When we last left off I had just spent my day running errands and doing a wee bit of sightseeing around Seattle. It was now approaching 5:00 and it was time to make my way to Nuun for dinner and a little van decorating. I also got to meet fellow blogger Tasha for the first time! After some delicious Qdoba we got to work with paint pens and window markers.
I think our van looked great!
We loaded our vans up with water, bottles and a cooler full of snacks.
With the vans ready to go Megan dropped Tasha and I off at our hotel. We were still waiting for two other bloggers to arrive – Nicole and Dani. Nicole’s flight would be arriving soon, but Dani’s flight was crazy delayed and wouldn’t be getting in until after 2 am! It was a little too early for Tasha and I to call it a night so we wandered around downtown Seattle a few blocks until we happened upon Yard House. We were looking for a place to grab some beers and this place seemed perfect.
There were something like 120 beers on tap! We tried some pretty delicious brews all the while gabbing about Ironman and that you don’t wear undies on the bike (me) and cross fit (Tasha). We then made our way back to the hotel to meet Nicole and try to get some rest. Nicole and I were in van 1 and we’d be hitting the road at 5:30 am.
It was not a restful night. I couldn’t see a clock so I kept waking up, concerned I’d miss our pick up. In fact I was having nightmares about it! Finally the alarm went off bright and early, I hopped in the shower and got ready. Our van met us in front of the hotel and our first order of business was Starbucks! A coffee was most definitely needed so early in the morning. We then hit the road to Blaine, all the way on the Canadian border.
Our windows were getting a little foggy!
We spotted several other vans on the highway with decorated windows headed to where we were going. We even spotted the Oiselle team! I follow several of their runners on twitter so it was fun to see them on the highway (plus Nicole runs for Oiselle too so she knew some of the ladies). Finally we arrived at the start line in Blaine.
First things first, we had to check in with our safety gear (reflective vests for our entire van, two flashing tail lights for our back and headlamps or flashlights) and attend a safety briefing. We were told what night hours would be (when we’d have to wear all of the above reflective and light up gear), told that we needed flags to cross the road, and to make sure we hydrated well because it was so hot out (a missed opportunity by the briefer to tell everyone to hydrate with Nuun!).
With our briefing complete we got our official baton, aka the slap bracelet.
With just a few minutes to spare until our official go time (9:00 am) we were gathered under the arch for a team picture.
In our van were from right to left:
- Casey (Nuun employee), runner #5
- Nicole (fellow blogger), runner #1
- Jenny (Nuun employee), runner #2 running her first ever race!!!
- Colleen (Nuun employee), runner #4
- Sarah (friend of Nuun), runner #3
- myself, runner #6
Before we knew it all of the 9:00 teams were lining up under the arch…
…and Nicole was off!
With Nicole on the road we took off, ready to cheer her on and support her on her first leg.
Nicole was rocking her first leg! Before we knew it she was coming in to the first exchange to pass off to Jenny.
We drove to Birch Bay, snapping a team photo while we waited for Jenny to arrive at our cheer spot.
It was hot out there and Jenny’s leg was pretty long so we wanted to take a few opportunities to support her. I also took the opportunity to grab a photo in beautiful Birch Bay.
Off to the next exchange and I had a chance to meet Marathon Lar who was running Ragnar as an ultra team (only 6 runners instead of 12). Talk about a total bad a$$!
Before we knew it Jenny was coming in to the exchange and passing off to Sarah.
Sarah’s leg didn’t allow any van support so we had to make do with yelling at her out the van window as we drove past instead. Sarah ran her leg spectacularly and even had an epic sprint to the exchange!
Colleen was now on her way!
Colleen’s leg was fairly short and there wasn’t much opportunity for support so we waited for her at the next exchange. Here she comes!
All of a sudden Colleen was passing off to Casey…
…and it hit me that I would be up next! Cue the nerves! Casey had been driving the whole time and with him on the run Nicole took over driving duties and I attempted to navigate. That was my first and last attempt at navigation as I made us miss several turns! Casey wound up running past this big lot of yellow cabs.
Casey was running so fast that it was going to be tight timing for us to make it to the exchange and for me to take off. I had just enough time to hit the porta-potty and snap a picture before Casey arrived.
And I was off!!
My first leg would be my toughest and longest – 6.5 hilly miles. It was also mid-day so it was pretty darn hot out. The first few miles went not too badly and I was having a good time. I was so excited to see my van out along the way (and very excited to take a swig of Nuun from my bottle).
After this the heat really started to get to me. I was slowing down and definitely looking forward to seeing my team again.
After this I really had to up the frequency of my walk breaks. How much further to this exchange?? I got stuck at a crosswalk and I took the opportunity to stop and have a break. Finally I was rounding the corner to exchange number 6. This would be a big one because we’d be passing off to van 2! I saw Tasha waiting for me and I was more than ready to give her the slap bracelet. I ran to the van to grab my Nuun as I needed to drink stat!
I then wandered around the exchange, checking out the Nuun tent…
…and the Ragnar gear store.
Time to go shopping!
Pretty soon I knew we needed to get going…partly because we didn’t have a lot of time between legs, and partly because I wasn’t feeling so hot anymore…
Tasha @Healthy Diva says
I had so much fun hanging out with you on Thursday night. It was nice to spend time and get to know you since we weren’t in the same vans. Wasn’t the Yardhouse amazing? I didn’t realize that it is a chain. Who knew?
I would have had nightmares about missing the van pick up too if it was that early for me. Usually on days like that I don’t sleep and then I am up an extra hour early.
Looks like you guys had beautiful scenery for your first legs. I have never been that far north before. Actually that was my first time in Bellingham too.
Nicole Hart says
Great photos Leana! I copied a couple of them to my computer, I hope you don’t mind! Looking forward to the next couple parts of your recap!!
This looks so fun! Loving the pictures. 🙂
Nila Do says
What a great recap, Leana. I also ran the Northwest Passage course, and we probably ran with each other at some point! Congrats on the feat, and see you at the next Ragnar.
BTW: Check out my post on Ragnar (http://nilado.com/2013/07/30/what-i-learned-from-my-second-ragnar-relay/) and see if any of this look familiar. 🙂
I have my Nuun in my water bottles for my bike ride tomorrow. I love your smiles and enthusiasm but are we going to be reading about your being sick next?
Sybil Runs Things says
What a great recap! I was runner #3, so I especially love reading other van #1’s recaps 🙂 Looks like team nuun had a fun time out there!