Our original plan was to wrangle a bunch of our former Biola cross-country teammates and make it into a reunion of sorts. But after a lot of initial interest, when push came to shove and it was time to collect the moolah, go figure, not everyone finds what I described above as unmissable fun. So we ended up with Jim, me, and Trevor (who lives here in Vista and runs with Jim every Thursday at 5am) (Yes, even in the cold, dark winter. They're super crazy!). That left 9 more spots, which we somehow filled with other crazies like us. A few from church, a few friends of friends, etc...(BTW, several from our team from last year stepped up the craziness and formed their own Ultra team--6 people running the same distance instead of 12! We graciously declined on that foolishness ;)).
("The difference between us and you: We make this look good!")
(Our team name was "The Good Looking Team." Obviously, we meant it as a joke, but the announcer at the start line said, "Well, with a name like that, you guys better put up or shut up!" Little did we know what was to come...)
Van 2 was Trevor, Scott (the brother of our Biola teammate Steve who couldn't make it out from DC for the race), Brittany (friend from church who didn't get to run Ragnar last year but really wanted to), Molly (friend of Brittany), Lauren (friend of friend), and Jerame (last minute sub in and friend of Lauren).
It is so amazing--and cool!--how running can bring perfect strangers together and by the end we felt like best buds.
Approximately 650 teams started Ragnar SoCal. To spread things out, 20-30 teams start every 15-30 minutes from 5am to 2pm on Friday. We had a 9am start time...
(This is Jim before his first leg. Notice his shirt: "When you see me, yell, 'Go Jim, Go Jim!'")
So before we knew it, we were up and running again, from Lake Elsinore down the 15 to the Fallbrook area just east of our house.
As we continued to pass more and more people (and not BE passed by anyone), Jim's competitive juices started flowing, and we started doing some math. We estimated that maybe 250 teams had started ahead of us, and we had already passed about 150-200 runners, and the crowd was definitely starting to thin out...so at each exchange, Jim started asking the volunteers how many teams had passed by so far. By 10pm, there were 55 teams in front of us...and we kept picking more off. The guys especially were going crazy!
After finishing our second legs, we stopped by our house to get a quick shower and an hour or two of sleep. But then at 1:05 am, Jim got the call that Van 2's last runner had just started their leg and we needed to get to Carlsbad fast. We had assumed they might slow down a little bit, since they had pushed so hard through the heat...but no! They had picked up the pace...and passed a ton more runners! So we all jumped into action (as much as half-asleep tired bodies can "jump") (BTW, try waking up an exhausted Marine who's come back from Iraq...it's a wee bit scary, let me say!), and we dropped Matt off at the exchange mere seconds before Scott came in.The third leg is notoriously the most difficult (my words were carefully chosen there--you wouldn't believe how many teams embraced awkward slogans about how hard "it" is...), since your body is going into shutdown mode from exhaustion, but by the time we finished just as the sun was rising on the coast, we were in tenth place...as in, we had passed everyone but 10 teams who had started up to 4 hours ahead of us--and NO ONE had passed us! I'm not that competitive, and even I was excited. No pressure on Van 2 or anything, but we were gunning for the front!
So while they held up their pace, we celebrated with free Starbucks on the cliffs,
(When all was said and done, we found out that our finishing time put us in 2nd place for our division, which was actually MEN'S Open since we didn't have enough females to be counted as a mixed team...and 13th place overall out of 650 teams!)
I think most of us are crazy enough to do it again!