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I’m a Ragnarian!

Monday: 10m interval (6 x 1m repeats @ 7:13/p)

Tuesday: Crossfit, 9.5m easy 9:20/pace

Wednesday: Rest

Ragnar.

It’s over, but I keep replaying the 30+ hour trip like a favorite movie. I miss it. I miss the people I ran with. I miss the van. I miss running at stupid hours. I miss the pb + j’s. I miss the fun. It was SO MUCH FUN.

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VAN 2: Nick, Jennifer, me, Normailed, Steve, Jill

I didn’t know what I was getting into… I only knew the very basics. It’s a relay (duh) with 12 people split into 2 vans where each person runs three times, and it takes around 30 hours to complete. I did not organize our team. It takes a special kind of person to organize a Ragnar and I can’t thank Normailed and Nick enough for all the coordination, communication and driving for our group.

Our team started the race around 6am on a Friday. We were in Van #2 which didn’t start until about 1pm. Which meant our 6 runners got to sleep in a bit and head out to the first exchange mid-morning. I didn’t get coffee until we arrived at the exchange (Thank you Ragnar for the Dunkin Donuts coffee. I needed it soooo bad). I got several cups (these were tiny) and finally I felt more social and ready to run!

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However it wasn’t my turn. I was runner 11. There’s a lot of waiting around for your turn to run during a relay. Once our first runner got going we filled the van and headed up the road to cheer him on.

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We had a BLAST with the windows down, cowbell ringing, hooting at the runners. Oh our van name was the Hustlin’ Hookers. It got a lot of attention. I mean Steve. Steve got a lot of attention.

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When you’re on deck time flies! Making sure you have all your running gear together, bib attached and final trips to the bathroom are key and need to be timed right. The runners head into an exchange chute, slap a bracelet on your arm and you take off.

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The exchange: all of us waiting for our runner, Jennifer to come in

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My first leg was easy compared to most of my teammates who were scaling mountains. It was a super flat, five mile dirt trail. I packed my running outfits in separate ziplock storage bags which is recommended since it keeps everything organized and also gives you a bag to throw sweaty clothes in once you’re done. file_009

I took off around 5pm and my legs flew. I figured this would be my fastest segment just because I was waiting around anxious to run all day. As soon as I finished, i felt relieved from all the nerves and was finally able to relax and enjoy the experience. Which was basically talking about running, describing your leg of the run and how you felt, cheering on other runners, watching people run, watching runners having fun and interacting with complete strangers who also obsess over running.

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At one point we were driving by runners I blurted out, “I love running so much I would marry it.” I felt dumb for like 2 seconds then everyone agreed. Being completely immersed in running for solid hours at a time was so much fun we all would marry running. Til death do us part. Or at least until we get tired enough to try and get some sleep. Sleep was tough. I think we all slept 2 hours–at the most.

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Food wasn’t as scarce as I thought it would be. I always pack my own, but I panic if i don’t know where or when my next meal is coming from! Luckily our van had a great captain with excel spreadsheets galore so everyone had different things to bring. Our van was stacked with plenty of sandwich makings, protein bars, veggie platters, water, Nuun and Gatorade. There was an exchange at a gas station with a nice deli, another exchange at a school offering a spaghetti dinner (and showers which we took advantage of) and yet another exchange on a farm with bbq and burgers!file_007

We also got a chance to sit down at an ihop and order a meal. Bottomless coffee never tasted so good!

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Every runner in our van was most nervous about the night running. Myself included. I just didn’t want to do anything stupid like miss a turn or trip.

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Under Ragnar rules you have to run with a headlamp, tail light and a reflective vest. My leg started after Steve’s (check out those thigh highs!) and it started in a whirl–I was waiting in line for the bathroom and he was already finishing so I missed my chance for the bathroom and started running at 4:30am for my longest leg. 9.1m and 700ft of elevation.

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Running at night was much more fun than i expected. The runners looked like fireflies dancing along the road’s shoulder and the pitch black was sort of exhilarating in a –don’t fall, don’t die, don’t lose the person in front of you –kind of way.

I ran my last leg of the day with Jill in the Bethesda/Chevy Chase area. It was fun because it was familiar and it was even more fun to run with someone. Plus we kept each other going even though it was clear our legs were getting tired.

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The last day went by too fast. Each of us were running our final legs, excited to be done, sad to be finished. I didn’t want the weekend to end. I even thought about running an extra leg with Nick, but at the last minute decided against it because my right arch started cramping. Running 3 times in 20 hours is a lot. My final mileage was 21 for the trip.

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Nick was our anchor, and we headed to Navy Yard to have a beer and wait for him to finish so we could all cross the line together.

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Already reminiscing over the good times…

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I’m excited that I get to cross Ragnar off my never ending race list, but I can’t imagine that being my one and only. I loved the whole race and loved the runner bonds I’ve made with great people. Now, go find yourself a group of strangers in a van to run a Ragnar with. And make sure to pick a van with candy…

Last Week

Monday: 7m easy 9:50/pace

Tuesday: 8m interval (3 x 1m repeats 6:40, 6:37, 6:35), Crossfit

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 11m MGP tempo ( 8m @ 7:50/p), Crossfit

Friday: 6m easy 8:47/p

Saturday: 10m easy 9:00/p, 10 to 1 workout (65# push press + 135# deadlift)

Sunday: 10m easy 9:31/p

Total Miles: 52

Ever run a Ragnar or relay race?

What is your favorite race distance or type of race? (marathon, obstacle, color run, ragnar etc)