The BEST DECISION OF THE RACE for van 2 was going to Starbucks that morning. We pulled into the deserted parking lot and piled out of the van. There were two 'real' washrooms so we took turns washing our faces, changing and brushing our teeth. This, along with a warm beverages and breakfast made us feel pretty good!
We headed back to the exchange to meet van 1 and start on leg 3.
As we drove to the next exchange for my leg start, Michelle commented about her foot being really sore. She said something about wishing her leg was shorter in distance. "I'll switch with you." I pipped up. Michelle looked at me like I'd lost my mind. Honestly, at this sleep deprived point it was quite possibly the case. My last leg was 5K and her's was 10K. The girls piped up in agreement, "Michelle! Let us do something for you! Let Cathy run it!" And, to my amazement, she agreed!
As we drove into the next exchange, we saw a very welcoming smile shaded under her volunteer cap...Nancy! We got to hang out with her for a few minutes and got a better feel for the whole volunteer process. These volunteers were simply amazing. To cover 300+ kilometers would have been impossible without them.
Before we knew it Michelle was off.
When Michelle came in she was still able to do her exchange dance with Krysten, but just in different order. Krysten was off, and within a couple minutes sent us a message that she'd been stopped by the lift bridge. Michelle gave me a big hug and thanks for doing the swap, but I was honestly just so happy to be able to help her out. The last thing she needed was an injury and for some incredible reason, I was feeling great.
Despite being nervous, she looked great. The girls did a Facebook live video as we waited for Courtney. She arrived looking fresh and ready to keep running (this girl was an amazing addition to our team! We love you Courtney!) and handed off the slap bracelet for the very last time. Lisa was off!
And then, there was Leanne!
We are Ragnarians!
The next day we (well, mostly Ben, Lisa and Leanne) cleaned up the vans and we headed back to the city. It definitely felt weird over the next two or three days to be without my teammates. They call it Ragnover and I definitely had one!
Thank you to Allison for dreaming up this crazy goal and making it a reality. Thank you for the hours and hours and hours spent coordinating for our team. It did not go unnoticed and made our journey so much more enjoyable. You managed to put together 14 people and make an incredible life event for each and every one of us.
Thank you to Leanne and Maria for being our most important team members. In the future I think that Ragnar really needs to recognize the van drivers as full members of the team. The runners had the easy job. We were chauffeured around for over 24 hours and had to only run a few of those. The drivers navigated to a minimum of 36 pretty much unknown locations with a van full of people chatting about running when they were not. At the exchanges they cheered everyone on and took photos. They did every thing we did--except run, and with the addition of endless driving. They deserve a HUGE medal in my books.
Thank you to my Endorphrieds teammates. Over the race weekend I heard a lot of stories of other teams that really struggled because their team mates didn't have the same goals or expectations for the race. My biggest tip for anyone wanting to run a Ragnar relay: Be sure to choose your team mates with care. Make sure your race goals align. Our team was really great for that, we were in it to push ourselves but not win anything. We wanted the full Ragnar experience and that is what we got. We wanted to have a good time. We had a great time!
Thank you to Ragnar for putting on an incredible event. Thank you for taking another chance with Canada and Ontario. The event you put on is truly epic and I cannot imagine the amount of work that goes into planning and coordinating it. The support you gave our team was hugely appreciated.
Thank you to Reebok Canada. The last couple months have been a total whirlwind since our team partnered with you for the race. We greatly enjoyed getting to know the Reebok team, learning more about the product and having your support before, during and after the race. I admittedly did not know anything about Reebok run gear before this, but I will happily tell anyone that Reebok definitely has some incredible products that runners should be aware of. I am in awe that I was able to wear a pair of shoes that were relatively new to me for 30 kilometers over 24 hours with no issues what so ever. The Floatrides were not just comfortable, they took me from Cobourg to Niagara. Thank you for all that you did for our team (including not sending the photographer into our van at 5:00 am!)
Lastly, thank you to my husband Erick who became an honourary Endorphriends member over the race weekend. He followed our progress continuously and helped us on with our Reebok / gawck / Endorphriends contest. He even signed up for Instagram to be able to follow the team better! When I got home, one of the first questions he asked was, "Would you do it again?" My answer? "In a heartbeat."