As they say in the south, I’m back y’all! Ragnar was equal parts crazy, fun, exhausting, smelly, short, long, hot, and memorable. There were things I expected that never happened and things that happened that I never expected but that’s expected right? So I thought I’d share my unfiltered thoughts on the whole adventure while it’s still fresh on my mind. Recap comes later, but first, here is what I learned from Ragnar Relay Key West:
1. It’s effin hot and humid on that route. The kind of humid that drenches you for just standing in it. Like sweaty monkeys we all hammered out our miles and tried to contain our sweat fest by designating a “Hot Seat” in the van. If you just ran a leg, you had to sit in the hot seat. Period. By the end, the hot seat was more like the Swamp seat, and included all the gross amenities you’d find in the real thing; wet, emanating heat, unknown creatures,etc.
2. You and muscle soreness will meet again…..and again…..and again. You know that feeling that sets in after a half marathon or longer race? Where everything is tight and it feels like someone is squeezing your muscle fibers like they are trying to extract juice every time you walk down stairs? Get ready to feel that 3 times. Running 3 legs and resting in a cramped van after each one does a number on your body. It was more painful to stop and go multiple times than to run those distances all at one time.
3. Who are those other people with the same shirts? I really thought our team of 12 would get to know each other really well throughout the race with lots of downtime in between legs. The reality was that we barely saw the other van. It almost felt like two separate teams going to the same destination. And if it weren’t for twitter we wouldn’t have connected much at all. A Ragnar Relay is after all a race so there’s not much time to chill with your fellow teammates unless you’re in the same van. Keep that in mind if you ever form your own team and know that the van you’re in will be your tribe for the most part. The only times you will see the other van is during select exchanges when vans switch off. By the time you say “Hey!! how’s it going?!?” you’ll have to leave to go to the next exchange.
4. You’re going to smell like something died….inside you….and stayed there to rot. Even with shower pills and changing into clean clothes, you’re still going to smell like a hobo. Sorry folks it’s true. I thought maybe it wouldn’t be that bad, but on my drive home I kept wishing I could quarantine myself. Even the blanket I left behind (I knew I forgot something!) and decided to use during the 5 hour drive back smelled like foot after having only been on my body a few hours. TMI? you’re welcome. My advice: stay overnight in Key West and shower at a hotel before traveling back home. We had to return to turn in the vans that night so that wasn’t an option but in the future, I’m showering when I finish.
5. You’re going to Miss These People. There’s nothing like spending 24+ hours and running a 200 mile relay with 11 other people. You’re going to wish you had more time to spend with them that didn’t involve lack of sleep, hunger, and fatigue. I miss everyone already and really hope I see them again soon. More downtime would have been amazing, and staying in the Keys for 2 days afterward would have been ideal. Celebrating is the reward for finishing a journey like this and you should make sure to schedule the time to enjoy each other.
The biggest takeaway for me during this experience is that there are still so many amazing people I have yet to meet. All of my teammates were so interesting, strong, intelligent, funny, and caring. It’s the people that make the race. And besides my group, there were tons of teams that had the infectious zest for life that makes you want to aim higher and dream bigger. Everyone cheered each other on during exchanges even if we were competing. Every single person out there was running miles through the same heat and just trying to make it through. The camaraderie was beautiful.
Ahh I have so much more to say but I’ll save it for the recap. I just want to note that Ragnar Relay with Team Nuun was the most incredible way to start off 2013 and I feel so fortunate to have been part of it. Thank you THANK YOU thank you!!!
Have you done a Ragnar Relay? Thought about it?
What did you learn? I learned I want to do another one using all the stuff I learned
Love and Adventure,
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