I have friends who compare Ragnar's to childbirth. It's painful. It is misery. But it is so exhilarating...and 1 year after the fact, you're pining for another one!
I've done a lot of hard workouts in my life. Believe me, I'm kind of crazy. But nothing has made me shed tears and go into full blown sobs, like passing off the paton on your 3rd run of a Ragnar. You are so exhausted, experienced so much, seen so many sights, and tested your abilities. It's just awesome.
This is especially tough for the girl who has a very strict regimen of being in bed by 9pm every night, lights out no later than 9:30 pm.
But here we go again! I'm telling you, if I can do this - anyone can! It's tough - but it is so different from anything else you'll ever do! It's especially amazing if you have a good team.
So here we go - Ragnar #4!
This time Ryan and I are team captains. And let me tell you, there is quite a bit of coordination involved.
Here are a 10 tips about preparing for a Ragnar, because I think by now we've got it down.
- Find more than 12 people. If you have 18 people interested in your team? Great! Because guess what? Come race day...you will have 12, maybe 13, paid runners. Life happens, work gets crazy, family members get sick, childcare falls through, people get injured. I have never seen a Ragnar where we haven't lost at least 3 people during the planning process!
- When determining who runs which leg, have people put in their requests. Don't assign a leg of the race until that person's check is in your hands. (In our past races, there has been mild drama over the different legs. This makes it easy, and there will be no preferential treatment)
- When deciding which legs to run, keep in mind who will be in your van. Ragnar race is a team of 12. 2 vans. 6 runners to each van.
- If you can, I highly advise getting a hotel in a middle-point of the race if possible. It increases the cost. But so worth it. Think about running 3 times in 30 hours, sitting in a van, with no shower. Having a "base" to go back to, so you can shower, lay down, and eat is heaven. It's also nice to have a place to keep your stuff! At Napa we had to carry all our luggage in the van. It got very crowded.
- Try to get vans. Our 1st year, we used SUV's that we happened to have, in order to save $$. It saved us a whopping $35/person. Mini vans are practical, there is much more room for stretching out your legs, more charging stations for cell phones, and no one gets stuck sitting in the middle of the bench. (I have now found a positive for "the mini-van".)
- Eat real food. Immediately after your run, if possible. When you are running every 8 hours, and on the road, people tend to live off trail mix, PB, and cliff bars. You will want to barf. I have a very sensitive running stomach. But have found if I eat right after my run - I'm okay. Subway was a heaven-sent.
- Make a pace chart. We make an excel spreadsheet, where we take the miles with the pace to estimate what time each person will be passing off the paton. It helps tremendously!
- Your team makes the race. Every Ragnar I've done, I've been blessed to have easy-going, calm, fun, happy people in my vans. I've heard horror stories, though. If there is a strong personality, or a princess in your van, it's going to be a LONG 30 hours! (Princess who gets their way + sleep deprived + extended time in van = Ragnar hell)
- Train. The hardest part of Ragnar is running on sore, fatigued muscles. By your 3rd run, everything hurts.
- Remember to have fun! All the details in organizing the race, the sleep deprivation, muscle soreness - it's easy to get wrapped up in the tasks. Stop worrying about your pace. Stop stressing. This race is all about 30 hours filled with nothing but silliness and running! Nothing else. You don't get a medal for having stellar pace. (unless all 12 people on your team are super fast)
#1 Ragnar del Sol - 2013 (Wickenburg to Tempe, AZ 202 miles)
As you can see, we chose to dress rather bright that year :)
#2 Ragnar Napa - San Francisco to Calistoga, CA (204 miles)
This is probably my favorite running picture ever. My friend Sharon and I decided to run the bridge (it was actually Ryan's leg). Such a cool memory!! Lot's of energy!
We took a pause to do a "couples photo"
#3 Trail Ragnar - McDowell Mountain
This was by far the most fun and badass races I've done!