Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ragnar Cape Cod

This past weekend I ran my first Ragnar Relay with 12 other incredible women as team Flock You Like a Hurricane.  It was by far one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

It will be hard to put the weekend in to words, but I'll do my best.  The journey began last fall when I saw rumblings on twitter about Ragnar Cape Cod and putting together a potential team from some Oiselle team members.  I immediately responded that I was interested.  Eventually a team was formed and before I knew it I was signed up to run a Ragnar Relay.  Holy crap.  I was a little hesitant about it for a while because I knew I was going to South Korea the week before and wasn't sure if I'd be recovered enough, and more importantly, if I would be able to get the time off work.  Many thanks to my boss, I was able to make it happen.  

I headed down to Logan Airport Thursday afternoon to pick up MelissaAliDanielle, and Carolyn.  Lindsay was supposed to join us too but her flight was delayed multiple times, so she didn't make it to Mass until that night.  We had dinner scheduled in Plymouth at Mamma Mia's to meet most of the other members of the team (RebeccaAnne, Amy, and our fearless team captain, Stacey), talk about a few logistics, and eat a bunch of carbs in preparation for the weekend.

Flock You Like a Hurricane taking over Plymouth
After dinner, we picked Lindsay up at a bus stop, and then headed down to Stacey's house.  Van 2 started and finished day 1 close to Stacey's home and she was gracious enough to let us all camp out there (thank you times a million, Stacey!!).  After some relaxation, talking, and a glass of wine, we retired to our beds to hopefully get a good nights sleep before the shenanigans began.

Friday morning we woke up, enjoyed a nice breakfast, and coffee (sorry van 1), went to pick up the van, and some last minute necessities.  Then it was time to decorate the van with markers, and ourselves with tattoos.  We loaded everything up and were on our way to Duxbury Beach to meet the other van at the first major exchange.  I started to get really excited since it was almost our time to run.  The beach was filled with white vans, porta potties and people ready to run.  We were debriefed, and then walked over to the exchange to wait for Melissa to finish leg 6 and hand off the snap bracelet to Lindsay for van 2's first time to shine. 


van 2 ready to take over

reunited at the first major exchange
Melissa passing the torch (err snap bracelet) to Lindsay
Once we left the beach we made our way out on to the course to cheer for Lindsay and the other runners in van 2.  I didn't realize how much fun jumping in and out of the van multiple times along the way could be.  It was so much fun cheering for and supporting my teammates.  Being a part of a team is something I have been missing recently.  I was runner 9, so my first run was the shortest of the 3.  I was excited to get started but had a blast cheering while I waited for my turn.  

amazing teammates   
My first leg said it was 3.6 miles easy, but it ended up being just over 3.  I felt strong from the team energy but tried to hold back a little because I knew I had a long road ahead of me.  My average pace was 8:25 for those 3ish miles.  After my leg we stopped for coffee, continued to cheer our butts off, and eventually found ourselves at the second major exchange around 8:00pm, ready to pass the bracelet back to van 1.  

if you're in Mass and spot a Marylou's...go.  you won't regret it.

go team, go
After we finished our first legs, Stacey was once again so generous and welcomed us go back to her house to eat dinner, shower, and try to sleep for a couple of hours before we had to head back out.  I think I slept maybe an hour and woke up around midnight to pack our stuff and go meet van 1.  It was tough trying to get moving, but exciting too.  I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous about running in the middle of the night, but I actually had a lot of fun.  Between the hours of 6:30pm and 6:00am we weren't allowed to yell and cheer loudly.  I must say, we perfected the art of cheering quietly.  My second leg was 5.6 miles and I averaged an 8:40 pace.  It took a couple miles to feel like my body was completely awake, but once I got going I enjoyed the dark run much more than I thought I would.  

We met van 1 at the next exchange and then drove to the following exchange located at a school to try to get some sleep in the gym or van around 5:30am.  I ended up staying in the van and curling up on the back seat.  At that point I was so tired anything looked comfortable.  I managed to sleep for an hour or so.  When I woke up my stomach was not feeling very well and I was actually pretty nervous for the next couple of hours.  After multiple bathroom trips, Lindsay was kind enough to offer me some immodium, which seemed to do the trick. 

We regained the snap bracelet from van 1 close to 10am and were once again on our way for our third and final legs.  This was the leg I was most nervous for.  I had my longest and most difficult leg that was 7.6 miles.  My legs felt tired from the start, but I gave it my all.  It was so motivating to see my teammates who stopped to cheer and offer water while I was running.  As they beeped and cheered when they drove by I found motivation to keep going and keep pushing.  I thought over and over how they had all worked so hard before me and I wanted to do the same for them.  I finished the run with and 8:38 average pace, a ton of confidence, and an appreciation for teammates that I've never felt before.  

the end is in sight

The relay finished in Provincetown and as we drove down the road to the finish I started to feel sad that it was almost over.  We waited for our final runner, Jessie, to reach the finish so we could all cross together.  It was an incredible feeling to cross that finish line with 12 runners and 2 drivers, 192 miles after we started.  

we did it!
After the race, a few of us hung around to eat our free food, drink free beer, and scope out the gear.  Eventually we made our way back to Stacey's house again where we would stay for one last night.  Along the way we stopped at the beach for a perfect end to an amazing weekend.  

When I left for Ragnar on Thursday, I knew I would have a good time.  But, I never could have imagined just how incredible it would be.  Little did I know sharing a sweaty van with 6 other runners, would be one of the greatest experiences of my life.  I went in to the weekend not really knowing anyone, and I walked away with countless memories and new teammates who I am honored to now call my friends.



  1. Such a great post from an incredible weekend! I love that the feeling of being with a team was so good for you - we don't often get that as runners. And we gotta make it happen at least annually from now on! Throughout the weekend, I kept feeling like you and I go waaaay back :-) See you soon again!

  2. Relays are so much fun!!! Glad you had an awesome time! :)

  3. Awesome post Jess! Love the pictures too. Glad you guys had such a great time! I had the opportunity and pleasure to meet Danielle last September in VT.. isn't she fabulous!?! :) Here's to hoping I can join you all next year!

    1. Thanks! She really is fabulous, all the girls are! We definitely want to do another one, will keep you posted when we decide on one. Until then...Baystate?! ;)

    2. Aw I only just saw this post! Great recap, Jess! You ladies are BOTH amazing. Hoping to see you sooner rather than later! You're welcome down to Philly anytime. :)