Ragnar Chicago 2018

Yesterday I talked about my why.

Today- I’m going to GUSH about Ragnar! If you have never heard of this, it is a 200ish mile relay race.  I ran this with my husband and 10 other people. Team Sprinting Turtles was underway! We had 2 15 person vans, 3 drivers, coolers, duffle bags, blankets, pillows, running shoes, and great times!

I am VERY type A and was team captain- we had our shirts MONTHS before the race, and it turns out the couple people who had to sub in for backed out runners, were the same size- IT WAS MEANT TO BE! I had 31Totes filled with first aid kids, Girl Scout cookies, glow sticks, deodorant, and almost anything else someone else on the internet said we might need. Hubby melted my heart when he brought his own 31 tote with jumper cables, battery packs, duct tape, and tools (For real! He is a keeper! and these items are now on my list too 🙂 )

This year the race ran from Chicago to Madison (opposite of past years). We stayed in a hotel 10 min from the race, most of us arriving around 9pm on Thursday night. Our Van was unable to fit in the parking garage of the hotel, so one of our runners (also hubby’s cousin) walked with a local man and found a parking spot for us on the road. The other van arrived closer to midnight. Thursday morning, we met up at the start line to check in, decorate vans, and get the party started! We spent the next day and a half cheering on runners, trying to stay dry in a light rain, trying to sleep in a van or on a gym floor, and having the most amazing time! About half of us stayed the night in Madison with the intent to WHoop it up and celebrate our race and Hubby’s birthday (that was the next day). We enjoyed our showers, walked to dinner, had a couple of drinks, and were in bead by 10.

For Ragnar you have 12 runners, split evenly into 2 vans (or you can run as an ultra team with just 6 runners doing twice as much work). Each runner is assigned a runner number and you rotate 1-12, then start again. Each runner runs 3 legs. Due to the change in direction of the race, there where quite a few last minute changes in run lengths. We had runners with as few as 11.5 miles and lucky me who somehow ended up with 21 miles!

This was the first run/race where I have ever had problems with stomach issues before a run. My supper the night before is the same as I’ve had at other races. Breakfast was scrambled eggs. I don’t think much stayed in. Each of my 3 legs started with me not feeling well and not being able to add calories to my system. Luckily I was able to eat/drink shortly after my runs and let everything settle in.

Under-fueling made my last leg of 9ish miles miserable! I was supposed to have an 8.6 mile run, which should have been fine. The last half of my leg was hills… nasty nasty hills. By 7.8 miles I became unable to maintain anything resembling a straight line while running and was light headed. I pushed through because I thought I was almost done and the “ONE MILE LEFT” sign had been stolen or misplaced. My Garmin watch showed 8.5 miles when I finally saw that sign and I really had a mile to go. I attempted to run, but mostly walked at a turtles pace for the last 3/4 of a mile. (This worried my husband as he watched me slow further and further down on our tracking app.) I finished, and crumbled in a heap, cried, and was mad, but I finished.

What I learned from this race-

  1. Running with a team can be amazing! – New running friends
  2. Ragnarians are amazing!
    • Other team captains stepped up to offer  rooms from their block of rooms, tracking ideas, and sharing pace calculators.
    • Everyone cheers everyone one and offers to help out.
  3. Following directions is important! – We were late to 2 exchanges because the wrong locations were entered or directions weren’t listened to.
  4. 6 sweaty runners in a van can get stale, but ZIPLOCKs and baby wipes held much of that in check.
  5. Running in the rain and dark is daunting to many people, but a phone call to your husband, reassuring friends, and a spare set of shoes makes it all a little easier to take on.
  6. Turtles really do go slow and steady, but don’t lose the race (we came in right in the middle of the pack!)
  7. Stepping away from technology is great!-
    • I pulled out my ear buds and just ran.
    • Hubby and I have been trying to experience things without a camera/screen in front of our faces… which explains why I don’t have a single selfie with him… and we were in a van together for hundreds and hundreds of miles.
  8. Make sure hotel rooms are not all under your own credit card
    • When others cancel at the 23rd hour, you have to pay for them
  9. Adults, especially sleep deprived adults, LOVE bubbles!
  10. I can do anything I set my mind to do! (Especially with Hubby at the finish line!)
    1. YOU CAN TOO

I do apologize for the scattered jumping around I did today! Only a little though! This may have been my first Ragnar, but I’m already signed up for two more! Great River runs along the Mississippi river in August- Hills and Heat will be what I conquer next! Then in September, I’m trying a trail run for Ragnar Trail Northwoods- three trails run by 8 team members in a relay. Northwoods will be an extension of the Sprinting Turtles as half of us were on the Chicago team!

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