Root Family

Root Family

Jun 23, 2010

Wasatch Back 2010

Last weekend I had the pleasure of running Utah's Ragnar Relay, otherwise known as, the Wasatch Back. A few years ago this sounded fun to me when a girl I worked with told me about it, but at that time I considered hiking and backpacking my only sports. I never thought I would run races, and although I'm not competitive, I can call myself somewhat athletic.

The Wasatch Back is a 188 mile relay run from Logan to Park City, done with 12 runners on a team. Each team member runs 3 times, totaling between 12 to 18 miles. We named our team "Hayduke's Bastards" after the infamous character George Hayduke in Edward Abbey's "The Monkey Wrench Gang."

The team was made up of my twin sister and I, a friend of ours was the team captain, some friends of hers, some friends of her friends, and a few newbies our captain found online. It was a great team! I always have a strong sense of camaraderie with anyone I do something active or intense with and this was surely the case. It's awesome to me that I can feel as if we are all great friends now though I only just met some of them and I certainly hope that I"ll be seeing them again.

My team finished in just over 31 hours, so overall a less than 10 minute mile. We are all pretty average runners I think, a few faster, but I don't think any of us were unhappy with this performance because we really favored the fun and beauty of the experience over the end result. I was runner #2 with legs 2, 14, and 26, a total mileage of 13.1, or, an exact half marathon.

On race day, Van 1, or more appropriately, Truck 1, was due at the start at 6 a.m. in Logan so we left Salt Lake around 4:30. I felt great after my first run of 6.7 miles and when we all finished we drove ahead to relax at Snowbasin Resort while Van 2 ran legs 7-12.

Here's me at the first exchange as our first runner comes in and give me the Slap-it team baton / bracelet.

Here I am coming in and sending April off for her first run with a little tap on the butt.


Here I am trying to catch a few ZZZ's before the next run, but I really think I only laid down for about 20 minutes and then I just sat and relaxed and ate some more food in preparation for the next round.

snowbasin 1

Here I am with Brittany (the team captain) and April before heading out again.


Round 2 was late in the afternoon, and scorching hot. I think it was the hottest 3.1 mile run I've ever done as I usually avoid the heat of the day. The small towns were beautiful though and some of the local kids would wait out front with a hose and ask if you wanted squirted--I don't think anyone would have declined. Our last couple runners on this round had to abide by the rules and wear their headlamps, buttlamps, and reflective vests while running. When they finished around 11:00 or so (I can't quite remember) we drove ahead to shower and sleep at North Summit High school while again Van 2 ran the next 6 legs of the race.

After paying $2 for a "hot shower" and taking a cold one, I headed to sleep in the back of the truck while the rest of the team laid down in the gym or elsewhere in the school. I probably rested better than the others, for about 2.5 hours or so, but I do remember dreaming that we had better get a runner to the next exchange point.

So early in the morning we headed out to relieve Van 2 and all do our final run of the race. Despite how tired I was, after each run I felt totally great! I am not sure I have ever experienced a true "runner's high" before in practice or in racing, but I definitely did after all 3 of my legs for this race. Maybe it was just that I knew there were 5 other people cheering me on and checking on me as I went along, or maybe this final high was due to knowing that I was done after this. I remember feeling like it was harder than my actual half marathon because my body had to run again before it could recover, but now I'm not sure how to compare them.

In any case, when all 6 of us were finished we got a brief, free chiropractic treatment, bought some McDonald's breakfast which hasn't tasted so good to me in ages, and then drove way ahead to the Canyons Resort in Park City where we would again chill out until Van 2's final runner was headed in.

Here's Van 1 after showering and refueling at the Canyons Resort


Here is all 12 of us at the finish where we all ran the last 100 yards or so together.


I had so much fun doing this race that I have already begun researching others like it. I do love a great backpacking trip too, and this doesn't beat one, but it was so much funner than I had imagined it to be that I've been really surprised. I think I would happily do one again this coming weekend if I could. I loved the scenery, I loved the community of it, loved seeing parents racing with their grown children and everyone checking in on each other and helping out and all of that. It was just really awesome. Of course I was exhausted afterward and felt like I hadn't seen Bailey for days and days though it was really just one and a half. Thanks Tyler for watching her, thanks Brittany for organizing our team, thanks April for inspiring me to run, and thanks to my whole team for being awesome!

More pictures can be found in my facebook album here:

or my Flickr album here:

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