Anyhow. Like I said, I don’t even know where to start talking about the weekend. I can say that I have never had as much fun in a van of people I’d never met before. We started the weekend as internet acquaintances and blogging buddies, but left as good friends, bonded for life by 36 hours of the best sort of insanity and ridiculousness.
And poop talk. There was lots of poop talk.
(What? We’re runners! We’re very concerned about our pooping, because it can make or break a run. TRUST ME.)
I could attempt to go through the weekend chronologically, but that would take forever and I’d be sure to miss things. Instead, I’m going to introduce you to the 5 amazing women and 1 awesome dude that I got to share the van with.
Tyler, van driver extraordinaire, making “Lemon Tea” flavored mischief
By day, Tyler is Nuun’s national sales manager. By night, he’s a cycling maniac. But for two glorious days at the end of July, he was our driver. Our escort through the Ragnar madness. Our security blanket during the dark night runs. And a significant instigator of mischief (see above). In addition to beginning our van tradition of handing each runner a bottle full of “Lemon Tea” at the conclusion of their last leg, he brainstormed the Gummi Bear Throwing incident (more on that later). Plus, he drove that beast of a van like a pro, squeezing it into parking spaces that I’m not sure I could have gotten my little Mazda into. He never had to parallel park it, but I have no doubt that he could have if the need arose.
In short: Tyler rocks.
Jenny, rocking the hell out of that miniskirt
Jenny , our lead-off runner, came to us from Portland. I’d never met her before, and had only started following her on Twitter after I learned she’d be one of our teammates. As soon as I read her Twitter bio, however, I got excited. I mean, how can someone who loves Liz Lemon and Joss Whedon not be totally awesome?
Turns out she also loves beer. And gummi bears. And was somehow even more awesome to hang out with than I’d originally hoped. Sure, she ran like a champ and finished all of her legs way faster than expected, but she was also two tons of fun in a wee tiny 12-ounce package. We bonded over poop talk, and she let (nay, encouraged!) me tag her ass in a photo on Facebook. I really don’t know what else there is to say, except all of us up here in Seattle are super sad that she doesn’t live up here.
Kim, engaging in the newly developed sport of “Stacie fishing”
Jenny handed off to Kim , a Nuun employee who has been running longer than her vanmates have been alive. She was the self-proclaimed “mom” of the van, but that didn’t stop her from engaging in all of the fun and mischief. In fact, she was one of our most tireless cheerleaders, yelling and howling and dancing on the side of the road at all hours to keep us going. She had a niggling injury pop up during her last couple legs that slowed her down a bit, but she carried on like a real trooper, apologizing all the way for not running as fast as she wanted to (which was still faster than some of us can run on a good day). I’d never met Kim before Ragnar, but now I’m looking forward to seeing her at all sorts of local events.
Alanna, our international representative
Alanna was runner 10, coming to us from the exotic foreign land of Vancouver, BC, Canada, with the accent to prove it (although a remarkable lack of the word “eh”). She’d run Hood to Coast with the Nuun crowd last year, and said over and over how much more fun and laid back her Ragnar experience was. While I’m sure part of that was the fact that Ragnar is a much smaller race than HTC, I can’t help but think that her vanmates also made a significant contribution to that difference
She actually reminded me a lot of myself in that she came across as kind of quiet and reserved at first, but once she had some time to relax and settle in? Her personality came out. She was bubbly and funny and an absolute pleasure to be around. I think our van’s absolute favorite moment was during her last leg when she requested some Lemon Tea Nuun to be ready for her at the finish. When Tyler asked if she wanted Lemon Tea or “Lemon Tea,” she enthusiastically responded (with giant air quotes) “Lemon Tea.” She may have also used some inappropriate language and/or threatened Tyler’s personal safety if he got her the wrong sort of Lemon Tea. Not that I blamed her. By that point, it was hot and sunny and she was slogging through her longest leg of the weekend. Not only was the “Lemon Tea” the coldest beverage available in the van, she’d also earned it. No one was going to take that away from her . No one.
Stacie, showing her NuunKOTB spirit post-race
After Alanna came Stacie , who introduced us to the Californian pasttime known as “Seagull Fishing.” I don’t know what I loved more – how enthusiastically she described it without any thought that it might be a bit unusual, or how shocked she was that none of the rest of us had ever heard of it.
What? You haven’t heard of it, either? It’s pretty simple, really:
Doesn’t that sound like fun? How have you lived this long and never tried it?
Confession: Step 6 is my addition, because I didn’t see any other way for it to end. However, Stacie assured all of us that not only is it A Thing, but it is A Thing that she and her friends have actually done . We all believed her, because a) you just can’t make something like that up and b) she was just so damn enthusiastic about it. This is one of those things that, if you were there, will never not be funny because, dude, seagull fishing.
