Friday, January 27, 2012

Ragnar Relay DC Ambassador Run Roundup

Only for Ragnar would I grow a 'stache
like this.
When the e-mail arrived in my inbox at the turn of the year, I thought, “Could I do this?” A beat. “Definitely.” And so, I began furiously filling out the Ragnar Relay Ambassador application and commenced checking my e-mail constantly to see if I’d heard back, acceptance or not.

A week ago, when I saw the (1) on my browser tab, I naturally thought nothing of it, until I saw the Ragnar e-mail address. I had been accepted.

That’s how I found myself trotting down the dark and damp D.C. Mall at 6:45 Wednesday night to meet up with my fellow Ragnar Relay D.C. Ambassadors. Because what do you do when you call a bunch of runners together for a meeting? You have the meeting on the run. If only real life could be that way. Can you imagine being in one of those meetings that suddenly goes sour, the ones where it takes every concentrated effort to keep your eyes open, when your thoughts wander away to your run later in the afternoon or just how did that brown stain get on the ceiling and you return to the conversation realizing that you’ve missed about five minutes and yet the person is STILL talking but you haven’t missed anything…wouldn’t it be great if you could just drop the pace down so that 1) they couldn’t continue talking or 2) you just leave them behind.

Whew, I digress.

About 12 of us gathered in front of the Smithsonian Metro stop and shuffled back and forth on our toes and heels as we waited for everyone to arrive. The warmth generated by jogging from car to meeting point began to dissipate and a quiet chill started to settle on me.

I looked around at my new ambassador cohorts and, like Ragnar itself (and the running life for that matter) we were the perfect cross section of the running population: male and female, younger and older, experienced and beginner, speedy and easy…but the one link that we shared, other than running of course, was Ragnar.

When asked on the application, “Why do you want to become a Ragnar Ambassador,” I wrote:
“When I lace up and go for a run, go to the gym, or go to cheer friends at races, and I spot the Ragnar t-shirt, it’s an instant conversation starter….If there’s time to converse, conversations usually devolve into team names, outfits, van decorations, magnets, and the general camaraderie over such things as random cravings for beef jerky at 3:00 in the morning and 'sleeping' in some sort of field. I believe every runner should experience that knowing nod from other Ragnar finishers, the one that signals that you know what one another has been through to earn the right to wear that shirt. Fast or slow, in it to win it or just complete it, they should have the opportunity to join that fraternity of delirious accomplishment.

And I want to share my experience with them to ensure that they do.”

After brief introductions, we set out in a big clump of runners tumbling down the Mall toward the spotlighted Capitol, getting yelled at by homeless men to "keep it down."The conversation, like the pace, flowed smoothly. We chatted about our past Ragnar experiences, the finish lines we’ve crossed, and the starting lines we aim to toe. You could pass easily between the group and move from conversation to conversation. It’s not often I get to run in a group this big, so I was surprised at how quickly the time passed as you either carried the conversation or let it carry you as a quiet observer.

Four and a half miles came and went and soon we had stretched our run from the Capitol to the Lincoln and back to the Metro.

When chatted longer about tentative plans for the year as that same quiet cold began to seep in again as our sweat dried. Then we broke and went our separate ways into the night.

I can’t wait to continue giving back to a race and a series that has given so much to me. This is only the beginning.


  1. So bummed I couldn't be there, but I was out of town on business... Sounds like it was fun. Looking forward to catching everybody next time.

    1. That's a pretty good excuse :) Looking forward to meeting you in person!

  2. You are going to be an AWESOME Ragnar ambassador! One day I am sure I will let myself be recruited for the race, especially hearing about what an awesome time you guys have on it.


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