Hello Ragnarians

Noah the Ragnarian
Go Back To The Beginning

My biggest concern today: not getting sick before the Ragnar Relay Great River race, on Friday. That said, having the double sinus infection during the race last year ended up possibly improving my times, in those high temps and the high humidity. Bring it on, Minute Clinic. But seriously: how is it feasible to give a sick person four different kinds of drugs, each of which is on a different schedule, UNLESS she’s about to run a 24-hour race? I was taking something almost every hour: Good thing I was up all night. Mom, 2,000 miles away, was not pleased when she heard that I planned on doing a 24-hour race when the one thing my body needed was sleep.

Please wish me luck and safe distance from any hacking coughs.

This event is one running event for which I don’t have a problem providing ample answers to “Why?” I just love it and for a variety of reasons:

  • Terrific teammates. Only one of whom (this year) I knew before I agreed to sub in for an injured climbing buddy, four years ago. Above all, these people have great, positive, friendly attitudes. They are very safety-minded, encouraging, and, when needed, silly. They don’t smell too bad in a cramped minivan, either. (<< This means that we all place mid-race showering at a prudent priority level. Win!)
  • The other people participating in the race are friendly and often make for good entertainment.

    flowers in Afton
    It’s almost a trail run
  • While we do try and race as fast as each of us desires, this event isn’t so much of a race as it is a running party. A celebration of running, if you will.
  • The scenery is constantly changing. You never set foot on the same piece of pavement twice. When else can you see certain towns – and in the loveliness of 4am light (or lack thereof)?
  • The all-body workout that is the relay. I stumbled onto a relay training plan a few months ago that had very detailed and extensive plyometric exercises. It seemed a bit much, until I remembered that when you’re not running, you’re constantly catapulting out of a minivan to cheer for your runner, to try and stretch your hammies, to slam some recovery drink/food, or one of many other extra-van activities. My respect for this dodecathlon is giant, when at 6pm, some hours after the race, I’m lying on my bed and my whole body is buzzing, in stark refusal to believe that I’m finally allowing it to be still and to begin recuperating.
  • Bragging rights. The look on people’s faces when you tell them you’re doing an overnight relay is priceless. But after that, it’s also fun to explain to them that it’s not that much running, for each of us. Then, appreciable is the look on their faces when they grasp the amount of sleep we won’t be getting until the race is over.
  • This year: Becky’s baked goods. I’m glad to have helped add her to the team this year, and her baking skill is one reason I recruited her.
  • The mystery. What will the road present to us, in terms of visuals, road food (when else is a 9pm latté a good idea?), weather, music (in the van. And, the organizers place bands or deejays at some of the exchanges), costumes (on runners and volunteers). It’s exciting, albeit in a charming, dorky, geeky athlete sort of way. Will the guy dressed/groomed like Steve Prefontaine be in the race this year? Will we see an Aunt Edna strapped to a roof rack? Any fairy wings? And on that note – what hallucinations might one of us have, during our last leg?

It’s just a few days away, and if I can fend off the common cold or slightly worse, and get my mid-race snacks lined up (this morning I made some Hippy Bars), I’ll be good to go. Bring it.

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