Ragnar del Sol Relived

With the next Ragnar del Sol in Arizona staring at us I decided to post this from the last Ragnar race. I hope it stimulates some interest in filling out our teams this year. we are still looking for a few more runners. Briefly, Ragnar is a series of long relay races not around a 400 meter track but over hill and dale. There are teams of 12 divided into two support vehicles of six runners each. Each runner ends up running 3 separate legs during the approximately 190 mile race. This article was written from one of our runners on one of our teams: Duane Slade.

It was a great weekend with all of you. The race was just a part of what made it all fun. I just wanted to thank each of you for the great experience.

It all started when I pulled up to Rob’s house and realized I had forgotten all my food and all the supplies that I was responsible for bringing. They were back at my house sitting on my desk. I thought to myself, ‘oh great!
these guys are going to think I am a total flake.’ To my surprise Rob and John both told me not to worry about it and that we could make it work. I knew then that it was going to be a fun experience. As we drove out to the first exchange I had to laugh at the thought of 6 grown men jammed up in a van getting ready to drive and run for the next 21 hours. It takes a ‘special’ person to be willing to do this and we were six of them together.
The thought just made me laugh.

John started our van off with leg number 7 and did a great job. In fact everyone on the team did fantastic. By the time Dave handed off to me it was around 12:40 in the morning. It was cold and very dark. I felt great when I started off and was starting to slow down about the 4 mile mark. Then all of a sudden I heard a pack of coyotes. I wasn’t sure how far off they were, but I didn’t want to find out so I picked it right back up. By the time I got to the 6 mile mark I was starting to feel pretty good. I hadn’t seen too many vehicles my entire run, but in the distance I saw a pair of headlights coming my way. I inched over to the side giving the truck plenty of room to move on by. As the truck came closer I noticed he was swerving into me on the side of the road. Luckily I have great agility, quick feet, an intelligent mind, good looks, big muscles, great hair, and a winning smile, so I was able to get out of the way. I couldn’t believe the guy tried to run me over. SOME PEOPLE!! It just happened that the two rent-a-cops had seen this happen so they tracked the guy down and called the police. I understand that the guy is now serving a life sentence and may even get the chair. All of this must of really got my juices flowing because I was able to finish my last mile in a world record, I mean personal record, I mean fast time of 5:46. Someone logged the wrong time for me. They have me down as a 52 min. 7.7 mile run when it was a 49:36. I know we had a very high tech timing system so I was surprised by the mess up. Then I handed off to Joe and he took off like a streak of light.

Our van did awesome on the first leg. We didn’t pass anyone, we didn’t see anyone for that matter except the ultra team behind us that almost caught me and Joe had to fight them off for his last mile as well. It was cool to see how competitive everyone was. We told Joe that someone was a minute behind him and you would have thought that his son was waiting for him at the finish line. He took off and pulled away from the guy that was finishing up a 15 mile leg.

Our second leg wasn’t as eventful except for the slow lady that transformed into Carl Lewis as soon as I tried to pass her with a 100 yards left. I was already moving pretty fast and when I pulled up beside her she decided to sprint. Oh my goodness!!! There was no way I was going to let her beat me so I dug down and found another gear. We were flying along and I inched her out at the end. I was so proud! Then I realized she was probably the age of my mother and she was limping. So I am sure Joe has a picture (evidence) of me beating a 60 year old woman with a limp. Please don’t put that on your blog.

Joe of course finished strong and Dave hurt his calf, but was able to still run fast. Chris, Rob, and John all had great runs during this leg as well.

Our last leg was great. John and I thought we were going to have to find a new husband for Chris’s wife. He came inches from being a hood ornament out at Usury pass. If it wasn’t for Johns loud girlish scream, I think Chris would have been toast! It was scary. I have to say, if I would have done 7:30’s up Usury in the middle of the day after running two tough legs already, I would have sounded like a girl as well. Fortunately everything turned out just fine. Rob again threw down the hammer and put out low 6 minute miles. WOW!! Dave was wondering if he could even finish the race and then he pulls out a performance comparable to Dual in the Sun between Salazar and Beardsley in the 82 Boston Marathon. Well maybe not that amazing, but it was pretty cool the way he beat that other team. By the time I got the hand-off I was so nervous I wanted to throw up. It must have been the two red bulls and all the cookies. I pushed hard and thought I ran a good leg until Chris said ‘you really looked like you were hurting out there’. It must have been the phone call I received in the middle of my run from Coach Dean asking me where we were. He could obviously tell I was running, but he proceeded to ask me questions about life and how to improve his relationships, you know stuff like that. I told him I would have to give him advice later and that I had a race to finish. I then handed off to Joe and he finished the race for us. It was great running across the finish line together.


About Dean Hebert

I’m a mental game coach, author and speaker. I work with individual athletes, parents, coaches, and teams on sports performance enhancement. Beyond my academic post-graduate work in sports psychology - the psychology behind athlete performance – I am a certified Mental Games Coaching Professional (MGCP) and certified hypnotherapist. I’ve authored several books and hundreds of articles. “Coach, I didn’t run because…” (2008) is a seriously light-hearted look at making excuses not to workout and how to overcome them. “Focus for Fitness” (2009) and “Screw the Goals Give me the Donut” (2010) are two of my eBooks on mental game approaches for the everyday athlete. I wrote these because I believe that everyone can benefit from the powerful mental techniques that the world’s best athletes use. I have been cited in Runners World, Best Health magazine (CN), SWEAT Magazine, and the Washington Examiner amongst many other publications. I have been a featured mental games coach in Runner’s World and for the internationally acclaimed trail running resource - trailrunningclub.com. I also regularly appear on sports and fitness talk shows such as LTKFitness, Runnersroundtable and for more than three years I have co-hosted a weekly video series with Coach Joe English for Running-Advice.com. I specialize in mental toughness training. My clients include tennis, synchronized swimming, golf, race-kart, soccer, motocross, volleyball, MMA, cycling (road, off-road, time-trialist), running, duathlon and triathlon, basketball, football and baseball athletes. I have coached world-class athletes and athletes internationally. I have a passion for working with youth athletes and helping them apply mental game skills and techniques to all areas of life. Most importantly, my aim is to have people enjoy sports and life to their fullest through peak performances.
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One Response to Ragnar del Sol Relived

  1. Nicole Baugh says:

    Hi–I was in a Van 2 for last year’s Del Sol Relay, too–one of our runners still talks about the coyotes (he says he was fine when he could hear them howl, but less fine when he could hear them breathe!) We’ve got our team together for ’09–hope to see you out there!

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