Ragnar Relay Del Sol – Race Recap!

Thursday after work, Ryan, K, and I headed up to Chandler, AZ, and stayed with one of K’s friends.  We went to a New York style pizza place and had some SUPER YUMMY pizza for dinner before heading back for an early bedtime.

Friday morning we were up by 0315 and out the door before 0400.  We drove to the finish area and parked and several other team members from RUN dmC met up and we all headed to Wickenburg to the start line and to meet up with the other 6 runners from our team.  The safety briefing for Van 1 was at 0630 and our first runner headed out at 0730.  We all cheered her on and then went our separate ways.  Van 1 was the active van, and Van 2 (the van K and I were in with Ryan as our driver) went to the hotel that most of Van 1 had stayed at the previous night.  We were able to warm up some and so some stretching before we checked out and headed to a little diner around the corner for breakfast.  After we had had our fill, we headed to Exchange 6 where Van 2 would take over with runners 7-12.  We got our van decorated using window paint marker things.  We got checked in and received our safety briefing at Exchange 6 and then waited for Van 1 to arrive and runner 6.  Once she arrived, she handed the slap bracelet (our "baton") off to Ke and he was off.  Then the fun began!  We’d pull up ahead of K a ways and wait and cheer him on and then we headed to Exchange 7.  Ke handed off to Kr (my usual K) and she was off.  The drive to Exchange 8 was AWFUL – had to drive on a dirt/gravel washboard road with tons of potholes.  We barely made it to Exchange 8 before Kr got there and Cl didn’t have much time to get ready to go.  But off he went on his 9+ mile run and we headed to Exchange 9 where I got ready to run my first time.  When Cl arrived, I was ready and when he slapped the bracelet on my wrist, I was off on my 8.5 mile run.  About a mile in, a stone decided to hop into my shoe, but I stopped right away and dumped it out.  I walked a bit a the water stop and took in a GU packet and then after mile 4 I had to hit the bushes on the side of the road for a pit stop.  The second half of my run had a 300 foot elevation gain and I took quite a few walk breaks to help get me through it.  I finished my leg in 1:48:51, a 12:48 pace.  Not bad considering the stops and the walk breaks and the up hill.  I handed off to L and she handed off to Ch and then Van 2 handed back off to Van 1.

After our hand off to Van 1, we headed to Exchange 18 where there was a yummy spaghetti dinner/fund raiser and also a gym floor that we could sleep on.  We ended up right by the door and the door squeaked every time it opened and closed – which was a lot.  And since it was a regular gym floor, when people walked around, it sounded like a herd of elephants.  But I still managed to get some sleep – thanks in part to my drugs that I was on since I decided to get sick Thursday right before the race.  Nice timing with that.  Van 1’s driver was in contact with Ryan and kept us posted as to how their runners were doing and about an hour before runner 6 was due in to the exchange, Ryan made sure we were all up and ready to go.  I got some coffee and headed out to the van to put my sleeping bag and pillow back in there.

We awaited K (runner 6) and soon she handed off to Ke and we began round 2.  This round was our "middle of the night" legs and Ke headed out about 0200.  He handed off to Kr and she to Cl and him to me.  This leg was 4.6 miles and I had to run "blind".  My Garmin decided that it wasn’t going to have any battery left after my first 8.5 miles – very odd seeing as how I’ve used it for 8 hours straight before.  So I used my stopwatch on my watch and went from there.  I rather enjoyed running by myself in the middle of the night.  It was strangely peaceful.  Sure, there were other runners out on the course, but for the most part, it was just me in my little circle of light from my head lamp.  The course was an overall uphill again, but there were a few short downhills before going up again.  This was my best leg of the 3, even though I still had walk breaks in it.  And I’m thankful it was a supported leg – meaning the van could stop and give me water, etc.  I started with my Garmin on, but it died and when I saw the van I asked them to stop and I gave my Garmin to Ryan.  Then I asked them to stop somewhere after mile 2 and they did.  When I got there, I got another cough drop and a couple of sips of gatorade.  I finished this leg in 53:16, an 11:35 pace!  And then after L and Ch ran, we got to hand it off to Van 1 again.

