Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The part where I RUN Ragnar Wasatch Back

Van decorated, laughs shared, 6 friends {no longer strangers}, and one phenomenal driver...we were ready to conquer Ragnar Wasatch Back. 

There are two main ways to run an ULTRA relay: 3 longer legs {2 back-to-back} or 6 shorter legs.  After debating, and going back and forth, we finally, as a team, decided to run 6 longer legs. Due to the difficulty of some of the legs, the length of some of the back-to-back legs, and the altitude, we decided it would be best to run 6 shorter legs...which I think was a smart decision.  As I mentioned before, I was nervous, but just as excited, to run this bad boy as part of an ULTRA team. The morning of the race is was ALL excitement, that giddy, nonstop chatter and laughter kind of excitement. We put on our cowgirl hats, cut footloose,  and worked the cameras one last time before we were on our way. 

Oh, and I forgot, did a lil texting and instagramin!

 Leg 1: 7.7 VERY HARD miles, 9:08 avg

Despite having "winning" in the back of our minds, we all stressed the importance of "taking it easy" the first run...well my adrenaline got the best of me I took off like a mad woman.  After hearing "mile 1: 8 something" I backed off a little and just got into a groove! Oh my, I was seriously so happy to be out there, grinning from ear-to-ear. I had read the map wrong {upside down to be exact} and I was anticipating no van support for the first part of my leg.  But to my surprise, around mile 2, there they were, cheering and a hooting-and-a-hollerin. They told me I wouldn't have support the last part of my leg, made sure I was ok and headed to the exchange. I enjoyed the next 5 miles running through a quiet, country setting. It was seriously so peaceful.  Around 5 mile, my breathing started getting shallow, and instead of freaking out about the altitude  I just focused on my breathing, ensuring I was taking deep breaths, and I was good! I turned at mile 5.5 and started about a 3/4 mile climb; as I peaked the hill, I came across the "One Mile To Go" sign and kicked it in to the exchange, getting in one last road kill and chicking a guy! 

Leg 2: 2.6 EASY {but HOT!} miles, 9:01 avg 

While this leg was easy, it was HOT, and I don't do well in the heat! Not to mention, this was everyone else's {in Van 2} first run of the day, so they were like spring chickens ready to go! I started off looking pretty good...

and then...

Do you ever have those moments when you think you're being funny or cute, but really, not so much!?! For some reason, this happens to me every time at Ragnar {you'd think by now I would've learned}! As soon as I saw Meghan's camera hanging out the window, I knew I was going to regret doing my "slow motion sprinting" run.

Leg 3: 3.0 EASY miles, 8:38 avg

I was feeling GOOD going into my third leg! There were two transitions at Snow Basin, and Bry was running a no support leg, so we had plenty of time to eat { me a cup-o-noodle..insert sarcasm}, freshen up {there is something about brushing your teeth, with running water, that is so rejuvenating} and the temperature was starting to drop.  Oh, and did I mention it was now nighttime hours??  I had walked over near the exchange, and quickly turned back so that I could skip and jump my way to the was not the time to let my energy drop, I still had 4 more legs to run. Throughout the relay, we had been running with Vegas Legs, a team from Las Vegas {duh, kind of obvious} and at this point they were ahead of us, but I was determined to change that, and change I did! Roadkill Vegas Legs. Ok, this leg was also the first time that "Feisty Holly" came out. As I was coming into the exchange, this girl was trotting along and I was going to run around her, but she kept cutting me off and finally looked over at me, said, "I'm not going to let you pass me" and took off in a full out sprint to the finish, and for some reason this pushed my buttons! I looked and her and said,  in a rather sassy manner, "Have at it, I'm running 28 miles!" Ok, probably not the nicest thing...please forgive me, and enjoy your "win" young girl. 

 Ok, as you can see, I get a little excited for the nighttime runs!

A relay wouldn't be complete without glow sticks, especially glow stick glasses! Don't be jealous!

Leg 4: 6 MODERATE miles, 8:44 avg

This was by far my favorite run of the relay; 6 headlamp and moonlight lit miles! Seriously the most serene, peaceful, and seeming effortless miles. At this point in the relay, we had caught up with several of the teams who started earlier in the day, so the roads were filled with runners. I loved seeing so many, what appeared to be more beginner runners, out on the course. You don't have to run a certain pace OR have "x" amount of races under your belt to do a relay.  It's more about getting out there, having fun, and supporting one another to the finish. 

Leg 5: 3.3 EASY miles, 9:16 avg

This is where things kind of got rough! While this was not a #sh**happens leg for me, like it was for a couple of my teammates, it was an I'm-tired-and-if-I-eat-Sh**-might-happen kind of run! I didn't eat anything before and just got through the miles! When I finished, and was asked how I felt, all I said was, "TIRED." I knew I wasn't done though...RALLY TIME!!! Not only did I have one more leg to run myself, I had 5 teammates who all had one or two legs to get through, and we all needed one another to push through to the finish.  

Leg 6: 5.5 MODERAT Miles, I don't know and I don't care avg 

Ok, this is where I mentally kind of fell apart...sorry team! I was done. Annoyed. Feisty. And I didn't start my final leg with the best attitude. PROOF that attitude is everything! While the run was not horrible, it wasn't my best either! I had warned Meghan I would come into the exchange crying {I'm an emotional runner, overcome with a feeling of accomplishment at every finish line} ...but I'm sure she wasn't expecting a full on ugly cry! Yes, they were tears of exhaustion, but they were mainly tears of accomplishment,  joy,  and overcoming fears & doubts. I'd be lying if I said I didn't doubt myself a little  going into the relay and I was thankful to my team for helping make my dream become a reality, in a way I never imagined possible. 

Team #highNUUN will always hold a special place in my heart; each person positively impacted my life! 

This opportunity wouldn't of been possible if it weren't for the wonderful people at NUUN for putting this team together and inviting me to be part of it AND for keeping us hydrated over the miles. NUUN has greatly impacted my running career, and I am forever grateful  Also, a huge thanks to Lunatik for keeping our legs fresh and flashy during our ULTRA adventure!  

NUUN and Ragnar, it has truly been EPIC! Until next time...

Photo courtesy of Meghan


  1. Love you Holly!! You kept us all joke. If it weren't for you, we would have been lost running puppies

  2. You're amazing! What a wonderful experience that will go down in all of your hearts as an extraordinary adventure! XX -fig