at least this year i knew what to expect for trails!
i made it out of ragnar northwoods major injury free. i only fell twice, one of which was pretty hard, but my feet are intact, and that’s what was super important.
i went up thursday night where i met up with liz, abby, and art, and we went to the site to set up a tent and claim our spot. then we came back into wausau and slept overnight at a hotel 😀 i didn’t sleep too well – there was a shaft of light coming in the window, and it’s always weird sleeping with someone else in bed. but we were WARM, and we got a hot breakfast out of the deal and a place to park our cars for carpooling.
the downside to this year’s ragnar was that it was really cold. it wasn’t bad running weather – in fact, the cold is nice for running. but after you’re done running, your muscles are all warmed up and then you’re sitting in the 45º weather that’s seeping into your bones. your clothes are also soaked in sweat, so you have to change out of them as quickly as possible to prevent getting too many chills.
my first run was on the yellow trail, about 5 miles. i was doing really well, telling myself to pick up my feet, watch out for roots and rocks, and keep my eyes on the ground. CONSTANT VIGILANCE. a bridge (one of those short ones that goes over a slight gulley where water can gather after a storm) was coming up with a caution sign on it, but i was so concerned with how narrow the bridge was that i didn’t concern myself with getting onto the bridge. i don’t know if i tripped over the plank or slipped on the plank, but down i went, trying to keep my feet under me but failing. and flailing! i banged my right thigh on the edge of the wood planks and landed on my back on the grass, slamming the back of my head into the ground.
huzzah! my feet were ok. i walked for about a quarter mile to see if i had any dizziness or confusion from the head slam, but i seemed to be ok. off i went. my thigh started to hurt, but i expected that, and on i went to finish up the 5 mile. i managed to shave 12 minutes off last year’s time!
afterward i spent too much time in the village with liz when i should have booked it back to the tent to change out of my clothes. i think that was the first sign that the cold was going to get me!
and i should have eaten more. i don’t know why but i don’t eat enough food at ragnar. that happened last year, too. i tried to take a nap (fail), then got up to do some yoga in front of the tent to stretch out and warm up.
my green 3-mile run was in the dark a little before 9 and relatively drama free. i didn’t have anyone to run with like last year (boo) but i fell on my knee about halfway through and just plowed on. weirdly there are a lot of roots on this trail, but i felt like a lot of it was downhill, so that was good. i felt like i should’ve finished it in 40 minutes, but DANG IT it took me 47 minutes which is still annoying to me.
i hoofed it back to camp to change out of my clothes asap and try to warm up. i ate a snack (should’ve eaten more) and went to my cot to try to sleep.
AND COULDN’T. i tried. i sort of dozed, i had earplugs in but they only half worked. i got cold even in 3 layers and my 30º sleeping bag. i started shivering and eventually i got out of bed and walked to the bathroom (i caught the portapotties right after they were cleaned – huzzah!) and back, then picked up a couple handwarmers and stuck one my feet and one in my pants to get warmed up. i think i maybe slept a total of 30 minutes, if that? didn’t help that my stomach started rumbling because i was hungry and i couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed again in the cold.
then my alarm went off at 4 p.m. for the red loop. UGH what a crapfest. i got dressed under my sleeping bag (thank GOD i had the foresight to put my clothes in the bag with me), then rolled out to try to choke some food down while i was too anxious to even think. (why was i anxious?? i rolled my ankle hardcore on last year’s red loop. i didn’t want a repeat and kept thinking about it.)
liz left off at 4am for her yellow loop, so i headed down around 4:40, almost got there, then turned around because i forgot to take ibuprofin. what a disaster that could’ve been. between my bruise and just running in general, it could’ve gotten uber hurty. got back and waited for her to roll in.
it was still dark when i took off around 5:15ish. we were 45 minutes ahead of last year; i took off at 6 last year, just as the sun was starting to make an appearance. i really do like how the red loop goes if i’m not worried about my rolled ankle! because guess what? i made it through with no falls! i walked all the technical stuff and kept my eyes on the ground. i repeated to myself PICK UP YOUR FEET LOSER over and over. the sun started coming up as i made it through the first technical section, then about mile 5 i was able to turn off my lamps. for a while i was pacing two other gals through the tech section, but i stopped when we crossed a road so i could eat a gel. i made a stop at the water tent (always nice to take a couple breaks), then finished up on the wide section of the trail with the morning sun! that red loop is actually quite nice as long as you don’t push yourself through the technical crap (unless you’re a mountain goat like those ultrarunners).
i only shaved off three minutes from last year’s time, but i was a lot more tired this year, and hangry during the run. i also walked probably the same amount – i didn’t want to fall or wrench my ankle again. i ALSO took one for the team and ran during the coldest part of the event. afterward i practically ran to the tent to get out of my clothes and into some dry ones so i could eat and sit in my sleeping bag in the sun. i spent probably 3 hours warming up.
on the way home, i had to stop for a snooze at a rest area, but i got home, took a shower, and then slept 11 hours last night. and now i’m ready for another nap. for supper i’m getting something really good (not sure what yet).
here’s my giant bruise from falling off the bridge.
NOTE: next year (if next year), i think i’ll try running in my road shoes. i feel like the lugs on my trail shoes catch on the roots.