The Ragnar Relay Journal: An Experience Every Runner Should Have

Those who follow my blog knew that I decided to run in the 200 Mile Ragnar Relay a week and a half ago. If you don’t know what it is, I documented that all here.

I am now back in Wichita and documented the 30+ hour experience that took place in Boston/Cape Cod. It was truly a trip I’ll remember for the rest of my life and one that I’m glad I decided to go and not pass up on.
I took notes from when it all began to the moment our team crossed the finish line. Now for your reading pleasure, enjoyment, mockery, whatever you want to call it……. I bring to you the Ragnar Relay Journal. All 30+ hours of at first what I thought would be hell documented down into a condensed into a short one page blog.
Friday, May 8th
2:00 am – I wake up and wondering what’s going on. I turn over and notice one of the team members I was sharing a room with was all ready to go and dressed for running. I turn back over and look at my phone with one eye and notice its just slightly past 2 am. I had only been asleep for probably a couple hours. While everybody on the team made it a point to try to get as much rest as possible, I went next door to a nearby Asian restaurant and ate sushi. Not bright, but nothing I ever do is really ever considered “bright”. So I hop in the shower, get dressed, eat a banana, drink a bottle of water and walk outside. I don’t see anybody around and walk back inside the hotel.
My phone goes off at 2:28 am it reads, “We r in van”. I was so tired I didn’t even notice people were already in the van ready to go. I wanted to drive so it would wake me up. I hopped in our large cargo van and drove off. I have never driven a van so big in my life. Wide turns I would learn were a necessity.
3:00 am – We reached Hull, Massachusetts sometime late in the 3 am hour. At this time, the weather was in the 50’s. Our van of 6 would be the only van that needed to be there that early. The other van of 6 would not start running until our group was done so they were able to sleep in.
Once we reached Hull, we sat in the van and made sure we all had our vests and headlamps. These were required for safety when running in the dark anytime between 6:30 pm and 6:30 am.
4:00 am – Check in time! We checked in, grabbed our t-shirts, grab bags and headed into a little building to watch a safety video that was required by all. After all that, the nervousness started to set in. I peed at least three times this hour……yes, I counted.
After all the check-in stuff, we went back into the van to warm up. Being right off the Cape, there was a chilly windy breeze that felt like it came in all directions. Once 4:45 am hit, we all walked towards the start of the race for introductions. They announced each team at the 5 am start time to make sure everyone was there and to just announce team names so everybody could cheer. Keep in mind, the start times were all staggered out throughout the day. There were 600 teams, which is the max, for the Ragnar Relay. We were in the first set.
5:00 am – GO TIME! The gun went off at 5 am. I was the first runner of 12 in our group. I had 5 miles and change to run. I would start in the darkness and the sun would be up by the time I was finished.

Having only run a mile in the past 9 months, it felt like riding a bicycle. I got in the groove and it felt pretty good to crank out the run. Thanks to One Direction, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Miley Cyrus, Jason DeRulo, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, and Nick Jonas for the upbeat music that kept my attitude positive.

The entire time I ran, I had to use the restroom so bad but the safety video said not to go in trees or someone’s yard. That feeling only pushed me to get to the finish line quicker.

6:00 am – Sometime before or right around 6 am, I gave my orange wristband to the next runner and it was time for me to rest aka start driving the van. I like driving a lot so I had no problem driving the van.

During the next runner’s leg, we stopped in the middle of their leg to cheer them on. On certain legs, there were spots you were allowed to park your van on the side of the road and cheer your teammates on. Some team members wanted the support; some didn’t. I never asked for support; I felt it would be better had they not seen me in agony during future runs.

Oh yes….and I peed multiple times during this hour.

7:00 am – We stopped at a Dunkin Donuts to await the next runner to cheer on. Note, there are Dunkin Donuts on every single corner in the state. It’s crazy.

While we were at Dunkin Donuts, I bathed and changed clothes. When I say bathe, it’s not what you’re thinking. Bathing for us considered of getting into the backseat of the van, grabbing some baby type wipes and cleaning your body with that…..naked. Then you get into clean clothes. I’m not a camper but this is what I imagine they do. It’s kind of gross and not exactly my cup of tea but it beat the alternative of feeling icky.

