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Ragnar Relay - Washington DC - RunOther

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Cumberland, Maryland
United States
Ragnar Events LLC
Total Time = 32h 42m 2s
Overall Rank = 128/156
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Some background info: I was team captain, a job I would not wish on anyone. My co-captain quit, we did lots of scrounging for volunteers, replacement runners, replacements for those replacements, etc. I sent god knows how many emails, printed maps, typed up cue sheets, etc. The team was mostly people I didn't know - a few friends of my co-captain, and then some of their friends, Traci (VBall), Jen (Artemis), my sister and a guy I know from church. Luckily, I was in a van with people I knew.
Event warmup:

My sister and I picked up the vans the day before the event started. Van 1 had to be up in Cumberland at 7:30 am, but the runners in Van 1 decided they didn't want to go up the night before. So I got up at 4 am for them to meet me at my house. They made it in time, thankfully. Van 2 left my house around 11:15 to meet the other van at Exchange 6.
  • 32h 42m 2s
  • 199.6 miles
  • 09m 50s  min/mile

I guess Van 1 did well. So I'll pretty much comment on how Van 2 fared. Our first set of legs went off pretty well - we started around 2:15 and ended a little after 8 pm. Everyone was fresh and strong and most of it was in daylight. Traci had a super-awesome hat that she wore and kicked ass, Ray, the kid from church is smokin' fast and wore running shirts that looked like the American flag, so he was dubbed Captain America. Jen finished off a 10-miler, and the rest of us ran into Hagerstown. Only my leg was in the complete dark, but there was a wide shoulder and there were still businesses open and lots of cars, so it wasn't scary. I really pushed it on the downhills and took it easy on the uphills - ran 3 miles in not quite 27 minutes. After that, we tried to take advantage of some sleep (which I didn't get) and a chicken dinner served by one of the Exchange points. Our second chunk of legs was a little scary - all in pitch black and some routes were not safe. Traci had a really creepy, brutally hilly 8 miles through very dark and wooded country roads with no shoulder and lots of scary noises. We shadowed her as best we could and even followed her a bit when the road narrowed. Ray took on a 5.6 very hilly course, really hurting his knee in the process. My sister tore through downtown Frederick, running 3.5 miles in 28 minutes b/c she was scared that she was going to be dragged into a side alley. Right before my dark leg, we heard that there was an abduction attempt on the previous leg, but the girl was fine - but the volunteers weren't letting women run alone. Thankfully, I ran with another woman who had a bike pacer with her. It was a rough run - hilly, it was 4 am and I was sleep-deprived. My hamstrings weren't firing and my quads were kinda tired. The woman, Audrey, told me dirty jokes and stories to get me through it, which was awesome. After that, we crashed for a couple of hours and I was able to get some sleep. We woke up to cheer in our final runner from Van 1, before they headed home (didn't come to the finish line), and we sent Traci off. She had a more pleasant run this time, still in the crazy hat. Poor Ray ran 8.8 miles on his injured knee, and still managed a kick-a$$ time. Jen managed not to get lost on a poorly marked leg, my sister pummeled a 6.8 miler in an hour flat (she ended up running with a girl from a Fleet Feet store), and Nevienne got in her last leg just before the rain really started to come down. Then it was my turn to bring it home - through the ghetto of Northeast, in the pouring rain. Freakin' awesome. I started off pretty strong, ran with a woman for a bit, but then I got a side stitch I couldn't kick. Then my legs decided they'd had enough. My glutes burned, my quads burned, my hamstrings were dead and my shins were starting to hurt. I wanted to run b/c some of the streets were creepy and there were shady characters on the corners, but I couldn't do much more than shuffle a bit and then fast walk a lot, for the last 3.5 miles of my 7 mile stretch to the finish. It was awful. Aside from being exhausted, I don't think I ate enough before the leg. Finally I reached the edge of the stadium - my sister met me with a beer wrapped in a shirt and waved it in front of me to bring me in. The rest of the van crossed the finish line with me. We didn't stick around b/c it was raining, and they'd run out of pizza - were waiting for more, but we didn't care.
What would you do differently?:

Oh...not be team captain! Not get injured and have to basically not train for nearly 3 months. Try to stack the vans more evenly in terms of speed while still accommodating friend/spouse requests, etc. GET A BICYCLE PACER - some of those legs were not safe and in some places we couldn't shadow the runners b/c of where the road split, etc. The other van was lucky as lots of their legs in the dark were short, so the women picked up some slack and ran together. Other than that, I will brag and say that I did a dang good job of keeping things organized - the other van folks said they really appreciated the race bible and cue sheets. We had plenty of water and snacks.
Post race
Warm down:

