|A sweltering stretch on a Wisconsin highway.|
Ragnar relays are held in 11 or 12 places around the country and they generally work like this: teams of 12 take turns running legs of the race that are between four and eight miles long. The total distance run is about 200 hundred miles. Each runner runs three legs and you always run in the same order (e.g. runner 1, then 2, then 3, until runner 12 finishes her leg, then runner 1 goes again). The teams usually shuttle themselves in two vans of six runners per van. When you're not running, you're cheering on your teammate. When everyone in your van has finished their leg, you eat or rest while your teammates in the other van run, and when they finish their legs, you start to running, in order, again. It sounds chaotic, but it's really quite orderly and well organized.
|Looking for my incoming teammate.|
When James, a friend from college, contacted me to see if I'd be interested in filling in, and consequently running about 15 miles over 20 hours, my first reaction was to say that I was busy that weekend and so couldn't do it; my fitness level is pretty low right now and I hadn't run more than 3 miles at a stretch in several months. But the more I thought about it, the more this seemed like an amazing opportunity to see an old friend, meet new people and challenge myself in a completely unexpected way. So I said yes, and it's probably the best decision I've made since deciding to move to Minneapolis.
|Teammate in site; bouncing with excitement before my first leg.|
While the running was fun,
we were all happy to be done with our legs when we finished them.
|The oppressive heat was a common post-run topic of conversation.|
|Sunset on Lake Pepin|
|Best cheering: Stockholm, WI.|
The race started at 11 Friday morning, and by 10 pm Van 1 (my van), was gearing up to run our second legs of the race, which we finished around 2:00 am. We napped briefly in the town of Stillwater while Van 2 ran through the grim hours of the morning, and by 7:15 am we up and running again. I finished my third and final leg around 9 am and our team as a whole finished around 3:30 Saturday afternoon.
|Van 1 at the completion of our portion of the relay|
Thank you Ragnar and Team Kittens and Yarn! Here's hoping for another adventure in 2012!