Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ragnar - Wasatch Back 2012

Yes, we medaled! (Well, that means we finished)

About 8 p.m. 6/14/2012:
Our drivers in Van 2 (AnonymousD and his wife) say they know every McD's between Eden and Heber. (I know one at Kimball Junction. Are there really any more? Oh yeah, I know the one in Heber too.) So I will attempt to live-blog the race - even if rather sporadically over the next two days.

Ragnar - Wasatch Back Course (What was I thinking?)
We just had our carbo-load spaghetti dinner at my daughter's house. She's out of the race with a new baby this year (my 3rd grandson!) so I got her spot. I'm runner no. 8, so I don't have to start until tomorrow mid-day. I have segments of 3.5, 7.0, and 5.5 miles, so I should be just fine. I start in Eden. I guess that's sort of like Father Adam. Then I descend to the lone and dreary world in the middle of the night from that pass over from Snow Basin down into Mountain Green. My last leg is at the south turn crossing a neck of Deer Creek Reservoir.

I have to run my daughter up to Farmington when she gets off work in a bit so she can catch Van 1 as they are sleeping over in Logan tonight. Van 2 gets to sleep in (we aren't sufficiently team-spirited or organized enough to be there at the start). My newly married son is here with his wife to sleep over for him to jump in Van 2 with us tomorrow morning.

I am very grateful to my son-in-law who has done all the logistics. And my other daughter went shopping for our snacks. That's a great ease off my mind when I usually have to be the guy in charge of (or at least worried about) family activities. I've told them all along that I can make my segments running without having to walk. Just tell me when to get out of the van and I'll run 'til I see an exchange-point. Fortunately, I follow my son and hand off to AnonymousD, so I can remember those guys. The team is made up of our family and a nephew with various relatives of my son-in-law and a couple of friends from his neighborhood, including a (lucky  for us) last minute entry with a cousin of my son-in-law to complete our twelve-member team after loosing people to training injuries or other issues.

So, I've got some running around to do before I can sleep to prepare for the running. (I've got to buy some moist towelettes, AKA diaper wipes.)  I'll check in tomorrow morning before we leave.

7:00 a.m. 6/15/2012:
Woke from restless dreams - not about running, but about getting pictures and everything right in the blog. Gotta stop worrying about the computer and concentrate on running. [Actually, prophetic as it turned out.] Van 1 runners are an hour into it. Good luck to them! I'm getting packed up for Van 2 pick-up.

Oh, I do have to add one pic. My nephew, Ph.D. in Physics (and a good runner!), now ready for Ragnar in Van 2:

Not exactly sure what the design is supposed to be.
It looks kind of like Audrey II "Feed me, Seymour!"

10:10 p.m. 6/14/2012:
I found my missing sock! I have three pair of nice running socks (Gold Toe, moisture-wicking, half-ankle). Yesterday when I started to get my gear arranged, I only had one and a half pair. Last night, I found two missing socks while doing laundry. Then, just now, checking my old running gear in a shoe box for an extra pair of shorts, I found the missing sock! No more sock anxieties. Good night!

6:00 p.m. 6/15/2012
First leg, hotter than heck. But I passed SIX people!!! -one that had passed me and another that started before me. I didn’t count those who passed me.

Waiting for my boy to come up was kind of tough, balanced between excitement to run and worry about him (he is my boy). Then I saw him through the field before he made the corner and I started jumping up and down in my bright yellow camiseta da Seleção (t-shirt of the Brazilian National soccer team). The pass-off went smoothly and I took off feeling strong. The wind was blowing hard, mostly from the back which was good, but it was a warm wind sucking up the moisture so it seemed a lot hotter than it was. But I did well. It took a little while for anyone to pass and even longer until I got past anybody. Our Van 2 cheered me on then stopped at a mile and a half and AnonymousD brought me some wonderful water. When they said it was a mile and a half, I thought they meant "to-go," so the next two miles were a little longer than I was expecting.

I could see the end a long way off, a long straight shot. And there was a cruel little up-slope right at the end. But I stayed strong as delirium began to set in right after the endorphins. I could have gone farther, though. [But not too much farther.] AnonymousD was well-placed for the hand-off and I staggered to the Honey Pots catching my breath.

Then it was more fun to watch for a while. AnonymousD did well. And while another team was in the way and messed up the hand-off, it was great to see our young, high school kid, Runner 10, take off shooting ahead of the wind.

My next segment is not running downhill to Mountain Green - but downhill to Henefer. That’s from Hogsback Pass on the Pioneer Trail, so that’s good (and it’s downhill). 

I'm already tired, though. The sun takes a lot out and gives back the kiss of sunburn. The rest is nice though, once we passed on the wrist band to Van 1 (we did find those guys) up at the very crowded Snow Basin. It seems that every runner on the Wasatch Front is now at the Back.

And we're at AnonymousD's because the traffic patterns ended up putting us on I-84 West and by the time we could turn around, we were closer to his house than Morgan High School.

