Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Life Lessons From My First Ragnar Relay

I decided to run a Ragnar Relay on a whim. With a click of the mouse and a signature on a check I became Runner #8 in Van #2 for Team 514: The Dread Pirate Runners

And thank God I did, because I had the time of my life at my first Ragnar Relay.

It takes a lot of organization to do a Ragnar.  This appeals to my Type A, OCD, list-making side.  I loved researching what to pack, being the navigator, figuring out where we were going next and how we could fit a food/real bathroom stop in there.  More importantly, I was immediately comfortable with this ragtag group of strangers I spent 36 hours with.  I really believe that good people attract good people and our Team Captain, Cassie, is one of the best.  She recruited a really diverse, fun and easy going group of people who didn’t need to have a history to enjoy their present.   I have a pretty good feeling I’ll be running with the other Dread Pirate Runners in the future.

I was going to write a play by play of how the weekend went, but I think it is more important to talk about the lessons I learned or needed to be reminded of.

1. Strangers are just friends I haven’t met yet- I had never met anyone from Van #2 prior to this race and Van #1 left way before us.  It didn’t take long for the 6 of us to become friends and have a great time. In fact, I’m pretty sure many of us are coming back for the next one.
2. You are capable of way more than you think you are- Running in the middle of the night? Spending the night in a car?  Hitting that sweet pace so you don’t make everyone else fall behind?  You can do it. 
3. You are NOT too old for this sh!t- One of my favorite episodes of How I Met Your Mother is  “Murtaugh ”.  In it, Ted has a list of things he’s too old for saying , “I’m too old for this sh!t” ala Danny Glover’s character,  Roger Murtaugh, in the Lethal Weapon flicks.
The average age on my Ragnar Team was probably somewhere in the late 30’s and we all ran, slept in a Suburban, laughed and had a great time.  Although I am at an age where I prefer the nicer things in life, there are some things I’m glad I’m not too old for, Ragnar is one of them
4.   Everyone is rooting for you- No, really.  Everyone.  It could be 10am or 3am and people were cheering as I ran into the exchanges.  The cool thing about running people in general is that we all want one another to succeed.  Winning is finishing and everyone wants everyone else to be winners too. 
5.  Communication is key-  That one time my team mates moved the car and forgot to tell me?  Oh yeah…that was scary.  Making sure you let your team know that you’re a mile out so they’re ready.  Communicating with the other van so they know your ETA.  Just like communication is key in life, it is also key at Ragnar.
6. Appreciate your surroundings-  Many times when I run a race, I miss the beauty around me because I’m concentrating on finishing.  Ragnar takes you through cities and areas you wouldn’t normally see and gives you the opportunity to enjoy it while you and your teammates are running.
7. Pizza and beer are the perfect end to a race- No, really. PERFECT!

I also learned a couple of new things:
1.    It is possible to take a “Baby Wipe Bath” in a porta-pottie and not touch anything gross
2.    Headlamps, reflective vests and tail lights can be sexy or not.
3. A nice, hot shower and sleeping horizontally are things I take for granted
4. Running can be a team sport
5. I would TOTALLY do this again

All in all, I really LOVED my Ragnar Relay experience.  I’m certain I’ll do it again, sooner rather than later.

Team 514:  Dread Pirate Runners Van #1  Bryan, Arian, Brian, Sami, Cassie (missing-Randee)

Team 514:  Dread Pirate Runners Van #2 Kim, Susan, Shallu, Heather, Tasha (missing-John)

Our Ship-The Interceptor aka Van #2 aka Kim's Suburban
Runner #8 Leg #8 4.1 Miles- 12:22 minutes per mile
HIGHLIGHTS-John running to me to bring me my water bottle...rockin' the downhills

Runner #8 Leg #20 3.8 Miles- 13:20 minutes per mile
HIGHLIGHTS-It was sprinkling, it was cold, it was uphill, then it was downhill!!! :)

This motivational sign comes with me everywhere!!!!

Torreypines Glideport-where we slept
Meeting other AWESOME SF Ambassadors at Exchange 30 before my last leg

Runner #8 Leg #32 2.8 Miles- 13:00 minutes per mile
HIGHLIGHTS- Running a mile to get to the exchange to run 2. 8 miles, the guy behind me yelling my name (it was on the back on my shirt) to motivate me

Dread Pirate Runners!!!!  34hrs 45 min 12 secs. 582/724 overall. in our mixed regular group we were 415/510. Not too shabby since 10 of the 12 of us were Rookie Ragnarians!

Finish Line!THIS IS HOW I DO!!! 

Napa anyone?