Oh yes….and I peed multiple times during this hour.

8:00 am – We drove to the next stop and waited for the next runner. I found a tavern but they were closed. What the hell???? I could have used a drink. But since I couldn’t, it was time to have runners switch off and begin driving to the next stop.

Did I mention that I peed a lot?

9:00 am – Drive again……………Pee again…………… Drink water…………… Pee again. At this time I had a FaceTime call with my niece who was watching Mickey Mouse before school so that was pretty refreshing to talk with someone different other than the five people in the van with me.

10:00 am – Drive again. I’ll admit with the wind, it was really cold the entire morning. Even with the cod, it was such a beautiful view of the city. The houses in the Boston area have so much character. I loved it.

And apparently I loved to pee because I couldn’t stop. Must have been the constant water drinking.

11:00 am – Our last runner completed her run so we got to our first exchange point. An exchange point, is where your 1st van’s six runners are done and you meet up with the 2nd van of six runner’s begins their group of runs. The exchange points are huge as with 600 teams there are a lot of vans. I should note that not all teams have 12 people. There were teams ranging from 3 to 12 people. Teams that have 6 or less people are called “Ultra Teams” not because they are “Ultra Stupid” but because they are “Ultra Bad Asses”.

At this time we met up with the second van of runners, shared stories, peed, Thanked God that we were done for a bit and wished the other part of our team good luck.

Noon – We decided to grab lunch at a place called Mezza Luna which was an Italian restaurant. It was my time to grub and finally eat something besides protein bars, bananas, and other assorted small snack items.

I ordered a half dozen oysters, fried calamari and spaghetti and meatballs. Needless to say, I really grubbed and really felt sick afterwards. I probably ate too much. Around noon was when I started to fade and fade fast. I was needing rest but before rest, I went to the bathroom.

1:00 pm – I drove our van to the next stop. We estimated that the second van would be done running by 5 pm so that gave us time to relax and try to fit in a quick nap. At the next stop, there were people sleeping in their vans, sleeping in cots, their own portable beds, in sleeping bags outside under the blue sky.

Instead of sleeping, I peed.

2:00 pm – By 2 pm, I don’t know why I wasn’t resting so I sprawled out along the front row of the van. Put my headphones on and played some calming and soothing Boyz II Men to put me to sleep. For the entire hour I was awkwardly spread out along the front row of the van, I slept maybe 10 minutes.

3:00 pm – Other members of my time started to walk back over to the van who were sleeping elsewhere. They asked why I didn’t just sit in the drivers seat and recline the seat to sleep. I CANNOT BELIEVE I DIDN’T THINK ABOUT THAT! It made complete sense to recline a seat instead of laying along two seats with a big space in the middle and having seat belts dig into your side.

Eventually I got out of the van and nearly fell to the ground. I cramped up miserably. My IT band on my right leg was in absolute pain every step I took, my quads tightened up, it wasn’t good. While walking to the port-o-potty I started to burp up spaghetti. I could feel all the food I ate just sitting in my throat wanting to come out the wrong way. Bad bad sign.

4:00 pm – We were notified that the second van of runners was about done. The last runner in the second van was on the course. I had to start getting ready and warmed up. Everything in my legs were tightening up. I kept burping. Why is this happening to me?

5:00 pm – I’m literally standing at the exchange point waiting for my teammate. I knew he was wearing a green shirt. Every time I saw a green shirt in the distance, all I could remember was saying cuss words to myself in my head. And then the green shirt would get closer and I would realize it was somebody else and apologize for cursing.

Then it happened, the exchange. I was off running. The first mile was a pain with my right leg in misery. I hobbled part of the first mile until my leg loosened up and then ran most of the 5 miles.

