Roll Mobile’s Rick Rollers

It’s that time of year again… RAGNAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRR!

Friday morning, I’ll begin a 200-mile, 30-hour journey with 11 friends from Madison, Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois!

Last year, we were 12 Sweaty Nuts. This year, we are Rick Rollers.

Yep. The image above WILL be printed on giant magnets for our vans.

If you want to follow my team’s shenanigans (trust me, it’ll be hilarious), follow us on Twitter @RollsRickRoller. You can also find us:

Amy’s 36 Rules for Running a Ragnar Relay


I’m writing this post not only for my own benefit, but also for any of you Ragnar Relay virgins. There’s a few things you should know, that I didn’t know or didn’t want to believe going into the Madison to Chicago Ragnar Relay last summer.

Amy’s 36 Rules for Running a Ragnar Relay*:

1. Get two 15-passenger vans for your team of 12.

2. Find a driver for each van.

3. Bring a GPS (and pre-program all the exchange points in it).

4. Pack one running outfit for each leg you’re running (bottoms, top, sports bra, underwear, socks).

5. Pack each leg’s outfit in a separate 1 gallon Ziploc bag. This makes it easy when you need to change – no digging through your bag – and it keeps the stank contained.

6. You can pack toothpaste/toothbrush/soap/shampoo but you’ll be pretty damn lucky if you get to use any of it.

7. Embrace the stank or take a whore shower (aka babywipe bath).

8. Bring gum. You and the rest of your van will appreciate it (see above).

9. Don’t expect any more than 1-2 hours of sleep. If you’re lucky.

10. Pack one set of sweatpants/sweatshirt or lounge gear. This will be good for in between legs and for at the finish.

11. Bring an extra pair of running shoes in case it rains.

12. After dark, take a headlamp or flashlight to the port-a-potty. You don’t want to know what happens when you try to go in the dark.

13. Hand sanitizer. See #12.

14. Baby wipes. Get a big ol’ box of them. They can be used as toilet paper if you find the port-a-potty or yay-omg-flush-toilet is empty.

15. Deodorant. Use it. Love it.

16. Body Glide.

17. Bring a car charger for your cell phone, iPod and/or Garmin.

18. Don’t overpack, whether it be running gear, food or other supplies. Bring only what you need. The extra bags/coolers/etc will get annoying.

19. Plan for fun. Ragnar isn’t just about running a race. It’s the experience. You’ll want to have some fun games or other activities you and your teammates can do – frisbee, whiffle ball, kickball, foursquare, etc.

20. Give your drivers/volunteers a thank you gift of some kind – whether it’s a gift certificate to their favorite store, a team shirt, or picking up their tab at the post-race party, make sure they know how much you appreciate them!

21. Car markers – have fun with them, but know that you will have to clean off your van before you return it to the rental agency.

22. Perhaps you should spring for a carwash on the ride home, rather than cleaning the van with baby wipes. Yeah, that happened.

23. Take lots of pictures and videos. You will want to remember the experience days…weeks…months…years later.

24. During night-time runs, especially along dark paths, wave your hand infront of your headlamp as you approach another runner. It’s a nice heads up that you’re behind them.

25. Designate one person from your van to bring a foam roller and/or running stick. See #18.

26. Bring your ID if you want to drink at the post-race party (trust me, you will).

27. Have each person in your van bring a refillable water bottle and/or whatever hydration method they use for running (fuel belt, Nathan handheld, Camelback, etc). Then, bring a few gallon jugs of water to use for refilling. You will save the environment by not purchasing a case of bottled water.

28. At every exchange, get out of your van and cheer on your teammates. They will appreciate your support, high fives, and ass-slaps.

29. Bring a hat or visor. It will keep the sun out of your eyes during the day and, if for some reason it rains, will keep the rain out of your eyes.

30. Plan for 1 cooler per van. You only need to keep perishable items cold, in addition to whatever you plan on eating or drinking next. See #18.

31. Have everyone in your van sign up to bring certain food/drink items, or designate one person to pick it all up. Stick to your list. This ensures you follow rule #18. (Have you noticed #18 is important?)

32. Get team shirts made or wear similar costumes. Think of it as a team uniform.

33. Follow safety guidelines established by Ragnar. Use the flags when crossing the street. Wear your headlamp, tail light and reflective vest. Make sure people see you!

34. Many legs of the race are classified as “non-support” legs. Pack your own race nutrition! I’m a fan of shot blocks.

35. Make sure someone in your van packs bug spray and sunscreen!

36. Have fun. Ragnar will be one of the craziest weekends of your life. Soak it all in and above all, enjoy it.

 * Why 36? Why 1 rule for each leg, of course!

