This Is Ragnar

18 May

Last weekend I completed my second Ragnar Relay If you have been anywhere near the running community you’ve likely seen the big orange Ragnar logo either on shirts or car decals – though the car decals do tend to be white!

In a nutshell – 12 people, 2 vans, anything between 180-210 miles, and more fun than you would think it would be!! Each person on the team runs 3 “legs” of varying lengths. There are ‘exchanges’ where runners tag in the next person in their van and “Major exchanges” where a runner tags in a runner in the other van. Each van runs 6 legs at a time and then gets some time to rest. Or eat. Or shower. Or…rest. Alternately, there are teams of 6 in one van called “Ultra” teams. They get no real down time except when they have a runner on the road! They are crazy 😀

Last september I joined a team of Skirt Sports ambassadors to run from Cumberland, MD to Washington, DC. And I was hooked!! (Note – apparently you can drive this distance in a couple of hours without all the hills and van sleeping…but also without all of the fun!!)

This year, a call went out in January for 2 replacement runners for a team to run the Ragnar Cape Cod relay and….well, I have a ton of time on my hands these days so of course I said YES!

When we ran in DC I was runner 12 and riding in van 2. This time I was runner 1. Pretty much kicking things off!

Ragnars generally run Friday morning to Saturday afternoon/evening – your start time depends on your speed. Or lack thereof! Our start time was 5:15 am Friday. There were teams starting as late as 1 on Friday afternoon. And, many of those late starting teams finished before us. Or really close!

Thursday morning I dropped the Mr off at his nanny’s for a sleepover and headed over to Providence to meet my team. Oh. Did I not mention that I didn’t know ANY. ONE. On my team?? Yeah…that! A group of us were meeting in Providence to pick up one of the vans and drive to our hotel in Quincy MA. When I got to our meeting spot I met Mindi and Laura (in my van!) and Andrea, Deb, Hilary, Kelly and Kim who were in Van 2. The drive up towards the Cape was quick and easy and we checked into the HoJo to wait for the other ladies!

Loading up the van in Providence!

The plan was to head to the check in spot so that we didn’t have to be at the start SO EARLY in the morning and then head to dinner. The “Providence Van” headed to the check in to wait for the rest of the team. While we were waiting, Kelly decided to get the Ragnar logo shaved into the back of her head – the St. Baldrick’s charity folks were collecting money and getting the shaving done. While Kelly was in the chair I started thinking that I wouldn’t mind losing a bit of hair…but wasn’t keen on a logo so…

Flashing back to the 90’s or so…

While my head was being partially shaved the rest of the team arrived and we got to checking in. It was starting to get late and some of us had to get up pretty early the next day. After showing off our Safety gear we watched a safety video (“Jimmy likes the juice” is pretty much my favorite part of the video!) we headed over to the Wahlburgers nearest the Cape for a yummy dinner and some more getting to know each other!

Almost like family already!!

Side note: I had a great sloppy Joe sandwich and there were a zillion things on the menu I wanted to try so hopefully I’ll find one closer!

After dinner we headed back to the HoJo for showers and sleeping. But First:

Getting in the chair was easy….

And repacking and rearranging my bags for the 1st of many times! I hopped in the shower and then got in bed as quickly as I could, hoping to fall asleep fast. Unfortunately, I guess the sloppy Joe didn’t really agree with me so it took me a little longer to fall asleep than I hoped. I did eventually sleep and woke up around 3:30 to go to the bathroom. Of course there was then the internal debate – try to sleep another 20 minutes or just get up and start moving…I got up, terrified of oversleeping!

At about 4:40 we were ready to go….

Unfortunately we got to the start line just as our 5:15 wave was taking off. Fortunately, Ragnar is flexible and I was able to start my first leg at 5:30.

Van 1 at the start. When we were clean.

Getting ready to go #SafetyFirst

Worth waking up for.

#dorkrunner

Told ya…#dork

On my way!! #AdventureIsOutThere

I always have a hard time getting started, or heading out too quickly. This was no different! The leg was mapped at 5.3 miles and since it is in the colonies it was a bit hilly 🙂

But it was GORGEOUS! Basically a straight line into Hull, MA past old homes, at least one cemetery and some railroad tracks! People who happened to be out that early were super encouraging and friendly. This was going to be a happy trend. My first mile was my fastest of the whole weekend!!

I came into the exchange feeling pretty good and passed off the slap bracelet to our second runner Paige and headed to the van for coffee!! My next leg was scheduled to start around 5 in the evening so now it was time to stretch and relax. And change. Which I eventually did 🙂

But first, we got the next 5 runners on the road and headed to the first Major Exchange – Exchange 6. This was the start line for Van 2 so there were tons of vans in the parking lot and a couple of vendors and more teams watching the safety video. I grabbed a finisher shirt and a window decal and some RxBars. It was nice and warm and sunny by now. And after runner 7 took off Van 1 had time to go get some lunch.

