During the first weekend of April I ran my very first Ragnar. A Ragnar relay is basically a 200-ish mile run with 12 friends & 2 vans, over 2 days and 1 night. I did the SoCal one, which makes you run from Huntington Beach to San Diego.
We met up with the LA crew to pick up a 12 person van at this car rental place near LAX. I arrived there at like 5:30 in the morning and by 7:30 we still hadn’t left the place. They told us they had a van, but that ended up not being true. Then eventually we packed all our stuff and put it in this 8 seater and when we were just about to leave they made us take everything out of the car because the car was reserved for someone else. We were mind blown about the way these car rentals place deal with people. So bad! In the end we had to take a 6 person mini van since that was the only car that would seat all of us that they had available. It was a bummer to start the day like this, but we’re all positive people so we made the best of it!
I was in van 1 and only knew 1 person in my van when I started this adventure. It ended up being such a blessing. Our van consisted of 2 guys and 4 girls and we were the most supportive, fun crew you could imagine.
At one point in the race, during the nighttime runs, we drove to the wrong place to pick up our runner. When she texted us she arrived and we couldn’t find her, we weren’t worried about losing time and ending up having a bad race time. Instead, we were worried about our friend having to wait in the dark without her team. We made the best of every moment in the van and we helped each other when needed. I loved that when I was running, our van would randomly pull up next to me and everyone would encourage me and cheer me on! It gave me that extra push to work a little harder and run a little faster. I loved driving to my teammates’ running course and giving them water when they reached the top of a hill. I loved carb loading together when our van finished a couple of legs. I loved the beautiful views along the way and I loved watching both the sunrise and the sunset with these amazing people I now call my friends. I loved hanging out with people who rather run than sleep and who willingly take on crazy adventures like this.
I was runner 4, which meant I had to run leg 4, 16 and 28.
Leg 4 was a pretty easy run. It was only 3.2 miles and was an all flat run. It was super hot outside which made it a little challenging, but I ran it at a 7:41 pace, which I felt great about!
Leg 16 was my night run. I started a little later than originally scheduled, but it was amazing. For the night runs we all geared up in our reflective vests and we had to wear a headlamp and a couple of little flashing lights on our backs. I loved seeing all these runners run in the dark. It was a really cool view to see the little flashing lights from a mile away. Anyway, it was a 5.3 mile run with 2 pretty challenging hills. For a while I was running by myself in this long street with nothing but parked trucks. It was terrifying. There was literally nothing that I could see, except for the light that came from my head lamp. I have to admit though that it made me run faster! 😉 During a Ragnar, one of the things people do is counting their ‘kills’. You basically count every runner you pass, because that’s how you know you’re making up time. As you can probably imagine, I killed a whole bunch of people in that leg! I ran really fast until I found this girl that had the same pace as me that I just couldn’t pass. We had to stop at a stop light and decided to run together from there, since we both felt safer not being all by ourselves. I ran this leg at an 8:27 pace.
Leg 28, which I ran on Saturday morning, was my longest run of the race. It was a 6.3 mile run on no sleep. It was pretty easy at first, until I had to get up this super steep hill. It was worse than the hill I had to do for my San Francisco half in October. My Gosh! The people who know me, know that I usually skip the hills. I have found that walking fast up a hill makes me way less tired and gets me to the top a little faster. I made a lot of friends during this leg, which was awesome. Every runner had this mutual feeling of knowing that this was their last leg and that they could have brunch after, which was something to look forward to! I ran this 10k at a 8:23 pace.
After the runners of our van were done running we drove up to this place where we had bottomless mimosas and Mexican food. It was delicious and well deserved! We were all super exhausted and ready for 12 hours of sleep, but we bit through and a couple of hours later van 2 finished. We grabbed some pizza and beer together, got our medals and finisher shirts and took some photos together.
What an amazing experience it was! I’m ready to do this again, with hopefully a couple more miles on my legs!
One more thing that was awesome was that Ragnar had this Instagram contest where you had to use special hashtags for your picture. The winner would get a pair of Reebok shoes, a 150$ Ragnar gear gift card, wireless headphones… Guess who won?! I DID!! So happy to have been able to share my photos with my fellow Ragnarians!