Oh Dear Ragnar-Wasatch Back Relay! How I loved you!
The Line Up:
Leg 1-Doran Shelley
Leg 2-Jody Shelley
Leg 4-Jessica Thurber
Leg 5-Liz Tennyson
Leg 6-Taralee Trammell
I was on a team created by Kevin Papa Kunz from my Facebook Group called Runner's Anonymous.
He organized two teams and we would be the Alpha Team, Van #1.
Our team consisted of 1 guy and 5 women. I wondered if he knew what he was getting himself into. I actually was wondering what I was getting myself into?? How was I going to function on little to no sleep and then still have to run on top of that??
Leg 1-Doran Shelley
Leg 2-Jody Shelley
Leg 4-Jessica Thurber
Leg 5-Liz Tennyson
Leg 6-Taralee Trammell
We started by meeting at Jody's house, where we loaded up the ice chests and coolers with food and goodies. This is where our whole team would be spending the night. Jody is such a sweetheart to open her home to all of us. I got to meet three brand new people who would be hanging out in the same van as me for the next 36 hours. I had previously met these three new ladies only through talking on Facebook and so it was fun to now meet them in person. They seemed happy, energetic and ready for the challenge. None of us had ever run Ragnar before and so this was going to be a new venture for all.
Papa Kunz had made reservations at a nice restaurant in Logan called Elements. The two teams-Van 1's met here to get to know each other a little more and get a nice meal in before our early morning race start. Van 2's would meet up at our first major exchange in Eden on Friday afternoon.
|Jessica-Leg 4, Liz-Leg 5, Me-Leg 3|
Doran-Leg 1, Jody-Leg 2, Taralee-Leg 6
Elise and Papa Kunz-Founders and Organizers of EVERYTHING Runner's Anonymous related. And just super awesome people to boot!
|At the first exchange waiting for Doran to come in and Jody is feeling a little nervous I think. She looks cute in her bright orange top. We shouldn't have any problem seeing her out on the road.|
|You can do this mama!|
|Oh here he comes! Good job Doran!|
|See ya down the road Jody!|
We headed back to the van to go cheer on Jody and I saw this fun friend of mine, Angie Pace. She was also runner 3. I would see her van out there many times throughout the race.
|Back in the van and ready to go! Let's go find Jody!|
|Whatcha drinking in there? Looks like it tastes nasty!|
We picked up Jody at exchange 2 and then I headed off to do my thing. I ran from the little town of Hyrum to Paradise. I told the van I wanted them to sing "I've got two tickets to paradise" when they saw me running. I think they forgot. The run was beautiful. It was still early and cool in the morning. I saw a few horses and cows along the way and enjoyed my music on the ipod.
At the next exchange I slapped off the bracelet to runner 4, Jessica.
|Go get em' little lady!|
Back in the van and chilling out after a nice run. Taralee is just hanging out in the back patiently waiting for her leg 6 run. You gotta love the custom made curtains and curtain rod that Jody and Doran made special just for this journey. They would have brought the kitchen sink too if there was a way.
Looking down into Eden Valley. This was absolutely a beautiful sight after having come over Avon Pass.(Dusty and dirty) There was a tiny fire going on to the left of this photo I didn't get a picture of. The police and firetrucks actually had to close down the course for a little while to get vehicles up to the area. Luckily, we were passed that before it happened to us. If you look all down this road you can see little tiny people looking like ants. I was so amazed at how many people we always saw along the course. Never a moment when you don't see people.
Jody just having a special moment. Special people have special moments right?
M&M's anyone? Why yes, thank you very much!
Taralee just coming down off of that mountain behind her. She rocked it!
Gotta love the orange flag. Such a necessity for getting across the roads to help your runner.
|Van 1 and 2 of the Alpha Team at the major exchange in Eden, Utah.|
After meandering around Snow Basin and watching runners come in to leg 11 exchange and then head up into the hills for a trail run before they came back to the major exchange of 12 I headed back to the van and took a snooze. I think I may have been lucky to get 45 minutes sleep.
Van 2's final runner came into the major exchange and off Doran went. It was now time for van 1 to move into the action again. Here we go!! Doran started us off by running a very SWEEEEEET downhill run out of Snow Basin. Can I just say I was having runner envy at this point? I love downhill running and he was getting to enjoy lots of it. Only problem was we were stuck in a long line of vans watching all the runners go by and traffic wasn't moving. I was driving at this point and pretty nervous he was going to beat us to the next exchange. He had 8.2 miles to do and so we were fine and made it with about 20 minutes to spare and then he came screaming into the exchange.
|The moon had an expression of "What are all you crazy people down there doing?"|
Liz is ready to go waiting for Jessica to come in.
