#RagnerNO 2013 – We Came. We Saw. We Conquered…

… 311 kilometers from Coburg to Niagara Falls as part of the inaugural Canadian Ragnar Relay. #TeamWheezy was amazing. It was a group of 12 runners, plusDSC_0524 2 van drivers, that came together and tackled the beautiful, Southern Ontario Waterfront Trail. Put together by Lululemon Community Connector Jonas Caruana, our goal was to prove that Lululemon is not just about Yoga, that they are a serious running company (I’ve known this for years but it’s time we introduce the world to it!)

If you did not already know, Lululemon makes some of the best running clothing out there. Not only is it highly functional and comfortable, everyone looks amazing in it; function meets fashion in a mean way.

Start line at #RagnarNODecked out in the latest Lululemon Running Gear #TeamWheezy Van 1 headed out to Coburg for the 2pm start. Jonas was runner #1 and he got us out of the starting gate fast. #TeamWheezy took a strong lead as Jonas passed off to the lovely Sarah… and we kept going from there. Ok so van 2 almost missed the start of leg 7, we had absolutely no idea that they would be so fast. But we arrived just in time and Gillian was off for a very speedy leg 7.

From there Van 2 stayed on track, no wait we were super speedy. I set out on my first leg around 9 (I think) and watched the sun set on Toronto from Clarington. I was so excited to run into see Jonas waiting at exchange 12. And then Van #1 was off again. We, van #2, opened up the cooler full of amazing food from our awesome holistic nutritionist, Kailani King, and had a total pig out session in the parking lot. We had naked burritos with amazing mango salsa, smashed sweet potatoes, organic ground beef and veggies. We had trail mix. We had rice crispy squares. We had fruit salad. We had coconut water. We had the ultimate in post-race recovery nutrition. And we were off again. We were heading to Toronto trying to decided where to go and what to do.

Thank you to teammate Jesper for the use of your amazing Annex home. All of us in Van #2 greatly appreciated the chance to lie down for a bit, grab a shower and have a chance to stretch our legs. And PS, what a house!

We weren’t asleep and relaxing for long before Audra, driver in Van 1 to say we need to get ready for our second legs of the relay. Really, we were so fast!

Night Running As Nate came into see Gillian, she ran off super quickly to attack her 5km run through the trails at Etobicoke. Ok so she was kinda harassed by the guys at the bars on Lakeshore in West Etobicoke, but that just made her run faster. From there she passed off to Nate, who tore through the trails heading into Mississauga. Jesper was not so lucky on his run. Despite having the run of his life (after a McDonald’s french fry pit stop) he was sent down a dead end on the route. He recovered, spun around and threw down and awesome middle leg. Sue and Emma also had spectacular middle of the night runs. Who knew on no-sleep and tons of adrenaline you could pull off some awesome running. As I charged into exchange 24 to hand off to Jonas again, we were all in some desperate need of sleep.

Van #1 was off again running, van #2 was desperately looking to lie down. What did we do, we headed to Tim Horton’s, (note to self: Timmy Ho’s does not serve bagels until 5am!), only to be told that food was not an option. McDonald’s it was. I was totally asleep in the Van but I do know that some Big Mac’s, nuggets and bagels were consumed. From there we headed directly to exchange 30 to catch some zzz’s and rest our legs. Thank you to the lovely church for allowing us to use your coaches and floor space.

When we awoke the sun had risen, the birds were chirping and an epic day was before us. Van #1 rolled in and we were all so excited to see Nate come in so strong on his final leg to pass off to Gillian. Van #1 and Van #2 were now united, from exchange 30 through 35 we stuck together as a team. And what a team we were. Decked out in our bright Lululemon clothes we cheered as hard as we could at every leg. We all gave it our all on our final legs, tired bodies and mind, we fought to the very end. Personally, my final 12.5 km run was about the hardest run I’ve ever done. It was straight up the Niagara escarpment and then it felt like it kept climbing all the way to the end! But I had 13 amazing people cheering for me as I left exchange 35 and the same awesome 13 people waiting for me at the finish line. Together we conquered Ragnar!

Finish LineJust over 22 hours later through 36 legs we made it from Cobourg all the way to Niagara Falls. And you wouldn’t have known that we had not really slept, that we had just run 311 km as a team, and that we hadn’t showered or been cramped in a van for 22 hours. Coming across that finish line up those stairs is a highlight of my racing career I will never forget. I had all 11 of my teammates with me when I crossed; you do not often get that chance as an athlete to celebrate with those that work as hard as you do.

Personal Highlights from the Relay:

  • the ED!! Only those of you there and very, close personal friends know that one.
  • Gillian announcing my embarrassing story to a very confused van of girls
  • Sue hammering a 15k run off no warm up and no cool down. Smallest woman in the car and she has the longest part of the relay #suerocksmyworld
  • Jesper’s McDonald’s missions (seriously I think that might be your pre-race nutrition boost)
  • Vince capturing some amazing images
  • Pigging out in a parking lot – how much food can 7 people eat in 10 minutes
  • Losing Emma in the church only to find her about 5 feet away from us curled up in a ball
  • Tina’s amazing (and speedy) driving across the province
  • Crossing the Finish line at Niagara falls with my whole team!

AudThe Athlete of Ragnar for Team Wheezy…

As I sat here (and procrastinated yet again with my Level 4 coach work, although it is all done now) I had to reflect as a coach. I sat back and thought about who from #TeamWheezy would be the athlete of the #RagnarNO Relay. An athlete of the event should demonstrate excellence, a winning attitude, great sportsmanship and be a team player. The athlete’s of Tinathe Ragnar Relay for Team Wheezy have to be Tina Rogers and Audra Arbuckle. None of us could have done it without them. These two ladies were the ultimate superstars, they were calm and collected and delivered each of us to our run stations in good time and then picked us up and got us rolling again. And really the did it on NO sleep. They were the ones in constant communication with the teams. They kept us on-track and on-time. Tina and Aud you are the best and we, Team Wheezy, love you!

Special thanks to all the supporters of #TeamWheezy at the #RagnarNO Relay. Thank you to CLIF for all the gels, bloks, bars and protein bars. Thank you Kailani King for your amazing prepared foods. Thanks Jonas for thinking of this and bring an awesome group of 14 people together. And a HUGE thank you to Lululemon Athletica for the awesome running gear. Not only did we look amazing, but we had the best gear on the road.

Oh yeah, where did we finish? 3rd overall and top mixed team. Yeah we kicked some serious butt!

#Ragnar 2014! Absolutely, can’t wait!