Flyin’ Through Zion….Morning, NUUN, and Night

30 Apr


I had the amazing opportunity to run the first Ragnar Trail Relay at the Zion Ponderosa Ranch, Utah with Team Nuun .

Our team included:
Megan Fay
Megan Killian
Mickey Witte
Caitlin Vose
Sean McManus
Dana Kracaw
Julie Rohmann (who unfortunately got injured a few days prior and had to drop out)
Mike (a speedy guy we were lucky to pick up to take Julie’s spot)

In case you don’t know about the trail relay, here’s the rundown:

-8 member teams camp out together in Ragnar Village
-Each member, in turn, runs 3 Scenic Legs . One is 3.8 miles, one is 3.9 miles and one is 7.2 miles. (120 miles total per team)
-You run day and night until each runner has completed each leg

So it’s like a normal Ragnar Relay, but centrally located.

So, here’s how it went:

We (my son and I) were the last of the team to arrive at Zion (on Thursday, April 25th). After quickly unloading the car and setting up camp, we made our way to the on-site restaurant/grill. Now, I don’t want to bitch and moan….. every restaurant has a bad night…. But here’s the thing, when we got there, we were the only group of diners, but they had trouble deciding where to seat us. Ok, whatever.

So we wait to order and our server is the grumpiest guy in the service industry I have ever come across (think Soup Nazi from Seinfeld).

Now, I won’t go into the whole ordeal (I will mention that this restaurant is NOT vegan friendly), but lets just say that it took forever to get our orders taken, re-taken, and delivered to our table. Take my advice, plan to make you own meals at your camp site. You can thank me later.

Not much was going on that night. Most teams didn’t arrive until Friday morning.

The relays began anywhere between noon and 7pm on Friday. Out team start was at 4pm, so we had time to explore the area, so that was nice.

Here’s some important info. If you are camping, request (if you can) camp spot 3 or 4). Those spots are right by the the bathrooms, showers, and pool/hot tub). Of course, there were porta-potties everywhere, but it was nice to be close to real facilities. Plus the bathrooms have a bunch of outlets to charge phones, watches, etc.



Finally, 4:00 arrives and our team begins! The order was, Dana, Megan K., Mike, Mickey,Caitlin, me, Sean, Megan F.

The trail order went: Green trail (3.9 mile loop), Yellow trail (3.8 mile loop), Red trail (7.2 mile loop). So first runner runs green, second runs yellow, third runs red, etc. I was sixth so I ran red first. I was really happy about that spot because I could get the 7 out of the way in the cool evening air.

I started my run at dusk, so I was able to enjoy the scenery for a bit before having to turn on my headlamp. Even in the dark, it was an amazing experience to be running through the trees…..occasionally coming across another runner to visit with momentarily.

The run was fantastic…… Until the last bit that was a severe uphill battle to get to the finish. Oh.My.God. It was crazy. Uphill switchbacks for like 1/2 mile. Also, each loop merged at that 1/2 mile point. Noooo.My.God! We have to do that 2 more times. Well, alrighty then.

I finished my leg and hung out by the fire for a bit. There was a pretty good band playing, so it was nice to just sit and relax.

Around 11:00 I had a shower and tried to get some sleep, but between the excitement of the run, the noise, the lights, and the fact that the ground is……well, the GROUND, I didn’t get any sleep. My next leg was going to be around 2:45am so I wandered back to the exchange area around 2-ish to wait around there.

I began my second leg (yellow trail, 4 tough miles) around 3:45. Holy crap it was a tough first half. Uphill and uh…. More uphill. It was so cool to be running through the night though. I loved it. I was able to catch up to a guy and a girl running together, so I tucked behind them and shared their light and ran most of the way behind them.

I cleaned up and went to sleeping bag until 8:00 or so. Then got up to see how everyone had done on their night leg. I was excited to do a day run so I could enjoy my beautiful surroundings. That came at around 11:15 or so. Woohoo!

It was a 3.8 mile run in the sun (thank goodness for copious amounts of Nuun). I just enjoyed the ride and my surroundings and visited with other runners here and there.

There were two more runners after me, so I had time for a shower and time to break down camp. We were going to stay until Sunday, but I was at my end with the nature sleeping 🙂 .

Our team finished around 2pm. It was such a great time! It was my first Ragnar experience, my first trail race, and my first experience with night running………but it won’t be my last!

Thank you Megan F. for having me on your team. You are Super Woman for running your legs with zero sleep.

Thank you Nuun for the tasty hydration.

Thank you to all the great people at Ragnar for putting together an amazing race.

Thank you Dana for being such a beast on the trail. You are an inspiration.

Thank you Megan K. for rocking your runs (even when getting a bit lost) and for your company on the ride home. Hope you had a great time in Junction.

Thank you Mike for being willing to run on such short notice….and for being a rock star on the trails.

Thank you Sean and Caitlin for being cool team mates even though I didn’t get a chance to visit with you much.

Thank you Mickey for being an animal on the trails. I kinda want to hate you for being able to camp out, run like a beast at 6500 feet, and still be ridiculously good looking…. but you’re too fucking nice!







3 Responses to “Flyin’ Through Zion….Morning, NUUN, and Night”

  1. megankillian at 10:24 pm #

    Great write up, girlie!


  1. Ragnar Trail Zion – Let's Go -

    […] Michelle […]

  2. Time is flying by! - Mickey Witte: Triathlete -

    […] out these gripping re-caps written by 3 of my awesome Nuun Ragnar Zion teammates: here, here and here – […]

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