Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ragnar Trail New England

When Ragnar announced that they were going to have a trail race in New England AND it fell during my summer vacation, I knew I had to participate.  I toyed with the idea of getting a team together, but quite honestly, I can't upfront the cost of these events, so being captain is too much of a financial burden to make it fun.  I knew some teams that were being created, but ultimately decided to join a random team.  They had posted on facebook that they were non competitive, looking for a runner, which was exactly up my alley, so after a quick facebook exchange, I joined Strangers in Tent (actual team name)

All week I had planned to get there early in order to enjoy the day, explore the campsites and all that good stuff before starting the team off as runner one.  Of course that day my stomach decided to hate me and my errands took longer than expected, soon I was flying to Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center to get there in time to run.

half of the runners started off in the wrong direction,  I luckily went the correct way.
My first leg was on the green trail, which was 3.5 miles, what I failed to really take note of, was the unforgiving the hills.  I started off trying to run up the hills, only to have to Frankenstein walk to catch my breath and lower my heart rate.  Because of this lack of strategy my first mile was 16 minutes!  After that it was all down hill and an easy to follow trail where my pace improved back to normal 10'30ish range.  

After my run, I spent my afternoon getting to know my teammates, wandering to see friends, cheering in and out our runners and eating.  Lots of eating happened, mostly of cheese itz. 

At 9:35pm my second run started, this was on the red course, which was known throughout the weekend as being the beastly one. It was 6.5 miles with the first 3 miles mostly uphill. Rather than struggle like I did the first time, I planned to walk up most of the hills ahead of time, this definitely saved me some energy, but definitely not time. It was dark, but the handheld flashlight I borrowed was amazing and made it easy to follow the trails. At one point I was leapfrogging with another woman and we chatted for a bit before our paces separated us, otherwise I ran mostly alone, occasionally being passed by people much more sure footed than myself.  Around the halfway point, was a water station that had the best water I've had in ages.  It may have been situational, but it was all my teammates could talk about whenever we discussed the red course.  Because it was dark and humid, the trails were a bit slicker, I never made any effort to run fast but rather stay safe and finish uninjured.  I mostly achieved that, minus slightly pulling my bad ankle at some point.  While it was sore, my compression socks, ibuprofen and a beer seemed to cure it for me to be able to run my last leg later. 

trail hazards well marked

trails were easier to follow at night because of the LEDs 

After my run,  I decided I would get some rest,  with my headphones blasting white noise in my ears, I was able to get a solid 4 hours of sleep before being anxious that I would miss my leg.

My last run started at 6:15 and was 4.8 (although it came up as 5 on mine and most of my teammates watches) This trail also started up hill for about 2 miles before leveling out and then descending.  By now my pace was suffering,  the previous two runs had just about destroyed my legs so I did my best to shuffle along.  I still managed to run/hike 4 miles in an hour (if I could add that to my hiking life, I'd be crushing it a lot of these mountains)    By now, I was just out to enjoy the run,  It was nice to know it would be my last run for the weekend and I would just spend the rest of the day cheering on our runners and other teams.  
runners two & one enjoying post race beers at 9am

We were doing quite well powering along, until we made a mistake between runners. Runner 3 came in just a few minutes early and the next runner didn't' see her - then waited for her to come in for nearly an extra hour before calling the captain, (meanwhile we were up at the start/finish waiting for the 4th runner to come in -- but she hadn't left yet!)  so we lost nearly an hour of time from that but thankfully no one was too upset and we just extended our party a bit longer.  

guys attempting to make tube tops and spanx out of multiuse bandannas from Hole in the Wall Gang

Our captain was runner 8 and ran us in after over 24 hours ( no clue of "official" time) and we became trail ragnarians.  

Multi tool medals for all !

I've loved the road relays, but must admit, I think trail is even better, having the freedom to walk around, visit other people, and not worry about driving from one transition to the next, its more relaxed and just more fun. 

Next year I will make serious effort to incorporate hill training.

Strangers in a Tent

1 comment:

  1. That sounds amazing. I think that might be my first ragnar, since I had to bail on this years (again). I'm doing one next year so help me!