Monday, August 29, 2011

Ragnar Relay-Great River

Weekend before last (the 19th-20th) was Ragnar 2011. Yep. 192 miles of pure running bliss. The premise of Ragnar is you take 12 people in two vans, start running in Winona and don’t stop until you get to Minneapolis.

Here we are, fresh in the morning.


This is our van

Ali, Tiffany, me, Tina, Cathy, Julie, and our driver Jim.


Yes, we had a driver which was beyond sweet. We always luck out with the driver. Our team was Divas and Dudes. We never seem to get that right. Last year we were Divas and a Dude, and we had two guys. This year we are Divas and Dudes, and we only have one guy. Hmmmm. On the back of our shirts is a picture of Paul, who passed away this spring after finishing a marathon. He was our original dude and we miss him. But we had his charming wife Shelly in van one which was great. We love us some Shelly (who, by the way, is often confused with me and vice versa because she is Shelly Melby and I am Sarah Melde. I’d rather be confused with her on a physical basis because she is very petite and cute and always really well put together. No, there is no confusion there….)

Anyway, van one started in Winona at 6:30 AM, and we drove up to Nelson Wi and waited for the runner 6 to come, so we could start. It was getting hot, but not as hot as last year.

It’s pretty in Wisconsin


and there’s our first runner, Ali, with a smile on her face, getting ready to head up the ginormous hill-the highest point in the race.


We ran and ran, waited, and ran some more. DSC01300

This is our final hand off, from Tina to Tiffani, and we went to meet up with Van one again.


For some reason I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but we met up with van 2 after this, and then drove over to Ellsworth WI, grabbed a delicious cheeseburger in a great bar, and went to the next major exchange to grab a few winks. We started running again about 11 PM. I started my 9.2 mile leg at around 11:30. It was out in the country and, may I say, a bit dark. But it was a great run. It was cool, just a few sprinkles, and up hill for the first 5 miles. The last 4 were all down and it was great.

The only problems we had were not the wildlife that we thought we might run into in the country, it’s was the wildlife in the cities-namely the drunks. I guess we must have been running at bar time because Ali ran into a couple of weird looking people, but Tina was actually chased a little by an inebriate, after stopping to help another inebriate who was falling down on her front porch. Jeesh. I guess there was a fest going on in Hudson, where Tina was running at 2:30-3 AM and they had just come out of a day of celebration. I mean, they were staggering all over the streets.

We lost Tiffani in Stillwater, and she finished without the van. For the second year in a row we lost her. Briefly. Jim and I were standing by the bridge waiting for her and watching, what else, a bunch of drunks on the street. Even the two cop cars sitting there didn’t want to deal with them. We saw all that but no Tiffani. They finally called from the finish to ask us where we were, because Tiff was there and we weren’t. Sigh.

We finally got it together and went to our last major exhchange and got some sleep. Well, a couple of hours at least.


A little panorama with the shining sun.


I regret I did not get a picture of Tiffani’s Buzz Lightyear tent. It was just the thing for Ragnar.

I found Patty G though, and got our traditional race picture.


She always looks better than me. OK, so this is 24 hours from the start. I have had about 3 hours of sleep, maybe.

But time to run our last leg.

Ali mentally prepared-


And Nanci came in and started us off-again


I ran after Ali. I thought I had a good run going until the last mile. Then I hit the wall and walked between mile 5 and 6. I was very sad about that. I had to walk during the first leg around mile 5 because of the stinking hill. I need to train a little bit better. I told Cathy she had this leg next year….

So Cathy ran after me down by the Mississippi in St. Paul.

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Cathy handed off to Julie


Over by the railroad tracks….


Julie handed off to Tina, but I don’t have a picture of that. I do have a picture of my lucky sports bra hanging up by the van window.


Just sayin’. This is the heart of Ragnar.

While waiting for Tina, Cathy and I posed for a minute. This is now about 30 hours in. How do we look?


Same spot last year-Ha!


We were so busy looking for Tina to finish that we missed her and off Tiffani went. I really fell down on the picture thing.

So we went to get ice while Tiff was running and we had a big fear that once again, we were going to miss the finish, and this was the big finish so we had to be there.

And we were-


There she is! Running the gauntlet and leading us to the finish-and the beer tent.

I took more pictures sitting here than the whole race!

Cathy and part of Julie-check out those giant Ragnar medals/bottle openers.


Nanci and Katrina

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Nanci, Katrina, Tiffani, Shelly, and Ali trying to hide on the right.

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Nanci, Bri, Tiffani, Shelly and Ali.


Don’t ask.


And so ends another year of Ragnar.

Look out 2012!

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