Ragnar: Miami to Key West Part 1

Today starts a 4 post series detailing Ragnar Miami to Key West of which I participated in January 4 & 5. I know it’s detailed and long, but I hope you find that interesting and appreciate it! 

The first week of January was a whirl of excitement getting ready for Ragnar Miami to Key West!


First things first, I got my nails did. Yup. Ragnar Orange. Priorities people!


Next Adam and I got everything packed. We REALLY didn’t have that much stuff for two people especially considering we were staying in Key West for 3 nights after the race. I also had a box of our team t-shirts, a cot (for Roxie once we got to Key West), and two coolers for the van.


Thursday night, the night before the race, all our Jacksonville based runners met at our place to pack up the van and head out. Unfortunately traffic was HORRIBLE and several people were late. What usually takes me 30 minutes to drive took 50. We finally got on the road around 7 p.m. which meant we would make it to our hotel in Miami around Midnight. We got in around 12:07 a.m.


We woke up bright and early the next morning and took advantage of the free breakfast our hotel offered. Then it was time to organize and decorate the vans. On a whim, I’d swung by JoAnn Fabrics the week before we left and bought a pack of chalk markers. This turned out to be a great decision. Everyone took a pen and got busy.


Now THAT’S an impressive sketch of Chuck Norris! (Roxie’s talents)

For the race, we split everyone into two vans. Van 1 has runners 1 – 6 in it, and Van 2 has runners 6 – 12. The runners all run in succession. While Van 1 is busy shadowing it’s runners through the first 6 legs of the race, Van 2 goes forward and waits at the major exchange which is 6 exchanges ahead. When Van 1 finally makes it to where Van 2 is waiting, Van 2 will begin shuttling it’s runners through legs 6 – 12 and Van 2 will go forward to the next major exchange, which is #12. And so on until collectively, they have completed all 36 legs of the race.


Here’s our team rosters:

Van 1:

  1. Monica
  2. Leif
  3. Andrea
  4. Brooke
  5. Stephanie
  6. Lindsay
Van 2:

  1. Adam
  2. Roxie
  3. Amanda
  4. Melissa
  5. Bob
  6. Stacey


Once we were finished decorating the vans, we parted ways. Van 1 headed to the starting line and Van 2 headed to Exchange #6… or so we thought we were.

Right before we left, I got a call from Stephanie. We still had the extra headlamp and red blinking lights in Van 2, and Van 1 needed them to get approved at the safety check at the starting line. (Van 2’s safety check was at Exchange #6). So, change of plans…we headed to the starting line to see Monica start the first leg of the race. I honestly was really excited we got to do this. I just felt like I was missing some of the excitement by not watching the race start.


We hung out for a while, watched Van 1 go through the safety presentation and used the port-o-lets about 8 times. Whooowee! Someone had literally dropped 10 lbs in there.


This sign was displayed all near the safety check-ins. How cool!!! I’d seen some of their tweets on Twitter. I absolutely love fitness documentaries. I cannot wait until I can watch this. For more information, you can check out their website here.


Got our first glimpse of some of the crazy outfits people were actually planning on running in! HELLO CHAFFING???


Finally, it was Monica’s turn to line up at the starting line.Yup, that’s her throwin her arms up in the air like she just don’t care.


I managed to get a really cool panorama of the starting line. (click the image to see it full size)


Finally we headed to exchange #6 so our van could do our safety check in, while van 1 took care of legs 1-6.


At the check in, we received our race numbers and our team swag bag. It had something like 12 sticks of clif shot bloks and a few gu packets too.


…and lots of temporary tattoos!

We walked through their merchandise tent where they were selling t-shirts, jackets, and pint glasses. I ended up buying two shirts. Yup bought two shirts before I even ran a single leg! That means I ended up with four shirts from this race: Ragnar shirt, Chuck Norris team shirt, and the two I bought in the merch tent.

There was also Clif Gu sampling and Nuun sampling. I’m really interested in Nuun and planning to pick some up the next time I’m at the running store. I ran into Lynda from Hit the Road Jane who was on the Nuun team!

I also thought there was supposed to be free massages at Exchange #6, but I never found them. Oh well. I hadn’t even run a leg yet, it’s not like I NEEDED a massage..but who ever turns down a free massage?

We headed back to the van and tried to relax. I was really tired from getting to Miami so late the night before, I tried to sleep a bit in the van. It was just too hot. IMG_8598_thumb8

It was at this point we welcomed our Van Mascot, MiniG, to the team! (Mini Gnome)

At some point a free box of Krispy Kreme donuts showed up. I guess they were handing out one box per team at the exchange point. No thanks! I can’t really say I’m interested in donuts after having run the Krispy Kreme Challenge back in July.

While lying in the van, I could hearing other teams walk by and read the Chuck Norris sayings out loud that were written on the side of our van. It made it even funnier to hear someone else say the jokes. At some point someone actually added their own Chuck Norris joke to the bottom of the list.


We also got tagged… a lot. What’s tagging? Well, I’ve never read about it in any of the other race recaps I’ve read, but several teams made custom magnets and stickers for their teams and put them on all the other vans. We probably had approximately 12 on our van by the end of it.


Here’s a picture of the exchange point to give you an idea of how it looked. It was one of the major exchanges, so this one was a bit more exciting.


The music was loud and exciting, so Bob & I had an impromptu dance party while we were waiting at the exchange for our teammate.




Here’s another panorama to show the exchange point. Just click on the photo above to see it full size.

Check back tomorrow to read more of the Ragnar Relays recap!

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