Ragnar Relay So Cal Recap Part 3

…And here I thought I could recap the race in 2 posts. That just shows how much goes on during Ragnar. Let’s finish it up with the finish line recap!

The last leg of Van #1

Van #1 headed to the start of our last exchange with Van #2 to try and catch some sleep. The two options were to sleep on the golf course near the exchange or in the van. Since the husband and I had only brought blankets, we decided it’d be warmer to stay in the van. While we stayed warm, we did not get much sleep before it was time to get up at 3am. We organized the car, got ready for the next round and set out to say goodbye to runner #1.

Unfortunately after I finished leg 2 and before I started my 3rd leg, things went downhill. I have never had problems with being dehydrated in any sports or races. Most often people think of 100 degree weather if dehydration is involved. We had cool weather both days but regardless I did not drink or eat enough to support the activities I was doing. The Ragnar medics that helped were so sweet. Although they couldn’t do much on site, they were accommodating, attentive and appreciated. After it was decided by my team I wouldn’t run the last leg, I just focused on drinking water and catching up on my sleep.

Although I was bummed to miss out on my last leg in the beautiful Torrey Pines, it was beneficial for me to recover. After Van #1 finished their last legs, we grabbed pizza and were able to relax before we had to meet Van #2 to cross the finish line together. Our van was lucky because one of our team members lived in San Diego. She generously let us use her shower and couch. Let me tell you, that was the best shower of my life. There is only so much dirt and sweat build up that a person can handle.

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The finish line at Mission Bay

After filling our bellies and catching a nap, we headed to Mission Bay for the finale of the weekend. The finish line was one huge runner party. The backdrop of the bay with boats and calm water was one of the highlights of the race. The energy of the teams waiting for their last member to finish together was infectious. Since this is a relay, I loved that teams cross together because it is a group effort that is needed to be recognized. All members were needed to get from Huntington to San Diego. After we crossed the finish line together, we took pictures, grab our beers from the beer garden and ate pizza. Each team member received a team medal which really emphasized the team camaraderie. When you put the back of the medals together they had a message that read: “Together we ran 200 miles.”

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All in all the finish line at Ragnar was a fun atmosphere to relax, recap and regroup. Everywhere you walked, you heard runners retelling their tales of hills, lack of sleep and blistered feet. The question that was asked most often was “What legs did you run?” I thoroughly enjoyed my first Ragnar experience and understand why people continue to do the races every year. It is such a unique, special race that you have to witness for yourself.

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Thank you to Ragnar Relay, the amazing support and volunteers for a great weekend. It is amazing what goes into these races and how smoothly it flows. Every volunteer we had was kind, helpful and enthusiastic. See you in October for Ragnar Napa Valley!  

For more information about Ragnar, visit https://www.ragnarrelay.com.

Ragnar Relay So Cal Recap Part 2

I know you must have been on the edge of your seat waiting for the next recap of Ragnar. Well in that case, let’s get to it.

Van #1 drove down to Oceanside around 12pm on Friday. Our next set did not start until after 6pm so we knew we would have plenty of time to relax. We grabbed lunch and parked the van in a designated Ragnar parking lot. Over the next few hours, we were able to enjoy time at the beach, tag other team’s vans and relax our legs before our next run.

Tagging is a fun activity where each team leaves a team magnet or marks with window paint the other team’s vans. Especially when you are parked in large parking lots of other team vans, it can be fun to walk around and hit as many vans as possible. Team pride is important during Ragnar. Not only do you decorate your own team vans, often have team shirts made, many including our team dress up in costume. Our team name was “Team TBD- Totally Brain Dead” with a zombie theme; our tagline was “will run for brains.”  It only seemed fitting as we knew we would be zombies after little sleep, no showers and lots of running.  Many of us created tattered, dirty and bloody zombie shirts as our costume to wear during our race. We decorated our van with zombie warnings, caution tape and “bloody” hand prints. Getting in the “zombie” spirit was definitely easy being a Walking Dead fan who had just watched the finale.

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As we started to approach our next start time we started to organize our van in preparation of getting our next set of running clothes together. Since my next leg would fall after 9pm, I knew I wanted to wear my zombie outfit in the second leg since it was at night. Wouldn’t you want to be running in pitch dark and see a zombie chasing behind you? I dressed in my zombie shirt, skull bandana and safety gear. No zombie look would be complete without lots of dirt and grime on my face.

