The Green Girl's Ragnar So Cal Race Report

The Green Girl participated in her second Ragnar So Cal with team 'Happy Endings'.

The 193 mile Ragnar So Cal course was divided into 36 legs of varying difficulty and distances between 3-11 miles, with designed exchange points. The teams consisted of 6-12 individuals split evenly into two vans.

For teams of 12, Van 1 contains runners 1-6 and Van 2 contains runners 7-12. Van 1 Runner #1 begins at the starting line. Once the race starts, Van 1 goes to the first exchange point where runner #2 will prepare to run. Runners from Van 1 continue to run in order up to exchange point 6; this is the first major exchange in the race.
At exchange 6, Van 2 should be waiting. At this point, runner #6 from Van 1 will hand the slap bracelet off to runner #7 from Van 2. Then, Van 2 continues along the race course rotating runners until the next major exchange point, exchange 12, where they will hand off to Van 1 again. This pattern continues until the Finish.

Team Happy Endings Van 1 at the Ragnar So Cal 2013 Starting Line
All the race costs were shared evenly among the 12 Happy Endings runners. The total out-of-pocket for each teammate was $255.

This covered the $1,560 team registration, both van rentals (including post-race car washes), gas money, and a food/beverage fund.

Ragnar So Cal Course Map
Team Happy Endings comprised Sole Runners and friends of Sole Runners:
  1. Babak - Legs: 1, 13, 25
  2. Sarah (Team Captain)- Legs: 2, 14, 26
  3. John- Legs: 3, 15, 27
  4. Mary - Legs: 4, 16, 28
  5. Krishna - Legs: 5, 17, 29
  6. Scott - Legs: 6, 18, 30
  7. Russ - Legs: 7, 19, 31
  8. Kathleen - Legs: 8, 20, 32
  9. Billie - Legs: 9, 21, 33
  10. Kate -Legs: 10, 22, 34
  11. Paul - Legs: 11, 23, 35
  12. Suze- Legs: 12, 24, 36
Prior to the relay, each team plugged their respective 10k paces into a Ragnar calculator and the results determined the start and estimated finish time.

Ragnar So Cal Safety Check
Happy Endings's official pace was a 10:51 minute mile (all teams must average an 11:00 minute mile or less). We were assigned a 5:00 am race start and our estimated finish was 7:30 pm the following evening.

Team Happy Endings arrived at the Ragnar So Cal Starting Line in Huntington Beach at 4:00 am for the requisite safety check with our respective headlamps, reflective vests, and flashing lights.

Ragnar So Cal Ragmag
After the team safety inspection and briefing, we received our bibs, van magnet, copy of the official Ragmag which contained runner and van route information, and a pair of reflective flags for street crossing.

Just before 5:00 am, our first runner, Babak, lined up at the first wave Start. We all cheered Babak on and then headed back to the van to drive to the first exchange.

Our strategy was to text the group when we had a mile to go so the next runner would be prepared for the hand-off.

Ragnar So Cal Leg 4 along the Santa Ana River Trail
Runners 1 through 3 completed their legs and before I knew it, it was time for me to run.

Leg 4 took me along the Santa Ana River Trail.

Tallying up roadkills on the side of the team van are a Ragnar tradition and each hash indicates a runner you passed. After a total of zero roadkills last year, I was determined to make at least one.

Green Ragnar Jacket
I stayed off the pavement and ran on the dirt shoulder. Unfortunately, my legs were heavy and I struggled to run.

I managed to make my first roadkill when I slowly shuffled past a girl who had slowed down to text. Hey, a roadkill is a roadkill, right?

Exchange 6 was the first major exchange where Van 1 handed off to Van 2. I stopped at the makeshift Ragnar store and purchased a green jacket before our van headed off to get some lunch.

The Green Girl in a green tutu
I was looking forward to my second leg because I love running at night.

Leg 16 followed city streets, weaved through a residential neighborhood, and then led us runners through the Fallbrook Golf course sprinkler system. In the darkness, it was difficult to dodge the spraying water so I just focused on my footing.

At one point, the course went off onto the grass but I got confused and continued to follow the path. When I spotted blinking lights in the distance up on what appeared to be a mountain, I turned around and darted across the damp lawn.

Instead of a dirt trail, the ground was loose like sand. As I ran uphill, my feet sunk slightly with each step.

Team Happy Endings at Exchange 18 at Welk Resorts & Spa
Team Happy Endings had completed our share of the night legs when we did the hand-off at Exchange 18 at Welk Resorts & Spa in Escondido, just south of San Diego.

Unfortunately, our 3rd runner, John, had fallen on his night run and his right wrist was hurting him.

Injured Happy Endings team member, John
Like a trooper, John completed his final leg. A visit to the doctor the next day would reveal he'd fractured his wrist.

Our van had gotten about 2 hours of shut eye in the Welk Resorts parking lot when Van 1 called us to let us know their last runner had taken off and we needed to head to the next major exchange.

Happy Endings Van 1
In a daze, we somehow managed to navigate to Exchange 24 and Babak headed out for his final leg.

Leg 28 was my final run. It was sunny and warm by this time. The route was mostly uphill so I instinctively leaned into the incline and jogged at an even pace.

The view from Exchange 30 at Torrey Pines Gliderport
Our van exhaled a collective sigh of relief when we reached Exchange 30 and we handed off to Van 2 for the last time.

We stopped at the nearby Gaslamp District for some lunch before we headed to the Finish Line at the Embarcadero Marina Park South.

Team Happy Endings
After my last team, 12 peas in a pod, placed 3rd from last the year before, I'm pleased to report Team Happy Endings finished 366th out of 646 teams.

I want to thank all of my fellow Happy Endings teammates for another successful Ragnar Relay!


  1. Great report and great relay Mary! Congratulations to all of you.

    1. Thank you, Johann! This relay thing is growing on me. :: grins ::

  2. Hi, I found your blog after goggling "Posterior Tibial taping". I know that was several years ago, I was wondering if you still have issues with your ankle.
    I'm a runner who tore her ACL last year, got it reconstructed and just ran a Half marathon, only to come down with this ankle issue! Anyways, great job on your relay. One day, I'll do one of those.
    Shirley LeMay

    1. Shirley, if I happen to twist my ankle, yes, my posterior tibial will usually get sore again. I tape it religiously until it stops hurting again.

      Good luck with your injury. I know firsthand how frustrating it is to deal with.


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