Monday, April 23, 2012

Ragnar SoCal Recap - part 2 (Legs 1-6)

Part 1 here

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So, Shannon (the super blurry one on the far right in the white skirt...) took off at 6am, the start time we decided fit our schedule better.

We meandered back to our van, taking some pictures along the way of our fantastic volunteer, Josh.
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We were in a little bit of a panic about a week out because we needed to recruit volunteers (each team needs 3 volunteers, or you can buy volunteers for $120 each), and Josh swooped in and helped save the day. Thanks, Josh! Pam's husband, his son, and her daughter also jumped in at the verrrrrry last second. THANK YOU, to all 6 of our volunteers!!

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Most of the course was marked like this. Later in the race, the course markers were less accurate, but I think through no fault of Ragnar.... just "modified" by delirious runners or drunk locals....
Shannon's leg was along the Santa Ana River trail (home of the infamous 6.7 mile 10K), so we headed up to a spot along the course to wait for her, load up on ice, and grab some breakfast.
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And this was our first lesson in Ragnar exchanges. 5 miles goes way faster than you anticipate, when you have to drive through side streets to get to the exchange. We headed straight to exchange 1, but Shannon beat us there, and was waiting for Becka. Oops. Rookie mistake!

Becka took off for her 5 miles on the trail.... the tiny speck at the end in BRIGHT PINK!

And we headed out to exchange 2 for my turn on leg 3!

My first leg was straight shot up the Santa Ana River trail - slight incline (I think like 100' elevation gain over the 5.6 miles). Honestly, it was not the best run ever - it always takes me awhile to warm up, it was getting warm, blah. But whatever. It was RAGNAR!

Leg 3: 5.6 miles, 54:13, 9:40 pace.
Blazing hot sun, 9 am.

Handed off to Julie for leg 4...

Even my back is sweaty. That's cute.

Headed up to the next exchange, and this was - for me - when it started getting REALLY fun. We saw other vans out and about doing the same thing...
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And that's when it hits - this is GIANT.

Arrived at exchange 5 and got Sandy ready for some running...
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Because we're nerds. Get it?
Julie handed off to Sandy, and Sandy gave us perhaps the best picture I've ever seen...


Sandy's leg, leg 5, was only 2 miles, but pretty much went up a giant hill most of the way. But Sandy's an amazing runner, and killed it.

Sandy handed off to Madison for leg 6...

And we headed out to our first major exchange, to hand the reigns over to Van 2. Van 2 was SUPER DUPER pumped to start running.

Part 3 HERE


There is not nearly as much time as you think between legs. Navigating city streets is a challenge - there's traffic (this was all taking place during rush hour in Orange County, in giant vans none of us were seasoned pros at driving) (unless you're Shannon, who is an expert at driving anything), and getting in and out of the exchanges takes time, especially as more teams arrive. 45 minutes seems like plenty of time to drive 5 miles down the street, but factor in time to get out of the exchange, get to the exchange, park, get the next runner ready, etc... and you gotta hustle.

It was already getting HOT when we started running, and we were meeting our runners at the handoffs with cold water - this was the BEST THING EVER. I loved that it was a group effort getting runners ready, making sure they had what they needed, and taking care of them when they got in.

Have a GPS or phone with mapping capabilities to map your next exchange point. Ragnar provided a Ragmag with detailed directions, but a map on your phone or GPS is way better.

Before Ragnar, Sarah gave me a spreadsheet (that I think she got from Chacha?) that let you enter the pace information for the last runner, and provided you with an eta for your next runner - Ragnar has a pace calculator as well, but it's not adjustable on the fly. This worked BRILLIANTLY for the first 2/3 of the race. After that, we just kind of got delirious and it stopped being used.

Take note of when your runner leaves, and try to ask if they have an estimated pace, so you can try to calculate how much time you have. Next time, I'll probably bring a notebook to note these things in. It would have been better than trying to guess, especially as we got later into the race.

Also helpful? Noting what your runner is wearing. Wearing the most obnoxious colors you can, obviously, is what I suggest.

Ragnar uses a slap bracelet as their "baton" - you have to take it off and hand it to the next runner before they can leave. It took me 2 exchanges to get this part down, i don't know why it befuddled me, but it did. The trick is - brace yourself, this is ground breaking - take it off when you're running up to the exchange, so you're ready to slap it on your next runner. I know, you're welcome.

When you're running in, make sure your bib is visible - they station a volunteer close to the exchange point, and they will radio over the runner number. Then, a volunteer at the exchange will announce the team number, so you know to be ready.


  1. Always wear the most obnoxious outfit ever. Always. And Sandy's pic really IS the best. But wait... there's more!!

  2. Yeah, we also gave up on the spreadsheet after awhile. Because it doesn't really matter anymore. You finish when you finish, ya know?

    Margot was pretty funny with her bracelet handoff - she would hand me thing thing all rolled up and sweaty so I had to undo it myself while running. It cracked me up each time.

  3. Ahhh it looks like you had so much fun!! I would never in a million years run one of these things (I'm back to hating running - lol) but I bet it'd be fun to volunteer!

  4. I would have loved to see Margot doing the handoff with the bracelet. That sounds hilarious :).
    Writing things down is a good idea. I loved how we would all just look at each other and ask if anyone knew when our runner started. Blank stares all around.

  5. i lOVE yalls outfits!! all looking for fun and i am quite jealous :)

  6. It just looks so ... HOT!

    I love how happy you look in your photos!! Yay!!

    And now I want a donut.


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