Ragnar Chicago 2015

Ragnar Chicago has come and gone again. It always amazes me how it seems like it is forever away when you register and then it sneaks up on you and is over. It was another fantastic adventure. No two years are the same. Year five brought rain, and lots of it. Thankfully rain is just water and I survived it and it cleared up for my other two legs.

Team [REDACTED] was a good mix of veteraned and new Ragnarians, which was fun. We picked up the van on Thursday evening and started assembling Van 1. The vans were a bit different this year and by a bit different I mean ginormous.

Giant Van: The Beast
Giant Van: The Beast
So gian in fact, I could stand on the seat on my head didn't touch the ceiling.
So giant, in fact, I could stand on the seat and my head didn’t touch the ceiling.

The giggles began before we left Milwaukee and lasted all the way to Madison. We have fun with this and at this point I wasn’t even thinking about the 16 miles I had to run. Instead we checked into the hotel and immediately crossed the street to find beer. Clearly we wanted to talk to each other.

Team Bonding!
Team Bonding!

Race morning came quickly and the first thing I did was peek out the window and it wasn’t raining! As runner 1 this was pretty exciting to me. We got dressed and out the door fairly quickly and then had to drive across town because the “official” race hotel was no where near the start. The rain started as we were parking so we grabbed jackets and umbrellas and went to check in. The rain picked up as we were standing in line and as we were watching the new safety video. It was strong enough I can only conclude they didn’t actually do our safety check because of the rain.

Van 1: Ready to go!
Van 1: Ready to go!

At this point I had to shed layers and leave my umbrella to wait for the start. I was surprised by the number of runners who ran in ponchos. That seems uncomfortable to me, but to each their own. I’ve run in rain before, but nothing like this. I was completely soaked very quickly and my shoes started to get heavy and then heavier. I stupidly wore my more cushioned shoes because it was my longest leg. I regret this decision. There was a bitch of a hill at mile 1.25 which I wasn’t expect, but then it wasn’t too bad. There was a point we were supposed to be on a “trail or path” but it was pure mud and there was no traction. It wasn’t a fast 6 miles or what I’ve been running at, but it was done.

Hand off #1 to Jen
Hand off #1 to Jen

I quickly changed in to dry clothes as I didn’t want to freeze. It was fine running, but I knew I would get cold quickly. It was fun to be runner 1 and to start the race. I just go to sit around and eat and cheer for my team after that. We were getting updates from Van 2 and looking forward to meeting them in Lake Mills. I had not actually met most of Van 2 until we got there. I also had big shopping plans. I spent too much at the merch tent, but don’t regret it. I found all kinds of friends there as well. It’s really fun to know so many people on so many different teams. After our runner came in we went straight to out Ragnar lunch place, Water Street Brewery in Delafield and then to naptime in Wales. It ended up being a nice afternoon to lie around. I didn’t sleep, but rested. And before I knew it, it was my turn again.

Dan V handing off to me
Dan V handing off to me

My second leg had perfect weather. It wasn’t cold, hot, humid, or sunny. I was able to fly and am still over the moon with my pace for these 4.2 miles. I just kept trucking along and passed the bracelet on to Jen again.

This was my third year in a row being in Van 1 so everything looks familiar as you are driving along the course and coming  into exchange zones. Although we got to one of the exchanges and realized it had been moved from one end of the parking lot to the other. No big deal, just threw us off a little. Once we made it to Martin Luther High School we chatted shortly with Van 2 and said our goodbyes so we could go sleep. They changed up exchange 24 this year so instead of sleeping on a soccer field at the YMCA, wpid-wp-1434547686932.jpegRagnar set up tents on the beach in Racine. I did sleep, some, but as I whined during the event, Van 2 was fast, which meant very little sleep for us and I was off running again at 3:00am. We have never started our last legs before sunrise before. I also had yet to run in the dark. My leg wasn’t very well marked, but I thankfully had done a screenshot of the directions. I did get high fives from a couple drunks in Racine. I just kept trucking forward watching the blinky lights of other runners ahead of me. I ran in some light mist and handed off to Jen telling her how humid and warm it was. About thirty minutes later it started downpouring on her. Van 2 texted us there was thunder and lightening in North Chicago so we were very careful to stay close to our runners while the weather was still bad. Fortunately the rain slowed and we made our way to Exchange 30 to find Van 2. Their energy level was not the same as other times we had met with them, but it was their turn to run so we watched Dan W hand off to Todd.

In Dan's words
In Dan’s words “Denny’s never tasted better. And probably never will.”

We went to breakfast. We ate and headed to the finish line. This year Ragnar had no parking for us so it was first come first serve to park The Beast. It wasn’t as bad as I expected. We parked, loaded up the beer and sunscreen and headed to the finish, but not without first taking a picture of us with the Chicago skyline. We found Mo’s team and hung out for awhile until they finished. I had a glorious finish line beer and we waited for Van 2 to get there. They brought Dan V’s shirt so we all finished together in our matching shirts. It was a great adventure and as always I loved it!

Foggy Chicago
Van 1: Foggy Chicago
Team [REDACTED]
Team [REDACTED]
2015 Medal
2015 Medal
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Ragnar Relay Series: Together we ran 200ish Miles

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10 Days ’til Ragnar

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I don’t really know where time went or how this snuck up on me, but my countdown widget tells me Ragnar Chicago is in 10 days! This will be year number five for me which seems crazy, but it’s my fifth summer in Wisconsin so I guess it makes sense.

Ragnar 2015 is another new adventure and I can’t wait. Once again it is a team full of new and old friends. We are team [REDACTED] and you can follow the shenanigans on twitter: @LikeAREDACTED. The good news is I do feel ready and have gotten in enough miles since returning from Italy. I am runner 1 this year and look forward to starting in Madison. Bring on the cheeseballs and no sleep!

Will we see you out there?