Monday, August 20, 2012

Running the Great River Ragnar

The Starting Line.

For those of you who don't know what a Ragnar race is I'll explain. My team of 12 ladies ran from Winona to Minneapolis, MN this past weekend.(198.5 miles) In a Ragnar your team is split into two vans. Someone from the team is always running--day or night. Each person runs a total of three legs. You get very little sleep and eat a lot of bagels and peanut butter!

Every team has a name. Ours was "Comin' in Hot".

Since almost every team has some sort of white van everyone decorates theirs. We learned from last year that it's hard to recognize your own van in the dark so we brought along battery-operated Christmas lights. It was easy to spot our van!

Pam smiling as she's starting to run up her first hill.

Since I'm the oldest I got to have the shortest legs. My first leg was 5.3 miles and pretty flat. An easy run. Along my way through a small town three very little boys were cheering the runners as we passed by. So cute! Further along a family had made a sort of tunnel in their ditch using American Flags attached to a fence on either side. (kind of hard to describe). It was probably a tenth of a mile and really fun to run through there. The other gals in my van had very long runs with hills that just wouldn't quit!

My second leg was at night. We wear reflective vests, a blinking tail light and a headlight. It is a totally different experience running at night in a place you are not familiar with. My run was only 3.3 miles so it was very pleasant. My other teammates ran steep hills and on dusty gravel roads. I have nothing but the deepest respect for their running abilities.
My daugher and me posing by another team member's "one mile to go" sign. We were both done at this point.

Another team trying to get a little sleep.

We did manage to nap a little in the afternoon in a park while the other van did their running. After our night runs we were able to shower at a middle school and sleep in their gym. We were one of the first vans to get there so the gym wasn't crowded. Of course lots more people joined us. I have never heard so many different kinds of snoring in my life! I had never slept on a gym floor before. I found out just how hard that wooden floor is.(Can you guess how much sleep I got?)Also when I woke up I found another runner had put her sleeping bag right between my daughter and me.
My daugher and me posing by another team member's "one mile to go" sign. We were both done at this point.
The last leg for me was another shorty. 3.1 miles on a trail through woods. The only tough part was a hill at the very end. Again, my teammates had long runs with lots of hills. You can only imagine how good it felt to be done that morning! (We all loved the "one mile to go" sign!)

  Comin' in Hot with our medals at the Finish Line.

My team of twelve incredible gals included many ages, abilities and experience. This was my second Ragnar but for some it was their first. Many of us are looking ahead to next year and others are saying "ask me in six months". We all found the strength we needed to tackle long miles and nasty hills while running on little sleep. It was a challenge but a joy to find out that we had the physical and mental stamina to see it all the way through. We supported each other and that made all the difference. There was always someone cheering for us. The power of the female carried us all 198.5 miles!

I know that next year I will be another year older. I don't know if my body will be ready to do another Ragnar next year. I don't know if the other gals will want to let me have the shortest miles again. It was such an incredible experience I'm hoping I can be there. If not, I will be with them all in spirit. (and...there are many other Ragnars across the country. Doesn't running through the Napa Valley sound fun?) post signature
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Rana said...

What a great experience! It was so fun tracking you all and watching your progress. Very proud of you and the team!!

Carol said...

Thanks! If I can do it, anyone can!


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