Picking right up where I left off yesterday in my Ragnar DC recap, today’s post will be all about Van 2’s first set of legs.  If you remember Ravi (from Van 1) had just handed the slap bracelet off to Candy, and Van 2 was in hot pursuit!

We caught up with Candy as she headed up one of her many hills in her 7.9-mile run (Ragnar rated: very hard).  She had a total of 1,076 feet of elevation gain, and 804 feet of elevation loss, which she finished with a 9:26 average pace.


Photo courtesy of Bill

Bill caught me waiting for Candy with a view of Sideling Hill in the background.  We’ve driven up and down Sideling Hill many times on I-68 on our way to visit our youngest son Daniel at WVU when he was in school, so I had a good sense of what I was getting myself in to.  Let’s just say that driving it, is easier than running it!


Photo courtesy of Bill

At 3:30 PM, I saw Candy crest the hill and knew that it was show time!


Photo courtesy of Bill

A quick slap of the wrist band (baton), and I was off!


Photo courtesy of Meagan

My first three-quarters of a mile was mostly downhill until I reached the base of the mountain.


Photo courtesy of Bill

Over the course of the next 2.5 miles we gained about 1,000 feet.  Just as we approached the top of the mountain, and with my lungs exploding, I got three kills (I passed three guys).  I had been passed by a couple of guys and one girl (getting passed by a girl made me really mad) already.


Photo courtesy of Bill

I got my fourth kill just as we started back down the mountain.  The girl in front is the girl that passed me and I had hoped to pass her on the way down, but she’s a very good downhill runner, too.  In fact, she continued to pull away; and the best I could do was barely keep her in my sights.


Photo courtesy of Bill

Once we crossed the top of the mountain, I knew that I had about 3.5 miles of glorious downhill ahead of me! My lungs continued to burn for about a mile, but soon the benefits of gliding kicked in and as I relaxed, my breathing come back to near normal.  I love running down hill, and have learned to let my body relax, and let gravity do the work.

I got one more kill on the way down, but got passed by two more guys.  I think I got passed eight times and got five kills over the course of my first leg.


Photo courtesy of Bill

Just before approaching Exchange 8, the course headed back up hill, but I was so happy to see my teammates cheering me in, that I sprinted as best I could to hand the baton off to Meagan.


Photo courtesy of Bill

Seeing Meagan, with her arm extended out for me to slap the bracelet on, was a beautiful sight.


Photo courtesy of Bill

After a quick, no muss hand-off, Meagan took off at 4:32 PM; and with that, I had completed my first leg of Ragnar DC!


Photo courtesy of Roger

As soon as I got out of the way of the other runners, I carefully took my left shoe off to get a rock out of it.  That little rock felt a lot bigger than it looks when it popped into my shoe at mile 2!  It had been bouncing around in my toe-box for almost five miles, but I refused to stop and take it out.


Photo courtesy of Bill

I finished my 6.8-mile run (Ragnar rated: What The Hill?) with an average pace of 9:07.  My total elevation gain was 1,066 feet, and my total elevation loss was 1,207 feet.  My mile splits were:

  • Mile 1 – 9:04
  • Mile 2 – 12:48
  • Mile 3 – 11:19
  • Mile 4 – 8:15
  • Mile 5 – 7:41
  • Mile 6 – 7:42
  • Mile 7 – 7:25


Soon after I finished, we had to hop into the van to drive to the next exchange.  I ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich, and rehydrated while we were waiting for Meagan.  Candy and I discovered that the guys didn’t know the difference between red and pink while we were watching for Meagan’s pink shirt to appear out of the trees.  Suddenly we saw a pink shirt (for real), and there came Meagan running toward us as she completed her 4.5-mile run (Ragnar rated: moderate) at an 8:54 pace.


Photo courtesy of Bill

Meagan had a good hand off to Chuck, and he took off at 5:13 PM for his 5.9-mile run (Ragnar rated: moderate).  Chuck finished his run with an average pace of 9:19.


Photo courtesy of Bill

By 6:08 PM, Chuck was finishing his run with a wrist slap to Barry.  Barry’s leg was 9.4-miles long (Ragnar rated:  very hard), and he killed it with an 8:05 pace.


Photo courtesy of Bill

The sun was starting to set at 7:24 PM when Barry ran in to Exchange 11 to pass the baton off to Bill. After a solid exchange, Bill took off for Van 2’s final leg of our first round of running.


Photo courtesy of Meagan

Since Bill would be running during the evening hours, he had to wear a Ragnar approved reflective bib, headlamp, and flashing tail light.  He ran his 7.4-mile first leg (Ragnar rated: hard) with an average pace of 9:11.

After Bill took off, we watched a runner come in to the exchange and greet his teammate with a chest bump.

Once Barry had a chance to cool down a little bit, we jumped in the van again and took off to Exchange 12 to meet up with Van 1 and wait for Bill to finish his leg.

We found Van 1 at the exchange, and hung out nearby so we could see Bill coming in.  Being blinded by headlamps running straight toward us made it difficult to recognize runners in advance.  Suddenly Bill came into view, and Anne took off to start Van 1’s next set of legs.

With that exchange, the Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay were 23 minutes ahead of our estimated finish time!  My Van 2 teammates and I found ourselves with about five hours to kill until it was time to run again.  The first order of business was showers for the guys.  The girls opted to freshen up with baby wipes, and the guys weren’t too thrilled with how badly we still smelled when they returned from their showers.  We took off in search of food (the high school pasta didn’t do it for me), and we found a Chick Fil-A just before it closed.  I got a salad and later ate some of my sweet potato fries in the van.

With our bellies full, we headed to The Creamery at Exchange 18 to wait for Van 1 with the hopes of catching some sleep…

Tomorrow I’ll take you on Van 2’s second set of runs through rural Maryland during the overnight hours.  See you then!

Editor’s note: Click here for Part 3.


  • Questions:
  • Do you prefer to run first thing in the morning, or later in the day?
  • What would be your go-to meal if you were running in the middle of the afternoon?
  • Have you ever run Ragnar DC, another Ragnar, or similar relay?