I’m not even sure where to begin with Ragnar. So much happened in the course of less than 48 hours, that it felt more like I was gone for an entire week. I had so much anxiety leading up to this race, mostly because it was unlike anything that I had ever done before. I was also really nervous about being able to meet my fundraising goal for Girls on the Run of Montgomery County. In the end, I had an amazing experience all around. The race was great and I was also able to meet my goal.
I started packing the night before because I’m a total procrastinator. I had to laugh at pics that people were posting about their super organized packing. I had printed off an incredibly helpful list of what to bring from Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes and went from there. Most important was my night-time running safety gear which I had slowly purchased over the course of the last few months since signing up for Ragnar.
My friend Tamieka @ Fit Balling Running Mom was on my team, but she was in the other van. I also knew two of the other members of my team from Moms Run This Town (MRTT). I had met them fairly briefly though and only one of them was in my van. I tend to be really nervous and shy when I first meet people. Not to mention there was great concern about a hurricane. The weather forecast looked awful and I had signed up to be runner 12 with the longest distance at almost 29 miles. I figured that I had recently run a marathon so why not.
I got up early so that I could get some much-needed coffee in then met up with Stacy to carpool to Silver Spring. It turned out that she pretty much lived right across the street from me. Since we were driving during rush hour, we did get a little behind. Once we all arrived, we packed up the van then headed to our exchange point as quickly as possible. Alexis @ Flecks of Lex was our fearless leader throughout this experience and I was glad to finally meet her in person. She had printed out the race bible and also made a handy-dandy driving chart.
We had to rush to check in, watch the safety video and then Stacy was off on her first leg. I was looking at all of the vans driving in and some of them were pretty awesome. My favorite featured a blow-up monkey on the front and I also noticed a few decorated with Christmas lights at night.
We followed Stacy to cheer her on which was so much fun with our Ragnar flags. Our first exchange was at a gas station which had a cute little shop inside. I grabbed a veggie sandwich and we filled up the van’s gas tank. Since we didn’t have runner #8 we skipped ahead to the next exchange. This was my favorite exchange location. I loved the minion theme.
Finally it was my turn to run my first leg around 7pm. I was nervous since I haven’t done much night-time running, but the headlamp was pretty nice. It just made the rain look more like snow and since I could see my breath very clearly, I thought snow might just be possible at the moment.
This Asics Storm Shelter jacket was amazing! I lit up like a Christmas tree so I wasn’t too afraid of getting hit by cars. I did get overheated after a while and wanted to take it off, but that seemed like too much effort with the safety vest on. As a person who easily gets lost, I loved how clearly the route was marked. There were also other runners in front of me to follow. I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as that goes. I thought that we might be too spread out to be able to see the other runners. The hill was a little rough, but I managed to get up it without slowing down too much. I was able to finish strong and handed off the baton to Carrie from Van 1.
After my first leg, I crawled in the back of the van to change clothes. It was kind of nice being short one runner because each of us was able to have the backseat to ourselves after we finished our leg. I quickly changed into dry clothes and we went to Uno Pizzeria & Grill for dinner. I ordered the spicy veggie, black bean and brown rice patty with house-made guacamole and salsa with a side of broccoli. Once we finished dinner we went to meet up with van 1 at our next exchange. There was a creamery there that was staying open all night for the runners. This sounded amazing, but I was having terrible stomach pain so I decided to pass. We passed out in the van for what felt like 5 minutes and then Stacy was off on her second leg. I think that was sometime around 1:00 am, but the details are little fuzzy.
The recap for Day 2 and the finish are coming up soon!
Have you ever run a Ragnar race before?