Lunch in Plymouth

We headed to Plymouth – you know, that Plymouth, with the rock.

Plymouth Rock. #history

Van 1 rocks!

One yummy burger later and I was ready to change and start getting my brain ready for my second leg. Leg 13 was starting in Sandwich but we had to do a ‘virtual’ handoff since runners weren’t allowed on either of the bridges on to the Cape (due to construction we were told). After lunch we hung out in a Pop Warner park where Ragnar provided some fruit and beverages if we wanted. We also had a huge field to lay out and try to sleep. I did not sleep 🙂

Pop Warner field

When it was time we headed over to the actual real exchange point to wait for word that our 12th runner had finished her leg. Due to poor signals, we hadn’t heard when we expected to so I just took off!

Turns out we were almost right on target! Fun (not) fact about running in Sandwich MA – headphones are prohibited…Um…I didn’t get arrested! So that’s all good My second leg was mapped out at 3.9 and it was another pretty straight shot – I happily finished JUST before ‘nighttime’ hours started. Now I was going to have almost 10 hours before my next, and final, leg at 4-ish in the morning!

After our last runner came into the exchange we headed to my next starting point to wait for Van 2 to hand off one last time! We landed at a high school and found a place in the rear of the parking lot to spend the night. The gym was open for sleeping but I chose to stay in the van.

It was surprisingly quiet – until runners started hitting the exchange in droves!

At 3 I woke up, brushed my teeth (in the super humid warm bathroom!) and changed into my capris and long sleeve for my final leg – 6.9 miles partially on a rail trail.

I had started out with my pajama top over my running shirt and that came off about a mile and a half in when it got super warm! It was a beautiful morning and I was so glad I was getting to enjoy it.

Start of my final leg…looks as fuzzy as I felt!

This was on the gorgeous rail trail…

I’d like to blame my slow pace on stopping for pictures but…

It just kept getting better…

And better…

This right here is my favorite one…

And. Scene. #fin

My legs weren’t thrilled and it seemed like I was working twice as hard as the day before and going much slower! There was one van along the way and the folks inside gave me a bottle of water which I most definitely appreciated! I eventually made it to the exchange for one last epic handoff to Paige (well, in hindsight it was epic…it might have been pretty normal!). And my second Ragnar was complete.

There’s a good chance I was doing a happy dance in the van. Also, note the ironic sweatshirt!

The rest of our legs were fairly quick and we did out last handoff to Van 2 – by now it was starting to get more overcast and rain was on the way. We decided to park at the designated van lot and shuttle in to Provincetown to get some food – and adult beverages! It was a drizzly day but we were all happy to not be running in it!

We found the finish line – which, if you’re curious, is UPHILL. We still had a couple of hours before our last runner would get in so we went down the hill and found a brewpub that still had open seats! After a delicious lunch and some beers, we headed across the street to another bar to wait for our finisher!

When we got word that Van 2 was on the way, we walked back up the hill to wait and make our plan to run in with Janine. Eventually we were all together and J was on her way! As she rounded the corner the feels started, and we all joined her for the last few yards of 2018 Ragnar Cape Cod!

Heading to the finish!

Team Picture!!!

More feels.

It was now time for medals, and a bit of celebration!

Awesome bottle opening medal!

Always check the back of your medal.

We headed up more stairs to the lawn and grabbed another beer. There was also chowdah and chili but I was still full from my lunch so I stuck with a beer! Once we had had some time to unwind from the past 48 exciting and wonderful hours, 11 of us got into Van 2 to head to the shuttle. Corrine was staying in Ptown for the night.

At the lot we repacked the vans, stole magnets from other vans (Hey! I needed that “Running with my Gnomies” for a friend!)

Me and my Gnomies

and said goodbyes to some of the new friends we’d made.

Sisters by Relay-tion

Van 1 headed to our starting point…the awesome HoJo…. to drop off some drivers and Uberers before heading back to Vermont.

Van 2 headed back to Providence and my car. Also Mindi’s car. The other ladies were planning on a rocking night out before flying home on Sunday.

Some stats from my weekend – May 10-12:
Hours Slept – 8.27
Miles Run – 16.09
Fastest Mile – 12.25 (Mile 1 of my first leg)
Slowest Mile – 15:41 (Mile 6 of my last leg)
Total Miles – 183.6

And worth every second!!

Dear Ragnar,
I can’t quit you. Help!!

And some more random shots from the weekend….

Van 1

Runners and legs in Van 1

Would you like a discount with that skirt?

Sweaty seat – also navigation!

#allkidsleftbehind

Van Life.

This is just 100% awesome!!!

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