I know it’s been all about Ragnar around here this week, but when I found out that today’s Friday Five topic was “My Five Favorite Things About _____” I couldn’t resist writing one more post about my experience. To (hopefully) keep it interesting, I am going to mix things up a bit and share five favorite and not so favorite things about Ragnar Relay DC.
1. (Favorite) Doing something epic with 12 people you barely know (or don’t know at all), staying up all night to cheer your teammates on through their hardest legs, and sticking together through 31 hours of running, driving, eating and not sleeping. It’s hard to explain, but I think my most favorite thing about Ragnar is the whole concept, and how well the epic craziness works out in real life. I hate to say it, but you probably had to be there to get this one. 😉
Lisa posted this right before my friend was starting her 1:00 am run
in what others have aptly called the haunted forest. Good friend that I am,
I didn’t show it to her until after she was safely back in our van!
2. (Favorite) Running a relay with no idea of your official time and no concern about your teammates’ times. Usually even when I try not to care about my race time, I end up caring, and no matter how hard I ran, if I fell short of my goal I can’t help but feel disappointed. I used my Garmin during Ragnar to monitor my pace and distance, but I didn’t really care about my exact finish time. That’s partly because the conditions are so ridiculous (hills, three runs in 24 hours, no sleep) it’s impossible to even set a realistic goal, and partly because as soon I as I finished my run, we were focused on cheering on the next runner and getting to the next exchange. While waiting for Runner #10 to finish his third and last leg, it struck me that I had no idea how fast he ran–8-minute miles? 10-minute miles? Who knew? It just didn’t matter. What mattered was supporting our runners while they were running, getting the next runner to the next exchange on time, helping the finishing runner recover, and regrouping to do it all over again, eighteen times.
“Seriously?! How could it get this steep right out of the exchange?”
3. (Favorite) The logistics. One of my biggest worries about Ragnar was how all the logistics would work out, but I was amazed at how smoothly everything went. I was worried about all the driving and how we would find the exchange locations, but the directions were clear and volunteers guided us to the exchange points. I was worried about what I would eat, if I would be able to shower, and how I would cope with no sleep, but we had plenty of food in our van, I had two showers, and endorphins and adrenaline kept me going. What I hadn’t worried about, but really appreciated, is how well the course was marked. Just think–every turn of the 199 mile course had to be marked well enough to keep runners on track even if they were running alone. The other logistical detail that really blew me away was how accurate the pace calculator was for our team. Even after 18 legs we were dead-on with the estimate, although we pulled ahead during our last legs to finish early.
4. (Not-so favorite) Not getting to know our teammates in Van 1. The way the Ragnar Relays work, Van 2 has “off” while the Van 1 runners are running, and then the Van 2 runners take over while the Van 1 runners rest and make their way to the next major exchange. The only time we were together was at the major exchanges (at the end of each of Runner #6’s legs), but we didn’t have much time together because as soon as Runner #6 finished I started, and we went our separate ways again. I had figured this out from reading recaps of other Ragnar Relays, and made sure that I was in the same van as my friend, but if you are planning a Ragnar team or picking your legs, keep in mind that you will spend the whole time with your van, and barely see the other van.
5. (Not-so favorite) Our soggy finish. The weather for most of the weekend was fabulous, but our last two runners had to do their last two legs in the rain, and it was pouring by the time Runner #12 crossed the finish line. We braved the downpour long enough to pose for our official finish picture, but it was too wet and muddy to check out the sponsor tents or enjoy the post-race festivities.
At least we were still smiling!
Don’t miss my recap of my three Ragnar legs, my run-down of what I ate to fuel all those miles, and how I’m recovering, and don’t forget to check out other Friday Five favorites in the linkup hosted by Eat Pray Run DC,Mar on the Run and You Signed Up for What!