One of the things I’ve always disliked about running a relay with two vans and a full team of 12 is that you really don’t ever get to see your other van. It never really feels like one cohesive team. Running the Southern California Ragnar Relay race with Team Sparkle as an ultra team meant we had only one van because there was only six runners. It was just us. We became really close, really fast. It was awesome. We started out the race full of booty shaking fun (can you tell we’re at the end of leg 1 in this pic?), but by the end of the race, we realized there was more to surviving a relay as an ultra team than just completing the longer running distances.
But without the break that handing off to a second van of six runners gives a relay team, our energy quickly waned. Energy to be silly was gone. Energy to eat was gone. Energy to engage in any sort of shenanigans was gone. Every last drop of energy we had needed to be preserved for running because there were no breaks. We had to be “on” all the time.
Decent sleep was something we could only wish for. Most of us were lucky to get an hour or maybe two of shut eye during the entire 29 hour race (and when you add the “getting ready” and “winding down” from the race, that easily turned into 36 hours). There was an entire leg that I can’t even remember doing. I blame it on sleep deprivation. Or, it’s quite possible I was sleep-running.
The most ugly part of running the So Cal Ragnar Relay as an Ultra Team had to be the stomach issues. Oh the stomach issues. I always have “race stomach” right before a race, but I never contemplated having it 6 times in 28 hours. Because of sleep deprivation and upset stomachs (for all of us) eating was a chore and hydrating was a chore. So we just stopped doing it. That was a huge mistake and definitely something we need to figure out before our next relay race. The Doritos tacos, Egg Mcmuffin and Krispy Kremes might also have been a mistake. We may also ask if Preparation H would like to be one of our sponsors in 2013.
Remember at the beginning of the post when I said our team got close? It may have been the most ugly part of the race that will forever bind us together. For all of us, TMI was not in our vocabulary as we shared that smelly, sweaty van, not only racing from one transition to another, but from one porta potty to the next.
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Read about past relay adventures here: