Photo cred: Tribe Fitness
“Any time women come together with a collective intention, it’s a powerful thing. When women come together with a collective intention, magic happens.” – Phylicia Rashad
Earning a @ragnarrelay medal is not the result of one individual’s effort, it is the result of a combined effort of many, 12 women to be exact who came together with a collective intention along with the support of four men who stood by them to support the team to ensure that the ladies were able to make magic happen.
Photo #2 cred: Tribe Fitness
It’s not about you, when doubt creeps into your mind mid leg you can’t give up because there are eleven other women who are giving it their all to not let you down too. As members of @tribe_fitness we all know that in this inclusive community we are all capable of so much more together & we proved that to be true over 306km and 28 hours of racing. Witnessing these women push themselves to new paces, through fatigue, soreness, heat, wind, the dark of night & through difficult terrain was unlike anything else. It was awe inspiring to see and even more powerful to be in the middle of all the magic as it unfolded.
There was a reason there was tears when we crossed the finish line yesterday, not only had @anna.byrdie KILLED the final leg, we had also accomplished this crazy goal together and were all able to cross the finish line as one Tribe! It was one of the most powerful & memorable moments of my run life ever.
Why Ragnar Niagara
It was the Fall of 2016 when we first hear rumblings that Reebok was going to bring their Ragnar Relay event to Toronto for the first time. Immediately the Tribe Fitness crew was in action figuring out how we could assemble one or two teams to ensure that we would be represented at the inaugural Canadian date in the Spring of 2017. Without hesitation our Coach Heather secured one team on the roster for the Tribe Fitness ladies to partake in the Women’s Team event.
Planning for Ragnar Niagara 2017
Participating in a Ragnar event is a labor of love. It’s not just the effort put in by the twelve runners who are tirelessly pounding the pavement to chip away at the 300+km to get the team from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. But it’s also the effort of those who step-up to help with planning, logistics, driving, navigating, volunteering and supporting throughout the roughly 30 hour event.
It wasn’t until March 2017 arrived that planning got underway for the race, Mark took on the challenge of developing our Relay Timing Plan that would provide every runner with their three legs – distance, projected time to start/end each leg and of course attempt to account for every modifier possible based on the Ragnar pace calculator. When you race a Ragnar you are assigned a spot from 1 – 12, that spot is your designated spot in the runner rotation for the full event, for example I you are runner #8 as I was you would be responsible for completing Leg 8, Leg 20 and Leg 32. Our overall distances for the event ranged from 18km – 40km and the legs were rated Easy, Medium, Hard and Very Hard depending on the length and/or elevation covered during the leg.
Tribe Fitness 2017 Reebok Ragnar Team
Van 1: Heather, Kim A., Kim B., Kat, Courtney and Damara
Van 2 aka The A Team: Allison, Anna, Amber, Alyssa, Angela and Andrea
Support: Mark, Ryan, Payman and Alex
Van 1 (Photo Cred: Tribe Fitness) & Van 2
Ragnar Weekend Breakdown
On Friday morning Van 1 left for Cobourg at 6am to ensure that they had time to attend their Safety Briefing and get organized for their 9am start time. Van 2 departed Toronto at 10am to meet-up with Van 1 in Bowmanville at 12pm for their Safety Briefing, decorating of the van and most importantly the first exchange from Van 1 to Van 2 allowing Van 1 to take some time for their first four hours break while the Van 2 crew hit the pavement fro Bowmanville to Ajax.
Here is how the roughly 28 hours played out in terms of timing and location for Ragnar Niagara:
Van 1, Leg 1: Cobourgh to Bowmanville (9am to ~1:30pm)
- During this time Van 2 packed-up and made their way to Bowmanville to meet Van 1
Van 2, Leg 1: Bowmanville to Pickering (~1:30pm to ~7:30pm)
- During this time Van 1 had an opportunity to rest, stretch, hydrate and fuel-up
Van 1, Leg 2: Pickering to Humber Bay Bridge (~7:30pm to ~11:15pm)
- During this time Van 2 drove back to Toronto and had an opportunity to rest and prep for the next leg
Van 2, Leg 2: Humber Bay Bridge to Burlington Central Arena (~11:15pm to ~3:15am)
- During this time Van 1 caught some sleep and prepared for their final leg
Van 1, Leg 3: Burlington Central Arena to St. Catherines (Barnesdale) (~3:15am to ~9:30am)
- During this time Van 2 stayed over at Central Arena to catch some sleep, located a Starbucks and prep for their final leg
Van 2, Leg 3: St. Catherines (Barnesdale) to Niagara Falls (~9:30am to FINISH LINE)
- During this time Van 1 supported Van 2 meeting them up at various Exchanges to cheer the ladies on as the pounded out the final km of pavement to take the team home to the finish line.
Memorable Moments from Ragnar
- Crossing the finish line alongside eleven of the most incredible in my life.
- Decorating our chariot for the weekend with all thing Tribe – hashtags, team member names, magnet logos & more!
- Making faces and cheering at people across the GTA who gave our Ragnar vehicle weird looks when they saw it on the street!
- Standing at EVERY exchange point to cheer on fellow runners with our cheer signs & the epic cowbell, Tribe love of raging strong for all teams killing it at Ragnar!
- Being able to open my home to my team for us to take a much needed break to nap + shower after Leg 1 and purchase groceries to keep us fuelled for the remainder of the evening and Saturday.
- Anna’s epic dance moves in the car.
- The never ending laughter that rang throughout our vehicle throughout all 28 hours of this epic journey!
- Meeting other crews from all over Ontario and the United States.
- Making sure I handed out a high-five and showed some love to everyone I passed along the way throughout my three legs.
- Watching Anna #killthehill as she rocked the final 14km of the race that took her from the base of the escapement to the top of Niagara Falls!
Things I Learned at Ragnar for Next Time
- Remember where I put my earplugs in the event that I have to sleep in a public space.
- Packing my blanket scarf or a blanket in general would have been a good thing to have.
- Have your team bring their own water – we had to purchase a jug for our car – while there was some available having our own meant one last thing to worry about.
- Make sure EVERYONE in the car – including the driver – has a safety vest. Once nightfall hits you will not be allowed to leave the car at the exchange point to use the washroom, wander or cheer without one.
- Snacks, snacks and more snacks! Pack food, fruit, nuts, snacks – really anything you can use as fuel to keep you going is important. We thought that we would have time to stop in between exchanges but we really didn’t, unless it was a leg over 10km.
- Take LOTS of pictures – I know I did to share with my team but make sure you capture every moment.
- Create magnets for you to use to tag other teams vehicles, we didn’t know this was a thing and I we would have loved to have participated.
Photo cred: Tribe Fitness
To the Tribe men who took on & tirelessly committed the driving, logistics, pacing, directions & everything other little thing that came up so that we could all focus on the task at hand THANK YOU . To the women of Tribe, the eleven who with me made the twelve person powerhouse that did the unthinkable during Ragnar I am beaming with pride and grateful to call you all #TribeSoleSisters. And most importantly to our fearless leader, friend & the reason we’ve all crossed paths @catchingheather, thank you for this community that you have cultivated, tirelessly fostered & put so much of your heart into.
I can’t wait to tackle this race again with my Tribe Fitness family next year! Not only did it bring us closer together than every before but it taught me so much about myself and allowed me to push me beyond my limits in both distance, speed and of course lack of sleep!
Photo cred: Tribe Fitness