This weekend I completed Ragnar So Cal. For anyone who isn’t familiar, it’s a 200 mileish, 12 person relay race that takes place over 36 hours. It was a complete whirlwind so buckle down for a long and awesome recap!
Ragnar is a 12 person team. I knew I wanted to do one and that I wanted to do So Cal because it’s one of the most popular and beautiful courses. So to find a team I went to Facebook. That’s right I found 10 complete strangers and decided to join them in vans for 2 days on an adventure of a lifetime. Crazy? Maybe, but at least I knew I had Tom with me. The team I ended up with was fabulous. At first I was a little concerned because we were the youngest on the team but in the end, age doesn’t matter. The group was amazing and fun, we had a great time together.
Thursday Tom and I headed down to the OC where we met our teammates for the first time as they picked us up at the airport. Then we headed to decorate our vans. One of the best parts of Ragnar was seeing everyone’s vans. I love the creativity some teams had and decorating ours was a lot of fun.
Friday morning the
fun pain began. Our van 1 left for their 5:15 a.m. start time while those of us in Van 2 got to sleep in since we didn’t start until 11:00. I was the first runner in van 2 and I was nervous. Mostly because I was still struggling with my cold. I took some cold medicine before my leg and hoped for the best. My first leg was my longest and the longest of anyone’s, 12.1 miles.
Jayme from van 1 came in handed me the slap bracelet and I was off. I actually felt great. My cold wasn’t bothering me and because I was at lower elevation than I’m used to I was feeling good. The first couple miles of my run was mostly downhill so I was flying down the hills and ahead of my scheduled pace. By mile 5 the heat started to get to me. I am not used to running in the heat right now considering it was still snowing in Calgary when I left. I was happy to see my teammates cheering me on and Tom with a gatorade for me.
Then I was onto some pathways and the rolling hills started. I was doing good until I hit mile 9. I took a cliff shot block for some extra energy and then the cramps came. Remember my last half marathon when I had cramps? Same thing! Turns out I can’t take Cliff shot blocks. The last 3 miles were rough and ended with me walking a lot more than I wanted to. It was disappointing to get behind on my time but I finished and ended up being rewarded with a longest leg Ragnar hat!
The rest of my van finished off their legs. We all struggled with the heat but pulled it out regardless.
Checking off our legs on the van sure felt good!
Then it was time for our rest. We grabbed some supper and tried to catch a nap in our van for a hour, though none of us were able to sleep.
My next leg started at 11:00pm. I got geared up in my nighttime running gear and got ready for my 3.5 miles.
Going into the run I was pretty nervous about my night leg. I don’t run in the dark because I’m a scaredy cat. But my leg was throughout the city streets and there were always runners around so it wasn’t scary at all. Except when a mouse ran under my foot, that scared the crap out of me! But it also made me run faster. My legs were tired and the hills didn’t help. It took me until about the last half mile until I felt I got into a rhythm for this run. I was just happy this leg was short.
Our van finished our nighttime legs around 2:30 a.m. and we were all exhausted by this point. We parked our van at the exchange while our teammates in van 1 took on the rest of the nighttime running. We all slept together in the van and got about 3 hours of crappy sleep. I mean 6 people crammed in a van can really only get so good of a sleep. Though I suspect it was better than our teammates in Van 1 who slept outdoor in the designated sleeping area but had sprinklers turned onto them in the middle of the night.
I woke up around 6 a.m. and wondered to myself why on earth I was doing this. The thought of having to run my next 7.1 miles seemed impossible. But there was no option, I was there and I had a team counting on me so I got prepared.
When I took off my pace was slow, my legs were heavy and tired but I soon fell into a rhythm and was feeling pretty good. I told myself to forget all the previous miles and pretend this was a fresh start. I started going down a HUGE hill, it was a 300 ft drop in elevation. I was flying down the hill but all the while I knew it meant that I had a huge climb ahead of me. And huge it was, I tried running but there was no use my run was slower than my walk. So I succumbed to my power walk. The hill was so steep I could see all the way up and all the way down. Not a single person on that hill was running. However, I am a fast power walker and was able to pass a few people on the hill walking slower than me.
The rest of the route was constant hills. I was cursing SoCal a lot during this run though at least there were some beautiful views along the way.
Seeing the one mile to go sign never felt so good. I knew this was it and I pushed through to the finish.
22.8 miles completed!
As our last runner was finishing up we met up with our full team so we could run in to the finish line together as a team.
We were rewarded with bling, free pizza and beer. Well technically we didn’t stick around for the free beer because the line up was huge but it was there.
Overall our team finished in 32 hours and 32 minutes. Were we the fastest team out there? Not by a long shot but we had a great time.
The experience of Ragnar was absolutely incredible. It was so well organized and so much fun. Yes at times I questioned my sanity but once it was over I know I would absolutely do it again. However, maybe on a less hilly course next time!