So if you’ve been following our feed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/whitelinefever you’re now aware that in a little over a week, me and three other endurance freaks are heading out to San Antonio to run the most circuitous route we can find to get to Austin Texas in the RAGNAR Texas Relay. I invite you to check out our blog at www.teamwhitelinefever.com.
I think all of the team members agree that by the time we actually get to the starting line, the hard part will be over. How can I say this? Well, this process is right up there with Ironman in terms of confusion, mixed messages and frustration. Don’t get me wrong, when you speak to the co-founder, Dan, you get an incredibly reasonable, cool guy, but the people that he has working for him do not seem empowered to apply common sense and over the past few months have done little more that read from scripts and logs, information which we can read for ourselves.
To bring you up to speed, here’s the deal, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, Long Runner Rich called Texafornia Brett and asked, young Padawan, “How would you like to run 200 miles with me?” Texafornia as usual drinking from the marrow of life replied, “Hell, yeah!”. Yours truly, equally an idiot, responded when Brett asked for other idiots to join him. Then Herr Professor Erich jumped into the fun, believing that killing himself by running 200 miles in Texas heat was a better option than facing the other crap in his life. There you have it, the fab four signed up to run 200 miles on October 24th and 25th.
While the other teams have 12 runners, we are hardened endurance athletes so someone decided that we should sign up as an ultra team. But even that wasn’t enough on the suffering scale. Long Runner got special permission for us to register with only four runners when even the ultra teams normally have six. Thankfully, nobody has suggested dropping the team down to two runners because I’m confident that one or more of us would respond with the traditional “Hell, yeah!”
So Long Runner checked with the RAGNAR folks and confirmed we would be running with 4 runners and would be rotating one runner every hour until we were done. Additionally, we received extra good news when we found that the run would only be 182.4 miles, less than the projected 20 miles. What this all meant is that we went about our daily lives running for an hour at a time over and over knowing that on race day, we’d probably run 6 five to six-mile stretches each – challenging but certainly doable.
Here is how RAGNAR describes their race on their RAGNAR home page:
“It’s really quite simple. Get a bunch of friends together (or we can help you find team members who’ll quickly become your friends) and start running.”
No plans, no restrictions and using your common sense? After the recent years under the thumb of North America Sports Ironman Gustappo techniques, we were giddy as school girls at a Jonas Brothers concert.
And then it happened. The RAGNAR Race Bible. Rich received an e-mail about needing to acquire volunteers and telling us that there is a Race Bible. This Race Bible spends most of its content dedicated to the acts that will either create time penalties or disqualifications, and in short, our plan of alternating runners every hour was thrown out the window. According to the Race Bible, we are required to run two prescribed consecutive legs, anywhere between 6 and 16 miles and to rotate on a prescribed basis. Because we only have 4 runners, we still have to rotate as if we have six with two of the four runners filling in for so-called “injured runners”.
What does this all mean?
- Runner 1: Rich
- Runner 2: Brett
- Runner 3: Adam
- Runner 4: Erich
- Runner 5: Injured (Rich)
- Runner 6: Injured (Erich)
Basically what this means is that because we cannot rotate based on four runners, we’ll need to sub in runners for the fake injured/non existent runner positions, which means that our rest periods will be further reduced and runners will be disadvantaged further. To our credit, we did ask the RAGNAR people why this was an issue, in other words, why was this rule in place given that a prudent person would assume that for a recreational activity, a rule is put in place for either safety reasons or to ensure that no team has an unfair advantage. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how this helps safety or how us rotating normally every hour would create an unfair advantage given that we only have four runners to begin with – we’re already at a disadvantage to every other team. To get the answer to this reasonable question, I called the RAGNAR offices. Unfortunately, even though we talked for about twenty minutes, and I phrased the question in multiple ways, the representative had no answer either, only that that’s what she was told to do and she was only following orders. Now that’s excellent customer relations, isn’t it?
Long Runner story short, Rich finally did get a hold of Dan who compromised by allowing us to rotate our runners two legs a piece but still not every hour. I should point out that Long Runner has tried to resign from being our team captain multiple times but we just continue to ignore him.
So there you have it, the rotation and total miles for the 2008 RAGNAR Texas team White Line Fever on October 24th and 25th will be:
- Runner 1 – 51 miles – Brett
- Runner 2 – 57 miles – Rich
- Runner 3 – 42 miles – Erich
- Runner 4 – 33 miles – Adam
I want to thank my good team members, given my current health issues, for still allowing me to participate, as well as Cindy who really was expecting me to go to Ohio with her for a Halloween party, for doing the same.
I also want to thank TriBoomer who is assumed the roll of den mother by providing us with his superior management skills, his patience and his time driving us all around and tending to our every need. TriBoomer even took the time to sit down with a RAGNAR racing veteran and interviewed him on the ins and outs of this race. I encourage anyone who is interested in doing a relay race to listen to this podcast of Zen and The Art of Triathlon dedicated to TriBoomer’s interview.
Lastly, we’re still going to be disqualified before we ever show up because we don’t have enough volunteers. Scratch that, we don’t have any volunteers. Part of the Race Bible states that we need to supply three volunteers to work shifts doing all sorts of stuff for the event (basically the same kind of thing that hopeful Ironmen/Ironwomen do the year before they actually want to race so they can earn the right to stand in line at 5AM the next morning to sign up to register for the following year’s race). So if you live in or around San Antonio or Austin and want to help us out, we’ll try and find ways to bribe you. I’ll personally make a $100 donation to your favorite legit charity if you come out. No Rick, the “Hollywood Hill’s Apartment for Wayward Strippers”, and the “Hooters School for Mobility” are NOT legit charities.
So it looks like I’m traveling all the way to Texas to do what I originally wanted to do, spend a few hours with good people running in a place I wouldn’t otherwise run. No medal, no recognition, just the knowledge that in 2008, I spent a weekend doing this. And for me, that’s more than enough, especially given that the alternative was going to a Halloween Party in McDonald, Ohio dressed as either a Rooster or Senator Obama.
OK, I’m pushing the trigger on my plane tickets to San Antonio. Wish us luck!