Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ragnar 2011

Ragnar this year was awesome!! And by all accounts, it really shouldn't have been.

For me personally the road leading up to it was super annoying. I thought I was running, then my knees were giving me problems. So I bowed out and a friend of ours was going to take my place.

Then she couldn't run because she was coughing up blood during her runs. Yikes!!

Then I discovered that if I ran with two huge knee braces (to keep my knee caps from sliding out of their groove), I could do it. But I had been out of training for 8 weeks so I was super nervous about the mileage I had to run-15.8 miles to be exact.

Then a week before Ragnar I hurt my back. I called our team captain to tell her what was going on and we discussed trying to find a replacement. Then I called her back to tell her I had prayed about it and felt that everything was going to be ok. This girl is an angel, let me just say, so have put up with my back and forthing with nothing but kindness. Love you Alexis!!

Anyhoo, so I had felt that everything was going to be ok, but I still hurt and I was still nervous. So then we decided, with some prayerful consideration on Kate's part, for me and Kate to switch running positions. That way I would have less running and she would have more, by about 4 miles.

So now she was way more nervous since she hadn't been training for that. But nobody else was worried given that she is 13 and her body could probably handle waaay more than she thought.

So the day of the race came. My dear friend Trisha had offered, yes offered, to watch the other kids for us. Saint that she is.

Everyone of my kids love her, but Nora was having some separation from Mommy issues.

It was so hard to drive away with her looking like that. She kept asking to come with me. And as much as my mother's heart wanted to say yes, I just couldn't imagine a 3 year old being in the van for practically 24 hours with no sleep. So I wisely said no:)

So with the new arrangement of Kate trading positions with me, Jeff would be handing off to Kate.

You can't tell from this picture, but trouble was already brewing for the Allen's.

At this point Kate then handed off to my brother Keno. I know right? How awesome is it to run with my husband, my daughter AND my brother? The wonderfulness of it was never lost on my, I'll have you know.

So I must tell you. When Jeff first handed off to Kate and she took off, I was totally fine. Then when we drove past her the first time to find a place to stop and hand her water and cheer her on, I totally got that "I can't believe my daughter is so big and grown up and running Ragnar with me" choked up moment. I promised the rest of our van I wouldn't cry about it again. I didn't mean to lie, really.

So here is how it works. After all six runners in your van run, then you pass off to the other half of your team. Then they run for 4 or 5 hours while we headed off to the hotel to shower, get fresh clothes, and try and take an hour nap.

And then when we run our next leg (we run 3 legs total) they are resting and all that. And when I say resting, I really mean trying to grab any sleep that you can. I think you get a total of maybe 2 or 3 hours if you're lucky. And that's not at one time, mind you. As our team captain Alexis put it, Ragnar is really for the outer fringe of runners. Most people are not crazy enough to do this.

So after we had rested up, we headed out to run our second leg. And this is when the Allen families trouble began. Jeff and Kate had woken up at the hotel both feeling ill. Kate had a massive headache and was feeling nauseous, and Jeff was sick to his stomach as well. It was hard to get out of the hotel in time and we were 5 minutes late to the hand off from van 1. Not awesome.

About 15 minutes into Jeff's run, we stopped the van to wait for him with water and Kate goes rushing out the side door so that she can rid her body of everything she had eaten. She gets back in looking a little better, but still feeling awful.

So here I sit, her mother, knowing that she is supposed to run in about an hour. There is no way. I also know that her next leg is 7.8 miles, which I haven't trained for. And I also know that Ragnar has rules about runners switching legs mid way. IT's a no no. It can disqualify your team. If someone gets injured and stops running, the rest of the team has to finish their legs for them and they can't run again.

But I know that Kate is in no position to run. So I made the call, and her and I switched back. (Upon further review of the rules, it only mentions injury, not stomach flu)

So when we see Jeff running up, I tell him that he will be passing off to me, not Kate, because she threw up. And he says, "So did I. Around mile two. I feel much better now." But he still had about 4 miles to go at this point. What a trooper.

So I start getting ready to run. I'm already taking 5 ibuprofen and 1 vicodin to keep the back pain at bay. But I hook up my little portable stim machine (It send little electrical shocks into your muscles) just to loosen me up a bit more.

Kate is still looking pale and sick, so I know there is no going back. So Jeff hands off to me and I go. Terrified at this long distance I have to run.

And let me tell you, it was not a problem. It couldn't have hurt that I had a constant prayer in my heart as I ran. But I hardly felt the miles. I walked about half a mile of it, walking rests, but other than that I ran the whole thing. Jeff told me later that he was so surprised to see that every time they waited for me, I would come around the corner still running. It honestly was a miracle folks. My back didn't hurt, and I was able to finish it, despite the growing nausea in my own stomach. I ran a little slower than my normal pace, but I did it. It was the middle of the night, hence the glow in the dark accessories.

