I have been a Nuun Ambassador and member of Team Nuun for almost four years now. The product itself is great for training, racing and recovery, but it’s the brand I truly have come to love. People make a product great and the Nuun team knows how to treat everyone like superstars! When I applied and was asked to join the Ragnar Trail Team Cascades, I could not have been more excited! Three years ago I ran my first relay, Hood to Coast, with Nuun and it is still one of the most fun races I have been a part of.
Ragnar Cascades was my first trail relay and I am pretty sure it won’t be my last. Here’s how it all went down!
Arriving in Seattle
For this relay race, I flew up to Seattle two days before to prepare and bond with Team Nuun! I arrived Wednesday and spent Wednesday evening at the Nuun office enjoying dinner and meeting all my new teammates.
Thursday we all met at 6:45am to go on a shake-out run with Nuun at Discovery Park. It was just under 3 miles and was perfect. About halfway through we all stopped for a team photo with this gorgeous view.
Post-run we all enjoyed donuts, coffee and then headed back to shower and explore Seattle for a few hours before heading out on our 4-hour drive to the race location.
Seattle was a blast. We got some amazing breakfast bagel sandwiches and then found some fun Seattle spots to take photos.
On the Road to Ragnar
We hit the road to Ragnar around noon on Thursday. Piled into vans with our gear, snacks and new friends. The drive through Washington was beautiful and we stopped along the way for food, milkshakes and picturesque views! Lake Diablo was one of my favorites.
We arrived at the Ragnar Village around 5pm and set up camp. We pitched our tents, checked out the area and got settled. People were arriving all evening long and the camping area started to fill up. After we got set up we headed out to one final Mexican dinner back in town.
We camped four girls in one tent and morning came fairly soon. Many teams started at 8:30am, but all three of the Nuun teams didn’t begin until 11:30am. We had breakfast and cheered on the other teams with loud screams and many cowbells!
My first leg wasn’t until around 5pm, so I had all day to cheer, eat, rest and explore the vender area. And to take photos and selfies with my teammates!
Around 5 I geared up in my Nuun apparel and headed out on my first 7 mile leg! With 1,300 feet of elevation gain in the first 3.5 miles, this was the toughest leg of the race. I was happy that it was my first one and the next few would be working my way down.
After my first leg I handed off the bib and headed back to camp. Ragnar was serving up a delicious pasta dinner for the runners and I was hungry after my 7 mile run. After waiting in a fairly long line, I finally got my food and chowed down.
Then after having some hot chocolate and heading to the bonfire to roast some marshmallows for s’mores, I went to get a few hours of sleep before my night leg.
My second leg was the yellow loop and it also had a fair amount of climbing involved. It was around 1,200 feet at 5am. I actually really enjoyed running in the night. However, there were a few times when I got in my own head. I was running completely by myself for about 3 miles and I kept thinking about what critters might be in the trees. In the end, the only animal I saw was a mouse running across the trail. Not too scary! I flew down the backside of the hill to the finish and treated myself to another s’more after my second leg. When camping and running, live it up!
Saturday and the Race Finish
After sleeping for a few more hours after my second leg, I woke up Saturday with just one run left. With some time to kill, I went and got a breakfast burrito from the Ragnar camp. It tasted so good.
I also continued to hydrate with Nuun (of course!), water and coffee. I’m not usually a coffee person, but with the slight chill in the air and my sleep deprivation, it was a welcome sight.
I ran my third and final leg around 9:30am. It was a quick 3 miles on a relatively flat course. My legs were definitely feeling tired, but I pushed through!
Races always have fun medals, but this one from Ragnar definitely is one of my favorites. It’s a multitool with so many useful sides for camping. It even needs a leather sheath for safety. I happened to brand the case myself at the Ragnar campfire. Fun fact: this medal often doesn’t make it through security at the airport. Make sure you put it in your checked bag!
All our teams finished within a few hours of each other. I, of course, have a special place in my heart for my team! We all worked hard and pushed ourselves beyond our comfort zones this weekend and we conquered the course, together.
Throughout the whole weekend everyone was so supportive. There is no one I wouldn’t run with again. I really hope I get to see all these smiling, inspiring faces sometime in the future. Another Ragnar Relay perhaps? From the cowbell cheers to the finish line tunnels, Team Nuun athletes are the best!
I huge thank you to Nuun for making this weekend one of my best race experiences so far and fulfilling my camping and s’mores bug! I can’t think of a better group of people to camp with, run with, and get sweaty and dirty with nothing but Shower Pill wipes to clean up with after each run. It may not have been pretty, or that aromatic, but it was real, raw and empowering to push ourselves as a team.
Thanks to Nuun for the opportunity and thank you to my team for the unforgettable experiences! Enjoy a few more pictures from the trip below. If you ever get the chance to run a Ragnar Relay, jump on it! You will love every moment!