Over the weekend I was blessed with the amazing opportunity to run Ragnar So Cal with Team Nuun. For those who don’t know what Ragnar Relays entail, it goes something like this:
- Teams of 12 (or 6 for the Ultra crazy people) runners
- Two vans with 6 runners each.
- Each team member takes turns running their legs of the relay. You meet at “exchange points” to drop off the next runner and pick up the person currently running. The first 6 runners in “van 1” run while “van 2” hangs out/sleeps/eats. After the 6th runner vans 1 & 2 meet at the “major exchange” and van 2 starts running. Now it is time for “van 1” to chill.
- Everyone runs 3 times. Distances vary. Total distance is 200-ish miles.
- Little (if any) sleep during the event.
- Lots of snacks.
We all met on Thursday afternoon at our hotel in San Diego. Aside from a little pre-race interaction on Facebook, we were mostly strangers from all over – San Diego, LA, NYC, Chicago, Honolulu, Seattle – we even had two from Canada (Vancouver and Winnipeg)! We decorated our vans with window paint, walked to dinner, and hung out before heading to bed.
Friday morning we woke up too early for our own good, had breakfast and then went to Better Buzz for some coffee realness. After packing up the cars van 1 headed to Huntington Beach to start the race. Yours truly was Runner #1. After pickup up our bibs and all that it was off to the races with a casual 1 PM start time.
The unfortunate part about starting so late is you hardly see ANYONE on the course or at the exchanges. It was sad and a little lonely. When we made it to Exchange 6, the first major exchange, there were like…3-4 other teams there? So much for huge party! At least we got some sweet shots and hung out at the Nuun booth.
They took off and we went and had dinner. In-n-Out it was because why not? After that we had the long trek from Orange to Vista for the next exchange. The rest of our team was finishing in San Clemente (there was a gap in the course because Camp Pendleton is in the way and there is literally nowhere to run). After more coffee, hanging out with my NP Hugs & Harmony 2.0 friends, and a short warm up, I began my second leg around 11 PM. This one was only 3.9 miles. We carried on until the wee hours of the morning along dark streets and bike paths. At least at this point we had caught up to some of the other teams. Yay! People! KILLS! We finished up at Exchange 18 where we finally met up with the rest of the team again. We sent them off and heading to Exchange 24 and finally tried to sleep. I might have had 2 hours of sleep max. In the back row of an SUV. Sitting up. Quality napping right there. Around 5 AM I started my final leg. This was the longest of 3 at 7.9 miles. The best part is the second half of my leg was along Coast Highway in Carlsbad. The sky started to light up as I ran along the beach and it was awesome! I passed 57 other teams on the way. Peace, suckas! I made it to the exchange point and just like that I was done running for the day. What? ALREADY? Spent the rest of the gorgeous morning along the coast as van 1 finished up.
Because we are runners the only logical thing to do after we were done was to brunch HARD at Swami’s. We met up with Van 2 at a couple of exchanges to cheer them on and proceeded to the finish area to wait for them. Around 3 PM our final runner was making the turn towards the finish line and we all ran in with her. Woohoo Team Nuun was DONE! After having the obligatory free beer we headed to the hotel to shower – FINALLY A SHOWER – and relax. Pizza by the pool? Yes please.
Overall it was one truly amazing experience. We raced. We ate. We cheered LOUDLY for each other and other random runners. We bonded like crazy. Went in strangers and came out friends. Every last person on my team was positive, funny, fast, supportive, inspirational, and an all-around good time. I couldn’t have asked for a better team. I miss them already. Big shout out to Nuun Hydration for letting me be a part of this epic journey (and keeping me #hydratedAF).
Side note: still waiting on official results but we might have placed 1st in our division!