After that hand off, we headed to Exchange 30 and I was able to get more sleep.  The floor here was slightly padded so you couldn’t hear people walking around and the door stayed open.  I slept good until Ryan woke me up when Van 1 was about an hour and a half out.  I got some pancakes from the fund raiser they had going on there – pancakes and grilled cheese.  We awaited Van 1 and once we had taken over and Ke had headed out again for his 3rd and final run, we headed out as well.  Ke’s course was super hilly, but he did really well with it and handed off to Kr one last time.  She did really well with her last run as well and handed off to Cl and he handed off to me.  I had really been looking forward to this 3rd leg since on the elevation map it showed it was downhill.  Well, it went on a multi-use path through a park, and it had some rolling hills.  Definitely nothing like what Ke had, but still not what I had expected.  I threw in walk breaks every 5 minutes from the start and just enjoyed the route.  The park was beautiful and there was a lake in it that I got to run around.  It wasn’t so much fun trying not to step in the duck poop, but it was still really nice.  Once out of the park, I had to wait for a few traffic lights (it wasn’t a closed course – meaning they didn’t stop traffic or block off the roads), but the one that frustrated me the most was the second to last one.  We were about to get our walk signal (another runner was waiting with me) and then we heard the sirens.  It wasn’t an emergency.  It was a funeral procession.  Just great.  At least it wasn’t a super long one – only maybe 15 cars.  So that added probably 3 minutes to my time before I finally finished.  But that longer break did allow me to have quite the kick at the end for my last hand off to L!  I finished my last leg, 3.8 miles, in 47:24, a 12:28 pace.  After L had handed off to Ch, we headed to the finish line to meet up with the rest of the team!!

We all found each other and waited at a designated location for Ch and when she arrived, we all crossed the finish line together!!  All 14 of us – 12 very tired but elated runners and 2 super awesome and tired drivers!  It was really cool having them announce our team name as we crossed the finish line!  Then they got some pics of our team and we waited in line for other pics.  Our team finished 197 miles in 32 hours, 57 minutes, and 47 seconds – 2 hours ahead of our projected finish time!!  We were 264th overall (out of 306) and 117th out of 141 in our division (Open Mixed Regular).  For full results, click FULL RESULTS – you can see all the creative team names as well.  It had been an AMAZING 33 hours together and although we were all tired and sore and some of us sick, I think the majority of us want to do it again next year!!  We were definitely thankful for our two drivers, Ryan and M.  Many of the teams didn’t have dedicated drivers and the runners had to rotate driving duty as well as running.  Not fun.  Our drivers made sure we were where we needed to be when we needed to be there and I don’t think we missed a single hand off!

After getting our finisher medals and team pics, some of us made some purchases in the little shop they have set up.  I got a cute t-shirt and then we headed back to the vans for our farewells.  Ryan and K and I headed  back to K’s friend’s house and we headed out for pizza again, at a different place.  It wasn’t nearly as good as Thursday night’s pizza, but it wasn’t bad.  Then it was back to the house for showers and sleep!

Sunday morning we "slept in" – we were all up by 0800 and after getting packed up, we headed out.  We went to Golden Corral for breakfast – the one there wasn’t nearly as good as the one here in Sierra Vista – and then we headed home.  After dropping K off at home, we headed out to post to pick Robert up from J & L’s house, where he had stayed for the weekend.

GAFPB Pistol Qualification

After a good workout at PT this morning and my usual getting-ready time after PT, I headed out to the range for pistol qualification for the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge.  We had to shoot at 3 targets with a 9mm pistol, one shot in each target and then the last two shots in any two targets.  The first time I tried, I got two shots in each of two targets and missed the third target, so that’s not even qualified.  The second time I went out, I got 5 shots out of 5 in the targets and that’s what I needed to qualify for the gold badge!!  Then after lunch (and stopping by the school to give Robert his midday meds), we had a class about the Consideration of Others and that was pretty much it for the day.  I did do a little bit of work in my admin office though before heading to the track at the gym for a little bit with K.  We did a 400 m. warmup and then did 100 m sprints to practice for the sprint part of the GAFPB.  We have to run the 100 in 17 seconds or less.  All three times we tried today, we ran in 21 seconds.   Things we have going for us Monday – we won’t have done PT in the morning. We won’t have been at the pistol range. We won’t have been at work. We’ll be coming off a high from the weekend (RAGNAR!!!!). We’ll have "race day" adrenaline. And we’ll have people cheering for us. And hopefully it won’t be windy. We were running directly into the wind for 2 of the 3 tries (tried it the other way just to see).  So hopefully on Monday when we do this for real we’ll be able to knock those 4 seconds off.  After we were done at the track, we headed home.   I picked Robert up on my way home and then after a shower, we went to McDonald’s for dinner before coming home to relax for the evening – and pack for tomorrow.  Time for bed now. . .