Have you ever done a Ragnar Relay, Hood to Coast or a similar relay? What advice would you have for newbies?

Note: Read my 2011 Ragnar Journey here.

Ragnar Chicago Relay: Recapping Leg #25

This shall forever be known as the leg where Amy almost died.

I ran this leg on about 20 minutes of sleep. Yeah you read that right. 20.minutes.of.sleep. I was able to rest but only got about 20 minutes of actual sleep.

For the record, I do not recommend running 4 miles on 20 minutes of sleep when you have already ran 9 miles in the past 18 hours.

I did absolutely everything wrong prior to this run. I didn’t hydrate properly. I didn’t eat much. By 2am, we were exhausted and the thought of eating anything made me want to throw up. I knew I’d be relying on muscle memory and mental strength to pull this run off.

I got the slap bracelet from Marty and headed off in the misty fog for my final 4 miles through the City of Racine. The roads were quiet (it was 5 a.m. on a Saturday, after all) and I only encountered a handful of other Ragnar runners during this leg of the race. Most of the runners who did pass me looked about as good as I felt, which isn’t saying much. I saw (and did) much more walking on this leg of the race than any other. We were all running on empty. My legs felt like cement blocks. I had to will my legs to move. I walked more during this leg than the previous two legs combined, but I was still able to beat my pace goal for the race (and my recent half mary PR pace).

The course took us past the zoo and along the lakefront. I can’t tell you want a relief it was to see Lake Michigan! Yay! I’m almost done! I’m going to die! Wooot!

I couldn’t even tell you half the things I thought about during this run. I don’t remember. It was an out of body experience.

When I finished and passed off the bracelet to Matt J. I stopped dead in my tracks and bent over to catch my breath and stretch my hamstrings. Jordan H. put out his hand to give me a high five and I think I said something like, “I’m sorry, I can’t touch you right now.”

I couldn’t move. I needed to build up the mental strength to walk to the van. Tracey G. and Rochelle told me I looked so pale that they were afraid I was going to pass out or throw up.

I walked down the hill towards the van and made my dad take a picture of me. I have yet to see this photo, but I can assure you that it won’t be pretty. But it will probably be a favorite of all my race photos.

I got to the van and fell face first into the first row of seats (we had a 15-passenger van for the 6 of us plus driver). I passed out in that seat for at least an hour. I don’t really remember much. I know I told Tracey G. that I wasn’t able to move to send her off on her next leg and I also missed her passing things off to Anthony M Van H. for his last leg. At some point, the team stopped at McDonalds for some breakfast and I was able to talk long enough to ask my dad for a Sausage McMuffin with egg. He gave it to me and I ate it from my face in the seat position. I’m completely serious. I only turned my face far enough to eat the sandwich and only used my right had to open the package and feed myself. I was that exhausted.

The food helped revive me from my runner’s coma and I came to enough to wrap a blanket around me and cheer on Anthony M Van H. when he finished his final leg and passed things off to Jordan H. I was back to (almost) normal to see Rochelle off and meet up with the rest of our team at the final major exchange in Zion, Illinois.

Start Time: 5:10 am
Goal pace: 16min/mile
Splits: 15:17, 16:35, 15:47, 12:46 (.85mi 15:05 pace)
Average pace: 15:42
Total time: 1:00:23
Finish time: 6:10 am

Total distance: 12.82mi
Total time: 3:13:06
Average pace: 15:03
Goal pace: 16:00

Note: Read the rest of my Ragnar Journey here.

Note #2: This post will be updated with photos as soon as I can steal them from my dad!

Ragnar Chicago Relay: Recapping Leg #13

This was one of those ZOMG THIS IS AMAZING I LOVE RUNNING kind of runs. Seriously. This leg of the race MADE the weekend for me. Reaffirmed my LOVE of running. Not only did I KILL my projected pace, I enjoyed every minute of it, even if it was scary as all hell.

We were at exchange 12, where Marty would pass things off to me. It was misting, very foggy and very dark. Had all my reflective gear on – vest, headlamp, tail light and of course some red glowstick bracelets and necklace.

I headed out from Wales Community Park toward the Glacial Drumlin Trail. The first quarter to half mile or so was through the neighborhood near the park, so there were some streetlights. This did not at all prepare me for 4 miles of complete darkness on the trail.

Leg 13 was billed as a “non-support” leg, meaning the course made it too difficult for team vans to “leap frog” runners. So it was just me, my iPod, water and a pitch dark misty night.

