I'm FINALLY getting around to writing my recap for Ragnar Richmond (you came blame work for the delay!). First, Ragnar Richmond, in my opinion was a HUGE success and a definite upgrade on the past few Ragnar events we've run (I'll get into that a bit later). The weather cooperated, the team was light-hearted and determined -- what more could I ask for as captain? All right, lets do this!
So the race was held at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, just outside of Richmond proper. We actually abided by their request to get there just a few hours before your scheduled start and that was quite the mistake. While they did have pre-drawn camp sites, they were all full! After walking through tent city and all-too-quickly reaching the end, we realized there was NOTHING left. So, I made the executive decision to set up in the Ultra Teams' sections -- hey, we needed a place to camp! (Note: We did eventually check to make sure that was kosher -- and maaaybe inched the ultra designation cones up a few inches. Just a few.)
The campsites were TINY. We had 5 tents for our team and we definitely used every single space of it. Kudos to our teammate, Max, having a one-person tent -- that was definitely the game changer! Camp was all set up and we were checked in, safety video-ed, cleared to run ...but we had a few hours. What to do? I know! Maybe chow down on some of the 24 Sugar Shack doughnuts I brought and drink some cold beer. It was the afternoon, after all. Totally normal when you're getting to run for the next 30 hours or so, right?
Before we knew it, it was 3pm and our first runner was off! Trail reports were trickling in from some of the other teams and it seemed like the trails were in fantastic shape despite the recent incessant raining that's occurred in this part of Virginia as of late. One by one, our runners took off ...and one by one, they came back injured. Woof. Sprained foot. Sprained ankle. Multiple falls. I was getting nervous for my start -- especially since I was running what was apparently the hardest loop (#yellowisthenewred) leaving around 11pm.
Finally, it was my turn! I was just so excited to get out there and luckily, one of my teammates had this RIDICULOUS LED light up vest. With that and my headlamp, it felt like I was running in daytime! Didn't see too many folks on the trails which is impressive since there were 273 teams at the event. Got a few kills, enjoyed the rolling hills, and came out uninjured! Hooray! One loop down, two to go.
Came back to camp, sent our next runner off to start our second full rotation, and immediately hit the tent. The temperature was hovering around 50 degrees, but in the woods, it was stagnant and humid. Not the case once I was back from camp. I was FREEZING. Stripped off my wet clothes (after sharing a WAY smaller tent with them for 2 1/2 weeks, no shame -- Sorry, Melissa and Christine!) and scrounged up some dry ones and crawled into my sleeping bag. I have to admit, this is the first Ragnar where I got some decent sleep.
Our anticipated schedule was immediately off, so it was a fun guessing game of projected runner times. Second rotation, MORE injuries -- including two that sidelined our runners for the rest of the race. Finally, it was my turn to run the Green Loop -- the easiest of them all. Absolutely beautiful. Green shared with Red for awhile and I just enjoyed the views along the lake and plugged away. However, that quickly changed..
About two miles into the Green Loop, I just completely crashed. I had nothing. I was running on glorious, easy single-track and I couldn't convince my body to move. Every step was labored. Mile 3 was 16:02 -- glorified walking pace. I couldn't even enjoy the scenery. It was just one foot in front of the other, somehow, trying to find my way out of the woods. MS strikes again. I managed to get back to the transition tent and realized there was no way I could tackle the Red Loop.
I felt completely defeated. How was I supposed to be Captain, convince my teammates to keep fighting, and receive a medal if I didn't run all 3 loops? Those of you who know me know that I have a relentless never-say-die running attitude (perhaps life in general...) even sometimes to my detriment and I just knew I did not have the physical fortitude to push forward.
Because Ragnar underestimated a bit just how technical the trails were in Richmond, start times were (perhaps) incorrectly assigned. As such, EVERYONE fell behind schedule and were required to double-up at the end. That is, starting with Leg 19, you would find your color match and set out together. Well, by the third rotation, my poor team was in shambles. No one doubled up. We just couldn't. Luckily, we had three fighters who finished our loops. To my team, your steadfast determination is inspiring. Thank you for persevering.
We finished. We did it. And with a time of 28:17:32, I would say we didn't do too shabby.