The Green Girl's Ragnar So Cal Race Report

The Green Girl participated in her first relay this weekend as a member of the Ragnar So Cal team '12 peas in a pod'.

The 203.5 mile Ragnar So Cal course was divided into 36 legs of varying difficulty and distances between 3-11 miles, with designed exchange points. The teams consisted of 6-12 individuals split evenly into two vans.

Ragnar So Cal Course Map
For teams of 12, Van 1 contains runners 1-6 and Van 2 contains runners 7-12. Van 1 Runner #1 begins at the starting line. Once the race starts, Van 1 goes to the first exchange point where runner #2 will prepare to run. Runners from Van 1 continue to run in order up to exchange point 6; this is the first major exchange in the race.
At exchange 6, Van 2 should be waiting. At this point, runner #6 from Van 1 will hand the slap bracelet off to runner #7 from Van 2. Then, Van 2 continues along the race course rotating runners until the next major exchange point, exchange 12, where they will hand off to Van 1 again. This pattern continues until the Finish.
Each team registration cost $1,260 and a portion benefited the San Diego chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training. There were an estimated 550 teams participating in this year's event. Many teams dressed up in costumes and decorated their vans according to their group theme.

Team 12 peas in a pod comprised Sole Runners and friends of Sole Runners:
  1. Hector - Legs: 1, 13, 25
  2. Phil - Legs: 2, 14, 26
  3. Steven- Legs: 3, 15, 27
  4. Anna - Legs: 4, 16, 28
  5. Sandra - Legs: 5, 17, 29
  6. Jamie - Legs: 6, 18, 30
  7. Jose - Legs: 7, 19, 31
  8. Sarah (Team Captain)- Legs: 8, 20, 32
  9. Mary - Legs: 9, 21, 33
  10. Russ -Legs: 10, 22, 34
  11. Felicia - Legs: 11, 23, 35
  12. Suze- Legs: 12, 24, 36

Prior to the relay, each team plugged their respective 10k paces into a Ragnar calculator and the results determined the start and estimated finish time.

Loading up 12 peas in a pod Van 1
12 peas in a pod's official pace was a 10:30 minute mile (all teams must average an 11:00 minute mile or less). We were assigned a 5:00 am race start and our estimated finish was 5:30 pm the following evening.

Technically, Van 2 does not need to wake up for the early start but us peas are team players so we all met up at 3:00 am to load up our vans and see Van 1 off.

12 peas in a pod Van 1 Runner #1
Hector is ready to go
After the requisite Van 1 safety check to verify headlamps, reflective vests, flashing lights, and first aid kit, our first runner, Hector, lined up at the first wave Start.

We all cheered Hector on and then Van 2 wished Van 1 the best of luck before heading off to get some breakfast.

12 peas in a pod Van 2 Safety Check
It was starting to warm up by the time the first hand-off from Van 1 to Van 2 took place at Exchange 6 where Jamie handed the slap bracelet off to Jose.

In anticipation of the heat, we all started increasing our hydration intake and supplementing with electrolyte capsules.

The Green Girl and 12 peas in a pod Team Captain Sarah at Exchange 7
At Exchange 8, Team Captain Sarah handed off to me and I headed out into the heat for my first leg.

I did my best to ration the two 10 ounce bottles of sports drink and water attached to my Nathan Trail Mix hydration belt but when I noticed other runners struggling without hydration, I offered them sips which they gratefully accepted.

It was after my first leg that I fell head over heels in love with Target up & up Sensitive Skin Wipes. I felt like a whole new Green Girl after I wiped my entire body with those amazing wipes.

Team Captain Sarah bogarted a random hose to cool runners off as they ran by
As the heat reached unbearable temperatures, runners switched from competitive to survival mode.

We kept a close eye on our runners and when we spotted someone that looked like they were struggling, we would offer them water or sports drink.

At one point, we spotted a runner from Team #179 stumbling and suffering from heat stroke. We quickly pulled her into the van, gave her electrolytes, and did our best to cool her until we were able to get her to a medic and locate her team.

Team #203 'Yeah... I work out!' Van 2
Suze completed the blistering Leg 12 and we handed the bracelet back off to Van 1.

Grateful for a reprieve from the heat, we stopped for some dinner and then crashed in the parking lot of a middle school in Temecula to catch some shut eye before our night legs.

12 peas in a pod runners Hector, Steven, and Jose at Exchange 12
Sleep was not an option for me as I was still wired from the caffeine from the cup and a half of coffee I'd had at breakfast. I just lay on a surprisingly comfortable inflatable sleeping pad on the sidewalk and stared up at the constellations.

After the scorching day runs, Van 2 was looking forward to the night legs. When we reached Exchange 12, we were ready to tally up more 'roadkills' and make up for lost time.

Tallied roadkills on 'My third leg is very hard and long' van
Tallying up roadkills on the side of the team van are a Ragnar tradition and each hash indicates a runner you passed.

Since our vans were not decorated, we kept a mental running list of tally marks.

I felt good as I headed out for my second leg but everyone was so much faster than me that time and time again, I ended up being the roadkill.

Caution Runners on Road
It was morning when Suze finished up Leg 24 and we handed back off to Van 1 at Exchange 24.

Van 2 decided to go all out so we hit up the breakfast buffet at an upscale hotel. The omelette station made my day.

