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Ragnar Las Vegas Highlights

I’m back from what felt like a whirlwind trip out west, still trying to process everything that happened over the past week. I’m exhausted, sore, and just might be getting sick. My body doesn’t really know what time zone it’s in, and I haven’t been able to focus on anything for more than 5 minutes all day.

But I’m also riding a running high that’s so incredible, I don’t know if I’ll come down for weeks. I had two awesome weekends of running/running friends in a row. And after my frustrating, non-running start to the year, I can’t think of a better way to end it.

undecided2_finishTeam Undecided2 at the finish! SR, Emily, Kristina, Margot, me, Sarah OUaL -yep, Undecided2 was really our name. That’s what happens when you sign up and then forget to update the “Team Name” section until it’s too late. Oops.

So while it may take a little while to get myself to come up with coherent sentences for a full race recap, here’s a little preview of the weekend highlights…

{Quick note: An Ultra relay means you run the same distance (around 200 miles), with only 6 people instead of 12. The advantage of this is that your entire team is in one van for the weekend…which means less coordinating and lots more team bonding time. The disadvantage hard part is that you run more miles than you would in a traditional relay.}

Ragnar Las Vegas Highlights

Subtitle: One of the best running weekends of my life

Nevada is beautiful. When I think Las Vegas, I think bright lights. The strip. Casinos. Not miles of incredible beauty everywhere you turn. But Ragnar Vegas surprised me with its views. Mountains, deserts, cacti — It’s amazing how something so vast and brown can take your breath away with its beauty.


True, some of our runs were on congested streets through main areas, which wasn’t so great. But we also ran through mountains, by lakes, and along bike paths. My second leg was 13.5 miles along a straight road where I got to watch the sun slowly rise over the mountains in the distance. Truly one of the most amazing runs of my entire life.

Lake Mead

Nevada is also cold. Nighttime temperatures were in the 30s. The wind was so strong we often felt like we were running backwards. And then the sun came out and it was warm again. I guess that’s the desert for you.

Ragnar Vegas_start1Snow at the start…oh my goodness

RagnarLV 022{via Sarah OUaL}

Running an ultra relay was both harder and easier than I thought it would be. Relays are tough enough as it is. You have to run multiple times within 24+ hours, all while being cramped in a van and surviving on very little sleep. I’ve always been so tired after relays that I couldn’t imagine adding in any extra miles. But Ultras are so different. When I run a regular relay, my goal is to run each 5 – 6(ish) mile leg as fast as I possibly can. I still wanted to run fast this past weekend, but the longer legs meant I allowed myself to just fall into a “comfortably uncomfortable” pace. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t exhausted by the end…just that I wasn’t running to the point of wanting to throw up.

And that’s something this distance runner really loves.

IMG 7301{via Emily}

Granted, at 28 miles for the weekend, I also had the shortest legs on the team. Maybe I’d sing a different tune if I had run over 30 like everyone else…

Sometimes you get to meet an Olympian…who is running a relay in jorts like it’s NBD.

Nicksymmonds ragnarOh hello Nick Symmonds {Photo via Emily}

Lookin’ good buddy…


Still waiting for confirmation as to whether or not we beat him…

If you ever run an Ultra-style relay, having a van driver (or drivers) is a must. Brian and Lee (our driver extraordinaires) took care of everything all weekend. They navigated the somewhat confusing, almost-but-not-quite-correct directions to each exchange without issue….all on basically zero sleep. It was so nice to be able to sit back, eat, rest, and run without worrying about any of the logistics.

I don’t know how they made it through the weekend without wanting to kill us. We all owe a huge thanks to Brian and Lee, because we couldn’t have done it without them (now are you two game for undecided3 in 2013??).

IMG 7334So much driver love {via Emily}

Not only was this my first Ultra relay, but it was also the first time I was on a team that was trying to be competitive in the overall results…not just run for fun. And while there’s definitely something to be said for running a relay without any pressure, I think it’s pretty clear by now that I consider competitive racing synonymous with the word fun. I don’t think any of us really had the races we wanted. We were all struggling for one reason or another, and (being the competitive people that we are), always wanted to run faster. But everyone was out there pushing as hard as they could. It was so encouraging to be a part of all that.

And in the end, our hard work paid off. We finished in just under 26 hours (my fastest relay finish ever!!) to win the woman’s division! Preliminary results have us listed as the 2nd ultra team by just 12 minutes (To my knowledge, there doesn’t seem to be a “women’s ultra” division).

I somehow pulled off the marathon-relay double. While super stars like Emily and SR can run a marathon every weekend like it’s no big thing, this was something I was legitimately nervous about. But the amazing thing was, once it got started…I just ran. My legs didn’t feel fresh, and I certainly didn’t PR in any of the distances. But I finished!


At this point, my legs feel like they’re in a permanent state of soreness. They haven’t stopped hurting since Sunday, Nov 4th at approximately 12:08 PM. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to go down stairs without pain in my quads again. But I kinda sorta like it…in a weird, hurts-so-good kind of way.

I am hooked on Ultra Relays. Completely. Utterly. No hope of turning back. I thought my addiction to the 12-man relay was bad, but this is something else. I can’t really explain what it is about running 200 miles with only 6 people. Maybe it’s just how hard it is that makes it so addicting. Or maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment. Either way, I have an ultra-relay fever that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to quench.

