Wow. What an incredible weekend.
There’s so much to describe about the 189 mile relay race from Hull to Provincetown that was Ragnar Relay Cape Cod, so I’m going to split this race recap into a few different posts so that I can try to cover it all.
My mom and I ended up joining our running club’s team at the very last minute, so Thursday was a flurry of packing, digging up reflective vests and baking homemade energy bars.
Our start time wasn’t until 1:30 on Friday, but my mom and I were both in the second van so neither of us actually ran until after 7 pm Friday. Nevertheless, we made the drive down to Hull with the other 4 runners in our van (usually vans hold 6 runners, but we were down a runner so our van only had 5) to cheer on the other half of our team.
It was a gorgeous day, but much colder and breezier than it had been inland, and it immediately became clear that we were going to have to bundle in sweatshirts and sweatpants when we weren’t running.
Our team name was Sugar Time and we decorated our van with a variety of fierce-looking sugar cubes and some choice lyrics from Maroon 5’s song, “Sugar”. We also had a ton of magnets with our team name which we had fun surreptitiously sticking on other vans along the way.
- Chafin’ the Dream
- The Young and the Rest of Us
- Off like A Prom Dress
- Your Pace or Mine
- House of Carbs
Around 6 pm, our first van finished up and it was our turn! Our first runner, Bob, headed out for 9.8 miles. We leapfrogged him in the van, bringing him water at a few places along the route. Then it was my mom’s turn for 8.1 miles. By then it was dusk, and she got to suit up in a reflective vest, blinking lights, and a headlamp.
It was sometime around 8 when my turn rolled around. This first leg was just 3.6 miles, so not too bad. The only challenge was that it was now very dark, and fog had rolled in. Still, I was pretty excited that it was finally my turn. 🙂 I warmed up, stretched a little, and waited at the exchange point when my mom suddenly appeared out of the darkness. She passed me the slap bracelet and I was off!
My first mile or so was a nice, long downhill. With that awesome boost and all the adrenaline, I ended up running it MUCH faster than I had intended. Still, I was pretty much in 5k-mode. The dark definitely had me a little nervous though, even with my headlamp. For the first mile and a half or so, I tried to keep up with another runner who was in front me simply because I didn’t want to get lost, but she pulled away after a while. Just before the 2 mile point of my run, I came to a sign marked ‘left’, which pointed directly into a field. I could see that the road itself did veer to the left a little up ahead, but then I thought I remembered the description saying something about running across a field (turns out I was just remembering the name of the road – Forges Field Road). So with no other runners around me and no one to ask, I tried to start running into this field.
It quickly became apparent that there was no trail in this field and that the ground was uneven and pockmarked with holes. I was confused and stressed out and annoyed, until I remembered the Ragnar app I had downloaded that had maps of each leg with a blue blinking dot indicating where you were along the map. I headed back to the road and started running along it again and quickly saw from the app that I was back on course. Phew. [If you’re running a Ragnar Relay, DEFINITELY DOWNLOAD THE APP!!!]
Finally, I was running into the next exchange point and my first leg was over.
Average pace: 8:11/mile. (While this was an awesome time for me, I was a little grumpy because I knew I lost time when I got confused about the course.) I also don’t know how I feel about night running… While it felt cool sometimes to be running alone through the night, I got really nervous anytime a car had to drive past me, even with all my blinking reflective gear.
Once I finished, our next runner, Jay (the team captain), headed out to run the next 2 legs – 17 miles in the total dark. He was incredible, never complaining, and running REALLY REALLY fast.
It was probably around 10:30/11 when our last runner, Kim set off down the Cape Cod Canal trail and across the Bourne Bridge through the fog. I would not have wanted to run 5 miles at this hour, but she was in great spirits and absolutely nailed it.
After she finished, we traded off with van 2 and headed to the next exchange area to *try* to get some sleep.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this Ragnar Relay Cape Cod Race Recap!
Have you ever run late at night? Did you enjoy it?