Last night, over some cold drinks and a couple of apps, Team MRG hashed out details of our upcoming Ragnar (less than two weeks away!). Mostly we talked through the course — all 190+ miles of it, starting in Muskegon and ending in Traverse City — and how our 12-person team would divvy up the legs. We’ll each run three legs during this Friday-to-Saturday, through-the-night race, and based on personal preference of overall mileage and degree of difficulty, we determined the sections we’ll each tackle starting the morning of Friday, Sept. 30 and continuing on through the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 30.
It’s getting real.
Now that I’ve crossed the finish line of this past weekend’s Detroit Goddess Half Marathon — a gratifying (and challenging) run I talked about over on the MRG Facebook page these past few days — I am wrapping my mind around this next adventure…Reebok Ragnar Michigan. Thanks to team captain Pam Carrigan and her wicked organizational skills, we have the lodging booked in Muskegon for Thursday night. We have our two passenger vans secured. We have two binders — one for each van — with color print-outs of each leg of the race plus breakdowns of when runners will start and when they’re estimated to finish each leg they’ve been assigned. (See why Pam is our captain? We love you, Pam!)
Of course, we also talked quite a bit about the things we’ll need throughout the race. This is critical, after all, since an overnight, two-day race is completely different from your typical running race. You know you’re on a great team when several people bring up this excellent point: What about the coffee? We need to plan for where we’ll be getting our coffee. YES to coffee.
I’ve written about fueling throughout Ragnar, with help from the knowledgeable folks at Ragnar, and I again turned to the experts for their advice for what we absolutely need to have in preparation for the unforgettable journey that lies ahead. So, fellow soon-to-be Ragnarians out there, here’s what Rebecca Babicz, social media and digital brand manager at Ragnar Relays, had to say about the final prep as we get closer to race day: “Give up on the idea of sleep. Get excited to run your heart out. Look forward to slap happy, hilarious and meaningful conversations at 4 a.m. And last but not least, pack like a Ragnar Relay PRO to maximize your experience.”
Packing Essentials, from Rebecca:
Safety should always come first, but it’s especially true at a Ragnar Relay. It’s not only important to us, but it is required that you have the proper safety gear:
- Reflective vest (required for every runner) – we recommend Nathan Reflective Vests.
- Headlamp (required – 2 per van) – you can share headlamps with your van-mates, but we suggest having your own because they get sweaty and fit differently on everyone. The new Nathan Nebula and Halo Fire headlamps are the first headlamps ever designed specifically for runners and feature:
- Run-Right Light™ combination of Spotlight & Floodlight
- RunWave™ technology to adjust settings touch-free
- Auto-Strobe™ communicates runner’s presence to drivers
- Check them out and see the difference!
- Taillight (required – 2 per van) – Nathan Sports offers the “StrobeLight” in 4 different colors.
- Hand Flash light – Not required, but awesome.
- In case of emergency (ICE) contacts for each runner
Running a Ragnar Relay is much different than your typical 10K or half marathon. You’ll be running three, or more times within a 24 hour period so the clothing you pack and wear is even more important to your overall experience:
- Sweat Vac Team shirts – custom Ragnar team tee-shirts, visors and tech-tees are fun to have during the race and will help commemorate your accomplishment when it’s all over. Just think about all of the Ragnar nostalgia you’ll have when you see your team shirt after the race is over.
- Costumes/ Accessories – because everyone loves chasing superwoman or a man in a tutu.
- Three running ensembles (six for ultra-teams):
- Shirt or tank top
- Running shorts and compression shorts
- Socks –SmartWool makes amazing run socks that feature runner specific ventilation, cushioning and a seamless toe!
- Sports Bra/Underwear
- Running shoes
- Light jacket (Rain layer)
- Warm hoodie or jacket – Depending on your event, you also might consider gloves and a ski hat.
- CEP Compression socks or sleeves – great for recovery on the go and hanging out in the van after a long run
- Running Hat – keep the sun off your face.
- Sun Glasses- BEX has sport sunglasses that look stylish to protect your eyes while you’re driving or running.
- Sweatpants and cozy clothes for the van
- Flip flops – it will feel nice to air out your feet. Consider wiping your feet off with ShowerPills to help avoid getting blisters and keep them from stinking up the entire van.
- Ragnar Bondi Band – Keep the sweat off of your face with a bold fashion statement (not just for women!).
You don’t need to overdo it on bringing things like magazines, books, card games and everything you can think of on your Ragnar adventure. You’ll find that time will fly by between the running, navigating, getting food, exploring local landmarks and bonding with your team. Here are a few items to consider:
- Smartphone – and don’t forget to download the NEW Ragnar App:
- Car compatible phone charger
- Video Camera/ GoPro – Enter the Find Your Inner Wild Video Contest. – $3,200+ in prizes up for grabs!
- Cowbells/ Noise Makers
- Running Belt – hold your phone, money, keys, etc. with The Tube Waistband.
- Headphones like JayBird Wireless headphones
- GPS Running Watch – track your miles, average pace and heart rate right from your watch.
- Jaybird Rein Activity Tracker – track your activity, and (lack of) sleep throughout the 200ish mile relay.
- Sleeping bag/ Pillow/ Blanket (optional)
- Addaday Portable Massage Roller- massage your sore muscles after every run. It’s like having a personal masseuse with you in your van.
- Elevated Legs – turn your van into a recovery station!
- Hydration belt
- PEAR Sports Ragnar Training App (Map your Ragnar runs!)
- Nathan Reusable water bottle
- Van decorating supplies
- Team Van Magnets
- LED lights for inside/outside of van
- Anything that will make your van stand out but not litter the course
- Trash and Recycling Liners (pick them up at the start line and Exchange 6)
- First Aid Kit
- Ragnar Race Bible (print 1 per van OR save the race bible on your mobile device)
- Pace Calculator
- ShowerPills – a better alternative to baby wipes!
- Sunblock/ Lip Balm
- Bobby pins/ hair ties/ BondiBand
- Antichafe powder or cream
- Toothbrush/ Toothpaste
- Extra roll of toilet paper
- Water – We suggest you bring a big cooler of water and fill up reusable water bottles instead of using bottled water to minimize waste.
- Nuun Electrolyte Tablets – Pop these tasty, portable, electrolyte tabs is your water to keep you hydrated. Nuun tabs deliver a fast-absorbing electrolyte blend without the sugar or waste of bottled sport drinks.
- KIND Snack bars
- Food of your choice – check out this MRG post about fueling for Ragnar.
- Pack up your bag, hit the road, and leave the world behind! If you have any additional packing tips or items you like to pack during a Ragnar Relay, leave a comment below!