Welcome to Part 2 of my 2014 Ragnar DC experience!
Ragnar morning was exciting. We stayed at Rocky Gap State Park, which is also the start of Ragnar DC so our commute to the site was no more than 5 minutes. We could actually hear the announcers from our cabins, which got me pumped to head out the door.
We got to the start, attended the safety briefing and picked up our shirts. Van 2 called us and let us know they had arrived, so we all met up at the start line just a few minutes before the start of my leg.
As the team captain it was kind of fun to be Runner 1 and kickstart our race. The energy at the start line was awesome and it was cool to be starting in the semi-darkness. As they announced our start my team stood on the sidelines cheering me on and I was overcome with emotion….here we go, 12 crazy triathletes off on a 30-something-hour running adventure to cover 200 miles and get to National Harbour!
One thing I highly recommend is to not just look at the map for your legs, but actually read the information! The Rag Mag is a helpful little tool!
Since I switched to runner 1 last minute, I quickly glanced at the route and saw 4.9 miles around the lake and figured it was going to be a paved or if not paved relatively flat and easy trail. If I had read the leg’s description I would have seen this notice: “Please us caution on this trail. Trail is very rugged.” It was rugged alright! The elevation changes were minimal, but the trail was definitely rough and various people fell and had cuts and scrapes. I, clumsy runner, managed to stay on my feet the entire run!
I think part of my success is that I fell into a rhythm running behind a few people and soon we were a line of 5 that stuck together ’til the end. It felt good to be running without really racing. We kept pace and went as fast as we could sharing tidbits of our lives as we dodged rocks, branches and roots.
Running towards the exchange I could see people cheering, but didn’t see my team, until I was almost at the exchange. I was so excited to see them, I completely forget to get the slap bracelet ready, but no fear! I remembered, and slapped it onto Runner 2 and just like that my first Ragnar leg was done.
Ragnar gives you a pace calculator, which is very handy tool to ensure you get to your next exchange on time. Each van had a printout of the pace calculator and we used it as a reference throughout the race. I was the only person in Van 1 to be over the time estimate for the first 6 legs and I definitely had a mission to change that during my next leg! (You’ll have to wait for Part 3 to see if I did!)
Pablo definitely put us ahead of our estimated time when he tackled the KILLER hill on leg 3 with a 7’34” pace average (who climbs almost 1200ft and still keeps that pace!) and earned himself a cool belt buckle. It was fun to chase him and cheer him on, although Runner 4 almost didn’t make it in time to meet him at the exchange because we got caught behind a caravan of vans and he was flying!
Runners 2, 4, 5 and 6 also did awesome jobs running their legs and it was so much fun to track them, give them some cow bell love and watch them mark off their completed legs.
Then it was time to hand-off the slap bracelet to Van 2. Our hard work was done…for now!
We stopped for lunch at Clear Spring County Diner. I think that diner had no idea what hit them as groups of Ragnarians streamed in for lunch. Then we headed to exchange 12 for showers and naps.
I slept about 20 min, got a hot shower and then we waited…would Van 2 be able to keep the 30 min lead we had created?