Well to be honest? I don’t even know where to start. This last weekend marked my second RagnarDC, my third Ragnar Relay overall and each one just gets better and better. If you’re unfamiliar with a Ragnar Relay it can sound a little overwhelming or complicated… A regular Ragnar team has 12 runners, 2 vans (6 runners each), 36 legs of the race (3 legs per runner), and just about zero sleep.
captained Kaptain’d by the ever amazing Kap’t Kistler (honorary trail name after our first Ragnar Trail in Richmond this year) was “Just for the RUN of it.” We were made up of a group of women who met mostly via social media in a Facebook group (also Kaptained by the Kap’t) called Mom’s Run This Town (MRTT for short). We come from all walks of life, from all over the country (or even OUT of the country!), and found this common ground and friendship through running. We push each other, motivate each other, laugh and cry with each other, and have probably saved thousands of dollars in therapy co-pays with all of that said.
Now, my only gripe with road Ragnars is that it almost feels more like 2 separate teams of 6 until the very end. You only get a short period of time at the major exchanges to really connect with the other van, but that really doesn’t take a lot away from the experience. Logistically, it really can’t happen any other way.
In the wee hours of Friday morning last week, our Van 1 departed carrying runners 1-6: Becky, Emily, Camille, Liz, Erin and Jennifer respectively. They would drive the 2+ hours with almost no sleep Thursday night, to kick us off in Cumberland, MD at 5am. Van 2 got a little more rest and set off to exchange 6 Friday morning carrying runners 7-12: Mary, Megan, Mary-Gary, Jamie, Amy (yours truly), and Melissa aka Kap’t.
From there, the next 36 hours became a blur of exhaustion, sweat, laughter, tears, highs and honestly, not too many lows. That’s what happens when you have an amazing Ragnar team full of really amazing women, who know how to
work WERK. They show up, throw down the mileage, smile even when it sucks (and there will be suckage) and keep on keepin on. Because in a Ragnar, there is no “worst leg” or “best leg.” There are pros and cons to being in Van 1 and Van 2. Each runner has their own demons to conquer, and she knows that when she needs it, there are 11 other women ready to have her back and lift her up, but at the same time each runner knows she has to be prepared to do the same to the next, and the next, and the next… Ragnar is far less a race to be the best or fastest runner, and far more an event to build yourself by building others. The more you give, the more you get, and that rang loud and clear with our team. (Although most of us will probably agree that Kap’t last leg was the least preferred).
Unfortunately, I can’t speak for Van 1, I can only speak for runner 11 and my experiences in Van 2. We had some serious heart to hearts, and we had many more bouts of contagious laughter. We talked about the ugly, the good, the “how we came to be,” the moments throughout the last 13 months that I have come to know these women and call them my friends, we talked about the past and the future, we talked about breastfeeding, babies, pregnancy, husbands, boyfriends, family, love, divorce, loss, and so much more… We had inside jokes, and outside jokes… . We talked about our insecurities, and our progress – in life and in running. And we planned our next Ragnar, and the one after that – AND THE ONE AFTER THAT! (seriously) I had amazing runs and I had one really absolutely shitty run (but did I dieeee???) and I know I wasn’t the only one who got overwhelmed with emotion crossing the finish line.
I’m not sure if it was because it was over, or the lack of sleep, or the fact that we all pushed and came out ahead, or that we had been working toward this for so long and we finally crossed that finish line… Whatever the reason was, I think we all completely embraced that emotion. Without any words, the tears were absolutely understood and worth it.
There is so much more I could say, but I think it stands with this: Good times and crazy friends make the best memories… And I have some amazing memories with my friends.