2016 Ragnar DC Recap Part 2 – Picking right up where I left off Tuesday in my Ragnar DC recap, today’s post will be all about Van 2’s first set of legs.  If you remember, Laura (from Van 1) had just handed the slap bracelet off to Jess, and Van 2 was in hot pursuit!

Like Van 1, Van 2 had plenty of western Maryland’s hills ahead of us, and our legs were mostly rated hard to very hard. My leg was five miles of flat trail and should have been rated easy. I suppose the second half being on a gravel trail is what caused the moderate rating, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

  • Leg 7 – Jess – 7.9 miles (Ragnar rated very hard)
  • Leg 8 – Daniel – 6.8 miles (Ragnar rated very hard)
  • Leg 9 – Melinda – 4.5 miles (Ragnar rated moderate)
  • Leg 10 – Chuck – 8.8 miles (Ragnar rated hard)
  • Leg 11 – Deb – 5 miles (Ragnar rated moderate)
  • Leg 12 – Katie – 7.4 miles (Ragnar rated hard)

After following along behind Jess for a short distance and then stopping to cheer her on, Bill sped off so we could get parked before Jess came charging up her final hill.


Photo credit: Bill


Photo credit: Katie

While waiting for Jess, I saw Ragbear Ragnar and asked for a picture! #celebsighting #starstruck

Jess killed her hills with an average pace of 8:37 and handed the bracelet off to Daniel who had the infamous Sidling Hill ahead of him. We followed along and yelled out the window at Daniel in an attempt to recreate this great YouTube video from our 2014 Ragnar, had a good laugh, and took off to the top of the mountain to cheer Daniel across the top.


Photo credit: Bill

While waiting for Daniel at exchange 8, I ran into Amy and while chatting I missed watching my son finish his first leg. #momfail



Photo credit: Bill

Daniel’s finish was brought to my attention when my teammates started yelling, “Where’s Melinda?” Instead of being in the chute waiting for Daniel, Melinda was laying on the ground having her ankle attended to by another team after she’d stepped in a hole and fallen during her warm-up run.

With a feeling  of sheer panic, I yelled, “Let me get my ponytail holder and other shoes and I can go out” at about the same time Jess said that she could run again. Melinda shook us both off, handed us the ice pack and KT tape the other team had given her, and said that she’d be fine as she limped toward Daniel to grab the slap bracelet. With a snap, she put the bracelet on her arm and took off! 


Photo credit: Bill

Melinda’s leg had no van support so we had to hope and pray that she’d be fine as we drove to the next exchange and waited… 

With a huge smile on her face, we saw Melinda come charging down the hill as she neared the exchange chute. Her injured ankle was sore and it had slowed her down slightly… to a 7:15 pace.


Photo credit: Katie

Once Chuck took off and we got back to the van, Melinda asked if I’d help KT tape her ankle. With some guidance from a YouTube video I got her taped up and ready to go. YouTube is a wonderful thing!


Photo credit: Bill

As soon as we got Melinda taped up, we loaded back into the van and headed to the next exchange where it would finally be time for me to run. While waiting for Chuck to come in, I got to visit with my MRTT friends Julie, Sarah, and Katherine, but didn’t even think to take a picture.

With GoPro in hand, I watched Chuck climb the hill that I would be running back down, and as soon as he slapped that bracelet on my wrist, I took off!


Photo credit: Katie


After a short downhill, I turned onto a level paved path for a couple of miles until I turned onto a gravel path. With about a quarter mile to go, I turned off of the gravel path and onto a road that led up a hill to Fort Frederick State Park and my first exchange. 


Seeing Katie waiting for me at the top of the hill and hearing my teammates cheering me in was a beautiful thing, and I happily passed the bracelet off to Katie. 


Photo credit: Bill

I finished my 5-mile run with an average pace of 9:20.  My total elevation gain was only 194 feet and my total elevation loss was 177 feet with a net elevation change of 16 feet. Compared to everyone else’s legs so far, my run was a walk in the park.


After Katie took off, we headed out to cheer her on. Bill took some pictures across the road with his long lens since her leg was a “no van support” route and we didn’t want to get into trouble for stopping – too long…


Photo credit: Bill

After our “stop,” we headed to our second major exchange at the high school where Jessie saw our van and my shameless plug on the side. She looked for me in hopes we could meet, but with so many people coming and going, she had no luck. I even looked through my pictures to see if I saw her in the background of any of them, but didn’t. Bummer!


Once at the exchange chute, Van 2 teammates got a group picture (minus Chuck) and then turned our attention to watching for Katie.


Photo credit: Bill

Before we knew it, Katie rounded the corner and came flying into the chute as Katie extended her arm for the handoff (yep, we had two Katie’s). With that exchange, Van 2 was now free for the next five or so hours and it was time to find some food and try to get some sleep.


We said our good-byes to Van 1 and wished them safe travels as they hit the road once again on their journey toward DC. 


Van 1 continued through the rural sections of western Maryland, but as you can see the terrain was starting to get a little more tolerable, at least for a while…

  • Leg 13 – Katie – 4.7 miles (Ragnar rated moderate)
  • Leg 14 – Nicole – 4.8 miles (Ragnar rated moderate)
  • Leg 15 – Tammie – 6.0 miles (Ragnar rated moderate)
  • Leg 16 – Ellie – 5.2 miles (Ragnar rated moderate)
  • Leg 17 – Stacy – 7.3 miles (Ragnar rated moderate)
  • Leg 18 – Laura – 3.5 miles (Ragnar rated moderate)

The first order of business for my Van 2 teammates was deciding where to eat, not an easy task for group of tired and hungry runners. We settled on a five-star pizza place we found on Yelp which we realized was carry-out-only once we got there. Not wanting to eat in the van, I sent out a couple of texts, to see if anyone could remember where my teammates and I had eaten last year. My friends remembered that we had eaten at the Main Cup in Middletown, so we headed there. Apparently great minds think alike, because as soon as we were seated, I saw some of my last year teammates seated at a table right across from us! 

After dinner we headed to our next major exchange at the South Mountain Creamery where our driver and one of our teammates got treats. Chuck gave me a taste of his mint chocolate chip ice cream and it was the best I’ve ever had, and I’m quite the mccic aficionado! 


After his treat of a chocolate milkshake, Bill pulled out his camera and tripod and took a few pictures around the creamery. My favorite picture was this one of exchange 18 with runners coming in from the left and heading out on the right.


Photo credit: Bill

Back in the van, we settled down and tried to get some sleep. Katie and Melinda were already asleep in sleeping bags under the clouds with the full moon sneaking a peek every once in a while. According to my Fitbit (affiliate link), I managed to sleep an hour and twenty minutes – my only sleep of the trip.

Next Tuesday, I’ll take you on Van 2’s second set of runs through rural Maryland during the overnight hours. I promise it will be shorter because in my sleepless stupor I didn’t remember much.  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?


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