Today’s high:  62
Current:  46

Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage

The Chaplains on post paid for a weekend-long marriage retreat at the J.W. Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson.  You really need to check out that link to get a small feel for the AMAZING place we stayed at.  We went up a little early on Friday and did some shopping before checking into the resort.  Friday evening was some administrative announcements and we got our $40 registration fee back.  Saturday morning we were up early for breakfast at 0730 – very nice buffet with lots of good food.  After breakfast  we dropped Robert off at the child care provided and headed to our sessions.  It was led by a Family Life Chaplain from post, but the majority of the stuff was from a video series (and also a book by the same name) called "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage" by Mark Gungor.  He’s a pastor, a pilot, and a stand up comedian, and he presents the information in a humorous way.  Saturday morning was really good and then at lunchtime we went and got Robert from child care for the lunch buffet and then we had family time in the afternoon.  It was REALLY windy, but we had promised Robert that we’d go to the lazy river and the pools.  We went around the lazy river once – the water was nice since it was heated, but the wind was crazy.  So we went and sat in a hot tub (there were 3 of them at the resort) for almost an hour.  It was relaxing despite the wind.  Then we went up and just hung out in our room until it was time to bring Robert back to child care for our evening Date Night.  We went to one of the restaurants on the grounds of the resort and had a really nice dinner – and really expensive.  But each couple received a $60 credit for dinner!  It was a nice evening.

Sunday morning was breakfast buffet at 0730 again and then Robert went to child care and Ryan and I headed to the session.  It was another really good session, and then at the end we filled out the evaluation (Army stuff always has an eval at the end of it).  Then we picked Robert up from child care and had lunch – another buffet.  Then we headed back to our room and got stuff packed up and went and checked out.  We headed to a different hotel and got checked in there and then went and did some shopping and went and walked around the mall for a while before heading to Red Robin for dinner.  Then it was back to the hotel room for the evening.

Monday morning we slept in some and then went down to breakfast in the hotel lobby about 0845 or so.  It was a good breakfast and after we ate, we went and relaxed in the room for a while more.  Then we headed to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for the afternoon and we really enjoyed seeing all the natural stuff from Arizona – plants and wildlife.  It’s more of a zoo than a museum and it’s a really neat place to go.  We have a family membership so we’ll be able to go back again anytime we want.  We met K for dinner at the TTT truck stop on the outskirts of Tucson and had a really good meal, and then we had a Ragnar Relay team meeting and we had all but 1 runner there.  It was a really good meeting and we’re going to have a TON of fun this weekend at the Ragnar Relay Del Sol when we, as a team of 12 runners, run close to 200 miles!!

Today’s high:  64
Current:  49

SHARP training done. GAFPB started!

Last week I finished up my SHARP training.  Lots of learning all week until Thursday.  We had our final test Thursday morning and then we broke into our groups for our final presentations.  I was in a group that got to do a skit, and we chose to portray the acceleration from sexual harassment to sexual assault, with some intervention (unsuccessful ones) techniques thrown in there.  I was the victim for the skit, and the evening at "Ted’s Bar" (we went after work to celebrate a coworker’s promotion) ended with one of the guys in the group offering to "drive me home because he noticed that I had had too much to drink."  Of course, HE had drugged the drink that he bought for me (large size smartie candy was the drug) and he "got me home" for sure.  Scene 2 was me calling the SHARP freaking out because I had "woken up naked with stuff all over" and I had no idea what happened.  I remembered being at the bar and that was it.  Everyone enjoyed it very much, and our group may actually be called to do our skit for a training video!  That would be quite an honor.  After all the presentations were done, we did our final course evals and got our certificates and that was it.

After we were done, some of us from the class went to Hana Tokyo Japanese Restaurant for lunch.  Ryan joined us.  It was really neat watching our chef perform for us while he cooked the food right in front of us.  And it was REALLY good food as well, and we had a lot of fun.

Friday evening Ryan and I had a date night while K Robert-sat.  We went to dinner at Jack-in-the-Box (was going to be Applebees, but there was a 30 minute wait) and then we went to the movies!  We saw the new Adam Sandler movie, Just Go With It.  It was a pretty good movie and we had a great evening!!

Saturday morning, K and I went to the pool out on post to time ourselves on the 200m and 100m swim distances.  We both came in under the times we needed (more later) and then we headed to the Legion for breakfast.  That was really good, as always.  Except for the mold that came out of my syrup bottle onto my French toast.  It was a BIG chunk of it, and they ended up getting me french toast and bacon because of it.  Later in the day, K and I went for a 3.5 mile run – my first run in a week again.

Sunday was church and grocery shopping and then NASCAR!!  It was the Bud Shootout, the start of the NASCAR season, although the first race isn’t until next week.

Monday I was back to leading postpartum PT and we did a kick-butt core workout.  Then I spent the rest of the morning at the rifle range doing nothing.  They had too many people out there to do the leadership stuff, so I just sat and read my book.  Once we were done there, I headed home and had lunch before picking Robert up from school to take him to his doctor appointment to have the rash on the back of his legs looked at.  Then we had to wait at the pharmacy for the cream for his legs.  Then we came home.  I ordered a heart-shaped pizza from Papa Johns for dinner.

