This past Thursday through Saturday I was part of an 11-woman team running the Ragnar-Great River Relay, a 195 mile race from Winona to Minneapolis. It was also my 32nd birthday on Saturday and I had so much fun bringing in another year while running. We dressed in orange convict jumpsuits and a few teammates even ran in them during the night runs when it was cool enough to sport them. We started at 9am on Friday and by 10 the temps had climbed to above 85 degrees. My first leg was a 10k and I thought that it would be a piece of cake, but the weather and lack of shade proved otherwise. I still ran under my predicted time, but boy was it hot out!
My second leg of the race started at about 9pm, an 8.3 mile trek that included the most notorious hill of the entire race. I was excited for some terrain and to run in the dark.
I ran with a couple of people leading up to the hill and was told to not look up, because “it goes on forever.” It was definitely a steady climb to the top, but I think some recent rigorous hill workouts really helped me out. I was feeling really good during this run and my old competitive spirit came back like a slap to the face and all I wanted to do was starting hunting down runners that were ahead of me. I picked off a handful of runners on the way up and it felt really good to leave some guys in the dust that had passed me earlier in the run. The run down into town was glorious! I’ve never run that far downhill before. It was amazing to just let the legs go. When I crossed the finish line, I almost puked because I had been running so hard. It was great and I was completely pumped up after that run. Good thing, too, because we had to keep running ’til almost 2 in the morning! I decided after that leg that I really enjoy running in the dark. I’m excited to make it a part of my running schedule.
We arrived in Stillwater to finally catch some z’s on the gym floor. It was weird to be sleeping shoulder to shoulder with a hundred or so strangers. Snores, cell phones beeping and other bodily functions were echoing off the gym floor, but it was all good. We managed to sleep about 3 hours and woke up to start the process all over again. My last leg was a 3.8 mile run and as I entered the chute, my van mates were all yelling Happy Birthday to me and I vaguely remember other runners and spectators clapping for me. It was kinda fun! I was a happy runner.
After our van finished our legs, we made our way to the U of M to wait for the arrival of the rest of our team in van 2. We grabbed a pizza and some beer and made ourselves at home in the grass. The rest of the team showed up a few hours later and we all ran across the finish line together as a team, a team of convicts.
We even convinced the local police officers to help us out with some photos.
Thanks to my teammates for making this a most memorable birthday weekend. I look forward to another Ragnar next year! Official Results: 149/280 Finishing Teams. 6/19 All-Woman Team. Not too shabby!