Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ragnar 1 and Ragnar 2

What is a Ragnar relay all about?

The Ragnar relay is a race that is anywhere from 180ish miles to 200ish miles long. You put teams together and break up the mileage amongst 12 or 6 participants and then run your little heart out. If you choose to run with 12 participants (which is what I would recommend) you get two vans or large suvs and break up the team into two sub-groups of 6. In our van (both times I ran) I was in van 1. If in van 1 you meet at the start line and start the race for your team. The legs of the race are broken up from 2 miles to 10. The first runner begins, the van with the 5 remaining participants meet up half-way through the leg to drop off water, and then to the exchange point, where the second runner takes the bracelet from runner one and is off to complete the second leg of the race. This goes on till the first six runners have completed the first six legs of the race, and then we pass the bracelet on to van 2. While van 2 is running, van 1 has about 4 1/2 hours to either eat, rest, do homework, read, or wander around. It is a very draining race, cause you never have enough time to rest fully before your next leg (in total, each runner should run three legs of the race-- a total of about 15-22 miles a piece). In total, the whole team runs 36 legs, and someone is always running-- even through the night. We had a biker to bike along side of us through the night. We had to wear headlamps, little blinking lamps on our backs, and reflective gear.

It's a very good, but very exhausting race to run in. It's not just physically exhausting, but mentally and emotionally as well. I think that running in a marathon is easier. People find that hard to believe, but I feel that pushing yourself for 4ish hours and then being through is a lot easier than pushing yourself for an hour and a half, then sitting for nine hours, then pushing, then sitting..... you get the picture. Not only do you think about the race for over 30 hours, but your muscles tighten up because you are sitting in a van. By the last leg of the race your legs feel like bricks-- seriously, it's draining.

The first time I did a ragnar race, it was in UT. The Utah race is called the Wasatch Back. I was able to participate with my good friend Crystal, and met ten other new friends. The second time I did a ragnar was this past weekend, from Cumberland, MD into Washington D.C. I was able to run with Sean, my friend Samantha (Pittsburgh), and a group of fun singles from D.C. We had several fun discussions!

Fun story: As I was at exchange 3, ready to begin my first leg, I noticed a man wearing a Hobble Creek shirt. I asked him if he was from Utah. We continued talking and found out that they were all mormons. We became good friends with them all and had a great time chatting with them as each of us ran and then also at the different exchange points.

I don't know if I am ready to do another ragnar, but I better be ready to run the St. George Marathon again, cause I will be doing it for the second time THIS SATURDAY!!! I am thinking I will need to let my legs, feet, knees, and joints rest for a bit.

My goal is to run in one marathon every year. With that said, if anyone wants to join me, I am going to try to run in the New York City Marathon next year... come join me, you know you want to :)

Van #1: Carl, Hunter, Samantha, me, Sean, and Katherine

Sean quickly finished his first leg (he's in the green)

Sean passing the bracelet to Katherine

Don't look too closely

Hunter and Carl just waiting in the van

Sean ran my last leg with me

Van 1 with our medals at the finish line

Van 1 and van 2 at the finish line

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The G-20 Summit........

........has taken over Pittsburgh!

I am grateful that the 'Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' have chosen to meet to work out the financial kinks in this recession. I am grateful that we have 19 of the world's largest national economies plus the European Union represented and hard at work to repair our economic mess. I am grateful that I get to witness all of this first-hand, as it is taking place in Pittsburgh. I am grateful that they chose Pittsburgh to host this conference for good reasons. I am grateful that this city has reinvented itself from the fall it took when the steel industry collapsed. I am grateful I have been able to learn more about the economy, it's peaks and valleys, by watching positive changes take place in this humid, diverse corner of the country.

I am not grateful that a meeting of this magnitude draws protesters to my new neighborhood. I am not grateful that these protesters have been saving up bags of their own feces to throw around the city or on passersby. I am not grateful that the city had to dip into their own budget to provide the financial means to bring in 4,000 or so extra law reinforcements, causing a bit of an upset in our city's monetary resources. I am not grateful that the roads I am familiar with are now barricaded or fenced off, causing detours to lead me in circles as I try to find my way to work, church, the park, Sean's place, and any of my other daily stops. I am not grateful that, with all the satellite and high security precautions going on in the area, my GPS is confused and yelling at me constantly to "TURN AROUND", "WHEN ABLE, DRIVE TO HIGHLIGHTED ROUTE", and my least favorite-- "RECALCULATING!" Lastly, I am not grateful that my roommate can't go into work downtown, amidst all the fece-throwing protesters, and instead left me alone in the house to go to Utah for the weekend. I am not grateful for my crazy mind that wanders and makes me think that there is some large man hiding in a corner of my empty abode every night when I get in a little too late. I am not grateful that my thoughts lead to panic. I am not grateful that when I got home last night I could see from the road that my t.v. was on. I am not grateful that I instantly panicked and thought the worst (big scary man on my couch waiting for me), and called Sean, asking him to please sleep on my couch for the night.

I am grateful that I have an understanding fiance that came, thoroughly scanned the house, slept on the couch, and calmed my panicked mind, which helped me sleep peacefully upstairs. I am grateful that there weren't any large scary men hiding in my home. I am also grateful that work doesn't start until after my trip to Utah, and after the G-20 Summit leaves Pittsburgh. I am grateful that my GPS will work again, and that I will not be driving in circles any longer.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I'm going into retirement,
I hear it's kinda nice.
Nothing beats staying up late,
sleepin in, and endless games of dice.

Some are in shock at my decision,
yes, believe me, it's true.
But trust me, after hearin bout it,
you'll be wishin it was you.

I'm not retirin from the army,
a job, the day, or even to my bed.
If I didn't do this right away,
I would hope to soon be dead.

I made a firm decision,
no more dates for me.
You can try to convince me otherwise,
But I ain't listenin to your plea.

I am done with the group ones,
set-ups, awkward first dates, and such.
I am tired of givin out my phone number,
and reasons why I don't want to go for lunch.

I'm throwin in the towel,
my dad is grateful that it's time.
Cause I got myself a FIANCE,
and I am now off of his dime.

As I look down at my finger,
the one on my left hand.
The finger that was once naked,
has a very blingin band.

I am ready for stability,
and a man to be all mine.
And thankfully, he's hard-workin,
spiritual, dedicated, and oh so fine.

Those are only a small portion
of the reasons that I'm in love.
There must've been someone helpin,
and sendin guidance from above.

I am grateful for the feelings
swirlin around inside of me.
I can't possibly describe them,
and when I do, I get teary.

We will be takin our plunge
November 21st, and I can hardly wait.
For the man that will always be beside me,
is goin to forever be my date!

I love Sean Quigley more and more,
I am burstin throughout my inside.
I get to walk into the Draper temple,
and leave as his lovely bride.

Thank you for all your support,
for linin me up with friends and kin.
I waited for the best,
with Sean, I definitely did win!!

*Thanks for making this day so special, Sean! Pictures and details to come...