Today was a more normal day.  We had PT this morning – lots of stretching and a 1 mile run since there’s a PT test tomorrow for the postpartum Soldiers.  Then I actually got to go back to the band hall for the day.  After formation, I got stuff done in admin that needed to be done, and then we had Brass Band rehearsal to finish off the morning.  I stitched and played on the computer during lunch, and then after lunch was a bit more admin stuff before heading home for "swim prep" time.  I did the swim portions of the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (GAFPB) this evening.  K came with me to cheer me on and to count laps for me during the 1000m.  There were 3 other guys from the band there as well.  I swam the mandatory 200m in 4:09  – allowed 8:00.  The 100m was an optional event and I chose to do that instead of the shotput  and I swam the 100m in 1:47 – allowed 2:20.  After a nice break, one of the other guys in the band and I did the 1000m for our distance event (other choices are various distances of running).  I had 30:30 to complete the distance, and I finished in 23:10.  K and I are pretty sure that the CPT in charge miscounted the laps and I did an extra 50m.  K was counting for me and marked each lap off on her sheet, but when she gave me the signal that I was on the last one, I got to the end and the CPT said I had one more.  So I did another 50.  Whatever.  I had plenty of time, but still. ..   After we got done at the pool, we went to dinner at Chili’s.  Good food and good company.

Today’s high:  75
Current:  58

Two Days in One

I was a bit nervous about class today.  We went in knowing that we had the 8 hours from Friday to make up.  We did Friday this morning, including our 2nd test which I got 100% on.  We had lunch at 1100 and only 45 minutes long, but I was able to get a little bit of stitching done after I ate.  Of course, that made for a REALLY LONG afternoon – 5 hours instead of 4.  But we got all caught up and tomorrow we’ll be right back on track!  We actually didn’t even make it all the way to 1700 – we were done about 1630 and that was nice.  I stopped at KFC for coleslaw on my way home and then when I got home, Ryan grilled steaks and made baked beans for supper.  He had been home with Robert all day – poor little guy was sick and couldn’t go to school today.  That was his first missed day of school since he started Kindergarten a year and a half ago.  So much for perfect attendance for the quarter, but I didn’t want to be *THAT* parent that sends their child to school sick.  He was feeling better by the time we ate dinner.  It’s only 2030 right now, but I’m about to head to bed.  I’m glad I got a little bit of stitching done at lunch because I’m too tired to do any tonight.

Today’s high:  64
Current:  54

Much warmer and No school

Due to the gas shortage in our area, the public schools were closed today so Robert didn’t have school and Ft. Huachuca was essential and emergency personnel only so I didn’t have class.  They have the heat turned down in many of the buildings on post to help conserve gas.  Of course, having today off from class means that we’ll have 8 hours to make up during the 5 days of class next week.  Should be interesting.

We had a no alarm clock day today, and that sure was nice being able to sleep in and get caught up on sleep.  Ryan made breakfast (scrambled eggs, sausage, and hash browns) for us when he got up and we pretty much had a lazy day, although I did get laundry and vacuuming done.  We went out to post (post wasn’t closed – just no one working and limited places open) to see if we could get haircuts for the guys, but the barber they go to was closed.  We went to the PX and looked around and got a few things.  I got Ryan an early Valentine’s Day gift – Guitar Hero (with the guitar) for Wii.  We came home and I finished up laundry while Ryan played Guitar Hero and then Robert got to play the other new game we got.  K came over and did her laundry as well, and I ordered pizza and cheese bread for supper for the 4 of us.  We always have a good time together!!  After she left, it was more Wii and I got some stitching done.  When I was done stitching, I even played the Wii for a little while.

Off to bed now – running in the morning for the first time since Monday of last week.

This morning’s low:  15
Today’s high:  48
Current:  30

First week of class is done

I’m attending training this week and next to become a SHARP – Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program.  It’s a new Army program that combines several into one to combat sexual harassment and assault.  Class goes from 8-5 each day, with an hour for lunch.  Talk about long days for this girl who is used to working 9-3:30 with an hour and a half for lunch.  But it’s a good class and VERY knowledgeable instructors.  They know the material and know how to teach.  We do a lot of work in small groups as well, and lots of input and stories from the other class members.  Today we got out early at lunchtime and I was able to get some work done at the band hall before a hail and farewell pizza party.  Then this afternoon we did our group work and received our homework assignments and were done for the day.  The classroom we are in was very cold due to the extreme cold we have here right now and the fact that thermostats have been turned way down for the gas shortage in the area. 

In the evening, K and I (and Robert) went to Tucson to meet up with some of our teammates for our relay we’re running the end of the month.  We have a really good group dynamic and talked about a lot of stuff pertaining to the relay.  It was a lot of fun and Robert was really well behaved despite how boring it must have been for him.

Because of the gas shortage and the extreme cold, schools and post have been closed for tomorrow, so we’ll all be getting the day off!!

This morning’s low:  7  (with a wind chill of -5)
Today’s high:  27
Current:  19