I have to admit, I felt so badass on this leg of the run. I mean, really, who does that? Who SIGNS UP to run in the middle of nowhere on an unlit creepy trail in the middle of the night? WHO DOES THAT? This girl.

The only time I could see farther than 5 feet in front of me was when a fellow Ragnar runner came up behind me and passed me. The other runners were very cool on this leg. Many said, “Good job” or “This is freaking nuts” or “ohmigod this is scary” or the like. I noticed runners would sort of wave their hand in front of their headlights as they approached me, which was a nice heads up that someone was approaching (a tip I told my fellow runners when I got to the van).

I ran with a woman for a li’l bit and we were laughing at how ridiculous and scary this leg was. When I say I ran in complete darkness, I’m not kidding. The foggy mist didn’t help things. It was like a scene out of a horror flick.  “What if someone attacks me? I’m in the middle of nowhere. There are no lights out here and it isn’t like there are groups of people running. No one would ever know. GAH!”

On this leg, I stopped to walk only TWICE and each was for approximately 30-60 seconds. I felt so good on this run.

When I got to the next exchange point, I once again failed to properly hand off the reflective slap bracelet to Matt J. (seriously, I was horrible at the exchange).

As soon as I finished, Rochelle Tracey G. Jordan H. Anthony M Van H. and our driver (my dad) asked how the run was. The first thing I said was, “That was the most freaking ridiculous thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.”

And it was.

Start Time: 9:16 p.m.
Goal pace: 16min/mile
Splits: 14:27, 14:43, 15:06, 14:22, 3:09 (.22mi 14:08 pace)
Average pace: 14:38
Total time: 1:01:49
Finish time: 10:17 p.m.

Note: Read the rest of my Ragnar Journey here.

Ragnar Chicago Relay: Recapping Leg #1

I got to kick things off for Team 12 Sweaty Nuts for the Ragnar Relay Friday morning. We started at 10 a.m. and cut it VERY close for me to get to the start line in time. I got there with just minutes to spare before the countdown.

I threw my sweatshirt and all non-essential running gear at Rochelle and got ready to ROCK it.

I ran with the 10 a.m. start group for a few minutes, but they were all much faster than me and so I dropped back and ran the rest of the leg on my own.

After a half mile or so, I completely regretted not trying to get to a bathroom before the start of the race. Luckily, around 1.5 miles in I found a port-a-potty near some construction work. WINNING.

Got into a groove and had a blast running around Lake Monona (aka Krista‘s home turf). There was a detour during this leg, due to road construction, which added about a quarter mile to the leg, no big deal.

I only stopped to walk a couple times for a minute or two, and then near the end of the leg I stopped maybe 3 times to walk a block, to catch my breath.

I was amazed at how great I felt, despite a few moments of side stitches.

The course was pretty, mostly near the lake or through residential neighborhoods. Rolling hills, but nothing too bad.

I started getting passed by the 10:30 a.m. starters as I neared the last half mile of my leg. I got lots of “Hang in there” or “Nice job, you can do it!” comments, which were great, if not half condescending. Warning to “fast” runners: Just because I’m running extremely slow doesn’t mean I’m struggling. I’m just slow. No need to patronize me. Trust me, you’ll know when I’m dying (see write up for my third leg, coming soon to a blog near you).

I ran into the 1st exchange point and majorly failed slapping Matt J. with the slap bracelet. 😉

Felt great, good to get the nerves out right away!

Start Time: 10am
Goal pace: 16min/mile
Splits: 14:26, 16:03 (bathroom break), 15:30, 15:40, 10:00 (.72mi – 13:49 pace)
Average pace: 15:10
Total time: 1:11:37
Finish time: 11:11 am

Note: Read the rest of my Ragnar Journey here.

12 Sweaty Nuts

I’m joining 11 of my bestest running friends for the Ragnar Chicago Relay. That’s 200 miles, split 12 ways, in about 30ish hours.

The race starts Friday morning and our team will hit the road at 10 a.m.

Here’s our team logo/shirt:

I know, you’re jealous, right?

As you can see, we are sponsored by the one and only, AJ Bombers. Thanks, Joe and Angie for your support! We love you guys!

Wanna know what I’ll be running? Here are maps of my three legs:

Leg #1 - 10am Friday
Leg #13 - approximately 10pm Friday
Leg 25 - approximately 6:30am Saturday


If you want to follow along with the insanity, check out my twitter feed, @amykant, or the following hashtags: #ajbnutrun (my team) or #ragnarchi (the race).

Note: Read the rest of my Ragnar Journey here.