6:00 pm – Still running but I must say it was probably the most beautiful run I’ve ever been on. The view was just tremendous. I also met many cool people that I spoke to for a few steps. There was a nice couple who took a picture of me with the backdrop behind me. There was the girl on rollerskates who refused to stop for me. There were the two kids with the skateboards who asked me to buy them beer. And there was another older Asian couple who looked at me as if I was their long lost son.

I burped A LOT during this run. I was so scared I was going to puke Oysters, Spaghetti and Calamari. Fortunately it all stayed down or came out in sweat form.

It was during this hour, I finished running. After the handoff, my body was really overheating and my legs told me I was done running. I was so exhausted, I couldn’t even bring myself to bathe or pee.

7:00 pm – I drove our van to the next stop. It would start to get really chilly with the wind. Worse than it was before.

Still haven’t bathed or peed.

8:00 pm – Drive yet again. Sit yet again. Be cold. Finally pee.

9:00 pm – I drove the van to a church and sat there eating beef jerky and tried to find cell service for my phone which I couldn’t. So I just sat in a van for about an hour wondering about life and whether I would ever do this again.

10:00 pm – I drove our van to the next stop again. At this time, things got fuzzy. I couldn’t remember what happened the past hour. I still forgot to bathe and just sat in the front seat of the van with cold dry sweat stuck to my skin. I felt nasty and probably looked that way.

A friend texted me asking me to send her a picture of myself. My reply, “Google Freddie Krueger. It’s about the same.”

Around this time we also met up with the other team and it was their turn to begin running. I was so excited to be nearly done.

11:00 pm – We headed to the next major point where our run would begin around 3 am. I would once again start that leg off for our van so we drove to a school to get rest.

Once we got there, it was a big high school gymnasium that you could donate $3 to use their gym showers and sleep on their floors.

Knowing I had four hours to sleep, I passed on all of that. I just walked into the high school bathroom, peed, washed my hands, brushed my teeth and walked back to the van.

Saturday, May 9th

Midnight – Crap…..three hours until I run. Why am I not sleeping? I get in the front seat of the van, pull my hoodie over my eyes, play some Bruno Mars and fall asleep.

I wake up because my phone went off…’s 12:47 am. I only slept for about 40 minutes? Why God Why?

1:00 am – The other van text and says “Be ready by 2:40 am”.

OK great. That means I can sleep for at least another hour before getting ready. I eat a peanut butter sandwich at this time.

Text goes off again at 1:28 am, “We are here”

WHAT!!! That’s way earlier than what I was told. Our van scrambles to get everybody together. We can’t find everybody in the gymnasium that was sleeping. Me and another team member just head to the exchange point since I have to run soon.

Next thing we know, it’s 1:33 am and the guy who runs right before me is approaching the exchange and he hands it off to me.

It’s about 1:35 am and I’m off for my final leg. It’s pitch black outside even with my headlamp I have on. It’s a brisk 46 degrees out. I’m still groggy from what’s going on and just start running into this forest area. To my right…..trees. To my left…..trees.

I can barely take any pictures since it’s so dark. All I can see are lights coming from behind me and passing me. It felt like 1,000 runners passed me.

Both legs are hurting, both IT bands are just in pain. This was the worst of the three legs for me to run. Every time somebody would come from behind me to pass me, I got in a defensive stance just in case they were going to murder me. It was that creepy out.

At one point, I started burping again. At one point, real peanut butter came back up and my first instinct told me to swallow. So I did. Gross…..I know.

2:00 am – I finish running. The first thing I do is grab a chair to sit in. I’m so tired. I don’t even want to pee.

Somebody else drives the van while I sit in the middle seat wondering if this is all a dream.

3:00 am – Drive Van. Meet next runner. Drive again. I think I peed; I don’t even remember. It was all a blur.

4:00 am – Bathe in the back seat and finally feel refreshed. Oh and drive and pee. Fun stuff.

5:00 am – I Drive. I Sit. I Wait. I Pee.

6:00 am – Repeat previous step.

7:00 am – Guess what I did? Drive. Sit. Wait. Pee.

