This blog series may not be about my art per se, but my art is influenced by everything I do and vice versa. The past 12 months have been about pushing myself out of my comfort zone, reaching for new goals, and challenging myself to tap into my true potential. There is still much left to discover! One of my goals for 2024 is to experience a RAGNAR relay race event for the first time!
A little about my running background. I was athletic in my youth but did not grow up a runner. In fact, my sport of choice was tennis, and each year I dreaded the requisite mile we had to run around the track to compete on the school team. Flash forward to 2020 (more than 20 years later) when I went to a "Run, SUP, Yoga" event at the local park and found myself giving running another try. I have surprised myself by sticking with this challenge and gradually increasing my commitment while improving my endurance and distance.
Running has taught me a lot about breaking through mental and physical barriers and not quitting even when things seem difficult. Since 2020, I started with 5Ks, then 10Ks, and one of my proudest moments was finishing my first half marathon in February 2023. Now here I come RAGNAR!
I'll be tracking my progress and sharing my thoughts over the next 12 weeks leading up to the big weekend!
What is a RAGNAR Relay Race?
RAGNAR is a race event with teams that takes place in cities across the country. The RAGNAR website describes each event as a "running festival". Our team's experienced captain similarly described the event as "Woodstock for runners". The Atlanta event is a trail race. Generally there are teams of 8 runners who split running approximately 120 miles of trails over a two day period. The main difference from a regular race (in addition to being a relay with teams) is the fact runners run multiple times a day...including at night! Plus there is overnight camping with music and festivities and activities such as yoga to stretch muscles between runs. If nothing else, it sounds memorable!
How Did I Get Involved in RAGNAR?
This is an interesting story, and it involves my art! In June of last year, I donated a painting for a silent auction at a Gala benefiting a local non-profit organization. The Gala took place the weekend after my last day at my old law firm. I attended the Gala and was experiencing all sorts of feels that week as I was stepping into new unchartered territory with my career. I met a group of women seated at my table, and one of them happened to be the winning bidder of my painting! We learned we both enjoyed running and months later she invited me to join her RAGNAR team! I didn't know much of anything about the race, but in keeping with my year of new experiences almost immediately said yes. In addition to having a new goal it seemed a great way to meet new friends.
What Are Challenges of My First RAGNAR Race?
For me, this race represents several new challenges. First, the training looks intense! I'm used to running 1-2 times a week except when I trained for the half marathon last year, and the suggested training involves 4-6 days of running a week! I'm going to push myself to stick to the training as much as I can for two reasons: (i) I don't want to be the "weak link" even though my teammates seem super nice and likely won't care and (ii) I need a jump start to my workouts in preparation for Spring and Summer. Second, this is a trail race which is new for me. That means part of training will involve trail runs, and I'll have to be more careful with the added elements of unknown. Also, I may need to buy some trail shoes! Third, this race requires conditioning for multiple runs in a day and night runs. Finally, I only camped out a few times in my life, but that part sounds fun aside from figuring out the logistics! Tomorrow is the official start to my training...fingers crossed my new running shoes arrive (they were supposed to be here today)!