We did it! We finally, actually did it! We finished a Ragnar Trails race.
I’m going to write that again just because I can’t believe it actually happened: WE FINISHED A RAGNAR TRAILS RACE!
This has been a long time coming, believe me. After a stellar race in 2013 with great weather at Ragnar Zion’s inaugural year, our luck has not held out. We were snowed out in 2014 and rained out in 2015. With the financial commitment, and time and energy involved with each of these team entries, we were just about to give up for good. And then, on a whim, we decided to ditch Zion and try a new race, this time at Vail Lake, California.
Every Ragnar race we’ve run in has consisted of a core of four – Cory, me and our next-door neighbors. For this race, our friends from L.A. joined in as well and they recruited one more runner out of L.A. That left one open space on our team, but no worries – we hit the trails with seven people instead of a full team of eight.
We checked the weather religiously the days leading up to the race. Things looked good – great even – with ideal temperatures (if not a bit on the warm side), sunshine and no rain in the forecast until the day after we ran. (This was in Southern California, after all, and given the current drought, we were hoping we had a high chance of staying dry.) We didn’t talk about the weather, though, and we hoped for the best. Given our streak of bad luck, we were due for a good run.
And our luck held out. We not only finished the race strong, but it may have been our best race yet. One of our runner was battling a back injury, but beyond that, everyone was in good health, spirits and shape. We were all enthusiastic and the atmosphere was perfect for running.
Vail Lake was lovely with ample room for camping and an easy parking situation. The trails were tough, though, and each trail had hills that required not only walking but scrambling. It was a bit like a cheetah’s speed (ha!) meets a mountain goat’s climbing skills. There was a lot of sand and dust, and when I ran the green trail at night, the silt hovering in my headlamp’s light reminded me of walking across the playa at Burning Man at night.
But once we climbed/crawled/walked to the top, the views were stellar with rolling hills traced with running paths, sunshine reflecting in the still lake, a full moon lighting the path at night and, during my early morning run, nine hot air balloons hovering over the Temecula wineries in the distance. I felt strong, satisfied, capable and so incredibly proud of my team as we crossed the finish line together.
I admit, our confidence in completing another Ragnar race together was slowly fading, and this was a last ditch effort to make this a reality. Confidence restored, we’re now looking ahead to our next potential race.