As I get ready to plan my 2015 race schedule I have decided to make next year a non-Ironman year and probably also a non-marathon year, but hopefully it will be another Ragnar year. I guess maybe I should pre-face my Ragnar DC recaps with this: I LOVED IT and will be giving them nothing but praise! While I am sure there were things that could have been improved, like the signage to exchange 32…or maybe it was just the runner’s fault she missed her turn…I had an absolute blast at Ragnar and cannot wait to do it again!
My Ragnar dreams started about a year after I started running back in 2006. I tried to create or join a team multiple times, but for some reason or another, it never happened. This year, I decided, it was going to happen! I reached out to my fellow DC Tri Clubbers and before I knew it, I had a team of 10. I knew recruiting those 2 last runners wouldn’t be hard and we soon had a team of 12, plus Pablo who had decided he would just be our driver. This would end up working out well as one of our runners got injured just a few weeks before Ragnar and decided to withdraw giving Pablo the opportunity to save the day and step-up from driver to runner and this Team Together We Tri was formed.
Most of us didn’t know each other and over the next few months, we met each other at different DC Tri events like Peasantman Triathlon, Northeast Training weekend, Deep Creek Training weekend, a foam rolling clinic, happy hours and more (quick pitch for the DC Tri Club…if you’re in the DC Metro Area and haven’t join us, what are you waiting for? Just look at all the cool things the club offers! Join us today and enter JOINDCT2014 for a 10% discount!)
Over those months we also each picked our runner, most of us settling into a runner position early, except for me who switched from Runner 3 to Runner 1 when Pablo joined the team, because he wanted to tackle Runner 3’s killer hill.
I won’t bore you with more pre-race details, but here’s a quick list of the top 10 things to do as the team captain as you plan your Ragnar.
- Pick Runners – I let everyone send me their runner choice and our team did very well picking and sticking to their runner. I switched once with a runner who signed up for Ironman Maryland (1 week after Ragnar) to give him a little bit of an easier leg and then again at the last minute with Pablo to allow him the honor of tackling Leg 3’s killer hill .
- Create a Google Doc – Included contact info, supplies needed (and people filled in their names for what they were supplying) and a section for expenses
- Reserve Van – One of our runners had a van and we used Marathon Travel Deals (via Ragnar DC) to got a great deal on our Van 1 15-person van.
- Reserve Lodging – Van 1 decided on a 6:30am start so that we could finish in the afternoon (we had a 4:30pm estimated finish, but ended up crushing that goal), so we decided to drive up to Maryland on Ragnar Eve. Initially I looked at hotels and then I found an awesome alternative, let’s call it Ragnar DC’s best-kept lodging secret; I rented 2 super affordable ~$50-a-piece mini-cabins at Rocky Gap State Park. The cabins aren’t fancy, but they have beds and electricity and are located close to the campsites restrooms.
- Get Decorations – Our DC Ragnar veteran Amelia picked up paint for the car, clappers, we added our cowbells and she also picked up some fun gear for each of the runners.
- Order Shirts – We got our shirts from CustomInk. The shirts were great, the price was decent. I highly recommend them!
- Attend Captain’s Meeting – I couldn’t go because it was right after IM Louisville, but the Van 2 Captain went in my place and took notes to share with the team. As the captain you also want to check out the Race Bible and the Rag Mag at the Ragnar DC website.
- Meet as a Team – We met once pre-Ragnar to do introductions, review the Captain’s meeting basics and figure out logistics. We also wanted to meet up to train together but 12-busy triathletes made it impossible t find a time for all of us to meet.
- Grocery Shop – Dena and I headed to Costco to buy some basics. We knew we were likely to buy too much, so we focused on the essentials: Peanut butter, jelly, bread, bars, water, gatorade, bananas, oranges, trail mix, chips and we got some candy too. I also picked up some chocolate milk at our first gas station stop, since this is Pablo and my go-to recovery drink.
- Pack – I thought packing for Ragnar was easy and kept it as simple as possible. Should you bring rest clothes? You can, but I just changed into my next set of running clothes to make it easier.
Here’s what I packed: 4 running outfits (one for each of my legs and 1 for the finish), 2 pairs of running shoes, anti-chafe, hat, flip flops, compression sleeves and socks, roller, 1 pair of comfy pants, 2 long sleeve options (1 I could pull on when I was sweaty, 1 to wear when clean), raincoat, wet wipes, sunblock, basic toiletries, towel, sleeping bag, pillow, blanket, mattress pad, car charger and an basic emergency kit (bandaids, Advil, Neosporin etc).
And then it was Ragnar Eve! We met up, packed Van 1 and headed to Rocky Gap State Park. We stayed in the mini-cabins, which worked perfectly for 6 runners, then bright and early Team 1 headed to the start! It was time for Runner 1, ME!, to get ready to Ragnar!