As I’ve said, my attitude going into Ragnar was not optimal, BUT I switched from “just doing it for the experience” to R4L so damn fast. As a van, we started making mental notes of what to do next time to make it even better. Here are my tips based on what we did that worked, what we saw other teams doing or what we think would work better for next time:
1. Pack less. I used less than half of what I packed. I gave into being dirty and comfy very quickly. You don’t really need many “in-between” clothes because your running clothes for your next leg are fine. Also, blankets are perfectly acceptable attire. Even if they are stinky. Our van was overflowing with STUFF and we could have made do with a lot less.
2. Have a dedicated van driver. Nicole’s husband Lance was invaluable. He drove the entire time, allowing us to just focus on running, sleeping if we could and laughing until we cried at stuff that probably was not all that funny. He knew exactly where we were and where we were going, calculated our paces and found us food. We talked about how things could have gone south very quickly if we had to worry about driving.
3. Pack a towel. Okay, I didn’t totally give into being dirty and I did donate $3 to shower at our halfway point. However, I didn’t have a towel and the Anthem Community Center is no Lifetime Fitness. I used my pillow case. Don’tjudgeme.
4. Tag other vans – with magnets, a decided upon logo, other vans’ decorations. It’s a thing.
5. Bring a camera. I charged my camera battery for the occasion and then left it still charging in my kitchen. I had my phone and was able to take a lot of pics and get them on social media quickly, but I would have loved to document with more and a real camera.
6. Keep a body count. Ragnar is fun, but being somewhat competitive and trying to pass other runners is fun too. I can get behind a race that encourages keeping a running tally.
7. Text your mom after your legs so she knows you didn’t get eaten by coyotes and then she’ll make you cookies for the end.
8. As much as our team loves sweets, we didn’t eat many on the road. I think I had one Oreo the whole time. Stomachs are sensitive with the little amount of sleep you get, so sticking to real race fuel is probably the best option.
8. Train. Duh. I could have handled my legs a little bit better if I had worked in some hills and a few more two-a-days.
9. Plan to stick around at the finisher’s festival. You earned it. But after that, don’t plan on doing anything for two days after the race. Your brain and body won’t work.
10. Don’t have too many cooks in the kitchen. We had one amazing captain who planned everything. Nicole got us all organized and kept us informed of everything that was going on. Other people helped with shirts and vans and Ragnar Eve plans, but knowing we were in great hands, I stepped back and let everything be taken care of.