Have I Got a Long Way to Run: Ragnar 2015

Are these times contagious
I’ve never been this bored before
Is this the prize I’ve waited for
Now as the hours passing
There’s nothing left here to ensure
I long to find the messenger

Have I got a long way to run
Have I got a long way to run
Yeah, I run
Yeah I run

Is there a cure among us
From this processed sanity
I weaken with each voice that sings
In this world of purchase
I’m going to buy back memories
To awaken some old qualities

Have I got a long way to run
Have I got a long way to run
Have I got a long way to run
Have I got a long way to run
Yeah, I run
Yeah, I run
……….

by Ed Roland, Collective Soul

Run by Collective Soul

Do I ever have a long way to run! In fact, 15+ miles lie ahead.

A short week and back at it for another weekend adventure. I still haven’t unpacked from Denver and now I’m packing for the Ragnar Trail Run at McDowell Mountain Park. It’s Friday morning and not unusual for me the ADD guy, I wait until the last minute to pack and of course it causes problems. This time though, I only had to return one time for forgetting something and I recalled that I had left my pillow as we were driving down the Longhorn Road. What prompted my recall? Carolyn asked me if I had everything. Only delayed us about five minutes. Of course I later recalled that I had forgotten my nasal spray but it was too far down the road to return. We did manage to leave the house by 7:10 which is about 20 minutes earlier then I had anticipated.

It is a cold morning as we arrive in Fountain Hills and stop by Starbucks. This is one of my favorite ones since it is a cool place to hang out and drink coffee. Carolyn and I get the opportunity to sit and relax and nibble on their pre-prepared breakfast sandwiches. By the way, I could care less if the cups don’t say Merry Christmas. I love their sandwiches and their coffee, so all is good. We head to Safeway and meet up with Nicole from Dr. Winterholler’s office and I get my bargain shopping on and there are some great buys. A can of refried beans with lime, a coconut water, some body wash, and even some AAA batteries are all marked 50% off and the cost is even less since the items are on sale. I always take time to find a bargain.

Nicole piles her stuff in with ours and it appears that we are preparing for Armageddon. All I can do is shake my head and figure that on this running event, I will probably gain about 10 lbs. We head to McDowell Mountain and it is already packed with camping runners. We IMG_3607drop our stuff off at our team camp that Lynn Waters, our captain, has set up the previous day. It’s quite the camp with air mattresses, sleeping bags, grills, chairs, blankets, ice chests, food, and more food. Lynn is the queen of camping.  Home away from home.  We are the Beauties and the Beasts. I’m clearly no beauty and I sure wouldn’t qualify as a beast but it is what it is. Last year we finished #261 out of 360+ teams. Will we improve?

The run has started for our team at 9:30. Lynn is volunteering at the start line. She has had to put a lot of work into this event and she is still working. Just crazy. Now that is what I call a Captain. Lanie is out on the course. She will be followed by Michael, Nichole, Karen, me, Carolyn, and Lynn. The day is warming up nicely and there appears to be a couple thousand participants milling around.

MapThere are three loops one must run and you do them in order. First runner of the day has the green loop “easy” one at 4.1 miles, second runner must do the yellow loop 4.7 miles, and the third runner starts with the red loop of 6.6 miles. You run with a number and a timing chip that is embedded in the number and you hand this off to the next runner. The cycle repeats itself and each runner ends up running all three loops. Approximately 15.4 miles over the next 24+ hours.

Sometime in the early afternoon I take off on my first loop which just so happens to be the “red” loop. It is a beautiful day, the sun is shining brightly, and I’m on the trail. After 3/4 of a mile the trail starts heading up a long  hill. I have cruised along just fine at a nice pace and that all goes awry. I pass folks on the run IMG_3608and knew I was in trouble as I pass this fit woman throwing up somewhere between mile one and two. I’m like OMG, she still has about five miles to complete. No headphones for me as I enjoy the solitude of the run. Tough and tiring. The hill crests and as I run on the vista, I am at peace still wondering what am I doing running on a trail in the middle of the IMG_3609afternoon. I spend a lot of time looking at the ground to make sure that I’m not stepping in holes or on rocky points, cactus, etc. I do finish and hand off the racing belt to Carolyn around 2:00. I’m beat but I feel pretty good. I have got the long one done in a 11:00 minute mile pace. Considering all things I’m happy. Nicole’s boyfriend Max has arrived and with his arrival he has brought me a gift. A bottle of Bulleit Rye Whiskey. Life is looking up and I am overjoyed that I have something to look forward to sipping at home. I tell Nicole, this guy is a keeper. Anybody that appreciates a good whiskey has to be a good person. (my opinion)

