So Cal Ragnar Relay 2012: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of an Ultra Team

by This is Carrie on August 17, 2012

One of the things I’ve always disliked about running a relay with two vans and a full team of 12 is that you really don’t ever get to see your other van.  It never really feels like one cohesive team.  Running the Southern California Ragnar Relay race with Team Sparkle as an ultra team meant we had only one van because there was only six runners. It was just us. We became really close, really fast. It was awesome. We started out the race full of booty shaking fun (can you tell we’re at the end of leg 1 in this pic?), but by the end of the race, we realized there was more to surviving a relay as an ultra team than just completing the longer running distances.

We were still feeling great when we downed our free box of Krispy Kreme donuts at transition 6 (which may not have been the best idea).

Water gun shenanigans with each other and with other teams took place all the way up to leg #8.

We helped other teams properly attach wings (since Kelly is the queen of running in fairy wings).

We even took the time to bring happiness to other teams as we passed out toilet paper in the bathroom line (a hot commodity at some transitions spot).

But without the break that handing off to a second van of six runners gives a relay team, our energy quickly waned. Energy to be silly was gone.  Energy to eat was gone. Energy to engage in any sort of shenanigans was gone.  Every last drop of energy we had needed to be preserved for running because there were no breaks.  We had to be “on” all the time.

Decent sleep was something we could only wish for.  Most of us were lucky to get an hour or maybe two of shut eye during the entire 29 hour race (and when you add the “getting ready” and “winding down” from the race, that easily turned into 36 hours).  There was an entire leg that I can’t even remember doing.  I blame it on sleep deprivation. Or, it’s quite possible I was sleep-running.

The most ugly part of running the So Cal Ragnar Relay as an Ultra Team had to be the stomach issues.  Oh the stomach issues. I always have “race stomach” right before a race, but I never contemplated having it 6 times in 28 hours.  Because of sleep deprivation and upset stomachs (for all of us) eating was a chore and hydrating was a chore. So we just stopped doing it. That was a huge mistake and definitely something we need to figure out before our next relay race.  The Doritos tacos, Egg Mcmuffin and Krispy Kremes might also have been a mistake. We may also ask if Preparation H would like to be one of our sponsors in 2013.

Remember at the beginning of the post when I said our team got close?  It may have been the most ugly part of the race that will forever bind us together.  For all of us, TMI was not in our vocabulary as we shared that smelly, sweaty van, not only racing from one transition to another, but from one porta potty to the next.

All photos (except for the one of tp distribution) courtesy of Julie of Angry Julie Monday

Follow the entire adventure:

Team Sparkle Runs So Cal Ragnar


Read about past relay adventures here:

Hood to Coast Relay

The Relay


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So Cal Ragnar Relay 2012: The End | This Mama Makes Stuff
August 22, 2012 at 9:51 pm


Heather August 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I starting following you for sewing, but I’ve LOVED your running recaps. Even with the dirty side of your Ragnar story, I’m thinking of getting a group of women to run next summer as part of our 20th High School Reunion celebrations. However, I don’t believe we’ll be going for Ultra Team status. Wow. I’m impressed.

Congrats to you and your running partners!

Jennifer August 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Hi! I would love to talk to you via email or phone for a few minutes. I’m running the Ragnar Colorado in a few weeks and we are not sure what to do with sponsors we have as far as tax receipts, or what! I can’t find any help on the web! If you could let me know how you did it, I would be so grateful. We need to submit our logos for our shirts pretty pronto!

Lisa Kirker August 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I finished “The Fred” a 200-mile relay just two weeks ago. I LOVED it and have been considering talking a few of my team-mates into an Ultra team for next year. Ahh…I’m rethinking that!! Guess I didn’t consider the “off” time. Even though we didn’t sleep much during our 4-hour breaks, at least we had some down time as a team. Thanks for sharing. AWESOME JOB coming in 2nd by the way!!

On another note…my BRF and I were going to get Sparkle Skirts last year for a Halloween trail run we did (we came in #3!), but they were sold out. TOTALLY buying them this year – with “legs” to go with them! :)

This is Carrie
Twitter: thisiscarrie

You should definitely do the Ultra team. It’s a bear when your are in the thick of it, but after it’s over, it feels AMAZING!! Totally worth it.

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