Sunday, June 14, 2015

Gonna Do a Ragnar Trail Race!

Yes, Peeps, it is true.  I, an avowed trail-hater, am going to do a Ragnar Trail Event.  Before I tell you about it, let me remind you of why I have said I don't like trails:  Click here to revisit that post.  Go ahead.  I'll wait.

Back so soon?  Ok, so months ago, Jenn, who is a trail runner, put a call out for a team of eight to run a Ragnar Trail relay in the Appalachians.  The only thing I knew about Ragnar is that usually it involves a bunch of people sleeping in a van, and I was curious about how that would work in the Appalachian Mountains, so I looked it up on this link.  Then I laughed myself silly, had a glass of wine, and forgot about it.

With the winter weather being so terrible, the road conditions were not really safe, so I started joining Jenn and Renee (and other trail runners) for Sunday long, slow runs.  These were slow.  Really slow.  But they kicked my ass all the same.  No, seriously, my glutes were getting a great workout from all the hills we had to climb.  Plus, the views were gorgeous; in my previous posts I've compared the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to Narnia.

The bridge to Narnia

We look darned happy in Narnia

Most of these runs consisted of a lot of walking, which my previous posts have explained that I am NOT ok with, but I could tell that they were sharpening my focus and strengthening my legs and my core.  Jenn and Renee patiently and repeatedly explained to me that EVERYONE walks the hills, and that I should use that time to look at the scenery and enjoy it.

It has taken me four years, but I can now say that I've grown to like trail running.  I don't think it has anything to do with trails, either.  The change had to come from me.  Being ok with walking a hill on a trail actually meant that I had to be ok with myself, and that is a daily battle for me.  Trails allow me to be less. . . intense, less driven.  This may only be because I've never raced a trail before, and that may change, but for now I can admit that I can appreciate trail running.  But I'm still deathly afraid of ticks.

Back to the race.  Several weeks after Jenn initially posted about the Ragnar Trail Relay, she re-posted, saying a team member had dropped.  This time I thought about it and checked my calendar.  Then I held my breath, made the sign of the Cross, and told her I would do it.  THEN I had a glass of wine.

Look at this, Peeps.  This is what I will be doing!

We have two regular teams and one ultra team, and we will all be camping together from Thursday night to Sunday morning.  I haven't been camping for years, but I think this will be fun.  The two things that sealed the deal were all-you-can-eat-smores and access to showers.  I can do anything for three days if I know I can take a shower.  In anticipation of the race, I bought and baptized my first pair of trail shoes:

Love my Sauconies!
I don't really know what I'm doing, Peeps; this is all completely new to me.  The only thing I know is that I will be running three trail loops: the Green loop (easiest, 3.5 miles), the Yellow loop (a little more difficult, 4.6 miles), and the Red loop (most technical, 6.7 miles).  Based on Jenn's spreadsheet of times, I think I'll be doing the most difficult loop at one in the morning.  Gulp.

Check my post next week.  Will a bear eat me?  Will I freak out during a thunderstorm?  Will there be enough beer and smores?  Send me some love and luck, Peeps.  I will need it.

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