In all my years of running – road racing, trails, and ultras – I have never ran a Ragnar Relay race… till now. My team ran Ragnar Relays TX trail edition, in Comfort, TX this past weekend. This is when I truly saw that running is not always an individual sport. Our team pushed hard together and had loads of fun along the way. The joys, the pain, the suffering, and even some wine-drinking
Our team captains, husband and wife duo Andrea Jeanne and Larry, did a wonderful job leading the rest of the team members (total of 8 individuals), who are mostly virgin Ragnarians, get through this weekend of camping, running, and enjoying the race party. The race started on Friday Oct 15, with teams starting at various different times and ended Saturday around 4-ish PM. We camped on the grounds near the start line, as each runner waited / rested till it is their time to run. There are 3 different routes: a 3, 5, and 7 miler. We each had to do the 3 loops during different times of the day/ night. Larry estimated our start times for each person, based on an estimated pace, which we adjusted during the race as people came back to our home base from their run.
The weather could not be any better. While Friday was slightly warmer and humid, the rest of the weekend was nice and cool for running. The temperatures dropped during the night, probably at 50s; and in the woods sleeping in tents, this felt really cold. We had a great camp site, with trees surrounding us. The only drawback was, nearby there was a tent with, most likely a man who snored all night… like a busted chainsaw. Even with my noise cancelation headset, I could hear that person snoring. Camping in the woods was also a fairly new experience for me, sleeping on a hard uncomfortable cot inside a cold claustrophobic tent. I never go camping, never done it when we were young kids. I did it once before as an adult, when my tri club did a training weekend for Vineman 70.3 triathlon. I had no equipment back then but my friends loaned me sleeping bag and gears, and allowed me to stay with them in their tent.
I personally had a tough start to the weekend, having pulled my back that Friday morning (doing something stupid), and trying to rehab it before my first run at 6:30 Friday evening. Our other team members helped me stretch it out and use the Theragun massager to help loosen and relax whatever it was that was causing pain. I could barely walk, well, walking with a bent back like an old granny. I tried to straighten my back, but it hurt. I tried to suppress the pain by thinking happy thoughts, it worked some times. In some cases I would get a shooting pain, probably muscle spasms. When I ran my 5-miler, my first leg, I did it slowly. It was a fun course, I would have ran more if it weren’t for my back pain. I didn’t want to aggravate the ‘injury’ so I took it easy. After the 5 miler, my back felt slightly better; it felt like the run helped loosen it up a bit, or make me more relaxed.