After waking up and saying good-bye to Sir Waffle-lot at the lovely King’s Inn of San Diego, Paige picked me up for our team brunch. We met at a gay bar in downtown San Diego called Baja Betty’s – bottomless mimosas and Sunday brunch from 10-2. Their spread of food was super yummy and the mimosas were, indeed, bottomless…my glass was never empty. I ate entirely too much but it was a great variety (everything from waffles to chips and queso). Van #1 had awarded their MVP to Thomas for his rock-star conquering of the most difficult legs of the race. Van #2 unanimously voted for Tay. I hope to cross paths
with Tay again some day – her personality “in person” was not what I was expecting. She was a gentle soul with some razor sharp crazy funny humor. I think she was full of self-doubt coming into the race since she had been through a challenging move from southern to northern CA for a new job opportunity during our race prep months and had not had time to focus much on training. I’m sure all the talk of race training, PR’s, marathon running, etc. had her scared to death to be with us but I hope she felt at ease. Once we were in the van and going, she had no fear and she conquered her legs with a lot of determination. She knew the streets of LA and southern CA better than us and she handled the navigation for most of the trip (when I wasn’t messing us up). Anyway, I’m heading to the bay area late next month for a gymnastics meet and I hope to catch up with her there. She joked throughout this process that she was going to lock us all up in her fictitious basement so we couldn’t leave her – I think we wished she could when we were done. A close second MVP was Dean, he attacked his miles – always with a smile – and put up with a van of 5 women. I could tell he was going nuts with us quite a few times but he never let it show. He was cool as a cucumber driving the street so of LA and the freeways despite not living in a big city. We all felt safe when he was behind the wheel and lost when he wasn’t. More than anything, he was just a really great and funny guy with an amazing story of determination. Even since we have returned home, he has crushed his 5K PR and is now running sub 9:00 miles consistently. I’m so impressed! If you’d like to learn more out Dean and his amazing transformation, check out his blog here.
After brunch, we said some goodbye’s to Paige. Her family came to San Diego so she would be spending the rest of the weekend with them at Sea World, etc. and Tay needed to head back up the coast as well. The rest of us headed to the San Diego zoo for the afternoon. It was a beautiful day. We rode the sky tram to the top of the zoo and worked our way down and then finished up by taking the guided tour on the top story of the double-decker tour bus. The zoo is very hilly and it wore us out on our tired legs.
I had made arrangements to stay with my sister-in-law that night. Apparently my one-night-stand with Sir Wafflelot really could not be extended another night, the hotel made that pretty clear…they were sold out again. The team was headed to dinner after the zoo but I wanted to get on down to Mission Beach and get settled in there. I got to her apartment and couldn’t find her but checked in at the bar next door and there she was – my in-laws are highly predictable 🙂
We had a nice time at the bar then went down to Pacific Beach with some of her friends and had dinner at my favorite restaurant down there. I was lucky, because her friend suggested going there and I was more than happy to go – I didn’t think I would get the opportunity on this trip. After dinner we headed back to her place and crashed.
The next morning, Cat, Bonnie, Colleen, and Katie took an Uber car to my sister-in-law’s apartment and we went on a long walk down Mission Beach. But first, we went down to the water so Bonnie could put her feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. She was so excited! Bonnie and Katie wrote our team name in the sand and we had someone that was walking by take our picture. Loved that. We eventually got back up on the boardwalk and the girls wanted to get drinks and appetizers somewhere so we went to a bar on Mission and did that – they were pretty yummy. All of us have lost 100+ pounds each but we still know how to eat … and weren’t shy about ordering food with a few calories. I liked that. Katie really wanted to ride the roller coaster at Belmont Park and that is always a favorite of mine as well. It is a really old wooden roller coaster – NOT a smooth ride. In retrospect, we probably should have gone on it before drinking…but, oh well. The ride was short but fun. Cat had not been on a roller coaster in over 20 years but she did it!
Meanwhile, Thomas and Dean were taking a tour of the USS Midway aircraft carrier near downtown SD. We walked further up the boardwalk towards Pacific Beach and made plans to meet them for lunch at a Mexican food place. We had a nice final meal altogether then we had to say goodbye to Thomas. Dean drove him to the airport while we shopped a bit longer then Dean picked us up and we went back down to Mission Beach – Dean STILL had not been in the ocean yet. We did a bit of souvenir shopping and then took Dean down to the water.
After all that, they dropped me back at the apartment and we said our goodbyes. Colleen was flying out soon and I had a flight in a few hours. I decided to get dinner with my sister-in-law and she was going to drive me to the airport. I didn’t think I would have time to get downtown in rush hour and have a final dinner with the remaining teammates.
So, that about wraps up an amazing experience. Would I do it again? Absolutely! In fact, in November, John, Bonnie, and Hilary are planning on coming out to Arizona for a Ragnar Trail relay event that is more like a camping trip – no vans. So, I’ll have to keep conditioning for that. I hope to cross paths with my teammates in future races. I think that is fun of running – making connections and friends across the country. Actually running is not so much fun, but the experiences it leads to are pretty cool. I’m so thankful that this all worked out like it did. I am glad that I took a chance and posted on Katie’s blog that I was interested in the team and I’m so grateful that she and John took a chance on a “newbie” runner and added me to the team. I’ve been through some crappy stuff this year with my dad but this has really been a highlight and gave me something to look forward to.
Several of my teammates have blogged about their experiences on this Ragnar team as well: