1 Van, 2 Heel Drive, and 6 Women: Our Journey THROUGH Ragnar ( Part 2)

ragnar group

Oh what a night (and two days).

In a previous #safit blog, we discussed our upcoming Ragnar race. We shared our motivation for competing in this 12-person overnight relay race and promised to share what we had learned.  We returned from Las Vegas with so much to say about the experience that we are excited to share with you!

Ann Marie was inspired by the symbolism of our relay bracelet

In the relay race, you hand off an orange bracelet from one teammate to another.  I was so inspired by the words I would hear (from my team and from others) at the handoff point.  “Love you!”, “Crush it!”, and “You Got This!” were some of the commonly heard phrases.  No matter how fast or how slow, the message was the same—positive, uplifting and supportive.

amk teri handoff

Now she would like to hand off the orange bracelet one last time to members of the team to share their final Ragnar thoughts.

Rachel shared about the power of laughter during challenging moments:

Laughter is the best medicine

In a van full of six women on little to no sleep, fueled only by power bars and coconut water, almost anything can elicit a laugh. At 3:30am, every one of our team members likely felt as if they could host their own Comedy Central show, and for good reason…we were funny! Or at least we were to each other. And that’s what mattered. Taken out of context, our laughter, banter, and nonsensical conversations could have easily been misunderstood, analyzed too closely, or criticized by an outsider looking in. However, what’s special about Ragnar is the way this race brings out the every day, the natural, and the half-thoughts we all have. Performance during Ragnar is not about words, but about runs, and relationships are built on runners being themselves, embracing the “goofy,” and recognizing the beauty of people at their best, and most exhausted moments. It’s a unique transformation that happens with each passing mile and results in fun, authentic, and unanticipated moments. While I’d love to share these moments here, unfortunately, in Vegas what happens in the van stays in the van, but know this: these are the moments that mattered. They resulted in memories, new found friendships, and far too many things to chuckle about during my next rollercoaster run. Thanks for the comedy, Ragnar, and as always, thanks for the unanticipated.

Julie shared how a joke about running at night served as inspiration for her run:

How many lumens are in your light?

The Ragnar race requires that members of the team be prepared to run at night. To prepare, the organization requires that participants wear headlamps – specifically, with 70 lumens or more (more being better – mine had 185!!!). In essence, lumens describe the overall intensity of the light shining from any source – in our case, a headlamp.  Before this I had no idea what lumens were or why I would ever have to care about them.

Over the weekend there were continuing jokes about lumens. We specifically wondered how many lumens were in the moon or in the sun or in our glow in the dark necklaces. Through the jokes, we might have missed the symbolism of just how intense of a light each one of us was for one another in that moment.

The women on my Ragnar team are a light in my life and also a light for so many others. As I have personally experienced, the rays of light emanating from my teammates are always stunning and brilliant. Those rays lift me up, guide me, meet me at the beginning and the end of any challenge, and promise to be there always.

As with any goal, challenge, or our daily life it is important to surround ourselves with people who will illuminate our path and turn the dim and dull into bright and bold. The support we gave each other throughout this process, and the support from friends afar, reinforced the idea that the people in our lives are important and have an impact on our success.

My Ragnar take away: It’s important to remember the people who shine bright for you and do the same for them. You may ask yourself, how many lumens are in your light? And as our Ragnar headlamps proved, more is always better.Shine on.



Similar, Linda, shares her thoughts on finding and sustaining energy:

Ragnar Survival for an Introvert

For an introvert, 33 hours in a van is rather difficult. It was not because the company wasn’t outstanding or because the accommodations weren’t 5 star – but because regaining energy in my usual way was not possible. My various legs became the time for me to be alone with my thoughts and to regain the energy I needed to have for our team.

As the team captain I learned more than just how to lead a Ragnar, I also became aware of how powerful taking control over my thoughts and my energy can be. And as it turns out, if I was put in a position where I needed to gain my energy from others I’m am happy this was the group I was surrounded with.

As it is with all races and many of life’s adventures, you never really know until you’re in the midst of it all what you will learn, how you will surprise yourself, and how powerful it is to get through all that with a fantastic team by your side.

linda ragnar team

JPK talked about a challenging moment during the race.

TSwift to the Rescue!

 As the least-experienced organized race runner on our team, I was incredibly nervous. I had my gear, I’d trained for this, and my team was telling me to trust myself.  My first leg was fine, and I did well.  However, my second leg was 6.85 miles at night, and we were operating on about 2 hours of sleep.  I knew this was going to be a hard one for me.

The time came, and I cranked up my power song, got that slap bracelet from AMK, then did my thing.

I stared out fine as I ran down a sidewalk, but the sidewalk turned into gravel. I ran up an overpass at mile 3 that felt like I was climbing Mt. Everest.  My music started acting up and my interval timer failed. I almost tripped over a hubcap.  And then, it happened.

I turned a corner onto a horrendous two lane highway with no shoulder and was running on gravel/sand/hot mess, all the while dodging what I suspected to be intoxicated drivers (shocker for Las Vegas on a Friday night).  My frustration peaked, I had no van support (because there was no way they could park on that road!) and I became really angry.

I felt my spirit deflate as the anger dragged me down.  I was in danger of giving up.

Thank goodness for Taylor Swift, a Nike+ malfunction and no shame.

Suddenly, my playlist changed in the middle of a song.  My 80s metal was gone, and was abruptly replaced by Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off!”  I started laughing hysterically, and began “run dancing” (all you runners out there know exactly what that is), and my spirit was renewed.  Another runner looked at me as they ran past and said, “You got this!” and my shoulders felt lighter.  I got cheers on my Nike+ from someone I would later find out was my teammate, and all the anger was gone.  Smiling, laughing and run-dancing, the miles melted away, and suddenly the “one mile to go” sign was there.  I knew I was good, I finished that last mile, and found the exchange.

In reflecting on that experience, I know it wasn’t the anger that fueled me or made me go faster.  It was the silliness, the humor, the support from others and the confidence that comes from a positive frame of mind.  Run-dance on, my friends!

Teri expressed gratitude and issued a challenge, too!

Support, Accomplishment and Digging Deep

6 women with different goals, yet all with the willingness to do.

Results: Success, friendship & joy.

Special shout outs:

  1. Thank you all our supporters who sent messages of encouragement, humor & love!

2.To our 6 pack team: Dani & the Feds- thank you for your service and your positive energy!

Invitation to all those reading this: Join us…you can do it. #safit

teris quote

Speaking of Teri’s challenge, we invite you to consider joining a Ragnar team. We knew that besides the fact that we adore each other and knew we could spend 33 hours in a van together, we also knew that if we could finish this, we could also inspire others to share in the same type of adventure. We know how important and valuable we all are in one another’s fitness journey. So join us — The members of #TwoHeel Drive are looking at three races right now and we invite you to join our van or create your own team!  Ragnar Las Vegas (November 2015), Ragnar Cape Cod (May 2015) and Ragnar Florida Keys (2016).  Interested?  Contact any member of #2HeelDrive.

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