There are bucket list items to check off; and then there are bucket list items to check off.  On Friday and Saturday I checked off the latter…

Running a Ragnar Relay was on my “to do” list for years, but it wasn’t until this past fall that I checked that item off my list when Bill and I formed a team and ran Ragnar DC with our Cruiser friends.  Completing that 200-mile relay in under thirty-one hours with eleven friends was all it took to make me a believer…..

Once sign-up time for Ragnar Trail Appalachians WV came around, I knew I wanted to give it a try too, and when invited to join my MRTT team, I jumped at the chance.

Being an old pro at Ragnar packing, I turned my dining room into my staging area about a week before to the race, and then on Wednesday, I turned my kitchen island into Ragnar Central and worked from there.  Our team captain Gayle gave us a packing list, and between that and reviewing my Ragnar DC Recap Part 1, I methodically checked everything off my list.


Meanwhile, four of our teammates, Gayle, Angela, Rachel, and Lupe, and our team volunteer Melisa were packing to leave early Thursday afternoon to set up camp.  Yes, they took one for the team and arrived a day early to find the perfect camping spot.  I can’t even begin to explain how much I appreciate them arriving early to get us organized. 


How prophetic…..  Little did we know that we really and truly would find our #innerWild during Ragnar Trail Appalachia WV.  Our teammates who arrived on Thursday just might have had their #innerWild shoved down their throats during torrential rain and electrical storms on Thursday night, while the rest of us slept peacefully on our soft and comfy dry beds at home.


Meanwhile back home…  Thursday night Meagan arrived at my house for our Friday morning curbside pickup.  We had enough belongings to last a week, yet we would only be gone for a day and a half.


Carrie was kind enough to drive Erin, Meagan, and me to wild and wonderful West Virginia; and on the way we had plenty of time to get to know each other very well.  They all learned that I need frequent potty stops on road trips; but seriously, why would a road trip be any different from one of my runs?  It’s all about hydration, you know!


Carrie even humored us and pulled over on the highway so we could snap this picture!


Three hours after leaving Virginia, we arrived at Big Bear Lake, and the first of a few check-ins.


Checking in at the campground was quite humorous.  We met a little old man who could easily have passed as one of my great-uncles.  He was in the middle of a wild tale with an elderly gentleman on a golf cart, and more than a little distracted.  He never stopped talking long enough to listen to us tell him how many people we truly had in our minivan.  He was convinced it was three, and he was sticking to his assumption!


As soon as we arrived at our campsite, I shoved a Honey Stinger waffle in my mouth, filled my Nathan hand-held hydration bottle with water and headed to my starting line. 


Since we had arrived with only one hour to spare until I needed to run my first leg, my teammates were kind enough to unpack my stuff and put it in my tent while I prepared to run.


When it was time for my first run of the relay, Melisa was kind enough to escort me to the exchange chute, show me the ropes, and carry my jacket back to the campsite once I headed into the exchange area.

On the way, it was my first opportunity to really take in the sites of Ragnar Village, and experience the mud first hand.  Little did we know that the mud was nothing compared to what we were about to experience.


Once at the exchange area, Melisa explained to me that we would need to watch for our team number 136 to show up on the screen.  Once it showed up, I would be allowed to go into the exchange chute, and would need to tell the Ragnar volunteer the trail color that I would be running.  Once there, they slapped a wrist band on my arm to correspond with my trail color.  At that point it was just a matter of waiting for my teammate to come in and hand off our team bib to me. 


As soon as Gayle came into the exchange area, she handed off our team bib and it was my turn to run! 

Stay tuned tomorrow as I recap the most beautiful trail I’ve ever run on, describe my muddiest run up to that point, and show you what heavy downpours can do to a campsite.

Editor’s note: Click here to read Part 2.


  • Questions:
  • Have you ever run a Ragnar Relay or Ragnar Trail?
  • Do you like to camp?
  • Who raced this past weekend?