The Trail Mixers take on Ragnar Trail Cascades

I wasn’t sure how the race weekend would play out — after all, while my teammates and everyone else would be running and tackling elevation climbing, I’d just be captaining, race volunteering and walking. No running for this injured runner.
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Ragnar Trail Cascades was cancelled due to forest fires last year. It was a brand new race and we were all excited to run and participate. My team decided to transfer our race entry over to this year’s race. This time I’m sidelined with a stress fracture. (I may just be forever cursed to never actually run this race!)

It’s an all-day/all-night trail relay race where teams of eight people complete a total of 132.8 trail miles. Each person runs three legs of three marked loops. Your campsite is your home base, not a stinky van like the road Ragnar races.

Even though I couldn’t personally run, I had a good time.
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The race started Friday and I kicked off our team by speed-walking the first (easy) 2.7-mile leg. It kind of felt like the walk of shame as I took off from the start/finish/transition area, so I jogged my way out and then started walking once I turned the corner.

Good news, my knee did not hurt at all from this 10-20 step slow jog!

My team didn’t allow ourselves enough time to check-in/actually arrive two hours before our race start time, so the rest of my teammates were unloading our car and setting up camp as I walked. The course was very well marked and easy to navigate (in the daylight at least!)
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I felt a little weird when other runners passed me enthusiastically saying “Nice job!” since I was just walking. But, I tried not to read too much into it. And, I always stepped off to the side to allow them to easily pass me. I did surprisingly end up getting one kill (Ragnar terms for passing another runner) so there’s that!

I finished my loop a little after 12 noon and there was a bit of confusion with our transition as I had to rush out of the transition tent and find my team/tell Joanna it was her turn to run. I guess I walked faster than we all anticipated, which was evident by my glutes kind of being sore the next day!

Bryce and Andrew picked up my two other legs. So yes, they ran four total legs rather than the normal three. (Huge props, and thank-yous to them!)

Many of my teammates said the red (hardest 7-mile loop) was the most fun and better than the short one. One of my teammates ran along side a cow “pacer” at one point. No one from my team had any falls or injuries, so I’d call that a pretty successful run. We also lucked out and finished Saturday morning right before it started to rain!

Also, small brag: We finished 13th overall with very little to no training! Our total time was 22 hours 27 minutes (and 27 seconds).
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We had packed some card games, and I even packed a book since I wasn’t running, but honestly there really wasn’t much “down time” as you would expect. Most of us had done road relays where you have to drive from point-to-point so we expected this race to be a little less intense in that sense.

Yes, not driving was great! But, you still had to keep an eye on time and make sure you didn’t miss your next runner coming into the transition area. My one friend/teammate Brent put it best: It’s like you’re all in one van so there’s no time to rest! (Those who have done a road relay will understand his comment).

My volunteer time in the transition tent Friday afternoon was really fun (and dusty!) Although I had to touch many sweaty wrists to remove slap bands indicating the loop the runner had just completed, I was happy to help. And, it was fun seeing some of my teammates start/finish as well as strangers. I tried not to think too much into “how great it was for everyone to be running” and “poor me for not being able to run.”
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I’m not sure if all my friends would want to do this race again just because they would be running the exact same loops again (obviously unless the race course were updated). But, I am definitely looking forward to either actually running this trail relay in the future or fully participating in another one. Oahu Trail Ragnar 2018, anyone??
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