Pages

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

RAGNAR RELAY

Let me start off by saying that if you have not been part of a Ragnar Relay team yet, you are seriously missing out.
Haven't heard of Ragnar yet?!

RUN. DRIVE. SLEEP? REPEAT.

Ragnar is the overnight running relay race that makes testing your limits a team sport.

"You and 11 of your craziest friends (or 5 of your crazier friends for an ultra team) pile into two vans and tag team running 200(ish) miles, day and night, relay-style. Only one runner hits the road at a time. Each participant runs three times, with each leg ranging between 3-8 miles and varying in difficulty. So, from the elite runner down to the novice jogger, it's the perfect race for anyone."

 I ran my first Ragnar this past September.  Ragnar ADK. It starts in Saratoga Springs, NY and ends in Lake Placid New York.  It was a difficult course.  I had no idea what to expect.  There are 300+ teams, 12 people to a team (or 6 if you're running the Ultra) and the roads are not closed at all.  There aren't really shoulders to run on.  You can get lost.  Or my immediate thought that I'll be kidnapped, never to be seen again.  But the views were pretty amazing. 

 Putting together a Ragnar team is seriously HARD WORK. I was lucky to join this team with an AMAZING team captain and she freaking rocks so hard!!  I tried to put a team together for Cape Cod last year and it dissolved pretty quickly.  There's A LOT of planning and it's not cheap.  The race entry, hotels or house rentals, van rental, team shirts and gear, magnets, safety gear, food, tolls, miscellaneous expenses.  It adds up really really fast.  It's planned pretty far in advance, and you never know if an injury will pop up or something that keeps you from running.

I had really wanted to do the Adirondacks Ragnar, but I was training for the Mohawk Hudson marathon at the time and just didn't want the stress of attempting to plan it again.  Two weeks before Ragnar ADK, I saw a post on my local running club's facebook page that a team had 3 people drop out (something that happens allll the time) and needed replacements.  I said why the heck not, emailed them and was officially on 'Team Scrambled Leggs'.
Team Scrambled Leggs--"EGG-sausted, but determined to finish!"
I had never met one person on the team.  The first time I met a team member was when Mike picked me up from my house the morning of the race.  We drove to Saratoga and I met everyone else.  It was wild and I left Lake Placid the next day with 11 new friends and an experience I'll never forget. Before I get into ALL THE FUN IN CAPE COD, here's a few photos from the Adirondacks and my advice from running my first Ragnar Relay.



Pack your clothes for each leg (along with the description of your leg) in individual bags.  That way you're not searching through your bag on the side of the road and you can put your sweaty clothes back in the bag after your run!  Actually, just put everything in ziplock bags and label what is in each bag. I did.  It was so easy to find things this way while living out of a van for 2 days. 

When you get your bibs, take off your free beer and food ticket and keep them all together in the van.  A couple people misplaced them and didn't get their free beer.  We had a binder this time and I took them all off and kept them in there for safe keeping.  I did the same with the bibs.  Write your name on them and keep them in the binder after each run.  The van is packed with 6 peoples' belongings, food, pillows, blankets, etc.  The van will eat things and you will not find them for a long time!
Before we left.  So neat and tidy!
You will be tired.  You'll get delirious.  You are literally running from sun up to sun down to sun up.  My first run was Friday morning at 9am, my second, that night at 9 pm and my third was Saturday morning at 6 am.  Everything will be funny. I slept on this deck at 3 in the morning.  It was uncomfortable, it was cold, it was creepy.  I slept for maybe 30 minutes between Friday and Saturday in the Adirondacks.  

Ragnar is all about fun.  SO HAVE FUN.  Try to keep whining and complaining to a minimum. EVERYONE is going through the same thing.  Like I said, you'll be tired, you'll be hungry, you'll be sore.  You are traveling with 5 other people in your van and it can get cramped. You have different personalities, but you are there to have fun.  You probably will eat one real meal.  So bring things to make sandwiches and snacks that are healthy.  Bring your own water bottle and large containers of water to fill them up.  Bring cash.  At major exchanges there will be places to shower and sleep indoors.  Sometimes for $1 or $2.  There will food at some of these exchanges as well.  They pretty much only take cash.  Read up on all the things going on so you have an idea of where things will be taking place and when you might want to shower, etc.  We were lucky for the Adirondacks.  It started in Saratoga and one of the girls lived there.  So after the first leg we were able to go back to her place to shower and relax for a bit.  It ended in Lake Placid and a guy on our team lived there.  So we didn't have the extra expense of having to get hotels. We showered and drank some beers there before heading to the finish to meet up with Van 2.  Take all the pictures and enjoy the experience!!




If you ever get the chance to join a Ragnar team, DO IT! Run with friends, run with strangers, create your own team and recruit runners.  I ran with almost the same team for Cape Cod as I did in the Adirondacks.  I hadn't seen any of them since September, but running a Ragnar is a bonding experience, you'll be friends with these people for life and we picked up right where we left off!  Running friends are the greatest friends!!  We added 4 new people to the team for Cape Cod and I'm sure they'd tell you the same things I've talked about.  We're all eager to sign for Adirondacks again this year.  I'll recap our entire Cape Cod experience from start to finish starting tomorrow!! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!!  

Happy running internet peep!!