Ragnar SoCal: 195 Miles with Team Tough Chik

April 4th and 5th, 2014 Team Tough Chik took on Ragnar SoCal, the 195 mile journey from Huntington Beach to San Diego, California.

As runner #1, I had the honor of kicking off our journey through southern California.  With that, I was a little anxious about getting to the starting line on time.  When we arrived, there were tons of crowds.  Thankfully, the announcers mentioned that there were lots of folks behind schedule so that helped me from really freaking out.  After dividing and conquering the bib and shirt pick-up along with the safety brief, and taking a few photos, we were off to the starting area.  On the plus side, since there was so much going on, I was pretty distracted from the fact that I was about to run my first leg!

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Leg #1.  5.9 Miles – Hard


This was quite the way to kick off the race.  This leg was a straight shot along Huntington Beach as the sun was rising.  The views were just beautiful.  I felt really good and I knew that I wanted to stay right on pace for this run since my next two legs were killers and this one would be the easiest of the three.  My breathing was comfortable, I settled in, and even picked off quite a few guys until I was pretty much running by myself.  Van 2 even stopped to cheer me on which was unexpected and very awesome of them!  It definitely gave me a boost.  After seeing them, I went back and forth with another runner and we were both cruising right along, so much so that we blew right through the exchange.  We both slowed a few yards from the exchange, noticed that our Garmins were really short for the leg and then doubled back to get some information.  I finally found a volunteer and she confirmed that it was the exchange.  Several other runners also blew through the exchange after us.  It seemed as though we were not the only ones expecting at least another quarter-mile before our exchange point.  Once it was settled that this was in fact the exchange, I didn’t see my team.  I called, texted and finally talked to them.  They went to exchange two instead of one so they were on their way to me.  I was so happy to see them when they arrived!

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Leg #2.  11.9 Miles – Very Hard

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Going into the race, I knew this leg was going to be a challenge.  I don’t typically run half marathons in the middle of the night!  This leg started off at Dana Point which was just stunning.  We were lucky enough to be hanging out there around sunset and it was just gorgeous.  The first three miles went by very quickly; HOWEVER, crossing so many roadways completely killed my mojo!  My first leg, I was really lucky that I was running on a biking/running path along the beach and didn’t experience this at all.  The other runners in my van definitely talked about how they had a lot of stopping for stop lights on their legs so I knew that it might be frustrating for me during this leg… Yes, yes, it was!  There was a little bit of up and down along this leg.  Once it was pitch black outside, I could only tell that we were heading up hill by tracking the blinking red lights in the distance.  I tried my best to not get freaked out and ended up having a pretty solid run.  Once we were about two miles out from the exchange, I noticed that traffic was starting to back up.  I started worrying about my team not being at the exchange again.  And, let’s just say that the worst case scenario happened because they were nowhere to be found when I made it into the exchange.  To say I was upset was an absolute understatement.  I did get a pretty sweet pint glass for running the mother of all relay legs so that made up for it a bit.

Ragnar SoCal

Leg #3.  8.10 Miles – Very Hard

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Ragnar SoCal

The final leg of any relay is full of mixed emotions.  There is a lot of excitement that you are almost there and the pain of lots of miles and little rest makes for tears over the thought of it almost coming to an end.  To backtrack a bit, when I finished Leg #1, I met a runner from another team.  Since we were both waiting around for our runners to get to us in the confusion over the exchanges, we chatted for a while.  Well, lo and behold, we linked up again within the first half mile of our third leg.  We decided to run together since we were both struggling.  It honestly made all the difference in the world to have Jenn by my side.  And, I was honestly, never more excited to cross that finish line… I mean, can you tell I was happy?!

Ragnar SoCal

Ragnar SoCal

Being Runner #1 definitely has the perk of being finished first.  I was able to enjoy the rest of the day as I cheered on my teammates.  However, by the time Van #2 was finishing, I was absolutely exhausted because of my lack of sleep.  I was so ready to have that medal around my neck!

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Thankfully, we celebrated with cupcakes!  And, as soon as we arrived home, we were already planning our next relay.  Ragnar has a funny way of getting you absolutely hooked!

So tell me, have you ever run a relay?  Which leg is your favorite?  Any runner #1’s out there?  Who wants to run SoCal in 2015?!  😉  Next up, our Team Tough Chik experience at Ragnar Napa Valley!!  See… I told you we couldn’t stay away!


PS.  Here’s a video from Van #2, teammate Jessy!




  1. I'm doing SOCal Ragnar next year! It will be my first relay. I have read so many recaps where things go wrong during Ragnar so I think I have to have that in my mind and have back-up plans. Great job!
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    • Yes! Be prepared for a little bit of chaos at times. My team did not show up at the exchange twice. The first time I didn't care. The second time I was pissed. It happens. I did make sure to apologize for not being so kind to my vanmates after that debacle! So Cal is really a gorgeous run so enjoy it 🙂

  2. I just ran Vegas as an ultra and is was so freaking fun. I really cannot wait to do another one!!

  3. Ohhh, I would love to do this one. I started as runner #6 and ended up finishing as runner #12 due to a teammate falling out. Looks like you had a great time!

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