Me, enjoying my cold, refreshing “Lemon Tea” after my last leg
I was in the #11 spot, which was pretty awesome because that meant I got to run over Deception Pass early in the morning. That run was beautiful and gorgeous and everything I’d hoped it would be, except for the desperate need for a restroom I was trying to ignore through the whole 7 miles. It also meant that even after our van got moving, I had a few hours to eat, relax and hydrate before I had to get out and run.
I’ll admit, I was a little nervous heading into the weekend. I knew I was one of the slowest runners on the team, which typically doesn’t bother me, but I hadn’t done anywhere near as much running after Rock & Roll as I’d wanted to. Which meant that I was pretty sure I could handle the miles, but I actually had no idea. I ran 17 miles over the weekend, and I haven’t run 17 miles in a week since my knee surgery, never mind in a 2-day period. It could have been humiliatingly painful, is what I’m saying. On top of that, I’d spent the week before the race feeling awful. I was tired and exhausted and constantly on the verge of tossing my proverbial cookies. Which meant in the days leading up to the race, I’d done no running and had been eating whatever I thought my stomach might tolerate, regardless of the health or nutritional value. In short: I was not at my best when I woke up to pouring rain on Friday morning.
Luckily, it all came together. The rain stopped before we had to start running, and I made it through the weekend without totally killing myself. I did, however, take more than my fair share of naps in the van. No one else had wanted the very back seat, so I staked it out for myself and spent plenty of time stretched out back there, using the bags and sleeping bags I was sharing the seat with as pillows. I easily got the most sleep of anyone in the van, mostly because I couldn’t help it. At one point, I decided to lie down for a bit while the radio was cranked up to 11 and there was a full on rave happening in the van… and the next thing I know, the van is parked and it’s dark and quiet and everyone else is gone and I have no idea what’s happened. (We’d gotten to the next exchange, which is where everyone was. They returned shortly after I regained consciousness.)
So, yes, I was known as the one who slept through the in-van rave. Clearly I needed that rest.
Despite my less-than-stellar state heading into the race, I still ran well (although my body did not appreciate the uphill start on my 2nd and 3rd legs) and was awake for most of the fun. I think. At least half of the fun, for sure. And thanks to my Zensah compression sleeves, I was not only able to run all 3 legs feeling sort of fresh, but I wasn’t sore at all when I woke up Sunday morning. I recovered from that race far, far better than I expected (or deserved) to, and I can’t help but think that the compression sleeves I wore after every leg had a big part to play in it.
Megan, making the long legs look easy
Megan was the one who brought it home for us. Not only did she have a ton of miles to run (over 24, compared to my measly 17), but she had the longest legs of just about anyone in the race, I think. Yet she made it look easy and absolutely flew through them (like a true Oiselle bird ). The funny thing about Megan is I’ve been interacting with her on Twitter for a couple of years now, but didn’t meet her in person until this weekend. Irwin, however, now works for the same company she does, and so he actually met her before me (after she responded to his, “Hello, I work here now” email with, “Hey, is your wife Dawn?”). Seattle can be a delightfully small world sometimes.
During her first leg, it was somehow decided that she was going to be the victim of a gummi bear ambush. I wish I could remember how or why we decided that, but I really can’t tell you. What I can tell you is that as she approached, we hid behind several parked vans on the side of the road and then ran out and pelted gummi bears at her as she passed. Unfortunately, another runner was right in front of her, so there was a bit of collateral damage. Luckily, the civilian casualties were limited, as when we did it again on her third leg, she was alone.
Like Jenny, she’s a big beer fan, which means that the two of us either need to take a field trip to Portland or Jenny needs to come back up here so we can all be big beer fans together.
I fear that this recap doesn’t even come close to conveying just how much fun we all had together, but I’m OK with that. The seven of us who spent those 36 hours together won’t ever forget how awesome it was, and that’s the important thing. Huge, huge thanks go out to Nuun , not only for organizing and sponsoring the weekend (because let me tell you: the best way to run a relay like this is when someone else is footing the bill and handling the logistics), but for asking me to join them for it. I feel so grateful to be included in this amazing group of women.
I’ll also take a moment to thank the other companies who sponsored our team through product donations or by offering us significant discounts on their merchandise for the race: Zensah , Moving Comfort , SpiBelt , Aspaeris , Road Noise , and Bondi Band . I’d also like to thank Holly for being our Chief Hustler and securing most of those freebies and discounts for us.
Lastly, you can see my full collection of pictures from the weekend on Facebook . You should also head over and check out everyone else’s recaps, so you can get an better idea of what the full NuunKOTB experience was really like. (I’ll keep the list updated as more recaps go up.)
From van 1:
And from van 2
Thank you again, ladies, for an awesome weekend. We’re all in for next year, right?