Monday, April 30, 2012

Ragnar 2012 SoCal

I had never heard of Ragnar before I found myself running in it last year.  I was Mercenairy for hire (tha's me Mr. Mericainary, touigh guy extrodinaire).  How much do I charge do you ask?  $2  (I got stiffed) but the medal they give you at the finish line is also a bottle opener, so maybe I came out ahead..

 Some crazy fire cracker of soccer mom had somehow gotten my number and I was was slated to run a little over 30 miles on a team of ten. (we were supoosed to have 12)  
It was hodge podge of runners a few friends  (Dan Westergaard and Christian Burke), some prick of an attorney, a doctor with bad knees and a few nice ladies and a happy go lucky nurse.
We signed up for too early of slot, we were the first team through 90% of the checkpoints. Until we started getting lost which added a couple hours to our finishing time. I didn't think we were that fast.
 Yet a few weeks later I learned that we had received the illustrious  almost first baton. 
Hmm if we could suck that bad and still finish realtivly well I wonder what would happen if we acrtually fielded a team of just runners?

Well my captain Denise Winner (once an awesome Ultra runner able to run 50 miles in 6:20) Was putting the team back together but this time we would be entering the Ultra Division.  Instead of having up to 12 people to cover the 203 miles we have only 6.
Our beautiful captain Denise.  Known for ability to run like she's being chased
35 miles Age ???  (I presume shes over 21)
My best friend and yours too.  One of the world's great shufflers 
Dan Westergaard.
40 miles Age 52
Future Senior citizen cross fit champion of the World Gordan Chase
   35.3 miles Age 62 
 A man so masculine he's not ashamed to wear a hydration belt with 12 oz bottles
   25 miles age 42 
Ex soccer pro from Brazil
26 Miles Age 46
A dude too stupid too be in bed sleeping and too poor to be running in shoes.
Patrick Sweeney
(I feel pretty lame typing own name)
42 Miles Age 33

Both Dan and I had just run the Boston Marathon the previous Monday
After returning home that Wednesday afternoon  I went about 22 hours without sleep before crashing hard.
My legs felt totally  gimpy and the rest of my body needed a massage. 

Thursday I was able to get in a short run on the beach and spent a couple hours in the sauna and another hour on the foam roller before meeting up with my team for dinner at out captain's house. We ended things at reasonable hour.
We had a big day ahead us and I still had to pack.
All the essentials to eat during Ragnar. 3 lbs of dates six avocados and some hot sauce.
What more could a man need?
I filled my pack a kilt, some Jammies,  the stick my handheld and three pairs of Luna Sandals

We met up at out team captains house at about 6:30 a.m.  at the last second we decided to ditch one of the rows of seats in our van
 with the aid of some carpet and a giant roll of gorilla tape we were ready to roll but we were now running late.
You think the Van in front of us is running Ragnar?
Traffic was a mess on the 405 but I didn't really care I was sprawled out on the floor making myself comfy.
Mickey's Winners
Not the most creative of team names but it does have meaning.  You see Denise and her father "Mickey" Had always talked about running Ragnar before he passed away.  Thus namesake was created in his honor.

It's funny how many of the teams had alcohol related slogans written on their vans considering drinking is strictly forbidden during the race

Half beer half woman.  Does it get any better that?
How to get pulled over at Ragnar

This team was pretty cool but not as cool as the real thing
How embarrassing.  I happened to be wearing that same particular thong.  Maybe  I should put on my kilt instead?
By far the coolest set of support vehicles
Jealousy is and understatement.

Let's get it on
We do pas "the Happiest Place on earth."  But unfortunately the Stone Brewery will not be open that late.  
Up first the "Wiener Dog"  Dan Westergaard"
I was slated for Leg 2 and easy 5 miles down the bike path
As we headed inland the Marine layer was already  starting to burn off.  I was so eager to make a fast exchange I carried my camera with me

I had told my team I was gonna run 7 to 8 minute miles but once I started going I couldnt help running fast.
Here's me being vain taking  a pic as spin my legs  close to 6 min mile.
(It's somewhat remarkable I didn't fall down in the process.)
I was able to pass 9 runners during my leg.  The shirt only lasted about 2 minutes.
There's my leg.  (riveting I know)  I thought I was gonna wear my Orginal Luna's laced traditionally but I was too lazy to put them on.  Instead I went with a prototype sandal  with goat leather top and ATS laces They worked great and I wore them the entire race but I was was barefoot in between all of my legs.

Time to slap the wrist band off to my captain Denise.
After you finish your leg the sweaty dude get's the front seat.
Nice form Denise
Next up was Gordan trying to replicate the "Westergaard shuffle." as he cruised passed Angel Stadium.
Can you spot Dan and I in the reflection?
(boy wouldn't that be fun)
You see some weird things at Ragnar.
The weather was getting warm and thought it was somewhat ridiculous that Luiz was wearing black tights.  But them up strolled this pretty girl wearing the same tights.
(Soon after I think they went and made love in the bushes but my memory is a little fuzzy)
I swear that van sniffing our bumper. Thank god it didn't try to hump our tail pipe.
I don't know the significance of the Panda but I thought it was good drawing plus my nephew loves panda's
While walking around the parking lot I came across some dude wearing Luna's while I was barefoot.  He doing things the opposite of me running barefoot and wearing Huaraches in between.

