While I changed into clean gear and Gretchen ran the green loop, a storm rolled into camp. I've been scared of thunder and lightning my whole life. Thankfully its gotten better as I have
Needless to say the forecast of 30 MPH winds freaked me out. Given the number of vehicles/people participating in the event, our cars were parked almost a mile away and wouldn't provide us any shelter.
The team took down anything we feared might blow away, put some camp chairs in the tents to help weigh them down, and stood watch. Thankfully, there were enough people out holding our canopy to allow me to retreat into my tent. I tried to read or do anything to keep my mind occupied. I ended up sending a text message SOS to my Bible study group asking for prayer. They chatted a bit and provided script to help comfort my fear.
Meanwhile, Gretchen finished her mile lightning fast. (See what I did there?) Todd barely took the hand off and got onto the course before a 1 hour delay was announced. When the rain slacked a bit, G and I sloshed through the mud to the crowded mess hall for some dinner.
The storm itself, however, raged on. Ragnar extended the delay to 2 hours. We were later told this was the first time that call has ever been made. What it meant for our team was that runner #8 (Todd) and runner #1 (Nicole) would miss out on the legs they would have ran during that time.
Once the relay started again, the darkness of night had fallen. To make up for her missed run, Nicole accompanied Pam (runner #2) on her night walk. Amy (runner #3) convinced Todd to do the same.
On the sleep front, once the storm subsided I shut my eyes around 9pm (ish) and actually got some decent sleep. I was up in plenty of time to get changed and head to the tent for my 2nd hand off which came in the 2 o'clock hour.
I ran the yellow loop this time, but added to the rock and roots on the trail, I also had to be careful running through the mud. At points, the mud collected water and went up to my ankle - with no easy way around. I walked the most treacherous parts of the mud, as well as up the steep hills.
While this night run was similar to road Ragnar in its serenity, my headlamp did little to aid my vision. Bob had passed off his flashlight, along with the timing chip, and I found myself very grateful.
The skill level of the trail runners present varied from one extreme to the other, but few seemed to be in the middle like me. I found myself passing quite a few walkers on the trail, but also being passed by seasoned trail runners on the accent.
With a couple of miles to go, I heard a lady clearing her throat behind me. "Let me know when you are ready to pass." I said. She assured me she truly was just clearing her throat and enjoyed the pace we were running. We stayed together, chatting for the remainder of the run. Once we crossed the 0.2 mat (positioned there to let our teammates know to get read), she picked it up a notch and I did my best to stick with her.
The morning and the evening were the first day. (To be continued.)