Rewind to 2010…I’m still relatively new to this whole running thing, and with a few races under my belt, I’ve become acutely aware of “Runner peer pressure”. You run a local 5k and have a blast mingling with other runners post race…by the time you leave you’ve agreed to run another race (or 3)! While training with a Co – worker for my second marathon (marine Corp marathon), he casually mentions that he isn’t going to be able to run a relay he signed up for due to a conflicting work conference. He asks me if I’d mind filling I’m for him. In retrospect, maybe I should have asked a couple questions, but without even thinking I respond with an enthusiastic, “Sure! It’ll be fun!” So that is how I become a member of “Team Microsoft”. (Oh, did I mention I’m a geek who happens to know a lot of other geeks?!?)
A few days later I meet “chipper” Jim, the team captain, who gives me an animated explanation of the “Ragnar”. My eyes are glazed over; confused by why I need a sleeping bag, snacks, multiple sets of running clothes, a head lamp?…by the end of our conversation I realize I signed up for a 202 mile relay that started in western Maryland and finished in Washington D.C.! Huh?!?! What the hell was I thinking?!? I was intimidated but also thrilled to be part of something so insane! All the arrangements were made, I’m runner 3, and meeting up with van 1 the night before the race to head out to a hotel near the starting line.
This ended up being the best race experience of my life! It was unlike any other race; it’s not a closed course (meaning you have to look out for cars), the terrain is varied/intense in places (with some steep hills and trail running), there are moments where I wondered, “where on earth am I?!”, and running through the pitch black country side with a head lamp on was a trip! On top of that, the atmosphere was lively; with costumes, elaborately decorated vans, and plenty of cheesy runner humor (Like “Who fartleked in the van?)!
This race was the beginning of my “ultra-relay” obsession! To date I’ve ran 4 Ragnar relays (3 with my original team!) And 1 American odyssey race (a similar but admittedly not as well organized race). I not only got a lot of great swag from these races (Ragnar race medals double as beer bottle openers! Awesomeness! ), I also developed many incredible memories and friendships!
If you’ve never ran this style race before, I strongly advice given it a shot! (There’s that “Runner peer pressure” *wink wink*)
What is the craziest race you’ve ever been “Runner peer pressured” into doing?