I run happy.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ragnar Relay #1 … Vail Lake Ultra Trail Race

Ahhhhhh!  Barely a month and a week after my last marathon,  a crew of three fast runners(and me), took on a Ragnar Relay race in the hilliest terrain I've run,  in the dark,  for over 24 hours.

Let it be stated here and NOW…

1.   I need 10 hours of sleep at night, at least.

2.  Relays scare me.  Am I going to let these peeps down?  What if I want to quit and can't?  What if I'm the slowest of the group and they all "play nice" and secretly sigh and click elbows when they see the results?  What if I can't run around the clock, what if I'm cold, what if I get grumpy and start to cry…what if, what if, what if.

3.  I like anything cozy once the sun goes down.  Bed, pillows, yellow afghan,  husband, Jack Russell Terrier.

4.  My legs have been TIRED and lifeless since St. George.

Despite my above frailties, irrational fears and whining,  I DID want to do this race.  My three Andaleg Peeps are some of my favorites; honest, fun, uplifting and enthusiastic.  PLUS,  my passion and LOVE for running in the dark would be addressed at this race and I knew it would be a night filled with light from a full moon, TRAILS, hills and magic.  Magic happens when you run at night, under the moonlight.  Time stands still.  The world closes in and life just seems a little smaller.  You feel a little smaller, some how less significant.  I think we could all use a little dose of feeling the humbleness of feeling smaller.  It puts everything in perspective and leaves one grateful for the light of day and new beginnings.  Ah, so philosophical…

Anyway,  the race started at 4 p.m.  We camped out on a HUGE grassy knoll that faced the gorgeous Vail Lake.  I really don't think it was THAT gorgeous, I'ves seen some hot lakes, but the whole vibe was SO Ragnar that you couldn't help but take in beauty.
Spice Cake aka Chi Chi


 Solid Rock and Chi Chi
 Go Chi Chi!
 JosA and JosB
 Go Dawg!

Masters of Disaster Team!

The plan was for the four members of our Andaleg Team to take on 3 loops, 2 times.  The green loop was the first, the yellow the second and ending with the red.  Green and red loops were HILLY both down and up.  WALKING was a given in parts and grabbing onto bushes and plants as you climbed was often necessary.  Down hill was rugged, rocky, slippery and often scary as you navigated trails and roads covered with three inches of powdery dust.  You never really knew what was under that dust and with the headlamp light,  I often imagined seeing small rocks, boulders and trees under the film.  Scary at times but also thrilling.  Close to 30 miles in 24 hours.

Each loop ended with my Solid Rock cheering me in, congratulating me on the time and whisking me off to change into dry clothes.  I hit our camp totally HIGH on the night running and complementing the trail.  I respected those trails and because I never FELL, TRIPPED or got lost,  I wanted to marry them.  I will definitely go back to reignite the flame next year…being that I formed a love affair with this race. Don't worry, Solid Rock is well aware,  I haven't STOPPED talking about this race all week.  Anyhoo,  once changed into my next dry running outfit,  I'd head to "the couch," snuggle in with my BRP(best running partner)or with one of the guys and rest up for the next loop.  DID I MENTION THE HEAT LAMP???  A priority for any night relay runner…it ran on propane and heated us on that little couch all night. I wanted to marry the heat lamp too.    We felt like we were in our living room gazing out at the stars, surrounded by 200 tents and even more crazy runners and support crew.

On into the night we ran,  mostly running alone on desolate peaks and through valleys…where I experienced the MAGIC of the night.  As I headed up a long winding hill,  the valley was suddenly filled with moonlight and one by one,  the runners up ahead turned off their headlamps.  We all wanted to feel that isolation and smallness that only night running can bring.  As I crested the top of the hill, the lights had been popped back on as we flew down the other side, eager to finish the yellow loop.

Goals were met.  Dreams were realized.  Friendships reinforced.  A marriage filled with some more love, respect and fun.

Special thanks to Trasie, Team Andalegs Captain, BRP, and especially the Solid Rock who served, cheered, ran a loop with me and paced me to a better time with his fresh legs, fresh attitude and loving support.

Recovery you ask?  Always a slippery thing when you're 48 years old and have just run two races over marathon distance within a month or two.
1.  Legs are tired
2.  Lack of sleep fatigue lasted 6 days
3.  Massage, acupuncture, foam rolling over the last week

Grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this fun…Happy Thanksgiving!  Run towards your dreams.


  1. I've done a couple of relays and both times I was exhausted and yet high as a kite for at least a week. I think that some of the euphoria is from the putting all those doubts that you had beforehand to rest.

  2. Meg - I love reading this. It sounds like an amazing and memorable night and day - how wonderful. And how strong you are! Hope Solid Rock is helping you recover well.. XX