Misery is on the horizon. I eat the pasta dinner and go rest in the tent. My next run starts after dark and it is the “yellow” course.  I am dreading the thought of running this course and to run it at night has me worried. The temperature has dropped rapidly to where I’m freezing.  It’s after 9:00 as I receive the timing belt from Dan. There is no moon, just a bunch of bobbing headlamps out there on the trail. This trail is a rough one. Constant up hills and down hills, my headlamp is shooting out low lumens as the batteries are weak. I’m scared of falling, getting hurt, since I can’t see very well. It is a miserable time for me and I finally get in at a 13 minute pace. It’s almost 11:00 when I hand off the belt to Carolyn. I head back to camp, defeated and tired, and crawl into my sleeping bag. No sleep but I do rest. These camps are noisy and fairly wild. The porta potties are nonstop with doors banging and it is quite an experience. Carolyn gets back from her “red” run and she has nailed it in less then an hour. She keeps track of all those she passes and she swoops by some 30+ runners in the dark at better then a 10 minute pace. She is exhilarated, I’m ready to quit. Somewhere in the night, I manage to sleep, I only know this because I do dream. I dream of things not related to running in the dark. In reality, Carolyn says I must have been asleep because I was snoring. (remember I forgot my prescription nasal spray) While I am sleeping, we do have one running casualty. Karen falls and somehow manages to finish the red loop but she is done. Captain Lynn is going to pick up the 4.7 yellow loop. That’s the tough one.

Morning has broken and it is cool start but the sun is warming up fast. Lanie has left camp to go help with the Girls On the Run event in Payson. That is some dedication as she has left immediately after her run and will return for our picture. Not only that, I think that is quite commendable that she is donating her time to get young girls interested in running.

I am ready to run. (not really) I head out on the green loop which is supposedly the “easy” loop. Easy to some, hard to me. You have a gradual climb but I manage to get to the halfway point and headed back towards the finish line. I pass a young lady and say hello only to hit a rock and immediately crash and burn. She asks me if I’m ok and I tell her I think so but I’m a bit bloodied and she does remind me that I have fallen not on a hill but on the straight path. Just a bit sore and of course embarrassed I go on ending my last run, ready for the end. My ankles, knees, hips, back, and shoulder all hurt and now my pride has been hurt as well.

Our team finishes out and we are done sometime around 11:00. We have finished in 25:51.  That is an improvement of about five minutes. I find that funny. We cross the finish line together and pick up our bling (medal) that serves as a bottle opener, a cutting tool, can opener, IMG_3618 IMG_3619and definitely could do some damage if used as a weapon. We get our pictures taken and time to pack up and head for home. As Carolyn was finishing her last leg, I had taken the liberty to get our stuff organized and ready to go. I know surprising. But I did. After Lynn has completed the run and our campsite tent and all has been broken down, I decide to go get my vehicle so we can load up our stuff. Nicole and Max decide to go as well and we all pile in a van. Life is strange. Totally unpredictable. We start moving forward a12122887_10205651666673333_1993798347863299691_nnd this guy comes out and wants to know if he can catch a ride on the shuttle. We have room so I slide over and he gets on gingerly, whining and complaining about his aches and pains. I tease him a bit about being a wimp in a friendly way and a way to lighten the mood on the van. He stops and looks over at me and well, I will let him explain from his Facebook post:

So I do this crazy Ragnar stuff and at the end of an arduous 24 plus hour event, I squeeze onto a shuttle that takes us back and forth to our cars parked a few miles from base camp. There’s some happier-then-he-should-be fellow sitting next to me. My brain has to access a 30 plus yr old “database” to see that I’m sitting next to one of my High School coach and teacher, Mr. Tim Fruth. Just can’t get any more cool than than that!!! Boom! 

It is my Facebook friend Kenny Hughes, who I have not seen since he graduated some 30 years ago. Wow. Crazy. We bring the van to laughter as we reminisce about Payson High School. As I would say, just epic. Something I will never, ever forget. W12115644_10208136473274330_9153679869208524389_ne take a selfie and get photo bombed. Thousands of runners, multiple shuttle vans, and somehow we end up next to each other. It makes my day and my week complete. Pure joy.

What’s left is the picture event and that goes without a hitch. It is now past noon so hunger has crept in even though I have snacked all night long. Max, Nicole, Carolyn and I decide to stop and get some food i.e. a craft beer. We come across the All American Sports Grill. Nice setting, slow service, food was ok, and overall it was enjoyable relaxing on the patio. Nice downtown area.  something I only dream about in Payson. It is beautiful looking out towards the Four Peaks.

Finally headed for home and some relaxation with Mad Men on Netflix. Life is good on the run but our next adventure is just around the corner–NYC wedding day. I’m Living the Dream while running against the wind.

About timfruth

Longtime public educator who recently retired from public education. Messed around in politics as a town councilor and vice mayor. I am a father and a husband who currently works in a new active career in Human Resources. Love the outdoors and rapidly adjusting to a new me.
This entry was posted in Family, Ragnar, Relationships, Retirement, Road Trip, Running, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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