Southern California Ragnar Relay Race 2017 in the books. As I write this my body is totally drained, I could fall asleep at literally any moment and I’m mentally worn down. The lack of sleep, running at the strangest hours from zip code to zip code, and all brain power used up this past weekend has got me spending my Monday like a total zombie. But I will never forget the memories shared with my 11 other teammates on an epic journey to run 200ish miles in Southern California. Ragnar Relay 2017 was a grueling adventure starting in Huntington Beach and ending in Imperial Beach, San Diego.
I want to share with everyone what I learned and I want to inspire you all to get your friends to read this post and then sign them all up for a Ragnar Relay in your area. It’s a true bucket list item that you will be proud to say you completed. Read on my fellow adventurer…..
***GET READY TO GET WEIRD***
In your Ragnar Relay you will be spending a lot of time with your 11 other teammates. Basically you’ll be together for roughly 48 hours (give or take). You’re going to be exhausted, your muscles are going to ache, and at times you may even feel down right ill. But if you embrace being silly and let go of that inner ego that tells you to behave and act normal, you’ll start to forget about that mental and physical pain. Wear a tutu, tag other vans with your team logo, laugh at yourself and your teammates, do yoga in a parking lot, connect with other Ragnar Relay teams, dance, sing, and be goofy. Be a bubbly, happy, present person to the experience you are embarking on. Don’t be scared to get a little weird!!!!!
***SLEEP…YOUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT***
You will never appreciate your bed as much as you will when you complete your Ragnar Relay. I can’t even explain to you how exhausted you’ll be physically and mentally. You’ll run at hours you have never ran at before, you’ll run in places you have NEVER seen before, you’ll be outside at 3:30am to cheer on your teammates as they run their 2nd leg… basically you won’t be getting ANY sleep!
This is why it is so important to get as much sleep as you can the nights leading up to your Ragnar Relay. Skip happy hour with your friends that week before and opt for chill nights at home watching movies. Be in bed at a decent hour and take care of your body. You’re going to be running anywhere from 11 to 24 miles and to make sure you can do that safely you’ll need some good sleep.
Also I recommend taking any opportunity you can during the relay to sleep. All of sudden you see a comfy spot open up in your van or you have extra downtime?! These opportunities are sometimes far and few between so even if that comfy spot opens up at 5:30pm…TAKE IT. Get sleep when you can because it might not always present itself at the most opportune time. Then you’ll be upset later that you didn’t get that shut eye when you could have. Take care of yourself!
***LEAN ON ME***
Don’t be scared to ask your teammates for help. This is really important. If you just ran a 12 mile leg don’t even hesitate to let your team know you’ll need water at the hand off. Or if you are running at 4:00 am let your van know you need an area to sleep in before you tackle that leg. If you don’t ask for help you’ll just become irritated with your needs not be met.
Remember you are running this with 11 other people, they can’t read your mind!! They don’t know exactly what you need to run this relay successfully. So just tell them what you need. If you want someone to meet you at mile marker 4 in your leg to give you some water, well then TELL SOMEONE. You need a pump up text message for your overnight leg, well then TELL SOMEONE. Everyone wants to help you be your best, they just have to know exactly what they need to do. Lean on your team, they’ve got you boo!
***POWER IN NUMBERS***
This is probably the most substantial thing I learned. I’ve always been strong and I’ve always been independent. I’m very much so a “I’ll do it myself” type of person. I’m not one to ask for help. I blame it on my gymnastics roots. Being a gymnast for 16 years it was engraved in me that you are fully responsible for the outcome of your performance. You’re out there alone on that balance beam, no one to blame but yourself if you fall, and no one to share victory with if you win. It’s a very individualized sport.
BUT, I learned from Ragnar Relay that a strong team really can do things together that you would never be able to accomplish on your own. It is amazing to think that as individuals we ran between 11 to 24 miles but as a team we ran 200ish miles! By working together we achieved something bigger than we could as individuals. We became a team, we became one unit, with one goal, and one vision. And we accomplished it together. And we celebrated together. It was an amazing feeling that I didn’t get much of in gymnastics. It brought tears to my eyes to know that on my own this journey wouldn’t have been impossible but with teammates by my side it was possible!!
What an amazing experience Ragnar Relay was!!!!
Couple other tips/suggestions:
- Stay hydrated, drink lots and lots of water.
- Pack as much food as you can, you may not be able to stop for food at lunch time or dinner time. Actually you may even be scheduled to run during that time.
- Do your best to stay so fresh and so clean. No one likes a smelly kid stinking up the van. Change your clothes, use baby wipes, brush your teeth. Hygiene is important when you’re sharing such a tiny space with others.
- Be positive and realistic. You may be an insane runner but you may not put up the same pace you normally do on race day. This is a strange and unusual race. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re slower than normal or not the fastest in your group. You really need a positive attitude through out this whole experience. It’s very mental. So you’re really just hurting yourself and your team if you focus too much on your pace.
- Pack light. There isn’t a ton of space and you don’t want to be the one taking over the entire van with all your stuff. You don’t need much, you should be able to pack everything nicely in a duffel bag.
- Help out where ever and whenever you can. Someone needs a head lamp. Offer yours. Someone ate all their food already and is itching for a PB&J. Give them your extra. Someone just really can’t complete their entire leg. Jump in and run for them. It’s important for every member of the team to feel important so offer to help them out in areas you excel.
- Have fun!!!!! Most important tip, just have fun!
Okay, that’s what I learned! I hope it helps all of you that are thinking about participating in a Ragnar Relay. One last thing..I must thank all my fellow Ragnarians (Tuni, Pam, Teresa, Jacqueline, Kenneth, Gabriel, Jonathan, Michael, Jason, Anthony, and Peter) for not just the amazing feat we accomplished but the friendships and memories we built along the way. I’m so proud of each and every one of us. Thanks for including me in the epic journey. I’m one lucky lil’ mermaid!
We are strong as one but unified we are unbeatable!!!!!