We’ll pickup right after Van 2 finished their overnight legs and were enjoying some down time before hitting the roads and trails for our final legs into National Harbor. Our first stop in transit to our next exchange was at Dunkin’ Donuts so we could get some breakfast and coffee.
We drove to Bethesda, MD to what we thought was Major Exchange 30 to wait for Van 1 to finish their legs. We settled in, took naps behind the van, and just chilled in general.
We woke the sleeping runners, and sped away to drop Candy off at the correct exchange. We immediately turned around to get me back to where I needed to be, our original spot.
Around that time, we got word that Van 1 was rocking their legs, and would be handing back to us way ahead of schedule. Van 1 finished 53 minutes ahead of schedule, with each of their runners beating their projected times by at least five minutes! Now it was up to Van 2 to maintain that lead.
We heard that many of the signs for Leg 31 (Candy’s leg) had been moved overnight and runners were getting lost. Candy memorized her turns and even tore her directions out of the RagMag to carry with her. She started her final leg at 11:23 AM, and completed her 2.0-mile run (Ragnar rated: easy) with an average pace of 9:30, and was back at our exchange in no time.
Candy came in at 11:42 AM, and slapped the wrist band on to me for the final time…
And I took off…
The first quarter mile of my leg was a nice little downhill, but once I got to the bottom of the hill, I had to stop for a long traffic light, and wait to cross the street with a bunch of other runners. Once across the street, we turned onto the Capital Crescent Trail, and I easily passed about three runners right away.
We continued on the Capital Crescent Trail, for about three miles were I was able to maintain about a 8:30 pace. I was running pretty much alone except for the occasional recreational runner heading toward me. I think I passed two runners, and two runners passed me on this section of the leg. As I neared the end of the trail, I open my SPIbelt to get some Honey Stingers out and accidentally turned my RunKeeper off. Since I wasn’t wearing my contacts or eyeglasses, I looked at the screen wrong and deleted my times. I took a few seconds (which seemed like forever) to start the app again, and took off.
We turned off of the paved trail and onto the dirt and gravel C&O Canal tow path for a mile. There was another race on the trail, so we kept meeting marathoners coming toward us. I looked up and suddenly there was my MRTT running buddy Dora coming toward me! Obviously we didn’t have time to stop and chat, but it was great seeing her!
Even though I’d studied the elevation chart for my run, I didn’t realize how hard my final two miles would be. We turned off of the C&O Canal, and immediately started climbing the hills in Arlington. My sleep-deprived, tired-legged body was not amused to see those hills. At least three people passed me as I slowed to a walk at a couple of different points along my run.
I had one last nasty hill, and then the terrain leveled off so I could run in with dignity to the exchange to slap Meagan’s wrist with the arm band at 12:49 PM.
I’ve never been so happy!
I finished my 6.9-mile run (Ragnar rated: hard) with an average pace of 9:51. My total elevation gain was 591 feet, and my total elevation loss was 591 feet, but looking at the elevation chart below, the gains seem much more dramatic than the losses. My mile splits were:
- Mile 1 – 9:04
- Mile 2 – 8:30’ish
- Mile 3 – 8:30’ish
- Mile 4 – 8:50
- Mile 5 – 12:07
- Mile 6 – 11:58
- Mile 7 – 12:18
At 1:09 PM, Meagan finished her 2.2-mile run (Ragnar rated: easy) with an average pace of 9:19. We barely got Chuck to the exchange before Meagan came cruising in. It was raining hard when Meagan finished, and I caught her enjoying a Gatorade once she dried off a little.
At 2:29 PM Barry started his final leg. He finished his 4.4-mile run (Ragnar rated: easy) with an average pace of 9:46, and handed off to Bill in Old Town Alexandria.
Bill took off for the final leg of the Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay team at 3:12 PM on Saturday afternoon. Ahead of him was a 4.6-mile run (Ragnar rated: moderate), which would take him across the Potomac River on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. I was more than a little jealous that he would be running across the WW Bridge!
The rest of us hopped into the van to drive to National Harbor to meet Bill. We knew that our Van 1 teammates would be waiting for us at the pier, and that Bill would be running toward us. Van 2’s goal was to park, and get over there before Bill came running in so we could all finish together.
We finished at 3:57 PM, and with that, the Cruisers became Ragnarians!
As soon as we crossed the finish line, we posed for the official photo, and then moved down the chute and out of the way of other finishers and posed again for Roger to take this picture with a few different cameras. A lady stopped by and asked if she could take our picture as well, and then told me that she’d be posting it to Ragnar’s Instagram.
The Cruisers finished in 30 hours, 59 minutes, and 14 seconds (1:09:00 ahead of our projected time). We finished 130th out of 369 teams, and had the following stats:
Back at our van, we checked off our final legs before hitting the highway to head home.
- Would you choose to sleep in the van or on the ground?
- After reading my posts, are you ready to run a relay?
- Have you ever run Ragnar DC, another Ragnar, or similar relay?