Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Road to Ragnar 2012

Signing up to run a road race has a set of steps associated with it. Sign up day can give you butterflies, sometimes followed by slight panic. Then training starts and continues sometimes for months. Closer to race day there's race logistics, travel plans and the ever-important weather check.

That's just planning for one person. A Ragnar team has 12 people.

Seven months before the event, the process starts. You have three months to convince 11 people to join your team before early registration closes and registration prices increase.

You ask friends to join you. You tell them it will be a fun adventure including some running, a lot of driving and a little sleep. Shortly after those emails go out, questions come back. Questions like - Where will I sleep? What will we eat? When and how far will I run?

Ragnar is a much larger, logistical monster.

After convincing 12 people, it's time to find three more people to volunteer. Somehow this is more challenging than getting your 12 team members. Next it's time to hunt for what you'd consider 'good' volunteer assignments (and not sticking them in a location overnight in rural Wisconsin).

Now it's time to find two 15-passenger vans and hold them at a fair price for race weekend. Van 1 needs hotel accommodations in Madison the night before. The team needs a time table to give a best-case scenario of when each leg will be run. By now, some team members are contacting you regarding possible date conflicts for the race and injuries.

Lots of emails go out to the team over the next few months to make decisions at each juncture.

Head lamps, tail lights and safety vests are purchased. Van drivers are determined. Costco trips are made.

The week before the race: Sleeping bags, snacks and running gear is packed. Time tables are finalized. More questions are answered. Meet up times are set.

Suddenly it's 3pm on Thursday and I'm driving to Sara's house. After a drive-by pick up, Sara joins me to head to the van rental location. We trade in my small sedan for a big van. An hour later, we pick up our four van mates. A quick stop at Jimmy John's then we're on the road to Madison.

Our Ragnar start time is just 16 hours away.

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