A few months ago, my friend Matt
forced talked me into running Ragnar Cape Cod. I figured it’d be something different to try out (and he was so right about signing up for Goofy last year) so I agreed and registered. After registering, reality set in…what did I get myself into this time?!
Ragnar is an overnight relay race where teams can compete in two ways: Ultra Ragnar (teams of 6 members) or regular Ragnar (teams of 12). We signed up as a regular Ragnar team and competed with 2 vans of 6 runners. Runners are assigned 3 legs (for regular, ultra teams have 6) ranging in distance of 2 – 8 miles. I originally was going to run one of the higher mile distance, but when I found out I was running Nike DC the same week I switched to a lower mileage legs.
We started the race in Hull, MA and man was it WINDY! I was the second runner so didn’t have to run in Hull, but it did make me nervous that it would be windy like that the entire course. Fortunately the other legs were more inland so the it wasn’t as windy.
Before I knew it our van had arrived at the second exchange and it was almost time for me to start my first leg of 6.5 miles.
Leg 1 results: 6.3 miles (from my GPS) 7:55 min/mile pace
My first leg was described as hard and Ragnar really meant it. In the race book the elevation didn’t look like there were many hills…but man was it HILLY! After this leg it really hit me…what did I really sign myself up for?!
My second leg was scheduled to be a night run so I had some time in between to have dinner and relax. Fueling between the races was a challenge for me. I was nervous that I’d either eat too much or not enough and then feel it later during my run. I ended up going with a bagel with peanut butter and banana 3 hours before each leg.
I’m 99% sure that was the best meal I’ve ever had.
Around 10pm we met with the 2nd van at the exchange and it was our turn again to run.
John finished his night leg then it was my turn to run. This run was the one I was most dreading – I’m clumsy enough running during the day now I was running in the dark! I told myself just to take it easy and be careful with my steps.
My night leg was scheduled to be 5.7, but my GPS read it was only 4.8. During the run my van had planned to meet me at every mile, but after seeing the course (it was along a dark highway) they decided to have pacers for each runner. John was really nice and met up with me around the first mile and completed this leg with me.
Leg 2 results: 4.8 miles 9:03 min/mile pace
I was more than happy when that leg was over.
Our next legs were scheduled to be early morning runs, so after our last runner ran her leg we went to the next exchange to try to sleep. We ended up getting 45 minutes of sleep, but adrenaline kicked in and we were ready to go!
After how the first two legs went, I expected to make up my missed distance during my last leg. I was scheduled to run 4.7 miles as my last leg, but mentally prepared myself to do closer to 6.
But…nope. This leg ended up being the shortest of all with 3.1 miles…what the heck?! I was a little annoyed by this point at how different my miles were than what was listed on the course map. I also felt bad because this meant the runner after me had extra miles he didn’t originally plan for.
Leg 3 results: 3.1 miles 8:06 min/mile pace
After we finished our legs, we headed towards Provincetown to wait for our other van and get a hot meal! I was so tempted to order one of everything at this point.
At the end of the race we met up with our last runner and ran into the finish line together.
WE DID IT!
This race was simply amazing. The race was definitely challenging but it was just so much fun. I went into this race thinking this would a good thing to experience, but I never thought I’d actually want to run it again.
Now…I’m counting down the days until my next Ragnar!
QOTD: Have you ever been really surprised with a race?