So, where was I ? …
We left my house slightly refreshed and headed for Fountain Hills to meet up with Van 1 and complete our last legs of Ragnar Del Sol. It was an absolutely gorgeous day!
We were able to see some of our teammates from Van 1 and hang out for a bit, so that was fun. Our first runner, Kate, took off on her final run – it had a bunch of hills and she was tired, but she did great! As Kat, Elizabeth and Michaela each ran, it got warmer and warmer. I was getting a bit worried about what the conditions would be when I would finally have to go, but there was nothing I could do about it. I did start concentrating on getting lots of water in me though. Michaela’s run took her through the Scottsdale green belt pathway that I had been running last month. We met her out there about halfway with some water – we even spread out a blanket on the grass and took a picture. Finally it was time for me to bring us to the finish. Crazy coincidence that the final exchange – the one where I would depart from – was my high school, Coronado. We pulled into the parking lot where I parked my car as a student almost 28 years ago (yikes!) Kat took a picture of me in front of the sign. We had to walk to the south edge of campus by the football field to meet the runners coming in. I went to use the port-a-potty and wasn’t in there too long before they were yelling that Matt was on his way in. I scrambled and got out there to meet him and head out for what I will refer to as my 7.8 mile death march. We were not running too far behind and the other team was still behind us so they told me to walk if I needed to. I wasn’t feeling too great and it was so warm. I took off through my old familiar streets and parks – paths I had run on many many times (and/or road my tricycle as a kid, fed the ducks in the pond with my parents, etc. – so weird that this was where my Ragnar leg was). My team told me they would meet me about 3 miles in, and there they were. They gave me a cold bottle of water to pour over my head, etc. and that felt really good. As a side note, some crazy Ragnar guy passed me in a full zip-up footie pajamas – they fuzzy nylon kind. I can’t even imagine how HOT he was! I had kept up a decent pace up until that point – I was running intervals of about 1/2 mile running, 1/10 mile walking. But, as time went on, I was running out of gas in a hurry. The neat thing was that I was now running in unfamiliar territory, so that kept
things interesting. Just north of the Arizona State University campus is the “river” bottom that the city of Tempe built some man-made dams in quite a few years ago to create Tempe Town Lake. I have driven by it a million times from the freeway and have been down in the park area – and the Rock n’ Roll Arizona race ends at the Tempe Beach Park which is at one end of it … but I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve never actually walked much around that area. Well, I had my chance during Ragnar because the path took me on a big chunk of it – way west (the opposite direction of the finish line) and back. If I hadn’t been so hot, tired and miserable, I probably would have enjoyed it more. Anyway, we eventually looped off that path, up onto the overpass towards ASU, then across the street and east towards our final destination – the finish line! The path continued along the north end of Tempe Market Place and then towards the Mesa
Riverview area. The finish line and after-party were being held on the fields near the Chicago Cubs spring training facility. Unfortunately, the pathway to that point had not been finished yet and it turned from a nice sidewalk path to a horrible pebble trail. I’ve been having problems with one particular pair of Asics running shoes – but only around the 8+ mile mark which I was now reaching – and the rocks really hurt that foot. Furthermore, the friendly Ragnar folks had placed the “one mile to go” sign there – but my Garmin told me I had another 2 miles to go. So, I was briefly excited that maybe they cut the route short but previous experience had me believing that they were lying … the latter was the correct assumption. At last I got off that trail and headed down into the Riverview and Cubs field area. There were a lot more people now – Ragnar vans in the parking lot and other teams congregating everywhere. I could now see the big inflated Ragnar finish line and eventually saw my Kilty Pleasures teammates waiting with their cheering tunnel, kilts and cowbells to run the final 20 feet into the finish with me. That pretty much made it all worthwhile.
As I ran through the finish, I noticed someone ahead of me with his phone filming and
wearing a ‘Fat to Finish Line’ t-shirt. It took me a moment to realize it was John Hulsey, my Solemate teammate and friend that got us connected with the Kilties in the first place. John had been in Van 1 of the other KP team and we were never at the same exchange at the same time – I had been waiting to see him the entire race. So that was also a great way to end.
We all hung around catching up for a bit. Kat and John went and got our Ragnar medals. The medals for all 12 teammates fit together and form a big giant medal, which is pretty cool. We took our team picture but, unfortunately, never got one with both KP teams together. We headed over to the beer tent and got our much anticipated free beer – a Four Peaks Kilt Lifter, of course!
Completely wiped out and ready to head home, Paul happened to be somewhat in the area after the choir concert that I had missed and was able to swing by Mesa Riverview and pick me up – along with all of my smelly stuff – from our van in the parking lot. That all worked out really well. I got a giant Five Guys burger and fries, showered and slept for over 11 1/2 hours straight. Whew! What a weekend!