The Running Lushes came and conquered Ragnar Tahoe Trail on July 20-21. Like so many things, it did not go exactly as planned. In some ways it exceeded our expectations, but it also included some tough spots for the team. Read on for our recap of the race weekend including highlights and low spots.
Our team included many members who have never run a Ragnar relay before. But we also had several teammates who have run Ragnar Road races, as well as two runners who have previously run the Ragnar Tahoe Trail relay. We won’t go into the differences between the Ragnar road and trail races here, since those are highlighted on the Ragnar website Ragnar. But the two things all Ragnar races have in common are (1) sleep deprivation (due to round the clock running) and, (2) team bonding (due to the close proximity of the team dealing with challenging circumstances for an extended period of time.
Our team started the race with one of our veteran Ragnar Tahoe Trail runners on the 3.2ish mile “green loop”. This is considered the easiest of the 3 loops each runner is required to complete. This was followed by our second runner on the 7ish mile “yellow loop” and 3rd runner on the 6.5ish mile “red loop”. Runners 4 through 8 continued in this loop order, with our 3rd runner back on the course on the yellow loop at sunset, with half of that run in the dark. From that point forward, all runners are running in darkness, until sunrise.
Trail running is hard under any circumstances, but the Ragnar Tahoe trails are fairly technical and include significant elevation gain on the yellow and red loops. Running in the dark adds a whole new level of difficulty, even when wearing headlamps. Our 4th runner was in trouble almost immediately on the red loop in the dark. Fortunately she was accompanied by a teammate as a pacer so she was not alone. But after twisting both ankles, her run took her twice as long as she had anticipated and she was out of the race for the remainder due to her injuries.
The night runs all took much longer than planned, and our team began falling behind its projected finish time. And we were down a runner. We began to wonder if we could finish on time or if we would get the dreaded DNF designation.
But our team was awesome and we all pulled together. We agreed on a substitute runner to complete the additional leg of the race, and inquired with the Ragnar timing team on our status to finish the race. It looked like we were going to make it, albeit with very little margin for error. Our team was excited and cheered each other on through the final legs of the race. And our final runner pushed himself hard and had a spectacular final run on the most difficult loop on the course.
While it didn’t go as planned, our team was amazing. Each and every team member stepped up to help out where they could and encouraged one another. This was an experience none of us will forget.
Here are some of the race highlights:
- Beautiful scenery and views
- Good course support: Friendly and helpful course monitors, and water on yellow and red loops
- Good food: dinner was provided on Saturday night and was available for purchase during the day and night
- Team attire: The Running Lushes were sporting custom tank tops and sparkle skirts!
- Enduring friendships: Going through this experience has created bonds that will extend well beyond the race.
And here are a few of the low points:
- Chaotic check in with long lines upon arrival
- Injury: Our injured runner felt bad about letting down the team (which of course she didn’t) and the rest of the team was worried about her well being.
- Smoke: There was a fire in Yosemite and the smoke made it difficult to breathe and obscured the views.
- Dust: During the summer the trails are dry and runners kick up a significant amount of dust.
- Stress: After all of the expense and hard work, we did NOT want a DNF.
Will we do it again? You bet! We are Ragnarian Running Lushes!
1 oz Absolute Kurant
4 oz lemon lime soda
Pour vodka in a ice-filled highball glass and top with Lemon-Lime soda. Squeeze a lime wedge into the glass. Stir gently and garnish with lime wedge