Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tales From Ragnar Relay Napa - Part 2 of 4

(You can read Part 1 here.)

After months of waiting and days of preparing, it was finally time for the Ragnar Relay Race in Napa. Start times are based on overall team averages, with the faster teams starting later and the slower teams starting earlier. This helps all the teams come into the finish in a much smaller time window. 

We had a 7am start, so we arrived at Marina Green Park in San Francisco about 6:30. I was in Van 2 and we weren't going to be running until late in the morning, but we chose to meet up with Van 1 and send our first runner off as a team. It's cold and dark in the Bay Area at that time of the morning, so we hung out in the van as long as we could. 

 

When our other van arrived, we all climbed out of ours and joined them near the Start Line. We wanted to get some photos of all of us as a team before the race started. It was also our first chance to hang out with other teams, and there was no shortage of wild costumes and crazy antics to keep our minds off the cool morning temps. 

 

(As an aside, I should also explain something to those that don't already know. I am running Ragnar Relay Florida in January with a team of eleven other people who have lost significant amounts of weight. We are being filmed as part of a documentary called "From Fat To Finish Line." fromfattofinishline.com/ 

The film chronicles our individual weight loss journeys, our coming together as a team this past year, and our upcoming Ragnar race from Miami to Key West. Our producer and director, Angela Lee, had never seen a Ragnar, so I suggested she and I run Napa together. That way, she could see firsthand what the event was like, where she might want to position cameras, the craziness of exchanges, life in the van, etc. She agreed. We were there to run Ragnar Napa, definitely, but we were doing a little scouting and pre-planning for our film, too. Angela also brought a seriously cool professional camera to capture the entire event and turn it into a three minute music video. I'll share a link to that that as soon the video is complete. And now, back to the recap. You can see Angela working the camera here.) 

 

At 7am, our first runner took off. 

 

She was our Captain Miss Fit, and she was the only team member who got to run across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a cool, foggy morning, but it was still an amazing view from the top of the bridge. 

 

We all raced ahead to the first exchange to be there when she came in. While we were waiting, we had some time to take a few team pictures. Here we are celebrating our true Super Hero awesomeness! 

 

After the first exchange, we had a few hours before we had to begin running. We took that opportunity to pick up more decorations for the van and costume items for our teammates. We were quite the site at the Dollar Store walking around in our costumes, but it's Ragnar. Almost anything goes! 

We also decided that even Super Heroes need coffee, so we walked over and waited our turn in line. While standing there, the young man in the plumber's van got out, looked at us for a moment, and asked, "Am I high?" We kindly let him know that he wasn't seeing things and that we really were standing in front of him wearing tight costumes and sporting sweet capes! 

 

Soon enough, it was time to meet up with our team at the first major exchange. That is where they pick up their last runner and we put our first runner onto the course. It was nearly noon already and the cold morning had given way to quickly rising temperatures. It was going to be a hot afternoon of running for our van. 

Angela, aka Weirder Woman, was up to the task. In her brightly colored tutu and shiny pink cape, she was a sight to see as she ran through the streets of Fairfax. 

 

After that, the miles seemed to go quickly. The rest of our team (The Amazing Slowpoke, Wonder Bell, The Professional, Insane Bold, and me, Captain Disco) each suited up and did our part to move the team through our portion of the race. 

I was the last runner in our van, and my first leg took me through the streets of Petaluma, California. After all the prep and stand-by time, I was ready to go. I took my cape, headband and snazzy glasses and took off running. It was nearly 5pm - rush hour - and my path would take me directly through downtown, over the crazy busy Highway 101, and along the heavily trafficked streets to the exchange point. But hey, I love the attention. In fact, here I am in an action shot taken by one of my teammates in our van as I ran by them. 

 

Three miles later, I made the handoff to Van 1 and we were done with the first legs of our race. I took a moment to update the "ledger" on the window, because no job is complete until the paperwork is done. 

 

Then we were off to find something to eat. Starbucks and Quizno's were our next destinations, and yes, we were all still wearing most of our costumes. 

 

Next up: Running Through The Night