To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ragnar With RR Survival Tips!

I'm in denial that the whole Ragnar So Cal 2014 experience is over. Before writing actual posts about the running, I've compiled a list of tips and things I've learned in order to have a successfully fun Ragnar experience!  *In photos RR is for Rum Runners, although a bonus that they are my initials, too!

The start of MINIvan decorating.
Get a BIG van. A minivan works, our team is living proof of that … but seriously, do NOT choose to use a minivan. Imagine this, if you will … 6 adults, each of whom have run 2 times already without a shower, all trying to sleep in the minivan at the same time. Not a pretty sight!

If you are travelling in a van with myself, Man Friend and Tara – be prepared for pure sarcasm and nonsense to come out of our mouths almost all the time. If we pronounce El Cajon as El Cajun – it’s not because we can’t read…. It’s 100% on purpose! And it will never get old for us to do it, consider yourself warned.

Keeping MF hydrated on the run!
Bring a Sharpie to mark your water bottles. We had tons of partially empty bottles laying around because nobody could remember whom they belonged to. Pretty sure I stole Garth's water after my first leg just because it happened to be in my line of sight and I was thirsty. Team Bonding!

A way to stay hydrated? Make “Rag Mag” a drinking game. Every time you hear “Rag Mag” take a drink of water or whatever you prefer to hydrate with!

So Cal seems to really care about status. Status is just material and a state of mind. Ignore it and you’ll be just fine!

Go in the ocean!! It might not feel tropical, but you are in Southern California with beaches as far as the eye can “sea” ~ take advantage. The cold water actually felt really nice on my legs and it was “boatloads” of fun!

Sleeping is pretty much hardly even optional. When you are trying to sleep there WILL be vans coming and going next to you and those runners will be talking, so just don’t talk in your own van to try to keep at least a small bit of quiet. Did you know Jamie feels a little hurt and has a blister? I know that, I learned that in my first attempt at sleeping. Fine – just don’t even bother pretending to try to sleep during the daylight hours. It’s not going to happen.

Tagging. It is a must, if you want to be one of the cool kids. Tagging was the best part of the whole race! Hardly anything is off limits – sorry elevator. ;)

Have at least one totally laid back guy in your van. Check! (Thank you, Garth!)

Have at least one totally silly, obnoxious guy in your van. Check!  (Thank you, Man Friend!)

You’re probably not going to eat all that food you are bringing. So don’t overbuy. And don’t bury all of your food and drinks. It’s hard to hydrate when you have to unpack the entire back area just to get to the water.

Be FUN!!! Ragnar is not serious. Relax, have a sense of humor, go with the flow, goof off, tag vans, wear a costume if you want. Have the spirit of fun! We had clappers, pom poms, a sword, pirate hats, eye patches, flags, heck we even had a parrot!

Tara is ready to High 5!
High five people cheering you on! I high fived the heck out of people on 2/3 of my runs – and I only didn't do it on run #2 because it was completely dark and the only people out were fellow runners and vans driving to their next exchange… so no opportunity. But yeah, put your hand out and I will be reaching for it, it always puts a bounce in my step!

And you know what else is good for lifting the spirits? Seeing your van’s tag on another team van when you are running. I was pushing through my final leg and trying to keep my spirits up, and what do you know, a van went by with a huge RR right across the back. Boom! We did that. Awesome!

Once you stop sweating, change your clothes. I used my Chawel (and looked like a pillow case) to change and it was so freaking simple. I never felt disgusting the entire race because I was constantly in fresh clothes. Mentally I think that helped me survive the close quarters! ---and the other 5 in your van will appreciate your effort to change and not stink!

My Chawel - a life saver!
Your van WILL stink. Fact.

Have a sheet with everybody’s phone numbers on it (big font!) where all can access and read it. It’s hard to communicate with your other van if you don’t have a way to do it.

Have a big group meet up or dinner the night before the race so you can at least meet the other half of your team before you all start running.

You’ll get sick of the Rag Mag (take a drink!!), and when you do – just follow the runners. On a few occasions we just followed intuition, and runners, and got to the exchange with no problem. Relax! It’s the key to having a fun, successful Ragnar experience!

And with relaxing know this, the course very well might change without you knowing it until it happens. My first leg ended up being about a half mile longer than expected, and the first runner had his leg cut short by half a mile. No biggie, things change…. It’s all part of the adventure!
Whoa, time to start! Adjusting to a surprise course adjustment!
Last.... Hug the signs! -- Do a Ragnar and it will all make sense! *And with that, maybe bring a soft blanket. I had mine and it was my BFF for a few hours!

Thank you, Ragnar, for selling comfy pants!


  1. Ragnar is another thing I'll leave to the cool kids. Every year I'm asked by several people to join their teams, but the prospect of staying up all night with a bunch of people just doesn't appeal to me. I was never one for all-night parties in Vegas either. I get cranky and irked at other people. That said, I'm glad other people get so much enjoyment out of it!

    1. I'll happily run Ragnar for ya then! And as for Vegas --- I go all the time, and never do I stay out and party. I swear I went to bed before my 87 year old grandpa did when we were there last week!

  2. Something I haven't wrapped myself around yet

    1. As smelly as it sounds -and no way to shower or ever have a moment of privacy - it really IS a ton of fun! The running is the easy part!


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