Drank my beer and ate two chocolate pop-tarts from the van since there was no pizza. We drove the van back and dropped off Traci and Ray, who helped us clean out the van. While doing so, someone locked the doors, locking the van keys in the car. So my sister and I had to call Budget to get someone to unlock it. Then we took them back to the airport only to discover that the vans cost nearly double what they were when I reserved them. I then had to take the metro home and a cab b/c it was still pouring rain. I ate a small pizza and passed out around 9.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not being trained enough. Sleep deprivation.

Event comments:

Considering some of the pre-race snafus in terms of rerouting and not getting us information as early as we'd hoped, not too much went wrong while we were out there. They didn't cone off as much as had been implied at the team captain meeting and some of the legs were in areas where it really didn't seem safe either from a traffic or "atmosphere" standpoint. The volunteers were helpful though, the signage was pretty decent, except for a few instances, and the routes were nearly accurate (with a few exceptions). The stop with the chicken dinner didn't quite have food ready in time for arriving runners, even though we were told they'd be ready when we were. But there were still fun elements. It was fun as long as it was daylight, lots of teams had awesome vans and themes, so it was cool to see what everyone had done, and one team was even handing out candy :) The ultra runner teams were cool to see, esp. since the ones we saw were all middle-aged dudes - hard core. I'd consider doing this race again, with the caveats of a bicycle pacer for night time legs that were shady, and NOT being team captain!

Last updated: 2009-08-18 12:00 AM
32:42:02 | 199.6 miles | 09m 50s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/156
Course: The course went from Cumberland, MD to downtown DC, ending at RFK Stadium. They changed the course twice - the second rerouting occured only 4 days before the event, tacking on nearly 20 miles and most of that went to us Van 2 runners. We ran a mix of major roads, neighborhoods, downtownish areas and some of the C&O Canal trail. Some of the legs in the dark were not all that safe, in my opinion. No shoulders, narrow roads, NO light whatsoever, etc.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2009-09-29 9:28 PM

Subject: Ragnar Relay - Washington DC

2009-09-29 9:33 PM
in reply to: #2433313

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Science Nerd
Redwood City, California
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay - Washington DC
Despite all the crazy things that happened, I did have a lot of fun.  You did a great job with everything - running, organizing, making sure people did what they needed to do.  Sorry I wasn't faster!  I feel like I let people down.  Ray makes me look like a wimp!

Again, thank you so much for all the work you did!!
2009-09-29 9:35 PM
in reply to: #2433326

Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay - Washington DC

Artemis - 2009-09-29 10:33 PM Despite all the crazy things that happened, I did have a lot of fun.  You did a great job with everything - running, organizing, making sure people did what they needed to do.  Sorry I wasn't faster!  I feel like I let people down.  Ray makes me look like a wimp!

Again, thank you so much for all the work you did!!

No worries at all - glad you had fun. You were consistent. I was the lame one who ran out of steam and energy. And Ray made most of us look like wimps!

2009-09-30 10:50 AM
in reply to: #2433329

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, Minnesota
Gold member
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay - Washington DC

Great job!  I can't imagine having to take the metro home after that very long two days - yikes.  Character building for sure...

2009-09-30 5:04 PM
in reply to: #2434209

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Cycling Guru
Fulton, MD
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay - Washington DC
Something you will remember all your life.  It was definitely an interesting event!

And you are a total rock star for organizing and captaining it.  That is by far the least enviable job in the race!!!

Well done, all around.
2009-10-01 7:15 AM
in reply to: #2433313

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Millersville, MD
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay - Washington DC

Yo yo yo - a text message from Traci next time that your pizza was unclaimed would be appreciated - I wanted more and was chastized by my team captain for eating too much

More pizza is worth waiting for

Like Rick said - you deserve an extra medal.  I hope your team is helping you out with the vans.  And that TOTALLY sucks about locking the keys in the car.

2009-10-01 8:11 AM
in reply to: #2433313

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the alamo city, Texas
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay - Washington DC
sounds beyond insane!  wish i could have been in that van with you, lady.

can't believe there was an abduction attempt.  every time i want to have faith in the human race, i am severely disappointed.
2009-10-02 10:37 AM
in reply to: #2433313

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Northern VA
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay - Washington DC
Nice job, sounds like an incredible amount of work!
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