Ragnar Trail Appalachians West Virginia
My second time running a Ragnar Trail race! I originally was not planning on doing this race, but there were a few last minute drop outs and I was offered a spot on a team so I joined! I had a really good time running Ragnar Trail Richmond back in April so I was excited to see what West Virginia had in store for us!
Let me reiterate a little from my last Ragnar post for those who have not heard of a Ragnar Trail Race. Ragnar Trail is an all day and night team relay race. Two days and two nights of camping out in the great outdoors and best of all, RUNNING! Teams consist of 8 people. Each of us had to run the red, yellow and green loop for a total of around 15 miles (usually a little more). Everyone runs all day and night until each team member completes each of the three different trail loops. Although my team was short a person, we had to make up the extra legs!
This race was located in Big Bear Lake Camplands out in the Appalachians. I had to take off of work that Friday and carpooled up with friends Thursday night. It was around a 4 hour drive and thankfully we had people who arrived earlier and had tents set up already because we arrived pretty late.
The next morning it started pouring and thundering. Our campsite started to flood a little bit and the start of the race got postponed. I was starting to worry because I had heard about the horror stories from last year’s race with how miserable everyone was in the rain. My teams start time was not until 1pm so I had some time to kill hoping the rain would clear up by then. I mostly hung out in my tent and caught up on some reading.
When the rain cleared up, I walked around Ragnar Village and bought myself a nice Appalachians Finisher t-shirt. I attempted to sample a pair a Salomon shoes, but they did not have any in my size so I just stuck with my own pair.
This was the location of how we knew when our teammate was close to finishing. We would stand here and monitor the TV screen. Once our team name came up on the screen this meant that our teammate was close to coming in and it was our turn to run. Then we would make our way to the start to receive the bib and press on.
Here is a map and schedule of the events.
Like Ragnar Trail Richmond, I did not know anyone on my team prior to joining. I joined another Team RWB (Red, White & Blue) group (teamrwb.org). I decided to be the 4th runner in our group and started off with the green loop. I did not start my first leg until around 3 in the afternoon and it was killing me waiting around all day to run! When I started my run my belt ended up breaking and I had to tie it in a knot in order for it to stay on my waist. I had my phone with me to listen to music so I was able to text my teammate to get a new belt for us.
The humidity was absolutely killer out there! My heart was pounding with what seemed like minimal effort while I was running. The green loop was pretty straight forward and I did not have any problems at all (besides the belt breaking).
I hung around my tent and Ragnar village before my next run. I was running the red red loop next which was the hardest out of the three. I was a little anxious for this leg because I had to run this one at night and did not start till around 10pm. I had 2 head lamps with me, but the lighting in them was so terrible I could barely see 2 feet out in front of me! It was very nerve racking running the most difficult trail in the middle of the night with severely reduced visibility. I did my best to keep my eyes on the ground to make sure I did not trip over anything because I could not afford to sprain my ankle or anything worse!
The red loop was 6.5 miles long and had some elevation to it as seen in the graph poster earlier. There were a few times I had to stop to crawl down some rocks. My shoes got really dirty running through the mud. There were many times when I would jump down not realizing if I was landing on the ground or in a huge mud pile. It was very unavoidable with how dark it was out there. This was by far my slowest loop out of the three, but I am glad I played it safe out here and did not trip or fall!
It is actually kind of fun running the trails at night. Not something I get to do very often so it was nice to do something different and to feel safe about it.
I could not believe how bad the humidity was even in the middle of the night! When I finished my run my shirt was completely drenched in sweat. I had to hang up my clothes to dry and had to run in something else during my last leg. I headed straight to bed after my run because my team was on a roll and I knew it would be my turn soon.
My last leg was the yellow loop. I started my last and final run at around 5am and it will still completely dark out. I heard this leg was the prettiest out of the three and by golly I could not agree more! I had the opportunity of watching the sunrise through one of the most perfect tree lines I had ever seen.
They even had a photographer hidden in the trees to capture this special moment for me! Funny Story, I was scrolling through my instagram and I saw this picture with an inspirational quote and I liked it. I had to do a double take and look back at it again because I did not realize it was me!
Not only that, I even got to run past a scenic overlook!
My team finished pretty early that morning and we received our handy dandy multi-tool medals!
Team RWB representing!
After the results were posted I could not believe we got 3rd in our category and 6th place overall!! Boy my team was flying!! Just a few more weeks till the Ragnar DC Road Race! Looking forward to that double Mudslinger Medal!