In January of 2007, I had my fourth and final baby and there was a moment in the hospital, with that perfect little girl in my arms, that I knew she’d be my last. My family was complete.

I decided that what I wanted now, more than anything, was to get my pre-baby-making body back. So within the next couple of months, I got the boobs back that nursing babies had eliminated (too much information?) and I decided that I would take up running in an attempt to reshape everything else.

I remember, so clearly, that first run. It was nighttime. I probably jogged 2 miles. When I got home, I called a dear friend and asked, “Why on Earth do people do this? It’s horrible!” That was my first impression of running. But, that feeling was short-lived and I grew to love my runs. My distance and speed increased and, that same year, I began running races.

Then, in 2009, my sister asked me if I’d run the Ragnar Del Sol. Ragnar is a 200(ish) mile race, divided into 36 legs, that is run around the clock. Teams consist of either 6 (if you’re crazy) or twelve runners.

In total, I’ve now run Del Sol (AZ) three times, So Cal (CA) once and am in the planning stages of  Ragnar Colorado in September and Ragnar Las Vegas in November. Currently, there are 15 Ragnar races throughout the country from Northwest Passage (in Washington) to the Adirondacks, with new locations being added each year.

Although Ragnar is one of the most fun races, and weekends, you’ll ever have, there are a few things that will make planning and running a relay race go smoothly.

  • Start planning early! When there are multiple people involved, you can never start planning soon enough. You need a team, a team name, hotel/flight reservations (possibly), van rentals, etc. Look at Ragnar’s race list for the dates of their relays. Del Sol is run in February.
  • Recruit alternate runners. You WILL lose someone and having someone on speed-dial who is willing to jump in their spot is a lifesaver. My first Ragnar, we lost someone the night before race weekend.
  • Practice running multiple runs in a 2-day period. It helps to be prepared for what you’ll be facing.
  • When packing, bring extra of everything. Even if you aren’t able to take a shower, a set of clean clothes can make you feel much fresher. And don’t forget the facial-cleansing wipes to avoid the after-Ragnar-weekend-breakout.
  • Pack your own food!! The last thing you want to have happen is getting a stomachache from energy gels that you’re not used to and then have to go out and run 7 miles. But, just in case, pack the Tums:)

Follow these tips, and give me a shout out with any questions and go out there and do it! A relay race can be one of the most fun things you’ll ever do. To quote their own website, “Some call it a slumber party without sleep, pillows or deodorant. We call it Ragnar.”

Tell me, speedsters, what are the most fun races you’ve ever run?