I wish I could say my journey to being involved in Ragnar Niagara Road Relay was as smooth as Ready, Set, Ragnar! But like many things these days, it was a bit bumpy. At the beginning of the year, I saw a group of my friends had put together a team for the Ragnar Niagara Road Relay. At this point in time, I wasn’t even 100% sure what Ragnar Niagara was.
Though the road relay has happened once before several years ago, Ragnar is fairly new to Canada, but quite prominent across the US. In a nutshell: 12 people. Starting in Coburg, Ontario. Running relay style overnight supported by 2 vans along the shores of the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail all the way to Niagara Falls for a total distance of 304.4KM (200ish miles).
When I heard about this I thought – damn, THIS I want to do. By this point, a group of my friends already had a team (The Endorphriends) – so I planted the bug in Allison’s ear to keep me as an alternate should someone drop out or need an injury back up. Lo and behold, I got the message I was waiting for from Allison. They wanted me to join their team. The day was March 24th. In a few days I was flying out to Utah to the Ragnar Trail Summit (now being a Ragnar Trail Warrior for the Cottage Country Trail Relay in September at Hardwood Hills). That was also the day I was scheduled for a bone scan. In the interim, since initially bothering Allison, I had suffered an injury. I asked if she minded waiting a couple days until I got my results. As you have all heard my whining and complaining by now, the results weren’t good. Two bone stress fractures, one in each leg. 8 weeks – no running. As we all know by now, I was heartbroken (and maybe a bit angry … right Shane?)
A few weeks after my Ragnar dreams (along with my 5 Peaks, Pittsburgh Marathon etc. and so on went out the window) and the wallowing had subsided (somewhat), I began to focus on the fact that although I had to temporarily say goodbye to some of my 2017 goals, this opened the window for me to focus on one of the other goals I had set – and perhaps, one of the most important: supporting my friends. Just because I couldn’t run, didn’t mean I couldn’t be there to support and cheer on my friends who were working hard to make their dreams become a reality (in my last blog post I talked about how I was there to watch Michelle and Ben crush their races at Pick Your Poison).
So I signed on to the Endorphriends as one of the two drivers they needed in order to complete the relay – and I was THRILLED to do so. This meant I still got to go on this crazy adventure with all of them.
Fast forward to Ragnar weekend. It seriously snuck up on me and on Thursday I found myself a bit in a panic realizing I really had no idea what I was doing – and it was all my own fault. Our team captain Allison had done an amazing job at organizing this team – and I had done a horrible job at keeping up on the group page and conversations. Lesson #1 – without google maps, and the amazingly detailed leg schedule created by Cathy … I would have been screwed (this is turning into one of Michelle’s confession sessions – we had a few of those during the race).
Job #1 was to decorate the chariots. Cathy was of course in charge of this task and along with the support of her amazing husband --- blew it out of the water!! I’m going to go ahead and say we had the BEST DAMN VEHICLES AT RAGNAR NIAGARA. No limb required. Cathy brought together the Endorphriends, creating a custom monster for each of us, decals for the vans AND high grade vehicle stickers to tag the other vans with (not to mention tshirts, bracelets, monster friends etc). We had so many compliments, photos and requests for our stickers. (If you are looking for someone to hook you up for some great stuff for Ragnar Trail Cottage Country and any other event – look no further than Gawck!).