Monday, October 25, 2010

Ragnar Revisited

My first experience with the Ragnar Relay was in June when I ran the Wasatch Back with 11 good friends. The whole idea seemed pretty stupid to me: run, don't sleep much, run again, don't sleep much again, run a third time, suffer the pains of sore legs and headaches. I couldn't quite get a grasp on what the draw to these relays was, but I (somewhat reluctantly) joined a team.

Well, you can read a blurb about that experience here. It was truly amazing, yet I wasn't quite satisfied with my performance.

Enter Kari and Genevieve: two good friends who also caught the Ragnar bug. They had a team who registered for the Ragnar Las Vegas Relay with a single vacancy and somehow decided to invite me to fill it. I blindly joined, not knowing any of the other 9 runners. I took the training only slightly more serious this time, consistently running about 4 times a week.

The week of the race came not soon enough. It was in the back of my mind for so long and, based on the extremely sore legs I had from the Wasatch Back, I couldn't wait for this race to be behind me. Our team, Baby Got Swack (don't ask) had a start time of 10 a.m. Being in Van 2, we left Farmington, Utah around 8 a.m. on Friday morning.

After a pleasant 7+ hour drive to Lake Mead, we went through safety training and anxiously waited at the exchange point for Runner #6. He finally came and we were officially a part of the race. As runner #11, I didn't run my first leg until about 7 that night. An easy 2.5 miles, slightly uphill the whole way. My second leg was 7.2 miles, mostly uphill and flat. It's so fun to run in the middle of the night (at this time it was between 2 and 4 a.m.). I love looking ahead of me to see hundreds of flashing lights bouncing up and down as runners span miles of desert. The weather was perfect – in the 50's or 60's with a gentle breeze. I was happy that my first two legs were run in the dark.

My third leg started around 1:45 p.m. on Saturday. The sun was high, the temperature was hot, and I had 4.8 miles ahead of me. I had two goals when I began this last run: 1. Pass as many people as you can; 2. Don't stop. I had stopped several times during the Wasatch Back and always regretted it, failing to push myself harder. Not this time. I ran at a steady pace, trying not to overexert my already worn leg muscles. "Downhill?" you think. Downhill isn't as easy as you think. My legs feel just as tired going downhill as going uphill, especially after miles of pounding the hard asphalt.

I finished my three legs without ever stopping. Mission accomplished. I was shooting for 7 minute miles for my last leg and ended up running 6.48 minute miles, so that was pleasing.

We finished in less than 29 hours, even after a half-hour mishap by the other van. We showered, hit the buffet at the Red Rock Hotel, and relaxed the rest of the night. It was a great experience, and I definitely have Ragnar fever. I'm looking for people to join me on my next Ragnar adventure, whenever it may be. Let me know if you're interested. You won't regret it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hot Days and Conference

Yesterday, October 1, 2010, was the hottest October day ever in the history of Utah. Not surprisingly my dad convinced Ben and I to go swimming with him in our doughboy pool to celebrate this feat. To seal its significance in history, Dad grabbed an empty pizza box and a marker to make a sign. Here is a photo of Ben and I modeling in front of the pool to commemorate this day:

Today, October 2, was another special day in my life. I came upon some conference tickets on Thursday for the Saturday AM session for General Conference. I, of course, decided to go on a triple man date with Nate and Shawn. I hadn't been to a session of Conference for a long time, so I was anxious to go and sit in the marvelous Conference Center. We sat on the far east side, looking almost completely sideways at the speakers. We were by the "red carpet" of the Conference Center where all the General Authorities enter.

I very much enjoyed the talks given in the first session, but I have to admit my mind was elsewhere. My mind was here:

My beautiful Portugal is soon going to have a temple! Tears came to my eyes when President Monson announced the construction of a temple in Lisbon, Portugal. I never imagined that I would see the building of a temple in my mission land so soon. I am so grateful to have served in Portugal and am so happy that those people will no longer have to travel to Spain or England to attend the temple.