Hey! What do you say me and you grab 10 friends, rent two vans, drive 200 miles into the boonies, then take turns running five or so miles until we get back? We’ll make up for the lack of showers and sleep with slap-happy exchanges and junk food.
Most sane humans would laugh, shake their heads “no,” and back away slowly. But because we runners are the sorts who constantly seek out new things that make us want to puke and die, as my friend Katie of Run This Amazing Day puts it, I, along with 11 of my running buddies from Pacers Silver Spring Fun Runners, will embark on a 24-hour, overnight relay from Cumberland, Md., back to D.C., starting tomorrow morning.
Here’s how it’ll go down, according to Ragnar’s Web site:
“During the relay, each team member runs three legs, each leg ranging between three to eight miles and varying in difficulty. Each team is responsible for providing two support vehicles, with six runners in each vehicle. The first vehicle will drop off the first runner, drive ahead a few miles, cheer the runner on, and provide them with water, snacks, and plenty of love. That vehicle will then drive ahead to the first exchange point to drop off the second runner, and pick up the first runner when that leg is complete. They will repeat this pattern for six legs until they hand off to their second vehicle. This leapfrogging pattern will continue all the way to the finish line.”
I’ll be running third, starting with a 6.9-mile leg labeled “very hard” through Green Ridge State Forest, and has one climb of 250 feet (which I’m used to) and one of 800 feet (which I’m not). But then, all I do the rest of the race is an easy, flat 2.8-mile leg through Williamsport, and another 3-miler through Clarksburg. Not bad, right?
I truly have no idea what the race will bring, so in lieu of a preview, I offer my personal packing list, which I’ll amend post-race to reflect lessons learned:
First-Aid kit including Advil, Tylenol, Body Glide, Band-Aids, motion-sickness pills
Running shoes, several changes of running clothes, sweats, flip flops, sunglasses
Garmin, iPod, chargers
Every Nalgene bottle I own, full of water
Toiletries including toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, Kiehl’s toner, deodorant, baby wipes, sunscreen, bug spray, foot powder
Shopping list: Apples, grapes, almonds, dates, Nutella, gummy bears, candy corn/mellocreme pumpkins (because it’s better to consume these with a large group of hungry people than alone)
Cooking list: Whole-wheat couscous with raisins, pine nuts, tomatoes, peppers
I found this helpful Running Times story with tips for distance relays. But I’m eager for tips from experienced Ragnar runners: What was the best thing you brought, or the thing you most wished you had? How many changes of running clothes is enough? What did you *really* want to eat in the middle of the night?