Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ragnar Trails Atlanta Recap

Ragnar Trails Atlanta, April 4+5, Conyers GA
Field: ~1100 runners
Spectators: None on the course because it was a trail race, but lots of other runner's cheering in the transition zone.
Start/Finish: Georgia International Horse Park, Site of the 1996 Olympic Equestrian and Mountain Biking events.
Course: 3 different trail loops including fields, granite slabs, streams, and lots of roots!
Schwag: Long sleeve tech tee and all the Nuun you can drink.
Other: Teams camped out over night in the field adjacent to the start/finish area.  There were bands, a bonfire, and s'mores. You could demo Salomon trail shoes during your runs, and just enjoy the fun of having that many runners together!

Abby, Elizabeth, Sarah, Jesica, Laura, Katie, Me, Lisa
Over the weekend I was lucky enough to be apart of a great team of ladies at Ragnar Trails Atlanta. Our team, Electrolits, was sponsored by Nuun Hydration and organized by the really lovely Elizabeth over at Running for Bling. I knew going into the race that there were some seriously fast ladies on the team and my fitness wasn't optimal after my foot infection in March (read: I was pretty nervous!).  I kept my goals realistic: Run consistently, finish each leg strong, and have fun (which wasn't hard to do at all).
Team Electrolit relaxing before the start.
Our team consisted of 8 runners and I was runner #5. Being that most of us wouldn't be running for a few hours after our team started, we spent the time helping set up camp, cheering for our runners as they transitioned between loops, and getting to know our teammates. I had previously 'met' several of them on social media, but it was the first time we got to meet face to face and it was awesome to finally meet them (spoiler alert: they are all great)!
Abby leading us off!
Leg 1
My first leg was the yellow loop, a 4.8 mile route full of many switchbacks and short climbs.  The terrain was packed dirt with lots of roots, challenging but not overly technical.  I started out around 6:45pm and tried to push the pace on the lead out to the climbing part of the trail. It seemed like the first half of the run just kept finding way to climb up, continually criss-crossing a hill side.  At one point I even remember checking my garmin thinking I had to have easily gone 2+ miles and was more than a little nervous to find that I had barely gone 1.8.  I had a lot of trouble getting into a solid rhythm during this run because the constant switchbacks were breaking up any sort of momentum.  By about half way through the run I began to feel more comfortable on the trail and began to pick up the pace. I kicked it into the finish, and was even treated to a beautiful rainbow as I closed in my final half mile.
Time: ~49
Not quite a pot of gold, but tents of sweaty runners are nice too. (Source).
Leg 2
My second leg started at around 2am on Saturday.  I was lucky to have the least technical trail as my night run because who knows how many times I would have fallen if it wasn't!  The 3.8 green loop was a mix of soft sand, packed dirt, and roots with a lot fewer switch backs and climbs than the yellow loop.  Being out on the trails at night is much darker than the roads.  Without a good headlamp it would be very difficult to get any sort of speed going.  Even with my new high powered headlamp, I was more cautious than I would have been in the day light. Given my clumsy nature, I was a bit worried about taking a nasty spill while descending in the dark. I did my best, but came in a little slower than I hoped. I think if I had know the trail a little better, I would have been able to push more. Things to remember before the next one!
Time:~38
The morning was beautiful! (source)
Leg 3
My last loop started around 8:30 on Saturday morning.  After watching a pretty fabulous sunrise, I was off for the longest and most technical trail of the three. I really liked this trail as it was the most interesting with a mix of fields, gravel roads, granite slabs, and hard packed dirt along a pond.  I only wish my legs had been more rested so I could have enjoyed the actual running part a little more. I was dragging. About 3 miles into the run, I tripped and took a little spill going down a hill. Though I was startled by the fall, I suffered nothing worse than a few scrapes and bruises. Overall, I was pretty excited that I only fell once during a weekend of trail running! I finished the loop with the little energy I had left, and was happy to have done my part to help the team.
Time: ~1:14
Finishing up my 3rd leg. Source
Handing off the bib to Jesica; Lisa and Abby enjoying s'mores for breakfast.
Team Electrolits finished in 20:54 which in the preliminary results has us as the first place overall Women's Team! Woowoo!
All cleaned up and sporting my new shirt. The trail Ragnars have wooden/leather medals.
Overall, I loved this event.  I even liked it more than the road Ragnars that I have done.  For a first year event, it was very well run with few hiccups or issues. There is a lot more time between legs to relax and hangout with the other runners, instead of worrying about driving the van and figuring out where to go. I had a great time and would love to do another one in the future!
Katie leading us into the finish in style!
Huge Thank You to Nuun Hydration for sponsoring Team Electrolit and keeping us well hydrated throughout the race.  And another huge Thank you to my teammates for being so friendly and making me feel so welcome!
Showing off our new flair post race!

22 comments:

  1. Only one fall sounds really good to me! Looks like you had a lot of fun!

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    1. Thanks Tina! I think I could use a little more practice on the trails, but I was very happy with only one fall.

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  2. whoop whoop- so excited you had such a fun positive experience for your first trail relay. glad to meet you and all the other ladies last weekend :)

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    1. Thanks Lisa! We had such a good team. We might have to reunite to defend our title next year!

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  3. It was so great to finally meet you and get to run with you! I didn't know you fell on your last leg! I'm glad you were ok. It was such a blast and I hope we'll all get to run again soon. xoxo

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    1. Thanks Jesica! It was great to meet you too! Luckily, I had no mortal wounds from the fall.

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  4. I hope to do a Ragnar Relay in the future. Loved reading your recap - congrats! - Jackie

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    1. Thanks Jackie! Relays are a lot of fun and worth the challenge of organizing a group!

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  5. Wow. Ragnar seem awesome, but I am always worried about the night part because I am such a klutz. trails at night...ahhhhhh...

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    1. I was so worried about the night too. But I just slowed down a hair and got through it. Of course, I ended up falling in broad daylight the next morning, so who knows!

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  6. Sounds like a blast! Congrats on the first overall!

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    1. Thanks Kristy! We had a great team on and off the course!

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  7. SO glad we finally met IRL. must do it more often!! I am so glad you were able to run with us and I had so much fun with you!! glad you enjoyed it, too!

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    1. Yes! More group get togethers are a must! Thanks so much for including me!

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  8. Wow That was a lot to take in- it sounds great! I can't believe you ran at 2 a.m. lol and then again in the morning! You look so strong in your 3rd leg pic! Have you ever tried knuckle lights? Someone else I read has them and swears by them. Glad your spill wasn't too bad and you had a fun time. Congrats to you all :)

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    1. Thanks Karen! Several of my teammates used knuckle lights as well as headlamps and really liked them. I see how they could be very helpful.

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  9. Wow a road Ragnar sounds hard, but a trail Ragnar sounds HARD. It sounds like a blast though! Congrats!!

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    1. Thanks Courtney! It was a lot of fun even if the runs were challenging!

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  10. I am so jealous. I would love to run a trail Ragnar. Great job Team Electrolits! btw..what is the story behind the team name?

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    1. We were sponsored by NUUN so we named ourselves after their new product line, Electrolit. The packaging has a lot of neon, so we tried to wear neon. It actually made teammates much easier to find!

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  11. I'm jealous that your Ragnar Trail looks like it had perfect weather! I did Zion two years in a row and Ragnar really knows who to do a great job from year one, right?

    That rainbow pic is absolutely gorgeous!

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    1. The original forecast for our Ragnar was dismal (thunderstorms), but we lucked out and had a beautiful 2 days! Yes, Ragnar knows what they are doing!

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