On May 12-13, I was part of an 8 person group that took turns running through trails near Zion National Park. Yes, there are crazy people who voluntarily run miles through the desert at odd hours of the day for fun. 😉 A few weeks before the race, a friend reached out to me asking if I wanted to join their team, because they were short one person. In those weeks leading up to the race my emotions ranged from excited to do something new with my friends to crazy terrified that I’d fail or break myself or something crazy would happen (because I’m not the most graceful person). We ended up having a super fun time and we placed 15th out of 313 teams (despite me dragging down my teams average pace 😜)
A few things I learned and will hopefully remember for next time:
- You won’t sleep enough. Of course, you might have guessed that, but really, I didn’t realize just how little I’d get. Between my runs, I tried to sleep, but often woke in a panic, wondering if I’d missed my next turn.
- Eating is hard when you need to run so much. I typically run in the morning on a mostly empty stomach, but when you have to run multiple times in a 24 hour period, you need to fuel your body without feeling too full, and you need to be aware of foods that might not sit well in this sort of scenario. I had my first ever shot blocks, but also tried to eat normal things like bananas and nut butter. ALSO, you don’t want to et caught in a situation where you need to go to the bathroom on the course (you’ll get disqualified, too).
- I’m so glad I brought a change of clothes for each run. There wasn’t enough time between runs for my clothes to fully dry, so having extra outfits was amazing. Especially socks.
- It’s super fun! We dressed up and didn’t take ourselves too seriously. I started with a bunch of doubt and fear, but my teammates were super sweet, and I couldn’t be happier with how much we as a group cheered each other on.
Some things I would have changed if I were in charge of the whole event…
- Don’t call it “Zion” because it’s not actually in Zion. It's near Zion.
- Try to keep track of where teams set up camp so that people who don’t arrive together can find each other because there's practically no cell reception.
- Don’t break down the event the instant people stop running. There were s’mores the night before we got there and the night that we were running, but not the night when everyone had finished! Seems a little crazy to me - all other races I’ve done make it feel like a party once everyone is done! Instead it felt like a ghost town. Maybe other Ragnar events do it differently, but this was pretty strange to me.
Anyway… We kicked butt, had fun, and did get to drive through Zion National Park when we went back home 😍