What I liked…(Watch the Video to Get to Know Us…and Then Read on…)
- A Great Team of People. 16 folks had participated from NaviNet, including 12 runners, 2 van drivers, and 2 volunteers. All of them worked hard at getting the event organized, raising money for a great cause ($6,857) and were really fun to hang out with for the weekend. I believe if you can spend over 30 hours in a van with coworkers, sweaty, cramped, without showers, participating in inappropriate “that’s what she said” comments, and they still talk to you on Monday, you are working with some pretty great people.
- Sridhar and Jig’s Variance in Music Selection. Hopping between Daft Punk to the Beach Boys kept the tunes interesting.
- The Creativity of the Over 500 Teams that participated in costumes, mascots, and van decorations. My favorites were the “post it note” van, the “up all night to get ducky” van, the Mario Brothers team, and the “too pretty for jail” team name. There was a van for everyone.
- Great Food and Snacks. I had a delicious salmon and Victory IPA at the Driftwood Publick House in Plymouth, a fantastic omelet at Cafe Heaven in P-Town, and lots of bananas, energy bars, and free swag.
I was forced by my teammates to download this app to my phone and didn’t regret it. What’sApp is a great communication tool for our team to know who was giving who a massage, who dropped bracelets, and to make the other Van jealous over the beer and comfort food being consumed in a cozy restaurant. Staying below the 200 texts my cheapo phone plan allowed and simple video and pic posting on the app were also beneficial. We posted some stuff on Twitter with #navinetallstars, as well.
- The Concept of “Kills.” Most vans had marked the # of times each of their team members passed another runner on the course. I found this, shamefully, to be quite brilliant and motivating. After I discovered this idea, I meditated on the next # on my kill list until I reached them or finished the race. (I feel bad admitting this.)
- Cheering or Jeering via a Bullhorn. Encouraging runners on the course or shaming poor bracelet hand-offs can be done more effectively when you are louder than everyone else.
- The Cape Cod Rail Trail. On my 9.4 mile 3rd leg, there was a long stretch on the Rail Trail through Harwich and Brewster surrounded by trees and lakes for a calming run without cars that was much more enjoyable than my 1st leg of 6.3, which was through Norwell’s poorly paved roads without sidewalks and cars within an arm’s reach.
- Our team had picked a really good theme/mascot and decorated the heck out of our 2 van(s). We had other team’s magnets and drawings on our van more than our own decorations. Our weak attempt at 2 Elmo dolls were almost as sad as how Van 1 Elmo ended his life on a deadly highway ride.
- I hadn’t slept on two cases of water bottles and a cooler in the back seat of a van. There are more effective ways to sleep that will not cause as much back pain.
- I had washed my socks. I played basketball the day before in my special green and orange rugby socks, which wasn’t the best way to make friends in the first few hours of the van trip.
- Someone had encouraged Ragnar course designers to step up their game. I would like to see the course designers separate the entry points of both vans driving and people running, and I’d like the exchange locations to be highlighted better. Signage and coordination at the exchanges should be improved to reduce confusion and minimize vans and runners bumping into each other.
- I had met up with the fast dude in front of me during my night race. I followed a guy for 4.5 miles in the pitch dark, couldn’t pass him, and didn’t get an opportunity to thank him for motivating me to push harder. I have named him Moby Dick.
Would I do it again?
Bonding with new people, in new experiences, doing athletic activities for a good cause with my company paying is something I have a hard time passing up. If I do it again, next time, I’ll have clean socks.