As I shared what seems like forever ago (sorry….I have a life!) I ran a very random, unexpected Ragnar back in September! I loved so much of the experience, but there were also parts of my experience that I didn’t love. While my race recap shares how the running went, this post will share more of the emotional and all-around team experience.
What I LOVED:
– I loved being part of a team. It doesn’t matter that I had just met these people the night before. I loved how we cheered for each other, supported each other, and talked about running a lot.
– I loved the organization of the Ragnar race itself. The logistics that go into a 200 mile relay that runs into Washington, DC cannot be easy. The race “bible” directions got us to where we needed to be (except for when I was giving directions at night, whoops). Race command also was very helpful with finding ways for my team to make it to the finish in time. I also appreciated that some of the exchanges were near stores so we could get food! Also, having porta johns at almost every exchange was a LIFESAVER!
– I loved the atmosphere of fun that really took a forefront over the weekend. I had no idea that “tagging” vans was a thing, but I thing it is a genius idea!
What I didn’t love:
– Not competitive enough (at least my van): By the time I was done my second run, I was a bit over the “fun” aspect. Not because Ragnar wasn’t about fun, but it is also a race. While we may not have ever had a chance of winning, it didn’t mean that we didn’t need to stop for 10 minutes to chat in the middle of a leg to chat and sit. We were behind pace the entire time (although there is a published average you need to keep) and it caused me a lot of stress. While it’s nbd that we weren’t going to win, I wish that people still gave their all, because I sure did my best to hit my expected paces. I felt weird when my team thought it was surprising that I was running my estimated pace, because I put in a good, honest estimate.
– (Our) organization (with my legs): Seriously, having hand-off after both legs 1 and 2 made me dread leg 3, especially because it was so short. While I was fine with not getting/needing support on my legs (2 were non-support, one was full support but I can run 6 miles), it sucked for my team not to be there/ready after giving my runs my all. Everyone else seemed to have seamless hand-offs except for me. And I know it’s selfish, but it was really annoying.
– Rule following seemed to be an issue for my van. If you know me, I’m a strict rule-follower, so this was really hard to deal with. Peeing in the woods is one thing, but pooping in someone’s yard (when it was shared MULTIPLE times that it was OBVIOUSLY against the rules, and just RUDE/GROSS) is just wrong. Also my van was very adamant to always support the runners. Great, awesome, support our teammate – on legs when it’s allowed. There were reasons why certain legs were “non-support.” I, once again, wish rules were followed for the safety of all participants.
– The finish line: We finally finished around 7:30pm on Saturday, and the cutoff was 8:00. When we got to the finish line, there was no pizza left, the vendor tried to make us pay for our “free beer” (I did NOT, tyvm), and there was seriously no energy left in the experience. We finished within the timeline, and felt that we deserved the same experience as the “fast” teams that finished earlier in the day. I was really looking forward to the finish line experience, but by time I got there, I straight-up wanted to leave.
Things I would change:
– Actually build a team, or find one in advance! It was quite the experience running with a random group. I met a lot of great people, and had an overall fun time. However, stresses such as how I was getting home (that was a fiasco) and running differences definitely caused more anxiety than I was hoping for. I’d love to be on a team with runners who are there for fun, but also to run their best efforts and to try new things! (I think only 2 or 3 of us on the whole team ran our night legs alone).
Will I run again? OH HECK YES. I loved the experience as a whole. Most of my team was all, “I’m never doing this again!” I was the complete opposite. I was having the time of my life when I was running and at the exchanges, cheering everyone on. The night run was seriously one of the best running experiences ever. I’m definitely hoping to run Ragnar Pennsylvania in June 2018, and I’m trying to form a team with Bib Rave Pro’s for that. I would also love to run a trail Ragnar and/or Reach the Beach in 2018!