By the time Keno ran, and it was now Kate's turn again, she was feeling much better and was able to run the next leg, 4.2 miles. And then in the middle of her run, while we waited with water in front of someone's house, I puked. Hard core. So sorry to the poor fellow who owned that house!

By this time, I'm sure that Keno and our other two van mates were quite ready to not be near us. And no it wasn't anything that we ate or just from running. Jeff and I have never puked from running before. But remember Henry falling asleep in the bowl last week, and then throwing up later? Yeah, we had whatever that was.

So after losing my dinner, I felt a little better. But I didn't really feel that great for an hour or two. The rest back at the hotel helped. But I'm not sure any of us felt that great. Jeff threw up again after his final run, but I just felt nauseous on my final run. It was crazy. We later had several Ragnar runners tell us that would have been a deal breaker for them. And it might have been if we were laid out completely, or couldn't stop throwing up. But fortune smiled upon us and it was a mostly one time thing.

Our team was 12 south. That represent 12 runners, our team, running south. Cuz you run from blaine, wa, south down to Whidbey Island.

Here we are at the end in our team shirts, waiting for our last runner.

And here is our awesome team!! By the way, our team captains, Derek and Alexis, were amazing. Super organized, on top of everything. There were a few airheaded moments on my part that I couldn't have made it through without Alexis.

Pay attention to the right of the picture. Yeah, there were a few people like that. Speedo guy and one guy dressed as an indian chief were the, um, "highlights". The indian chief, which I would never have taken a picture of, had a headdress and a loin cloth. And that's it! I don't know how he ran like that, and I'm glad I didn't witness it. Yech.

This team was awesome. They were the Lord of the Ragnar. I don't know how they ran in that gear. But they did it. Someone said they were a Mormon crew. I'd like to think so since they were so awesome.

Van two. We rocked it!

So, again, this was was sooo awesome. Puking and all. It just felt like a blip on the radar screen of what was a stupendous two day running event.

The highlights:

Running with my family. I cannot describe how great it was to spend two days with my brother and Jeff and Kate.

Watching Kate do something so hard. In her words, the hardest thing she's ever done. True that Kate.

Actually running 15.8 miles. So proud of myself, you don't even know.

Laughing with the other two gals in our van, Laura and Rachel. We ran with Laura last year, and I know Rachel from our little mommy co-op preschool we did. They're both awesome. Truly.

Having cooler weather. Being in van 2 you run in the heat of the day, so having it not go above 70 degrees was actually super awesome.

Throwing up on the side of the road. I know this should be a negative, which it is, but it also felt so good. I know, I'm weird.


Speedo guy. Not only did we see him at the finish, but his twin passed me on my middle of the night run. So I had a Speedo bum view for a few moments. Yikes.

The guy who totally gassed as he passed me. Like not discreet little toots that you can try and pass off as squeaky shoes. I'm talking full on, no shame, cutting the cheese. It would have been comical if I wasn't already feeling kind of sick.

Getting killed by about 100 people. You get a kill by passing someone. You get killed by being passed. I passed no one. And got passed about 100 times, no joke. I'm probably the slowest person to ever run Ragnar. But next year, I vow not to be.

And finally, having the stomach flu. It wasn't fun. But, it also made us proud that we ran anyway. I know, we're weird.

So there you have it. Ragnar 2011. It was such a great experience. And Kate still wants to do it again. And Julia wants to do it next year too. You have to be 12. Keno wants his boys to run it too. So maybe we'll have a family team next year, who knows.

Also, my cousin Mandy and her husband ran it too! I saw their van at one exchange, but couldn't find them. She wrote about her experience here.

I can't wait for next year. Why? Because obviously I love running with no sleep, weird food, and stomach issues. I told you, I'm weird!


  1. That was so fun! I was sore for like 2 days afterwards, but it totally worth it! So hard, so fun!

  2. That sounds incredible, vomiting and all!!! Way to stick together family!! I'm beaming over here reading ALL OF IT!!

  3. That is soooooo boss! How cool that you got to do it with family and that you showed everyone what you're made of. If I could run farther than to the mailbox, I would totally want to do this

  4. Awesome! It was pretty low energy at the house while you guys were gone. Except a few things that involve Nora not telling us she needed to go potty.

  5. Congratulations to all of you! So proud of the whole group!! xx

  6. That's AWESOME!! You are so hardcore

  7. Loved reading your post! Way to stick it out and finish. We are definitely doing it again next year.. maybe we'll run into you (haha.. pun wasn't intended there). You were my inspiration to run Ragnar! Thank you!


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