This year, I finally ran the Ragnar SoCal race. It’s eluded me for a number of reasons over the past 3 years, but my team got back together and we went on down to Huntington Beach to run to San Diego.
We paired up with another group of 6, representing a wonderful non-profit called Single Mom Strong and we had a solid mix of paces + levels of experience. This time around, I originally drew Leg 5 but was able to switch to Leg 1 once a teammate unfortunately had to drop out of the race due to injury.
So… let’s recap shall we?
Distance: 2.41 miles
So we kicked things off down at Huntington Beach before dawn. It was a bit chilly, and I hadn’t had as much outdoor mileage as I would’ve liked during my up-and-down training, but I was excited to kick this thing off!
Overall, it was a beautiful, peaceful kickoff to the race. The was a chill off the water and so I didn’t feel sufficiently warmed up during the first mile, but by the last half-mile, I was starting to finally find my legs and rhythm. Seeing the sun rise up off the coast was dope. And before I knew it, I was done and ready to go back into the van and take a nap.
Distance: 4.81 miles
Now we’re getting into some good climbing. This leg for me starts at dusk and in the parking lot of the mall in Carlsbad. I took off a little hot in the pace, perhaps a tad too fast, and started to find my rhythm and boom - first climb up happens. It’s a pretty steep and long climb, considering the length of the leg, as most of the elevation gain (516 ft) was in the middle 1.5 miles. Here, I’m both thankful for the interval training but cursing not doing more hill work and repeats. The course takes us mostly through residential neighborhoods going toward the Emerald Isle Golf Course, running primarily on Rancho del Oro Drive and Mesa Drive.
Just as I started to get hungry, I was over the last hump and made it to the exchange point. My favorite part was the extended downhill on Oro Drive for about half a mile - I got to coast down and rest the legs a bit, carefully riding downward moment with soft legs (careful on the impact on my knees). However, it’s at this point I wish I wore my cushioned long-distance kicks as the Vaporfly 4% I ran in were just a tad too aggressive for me on this course.
Leg Three Distance: 5.8 miles
Well, the interesting thing about Ragnar SoCal is that the actual distance from Huntington Beach to San Diego is actually only about 120 miles or so. Which means, the course meanders a bit and has a loop pretty much near a strip of restaurants and hotels. And that means… we get a shower and a nap in the hotel room before the start of our Leg 3.
Again, I kick off my leg before sunlight (this time, about an hour pre-dawn). Armed with my head lamp, a cat nap, and a burger from dinner earlier still in my system, I kick off this last leg.
The entire run is along San Marcos Drive, starting near CSU - San Marcos, and we’ve been driving back and forth around here so it all feels familiar, even though it’s my first time here.
However, my sub-optimal training rears its head here, and I pay the price. My legs are dead after mile 1. Mile 2, I’m coasting along and running intervals, and by mile 3, I’m walking a bit in between periods of running. The street traffic is pretty active, considering it’s roughly 5:30 in the morning. I also happen alongside two gentlemen who were out for a run… in denim and cross-trainers. My first thought is - RUN! But after noticing it was a leisure run they were on, my thoughts switched to confusion… and being impressed.
As the sun started to rise, I made it up my final hill of the day, rewarded by the sight of one of my favorite stores: Target. I cross the finish and dive right into the van and crash.
I’ll come back and fill in the blanks, but overall, I’m glad I ran this with the team and finally got a SoCal under my belt. Next up is to finally run the also-elusive Ragnar Napa Valley.