Halie Dalton SpeakUp

Ragnar Trail Richmond: I’m still talking about it

“Okay. This is the last thing I’ll say about it, but…“

This is a sentence I have uttered one, two, or ten times since my reintroduction to civilization post-Ragnar. My friends are sick of it, my family has tuned me out entirely, and here I am – still talking about it. 

Not at all dissimilar to signing up for the SpeakUp Race Team for the first time back in December, I signed up for Ragnar Trail Richmond on a whim. The only thing I really knew was that my SpeakUp teammates would be there, and that was enough for me.

I bought my trail shoes a week before the actual race and went on approximately 1 trail run as part of my “training.” I was just coming off the heels of Shamrock and was hoping that (and a little bit of grit) would carry me through to Ragnar. I was right, mostly, but I soon found out that it was about so much more than physical strength.  

As is my experience with running in general, Ragnar became a real testament to mental strength. The torrential downpours, lightning delays, lack of sleep, and challenging terrain proved difficult on the body, but mostly they proved that it was really mind over matter.

As I set out for my first leg around 7:30 p.m. on Friday night, I felt ready. Almost immediately, however, I thought, “Oh sh*t.”  It was hard. Like right away. When I got back to camp, I told everyone that it was “really fun.” That was all I could think to say, and I spent a good while convincing myself it was true.

Eventually, though, when hanging out (read: laughing uncontrollably) at the camp, or while running my remaining two legs, or perhaps in the state of complete delirium we had found ourselves in, it became “really fun.” Really.

As I set out on my remaining legs at 3:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., things got better. They got harder, physically. I took tumbles and I was exhausted. Mentally, though, they got much easier. I found myself thinking, at times, about my teammates who had run the same trail just before me or would follow my footsteps and run it just after me. I’d slide in the mud or trip over a root and think, “I bet THIS is one of the six places Jack fell on his last run,” (sorry, Jack).

I thought about how unique it was that although we weren’t running it together in a literal sense, I felt my team right there beside me. And I thought about how lucky I was to have these friends who’d be there to welcome me back to camp, and laugh with me about God knows what, and listen to all of the ridiculous things I had to say in a sleep-deprived stupor for over 24 hours straight. That’s no small feat. It was in these realizations that I was able to find so much comfort in the discomfort of it all.

It wasn’t long before we found ourselves planning for Ragnar Trail Richmond 2020. And until then, I’ll still be talking about it. 


Julie Basinski