With Waylon & Willie & the Boys… Or with Erica and crew!
If you’ve been following on my journey you would know that last year I ran my first Ragnar Relay last April in Austin and was immediately hooked. So much that I actually ended up applying to become an ambassador them and to my surprise I was accepted! Since then I continued on to run Ragnar in Las Vegas with a member from the Austin, and decided to captain my own team for the upcoming Texas race to be held in March 2017.
Now what is Ragnar Relay exactly? It’s a 200ish mile point to point relay with 12 of your craziest runner folk. One person starts and it’s a big game of leapfrog from there. Runner 1-6 are in one van and runner 7-12 or another. I personally am a van one person so I will always go out of my way to get in that van, with me being the captain there was no chance of me NOT getting into van one.
Fast forward months of training (hahahaha) and recruiting team members, shirts, logistics, rentals, and hotels, it was finally time for us to begin our journey down to Luckenbach…or Austin for simpler terms. My teammate consisted of a lot twitter folks, BibRave Pros from when I was in the program, my original Austin captain from last year and her two recruits, as well as local friends. We had a last minute runner drop due to sudden deployment and our replacement was a huge shock, it was Kevin, or Big Kev, who I ran with on the Austin team last year.
Team Line Up:
Yes a lot of repetition with the names of some of the team members! Dara, Emi, and myself headed down to ATX Thursday afternoon after picking up the van from the airport. Yup… I drove that bad boy safely out of the parking garage. On the way down we stopped to pick up Big Kev and headed down to the Austin International Airport to pick up Emily, Jeremy, and Toby. We were all staying together in Austin Thursday night in a massive hotel suite (good job captain). We had a nice dinner, stopped at the store for last minute essentials, and hit they hay since we had to be on the road by 5:15 to make it Bastrop by 6:15 to be ready for our 7:15 start.
Prior to leaving Jessica and Melinda met us at our hotel and rode down to Bastrop with us to get started, and to get them and Dara to Melody since they were in a different van. We did the typical safety videos and got ready to start, but not before a group selfie. At this point we were all thankful for Big Kev since you don’t need a selfie stick when he’s around!
7:15 and we were off! Time flew, probably because Toby is an amazingly strong runner and finish his first leg up right at 8am and I was off. I had been diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection that Monday and had literally spent a week leading up the race feeling sick, but there was no way I was not going to participate, so I gave it all to God and ran my legs the best way I could. I did pretty darn good if I may say so myself, and even coachy coach was proud of my times considering the circumstances. I finished my first leg feeling okayish, I was still struggling with breathing and did so after every run, but I was more bothered by the fact that the end of the exchange was at the top of a hill. Lame. But it was time to hand off to Big Kev for his leg.
He would eventually hand off to Emi, who was participating in her first Ragnar and she did amazing!
Toby, or Uncle Toby as we call him now, went out at met Emi to finish her leg before she handed off to Emily. It show the spirit of Ragnar and how we really are better together.
Emi handed to Emily and she CRUSHED her first leg, and got pretty good pictures while waiting, check out her recap here. Emily to Jeremy, and he would cruise through his first leg to hand off to Dara to van one and we were done!
At the first major exchange we did some light shopping, I regret not buying the finishers shirt but I was trying to be good and calm down on my shirt addiction. By the time I got ready to buy one at the end of the race, they were sold out. BUUUUTTT while there I did get to see Rob, who was on the team last year, who was there running with a different team at the last minute. It truly amazes me at how Ragnar truly connects strangers for life.
After that was done we went and grabbed lunch and waited forever for van two to finish up. Emily and Toby went exploring and found a really nice spot along the San Marcos River, Emi and I decided to go out an explore as well. They found a path to go all the way down the banks, we did not. But I did get cool pictures.
More waiting, a sweet picture that was all Emily’s idea, and more waiting and our van was finally up again. My leg was originally supposed to be 6.3, but due to county restrictions it had turned into a drop off leg in which my team had to drive me up the road to start across a small highway cutting it down to 3.9. Healthy Erica would’ve been upset about losing mileage, but sick Erica gave all glory to God and moved on.
We did a little switcharoo to save time and I handed off to Emi to take Bib Kev’s shorter leg, and he was to take her longer one. I will admit, it was cool to hand off to a new person!
Again, same story of following our runner, but this would take a turn for the kinda not so really, but frustrating worst. Jeremy is our anchor leg to hand off to Van 2 at the major exchanges. Someway, somehow, Van 2 was not at the major exchange and the next one down, to which Jeremy ended up having to run another leg right after his. He was kinda sorta not happy, but kinda happy…I think the Jury is still in debate about his feelings. But it just gave him an opportunity to get more “Kills”.
But it happened and it’s over and we’ve moved on from it. Now the waiting game began again. This time we at least had real bathrooms, an indoor space, and food available for a donation. Then we slept and waited… at about 5am Toby got the text that it was time for him to get ready. I walked out to wait with him so we could know when he started to plan properly, and because I’m a great team captain (LOL!) but it was our last set of legs and we were ready to be done!
Again, van 1 crushed it. We powered through at got it done. I will say that I’ve never been so proud of my van before, we all just really had each other’s back. Had fun together, and all the personalities clicked.
I don’t think there was ever a point in which I was just “done” with my van and that’s rare for me since I’m not exactly a people person, ha!
Overall, we all (I hope) had a fantastic time and are itching to do another Ragnar Relay. Ragnar is just one of those “races” that truly tests your spirit as runner, and a person in general. Cheering in the middle of night for random strangers, collecting kills along the road, it’s all in the Ragnar spirit that you cannot get from any other race. Will I will continue to run half marathons, the Ragnar Relay will take priority.
So next year maybe an ultra team? We shall see!