how to go to a ragnar!

“run the ragnar,” liz said. “it’ll be fun,” liz said. 

well, she was right. it was fun, despite my complaining and the ankle issue and the heat. 

the 9-mile forest is four hours from my house, so i left after work on thursday to head over into the cheese state of wisconsin. i chose to go the slightly longer route because of rush hour, and in doing so, wondered if everyone in the state of wisconsin drives 50 in a 55. 

i got to the campground just as dusk was settling in, and the line of cars to get in was not too long (not as long as when liz had come earlier that day). 

the logistics of driving in and out was a little odd, but i made it to my drop off point, where i dropped all my gear and liz and lindsay picked it up. then i drove a windy road two miles east and parked in a giant field. (and somehow got away with not paying for parking!)

there was a shuttle back to the campground, then i hopped out. 

  1. portapotties everywhere. there were lines of them in various places all over the event, and they got cleaned out regularly. they ran out of TP more than once, so a couple times i went i had to BYOTP. but generally, i was impressed with the toilet situation
  2. the runners’ village was packed and hot. this is where the runners’ station was, where the teams relayed in and out, and there was a coffee/hot chocolate station as well. you could buy beer, pizza, sandwiches, gear, and visit the medic tent (which i did). 
  3. the tenting was like none i’d seen before! each team had a 20’x20′ space to put all their tents and gear. liz scored a spot that was a little farther out from the noise, so it was a little bit of hike, but well worth it. the tenting situation was a good way to figure out what sort of tent a person should buy, that’s for sure! and to see the different setups was really cool. one team brought a rug, others brought comfy chairs, some brought hammocks, one team had one of those projection lights that threw fairy lights into the trees. 
  4. the tattoos were awesome. i loved seeing all the leg tattoos. 
  5. shirts were also awesome (including my “running sucks” and “but did you die though” shirts). i liked this one:
    il_570xN.1259384306_57ck
  6. the trees, the trees. i just like hanging out in the trees. 
  7. the energy. there’s something about hanging out with 2000 people who are there for the same reason you are. we are all commiserating with each other over the heat and the lack of TP, then telling each other to make sure to try the pizza and to carb up. 

and then like that – – it’s done. you’ve beaten dehydration and lived through a mild injury, and it’s time to go home.

the leaving process was much more frantic and weird than coming in. maybe it’s because we’re all tired and ready to be done. but we hauled all our stuff down to the drop off site, then a few of our people started walking toward the parking lot instead of waiting in the 100 people+ line for the shuttle. they got picked up by some people heading that way and drove back to pack it all up and head home. 

and then it was a four-hour drive home after getting 10 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours and sitting in my own stinky sweat for just as long. but there’s a sense of satisfaction for having done what others call crazy: for training for the run and then getting another race under my belt. 

and so i washed off the sweat as soon as i got home, standing under my hot shower for as long as i could stand. then lying down on my bed was the highlight of my month. and now i’m sitting here a week later, waiting for my ankle to move past the pain point so i can get out on the trail again while the temperatures hold and the light maintains. 

until next year.

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