RECAP: Ragnar Sunset Seattle

The medals form a SUPER MEDAL!

Just last month, some fun gals from my running group asked me if I was free on September 11, as there was an opening on their Ragnar Team for the Sunset Seattle event. Having never done a Ragnar event, I was intrigued, so agreed, and I am so glad that I did!

WHAT IS A RAGNAR RELAY?

The origin story of Ragnar is interesting! It all began with one relay (188 miles), but within a decade, the format became more solidified, with 200 mile road courses being the most common, with teams of 4-12 runners shuttling, running and inching from start to finish over the course of around two days. As Ragnar popularity grew, more event types and locations were offered, and today, there are opportunities to join countless relay, trail relay, sprint, and even “Sunset” versions of the event, which we did today.

Our little basecamp!

The format of the Sunset event is simple: a loop course of approximately 31 miles is split over eight legs (which can be tackled by regular (4 person) or ultra (2 person) teams that alternate to complete the distance “before sunset.” With COVID regulations, this was definitely achievable with a variety of staggered start times, and plenty of outside social distancing as each team sets up their own base camp, complete with canopy tents, chairs, and whatever BYO snacks you want!

Bonus for us? We arrived early enough to pick out a great spot to set up right near our other fun running group friends, so we had a row of fantastic tent space and lots of pals to chat with.

This was definitely a great way to initiate myself into the Ragnar lifestyle, and I had a blast running it!

MY LEGS

Before the start

In your team, you decide amongst yourselves how you’d like to start your runners. All my teammates, as experienced Ragnarians, had some strategy and preferences, so we went with Mande as our starter, for a speedy kick off, followed by Camille, Tammi, then me to bring it in.

Last section of last leg!

The loop turned out to be about 3.4 miles of mixed terrain – grassy field, some rooty trail, some sidewalk, and some park paved path. The course was never too crowded, which was nice, and it featured some nice up and down smooth rolling hills.

To ensure smooth transitions, we made a plan of texting the group when we had about 1 mile left to run, therein the group would move to the transition tent, and have the next runner ready to go. Between runs, we hung out at our tent, browsed the festival area (there were a few vendors and a big merch shop) and snacked.

My first loop felt a bit tough! In effort to keep up my marathon training schedule, I rescheduled my long run to Friday (yesterday) so I wasn’t sure how I might run today.

Starting out, it felt very warm, and I had to get my footing – the first quarter mile was a grassy field, with some worn down packed dirt areas. I passed a few runners, and felt more at ease once I completed the first mile. From there, it clicked a bit better, I got my breathing more evened out, and I completed my first loop in 27:25 (8:02 pace).

After more hang time, it was my turn again before I knew it!

As the last runner, I’d meet my team at an orange arch right before running in, so we could finish together. So, I did my best to hit an even pace once again, and though I felt a bit tired from the earlier leg, I was running on excitement for completing our relay, so I was able to get through that second loop on some happy fumes, and as I turned the last major corner, running past the Lake Sammamish Beach on one side, and the event area on the other, I sped down to path to greet my teammates, who handed me my matching red shirt, and we all proceeded to the finish chute together! My second loop was 28:41 (8:22 pace) which included my outfit change and our minor hold up as we allowed some space for a team adjacent to us to finish before us, but we definitely beat the sunset, so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

FINISHERS!

It was such a fun feeling to cross together, and as soon as we finished up, we proceeded to the medal table (my teammates are all rockstars who were earning the DOUBLE DARE!!) and then to the finish photo area. (P.S. the photographer was SO funny and he made us laugh despite how tired we were, so kudos to him).

After that, we headed to our basecamp to change, then break down, pack up, and head home.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed my first stint into the Ragnar world, and am so lucky to have been initiated so kindly by Veteran Ragnarians. I don’t know when I might try even more of these (my race schedule depending), but today was a great day to jump right in!

SPECIAL THANKS

Special thanks to my whole awesome team! Extra shout outs to Mande for carpooling with me to Tammi’s, Tammi for driving us all to the site (along with incredible truck loading and unloading expertise!!), Camille for heading up the team, and Leslie and Lisa, our extended teammates ❤

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