Tales From the Back of the Pack

Tales From the Back of the Pack

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Countdown to Team Original Sinners, Ragnar Las Vegas!

I got my first taste of the relay June 2010, before I started blogging, when I was roped as a last-minute replacement in the Ragnar Wasatch Back in Utah.

Now, this year I'm on my second team. I've been looking forward to this Ragnar for months and I'm so excited that's its next week already, I'm counting down the days.

Actually that's not completely accurate. I've been more worried than excited for most of these months leading up to the race. Right around the time of the LA Marathon in March, I went a little crazy with a flurry of race registrations, including Ragnar Las Vegas, just before my plantar fasciitis decided to make its debut. I had to drop out of the Orange County Half and the San Francisco Half before seeking treatment. And when I finally went to see my orthotist, all I asked was for her to make me able to run Ragnar. She promised I would.

I felt great when I ran the Divas Half in Long Island last week. And my workouts this week, although no great shakes have been decent and pain-free. Ragnar is a different sort of animal, so I'm still a little worried, but not completely defeated like I'd been for OC and SF.

For any one who is unfamiliar with Ragnar, look up the website! Basically, it's a 12 person relay team, each person completes 3 separate legs between 3-10 miles per leg. The entire distance  your team will cover is usually 200 miles.

at the end of my first leg
Last June I was runner number 8. My team started around 7am, but i didn't start running until around 3pm (after the first 7 runners had completed their legs).

But leg 2 was the BEST leg. I started around 2 am, which sounded completely crazy but once you're in Ragnar mode, everything makes sense.

My 2nd exchange, where I would meet Runner 7

Wating for my team mate, Runner 7 to arrive at my exchange
I ran on a deserted back mountain road for 7 miles with nothing but my iPod and the stars and the moon for company. The darkness around me was thick but I could see directly in front of me thanks to the required headlight I was wearing.

Off to my left was nothing but open fields. And then a herd (flock? pack? gaggle?) of horses came gallopping toward me and trotted parallel to me--about 25 yards away--for a few minutes until they turned off and ran into the darkness. I felt like I was having a Jim Morrisson hallucination. The only problem is that because I was alone, I didn't have anyone to share that moment with. Do horses gallop at 2am normally? I belive that they were thinking the same thing about me, "what is this weirdo doing alone on this road at 2am?" To this day, I can't be sure that what I saw was real, but real or imaginary, it was one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen in my life.

Finishing my LAST leg (hooray!)

Our 2nd half of last year's team
 Last year I ran with a team of strangers that I bonded with during the race. This year, our team is made up mostly of my awesome family. The same people I ran with for Bay to Breakers. We're not very fast, but we are pretty tight.

If anyone out there wants to run a Ragnar, I would positively say, Do it! And if you need a runner, sign me up!


  1. I love the moment you had in the last one with the horses off to the side!

  2. Irene, you're going to do great at Ragnar! If you are still worried about PF, one of the things that I was told, which I think is very true, is that often times the source of PF and Heel issues is actually up in the glute and Hammy. I have found that the more I work those areas the better my PF feels.

  3. This sounds so cool and fun! Wish I was in better shape and that the race was closer to me! Maybe next year! =)

  4. Ragnar sounds like an awesome event! I wish I had the time to do something like that. Good luck!