Monday, September 30, 2013

#highNUUN: Ragnar Colorado

Oh my goodness, I can't believe it has taken me 3 weeks to write this say the last several weeks have been busy {but so incredibly amazing}, would be an understatement! So, without further adieu, her is my recap of Ragnar Colorado.  Actually, I have one thing first, before I go into my recap...continue to dream big and pursue your passions and dreams. Looking back it is amazing to me that I not only ran an ULTRA relay, which was a goal of mine immediately following my first relay, but that I ran both Colorado and Wasatch Back within a couple months of each other {the two relays I dreamed of running}, for a company that has been a huge inspiration and support in my running, on a team that is made up of truly amazing individuals who all bring something unique and so valuable to the table.  To say I am feeling blessed beyond measure would be an understatement.  Back to the recap...

Thursday night we all met up in Denver, and it was seriously SO great to see everyone and be together as a team again! Hugs were exchanged and the laughing, sharing of stories, and relay excitement was in in full force! 

Before the relay started, we knew we needed to give Ned a "twitter 101" as he was confusing hashtags with twitter handles, and referring to himself in third person in several of his tweets!  Bry was kind enough to walk him through the basics of tweeting so he was ready to roll!

Because Bry was getting married 2 weeks {YES, 2 weeks!!} following Ragnar Colorado, it only made sense to throw her a little Bachelorette Party On The Run.  And a running theme bachelorette party wouldn't be complete without personalized cowbells...

Following dinner, it was time to decorate the van. Only one problem, it was dark out! No problem for us...headlight lit van decorating! 

The artist at work!

The final product...and a huge thanks to TC Chevy for being a van sponsor!! 

This was my first run as part of the Oiselle we couldn't pass up an opportunity for a 'bird' picture! Seriously so thankful to call both of these girls teammate and friend! 

Thanks to Endorphin Warrior, we were each able to choose a word or saying that had meaning to us, and would inspire us throughout the relay! Looking down and seeing LIMITLESS helped push me through the difficult times!  

Rocking our personalized, #HighNUUN Kate Farm shirts! Such an amazing company! 

And now for the running...

Leg 1: 5.1 miles, 9:06 avg

It wouldn't be a relay if I didn't take a cheesy relay hand-off photo...I take the exchanges very seriously! 

I really didn't know what to expect with the altitude, but I anticipated that it would make running a tad more difficult.  Well, that was an kicked my butt! I took off on my first leg {and yes, I took usual, I went out way too fast}, and no sooner than mile 2 I knew it was going to be a long run, and perhaps long relay! My legs seriously felt like lead weights.  I kept focusing on relaxing, deep breathing, and just having FUN! I was cheering on and encouraging the runners going the other way on the trail while taking in the beautiful scenery and the fact that I was running in Colorado!!!! All 5 miles were tough, but I was happy with my pace, and beyond happy to be running! 

There was one lower legs! It hasn't happened in a long time, but occasionally I have an issue where my feet fall asleep {and I mean they go completely numb}, and the pain and numbness works its way up my calves.  Well, that happened! And it HURT! The only thing I have ever been able to contribute it to is tight calves, so I rolled the heck out of my calves, in hope that it would be better for my next run...

Leg 2: 7.1 miles, 9:01 avg

This leg was interesting, and stressed Ned out! Vieve and I were able to decide where we wanted to make the exchange along a 3 mile stretch of road, but we were instructed to remain at the previous exchange {where Vieve took off} and leave 10 minutes before we expected to meet the runner and make the exchange! Well we waited an hour and a half or so, and then made our way to the location where we would be making the exchange. At this point it was pouring down rain...ugh! We exited off of the freeway, thinking we had 10 minutes or so until we would meet up with Vieve, but just as we are asking another van and their runner what mile they are at {it was quite confusing as we were driving in the opposite direction the runners were going} Meghan says, there's Vieve! I threw on my vest, clipped on a light, jumped out of the van and off I went! I was a little discombobulated, but I pulled it together and settled in to my run, and the rain stopped...thank goodness! And it didn't take long for my feet to fall asleep! The first part of the run was along a bike path that bordered a golf course, which was beautiful, but I was a little nervous due to all the talk of bears! About 3 miles into the run, the bike path ended and we ran through a gorgeous neighborhood in Vail.  At this point, due to the weird exchange, I really didn't know how far I was going to be running, therefore I didn't know how much I had left to run. The pain in my feet/calves was getting worse, but I knew I didn't have far to go! After about 2 miles, I ended up in the Vail Village and ran through all of the shops and restaurants....kind of fun, with people outside cheering, etc. I was so happy to see the "One Mile To Go" sign and enjoyed the downhill to the exchange!

Leg 3: 4.9 miles, 9:08 avg

I really don't remember much about this leg, other than my feet and calves felt so much better than they did the previous two legs...and I was so thankful for that! This leg was on Hwy 6, and it was a beautiful, clear, star lit run. 

