It has taken me some time to adequately formulate my thoughts on my Ragnar Adirondacks experience, partly because I’ve had no time to actually formulate any thoughts and partly because the experience is too great for words. And then there’s the whole surprising half marathon PR high which I’ve been riding for the past 3 days which I will HAVE to cover in my next post.
So, here it goes…
If I could sum up my Ragnar experience in one word it would simply be AWESOME. I wasn’t sure how it would all go considering I was coming off injury and my doctor told me to just “try” one or two legs. Because I was feeling good in the week leading up to Ragnar and because I am an overachiever, I ran all 3, including the massive uphill trek through Tongue Mountain in Lake George. I wouldn’t necessarily classify this trek as running, but it was the best I could do without having to be scraped off the road.
But, let me back up for just a moment for those of you unfamiliar with Ragnar. It’s not necessarily a race. Yes, there are awards if you’re the first team across the finish line but it’s a team experience. There’s no pressure to conquer PRs or run distances you’ve never run before. While it helps keep the team on track to know when your runners will be arriving at the exchanges, speed doesn’t matter. Slow or fast, 5Ker or marathoner, it’s of no consequence. All are welcome and all can participate. If you haven’t participated in a relay like this my first suggestion is…DO IT.
Individual runner legs vary in distance and my total mileage across all 3 was about 13 miles. Legs 1 and 3 were the easiest at 4 and 3 miles with leg 2 being, by far, the most difficult because of the elevation – approximately 4 miles of straight uphill and 2 miles of steep decline. Because I didn’t know how my actual recovering fractured leg would hold up (and because I’m a big baby), I asked one of my teammates to accompany me. I was so appreciative!
Legs 1 and 3 were fairly uneventful – straight up busy roadways. It was pouring for both and actually, it poured the entire time – but only for van 1 runners. How rude. Chances are, you were dripping wet by the end of your leg and your feet were sloshing around in your sneakers. That’s what made the experience even better.
So, without going into every single detail of our 193 mile journey over 29 hours, I’d like to leave you with some takeaways:
- You will get no sleep. Pretty self explanatory. You will not get comfortable in a van of any size and your only chance of sleep will be in a high school gym. Notice that I say “chance.” In reality, it won’t happen. Be prepared to be awake the entire time and then sleep for 2 days later – and love every minute of it.
- You will get to know your teammates quickly. I didn’t know everyone in my van but after 30 hours together, you get to know each other pretty well. If you care about how you look or smell to complete strangers (or even in front of your closest friends), Ragnar is not for you. Speaking of smell…
- You will master the art of “showering” with body wipes and dry shampoo. Showers are available at some of the major exchanges but really, it’s not necessary unless you are smelling extremely foul. In that case, do it for the sake of your teammates. Otherwise, you’re in a van, running, sweating, and eating trail mix like you’ve never seen it before so just chalk it up to another life experience.
- You will easily channel your inner race spectator. Ragnar is all about fun. Cheering, yelling, honking, and hanging out of your van’s windows to accomplish all of the above is completely acceptable. Make the most of your experience. Everyone has worked extremely hard and has planned for months to be able to run this relay. Encourage each other.
Here are some additional pictures from those 2 days:
Were you lucky enough to experience RagnarADK? Already thinking of another?