If you have been following my blog for a while, then you know that I love Ragnar Races and have been kind of sidelined by what happened at Cherry Blossom 10 miler, when I busted my achilles like a idiot… Since then, I have sat out on two races (Nike, because of achilles; and Wine Country Half, because of the flu). So when Ragnar Trails rolled around, I was STOKED to finally participate in an amazing race with a great team!
My team, all dressed in INKnBURN
We decided to head up to the campsite on Thursday night, so that we could ensure we got a spot for tents and camp, in general. I had a pretty crazy day on Thursday — early appt at 9, downtown and then I had to take one of my summer school class tests (1 of 3) early (because of Ragnar). While I was taking this test, one of my teammates emailed and said she had a family emergency, so she couldn’t make it. Everyone was emailing and texting me and here I am, taking a timed test. Anywho, we didn’t have time to find a replacement, but our team is awesome and several of them offered to pick up legs, no problem! It was a great example of how everyone pulled together!
After my test, Gail came over and we headed to costco to get supplies.
My packed up gear
We stocked up and got a variety of food things, then went back to my house to pack up the car and get Leah. After we got Leah, we got on 495, hitting the traditional and massive amount of traffic in dc. So Gail used “Ways” to navigate us around… and of course I gave her hell for using anything other than google maps… mostly because I could and it entertained me. After we bypassed the traffic, we stopped off in Frederick to pick up Jenn and get some food. We then detoured at Giant because I forgot a toothbrush… SIGH.
We got up to Big Bear Lake in WV (just over the WV line) around 10:45pm. The last shuttle was rolling out at 11pm and we hadn’t even found our team yet and the dude who was checkin us in, was leaning a little too far into the car… and wouldn’t really stop chatting. When we managed to get away from him and onto camp, we found our other teammates (who had arrived about an hour before us), and parked right “inside” of the parking cones, next to the unloading zone.
We set up our tent and canopy, had a few beers and discussed who was going to pick up the extra legs for our team, before turning in for the night… We woke up the next morning (some of us throughout the night) and got up to get stuff together and get some coffee and breakfast before starting our Ragnar Trails adventure at 12:30pm! We ran to the general store, got coffee and ice and reported to check in before reporting for the safety briefing and then heading to the start line!
Us, at the safety meeting
I was our first runner so I toed the line for us. I thought that as we got going everyone I started with passed me, until I came along two women, both goin at a 11:00/mi trail pace — hung on there with them for the first two miles before having to slow down for the last 1.7 miles. So I just resigned to motor along at my party pace and enjoy the scenery while trying not to eat it. I finished up with no issues (other than being unable to get my phone out to take pics along the way) and passed off my bib to Gail and she was off! I managed the 3.7 miles in 42 minutes (not bad for trail race) and then joined my team to hang with them and enjoy the fun.
Gail passed off to Leah and seemed like she enjoyed her first loop. I hung out and waited until Leah was done with her leg. I met her at the end (she was running the red loop, the hardest loop first) and she said “don’t judge me if I cry, that was so hard”. She threw down a solid time for the 6.7 mile loop and we opted to walk back to the camp and wait until Jenn was almost done.
It started drizzling big fat drops as we were walking back to camp and then started to actually rain; this is when we started to jog back to camp. By the time we got back to camp, it was POURING. And the wind started to pickup… a lot.
COMMENCE RAGSOON! (otherwise known as the monsoon at Ragnar)
It destroyed our canopy (almost) and caused a mini flood in our tent! Then as I am going around with Tony trying to hold the now, un-staked canopy from blowing away, Jenn walks up with Leanne and is like oh HERE you are! SHe was upset we hadnt made it up there to cheer for her, but then saw us trying to prevent camp from flying away and forgave us.
We ended up needing to skip two runners because of weather (per ragnar… they gave a rain delay). Tony was up and then me, so when he headed out on the yellow loop, I got changed into dry clothes and prepped for the hardest loop. I was going to be starting it right as the sun was going down and since it was the hardest and it was going to be dark, I asked if anyone on my team wanted to kick it with me as I ran the red loop. Leanne, the most amazing person ever, offered to run my loop with me, since her first one was canceled. (yes, I might have a slight fear of the dark, dark woods) Anyway, we were hanging out in the transition tent, waiting for Tony. He rolled through and gave me the bib and Leanne and I were off on the red loop!
Leanne took this pic of me running as we were headed out on the red loop!
The heavy rain made for large mud puddles and very squishy conditions. We were lucky to see an end to the 7 mile loop in just under 2 hours (One of our other teammates did it in 1:30 with dry conditions, so I feel like we did a pretty good job). Needless to say, the mile long incline at the end of the loop when you start climbing and then it levels off, goes down ever so slightly and climbs again, was definitely super fun… hehe but in all honesty, having Leanne with me was the best thing ever! She was very fun! We just chatted and hung out the whole time! IT WAS AWESOME!
my muddy shoes, post Ragnar Red Loop
As the night continued and the runners went on, people took naps and huddled together by the fire, standing and watching the documentary on Western States 100miler in 2011. It was pretty sweet. After watching that, some of us went to bed and others stayed up.
waiting for Jenn at the finish chute at 3am
I gotta say, it was WAY easier to get sleep while camping then while in a van. But, with that being said, both Ragnars were awesome. I loved doing Ragnar trails and would def sign up for another one! For the rest of the recap, I am going to just post some of the photos!
The best view of all of the trails, on the yellow loop.
Disco ball in the woods
This disco ball in the woods, was hooked up to a generator to pump power to it at night and was still up in the morning when I happened to run the yellow loop (my final loop).
After all of my loops
After all of my loops, since I was runner 1, I hung out in my running clothes in case I needed to cover another leg, since we had someone bounce last minute for a family thing.
my fave recovery beverage
The Mighty Morphin Running Rangers at the end of Ragnar Trails WV
Overall, awesome experience! Definitely would do it again… in a heartbeat.
What was your latest race? Was it a good experience? Do you like running trails?