This race is an ultramarathon. I am writing this the morning after we finished the race on that beautiful coast. I feel like I got hit by a truck and then thrown under water. Yet, I can’t wait to do it again.
Getting together with more than 50 vegans from all over America proved yet again to be an incredibly exhausting experience, one I will never forget.
I think it will be easier to write a recap in sections, so that’s what I’ll do.
1.) Getting there
I left Ithaca, NY at 1AM on Friday morning. It was a relatively slow start and after working that Thursday, I was not rested getting little sleep. After about three hours, it was increasingly challenging to keep my eyes open, so I pulled into a text stop area and napped for a half hour. I felt a surge or energy, got a coffee, put on some tunes and the rest of the journey was relatively easy.
6 hours in total of driving got me to the Rockland Park and Ride bus stop where the team was meeting. A couple vans were early like me, so we went to Whole Foods to grab breakfast. It was here I finally met The Vegan Zombie himself, Chris Cooney. Check out his YouTube channel, it’s rather awesome.
Getting back to the meeting place, we divided up into vans and made for the start of the race. There were so many of us! I was introduced to Micah Risk, who you will recognize as a Runners World cover model and “the girl with the vegan socks”. She was actually on my team, so I knew we would be going fast! Next to her is a new SHVP guy named Sam who basically looks like he could bench press a bus, but decided to come run around with us.
After sending our team off, being in van 1 of team A, we left to get to the next exchange. I was the third leg so I had about an hour to get ready to run.
2.) Leg 1: 8.5 miles
I was nervous for this, but looking at the elevation profile, the rolling hills didn’t look too bad.
Ha. Jokes on me.
I started off feeling good and fast. I averaged sub 6 miles for the first three and passed a runner. Then the wheels came off. The hills were not rolling. They were long uphill and steep short downhills. I knew I was in for some pain. Honestly, after the third mile, I was feeling really desperate. I felt stupid for taking the first miles so fast. I also felt hopeless because the up hills did not end. Seriously they just did not stop. I almost cried once or twice.
I returned to my mantra of “relax, just relax,” and it worked for a few miles. When I hit the last huge uphil around mile 6.5, I was in so much pain, I actually practiced my sorry speech for my team as to why I was so slow. I shouted out loud that this was for the animals, and just pushed it to the end.
Pain was real folks and I was humbled by the hills yet again.
I ended with a 6:18 average time (not as slow as it felt) and made the decision to take the next to legs very easy.
Leg 2: 4.2 miles, 7:15 average pace
My night leg went really well. It was short, flat and straight. It was just what I needed to recover some confidence from the last one. The sidewalks had an odd melted texture, but I’m not hating. I finished relatively quickly, happy and ready to eat some food!
We had a lot of food again this year, but also a larger variety thanks to Samantha and Sean sort or organizing it. I remembered that by the time night rolled around I wanted fresh fruit and veggies, so I made sure to bring that. I also brought a large container of peanut butter, which I’m embarrassed I made such a dent into.
My teammate Jason brought lentil sloppy joes and fruit salad, which we had alongside pretzel buns sandwiches. It was delicious! After the feast, we realized our car battery was dead, and it started raining. Cue panic.
Because most of the vans at Cape Cod were rentals, no one else had cables either so we couldn’t get a jump. We called triple A and got them to come, but luckily found some before that happened. I have to give major props to Suzie Jo, because she was a boss during this time. She knew what to do and got us back on the road. #GirlBoss
Leg 3: 9.45 miles, 6:48 average pace
My last leg started at about 6:30 AM. This is my prime running time and the weather was beautiful. I decided to run with a podcast and just take it easy. The hills were rolling again, but felt easier as I wasn’t pushing too hard. The last 6 miles were on a bike path similar to the ones I run in Ithaca, so everything felt familiar. It was my favorite leg and the pace spoke for itself.
I feel confident for Buffalo now. I think I maintain that pace for a while.
The rest of our van finished and each of us really kicked it in at the end. Sean, our team captain had the most beautiful finish over a bridge and was going so fast I almost missed it. It was cool to hand off to him for every leg like I did at Ragnar ADK.
After the race, we did what all great vegans do, feasted, relaxed and talked about vegan food, push-ups and ultramarathons. I think I’m one of the only people not have done one, and I’m terrified of them so that’s completely fine.
We had a long time till our second van finished signaling the finish of our team. The post race party was fun and soon enough our last runner came in like a bullet, passing a whole team at the end. He was SO fAST and this sprint finish was faster running 10 miles.
We ended up with a time of 23:15, breaking 24 hours.
Unfortunately I had to leave soon after because it was 2:30 and I had a 6 hour drive home. After napping the team picture, my two teammates Alan and Jason and I took our van back to the park no ride, where I picked up my car to begin the journey home.
Part 5:The Ride Home
This is where the ultramarathon er in me comes out. The first three hours were ok. I ate while listening to podcasts. Soon I felt myself fading and having to go to the bathroom. I figured I would stop at the next station. However, there was nothing to be found, and it started torrential raining. My eyes were so tired, but I knew I had to be sharp.
Honestly, this was the hardest part of Ragnar. Keeping my stuff together and focused on the road.
I counted down the miles and finally found a bathroom 5 hours into my journey. The last hour was a mix of really cold AC and yelling 80s hits to stay awake. I can’t believe I got home.
Today I’m sore, majorly sunburned and eating everything in sight. The way it should be after an ultramarathon.
I’m ready for the next one!