Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Runner 4 of 12 Aching Up to Vegas

The weekend's Las Vegas Ragnar could be summed up into the following:

  • A long stretch of incredible anticipation
  • The runs
  • Wet dreams
  • Ultimate climax...finally!
I'm sure the search engines will love this.

A Long Stretch of Anticipation
Several months ago, a friend invited me to join his Ragnar team after several other members dropped out. I wasn't going to let another Ragnar opportunity pass me by so I immediately, announced it to the family, put it on the calendar in big bold letters, hired a marketing company to remind family and co-workers regularly, burned it into my lawn accepted the invitation. After my utter failure at the SoJo marathon, I needed something to get the desire back. I needed time with fellow running enthusiasts who wouldn't roll their eyes at another running story, who knew the value of carbo-loading, that didn't mind a little sweat on the car seats. I needed a relay! Last Thursday, we loaded up the van and headed to Mesquite.

The race started in the Valley of Fire. Staying in Mesquite offered us a cheap place to stay and a decent buffet. The hotel was definitely cheap, but a new coat of paint had been slapped on the walls and the room seemed relatively clean. The buffet was surprisingly good. There was a fresh pasta bar where a cook prepared the desired toppings on the spot. Combined with some decent protein options, a little fresh fruit and dessert, the buffet was a good choice for the night before. Our team was "Aching up to Vegas."

The Runs
We chose which leg we would run at a pre-race meeting we held two months ago. I chose to be runner #4 which meant I ran a 6.4 (52:46/8:17 pace), 3.1 (23:09/7:28 pace), 6.9 (55:27/8:03 pace) mile legs during the course of the race. My goal was to be under 8:00 on each leg that I ran and to see if I could get under 7:30 for the 3.1 mile leg at night. It worked out to be pretty close to that.

We couldn't have asked for better weather. The skies were overcast with highs in the low to upper 60s the entire race. The course was very easy to follow during the day and more difficult to follow at night. 

My second leg was at 10:30 pm in the dark. The course was probably really easy to follow during the day, but at night it was extremely difficult. After the initial turn, there were no makers on the road and no one to follow. I passed one person and asked if we were headed the right direction. He shrugged and said "I hope so..." I continued on until finally I came upon a sign telling me to turn. 

In order to fully appreciate
this photo, you must click
the link to the right.
Again, the directions were a little sketchy, but I made it to the trail portion and found a good strong rhythm. At the end of the trail was a 4 foot drop. I'm glad I had studied the course beforehand and was away of the drop or it could have been a disaster for me. I celebrated my outstanding run with a Jack in the Box Sirloin burger combo....I attribute this and my secret Mundungus training strategy to my last leg of the race and 29 "road kills".

Wet Dreams**
During the course of the runs, we all experienced the wet dream portion of our race. After we all finished our second leg, we passed off the baton to van #2 and then drove to where they would meet us. We had approximately 6 hours before they arrived which would allow us time to get to the exchange point and hopefully get some sleep. We parked, found a nice patch of grass, put down our tarp and crawled in our sleeping bags. I remember warming up, starting to drift off and then all of a sudden I hear a noise and people shouting "SPRINKLERS".... I grabbed my gear dragged it down the hill to a non-sprinkler spot, crawled into my bag again only to hear "SPRINKLERS"... the lower set now were on. At this point, I'm wet, my gear is wet and i'm now settled onto the cold, hard cement. A few minutes later, Annie from our van told us we could sleep in the little community center if we had gotten wet. I knew it had to be better than the cement. The volunteers in the center were nice and loud, but there wasn't much sleep to be had.

The Ultimate Climax...Finally!
Being van #1, we finished our last leg several hours before the other van was ready to meet us so we could cross the finish line together. We made our way to our hotel, got showered, picked up some food and had time for a short nap before meeting our team at the finish. It was an awesome experience to run through the finish together and receive our finisher medals. And talk about a medal...this monster is bigger than any other finisher medal I have "'s got it's own solar system!"***

* Road kills are runners that team members pass during the course of the relay. 
** If you're looking for something more–you perv.
*** Name that quote and maybe i'll send you a ShotBlok snack. 


  1. Nice report Blaine. I've been experiencing post race depression all week. We'll have to schedule a Saturday run soon.

  2. ***So I Married an Axe Murderer. Point for Annie! And that was the wettest dream I've ever had. Fantastic race report. Definitely helps with the PRD.