Run | Laugh | Eat | Repeat

What’s So Great About Ragnar Tennessee?

on October 27, 2013

Ragnar Relay Tennessee. 1 team. 2 vans. 12 runners. 196 miles from Chattanooga to Nashville.

What’s so great about Ragnar?

1. The weather and scenery. Could they have picked a better time of year than the end of October to run through the Tennessee countryside? No.

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2. Counting RoadKills. Especially if your van decides to only mark the “positive” kills and ignore the negatives.

3. The creativity and humor of the van paint/decorations. This was one of my personal favorites that we saw along the way:

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4. Living off of CLIF bars, PowerBar gels, Gatorade, and trail mix.

5. Sleeping in curled up positions you never even knew were possible.

6. Getting honked at and cheered for by not only your team, but other passing vans as well. The fun and encouraging spirit of Ragnar is incredible!

7. The transition from first few legs when everyone gets out of the van and celebrates, to the last legs when the runner is on his/her own and the rest of the team stays curled up half asleep in the van.

8. Monteagle Mountain. What a challenge. (I had the pleasure to be runner #7 this year. That is a run I will never forget. I will also never forget the support I received from my team and the tears I shed before this run. “It feels like we’re sending you off to college!”)

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9. And, the feeling of running 5.3 miles up the mountain in less than an hour and having jello legs the rest of the relay.

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10. The jokes, stories, and laughter shared the whole way in the van. No radio necessary.

11. Openly talking about bodily functions. Because that’s what runners do. You can’t go for a long run with a full stomach or bladder. Come on.

12. Running in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere. There’s something to be said about running down a lonely country road in Tullahoma, blaring your music to drown out the howling coyotes, with no ability to see anything besides the 10 foot path lit up by your headlamp. That’s when you find out who you really are.

13. Flat ground after those unexpected hills.

14. Changing clothes in a porta-potty using your phone as a flashlight. Ragnar might be the only time I’m perfectly fine with setting my clothes down on the floor of a porta-potty. Anything goes. I even had a few scares where I caught my sports bra just in time before it fell into the abyss of blue water and who knows what.

15. Being so proud of your teammates for crossing Ragnar off of their bucket lists.

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16. The salad bar with iceberg lettuce and stale toppings that wouldn’t be worth the money on a normal occasion, but somehow after running all day it tastes like the best meal of your entire life.

17. The few big exchanges where both vans meet up.

18. Panicking more about what to wear during the run than about the actual run itself.

19. Those two or three precious hours of relaxation (and maybe even sleep) while the other van runs.

20. The complete fatigue during the last leg where it takes everything in you to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

21. This sign.

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22. The Reeves Sain Painkillers. Everyone thinks that their team is the best, but really…my team actually IS the best. I have never met a more supportive, fun, exciting, motivating, loving bunch of people than our 12 runners and 1 amazing driver. I am so blessed to be a part of this group.

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23. Getting back into the warm van after running 6 miles in 28 degree weather.

24. The last-minute scramble of trying to find a headlamp.

25. The pizza and beer at the finish line in Nashville.

26. Sweaty hugs.

27. The Van 2 Vixens.

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28. Not knowing what day it is. Or caring.

29. Wishing so badly to be at the finish line but when you get there, wanting nothing more than to do it all over again.

30. Moments when you can’t decide if you love running or if you never want to put on your running shoes again. The answer is always love.

31. The reminder that hard work and challenging yourself is ALWAYS the path to life’s most wonderful adventures.

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