Friday, April 20, 2012

Ragnar Relay Florida Keys

Back in January, I ran the Ragnar Florida Keys relay. I don't want to oversell this, but this was the best. race. ever. I was a little apprehensive going into it - I was running with a group of complete strangers. And we were not only running the race, but then spending several days in Key West after the race before coming home. A normal person probably would have said no, but I've never made any claims to be normal. And I hate Minnesota in January. A serial killer could have asked me to go to Florida for a week and I would have said yes. First, the running. I was the first running in Van 2. My first leg was 5.5 miles starting at the Miami zoo at around 12:30 Friday afternoon. Most of the route was along a busy road with lots of traffic and very little shade. Holy hot. In the winter in Minnesota, I am used to running in cold cold weather, bundled up, trying to avoid my eyelashes freezing to my face. In Florida in January? The frozen eyelashes aren't so much of a concern.
After all the runners in our van finished, we headed to the next big exchange point, which was in Key Largo. We ate a real meal at a restaurant. Some of us (not me) took showers and changed clothes. Lots of people were sleeping inside in a dark gymnasium. I laid outside for a while and rested, and then a little bit in the van, but didn't really get any sleep. My second leg was 10 miles, and I started running around midnight. Running wise, this was my best leg - I felt strong, I didn't feel like the sun was going to scorch me. It was dark and creepy in some spots (and I think I stepped on a snake), but still. It was good. The night time hours while our van was "on" were so fun - we were all a little punch drunk from the lack of sleep and the running and the experience and it was pure goofiness. I was so tired, but all the laughing really helped keep me awake. At the next big exchange point, I was able to sleep for a couple of hours in the van and then loll around on the grass eating breakfast. My third and final leg was just over 4 miles, and started again right around noon. It was so hot. There was absolutely no shade. And my legs were pretty toasted by this time - getting chilled after my night-time run didn't help matters. At one point my van-mates stopped to give me a drink of water and cheer me on and I may have flipped them off and said, "Fuck this running shit." So appropriate, I know. Once we got into Key West, our entire team ran into the finish with our final runner. So much fun. And then the party started. When I envisioned vacationing with total strangers, I thought - I will catch up on my sleep, relax by the pool, read, maybe go for some runs. What actually happened?
You'd think the last thing you would want to do after running for 24+ hours straight is engage in an all night dance party. Wrong. Dancing = perfect running recovery. Clearly. We did do some relaxing by the beach on Sunday. And then another all night dance party. Monday, several of us went on a bike tour of Key West, which was really fun.
And we had a coconut party.
The whole trip, from the race to the vacation, was just amazing. I'm so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone a little and said yes to the unknown. Not only was it an amazing time, but I got to know a few ladies who have become, in such a short time, very good friends. Relieving the trip by posting this makes me nostalgic - good thing we are planning are next adventure for Ragnar Napa Valley in 2013. :) Have a great weekend!

1 comment:

Christine said...

Sounds awesome!! So many people are doing relays now, but I'm concerned the lack of sleep will make me super cranky. I don't want to be a party pooper! I think I need to try though, sounds like so much fun!