Friday, November 14, 2014

Run. Drive. Sleep? Repeat.

 Halloween happened. Emmy was Wonder Woman, Cousin Itt, and Doug the dog

 The cast of Up and their trick or treating buddies

 After learning that people put candy in whatever bag you are holding, 
Emmy starting carrying a bag everywhere she went

After successfully completing their first half-marathon as a married couple Jarom and Alixa moved on to stage 2 of their fall race schedule. Race week began on Tuesday with the arrival of their babysitters, who were kind enough to schedule a long layover in Dallas on their way to Hawaii. All three kids were thrilled to spend a few days under the watchful eyes of Jarom’s parents, because that usually means lots of fun times with Grandma and Grandpa. Sadly, Jarom and Alixa didn’t get to spend much time with them because they took off on Wednesday morning to catch their flight to Vegas.

After a typically amazing Spirit flight they were met at baggage claim by their favorite host, Grandpa Winn. The first stop, as it always is whenever there is one within range, was at Café Rio for lunch. Then it was Walgreens to get some sunglasses, because Alixa forgot hers and it was marvelously bright and sunny all weekend long. Wednesday and Thursday were hang out with Grandpa days, eating wonderful meals, visiting the strip, checking out the new baby lion cubs and dolphins at the mirage, stopping at the Bellagio, eating more wonderful meals, and generally enjoying not having nap times and trying to feed toddlers and hearing the kids yell. In their absence the kids were having a blast with the grandparents, and except for the time Alixa sent Grandma to the wrong location for a birthday party things went well back in Dallas. On Thursday evening in Nevada the Carters arrived with Jeremy. They spent the evening chatting and playing cards, and everyone went to bed relatively early. That would be the last decent rest for the weekend.

 First stops: Cafe Rio and a movie theater with recliners

For the uninformed, Ragnar is a 12-person, 200 mile relay race. The team is broken up into two vans of 6 runners each, and each runner has 3 legs they must run of differing lengths and difficulties. The race began Friday morning, but the Winns were in van 2 so they didn’t start until noonish. Alixa and Jarom had opening runs that were about the same: 5.5 miles, almost exclusively up steep hills. Their van was done around 5 and only a few miles from Grandpa’s place, so they met him for dinner and then headed back to his house for showers and a brief rest. That rest was about 2.5 hours. Then they were off to their next run, this time through the dead of night. Alixa’s was 6 miles, mostly downhill, and Jarom’s was 5.3 and very downhill. Combined with the cool night temperatures the second runs felt much better than the third. After finishing around 3am they headed back to Grandpa’s place for showers and another brief sleep. Then they were up and out for their final runs. Alixa finished with another 5 mile run and Jarom only had to do 3, but they were both uphill again and the repeated runs without rest was starting to get to them. Even Dave, the groups best runner by far and the relay anchor, was struggling by the end and even got passed by a few people. The crew finished the course in about 29 hours, which was good enough for a distant 23rd place out of 305.

 Post port-a-potty and feeling great
With the strip behind her 
 Lix had the misfortune of following a mariokart racer

In total Lix ran 16.6 miles at an 8:15 minute pace and Jarom did 13.7 at 8:30. Most people have confused looks when you tell them you are running a race like this and ask you why. The main reason is the atmosphere. It is fun to try and push yourself to see what you are capable of physically, but hanging out with good friends that you don’t get to see very often is a ton of fun too. The lack of sleep and exhaustion from running makes for lots of silly and memorable experiences, and doing it all against the backdrop of Vegas with our favorite Nevadan as a host makes it all even better. After finishing up the group grabbed one more bite to eat and then the Utahns took off driving north. The Winns just relaxed with Grandpa for the afternoon, catching another few hours of rest and a last nice meal before boarding their red-eye flight home. There was no sleeping there, and when they got back they had to retrieve the kids from Nate and Kenz and start getting back to normal life. It was a few days of recovering before they really felt normal, but they had a great time and loved seeing everyone. And for now their race schedule is over. But they’ll probably end up doing something like this again soon enough.

 Finish line pics
And Bo playing piano, because I think it's funny

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