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Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage 2011

August 15, 2011

A few weeks ago I ran in my 3rd Ragnar Relay at the  Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage.  This was also my 3rd relay with Insulindependence (IN) and Glucomotive.  I feel very lucky to be able to do events like this.  First of all, I CAN run nearly 15 miles over the course of 24 hours despite having Type 1 Diabetes.  Secondly, I have a tremendously supportive family that allows me to do these crazy adventures… OFTEN.  And lastly, I’m humbled by the support that is given to me by friends, family and strangers that donate to IN to make events like this possible.

Our team, made up of 12 Type 1 Diabetics athletes with Type 1 Diabetes ran from Blaine, WA to Whidbey Island, WA in 26 hours, 53 minutes, and 37 seconds.  That’s an 8:29/mile pace for 190 miles!  Not bad for a bunch of people that can’t produce their own insulin!

My trip started out a little differently this year.  My good friend and little diabetic sister, Emily, came to St. Louis to visit me and my family the Weds before going out for the race.  We enjoyed (??) a ridiculously hot and humid run and some carb loading Weds evening and then headed for the airport bright and early to get on a plane at 6 AM on Thursday in search of much nicer running weather in the Pacific Northwest.  We were greeted with the stereotypical Seattle weather, light rain and upper 60s, but that all cleared off and we enjoyed pleasant temps, sunshine and perfect running weather the remainder of the trip.

After spending some time in downtown Seattle and having our first meal with the whole group we headed north to spend the night in Bellingham, WA.  Thursday evening we went out for dinner, made a trip to Walmart to pick up some decorations for the vans (our 2 enormous white vans), and tried to get some rest before the race.  Note:  After waking up Friday morning, I would only get about 30 minutes of sleep until Sunday afternoon.

Our race got started promptly at 9:15 am in Blaine, WA right by the Canadian border.  This time I was in the first van, along with Brennan (IN staff member), Sarah, Kelly, Emily and Caroline, so we would be on the course first.  Bang!  Off we go!

I was runner 3 and my first run was 8.5 miles including 550+ ft of elevation gain.  It was essentially a gradual 8.5 mile climb.  I’m not exactly sure what it was, but this turned out to be one of the best runs of my life.  The weather was perfect and I just felt great.  I ran a solid 8:29 pace and wanted to bottle that up and take it home with me.

My next run was around 8:00 PM Friday evening (I think.  Time gets a little questionable during Ragnar).  I had 3.4 on tap and set out with a sub-7:00 pace goal.  Total time? 23:55.  A 6:57 pace AND I had to stop at a red light!

My final run of 2.9 miles got started right around 5:30 AM, so I had missed running in complete darkness this time.  I felt pretty good and thought I was putting out the same effort as my 3.4 miler earlier, but even with a slight downhill, I was 30-seconds slower.  I don’t recommended running often with 30 minutes sleep.  😉

This is my 3rd Ragnar Race report (Del Sol and Great River before this one) and with such a long race it’s easy to produce a LONG race report with a ton of details.  So, instead of that, let me share some of my favorite memories and random thoughts.  Some of these will be inside jokes, so please forgive me.  😉

  • I freakin’ love doing Ragnar Relays.  Throw in doing them with 11 other amazing folks with diabetes and I’m in heaven.
  • Brennan took on the driving duties for much of the race and then I took over while he and Emily were running.  I took advantage of this time to harass them as much as I could.  During Brennan’s night time run Friday night, I took EXTREME pleasure in pulling over and giving him trouble as he ran by.  I also kind of enjoyed making a van full of tired, slap-happy, girls laugh.  Oh, and yelling “Nice pancreas” from a big white van to a girl running down the road might be frowned upon in most cases.
  • While I only got 30 minutes of sleep Friday night/early Saturday morning, I did enjoy laying outside in 50* weather in a sleeping bag at Some State Park in Somewhere, WA for about 2.5 hours.
  • The other thing I enjoyed about those 2.5 hours, was the fact that I didn’t immediately have to get up at 3:00 AM to go run 7.8 very difficult miles.  Sorry Caroline!
  • Peanut M&Ms that have may or may not have been rolling around in the back of the van taste just fine.
  • I can’t WAIT to do Del Sol again this coming February with the Glucomotive Capatians!
In closing, I’ll say once again that it never ceases to amaze me how immediate the bond is between people and especially athletes living with Type 1 Diabetes.  Insulindependence strives to inspire people with diabetes to live a full and active lifestyle and has brought many of us together to share our experiences and participate in some awesome adventures.    One of the things that teams do during Ragnar is decorate their vans.  The girls picked out a Red, White and Blue theme for us (maybe, because that stuff was on clearance at Walmart) and did a great job of decorating.  But the main thing that we did was write “Insulindependence” on the side.  Soon after the start of the race a mother of a child with Type 1 came up to us and started talking and asking questions.  That’s what it’s all about.  Getting the word out that diabetes isn’t a life sentence, and that there are no limitations, and sharing our stories and doing awesome things like running in 190 mile relays, or doing Ironmans, or running marathons.  This is part of the reason I do what I do and what keeps me going mile after mile after mile…
4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2011 12:29 pm

    My sister (without T1) runs marathons – as a parent of a toddler with T1, I love reading about people doing the same with T1. And in my neck of the woods, no less. 🙂 Amazing stuff and great post!

    • August 24, 2011 1:22 pm

      Thanks and I’m always honored (and humbled) to have parents of kids with T1 reading my blog!

  2. December 22, 2011 12:49 pm

    Nice pancreas!

  3. September 8, 2013 10:40 pm

    My husband (51) has type 1 since 18 yrs old and my daughter since she was 2; she’s almost 22. Both are in great health but my husband needs to lose 30 lbs. he avoids exercise ( other then occasional walking to avoid lows; he’s on a pump).
    How could he get involved if he wanted to at a beginner level?

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