Whew!! It’s been quite the past couple of weeks!!
Last weekend I ran my first Ragnar run–the trail version–with some of my high school cross country buddies (and Runner Jenny 🙂 as one of our girls was unable to make it). It was all of our first Ragnar which was really cool.
–The week before though was stressful as my husband had been out of town. In fact, I ran ZERO times after the Haunted Half leading up to Ragnar–
I took Friday off from work, which was the first day of the relay, and my husband flew in that same morning. I scrambled to finish packing and he helped me and Runner Jenny get to McDowell Mountain to begin our crazy adventure.
Our team started at 1 p.m. and we arrived right when our first girl started. We missed her start and I was a little bummed but since I was such a newb, it took me forever to unload my car, find our spot, go back to my car, park it, and get the shuttle back. It was kind of a big ordeal and quite chaotic.
Anyway, our camp spot was right next to my run club which was super fun since I knew everyone around me. After our first runner returned (she was our captain), she explained our plan and how we’d gauge our start times by our estimated paces. We were all pretty close in paces–which actually was super nice–and it proved to be helpful in guessing when our turns were.
I was the 5th runner.
We had a gauge of when Kat, the runner preceding me, would return and the race had a big screen that announced when your teammate was approaching. When you were alerted, you had to go “on deck” to get ready for the exchange–which was a bib clipped on to a belt. The exchange was a lot less crazy than I thought it would be and the race people did a good job of keeping it all organized.
Kat ran in, unclipped her belt, handed it to me, and I was off!
My first loop was the Yellow Loop, a 4.8 miler. It was around 5:30ish so while I had the sun in my face for most of the loop, I got an amazing sunset on the back end.
The loop was a tough one but I was having so much fun. I love running trails and the up and down and up and down was quite exhilarating. I finished feeling pretty good with how I’d done.
Runner Jenny was waiting for me to hand her the bib and I told her how fun it was and that she’d have a blast.
I went back to our camp and hung out with my buddies as we waited. After a while, we headed to the mess hall and had dinner. The pasta offered wasn’t very good and I opted out of it, lol!!
I’m not much of a camper and I was a little worried about the sleeping situation. I knew my next run would be around midnight and that it would behoove me to get some shut eye. I ended up cat napping a little on my chair. It was ridiculously cold. I know, I know, I’m in Arizona and cold here is not really cold. But I was freezing!! Despite being layered like crazy, there was a biting wind making me second guess how good of an idea this all was.
Anyway, midnight came sooner than I expected and I was off for my second loop. Luckily, I had the short Green Loop for my night run–4.1 miles. This was supposed be an easy run and it was except for the first part of it. Overall though, I was very happy with how’d I’d done.
When I went back to our camp, one of my friends told me to take her sleeping bag spot as she’d be running soon anyway. This was HUGE. I slept for a good hour and a half and it was the best sleep ever.
Morning came, and our team was doing better than we had expected. We had had an estimated finishing time, but we were way ahead of it. This made us all happy as most of us were kinda over it, lol! We were having fun but it was cold and few of us were not campers.
My last run was around 6 in the morning and I had the long Red Loop to cover. I was worried having the long loop as my last run–I was tired, cold, hungry, and dirty–but everyone assured me that the Red Loop was easy despite a huge hill upfront. The rest of it was totally fine. In fact, most agreed that the Yellow Loop was the hardest–that was the first one I’d done and where I had felt great.
I figured that whichever loop people had done first, that was the one they felt was the better one, lol!!
It was still cool at 6 a.m. but I knew it would heat up. Sure enough, about a mile in, I unzipped my jacket and tied it around my waist. I did this walking the huge hill since I figured I was walking anyway.
And when I crested the hill, I had hoped I’d be able to pick it up and go but I just couldn’t. I was tired and I kept going from being cold to being hot to being cold to just hot. I was bummed I had my not so greatest run last but it was what it was. Overall, I was very, very happy with how I had run my 3 loops 😀
My buddy was able to snag a pic of me crossing the finish line. My goofy grin totally shows how excited I was to be done, jaja!!!
Afterward, I headed back to camp and we all started packing. We had 3 runners left and we figured we’d get a head start. We made major headway by the time our last runner was about to come through and we met her at the finish line to run her in–it was around 11:30, we nailed the sub 24 hours 🙂
and then we took our post race pics
It was such a fun experience and so cool to check off my list of things I want to do–would I do it again? Maybe. I think it’d be fun to do it somewhere else, just to explore new trails…..and with my husband, who I think would totally have a blast doing Ragnar 🙂
–Ever run a Ragnar race?
–Do you have a high school letterman jacket?
–Are you a camper?