Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Warning: Long post ahead.

We've been back from Las Vegas for 3 days now and I'm finally getting around to this:

Between myself and 11 other runners we ran 172 long miles through the Las Vegas desert. I should add that it went pretty much like this: RUN. DRIVE. SLEEP? REPEAT.

Notice the ? behind SLEEP.... that would be accurate...which is why RAGNAR puts it on all of their merchandise. I believe I slept for a totalof 2 and 1/2 hours (no more)--which is probably more sleep-time than 1/2 of my team!

I could write about how tired I was, how I threw up right before and during my last leg of the race, how things weren't perfect, etc...but instead, I'm going to write about what really happened:


About 2 1/2 months ago, Wendy asked me if I wanted to RUN in the RAGNAR instead of just drive. I hesitated, but said YES. I then set out to train 4 times a week to get ready for this race. I encountered some pain and doubted whether or not this was really possible. And when October 8th rolled around, ready or not, we set-out to do it.

The drive to Vegas was a blast! The company so was like we were all trying to ignore the fact that we'd be running in the desert for 30 + hours the next day. Dinner was great and we got the vans decorated. Take a close look at the picture below to see the ADORABLE doughnut necklaces Jaime made for the entire team. (Our team name was the SWEET CHASERS)--I wore that necklace on my last run despite it bouncing up and down. I love it!

The next morning my van (Van #1) headed down to check-in and begin the race.

It kind of was surreal until it became my turn to run. I'd like to share with you my three legs of the race:


8:30 AM-Wendy receives a panicked phone call from me. (She was in van 2) I was totally worried and nervous. It was about my time to start...she totally encouraged me in the ways she always does and helped me think, "it's just another run--i've done this so many times"

8:42 AM-- Runner #1- Cheryl Bullock (who did an incredible job) hands off the bracelet to me and I slap it on and go...slowing a little to get the gum, Christine (Runner #4), retrieved for me. With a fresh piece of gum and some encouraging words I was off. (A little too quickly and I soon had to slow to get my breathing back to somewhat normal)--my route went from nicely paved road to dirt/sand that seemed to last forever. After the sand I was back on pavement and facing a hill. It was here where I had to stop. I walked for a few paces and realized that I really could keep I did. I went until I saw the exchange. My favorite part of this run came after the actually "running."

9:24 AM-- One down. I handed the bracelet to Yollanda and she took off. I cooled off with some water (yes, it had started to get hot around 9:00 in the morning) and made a phone call. It felt so great to call Wendy and my other teammates to let them know I had done it. I felt successful and they were so supportive and excited for me. :) I'll never forget what that felt like!

Here's a great photo of the sunset Wendy ran in during her first leg:

While Wendy and the rest of van 2 ran...we spent time at an exchange and tried to rest.

10:27 PM-- After Kellie Mellot (runner #6) handed the bracelet off to Tifany from Van #2 earlier and we tried to rest at an exchange, it was my turn again to wait for Cheryl to pass it on to me--she didn't take too long, and at 10:08PM I was off for my longest run. There happened to be a lot of runners around this time and as I was listening to "Another one bites the dust" at least 10 people zoomed past me, I finally had to change the song. I was discouraged by being so much "ROADKILL" and at knowing I wasn't even half way done. I slowed down (alright, I walked again) and "CHASING CARS" came on my IPOD. As the cars were driving past me in the dark and my head light lit up the road a little I felt like the song was perfect. I again was encouraged to pick it up thinking of all my teammates and their hard work.

11:23 PM--4.8 miles DONE....A much desired hand-off to Yollanda.

Here are Christine, Kellie and Yollanda waiting for me:

Yes...I get that this photo is very blury. But that's the hand-off.
Notice all the "night-gear?"

5:30ish AM-- Couldn't decide if I was sick or had heat exhaustion...but definitely didn't feel good...Gave Van #2 a call and Wendy was out running. I talked to Tif, who talked to Lisa who gave me some advice...I sipped lots of gatorade and it kept going straight through me...eventually I tried a cracker and that seemed to hold--

*The other runners in my van were trying to come up with a solution as to how I could just rest and not do my last leg--I was almost willing to find a way, but was reminded by how much I wanted to do it, how much I wanted to finish!

7:15ish AM-- Van #2 had come to the exchange waiting for Lisa to hand off to Cheryl to start one last round of runs. I got to spend some time with Jaime, Tif, and Wend and see how they were doing. They had done such a great job so far and Wendy had to run an extra mile during her 2nd leg due to a tragic accident. My heart goes out to Jeremy Kunz and his young family from Utah. He was hit by a drunk driver while giving water and support to his teammate and was killed. I can not even imagine how difficult this would be----his family and team are in my prayers. Jeremy was running Wendy's same leg, so check out her blog for more information:

8:32 AM--The bracelet goes on my arm for the last time as I give it a shot. (Thanks to Kellie for running a bit before with me to see how it felt)...

Probably about 1/2 way into my run I started to hyperventilate thinking about almost being done and I had to stop and walk to calm back down. Lots of great songs that reminded me of all the times running with Wend and through the Provo Canyon came on and I was good to go. About 100 yds from the exchange I burped and more than what I expected came up and I stopped, puked a little, and continued. I could see the end...and I was determined to make it there!

9:07 AM--I did. I made it. Me...Melanie...the, "I am not a runner" and "I can't run" finished with my best time.


That was the end of my turns, but as the day continued I rode along with Van #2 to support them and see them finish. All along the way I felt such a part of something--everyone whom I knew and met for the first time , strangers on the course, were encouraging and welcoming. I may not have looked like the "rest of them," but my team and the other RAGNAR runners made me feel included. :)

Check out Yollanda spraying off Christine during her last run.

I learned so much about myself and my team...Just to mention a few: I am capable. We might not be the best, but we are strong. I can do hard things. With such a great team and friends, anything is possible.

Libby and Wendy after Libby's last leg



Wendy said...

Love the spray on Christine's photo - very cool. And saying you threw up while running is ultra cool!

Katty said...

Congratulations!!! I am so proud of you. You guys did amazing. I want to run it with you next year.

Leslie said...

You're an inspiration!! Great job Mel.

Yoli said...

Melanie, nice post! You did awesome, I would have never thought you were so nervous, you seemed so confident. You have some serious "cajones" to run your 3rd leg after throwing up all night. I don't know if I could have done that! Keep on runnin.....