Me, I guess. I ran my second Ragnar, this one in Cape Cod, last weekend. It was gals only, and, despite some reservations (I didn't know anyone in my van super well), it was fantastic. Hey, do you want to know a really good incubator for friendship? Run a Ragnar.
Cape Cod was beautiful. Cool and breezy, but really lovely. Well, it would be better said that it was lovely, but very breezy, because that breeze was a real drawback.
The first leg was fine, short and easy, and I finished at the beach. Then I changed, ate my turkey sandwich, and bummed a diet coke off of a teammate.
So, as a note, Ragnar is a weird. It's a race, but it's also kind of like girl's camp. There are costumes, drama, and pranks. I didn't notice during our last one, but during this one there was this phenomenon where people would prank other vans. Here, for example, we got Sassed, by the Sassy Stallions. This is, I believe, a unicorn, pooping a rainbow.
We ran one leg, then kind of rested at a high school at exchange 18. We ate and laid our our sleeping bags. I dozed off for a few minutes, but it was early, and I only had a few miles under my belt, so resting was more like "hanging out".
When I started my 2nd leg, it was after 11 pm. Luckily, the van could be with me pretty much the whole time, which was nice as it was pitch dark. Like, if I didn't point my headlamp down at the road, I couldn't see where I was running. It was scary, but had some payoffs, like the moonlit lake, fringed by trees. Or the sustained sprint I did to keep in sight of the runner ahead of me on a part of my route that was way off the road (read: easy for murders to jump out of the woods to attack me. and, luckily, I have a headlamp and a reflective vest, so ne'er do wells can easily spot me). Or the meteor I saw while running a 2nd 2nd leg (some of the routes are unsupported, which means the van can't drive the route with you. Which is fine, unless it's 1 in the morning, which it was. So, I ran an extra [very short] leg on a wooded trail).
We finished around 5 am, and then crashed in earnest at another high school. This gym floor was much colder, but I was too tired to pull my coat around me.
After this slap bracelet exchange, Tara yelled, "Bests Don't Stop!" (our family motto), and I ran off.
This is just past the "1 mile to go" mark, and just before I had a real Anne Shirley moment. So, this course was pretty beachy, and this bit especially so. I had just rounded a corner, and over the bluff, beyond the waving sea grass, I espied the ocean, looking all blue, with the waves crashing, and it was a real moment for me. And then, distracted, I stepped off the edge of the paved road and into the sand, rolling my (other) ankle, and tripping. I thought (twice) that I had caught myself, but no, gravity had the last laugh and I went all the way down. The woman I had just passed kind of screamed a bit and came running over (I mean, I guess she was already running, she just kept running). Luckily, my ankle just stung a bit and I kept going, accomplishing my ever-present race goal - to just run it.
The following photos are the end of my leg and the hand off, post-fall.
This is the exchange. Distracting, right?
After I finished, I was in pretty high spirits. I changed, ate my last half of turkey sandwich, drank my coke, and cheered everyone else on.
I'll be honest, we finished late. There were some injuries and some miscommunication and it took us a really long time. By the time our last runner finished, it was around 5 in the evening, and freezing. As soon as this photo was taken we all hobbled over to where we'd thrown our jackets.
All legs complete, all boxes checked. What we lacked in artistry we made up for in grit. A lot like the paint, our miles weren't always pretty, but they got the job done.
Ragnar is a lot of things. It's a race, it's a road trip, it's a slumber party, it's sleep-away camp. It's also really fun, really clarifying, and really empowering. When you look at those numbers, it can be really daunting. But, somehow, your just keep picking your feet up and putting them down and you get those miles run.
18.1 miles down.