Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Don't Chase Me Bro - Ragnar Relay

 It's been a while since I reviewed a race, and last weekend's 200 (ish) relay race is most definitely deserving of a blog post. 

Last weekend, 11 friends and I ran our very first Ragnar Relay. And guys, I don't think I can accurately portray how proud I am of us for pulling this off. This relay race is no joke, it's both mentally and physically challenging in a way that even surpasses a half marathon. Some people in our group had never run a race before, PJ included. So that feeling when we crossed the finish line as a team? Welp, let's just say it made all the sleep deprivation and ginormous hills way worth it. 

We were divided into two vans of 6 people, and each person had 3 legs to run. Each leg was anywhere from 2.4 to 12.1 miles, but I'd say the majority were between 3 and 7.  Each person ran anywhere from 11 to 24 miles in total, the average being around 15. 

When someone in our van was running, we were caravanning to the next exchange. It was so exciting jumping out to go cheer on our team mate, watching them slap the slap bracelet onto the next person, and quickly getting back to the van to drive to our next location. 

When someone in the other van was running, they were on caravan duty and we were either eating, searching for a non-porta-potty-bathroom, grabbing Starbucks, or attempting to sleep in our van. The gaps between our legs felt long, but for me they were very needed to re-coop for running again. Plus, I got lucky and was able to sleep pretty well during our night stretch. 

And by pretty well, I mean maaaybe a few hours. If that gives you a frame of reference for the amount of delirium we were experiencing by our last leg. ;)

Running at night was amazing. My favorite leg was my middle one, a hilly 10K at around 9PM. The cool temperature made the hills so much more bearable, I need to start running at night more often! 

Even Ryan Gosling enjoyed it. 

One of the most special things for me was getting to run my final leg in the area I grew up in. I didn't realize I was finishing at my high school until I looked at the map the day of the race, and it literally felt like jogging down memory lane. 

Except, let's be real, there were points where it was walking down memory lane. Because man, combining the final leg with the most brutal hills was an ugly combination.

But overall, it was such an incredible experience. There were moments of complete exhaustion, the last leg for everyone I talked to was really rough, but I would do it again in a heart beat. (True story, I already started looking at the Washington one for 2016). 

And so, for anyone who's interested in the amazing experience of a Ragnar Relay, I give you:

Amy's Tips and Tricks for Surviving {& Enjoying} Ragnar

One: Make sure you have at least one (preferably two, one for each van) really, really good planner. 

We're talking coordinating and collecting money from 12 people, renting 2 vans, making sure everyone has the required gear, there's a lot that goes into this. It's more than a regular race, so be sure you've got a good planner to see all the coordination through to the finish line. 

{A huge thank you to Nikolay and Tim for being our planners! We couldn't have done this without you!}

Two: Get matching shirts! It makes things so much more fun. 

{Thank you Tim for making this happen!}

Three: Make sure you can stand to be in very close quarters with your teammates for a very long time. We're talking 30 hours in a van, people. 

Luckily, my teammates were some of my favorite people in the world. Sooo, I lucked out. 

Four: Have back up people ready just in case. We had some last minute changes, and needed to find an extra person. We were fortunate to have Tamara happily step in, and not mind being the only girl in her van. You go, Tamara! 

Five: Bring a foam roller. And use it. 

One of those things we did. And one of those things I learned the hard way. I'll let you guess which is which. 

Six: You can't have too many snacks in the car. It's just not possible, so over prepare. Same thing with water. 

Also, bring energy gummies. Everyone in my van knows what I'm talking about. 

Seven: Get markers that are car-safe so that you can decorate your van {and tag other people's vans}. This is a huge deal at Ragnar, and makes things so much more fun. 

Eight: There will be time for showers and sleep after the race, I promise. Enjoy the experience, delirium and all. 

Interested? Find a Ragnar near you here. And then let me know about it, cause I just might want to do it with you. 


Lee Ann said...


This sounds so fun!!! I want to do one in CA next year... Now, I just have to find 11 folks to travel from Tennessee and run with me... Sounds so fun!!!

I would love some tips on how to train for that. I've never run, stopped, run again.

-Lee Ann

PS. The group picture with you and PJ kissing is adorable!

Janna Renee said...

That sounds like SO much fun!