Leg 4 {where I ran for my life}: 3.8 miles, 8:21 avg

We wear our NUUN Trucker hats and sunglasses at night...

I always love the nighttime legs of relays, but I can honestly say this one kind of {ok, MAJORLY} FREAKED ME OUT! Being that it was a smaller relay, it wasn't uncommon to go a while without seeing other runners. Well, as we were waiting for Vieve to come in, there would be groups of runners, and then a stretch of no runners..I kept hoping and praying that Vieve would come in with a group of runners. NOPE! She came in with one other runner she had met up with, but as soon as she handed me the slap bracelet I took off into the dark abyss alone, not sure if I would ever return...NO LIE!!! The run was on a path that followed I-70, but it was 20 feet or so below the highway, alongside a canyon, with no cell phone reception, and there was NO ONE in sight.  I was SO SCARED!! I kept hearing noises...rustling in the bushes {BEAR!? Crazy man!?}. My own footsteps...I swore at one point someone was following me! I finally saw a red flashing light in the distance, and focused on catching it.  As if I wasn't scared enough, a train came rip roaring through the canyon!! After the initial spike in my heart rate, I took a moment to look up and take everything in...the canyon lit up by the lights of the train; the clear, star filled sky! Truly breathtakingly beautiful. OK, enough of that, I am freakin scared! I caught and passed the one red flashing light, and occasionally I could see more up ahead. My headlight seemed so dim during this run, and I seriously could barely see where I was going.  At this point I had reached mile 3, but no "One Mile To Go" sign...cue more freaking out! Did I make a wrong turn!? Is this really a 5 mile run {I wasn't sure how much longer I could run at this pace...I had already ran 17 miles!}!? I started catching and passing several runners, and was approaching what appeared to be a rest area {which is where several of the exchanges took place on this stretch of the relay}, HALLELUJAH!!! I wasn't about to slow down at this point, as I just wanted to be done! I came around the corner and couldn't have been happier to see Bry! 

Leg 5: 4.5 miles, 8:57 avg

This run was pretty amazing...starting just as the sun was rising. Beautiful.  The run was 3 miles downhill, followed by 1.5 miles flat.  I felt great on the downhill portion and took in the scenery while enjoying music and feeling so blessed to be there; and loved having my team stop and cheer for me about 2 miles in {due to most legs being on bike paths, there was minimal cheering on of runners during the relay}.  As soon as the road leveled out I felt the previous 20 miles in my legs! But I pushed through, and as always, was so grateful to see my team and came into the exchange with a big smile! {have I told you how much I absolutely LOVE relays!?} 

Leg 6: 3.3 miles easy

It was amazing to see Vieve make her way down the bike path to me, with a huge smile on her face; I gave  her the biggest hug as she had just finished her 2nd ULTRA relay! There are no words to describe the sense of accomplishment.

I took off on my final leg and my only goal was to enjoy the last three miles! It was warm, I was exhausted, but I was determined to end on a positive note. Yes, I had to walk some.  For the first mile, I was running towards runners making their way to the exchange and I cheered on/encouraged each one of them.  I love the support and encouragement given and received during a relay! Due to the next exchange being pretty tight, only the runner was allowed to be down I came into the exchange I saw Bry and gave her the biggest hug as she was off on what would be an extremely challenging leg.  I did my best to encourage her, as I knew she was nervous about it. 

As I made my way back to my team and the van, my eyes filled up with tears...tears of joy. Tears of accomplishment. Tears of feeling beyond blessed.  Ned, our biggest support and cheerleader, was waiting for me at the crosswalk with the biggest and proudest smile on this face! Such a remarkable moment. 

And with that, my second ULTRA relay was complete! 

With a few cowgirls at heart on the team, we couldn't pass up a prime photo opportunity at one of the exchanges, which was at the rodeo grounds! 

Waiting for Meghan to run us into the finish! 

CHEERS to another ULTRA relay!

1st Place Women's ULTRA and 3rd Place Overall ULTRA team

There is no doubt that this relay was TOUGH!!! Running an ULTRA relay requires determination, dedication, heart and team work...all of which all of the ladies of #highNUUN embodied from start to finish.  Everyone brought something different to the relay, and it wouldn't have been possible without the strengths and positive qualities of each person. I can't say enough how much each of them mean to me, and I will be forever grateful to call them friends and teammates! My heart is fuller and life more blessed because of them. 

As I said, this relay was TOUGH!!! Up next, "What Made Ragnar Colorado Different"


  1. Can I tell you how much fun it was to get to hand off to you? I loved it. You always were so encouraging and cheerful as I would close out each of my legs and pass over to you. How fun. Such a different relay, but incredible in it's own ways.

    And I hope "What Made Ragnar Colorado Different" includes a story about the doctor and his 2 sons ;) Because come on... that was just hilariously awesome! I expect a wedding invite, just FYI.

  2. Loved reading all of the details! Love you guys so much!