Zombie                 Zombie2

My last leg #18, was 3.0 miles with an easy rating. Within the first half mile, the incline kicked in but the cooler weather was definitely appreciated. Since some of the portions of the race were poorly lit, I was motivated to follow where I could see at least one runner in front of me. At times this kept me faster than my planned pace which I was thrilled about. While I did feel this section warranted a higher rating due to the elevation gain, it was a quick run. As I got closer to the finish line, the crowd got louder and louder. I was thrilled to cross the finish line as the exchange was another fun one to finish since all vans were present. Due to the late hour, we headed out quickly to get to our next exchange to try and catch some sleep before our last run.

Check back Monday for the final recap of Ragnar.

For more information about Ragnar and all locations they host, visit https://www.ragnarrelay.com/

Ragnar Relay So Cal Recap Part 1

Who willingly tries to get 12 people to sign up to participate in 2 day relay race of 200-ish miles? But wait.. There’s more! This race will also start at 5am; run through the middle of the night and take place in a van with sweaty, smelly, sleep deprived runners. Those who sign up for this activity are crazy. Those who decide to be a captain of a team and convince others to join are just plain insane!

Well, I am one of those insane people. Not only did I sign up for my first Ragnar race in So Cal, for some reason I thought being a team captain for my first relay would be a great idea. Most often I have these so-called brilliant plans then a few days, weeks or months later I find myself asking “Who’s crazy idea was this?” Oh yes that crazy idea was mine.

It has been a week since Ragnar So Cal has come and gone. I didn’t want to recap the race right after I ran it because I would have told everyone run for the hills (just make sure they are downhill because running uphill is brutal). Unfortunately, during the race I experienced my first case of dehydration which prevented me from doing my last leg. However, here we are, a week after the race and I have been asked would I do it again? The answer was “Sure, add me to your Ragnar Napa Valley team.”  The majority of our Ragnar So Cal team has decided to form a Ragnar Napa Valley team for October. That alone should show that all of the first timers from our team would do it again.

What is it that makes people want to do it all over again? I think the experience is just too unique to pass up! I believe Ragnar promotes a strong camaraderie among all types of runners despite age, athletic ability and sex. The team aspect allows newbie runners to race with more experienced athletes. Competing as a team allows you to be a part of a race where you get constant support from start to finish. Runners feed off the energy of cheering on their own team. With each leg you know that you are running to a team member to pass off that slap bracelet for them to keep the relay going.

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A little more details before I jump in my first leg recap: 12 team members, 2 vans, 184.2 miles to be exact starting in Huntington Beach, finishing in San Diego. Each team member runs 3 times in a consecutive order. Each leg they have ranges in distance from 3-12 miles at varying difficulties.  Races start on Friday between 5am to 11am depending on the average team pace. Racers will finish anytime on Saturday between 10am and 8pm.

My first leg was #6 for 6.7 miles starting in Tustin listed as a hard rating. The first mile in, my legs were feeling fresh as I started to feel a slight incline kick in. By mile 2 that incline fully kicked and steadily climbed through each and every mile. The first 2 miles were a mix of trail and residential running.  Past 2 miles, the elevation gain made my legs feel heavier with each step.  I felt a push to keep going every time we hit a stop light and a group of runners would gather, jumping around, waiting for the light to turn green. The last mile was brutal. My legs started to feel heavy and I thought about walking when vans started driving by on the street, honking and cheering out the window. That meant the finish was close and I was almost there! I think the worst part of leg 1 was the difference in Ragnar’s distance from my Garmin. When my Garmin read 6.2 miles I told myself you can push it another .5 miles. Then as I turned the corner I saw Ragnar’s sign stating I only had one more mile!! Talk about crushing when I saw that last portion was another hill to conquer. But this was the worst of my legs and I had already done almost 6 miles. What was one more mile at this point?

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After I handed off the slap bracelet to runner #7 I sat back, caught my breath, thankful that I just finished my hardest leg. Now was the time to eat lunch and enjoy the break Van #1 had before our second round.

Stayed tuned for Ragnar So Cal Recap Part 2…