First and foremost I’d just like to point out that our team placed 20th out of 293 teams, and 5th in the open men’s division (and there were 5 girls). So not to pat our backs, but yea WE ROCK!!! 🙂 We are already plotting to win the whole thing next year…lofty goals, but I’m totally in.
I love lists, we all know that, and I thought maybe the best way to explain my awesome, yet chaotic, Ragnar experience this past weekend I would give you 10 things I learned. Please note, I could do a lot more than 10, but I thought I wouldn’t kill you and just go with the top 10. And with that, heeeeere we go:
- 20 Minutes of Sleep is All You Really Need to Run 200 Miles
- After NOT Sleeping, People Become Salty. VERY SALTY!
Don’t mess with men and women who haven’t showered, haven’t slept, just ran 9 miles over a mountain in the middle of the night, and are about to run in 94 degree weather after not sleeping, showering, or eating a decent meal. They are brutal. They will say mean mean things, and they will mean every word of them. They will make you cry. They will laugh at you crying. Its nothing personal, they are just tired and hungry. And if you’ve ever been on a diet, or had a baby, you completely understand. So I’m just warning you, don’t mess with them. And a little shout out to my teammates “Tell her to shut up and suck a bag of d*cks!”
- Maryland is A Lot Bigger Than I Thought
I swear to the heavens above that Maryland is one of the smaller states in this lovely union, is it not? This is not true when you are running through the state. It’s a long, very long state, that NEVER ends. And you actually end up back in Maryland after you run through Virginia. I mean that damn state never ends! That being said, as a side note rural Maryland is very pretty and also quite chilly in the evening in mid-September.
- Cornstalks Can Talk and Wildlife Don’t Care About You
Picture this: its 4 a.m., rural Maryland, two-lane highway with no lights, huge massive farms surround you, you are the only person on the street, the only light is the light of your headlamp. You’re just running your little heart out. Each time you blaze past a cornfield you would swear Malachi from “Children of the Corn” is speaking directly to you. With each rustle of a stalk you begin to become paranoid. You are being watched, followed, traced. You are going to die. Additionally, those are not twigs in the road, those are snakes. They don’t care that you can only see with your headlamp, they need to cross the street to the next cornfield. So unless you want one to wrap itself around your leg, or lurch at your ankle for a quick snack just jump over them kay? And tell Malachi to shut up, you have to beat your projected time.
- Not Knowing Where Your Run Ends is Actually A GREAT Thing
I honestly had no idea where I was running. I didn’t even look at my legs, just knew how long they were. Stupid? Maybe, considering I didn’t even take my phone with me. But what I found is that when I had no idea where I was going, I just ran. And I ran fast. AND even when I saw the “One More Mile To Go” sign, I still ran hard. I would be so surprised when I could begin to see the exchange, and then I would run faster. I think it may be what I do from this point forward. Don’t look at the course before you do the course, just do it. I’m pretty sure that’s what all of us did, well in Van 2 at least. We really didn’t know what the course was like (except when they were death hills with potholes over Sugarloaf Mountain) we just knew how long we had to run, and so we ran.
- Van Comradery is Key
We had a blast in our van. I mean A BLAST. Even when it was 2am and we hadn’t slept, we were laughing. We were laughing at ourselves, laughing at each other, joking everyone around us. We had fun. I mean someone even threw up, and we still had fun. If our van wasn’t as fun as it was…yea an ellipsis is all I can use for that, I don’t even want to know how it would have turned out. It really is important for everyone in the van to have personalities that mesh. If you don’t, I’m fairly certain you won’t like the relay at all.
- Running Water is a Luxury
If I don’t use another porta potty for a ye ar, that will be too soon. Judge if you want, I sat on those seats. Yep, every single one of them. I did! Sat my butt right down on them. Listen, my thighs were killing me. I couldn’t imagine trying to hold onto those bars to keep myself from sitting on the seat. I did a nice little wipe of the seat with the tp, and sat a spell. Whatevs, I was dirty anyway. And it wasnt like I was going to get to wash my hands. Oh my god when I washed my hands on Saturday it was like the most amazing feeling. And washing my face! Oh the joy!!! I only had to deal with it for a few hours, I can’t imagine how people deal with it on a regular basis (a little bit of perspective there Megs).
- Crying is Okay if No One Sees You
There may have been a moment Saturday, during my last leg, when I cried. You can’t prove it though, because you weren’t there. No one was. So technically it never happened. But my God was it therapeutic! I was exhausted, it was hot, my legs were giving up, I just wanted to be done. So I cried. I cried like a little girl, and it was amazing. And the best part, no one was there, so it was okay, can’t be traced. Megan 1, Crying 0
- Plastic Bags for Sweaty Clothes are CLUTCH
Do you have any idea what our van would have smelled like if we didn’t put our clothes directly into Ziploc bags after we finished running? I’m gagging right now thinking about it. Smelly, sweaty boys, ewwww. Sweaty socks, sweaty underwear, sweaty, sweaty, sweaty. Put your clothes in a Ziploc bag, for the love of God, just do it!
- And Finally, RAGNAR IS A DRUG
One would think that after spending 24 hours in a van, getting 30 minutes of sleep, not showering, eating crap food, going #1 & #2 in porta potties, being exhausted, cold, thirsty, hot, hungry, sick, cramped, and all-around irritated with the world, I would have no interest in ever doing a Rangar again. One would be wrong. I actually walked in the door, took a shower, and logged on to the website to see if Nashville still had openings. See, Ragnar is a legal drug. I’m convinced of it. We all want to do another one. And not just like “yea we’ll do it again next year!”, no we want to do one next month. There’s only one logical reason for that, it’s a drug. We can’t help ourselves. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Apparently sleeping like 20 or 30 minutes tricks your brain and body into thinking that you have slept a full 8 hours. This happens even if you are cramped inside of a 15-passenger van (or laying outside on a cow pasture) with the constant stench of cow pies, blow horns, slamming portapottie doors, whistles, screeching tires kicking rocks, people trying to steal your van magnents, and copious amounts of screaming outside. I mean really sleep is overrated. When you stay awake for 24 hours, and run 200 miles, sleep is for the weak.
So there you have it, this is what I learned in 24 hours. Beginning in Cumberland, Maryland and ending in Oxon Hill, Maryland. It may not seem like a long time, but it feels like it happened years ago. I miss the van. I miss the people in the van. I miss running in the middle of the night. I miss the crispness of the air around the cornfields. I miss watching the sun set, and then watching it rise. I miss the comradery. I miss Ragnar. Its only been a day, and I miss it already. So virtual high-five to my team, you have successfully recruited another addict. I’m yours, forever yours.
What do you think, want to give the Ragnar a whirl?