I haven’t started this before because I honestly don’t even know where to start! I finished my Ragnar last weekend and I’ve spent the past week being completely exhausted. So much happened in such a short time, I can’t figure out what’s important and what’s not. Here are the basics of what we did ahead and what we packed.
- We ordered 2 vans for the race. We got two 15 passenger vans, but the seats were all the way to the back. Next time I’ll have them take out the back rows of seats, because organizing things with no “trunk” space was nearly impossible. But other than that, it was fairly easy.
- I reserved 3 rooms in Lancaster at the Days Inn through booking.com and I will tell you that I will never stay at another Days Inn and I will never use booking.com again. When we got there, they did not have our reservations. We ended up sleeping in 3 rooms with King sized beds instead of the 2 queens in each that we had reserved. On top of that they then double charged my card for 6 rooms and neither Days Inn nor booking.com has been willing to help me. I’m in the process of disputing the charges for the second set of 3 rooms, but the whole thing is a logistical nightmare.
- We ordered Shirts and Magnets for tagging vans. We got the shirts from Customink.com and the magnets from printrunner.com Our awesome teammates designed the shirts and I stole the design for the magnets as well.
- We couldn’t agree on the food situation. Nothing terrible but Van 1 gravitated toward sharing and Van 2 wanted a more bring your own approach. I bought a few things to share with van 1 -PB&J, chocolate milk, cold coffee drinks, Gatorade, water, pretzels, hummus and probably a few other things. Debbie in our van brought Nutella and banana bread which was pretty awesome. Other people brought other things and shared as well.
- Packing! I packed 3 running outfits in ziplock bags. Then I put PJs in a ziplock bag, safety and other gear in a small pack (I used the free one from the Pittsburgh Half Marathon) and “warm” clothes in an old plastic bag that I had to check gear from some race in the past. I stuck all of that in a duffel. That worked pretty well overall, and would have been even better if we had some trunk room.
- We had a cooler in the van, but we could have utilized it better. We had a little food and some drinks, but I think because of the aforementioned lack of trunk space we had some issues.
- We used chalk markers to mark up and decorate the van.
- We, of course, had Nick the T-Rex.
- We started a Whatsapp group message the day before. Actually we started several. A team one, and then each van had their own message going. We were pretty good about keeping everyone up to date on things.
Some things I learned:
- Never ever use booking.com again
- Liz is always right! She took a look at our original pace calculator and saw that people were not putting in accurate 10K paces. Ragnar makes adjustments for you, so use what your 10K pace actually is, not what you think that you will be running because of the elevation. I put an accurate pace in and mine was pretty close to spot on. Liz did some Strava stalking and asked me about paces so she could adjust ours to be more accurate and we still finished HOURS ahead of what was projected. Trust the pace calculator and put in an accurate pace.
- Bring a tent– I was on the fence and decided not to bring a tent because I thought the set up take down wouldn’t be worth it. I do think since I have a simple tent to set up, that it would have be nice to sleep in at night. It was too cold and buggy or too hot and buggy to sleep outside and I had bruises for a week after sleeping on the seat belts.
- Van 1 Forever! – I liked starting early and being done early. I think I would have been stir crazy in Van 2
- There is no such thing as too many lights at night. It’s could be really dark on your night leg. Someone told me they saw me from a mile away and that’s exactly what I wanted. I had brought extra to share, and did share, but I had a headlamp, flashlight, and 3 blinky lights in addition to my reflective vest.
- Plan food after your van is done. We all got hangry and needed caffeine and had trouble finding a suitable place.
- Know yourself – I was so sure I was going to be upset that I didn’t get to sleep over in Lancaster, but honestly I wanted to get home to my family and my bed so I was happy to leave a few hours after we finished. This was especially true since we were at the finish line for quite a while before the last runner came in.
That’s all for now, I might do a recap of the actual race, but I think I’m overwhelmed by the enormity of it all!