About a year ago my BFF and RBF came to me with the idea to sign up for a Ragnar trail race. I say yes, obviously, because I’m a runner and we are insane. I did my first Ragnar in Pennsylvania with Mer and Cam (my first time meeting either one of them IRL) and had a blast. We had a little trouble getting our Ragnar trail team off the ground and ended up deferring from 2018 to 2019…which brings us to this blog post.
We were in limbo with a team for awhile, but managed to get it all taken care of just in time, ending up with our team of eight a few weeks before the actual race. We recruited people from work, who recruited people, who recruited people. I even managed to recruit a guy I’d been on one date with a few months ago. He’s my boyfriend now, so it all worked out.
My friend and I took off Friday since the race started that morning, and the majority of us headed up Thursday night. I know we were diligently checking the weather to make sure we’d packed the right things for our three loops, sleeping, and lounging.
While we practically brought everything but the kitchen sink, what we didn’t do was check the weather again. Temperatures were projected to be in the forties and for this Florida girl…that’s rough, y’all. I’d packed capris and tanks for my night/early morning runs and a skirt and tank for my first run. I was not well-prepared! We’d also only taken a couple of blankets because I was afraid we’d be “too hot”. Insert straight-faced emoji here, okay? Thursday night was brutal, but we survived. I woke up the next morning and asked Ali to bring us another blanket because I could not suffer sleeping in a tent in 45-degree weather again!
In true Florida fashion, the weather was perfect once the sun came up and our team was ready for our 9:30AM start! The course was divided into three loops: Green – 5.5 miles, Yellow – 4.6 miles, and Red 6.1 miles. Each runner was to run each of the loops basically before the course closed. Sounds easy, right? Personally, I’ve never done a trail race…or ran on a trail before. I prefer my races and running to be on flat ground where the only thing that can trip me is my own feet.
Michelle started our team off on the Green loop and I followed with Yellow. Yellow was the “middle ground” as far as trails went, but there was definitely elevation and a few obstacles involved. I knew I’d be feeling it later on since I in no way shape or form trained for a trail race. Yeah, I said it: I DID NOT TRAIN. This really shouldn’t be a surprise to any of you.
Once I was through the Yellow loop, I was still feeling pretty good. I wiped down with my shower wipes and changed into my lounge clothes to hang out with the rest of our team and wait for everyone else to run their first loops. There was also a visit to the gear shop since I’d only packed tank tops and it was supposed to be in the lower 50s for my night run. I snagged a cute Ragnar long-sleeved shirt, but ending up wearing something of my dude’s that was snug and fleece-lined. I’m glad I did, because once I headed out on my Green loop, I stayed cold the whole time! Green was the easiest loop, but my run started at about 9PM. It was a struggle to get dressed in the tent. Then I had leave my comfy air mattress and kind of warm blankets knowing I was going out into the wilderness in the dark.
Most of this loop was nice and flat, but some of it went through a “forest” of sorts of a lot of tall grass. Naturally I was terrified and tried my damndest to run the whole thing. Did I mention I didn’t train very well for this? Obviously that didn’t work. And it was cold. So, I fell. Luckily I was so far behind any other runner and no one had caught up with me yet and therefore no one saw me. Of course, that meant that I was too nervous about falling again to move too quickly.
I trucked on and my dude met me at the transition with fresh clothes and hot chocolate. Did I mention there were no showers and only porta-potties? Each time I had to change I managed to commandeer the larger potty which made me feel a little bit cleaner, but not much. After my second run I settled into the tent to rest, knowing that I’d have to be ready to run again by 6AM or so.
Our group text kept us all updated and we managed to cheer each other on through all of our loops, too. It was nice to stay connected that way and definitely kept us entertained throughout the day/night. Only a few of us happened to be really close but there’s really nothing like a Ragnar race to bring you together. When it was finally my turn for the Red loop I went into it kind of…meh. I’d gotten my period the day before (sorry if that’s TMI, but we’re real over here at Scoot), couldn’t find my Advil, so my quads were killing me and I had cramps like nobody’s business.
The first part of the Red loop was the same as Yellow, so it was nothing new. I started this loop before the sun was up and it was a struggle to get warm. Once the trail parted and I was on the official Red loop…I knew what all the fuss was about. Red was 6.1 miles of ups and downs, bridges, ledges, and buzzards.
Yep, buzzards. Just waiting for us runners to die. I sent a picture to my teammates of them around three mile marker and kept on going. It felt like I’d been at it for a long time, but it turned out that I was only at mile “4ish”. This was a little disheartening considering I felt like I was working SO HARD. I’d started texting Michelle telling her that I felt like I was behind on time and was feeling slow, but she always does a great job of cheering me up. I knew we had plenty of time to complete our loops, but there was still six runners after me and I didn’t want to hold anyone back.
Even though the Red loop was tough, it was pretty. You can always count on me to stop and take nature pictures, no matter if they all look like the same damn tree.
Getting out of the Red loop was hard, but I made it and our team finished strong, in my opinion. I mean, we weren’t called the World’s Okayest Running Team for no reason, you know?
After my loop I grabbed some breakfast with a few teammates and a delicious cup of REAL coffee. (Sorry, Ragnar – your coffee is weak.) There were food trucks on the grounds the whole time and we had a great time picking from them. Breakfast was a variety of waffles on sticks and it was pretty magical.
I manged to clean up, have a nap, and start the slow process of packing while everyone finished their loops. In true Ragnar fashion we joined our last runner crossing the finish line, then picked up our really sweet medals and took our group picture.
I know there are a ton of things I’m missing here, but it all feels like a blur. I know some of us had our struggles but the best part of Ragnar is the team that keeps you going, even if some of them are strangers! All I wanted to do when we got home was shower and sleep for a few days. This was definitely a fun time and I would probably do it again. Like…95% sure. Maybe.
Just…not any time soon.