. It was still very warm and humid and we were all literally running on fumes. It was a very tough run for her and you can read all about her own personal experiences in her blog. My 2nd leg started around 5 am, about 15 hours since my last run, and even though it was still dark, there was definitely a different mindset for me running at that time than 2 am. TONS of runners get up at that time for an early run (not ME). Plenty of people are getting out the door for work. I ran on a running path along a highway to my left and woods or houses to my right. The toughest part was "hurdling" all of the lumps in the path that were created by the roots growing underneath. I didn't want to trip or roll my ankle and take myself out of the game!
It was my first "night" run ever!! Having to wear the safety vest wasn't such a big deal, but my brand new, compact headlamp's batteries died somewhere between buying it and trying to put it on before my leg. So, I had to wear a larger, not as comfortable, borrowed one. I'm sure it will be majorly attractive on film. That's the other thing- since there were cameramen out there on the course, usually always a 1/4 mile ahead, I knew I wasn't completely alone, and I believe my voice carries. I ran pretty well that leg and I only stopped twice to eat half of my Power Bar gel. At around the last mile or so, a girl named Amber approached and started a conversation. She felt we were about the same pace, but I SO didn't want to hold anyone back. I wound up telling her about the documentary and talking really got my mind off the fact that I wanted to walk. She kept me from doing just that and before I knew it, I was handing off to Jen, Runner #9.
Recovering from that leg was a breeze compared to run #1.
Have you seen the segment about our documentary on Today? If not, here is the link!