It’s the Monday after Ragnar Michigan, and the #ragnover is real! I’m reflecting on an amazing weekend – and even though I hate Mondays, I can’t stop smiling.
I have been looking forward to this race for months. This team "Whose Leg Is It, Anyway?" was comprised of a few friends that I have done Ragnars with before, and some friends of friends, and some folks from Twitter and Facebook running groups. I had so much fun at last year’s Ragnar Michigan race, that I just HAD to put my captain's hat back on and do it again.
I flew out with my friend Connie and met up with some teammates in Grand Rapids. We had to wait for our van to pick us up, and due to a flight delay we had 4 hours to kill! We took an epic Lyft ride in a tricked out Escalade over to a local tavern and enjoyed some grub and excellent Michigan Craft Beers.
We spent Friday night at a house on a lake about 15 minutes from the start. 9 of us stayed there, with the other 3 members arriving Friday morning with van 2. Weather was pretty good – around 60 degrees and clear.
Our start time was 8AM, so we rolled on out to Pere Marquette state park in Muskegon. The start experience was so much nicer this year – it was not pouring rain – hooray! – and it was bright and clear with a lovely sunrise. What a difference!
Runner 1 (Mark) headed out and we headed out to get ready to send out runner 2 (Colleen). She was the only Ragnar newbie in our van. I know Colleen from Twitter so it was cool to get to know her in real life. My friend Connie was up next and came in with a classic baton handoff fail.
I was up next for a 6 mile run. Jeremy (one of my running besties) was out doing the “Ragnar leg” – a 9.1 miler that earned a special bonus “Cherry on top medal”. Lucky guy.
Finally it was my turn. I ran from Duck Lake state park to Montague, a cute little town on a lake. A good portion of my run was along the lake which was awesome. That’s the best part of this race, there is pretty much a body of water on every leg of the course
I handed off to Matt and we cruised on to exchange 6 to meet up with van 2. Of course, had to stop at the gear tent and pick up all the essentials!
My Ragnar pal Toby was co-captain and in charge of van 2. This year he brought his brother and 2 running friends with him. The one big bummer of Ragnar is not getting to hang out with the other van and get to know those people.
It was finally LUNCHTIME! We went to some local roadside restaurant/pool hall. We had the nicest, coolest waitresses on this trip. They were all fascinated with what we were doing, and wanted us to have a great experience. It was spot on.
We had a little downtime at the next major exchange before starting our night legs, but not that much really. We were running right on schedule according to our projections!
As the sun started setting, the temps were dropping. We were at Lake Michigan at Pentwater beach at sunset. It was really chilly, but absolutely stunning!
The colder it got, the more worried I became about being too cold on my night leg. Luckily I only had a 3.5 miler, and I just happened to have my BUFF USA Thermonet scarf & beanie. My night leg ended up being pretty nice. I think I was done by 1030pm.
After Matt finished we headed up to the next major exchange and turned in for the night. Our van was quite spacious so I got to stretch out on an entire seat, what a luxury! It was 37 degrees when I woke up around 345, I was shivering in the van.
While Connie was out running we stopped at the scenic overlook in Arcadia. I remembered this from last year. Unbelievably beautiful!
Ok, time for my last leg! I was sort of looking forward to my last leg because part of it was on a pretty trail. Unfortunately they took some of my runner 6 leg from last year and added it to runner 5’s leg. So after the pretty trail I now had this hilly road section that I did not enjoy last year. I had a quick handoff from Jeremy and headed out for 6.6 miles. The trail was quite pretty, leaves were turning. That damn hill near the end had to be walked. Oh well, I was happy to be finished without any major knee issues!
Headed to the last major exchange which we used as an excuse to take silly pics. We were pumped and on our way to Traverse City to celebrate! Stopped at the Lake Ann Brewery for lunch with a cool small town vibe. Could have stayed there all day. It was right on the course so we got to see runners and vans coming through.
There wasn’t quite enough time to go back and shower and get back to the finish, so we went straight there. Picked up some extra bling – most of us had done multiple ragnars this year so we earned some cool connector pieces.
Finally our van 2 showed up and it was time to bring in runner 12 Romero and cross the finish line. As usual, we had to rush out from there to get ready for dinner, and didn’t hang out for more team/individual pics, beer garden, etc.
Overall, we finished in just over 32 hours. I’m so pleased with how well everyone got along. This was one of my very favorite Ragnar experiences – if not the best. Good friends, great runners, and the best scenery in my beloved home state. Ragnar Michigan, I just can’t quit you! I know I will be back.
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!