Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I really can't even begin to tell you all how much fun this trip/race was.  It was such a unique experience, I can't even compare it to any other running events.  It really pushes you to your limits physically, emotionally, and mentally.  And I loved every minute of it.  It was my first time ever doing a long distance relay race.  I really didn't have much to refer to or call on other than I knew I could cover lots of miles at certain paces.  I learned tons about how to make my next relay challenge better and learned a lot about myself.  You just can't beat life experiences like that.  Without boring everyone to tears I really want to share everything about it!  Prepare yourself for the long version with tons of fun photos, there were over 350 pics - I'll try to give the condensed version...

Look at us.  Clean, smiling, happy.  We have no idea what we're getting ourselves into.  This is half our team, we headed out Thursday afternoon for a 4 hour drive down to Southern Utah.  I made some vinyl decals for our vans with our names, team name and a big fat pair of lips.  Bountiful Babes...seriously.  We got to our hotel pretty late and went to sleep around 11ish and had to be up to the start line around 6.  They stagger all the teams throughout the day and we were predicted a fairly slow finish time so we started first thing. 

This is our first runner, Robynn, heading out after hopping off the ski lift!  3 miles downhill trail run.  I was a little jealous.  What a great run!

A few of us went up the ski lift to send off our first runner.  What a beautfiul sunrise.  It was so cold, but it was so worth a little chill to ride up and see Robynn off.  And at the top of the mountain, while wrestling each other for more sleeping bag, my sister's cell phone fell out of her pocket without her even realizing it!  When we were heading out to the van she realized she didn't have it with her.  We retraced steps, couldn't find it.  We had the guy with the dreads announce at the starting area if anyone had found it and a few minutes later a kind stranger came up with the phone!  What are the chances?  Wish I would've took a pic of him!  So lucky.

Views from the ski lift!

So here is the first van exchange.  The Snow Van just finished six legs.  I was in the Sun Van - leg 7 runner.  The van exchange checkpoints were all huge, super fun with lots of support from the other teams.  Since the race staggers all the teams from the start, you really don't ever run with other people.  It's kind of an odd feeling when you're used to doing marathons and have small talk with lots of different runners throughout your run.  However all the vans were out supporting their runners and would cheer and offer supplies and nutrition to everyone.  The commraderie was amazing in that aspect.  And you had all the hilarious team names and decorated vans and costumes to keep you entertained.  We saw the 'Fit, Fat and the Elderly' a lot, as well as 'The Bloated Slugs' and team 'What the Hell' running complete with pitchforks and devil headbands - so fun!

This is my first leg, otherwise known as, The Navajo Ninja.  All I was missin was my Samuri sword during this 5 miles of mostly uphill run at an elevation around 9800 ft.  phew.  The scenery was amazing - the hill, pretty tough.  But I ran the full leg straight through with ten minute miles.  Pretty good on an incline!  This was actually probably my favorite leg to run.  Legs were fresh, the weather perfect - everything very exciting.  Look at that scenery!
These are the Sun Van runners - legs 7 - 12.  Lots of hills, cool, crisp air.  It was so great to have support out there.  We never had to carry a water belt, the vans would just jump ahead to whatever mile point we wanted and waited for the runner - gave em a quick drink or shot block and they were off.  Plus is was so great to have the cheers to keep the adrenaline going. 

After the first run of hills for me my hamstrings had a deja vu moment from Park City.  My left hamie knotted up pretty quick.  So great to have a sister around to use the ol' rolling pin on me!

Here's the Snow Van crew waiting for us to come in so they can get crackin' on their second legs of running...

On our way to the next resting area this little guy was trying to hitch a ride.  Sorry, Leg 133 doesn't go in our van...

These are the accomadations for our first moment of rest.  It's no Marriott but it would suffice for the night.  Luckily it was clear skies and really not too chilly.  We got about an hour and a half of sleep.  The Snow Van was finishing all their legs faster than expected so we weren't even ready for the next van exchange.  Good thing I slept ready to go with my shoes exactly next to my sleeping bag!  I was literally shocked out of sleep and thrown out on my longest leg - 8.3 miles of rolling terrain.  My hamstring was a little stressed but finished at about 1 hr 16 min.  Not flyin but good enough in the dead of night.  I ran that leg around midnight, in the middle of nowhere, with a headlamp.  Crazy.  And honestly hardly saw any other runners.  I maybe saw 3 up until I got to the next hand-off.  It was a little creepy to be out there alone, but I stayed strong.  My van caught up to me at around 4 miles - so it was all good.  I saw 3 falling stars during that run and the sky was lit up beautifully with the starry night.  Unfortunately we were all kinda in a daze so no pics from the night action.  I will say everyone rocked their night legs, even Lisa who had been battling nausea all night!  She hit that run like a champ!
So once we met up with the next van exchange and handed it over to our team members we had planned to go to Lisa's in-laws vacation home that was nearby.  Funny thing tho, we got there and the lock code didn't work and the key box wouldn't open.  Of course.  We were all so tired that half of slept in the car and the other half slept on the drive-way.  I can't believe the neighbors didn't call the police.  Seriously.  Once daylight hit, after getting another hour and a half of sleep (if you can even call it sleep) Lisa figured out the key box and we were able to get in the house for a quick shower.  It was a good thing too, we were stinkin up that van pretty good...  well not me, but... : )

