Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ragnar take 3: McDowell Mountain Trail

My 3rd Ragnar is in the books! The thought of these 24 hour races is rather daunting. But the more you do, it becomes addicting.

This was my 1st "trail" Ragnar.

For a refresher: Ragnar is a company that sponsors 24+ hour relay races. It's a company that makes tons of money. Because it attracts insane people from all over the country to pay hundreds of dollars to run with their friends for 24 hours on zero sleep. All for a medal, tshirt, and car decal. But great memories are always included!

I've done the Ragnar del Sol (Wickenburg to Phoenix), Napa (San Francisco to Calistoga), and now McDowell Mountain trail. I must say this trail Ragnar was my favorite. Here is my recap:

  1. Trail Ragnar is made up of a team of 8 instead of 12 runners (like on the road). It is also 120-160 miles instead of 200. Instead of going from Point A to Point B, you stay in one area and run 3 different trail loops.
  2. This race had 3 loops: 3.1 miler, 8 miler, and 4 miler. Every runner did these different loops in a different order.
  3. Hardest part of the race was running the trails in the dark. I thought trail running was technically challenging? Try it in the dark. You really have to watch your footing to not fall into a cactus, trip over a rock, or slide off a cliff ;). Especially if you have terrible depth perception like me!
  4. Best part of the race? You didn't have to be in a van in between runs. You got to sprawl out at your campsite!
  5. The camping area in the middle where all the trails started was called "The Village", which was a 24 hour party. There were camp fires, music, s'mores, hundreds of tents. It was so much fun!
  6. My muscles were more sore after this than they were after my half ironman! Especially my calves and ankles.
  7. The temps varied like crazy! When our team started at 3pm Friday, it was 84 degrees. Miserable. Then when the sun set at 6pm, it was in the 50's. Then by 9am Saturday, the sun came back out with a vengeance and it hit 86 degrees for the last runners! Luckily, all 3 of my runs were either in the dusk or dark, so I didn't have to deal with the hot weather.
  8. My team is already planning next years' event. And plotting out our campsite and food. :)
Here are a few photos I took, and some that I pulled off the Ragnar facebook page. These photos just speak "Arizona desert trail running"!

Here's a "pre-race" shot. We decided to take a picture while we were still clean. Our team name was "Running our AZ Off"

This is a picture I took off the Ragnar Trail website - they had some really great photos, and it gives you an example of the terrain we ran on!
Here is a picture one of my team-mates got of the sun setting behind the mountains...

This is an photo of "The Village". It was like a 24 hour race expo, obviously with a lot of Solomon gear, since they were the official race sponsor. Solomon is my choice of trail running shoes, by the way! They fit so well, and have great treads. My feet never hurt during the whole race experience!
Here's a night picture of Ryan and I with our headlamps! Being all sweaty in between runs, your body got super cold! So cuddling was necessary.
I took these 2 photos of the sun rising Saturday morning while I waited for Ryan to come in! He got to hand off to me in the relay all 3 times, which was super fun to get to hug him when he came into the "exchange shoot".

This is the finish line that you crossed every time you finished a loop, since all 3 loops met up for the last 0.4 miles.
They ran out of food Saturday morning. They were supposed to have "food vendors". Well, they had one food truck for approximately 3000 runners. I love Ragnar, but that did NOT impress us. Especially since you fork up $1800/team!  We ended up getting to have a conversation with the race director, and sadly she had no idea they ran out of food. She apologized profusely, and was able to get our team free sandwiches and beers. But I feel bad for the 1000 runners after our team who didn't get to eat!! 
Ryan was especially hangry. ;)
But he perked up after his pulled pork sandwich.

Our Tucson network of "Ragnarians" has grown over the years. And we actually had 2 teams out there this week. Here's our team with a few other girls.

Team "Running our AZ Off" relaxing our "AZ" off :)

We will definitely be back next year!! (We will just make sure we bring our own food!!)
(The tattoo on my leg is just a stick-on. No real in ink for this gal! Don't worry, Mom! Ha!)


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Very cool! I was wondering how they would do a ragnar trail race as I didn't know how you'd pick up and drop off runners, so it makes sense that it's loops and you can camp out. I'd prefer that to being in a stinky van! But I do not think I could run on trails at night. Actually I know I couldn't because I fell running in broad daylight! I am glad you guys had a great experience and will do it again next year. Bummer about the poor management of food, though! That's downright dangerous!

Marlys said...

Sounds like a fun experience! I bet you have to have the headlights to run at night! That is really sad that they didn't plan food better for what it cost! Poor, poor planning on their part!