I survived my third Ragnar! A week ago right now, I was trying not to drop my phone into the depths of a porta-potty while hovering for a final pee before my first run.
As of now, my aches and pains have mostly healed, although I do still have a fist-sized bruise on my right ass-cheek from when we were driving somewhere in North Phoenix in the middle of the night and went over a giant, unexpected dip in the road. My head hit the roof of the SUV and I came down on the seatbelt. That counts as a running injury, right? I’ll refrain from posting a picture here, but you can send me a message if you want to be added to my distribution list of people who I regularly text such things. You probably want to consider the commitment carefully, though. Just ask my sister, husband and girlfriends. There are things you can’t unsee.
Ragnar 2014 went as it tends to for me: I’m a little nervous the first run, by the second I’ve settled firmly into ‘Why the fuck am I doing this again?’, and by the third I hate everyone and every thing right until about halfway through when I LOVE EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING. It’s always an abrupt and euphoric shift. This year my final run was right at sunrise, which (I cannot stress this enough) is the motherfucking best. I ran East, downhill and got to watch the sun peek up from behind Four Peaks:
I’m not sure life gets better than that. Like I think it goes:
3. Bottomless mimosas
2. Ryan Gosling in that scene from Crazy, Stupid, Love where he recreates the Dirty Dancing lift
1. This run
It was really nice to end on a positive note, because my second run was really brutal. Let’s recount the unpleasantness, shall we?
#1: It was at 10:30 p.m. and I fell asleep in the van for 20 minutes right before I had to run. So when my teammates woke me up to get out and head to the transition area, I wasn’t even sure where I was or who they were. They handed me a head lamp and I put it on backwards.
#2: I was so out of it, I didn’t realize I had to pee until we got to the transition area, within about 45 seconds of the runner before me coming in. I asked where the porta-potties were set up and the volunteer just pointed the exact opposite direction about a quarter mile down the road.
#3: Instead of sucking my pee back up into my body and using it as hydration like my sister suggested, I bailed into the porta-potty like a minute and a half into my run. My team probably would have won if I hadn’t done that.
#4: About a mile into the run I got passed. Normally I don’t care that much when people pass me because, whatever, I’m slower than some and faster than some and it is what it is. But the team I was on this year ended up being FAST. So… on our team I wasn’t slower than some and faster than some, I was just slower than all. And they kept talking about ‘kills’, which is apparently what you call it when you pass someone (I’m so slow no one even ever explained to me this was a thing before). So by that point all I could think about when I got passed was how much murdered I was being. And then there was the fact that this guy had one leg and was running with a blade. I got killed, by a guy with one leg.
#5: As I was finishing mile four, the course turned on to a desert trail. There was a big light and an old dude wearing a reflective vest who looked angry and exhausted. He just pointed up.
#6: By halfway up this hill I had caught back up to the guy with one leg and when we crested the top and started to run down, I was ready to pass him. But I had to have this internal debate with myself first:
Me: Ew, is it super dickish to pass a guy who is clearly having more trouble with the rocky, downhill terrain than I am because he’s wearing a blade and has one leg?
Also Me: It’s probably more dickish and condescending to not pass him because you feel bad for the fact that he has one leg.
Me: Ugh, that’s true. And I’m breathing down his neck right now.
Also Me: And there was that guy in the Olympics who had two blades! He’s way faster than you!
Me: And then he killed his girlfriend.
Also Me: I wonder if this guy feels like that guy gives amputee runners a bad name.
Me: Maybe I should ask him.
Also Me: Or just pass him already and get on with his miserable run. He’s probably going to pass you later again anyway. You can ask him then.
#7: After about a mile of running through the darkness on a rocky path in the middle of the desert, I passed a girl wearing a schoolgirl skirt and crying. She said, “We have less than two miles left! How will we get back to the road?” to me despondently as I passed.
#8: When the end of the run (and the lighted street) was finally in sight and I started to think I maybe wouldn’t die out in the desert alone and eaten by coyotes, the one-legged guy passed me again. I was too tired and depressed to ask him about his feelings on Oscar Pistorius.
I did make it to the end, though and I got to have that glorious final run. It was a fun Ragnar and a really fantastic team. Go Team Hair of the Jog:
I’ll prolly do it again next year.