Reviewing Ragnar Cape Cod: 200 miles in 24:11:56

Team ‘Merica

Last weekend I journeyed to The Cape for some Ragnar fun and found my inner wild and then some. Typically, these events take some planning and organizing and I’m grateful that our team had an amazing organizer for had it been left to me, I would have been too stressed with the logistics to run. As it is, our guy didn’t run but only because he was recovering from an injury. Thankfully, all I had to do was pitch in, show up, run and have fun; pretty easy stuff really and totally done.

A group of eleven of us split into two vans and left the city early Friday morning. Our intention was to make it to Nantasket Beach, where the race began, in time to check-in, grab a snack and get a few photos in before start time at 2pm. We did too, with just a few minutes to spare, and after an orientation video and a few pics, our first guy headed out amidst much fanfare for a short but fast 4.9 miles. We divided into two groups, whereby the first van held all the runners running the first leg, which was five of us, while van two held the second group. From then on we paced ourselves from point to point, to simultaneously meeting our runner while dropping off the next one as part of the relay. Van 2 went ahead to meet up at the first change-over for leg 2, and I suspected,  to get some food in.

I was next up and we were just able to make the change. Since this was my first time running this type of event, I had little idea what to expect and was pretty anxious and uncertain while running. Turned out it was much ado about nothing as save for my underlying anxiety, it was pretty routine running, just in uncharted territory, which made for an interesting run. I had a couple early kills (passing other runners) and made my 6.4 miles in about 46 minutes. Not bad for a rookie!

My most anxious moment came when it was my turn to run at 2am. Though we got decked out in lights, reflector vests and head lamps, I couldn’t help but be nervous about running under darkness. I will probably never forget it. There’s nothing quite like being able to hear yourself think. What started out as cold, about 40℉ soon warmed up as I concentrated on staying the course and not getting lost. It helped that I passed a few runners along the way and even got passed by one speedster, that way I was sure I was in the right track. Of course there were markers but the dead of night can play crazy tricks with you given that they’re not manned and there’s no one at all to question or to give directions. It’s not hard to figure that your senses would be hyper-alert as a result.

It’s crazy though, running in the dark: the utter stillness of the night, the darkness covers you like a blanket, the air smells sharp and crisp and one could be forgiven for thinking it all a dream. However the constant whisk of the wind as I sped on by was evidence enough that it was real alright. I recall peering into the darkness attempting to sift some shape out of well..nothing..but knowing that just beyond there was something, something worth seeing, but that darn it, I couldn’t make out a thing. Only the occasional bobbing headlight or flash of light from a fellow runner, or what I hoped was a runner, kept me from total isolation. In fact, that might have been among my fastest 4.7 miles, which ended on a high note.

I was up again at 7am for a double stretch of 11.9 miles total. Not my idea of a perfect run coming from what amounted to a few hours dozing in the van, but the idea was floated and I succumbed to treating it as a medium-long run of sorts. Not my smartest move without sleep and food (breakfast), so while the first half of the run was good, the second half was tough and not helped by the last two hilly miles. However, I survived, earned my bragging rights and wrapped up my mileage with around twenty-two miles.

For the rest of the race, I was cheerleader, supporter and even went back for a run with another team member to encourage one of our runners and help bring her home on a tough leg.

We wrapped up our two hundred miles around 2:25pm on Saturday in Provincetown and everyone was definitely happy to be finished and we’re ready for beers as we moved to meet our final leg runner, who had a really tough last leg of 9 miles. He killed it at a 6:25 p/min pace and was pretty much cooked at that point. We all celebrated with a run up the last stretch and headed into the Ragnar finish area for food, drinks and medals and spent a couple of hours doing photos and recon – talking about highs and lows as we ate.

It was the coolest thing to be a part of that running extravaganza and get to see all the teams that had finished – others were still running – and to swap stories and grab some swag. Eventually, we made it out of there and headed to crash for the night, at a local airbnb which consisted of more beers and wine and pizza and wings and showers and some pictionary and ultimately a movie. For my part, movie aside, my lights were out at 10:30pm; it had been a while since I had slept that early.

We were up at 6:30am next morning to showers for mother’s day and to cold pizza for a pre breakfast. True teamwork spirit in effect, we were out of there and in the car wash by 8am and heading back to New York soon after we stopped and grabbed some breakfast at a local breakfast shop; 200 miles accounted for.

Official Finish Photo
Team ‘Mercia

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