Today’s post was written by my fun and crazy Moms RUN This Town friend, Erin. She and Amanda ran in the Ragnar/Pacers Mini-Relay (sponsored by Brooks Running) on Saturday evening and I’m seriously regretting not letting them talk me into joining them! Without further ado, here’s Erin’s recap…
A few weeks ago, Pacers (a DC based running store) sent out a Facebook message offering a mini-relay. They were looking for teams to run three legs in and around Arlington, Virginia. Amanda, my co-leader for our chapter of Moms RUN This Town (MRTT), posted to our group’s Facebook page and I volunteered to join her on the adventure.
As the theme for the event was Halloween in July, we decided to dress up as “Super Moms” and had a ball creating our costumes with custom iron on decals, red Sparkle Athletic skirts, and silver Active Headbands.
A race like this is 100% out of my comfort zone, for two reasons. First, I am a morning runner and typically FINISH my longest run by 9am at the latest. Second, I am 100% type A and the idea of a “fun” relay without a lot of structure stressed me out just a little.
Amanda and I left at 3:15 and headed into Arlington for the start at Pacer’s Clarendon store. Along the way we made sure to hydrate because the car thermometer was in the high 80’s. Upon arrival at 4, we got an excellent parking spot a block away and made our way over to the start. The Ragnar team was still setting up registration so we cooled off inside, hydrated and, of course, posed for a picture in our Super Mom costumes.
We were one of the first teams to officially register and proceeded to check out the course maps. Ragnar is known for being a FUN experience and the route names were true to form. The organizers even posted them on Map My Run for folks to follow along.
Rt. 1 – 4.2 Miles – SHORT AND SWEET…BUT NOT WITHOUT A TREAT
Rt. 2 – 5.72 Miles – THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF YOUR QUADS CRYING
Rt. 3 – 5.34 Miles – ROLLIN ROLLIN ROLLIN ON THE CUSTIS
At registration, we met up with several other MRTT ladies from the Vienna/Oakton and Arlington/Alexandria chapters who joined us for some photo fun.
We all hung out for just a bit more as the Ragnar team prepared for starts at 5, 5:30 and 6 – with the “rule” that we all had to be back by 8:00pm. Amanda headed out first, as she was planning on ALL THREE LEGS to get her 16 mile training run in for her fall marathon. I was going to do 2 legs to get my 10 miles in for fall half training.
Without much fanfare, the organizers made sure everyone had course maps, reminded us to obey traffic guidelines and set the first wave out into Arlington.
While Amanda ran, I hung out in the store and checked out my fellow relay runners’ team costumes.
After about 45 minutes, Amanda came back to collect me for legs 2 & 3.
We filled up her water and checked our maps as we headed toward the Key Bridge and into Georgetown.
It was HOT and instead of shooting for a time, we decided to just have fun and enjoy the experience. The trail wasn’t marked and all we had were our paper maps so we did our best to navigate. On our journey we found a splash pad for a quick cool down.
And a bridal party headed into their reception.
We got some crazy looks in our costumes as folks began to head out for evening drinks and dinner in Georgetown. Along the route we would pass other relay racers coming and going, noticeable by our orange slap bands. EVERY PERSON cheered us on and we did the same.
As we made the return trip to Clarendon UP the hills of Rosslyn, Amanda told me to go ahead to finish leg 2 and start leg 3. I didn’t take too many pictures from my final leg and a half because I was SO TIRED. The heat and time of day were really wearing on me, but I was determined to follow my route. I headed back to the Pacer’s store and got a water refill (along with lots of cheers by those who had finished and were having a beer!) before heading off to the Custis Trail. I didn’t finish the whole route, but listened to my body and cut it short by about a mile.
I returned to the party amidst cheers from my new relay friends. I downed two huge tumblers of water, changed into my flip flops and enjoyed the party. There were lots of fun give-aways from the Ragnar and Brooks folks. I scored a shirt, water bottle, and beer cozy.
Amanda had kept going and finished her own loop totaling 14 miles in that crazy heat!
After her return and rehydration, we hopped into the car and headed back to the ex-burbs exhausted!
All in all – it was a great experience. My quads are still sore, as promised by route 2, but I am so glad to have gotten out there.
- Have you ever done a race out of your comfort zone?
- How do you beat the heat for summer running?
- Would you try a Ragnar Relay?