So onto the third leg.  We were late to that leg too!  Our calculations were so off on the finish times of our other runners that they ended up waiting about 7 minutes for us to get there for the hand-off.  We felt really bad...  So with tons of anxiety, no breakfast or food, minimal sleep, I jetted off to finish my last leg.  5 more miles of hills.  Luckily this leg was at 9:30 so it was warm but not crazy hot yet.  Have you ever been out on a run and thought, 'If I close my eyes right now I could totally fall asleep.'  That was my feeling.  Just total fatigue.  I limped throught the first mile and a half and then the hamstring warmed up to finish the hills fairly strong.  Kicked this leg out in 10 minute miles as well. 
Nora and I are discussing that it is going to be freakin' hot for the runners later in the day...

The best thing about this experience is the new friends and the tighter bonds that we made.  I ended up helping out a couple of our runners on their legs and it was fun to actually spend time out on the course with them.  It really was super hot in the afternoon and some started feel some symptons of heat exhaustion and fatigue.  It's amazing what talking and taking your mind off the hurting to get you through a run!  These ladies are troopers!
Here's our cute group of ladies in their matching tees waiting for one of our runners to come in.
See this book right here?  It was our Bible.  We looked at it seriously, every 10 to 15 minutes.  It had all our legs listed in detail, as well as estimated and actual finish times for all the legs.  So helpful.  Couldn't have done the race without it!  I had some serious comtemplation going on... : )
The finishing line! Boas, beads and how bout those t-shirts?  Pretty stinkin' cute...

Bountiful Babes - the starting line-up: Nora, Caralee, Lisa, Robynn, Sheri, Melanie, Lisa, Emily, Callie, Me, Amy & our team captain Angela!  Angela was amazing to keep us all organized and together!

Here's the Sun Van crew - Nora, Lisa, Emily, Me, Callie & Amy - we're so tough!

Totally earned those 3 bars!  I ended up covering about 30 miles total!  So awesome!
Cute Lisa, last runner, 7 miles in the hottest heat of the day, taking a well deserved rest!

Feelin' pretty good about life in this moment.  Such a crazy weekend.  Unbelievable to cover that many miles in 34 hours...  next year we'll get it under 30!  Heck ya!

At the end of our race, Emily and I already contemplating next year's adventure...  Maybe we should try RRR as an ultra event... : )  I'll think about it some more after I have another nap today.


  1. You rock Dawn!! My sister in-law does the relay races and loves it!! I love reading your blog and seeing how you are doing!! Keep up the good work!

  2. Looks like a lot of fun. I love the tshirts. You chose those didn't you? Glad it all worked out so well!

  3. dreamed & designed those tee's myself! callie helped find the perfect set of lips! :)

  4. Great tees! That sounds like such a blast...I hope to be able to run a relay one day :)

  5. You said that book was like the bible, looking at it every 10-15 minutes. I know you don't look at and study your bible every 10-15 minutes. You ain't foolin noone!!!

  6. So awesome! It makes me miss Ragnar! ;-) I might even put a team together for RRR next year. Relay races are addictive!

  7. We also checked our leg time estimate sheet constantly. It was a lifesaver!

  8. yeah. what tiff said.

    plus, this was like reading greek to me. seriously, it's another language entirely. i think i got the part where you said "nice scenery" and "heck yeah."

  9. The relay looks so great, the pictures are so cool and lot of fun. I like the group pictures, the uniform and the mark in the legs, that was cool. Great recap also!!!

  10. what a great relay! Great job girls!!

  11. That sounds awesome! I wish they had a relay like that near me!

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  13. Sarah--the Ragnar Relay series has many races around the US. Check their website to see if one is near you. ;-)

  14. You are all an inspiration! Well done ladies! and Hi to all my old neighbors... keep on runnin'

  15. Okay, so I'm jealous! Looks awesome! :) Glad you guys had a great time!

  16. Great job. Wonderful pictures. Looks like a lot of fun!

  17. I know I'm late, but I just read the post. What a great recap!! I was thinking of you guys, and I'm glad you had a great time. Wahooooo!!

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