It’s here. Finally! The weekend you’ve planned for, trained for, lost sleep stressing like a maniac for. Yes, Ragnar Relay weekend is here and you’re oh-so ready. But before your team lines up to cheer the first runner at the starting line, here are five unconventional insider tips to ensure you have the best Ragnar weekend. Ever.
(Photo by: @hollyghollyg)
Put the phone down.
Yes, yes take some photos and videos. Use the snapchat filters and a slow-mo effect here and there. Make sure you can connect when you need to, but also? Put the phone away. Turn off your music for a few miles and take it all in. Breathe. Make eye contact with your fellow runners. Listen to your feet, the sound of your heartbeat, the whoosh of the wind. Look up at the stars overhead and let your gut give you some feedback about your pace.
No matter where you are or what you’re doing—running, climbing a big hill, waiting at the exchange, questioning your life-choices as you struggle to keep your eyes open after a long night—when the sun starts to come up on Saturday morning, pause. If you’re running somewhere and you happen to notice the way the light glimmers off the water collecting on each and every wildflower in the field before you, pause. Don’t stress, the rest of the course can wait.
There’s a reason everyone you know is talking about gratitude these days. We need it. It’s healing. It helps. Being grateful for things like the volunteers you meet along the course and the locals cheering random strangers past the route gives you energy. Being grateful for the amazing things your body is capable of doing (that maybe you didn’t think you could do a year ago) is empowering. And being grateful for your teammates gives you all kinds of warm fuzzies.
Mindfulness. Zen. The “zone.” There are a lot of names for it. But, you know exactly why we’re bringing this up. So, just stop it right now. Stop doing that thing where you start living in the future and thinking about all the things you’re going to do after Ragnar. How you’re going to go back to your daily life and get a full 8 hours of sleep like some normal human. Or, how you have so much laundry waiting for you at home. You’re here. Right now. This is your life: every sweaty minute of it. You may be in the middle of a long leg, with blisters on your big toe and a shoelace coming untied, but this is your moment. Be here now.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Now beam your team captain on the head with a water balloon. Go ahead and be weird. It’s OK. Don’t be afraid to let go a little bit and enjoy things. You’re on this wild carnival ride for two days and one night, so let loose. Wear something you look ridiculous in. Do a handstand. Write silly, witty signs to cheer on other teams you know nothing about. Who cares? Life is short. This race is not.
There you go. When you’re hitting the course this weekend, don’t forget to pause and reflect, turn off the devices, play with your friends, be mindful and grateful for this epic adventure you’re about to undertake. Good luck.