Ragnar Relay Leg 2 – Race Recap

This is my second race recap from the DC Ragnar Relay. If you missed it, you can find the recap from my first leg HERE.

My second leg of the Ragnar Relay was early in the morning on Saturday morning. I was actually estimated to run around 3:00 AM, but our team was killing it and had banked a bunch of time. Instead, I found myself waiting for Deb at exchange 20 around 2:40 AM. My second leg (leg 20) was 6.7 miles long and ran through Maryland farming country.

2014 DC Ragnar Relay

I hadn’t gotten any sleep at this point and was getting a little loopy. But there wasn’t anything to do except get the slap bracelet from Debbie and get my run done for the team.

2014 DC Ragnar Relay

I didn’t take any pictures during this leg, because I opted to carry my phone instead just in case. I was worried about getting lost, but this leg was easy to follow. The signs were well-marked and were visible with red blinking lights on top. There were also vans driving along the leg nearly the entire way, which helped light the way. Debbie handed off to me at a John Deere Tractor Store in Frederick, MD (which we both appreciated!) and I ran from there to an industrial area in Adamstown, MD.

2014 DC Ragnar Relay

When Debbie came in to hand off to me, she accidentally took off her watch instead of the slap bracelet! I wasn’t the only one who was getting a bit loopy πŸ™‚ She also gave me one of her knuckle lights to help light the way. I was downright scared of running this night leg because I am scared of the dark. People think I’m joking or just trying to be funny when I say that, but it’s for real.

This leg was run through a very rural area. About 70% of it was on a road that had cornfields on either side of the road that started only 2 feet or so from the road. There was a breeze that made the corn rustle continuously while running. I was just waiting for the Children of the Corn to jump out and get me! In all seriousness, if someone had decided to play some kind of prank and jump out at the runners, they would have gotten kicked, punched, and pepper sprayed by me before I sprinted off.

2014 DC Ragnar Relay

I had never run at night like this before or with a headlamp. I got it done, but it’s not really something I would voluntarily choose to do again. I think my nighttime running will be limited to relays and races.

2014 DC Ragnar Relay

Photo credit: Deb

Since this leg was a bit longer, I carried a gel to take halfway. Unfortunately, my stomach was feeling really gross during this whole run, so I only sipped on water.

Just before the end of my leg, I had to cross some train tracks. I could hear a train approaching, and I managed to make it across the tracks just before the lights started blinking and the crossing gates came down. Good thing I didn’t get caught there! I arrived at the next exchange and handed off to Chuck. There was a little less fanfare with this one, since it was in the middle of the night, but it was still fun.

2014 DC Ragnar Relay

I finished this leg with an average pace of 9:59/mile. We had to jump in the van immediately and head to the next exchange, since Chuck had a shorter leg and we had to be ready with Barry. It was a short drive over there, and then I was able to stretch and change into some dry clothes. It was such a relief to have this leg over and done with!

My last leg of the relay was a very short one. I was hoping to get some sleep before it, but that didn’t really end up happening. More on that next time!

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  1. Awesome recap, Meagan! Still can’t believe the timing of that train, and how lucky we all were that you were right in front of it. Only one more person made it across the tracks behind you before the gates closed.

    I met a friend to run yesterday morning at 5:30 (5:15 tomorrow) and I used all of my nighttime gear, including my reflective vest. She said I was flashy! I run a lot in the dark in the winter, but never as early as 2 AM!

    Thank goodness neither of us got sprayed by a skunk! πŸ™‚
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay – Ragnar DC Recap Part 4My Profile

    1. I know! I could hear it in the distance all the way down that road, and I could tell I was running towards the tracks. All I could think was I am not getting stuck waiting to cross while some super long freight train goes by!

      Glad you’re getting more use out of your nighttime stuff!

  2. I liked watching the John Deere exchange. Seeing all the headlights bouncing down the hill and picking out Deb with her knuckle lights. Then watching the taillights disappear into the night.

    This post is also just in time. This morning around 5 am I almost hit a runner. She ran out in front of me on an unlit street in Fairfax City. She was wearing black spandex and a dark top, had no reflective gear or lights and was not in a cross walk.

    I am always sensitive to pedestrians and try my best to look out for them, especially in intersections. While the right of way is always with the pedestrian, it isn’t a good idea to mess with 2000+ pounds of rolling steel.

    Illuminate and wear reflective gear.

    LUD.

    1. It was neat seeing all of the headlights bobbing in the night! Especially so during my night leg when there were times that no vans were around and all I could see was the taillights of other runners in the distance.

      Pedestrians typically have the right of way, but there’s no excuse for running in the dark with dark clothing and no reflective gear! And to run out in a car outside of a crosswalk on top of it all! I’m glad you didn’t end up hitting her, but she wasn’t being very smart in the first place.

  3. Just amazing — you ran almost 7 miles all lit up with no sleep and no Gu snacks! This is a great write up and I’m my hat is off to you!

    1. Sometimes it’s easiest to just do what you have to do in the moment and not think about it πŸ™‚

  4. That is SO LUCKY you did not get caught behind the train! I cannot even imagine how frustrating that would have been. Last year on our van relay, we had to cross a series of cattle guards at night. Like almost each of us had to run over a cattle guard and they are NOT EASY to run over in the day, let alone at night when things may be living under them and you cannot see.
    Amy recently posted…Interbike 2014My Profile

    1. I know!! I was running the straight stretch down the road towards like tracks like “no, no, no!” as I could hear the train approaching in the distance.

      It would be so hard to run over a cattle guard at night! In fact, I’m almost sure I would fall. I nearly fall just walking over those things in broad day light. My dogs walk across them with ease, though, haha.

  5. My night run was at almost the exact same time! I was lucky and only had about 4 miles to run, and through a town, but it was still nerve racking! For some weird timing reason, I was the only runner out on the course for about 3.5 miles. I saw my fair share of drunk people though – a little scary!

    I normally do my morning runs before the sun is up at 5:30am (with full on reflective safety gear), so I’m pretty used to running in the dark. I think being in a different place and all by myself made it unusual though. Great job getting it done!
    Alison recently posted…Mamas Tell All Link-Up: Picky EatersMy Profile

    1. It would have been kind of neat to run through a town in the middle of the night! I would have liked thinking about how I was out running while people were tucked away sleeping in their houses. But I would not have liked running by drunk people, though. That would be scary!

  6. Nice pace for the dark! I do a lot of running in that same get-up. It’s MUCH easier running at night w/ friends. I think you might like it then. I’m still so impressed you pulled off this distance at night alone. I totally understand the fear…it’s amazing how creative your mind can be at night!
    jan recently posted…CleaningMy Profile

    1. I may have to give night running with friends a try sometime, but I was not a big fan of it by myself! My imagination was certainly running wild. I think I would be a lot braver if I had a buddy with me.

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