Running the Boston Marathon a couple of months ago was hard, but in some ways running Ragnar Trail in Aspen last weekend was harder. Cold temperatures, high altitude, lack of sleep, a 3am relay leg, and camping in a soccer field crammed with hundreds of other people led to an interesting, and sleep deprived, 21 hours of Ragnar. Overall, it was an extremely well organized race with a lot of extra perks. My team and I had a blast and it was a great way to ring in another year around the sun for me, along with a chocolate D-Bar cake!
I've done a variety of adventure races including Muddy Buddy, Warrior Dash, and Xterra triathlons, but nothing like a Ragnar Relay race.
Ragnar Aspen details include:
120 total miles and ~17,000ft of total elevation gain divided completed relay style by 8 runners
Each runner completes 3 different running loops: Green (3.8 miles, 580ft), Yellow (4.6 miles, 530ft), Red (6.6 miles, 1120ft)
As runner #1, I started the team off at 1pm on Friday running the Green loop, ran my 2nd loop (yellow) around 7:30pm, and my final loop (red) around 3am early Saturday morning
Runner #8 finished the final relay leg around 10am Saturday morning, brining us in as the 23rd fastest team (out of 215teams!)
What I loved about Ragnar:
It was very well organized with the course extremely well marked
Extra perks like free smores, hot water, coffee and hot chocolate for 2 days straight. Movies played through the night to keep us entertained, food trucks, and great swag added to the experience.
The views from the top ridge line of the red loop were spectacular
Ragnar is a great runner's event, but also very inclusive of those getting into running or stretching their running abilities; there were lots of cheers for all teams and a general positive attitude from all teams
Dressing up in outrageous costumes is encouraged - we chose a Viking theme!
What I wasn't Prepared for:
It was really cold at night. The low temperature hit 38degrees, which is cold even to camp in, but worse when you have to get up in the middle of the night and run! Turns out I overdressed for my 3am run (I hate being cold!) and got sweaty with no way to dry off and warm up at the end of my run. I was cold and uncomfortable until 8am when the rec center opened up and I could take a $10 shower.
About 25% of the course involved running on roads or paved path. I love a good trail run and this trail race lacked in the trails department.
Sleep deprivation is terrible. I wrongly assumed I would be able to get at least 4-5 hours of sleep between legs but there was too much excitement and cheering to get any quality of sleep. Plus the cold temps made it hard too!
120 miles and 1 injury
I wished my team avoided all injuries, but running 120 miles, many of those through the dark night, I think experiencing only 1 team injury is a win. Ryan, our last runner, was only 2 miles from the finish when his toe caught a root and he went flying. Apparently his pinky finger broke his fall, which ended up fracturing it. Lucky for Team Viking he's tough and was able to finish our last leg strong bringing our team in 5 seconds before the next fastest team. X-rays confirmed the fracture, but thankfully no surgery is needed!
D-Bar Cake for Recovery Fuel
After a huge energy expenditure and lack of sleep, recovery is key. Luckily for Team Viking, my husband planned ahead and ordered a large chocolate D-Bar cake to celebrate my 38th birthday! In addition to birthday cake, my Viking team of friends celebrated with me in Aspen for the rest of the weekend. Running and camping through the night isn't the most traditional way to spend a birthday, but it was very memorable and I am so grateful for friends and a husband that love to do unconventional adventures with me.
When I finished my last leg at 4am and spent hours being cold, tired, and wet, I decided Ragnar was a 1 and done for me. Until 2 days later we signed up for next year!
In the meantime, you can check out more pictures and videos on my Instagram.
Dr Jessica Klain PT, DPT, COMT, CSCS, OCS, CNPT
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS)
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT)
Certified Nutritional Physical Therapist (CNPT)
Certified Vestibular Specialist
Certified Concussion Specialist
Trigger Point Dry Needling Certified, Level 1&2
Certified Yoga Teacher
University of Florida, Doctorate in Physical Therapy (2009)
The Ohio State University, Bachelor of Science in Biology (2006)