Jody has some VERY generous friends who live in Kamas right on the main highway where the relay would run by. They were out camping for the weekend and offered us their entire home for showering and sleeping until our next exchange. Our major exchange where we finished was at Echo State Park. Taralee had a very challenging long leg here which allowed us some extra time. I was just so blasted tired and it was dark outside so I was catching some zzzzzz's in the back of the van. Sorry Taralee, that I wasn't cheering more for you. After we picked her up at the major exchange we headed down the road for what seemed like hours to get to this house. When in reality it was probably only an hour away. We quickly unloaded our stuff and I showered and blow dried my hair and climbed into bed. I set the alarm to wake me up in 3 1/2 hours. I remember tossing and turning and freezing. I was dreaming we were frantically rushing to our exchanges and missing our runners. Even in sleep my mind was still living the relay. When the alarm went off I just couldn't believe we had to get up and continue doing this crazy adventure. I had some cold oatmeal (their microwave was broken), and a bagel with cream cheese. We rushed Doran down to the major exchange to start his next leg. I have no photos of him and Jody's final leg. Jody didn't share any with me from her camera so you can just use your imagination.
Doran started at about 6:30 am and it was freezing outside. The sun hadn't come up over the mountain yet but it was a beautiful, and chilly morning. I had a hard time imagining van 2 out there all through the night running their legs while we were sleeping. But they did it and showed up at our next major exchange. We were all wimps and stayed in the van, except Jody. She was a good supporter and saw her man off. We stopped a couple times along the way offering cheers and support. We had a little trouble getting into the exchange for Jody to start and ended up making Doran wait a few minutes for us to get there. Sorry about that Doran. Jody was off and had a short little run of about 3.3 miles. So after seeing her one time along the course Doran hurried to get me to my last starting point and then went back to make sure she was alright. She was having some MAJOR feet pain. Poor girl. She had a dream too that she was running pain free and was loving it. I hope her dreams can be true really quickly.
Mike Porter. I have seen him at a few races throughout the year and admire his determination and spirit. I also really like his last name. Always reminds me of my Porter.
This would be the leg I was NOT looking forward to. I have driven this road before and knew there would be some climbing up around Jordanelle Reservoir. I am not a good climber. Slow and steady is all I can strive for.
This exchange had NO VAN SUPPORT. So like I always do, I wore my water belt and said see ya later! There were water stops along the way too which was helpful. Nice of my team to honk and wave as they drove by. This was a tough leg and I definitely thought a lot about my own little Porter during this time. I also thought about this being my last leg and the great time I had running this relay. I couldn't believe it was almost over for me and I was getting a bit emotional. I was so tired and wanted to be done, yet I didn't. Hard to explain, really. There's just something about this experience that is hard to explain. Until you go through it you don't fully comprehend the challenge mentally, and physically. Then there's the friendships and bonding that happens that only those 5 other people experience with you. Truly an amazing journey!
|But now here I come into the end of my journey and the tears wouldn't stop. Emotional I was, I tell ya.|
So happy, yet so sad to be done with my portion of the relay.
Well, no time for dawdling. We had to get out there and support Jessica and get to the next exchange.
|And here she comes finishing up her final leg!|
See ya later Liz!
Daddy and Mama Shelley just enjoying the morning and being together and knowing they are done too! Check out the dude behind them in green undies! Yikes, you'd never catch me in a garb like that!
Jessica and Taralee getting ready to go cheer on Liz and get to the next exchange.
Here's Liz finishing her last leg and Taralee ready to take on her last leg!
She's wearing our Runner's Anonymous shirt well, with the logo on the back.
What a cute lady!
Doran-leg 1, Jody-leg 2, Susette-leg 3, Jessica-leg 4, Liz-leg 5, Taralee-leg 6
We headed back to the van and then went shopping at a local market in Midway, Utah. Jody needed some special licorice that only can be bought here. Remember I told you earlier she was special. Special friends need special licorice and we were on a quest to find it!
We were then going to be spoiled immensely by Kevin "Papa" and his cute wife Elise. They had a condo reserved for both teams, 24 people to get to enjoy at some point along the relay. Well, now it was our turn to head there for a shower, breakfast, and relaxing and hopefully sleep.
Elise fed us pancakes, bacon, eggs, fruit, and juice. Heavenly I tell ya! Thank you sooooooooooooo very much to this sweet couple!!
Just hanging out here in the condo. Our second team, Beta had just arrived and were enjoying breakfast now too.
What a cute little dude, Elise's grandson.
See that computer up there on the counter? That's the magic spreadsheet that "Papa" would keep updated as we posted our times out there on the course. This was his headquarters and he was doing an awesome job keeping track of all of us.
Ok, Ok, we can be serious now
And 36 hours 06 minutes and 36 seconds later we are DONE!!! What a fantastic journey together!
Elise and Papa Kunz.
Uh oh, maybe I'm in trouble after all.