Starting where I left off in yesterday’s post, we finished dinner and headed off to the next major exchange. There were 5 major exchanges along the course. The major exchanges typically had more “amenities” than others and were in bigger, more open spaces. We were all looking forward to having an hour or two of rest while waiting for the other half of our team to come in. Unfortunately, that did not happen. 😦 As the navigator and completely exhausted…I misread the directions and sent us to the NEXT, NEXT exchange. It was about 40 miles out-of-the-way. I didn’t realize it until we got there and saw nothing. We had to turn around and backtrack to the exchange we drove right past. Needless to say, I was a bit perturbed with myself at that time. I was really hoping for some semblance of sleep before my next leg and that wasn’t happening.
We made it to the exchange with just enough time for Fred to get himself ready and warmed up. I had my fair share of expletives to say while preparing for the next drive. At this point, the sun had set and it was quite dark out already, as we were in a less populated area, Blue Marsh Lake. We all had to have our head lamps, flashlights and reflective vests out and on. The one fun part of it being dark was to finally get our main attraction of decorations lit! Each van had a banner of Ragnar symbols with our names on them and glow in the dark paint. Wrapped around each banner was a strand of LED lights I had brought from home. Our nighttime décor was so awesome, it ended up landing us a spotlight on the Ragnar Relay Facebook page!!! 🙂 Needless to say, we were all pretty excited about that. By the time my next leg rolled around, it was about 12:30am Saturday morning. I was crazy tired and worried about how I was going to do this leg alone. Some sections of the course were labelled “no van support” due the lack of safe spots for the vans to pull over and assist runners.
While waiting for Adriane to come in to the exchange, I became a little more anxious thinking about the late hour, the darkness along a back road in the mountains and being alone. Luckily, before I could work myself up into a frenzy, Adriane came speeding in handing me our baton slap bracelet. I headed off and almost instantly the incline began and I was literally running up a mountain in pitch black at 12:30 in the morning. At this moment was when I thanked God for the opportunity to have run Devil Dog this past December! If it weren’t for that experience, my fears and anxiety probably would have gotten the best of me. With a total elevation gain of 1,071 feet and then upon reaching the top an insanely steep downhill, I could have just as easily freaked myself out and wanted to quit. When the darkness started to feel like it was surrounding me, I simply reminded myself that I have done much more difficult and have been fine. My sense of humor stuck around and I even posted a ranting video to social media, lol.
I finished my leg faster than I had expected and in just another couple of hours we made it the major exchange (an elementary school) I sent us to in the first place! After making the handoff, 5 of us headed into the school gym and found a spot to crash. I brought along a camping cot and was able to lie down and close my eyes some. I think I got some sleep, I honestly couldn’t tell you how much because I do remember being woken several times by some man snoring like a behemoth. The sun came up and other runners began stirring and it was time to get ready for our third and final leg of the race!