Ragnar So Cal 2016

200 miles -ish from Huntington Beach to San Diego, California.
12 runner friends.
2 vans.
1 epic Ragnar Relay experience.

For those who don’t know, Ragnar is a point to point relay where a team of 6 (ultra) or 12 people run about 200 miles. Each person runs three legs total with varying mileage. I won’t go into the details here, so feel free to visit Ragnar’s official site for more info about the series.

So about my race…

Although our team name, Are we there yet? What was I thinking? was nothing near how I felt about my first Ragnar. Sure, I was exhausted from lack of sleep, running three times within a 24-hour period and living in a van for two days and a night, but I actually really enjoyed myself. It was overall a tough and uncomfortable experience but nonetheless worth it. Remember, these type of situations yield opportunity to promote growth.

Ragnarians ? | 04.03.16

A photo posted by Julie Crombé (@juliecrombe) on

Hands down, what made this race for me were my fellow Ragnarians in Van 1. The race required tons of quick coordination in high pressure situations and our van handled it very well. We all seemed to be on the same page, which meant no drama and tons of support, respect, fun and jokes.

I loved that we valued each other more than finishing fast. During our second leg, we accidentally skipped an exchange. Instead of pointing fingers and getting angry, we were more concerned about leaving runner 1 hanging. Our van rule was to never let a runner wait at an exchange – that we’d rather arrive early and sit around than to let anyone wait.

Strong alone, unstoppable together.?? |

A photo posted by Julie Crombé (@juliecrombe) on

I was runner 3 (of 12) covering a total distance of 14.6 miles:

Leg 3: 7.1 miles, Very Hard – No van support

This leg was no joke and by far the most difficult because of distance, heat + direct sunlight, no support and static scenery. My mind wasn’t in the right place and despite listening to music, I found it difficult to distract myself. Three miles in I started to lose energy (only had a banana beforehand) and by mile 5, I hit a wall. I felt my form degrading; I eventually had to run-walk, averaging 1.5 mins more per mile than intended. It was my lowest point in the race but I channeled my emotions to fuel my next two legs.

Leg 15: 3.9 miles, Easy – No van support

This segment was a night time trail run with no support. The route was pitch black; I barely saw where I was running. It was a bit scary so to no surprise, this leg was my fastest. What stood out to me the most during this leg were the other runners. Almost every runner who passed me said nice words of encouragement and that motivated me to run faster. I even tried my hardest to road kill (aka. pass others) so I could pay it forward.

Scenic views while running are the best! | 04.02.16

A photo posted by Julie Crombé (@juliecrombe) on

Leg 27: 3.6 miles, Easy

My last run was my favorite. I trekked up a gradual incline at a decent pace along a breathtakingly scenic view of Encinitas’ coast line. My mind felt strong probably because I really wanted to be done but I saw it as progress. Throughout the race, I felt myself getting stronger even though I was more fatigued and sore.

Favorite moment

My team placed:

  • Open – Overall: 151 of 527
  • Open – Mixed: 52 of 239

Would I run Ragnar again? Yes, with the right people. In fact, I’m all signed up for Ragnar Northwest Passage in Washington coming up in July. Until then, I’ll be training for my next race which is Nike Women’s Half Marathon Mexico City in about two weeks.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.

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