I crossed paths with my buddy Javier along the way
I like their attitude
I prefer Bourbon myself.
the disco ball was a nice touch
Still jealous!
Which ways the Beach?
A good snot rocket requires a full body extension.  I think I landed this one on my captain's foot.
Those are horses.
Dan keeps on Shuffling
Time for my second leg.  I think it was around 2 in afternoon at the weather felt like it was in 90's.  It took me a little while to get my legs feeling good.  After a short climb I was flying.  Along the way i passed 29 runners.  The only thing that could stop me were traffic lights.  If you timed them right you could pass a group of runners but on more than one occasion I was stopped dead in my tracks. Lucky for me I felt good and averaged around a 6:30 mile.
That's one sexy pig
Hey Gordan whatcha looking at
The heat was stifling and it got to Chris a little bit but he was able to tough it out.
I love Denise but she is one stubborn lady!  She was reluctant to drink water and we needed lower her core temperature.  Solution?
I stuck a handful of ice down the back of her pants.
I think it did the job!
Just before taking off on her leg Denise played a quick game of touchy feelly with her friend and our teams awesome volunteer Mithra.
As the day wore on My body began to feel better and better.
In the midst of running a relay there is plenty of time to enjoy the worlds simple beauties. 
Group photo
Our van was not that impressive  but at least we made an effort.
Our team name began to mutate.
Ragnar at it's finest.
As sun dropped out out of the sky  I ran my third leg a pretty easy 9 miles with a lot of downhill.  By this time we had passed most of the groups in front of us.  I flew passed about 9 teams but for the last few miles I was alone. From the time I started to when I finished the temperature felt like it dropped about 15 degrees.  During one of the downhills I tried spinning my legs as fast as I could  I hit a 4 minute mile pace on my gps shortly after .4 miles  I got big knot in my left hamstring  which was still tight from Boston.  I eased up and  averaged about a 7 minute mile for the entire leg.

By now we were checkpoints were pretty barren.  I think we were about the 5th team to arrive
time to put on our jammies and safety vests.

It was getting chilly, I was tired and thought a nice breeze would help keep me awake.
My 4th leg started after Midnight.  It was less than 4 miles So no reason to throttle back.  We were supposed to stay on sidewalk but I have tough time judgeing the dips in the curb so I ran the street as much as possible.  I only passed one runner but I think I gained some ground on the few teams in front of us.

I wanted to get some rest but It seemed like just minutes before I had to run again (Honestly it was about 2 hours) My next leg was a tough one.  Lack of sleep was catching up with me.

 I was running over a 7 min mile when this dude has the audacity to pass me.  I looked over at him as said "So you wanna run, do you."

I then took off sprinting for all of about 5 minutes before I got a nasty side ache. (what an idiot!).  In no time he passed me and disappeared into the dark.  My stomach was killing me and for the next 2 miles I moved like a snail. Eventually the side ache faded during a long tough climb.  I found my rhythm and almost caught the dude whom had earlier left me in dust.
Ragnar Refugees 
 Chris ran the final leg that night as we rolled into one of the bigger check points at Torrey Pines.  It was here that most of 12 person ragnar teams set up camp for half there team to sleep.

I tried to squeak in some sleep when I could but only managed about 20 minutes throughout the night. 
(plenty of time to sleep when i'm dead)
 As I roamed the parking lot serching for a cup of coffee the rest of my team  chilled in the van.
Hanging with Mr Mc Gibblets
At the next check point I got to meet one of my adult childhood hero's
Time for my final leg and also the longest stretch of the entire race.  This was also the section I ran last year and got lost.  Lucky for me they made a few changes eliminating the part where I had made a wrong turn.  It was only 11 miles although I wasn't feeling very fresh there was no reason hold back.  I found good pace as I cruised coast of San Diego.  My sandals felt very comfortable on my feet and I finished the race in one piece.

I was done racing now it was time to kick back and play some frisbee while the rest of the team finishes the job
(Nice Catch Dan)

We drove to the finishline to wait for Denise.  Last year we met up with her just before coming through this tunnel.  If you just watched that video, you can tell our captain has no sense of direction.
We expected Denise but all we got were vikings
Where the hell is she? Those vikings looked pretty tough but I didn't see any blood stains.

I guess she was following another runner made a wrong turn, ran a little extra and snuck behind us to cross the finish line alone 
We then dragged her back to cross again with team for some staged photo's
Official time 28:25 minutes averaging a 8:23 pace for 203 miles.
(Not too shabby)

5 jerks 1squirt

5 pal's 1 gal
Just like the picture drawn on back of the van
How fitting that the beer waiting for us at the finish line was
After a few Arrogant Bastards I felt like a million bucks.

So how did we do?
Well everyone starts at a different time so it's pretty hard to judge.  Not until three days after the race were the results posted. 

Guess who finished first in the Ultra Division.?

Mickeys  Winner's
(In our second attempt we finally earned our namesake.)
We also finished 28th out 539 most of which had twice as many people running.

Everyone on the team gelled pretty good.  It was a fun race and I look forward to doing it again.  But next time can please be on the French Riviera or maybe Costa Rica perhaps?
Thank you to my team mates for putting up with me and thank you to my captain Denise for bringing us all together.  
Lucky for me I had a few beers (got to make my sponsors happy) and being the responsible dude that I am I refused to drive the van home.  Instead I crashed out pretty hard dreaming of the beautiful naked people I would see the following morning at the
See you next year!