We are at the last spot waiting for the last runner in our group. This is honestly such an exciting feeling. I’m on 40-something total minutes of sleep from the night before and adrenaline is keeping me awake waiting for our last runner. We see her from a distance and our group of six all meet up together and cross that leg’s finish line as a team. Pretty cool experience.

We wished the other van good luck and left.

8:00 am – We drove to the Ragnar’s final finish line in Provincetown, Massachusetts. By 8:30 we reached the city and grabbed breakfast at a high end breakfast joint called Edwige. The two mimosas I had were nothing short of amazing. But the best part was the lobster eggs benedict. By far the best I’ve ever had. Some places in Wichita have it but it doesn’t compare…..obviously.

9:00 am – Still eating. Still drinking. Great feeling. We walked the food off and head back to the van to do a little clean-up.

10:00 am – We walk over to where the finish line is at and anxiously await the rest of our team.

We are informed that the last runner is off. The last runner had a long 9 miles to go in the hot sun. I was not jealous….at all.

11:00 am – Still waiting. We are outside. One second it gets hot; another second it gets cold. Am I in Wichita?

Around 11:30 am, we are told our final runner just crossed 7 miles. Just two miles left!

13 minutes later, the non-runners in Van 2 finally meet up with us. We are at the finish line waiting for our final runner.

Soon after, we can all see him and go under the ropes to meet up with him.

At 11:45 am, the twelve of us all crossed the finish line together in joyous jubilation. Many high fives were exchanged. Many hugs were given. I didn’t give a single hug; the last thing I wanted was more sweat on me.

We grabbed our medals, posed for plenty of pictures, asked how each person was doing, nobody peed, and everybody was happy. Official time: 31 hours 45 minutes……finally over.

By comparison, the best team completed it in 20 hours and 18 minutes. I never saw the team but I’m fairly certain that team consisted of robots, cheetahs and jackrabbits.

Noon – Celebratory beers and lunch. We are Ragnarians!!! And wishing I was back in Wichita laying in my own bed.


If you’d like to see the pictures, check out my Instagram account at – I have a bunch of pictures loaded up on there that I took during the race.

After the race, I felt like a 100 year old man. My body felt broken, my quads, feet, IT bands, legs, everything was sore and in pain. Was it worth it? Yes. As much crap as I gave Ragnar for the whole idea of it, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. It’s an experience every runner should have at least once. I’m very glad I did it and it’s a trip I’ll always remember forever. I met some very cool people that were on my team who I didn’t know beforehand. One guy on our team was 64 years old and was in total beast mode. He looked as energized after the race as he did before the race. Someone might want to give him a performance enhancing drug test.

I can’t speak highly enough of the volunteers who made it all possible. Everybody there was so nice. I’ve said it before in past running blogs but runners are some of the nicest people in the world. It’s as if they are all angels minus the wings. There was one van that lost over 1200 pounds. How big and cool of an achievement is that?

Would I do this again? I dunno. I’m back and forth on it because I don’t consider myself a runner. I could count all the hours of sleep I got on one hand. But then I think to road trips I have with friends or a quick weekend to Vegas and it’s about the same. It’s almost hard to describe the experience this is. It’s so unique in it’s own way.

If it’s possible, give it a try yourself. If you’re all about living and doing things to experience life, add this to your bucket list.

Lastly, I’d like to apologize to a girl I bowled over at the Boston Airport. I was walking and my foot kind of gave out and I tripped over my own foot and fell into this one girl. Her mom gave me this really pissed off look and I felt incredibly bad and apologized. It was embarrassing and if you happen to be reading this, I apologize.

I end this Ragnar Relay Journal with this…………….

As much as I despise running, I love achievements and experiences. I give two thumbs up for the Ragnar Relay Series. I have ZERO regrets about doing this. Made some great memories that I will carry for a lifetime. The inspiration I received from so many people was so overwhelming that I will be signing up to do my first marathon this year.

Happy Dining……..and Running.

Ragnarian Out.

P.S. – If you have Facebook and a second, please go vote for our team captain to win Best Captain. If we win, we get a free entry to the next Ragnar Race! It’s a great story she has. Check it out:

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