Finally – a huge THANK YOU to our very generous sponsors: Pro Compression and Compex. We couldn’t have done it without the help of these companies who literally kept us running all weekend.

apple green pro compression

Want some Pro Compression socks of your own? Use the code “RRLV”  for 40% off and free shipping! P.S. And tell them that you want to see these amazing “green apple” (i.e.Team Watermelon) socks in their store.

Currently seeking: a 200-mile relay race sometime in the next few months. Recommendations encouraged!


27 Responses to Ragnar Las Vegas Highlights

  1. I guess June isn’t early enough for you 😉 Loved this and now I know what your team name means, I thought maybe you guys decided on that haha.

    I loved following all of your photos on instagram and twitter!
    Jamie @ couchtoironwoman´s last post ..November Book Club: The Courage to Start

    • Haha – I want to relay in June too…but there’s a long 7 months between now and then. I don’t think I’m patient enough to wait! :)

  2. That sounds absolutely amazing. You’re my running hero! Also, you look so genuinely HAPPY in every picture, which makes me smile! So glad you’re having such awesome races — you deserve it!

  3. this makes me so happy. we’ve set a high bar on the fun and fast scales, but I think Undecided3 needs a shot to trump. less wind, same crew, more PB pretzels (seriously half the container is left!)
    Sarah OUaL´s last post ..Early Ragnar Vegas Postscript

    • I know, I know… I’m ashamed of our sub-par PB pretzel eating abilities. My only defense is that I was so fearful of Emily’s wrath if I ate the last one(s) that I had to seriously watch my intake.

  4. That post makes me want to run an ultra relay! And get some green compression socks!

  5. You guys looked like you had so much fun!!! Congrats on running a fabulous race!!! You all totally kicked ass.

    I am dying to run another relay too, I would totally be up for making GMR and Ultra! :)

  6. I’m also surprised at how pretty it is-wow! I’ve always thought Nevada seemed like kind of a pit… glad to see it’s not so!
    Jean´s last post ..Pump-Up Songs

  7. CONGRATULATIONS!!! That’s so awesome you won and sounds truly fabulous. In fact, after reading this I am officially dying to do an ultra relay!!!
    Ricole Runs´s last post ..REJECTED.

  8. It was so apparent from all the tweets that you ladies had a BLAST! I am so glad! And a WIN to boot…SWEET!
    XLMIC´s last post ..Hump Day

  9. I am itching to do a relay…but a normal one will do me nicely thank you. And you and your like are wearing my resistance to compression socks down little by little.

    Nevada IS beautiful – we drove through it a year or so ago and I thought it was amazing. And yes, cold. We had snow at the Grand Canyon at about this time of year.
    Cathryn´s last post ..Last Week in my Nikes – 12th November

    • I used to only wear compression socks every once in awhile but now they’re one of my favorite things! It just feels so good! …wearing them in fun colors helps too :)

  10. Congrats on the race!!! I’m running my first Ragnar Relay in January!!! Running form Miami to Key West!! Super excited and SUPER nervous- one of my legs consists of 8 miles at 1:30am eeek!
    Julie @ Sweetly Balanced´s last post ..Day off Monday

    • I’m jealous! I’d love to do that one too if it wasn’t closed already…

      And the night runs are usually my favorite. I’ve had a few creepy moments, but most times they can be so peaceful. At the very least, all that extra adrenaline will just help you run faster!

  11. Looks like SO much fun! I’d love to do a relay… not an ULTRA relay, but definitely a relay. Congrats on the race!!

  12. O.M.G. I want to run an ultra relay so badly now. Which is super ridiculous, because I’ve never even run a marathon!
    Becky @ RunFunDone´s last post ..Can’t Hold Us Down!

  13. It looks like you guys had a great time! I’m so ready to do my first relay in April, though we won’t be nearly as speedy as Undecided2!
    Steph @ Steph Runs On´s last post ..Race Recap: San Antonio Rock and Roll Half Marathon

  14. I haven’t commented in awhile and I’m still digging through my google reader – looks like you have had some awesome races, congrats! Glad your year is ending on a high note.

    Thinking about getting those compression socks….how did you figure out what size to order?
    Kathy Q´s last post ..Perspectives

    • They have a sizing chart when you order, but I know it’s kind of hard to tell from that! My one piece of advice is that they seem to be made for taller people. I originally ordered smalls because of the shoe size (I wear an 8 in running shoes) but they were too long. I’m 5’4″ and the XS fit perfectly (despite the fact that my calves are nice and..shall we say…muscular…ha). Hope that helps!

  15. congrats to yall!!! LOVED keeping up with it on twitter/instagram. i would love to do another relay-still haven’t done a ragnar race.
    elizabeth´s last post ..My Little Marathon Secret

  16. I’m new to your blog (the link to your dad’s bday post was re-tweeted on twitter and I have to say that it was quite inspirational:)

    I have a huge itch to run a relay and now an ultra relay is sounding even better!!!

  17. Congrats on finding your new love – ultra relays! I will enjoy vicariously (tho you are responsible for my buying the Hood2Coast DVD set to watch as I do double runs on my tmill). Thx for discount on the socks – I’m trying purple, but would love that green. :)

  18. Hi Marni! I found you through skinny runner. What are the make and model of your awesomely green sneakers from Ragnar Vegas? How do you like them?

  19. magnificent issues altogether, you simply won a logo new reader. What could you suggest about your put up that you simply made a few days ago? Any sure?|

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