Honey Badgers and 80’s Aerobics Party

These are the Honey Badgers.

Watch them run in slow motion…well, maybe not so slow.  Honey Badgers run relays with only 6 people instead of the typical 12.  It can be 96 inland or 56 and foggy in the middle of the night; Honey Badgers don’t care–they are badass.

Honey Badger captain Andee is badass–just read her blog.

Ok, enough of the fun parody of a parody–Ragnar was a fun event and I thought I’d have some fun with my blog post about it.  But the basic details are our team ran 203.5 miles (we actually ran 206.5) in 28:59; we were the 3rd best mixed ultra team, 4th best ultra team and 38th best team overall–out of close to 550 finishing teams.  I had the most miles at 38.4.  My first leg was at 4 PM on Friday in Corona when the temperatures were sitting steady at 96 degrees for my 10.6 miles.  I had two thoughtful acts of kindness by strangers moments during my first leg.  My leg started with a mile-long uphill.  About half way up the hill I was already hurting from the heat when a guy watering his lawn asked if I wanted to be hosed down…ah, yes please.  That got me up the hill and well on my way to my 27 kills for the leg (1 kill = passing another runner in a relay; I calculate my kills as net).  The second act of kindness was the sole Ragnar volunteer around mile 7 of my long leg.  It was in a small residential side street on an uphill.  She was waiting there with water and ice.  I put a chunk of ice in a plastic bag–this got me through the final 3 miles.  Wow, that was hot!!!

What a difference a few hours can make!  My next leg was a half marathon.  It was a little after midnight and the fog had rolled in.  The temperatures had dropped from a high of 96 all the way down to 56 degrees.  My leg started on a four-mile downhill, before rolling and finishing on an uphill.  I went out hard and then tried to maintain.  I was listening to music, which is something I have never done while running outside–music for me is strictly reserved for the treadmill.  But, after that first leg taking a lot out of me, I needed that extra distraction.  Even though I was saying hello and good job as I was passing people, I rarely got a positive return salutation.  I had 89 kills that leg.  I was passed within the first quarter-mile by a guy blazing down the hill, but I passed him around mile 5 when he pulled up with an injury–he was the first person to pass me in two legs.  I finished the 13.4-mile leg in just under 1:36–I was very pleased with this leg.  The decision to use music was a game-time decision.  I didn’t plan on doing it until 5 minutes before Neil handed me the slap bracelet.  I just held my iPhone in my right hand and hoped that I: 1) wouldn’t drop it; and 2) wouldn’t fall–which I almost did near the very end of my leg.

After a long night with four short naps (each, no longer than 30 minutes), it was day time again.  Andee was finishing up her final leg–she would be the first person to be done for our team–and she was the only one not to sleep the entire race.  One-by-one our team was finishing up.  I was third to last, so my nerves got to me a bit with anxiety.  I still had a 14.9-mile leg left and the marine layer was still thick.  I wanted to get my leg over before there was any chance of sun.  I got the slap bracelet from Meg in La Jolla, after she kicked ass on a tough final uphill in her leg.  And I started down another hill–I wanted to make sure I didn’t go out too fast, so I put a limit of 7:10’s with a goal of 7:30’s on myself.  I held on to the “fast” pace for as long as I could–but the sun did come out more than half-way through my leg and I kept hitting traffic lights, which messed up my much needed momentum.  With about 2-miles to go, I was hurting and slowing down.  Then something nice happened; I made a right turn into Mission Bay Park.  And there was a cloud cover and a nice ocean breeze.  That was all I needed–and the fact that I was done with traffic lights.  I picked up the pace as fast as I could and finished strong.  “Handing” (more like slapping) the bracelet to Steve.  I was done, but our team still had Steve and Dennis left.  I finished my third leg with a net of 47 kills–for the first time all day, someone had passed me without me passing them back; she passed me very early on and I never saw her again.

I knew Steve would run faster than he had planned.  I knew me running my last two legs hard would motivate him to do the same.  He hammered his final leg and that left Dennis.  As soon as Dennis took off, we headed straight for the finish line.  We figured based on the distance of the leg and how Dennis was feeling what time to expect him so we can run in together.  When that time had passed we figured he must be hurting.  Then 30 minutes later we started to really get concerned.  If I wasn’t barefoot, I would have run backwards to look for him.  But just when we really started to get concerned, Dennis appeared through the tunnel and the 6 Honey Badgers finished together.  What a great, fun and exhausting adventure!

The following weekend was Keira Henniger‘s Leona Divide 50/50.  The SoCal Coyotes operate an aid station each year, which is more of an outdoor party than volunteer work.  This year we partied like we were back in the 1980’s.  I’ll let pictures speak for me here.

As much fun as I had fun partying with my favorite people while helping some amazing athletes (we were located at miles 23.5 and 35), my favorite part of the day was when I got to run Alison in for the final 2.5 miles of her race.  She made it out of the final aid station before the cut-off and was on the trail headed for the finish line.  Kevin and I ran up to go find her and be her escorts back in.  When we finally found her she had a refreshing smile on her face–though she always has a smile and her nickname is sunshine.  Kevin and I ran with her for the first 1.5 miles before Louis and Jimmy joined in on the escorting fun.  All five of us made our way down the final hill.  She finished in a little over 13 hours, but all the Coyotes were there to cheer her to the finish.

I have now been running with the Coyotes for just over a year (I started running on Thursday mornings with them in April of 2011 and joined their training program in August of 2011.  My experiences with them are so hard to describe because they have been so wonderful.  I am constantly impressed by the on-going accomplishments (both in athletics and in life) of my friends and teammates.  This video was created by Adam Bowman and was the brainchild of our fearless leader, Coach Jimmy Dean Freeman. Enjoy the video.  I sure enjoy the group.

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