Last year, I went along with Team Sparkle in their van during the Ragnar Relay SoCal as their race photographer. Of course, they are super fast and super awesome, so I was able to stay semi-awake the entire time…all 36 legs of running.
Because I had so much fun, I had no problem going along as the official photographer for Team Sparkle, again. That is, until I received an email from Rebecca. Rebecca told me that she was supposed to run Ragnar Relay SoCal on team with other bloggers, but she had some childcare issues and couldn’t do the race any longer. She asked me if I was interested in taking her place?
I immediately called Kelly, and asked her opinion. I told her about my opportunity to do the race. She said that I should go for it, 1. Because I already had the training done for all the running, 2. Because it was free, and 3. She knew that I really felt left out last year at Ragnar because I wasn’t running. I also felt bad because I had promised to photograph Team Sparkle’s Ultra Team during the race. She told me to not worry about it, and that they would find someone else.
Oh, and by the way…this was less than two weeks before the race….
So I responded to Rebecca’s email and told her that I was interested in running the race. She forwarded my email to the coordinator and some other women that were running on the team. I was confirmed as Runner 5, in Van 1, and sent the list of my other van-mates. I did not know anyone whom would be in my van.
The weekend before the race, I went to Las Vegas for The Baker to Vegas Relay with co-workers. I helped do support and also served as an alternate. I then came back to work two days, and it was time to prep for Ragnar SoCal. Luckily, I spent the entire race last year in the van. This is actually a good thing because I knew what to expect. I had no problems packing for the race, and was able to fit everything in one bag.
I packed outfits for legs 2 and 3, plus clothes for in-between, some extra clothes, toiletries, my reflective vest, my headlamp, my blinking light (taillight), KT Tape, numerous containers of Nuun, two visors, my Stick, and several Team Sparkle Skirts. I also brought my fleece blanket with me, and a pillow.
I met up with some people from Van #2, and two of my teammates Dre and Lauren at dinner the night before the race. We chatted briefly, and made plans to meet up the next morning at the hotel where everyone else from the team was staying. I left the restaurant, and headed straight towards the grocery store. I stocked up on some water, some snacks (candy), and other random things for the next two days.
The next morning, I got up bright and early, about 5am-ish. I had my mom dump me off at the hotel in Newport Beach because I didn’t want to leave my car there, and I had way too much stuff. I met up with my other 5 teammates in Van 1, we hopped in the van, and left for the starting line at Ragnar Relay SoCal. I drove the van, because I knew where the starting line was, and I have driven a large van like that before.
Photo via Dre.
We were van 1 of the two vans. The other van had a later start, obviously when we finished with runner #6. Our Team was officially called, “My Third Leg Is Harder Than Yours.” The team was already named, so we went along with it! We used the hashtag #swagnar along the route on Twitter and Instagram.
I’ve decided to start calling this adventure as:
“Six strangers (bloggers), picked to drive around in a van, for 30+ hours, running a relay race, for 195 miles,
finding out when people stop being polite, and getting real”.
Yes, very similar to the motto of the Real World TV Show on MTV. But eerily similar and different, because we were in a van. Because that is what it was, a learning curve; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Which is really what a relay race is all about. After some confusion, we got our race bibs, and got ready to start. We were originally registered as an Ultra Team (6 person), so it made quite a situation since we had a team of 12. We decided to split the six bibs, 3 and 3. We ended up switching around the bibs during the race, and it worked out fine. Before the race, I made sure everything was organized, and Lauren and the others started working on decorating the van. I knew that once the race started, we would have no time to decorate and/or organize.
Lauren aka Runner 4, decorating the van. Showing some “Boston Love”!
And boom….our first runner, runner #1, Stephanie was off and running at 8:30am! I told my van mates that we had to go, and we made our way back to the van. I drove to exchange 1 of the race, with my iPhone plugged in, my music blasting, and my Google maps set. We got confused for a bit, but we eventually got it together and made it to the exchange. My teammates saw how chaotic it could be and I think somewhat appreciated my crazy driving, or maybe they were scared to death. I also warned them about my random music, and all of the curse words that came with it.
To Be Continued…….
Disclosure: I was asked to participate on a Ragnar Relay Team sponsored by Ragnar Relay. All opinions, thoughts, and most of the photographs (unless otherwise noted) are mine. I was not compensated financially but with free race entry, a van, some snacks, and tons of fun by the company.