Exchange 30
After filling up our tummies, we crashed in the parking lot of a nearby park. Over 24 hours later, the caffeine had finally worn off and I passed out.

Exchange 30 was the last van hand off. Van 1 was officially done as soon as Jamie finished her leg and Van 2's Jose ran out.

The Green Girl with a Ragnar So Cal Chicken
On my last leg, I inadvertently stopped Mr. Green Garmin and lost track of time and distance.

For some reason, with no point of reference, I suddenly decided I had only gone 2 miles and was averaging a 15 minute mile. I called Team Captain Sarah to apologize for my dismal performance and felt so defeated that I even stopped to get a picture taken with a supportive chicken.

Ragnar So Cal 2012 Finish Line
It turns out I had it all wrong and before I knew it, I spotted a sign indicating there was only a mile left. My team was surprised to see me so soon after my piteous phone call.

With our last runner, Suze, out there on Leg 36, Van 2 headed to the Finish Line to meet up with Van 1 at the beer garden.

Ragnar So Cal 2012 Finishers - 12 peas in a pod
There was a definite sense of accomplishment when our team haphazardly crossed the Finish and we received our giant Ragnar can opener medals.

I want to thank all 12 peas in a pod for an unforgettable experience.

A special thank you goes to our fearless leader, Team Captain Sarah. Without you, this would not have been possible.

Run Drive Sleep? Repeat
Thank you to Hector for keeping it sexy and Steven for your non-stop PR's.

Van 2 - I could not have asked for a better team. Thank you for all the laughs. And I promise to rent Dodgeball so I can pick up on all the references next time.

And a very special thank you to our tireless volunteers, LeAnn, Lynn, and Mary.


The Green Girl's Ragnar Packing List

The Green Girl is getting ready for Ragnar Southern California. This will be my first relay.

This packing list is heavily influenced by recommendations from relay veterans.

The Green Girl's Ragnar Packing List

Three outfit changes [stored in individual zip bags in which the dirty clothing will be sealed]


Nathan Trail Mix Hydration Belt

Other items


Inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon Race Report

'Tour the streets of LA like never before... Run down the World Famous Hollywood Walk of Fame as thousands of spectators cheer your name!'
The Green Girl kicked off her birthday weekend by running the inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon.

Five dollars from every race registration benefited the Los Angeles Youth Network, an organization that reaches out to homeless youth, and Beyond the Bell Branch, a Los Angeles Unified School District after school enrichment program.

The course started at the Universal Studios Hollywood Globe, went downhill on Cahuenga for two miles, looped east and then back west on Hollywood Boulevard, and ended with two reciprocal hilly miles.

The Green Girl, Benson Cheruiyot, and Moses Waweru represented Sole Runners and Tumaini for the Future
This was the first event I was participating in with Moses Waweru since we met at the 13.1 Chicago Half Marathon last year.

Moses's best friend, Benson Cheruiyot, was part of the half marathon elite field. Moses competed in the Hollywood 5k race.

Moses Waweru, Sole Runners Mentor Vern, Benson Cheruiyot, Philemon Terer, and
Jenny Yew
We had anticipated race traffic and congestion at Universal City Walk but parking was a non-issue and signs clearly marked the path to the starting area.

The morning air was cold so we quickly joined the shivering runners huddled around heat lamps along the Saddle Ranch Chop House patio while we waited for the race to begin.

Hollywood Half Marathon Elite Start
Before the race start, Moses and I managed to squeeze our way up to the front to cheer on the elite wheelchair racers and runners.

After cheering loudly for Benson at the elite start, I quickly headed over to the porta-potties before I attempted to seed myself in the 11 minute per mile pace corral.

Waiting to cross the Starting Line
As soon as we crossed the Starting Line, the course went downhill so the race started off quickly.

The route was clearly marked with orange cones and well-staffed with volunteers along the way.

I focused on engaging my core and taking small, frequent steps on the ascent to minimize the impact on my legs.

Benson Cheruiyot in the lead at Mile 10
Around Mile 3, I spotted the lead car. I was ecstatic when I saw Benson was in the lead with MacDonald Ondara on his heel.

After stopping to snap pictures and scream my support for Benson, I continued running.

By this time, the weather had warmed up significantly but unfortunately, the aid station cup supplies had run out. The volunteers made the best of a difficult situation and cheerfully offered to pour water into runner hands and even gave runners the gallon jugs when they were almost empty.

I was grateful for my hydration belt and I made an effort to increase my electrolyte intake when I noticed my fingers were starting to swell.

Moses Waweru winning the Hollywood Half Marathon Hollywood 5k
Despite the fact that the 5/10k course converged with the half marathon route, I missed seeing Moses run the 5k but I was grateful that my friend, Janey, was there to cheer him on.

Somewhere between Mile 9 and 10, my right hamstring started hurting so I stopped to walk for a bit until the cramping ceased and then I continued running.

Moses Waweru, the Green Girl, and Benson Cheruiyot post-race at Universal City Walk
I powered up the last hilly miles and crossed the Finish Line in 2:40:06.

When I checked my text messages, I discovered Benson had come in second (MacDonald had surged at the last minute) in the half marathon and Moses had won the 5k.

It was the perfect way to start off my birthday weekend.
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