Saints & Sinners

My update on my latest running adventure is long overdue. My apologies. I know you’ve been waiting for days for this. Right? Two weeks ago, I ran the Ragnar Relay Las Vegas with some family and new friends. As it’s been with the three previous Ragnar Relay’s I’ve run, this one didn’t disappoint… well only one disappointment over the whole weekend. Not to bad if you ask me. The logistics of getting to Las Vegas for this relay compared to Logan was a bit more complicated. But, it wasn’t really too bad. My cousin Curtis and I spent the night before the relay with Amber’s aunt and uncle in Cedar City. Her uncle, Joe and his son, Jordan ran on our team. I enjoy staying with their family when we head to southern Utah.

The Ragnar Relay Las Vegas began in the Valley of Fire State Park and ended 195 miles later in western Las Vegas at the Red Rock Resort and Casino. I was in van one. We started at 7:45 a.m., which means we had to leave Cedar City at 4:45 in order to get to the start line for our mandatory safety training and check in at 6:30. Thank goodness Las Vegas is on Pacific time. That gave us an extra hour. I was runner #5. My first leg was a moderate 7.2 mile leg inside Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The leg was a bit uphill for the first three miles or so. The remainder was mostly downhill. The run actually felt very good. I started just after lunch time. It wasn’t too warm. It was in the low 70’s. Perfect for running. Along the way, the support van for the team of Boy Scouts and their leaders was pulled off on the opposite side of the road from where I was running. A few of them, including their leaders were huddled down on the ground. They were trying to gather up something — it was a huge tarantula! Gross. I’m not a fan of the eight-legged creatures.

Overall I was pleased with my first run. I was nervous going in to it. I’ve been fighting plantar faciitis for months. It had been nagging me quite a bit in September. So much that I stopped running the three weeks before and worked hard on an elliptical. Well, it paid off. I didn’t have any foot pain throughout the three legs I had to run.

My second leg was also 7.2. But this one was much more difficult. It was mostly consumed by gradual, long hills with one extreme, long downhill. This leg was completely in the dark and through Henderson. I was a bit frustrated when I started this leg. I wasn’t ready. We accidentally took a wrong turn when coming to the exchange and got off track and got to the exchange right as runner #4 was getting there. I hate starting a run like that. I was so glad to finish this leg. It was a challenge. But most importantly, it meant it was time to get some rest. We spent the night on the grounds of Sandy Valley School in Goodsprings. The area that was designated for sleeping was full, so we grabbed a tarp and headed to the grass. It was wet from the watering that had happened an hour or so before. We finally got to sleep around 1 a.m. Around 3 a.m., I woke to people screaming and scurrying. The sprinklers went off again. Luckily we were able to hurry and grab our things and get out of the way before we got too wet. We spent the next two hours sleeping on concrete. So comfortable after running and driving all day.

Our van had to be ready for our next exchange at 5:30 a.m. It was chilly when we started up again. Now our legs were taking us west of Las Vegas into Sandy Valley. My next leg was a hard 4.2 mile run. It was a steady, uphill climb on a rocky, dirt road. I felt like I spent the whole 4.2 miles dodging rocks. It was challenging — especially since I felt like I was dancing back and forth instead of running. Also, by the time you’re on your third leg, you’re pretty tired.

When our van finished, we headed in to Las Vegas and found some food. We wanted to find some showers too, but that didn’t work out. We ate at a good bar and grille. The steak and eggs I had tasted so good after only eating bananas, apples, dried mangos, GU Chomps, and peanut butter and jam sandwiches. We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out poolside at the Red Rock Resort and Casino while we waited for van two. The weather was comfortable and it was a great opportunity to rest. One of the pools was very cold. It felt great to sit on the side and soak my legs in it. It was just like an ice bath. Very relaxing.

As a finisher of the Ragnar Relay Las Vegas as well as the Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back, I received a second medal at the finish line — the Saints and Sinner medal. It’s pretty cool! This may sound arrogant, but I’m pretty proud of myself for completing four Ragnar Relays. It’s one of the most challenging, and one of the most satisfying events I’ve ever participated in. I’m looking forward to running Wasatch Back again in June. If you ever have the chance to run a Ragnar Relay, do it! you won’t regret it.

My only complaint about the event was the same as my complaint with Wasatch Back. The shirts they gave us for participating were way too small. Even the XXL’s. It’s far too tight and way too short in the length. I’ve talked with the owners of Ragnar about it. They’re trying to do something to help me out. I hope they realize not all male runners at 5’10” and 160 pounds. Some of us are 6’7″ and 265. I have the same problem with a few races I run in. I wish they’d all realize this. Outside of my only complaint, the relay was amazing.


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