Sort of fitting to post this the day of the Nuun Hood to Coast announcement. Thank you all for your nice words and watching that silly video I made a billion times. I’m way pumped and can’t wait for August. But right now it’s time to [finally] talk Ragnar. So lets do that.
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I don’t know where to start. I have a million thoughts, a thousand ideas, and a hundred different directions I want to go with this recap.
Sensibly, for time’s sake, I’d verbal vomit all over the place with randomness and a picture or two to supplement, and be all, ‘LOOK IT WAS SO GREAT AND WE WON!’
(oh, did you hear? we WON.)
But for memory purposes (mine), I want to go all epic trilogy on you with a 30,000-word recap and complete graphic details of all the emotions, chaffing, meltdowns, and nitty-gritty sweaty bits. Highest highs and the lowest lows. We had them.
(and the part about how we won.)
So I’ll try to be concise. But if it gets a bit long-winded, please forgive (or just stop reading). Anyway I’m sure someday high school students will be reading this between Hamlet and the Great Gatsby in Literature class so I guess it’s my duty to recount the tale in its entirety.
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Ragnar SoCal – the Ultra Estrogen Chronicles
So Much Cooler Online – ULTRA
Back forever and a day ago, when we were all high on Hood to Coast envy and hastily decided to put out a call for a Ragnar teammates, something weird happened :
What about a 6-person Ultra team?
(I bet you can guess whose idea that was)
At the time, I didn’t think much of it. Partly because it was so far away, and partly (mostly) because I just couldn’t fathom what running 200+ miles with 5 other girls REALLY meant.
I followed a marathon training schedule. It went well. I focused on that week’s workouts and kept Ragnar as a far-in-the-distance idea. Unlike a regular race where you can measure your workouts against your ultimate goal (like, ‘only 10k more than that 20 miler! I can do that!’) the relay was so hard to gauge. Or plan for. Or get worried about.
Ignorance is bliss, I guess.
When people would ask what I was up against, I’d answer “32.2 miles over 3 runs and like, 24 hours” and just not process anything else about it.
The distance didn’t scare me – I knew I was capable of running 10 miles, 14.9 miles, and 7.3 miles. But how do you prepare for running on no sleep? Completely foreign routes? Without your perfected pre-run rituals? The nonstop need to get your van to exchange after exchange after exchange?
As race day got closer and the reality of the whole situation started setting in, shit started feeling pretty serious.
And suddenly maybe a 6 person ultra wasn’t the most appealing idea…
Final team meeting, 4/7
Unfortunately it was too late to bail, and shanking the teammate with the highest mileage (SR) would be counter-productive. So we all threw some hail maries at the run gods and waited for race day.
True : Driving a 15 passenger van will give you a major “king of the road” complex.
Also true : We DID get in trouble for decorating the van in the middle of the road. I mean, it wasn’t busy or anything, but whatever.
On Friday afternoon we packed up our big ol’ runner home on wheels with way too much crap, decorated it, and all piled in. Game time.
We made our way over to Huntington Beach for safety prep, check in, and our 1pm start. Since there are HUNDREDS of teams (594 to be exact) they stagger the start to avoid congestion and hopefully get the teams to the finish line party around the same time. Teams that need more time to complete the course start earlier, and the speedier teams start later in the day.
(Just in case you wanted to know.)
Week-long weather stalking had us prepped for super Hades-like temps, so the bit of overcast that greeted us along the coast was a VERY pleasant surprise. Even if it was short-lived.
Aaaaaaand they’re off!
With only six runners (instead of the standard 12) we had a choice between running 3 double legs each, or running six single legs. Since all of us are were in/around marathon shape, we opted for the former. Our reasoning being that getting warmed up/cooled down half as many times would be easier on our old bones, and if we were capable of running long then we might as well.
Also, fewer outfits to pack.
Even though we’d be running through half the exchanges, we always stopped to cheer on our teammates and pass along any fuel or whatever they wanted. It was comforting knowing if you needed something – Gu, ice to shove down your bra (yes we did), or someone to tell you to “suck it up, you knew it was going to be hard!” – that they’d be there.
- Tip – make sure you open, or at least start to open, bottles/wrappers so your runner doesn’t have to dick around with it while they’re trying to run fast for you. Learned that fast.
SR on the Santa Ana River Trail
After we watched Sarah blaze through Exchange1, we hopped back in the van and sped off to Exchange2. I got all suited up for my first leg and forgot to wear a shirt. Or my 6pack. Or my tan.
We stood around nervously/excitedly chatting and hiding from the sun waiting for our first big handoff. When I heard the volunteers call out team “number thirty eight!” (signaling that our runner was approaching) I ran over to the shoot, cheered Sarah in, and took off.
Let the adventure begin…
(I really really REALLY tried to make this one post, but it just aint happening. Sorry. 30 hours of coverage deserves two posts I think. Right?? Right.)