9:00 a.m. 6/16/2012
Live-blog fail.
This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
this ain't no fooling around
It wasn't the running. I made all my segments and never walked. It wasn't the food because our easy-access bagels, peanut butter, cheese, fruits, trail-mix, Power-ade, and sufficient water, were enough to keep us running.
I got some groceries, some peanut butter,
to last a couple of days
But the Talking Heads, "Life in Wartime" kept coming to me as we had moved into survival mode trying to sustain basic life functions as we rushed from one exchange-point to another. After that first, wonderful break at AnonymousD's house, we never got much of a break. The couple of hours at South Summit High School after the literal "run all night" were not adequate.

Part of the problem is age. When I was a teen on Scout or band trips, sure, I could lay out in a sleeping bag on a gym floor and sleep. All I accomplished this time was stepping on some poor girl in the dark gym floor (which I felt terrible about). I thought she was a wrestling mat for our sleeping comfort. (I was a little delirious at that point).

But back to the running:

My second segment of seven miles went well enough even if I dragged a little. My boy had a tough slog of a few miles up from East Canyon Reservoir to the top of Hogsback. It was one of our funnest exchanges, though, in the dark of night with music and a great race announcer who notified of the approaching runners by number and cheered us on with much patter. I headed down the road.

The Ragnar guidebook identifies it as part of the Donner-Reed Trail. While fitting for the survival mode we were entering (it never got that bad), it is also the Mormon Pioneer Trail. I suppose the Donner Party did blaze it, but Mormons used it for a couple of decades and more successfully than that earlier disastrous expedition.

Once I cleared the bright lights of the exchange, I was following Cassiopeia in the brightly starred, moonless sky. The lazy W stayed ahead of me as I ran on down the canyon. The headlamps of the runners and the headlights of the constant stream of support vans cast shadows on the sage down in the dell to my left. I imagined the ghosts of the Donners, Reeds, and much happier Mormons of the ancestral variety.

I wasn't fast as the fact of the middle-of-the-night crept over me. But I made it down. A lot passed me. Then I finally was to Henefer and made a right turn where Scorpio was above me in the sky. That was a good sign because I was able to pass my first runner, then a second, and then trudging along disappointed that the one-mile-to-go sign appeared when I was hoping I had somehow missed it, I spurted just before the exchange to pass four more runners.

Then it was off to Coalville, another home of ancestors where my maternal Grandmother was born. So I had more friendly spirits watching over me in my daze. I dozed only briefly in the car and mostly later in the night-time mental fog of Wanship and Oakley. [And I confirmed with my daughter that there were wrestling mats laid out on the gym floor at North Summit High in Coalville. Obviously, a more civilized place than Kamas.]

Back at Coalville, we were worried about our youngest runner, a cross-country athlete whom my brother-in-law recruited from his neighborhood. And good thing too, because he was a great runner. But he was having stomach troubles and we kept going to look for him to make sure he was at the exchange when AnonymousD came in not to repeat the incident of a couple of Ragnar's ago when D was left hanging at the Coalville exchange for an hour while his hand-off runner and the rest of his van were apparently snoozing. But our young, star runner was in place as D came in and it was just after D's college-aged daughter came up for her volunteer stint reading off numbers.

My next run was after the night of no real sleep (just moments of dozing). And the sun was back. Fortunately it wasn't as hot as the day before, but my energy was already sapped from the obvious lack of sleep and the sunburn of the previous day.

Still, I made my 5.5 mile segment enjoying the gallows humor that my support van passed me at about mile 2 without noticing me, so they missed the water drop we had planned. Fortunately, there were enough kind people along the bright, warm, morning route to Midway offering water and a hose spray-down now and then. And at the exchange point, I surged passed a guy I had been hoping to pass for about the last three miles.

AnonymousD and wife after his mountain run
Leap-frogging AnonymousD up the mountain, I was sure glad I hadn't volunteered for a strenuous segment. It was rather amazing. In my days of Marathon training and serious trail running a few years back, I could have made a climb like that. But not now. Maybe with some more training . . . .

Our cross-country star took the exchange from D and flew up the rest of the mountain. The course turned just before Guardsman Pass to drop into Park City. Our runner could have made it even faster but he held back a little at the end seeing the high pass above tree-line and thinking he had to go all the way up there.

Earlier during the adventure, my wife texted me a one-word message, "Fun?" I responded philosophically:
"Challenging adventure. Not exactly fun is the right term."
Her follow-up:
"Glad you are doing it?"
"later, for sure. Now? yeah. Pretty much. No stress or anxiety just exhaustion."
We made it is the important thing. All our runners did well. I was especially pleased with my own son and daughter.

Last night I slept about 11 hours. I'm not sure that was enough but it's Sunday and my wife is out of town so at least I can sleep a little in church.

1 comment:

  1. Saw some runners going through my neighborhood this morning--the ones I saw were at the back of the pack. Earlier in the morning, I could hear neighbors cheering people on. Good luck!


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