Ragnar Relay Recap
I often find myself looking for a new physical challenge. I get bored with my current routine, so I find a new (to me) race to sign up for and start training. This is how many, many months ago I found myself signed up on my Ragnar Relay team, Will Run for Pancakes.
What is a Ragnar Relay?
For this particular race, we camped out in a field on the outskirts of Atlanta for two nights. Each of the 8 runners on your team is assigned a leg that the team rotates through, taking each teammate on all 3 trails, for a total of 24 legs run. Easy right? HA. No.
So how did it go? Now that I'm a few days removed, I would dare to say that it was one of the more fun runs I've participated in. If you'd asked me Saturday as I was beginning the 7 hour drive home after 20 miles run, no sleep, and too many days without a shower, there would have been a lot of profanity.
There is nothing more peaceful than running trails that are untouched by the surrounding world. Most of the time I was by myself on the paths, just taking in the serenity of the hills. It was one of the most beautiful routes I've ever run. The middle of the night runs were also oddly relaxing, with only my headlamp to guide my path and no knowledge of what surrounded me outside of that beam of light.
I've also never run a race where every team was supportive of every runner. On the trails, passing runners would shout words of encouragement. In the corrals while passing from one leg to the next, other teams would cheer you on. It felt like I was running with 1500 teammates, not just my 7.
Since one of our runners experienced an injury a week before the race, that meant a few of us had to pick up an extra leg to still complete our 24 team runs. My 3 trail runs turned to 4, and I found myself having run 20 miles by the end of the weekend. While it was definitely a challenge I was proud of myself for accomplishing, I was exhausted by Saturday afternoon. My body didn't understand what the heck I was doing to it and has taken most of the week to recover.
So. Many. Hills. There was no way I could have prepared for these hills with the measly little hills we have in Florida. Luckily I got my hardest and steepest hill out of the way first, but they were still a challenge for all 20 miles. I just kept asking myself how I could constantly be running upwards without any downhill. But with the main goal to run and enjoy my time, I didn't beat myself up too much over walking the occasional hill to save my legs for the remainder of the run.
So what's next? Nothing. I'm excited to not have a race on the calendar for the coming months (especially since it will be miserably hot soon enough) and to just enjoy running for the joy of it without a specific goal in mind.