53 days: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage 2013 – Organizing ‘Pain Now, Beer Later’

I have a plan to raise $10,000 for some awesome organizations by Sept. 22, 2013 – the day I run in Ironman Lake Tahoe. Only 53 days away! Raised so far: $8,902! Want to increase this total? Chip in a few bucks to one of our causes here!

Over the last 100 days of our fundraising drive we have an ongoing fundraising challenge! Every day (with the occasional interruption – sorry about that recently) for the last 100 days  before Ironman Lake Tahoe, I’ll be picking out a motivational winner that earns $5 to the TFAC cause of their choice. Lots of winners so far – the first series of deposits have been made! How do you win? Go find out the details here.

Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage 2013 – Organizing ‘Pain Now, Beer Later’

Last year I heeded the call to arms from my dear friend Suzanne – come run the Ragnar Relay! ’12 friends. 2 vans. 2 days, 1 night. 200 mile relay. Unforgettable stories.’ Why not, I figured? I’ll be in the Pacific NW on my annual July pilgrimage home. It is the week after my A race for the year, Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens. I was in!

And I had the time of my life. Amazing how spending 36 hours in a van with a group of strangers can turn you into lifelong friends. Amazing… but it happened.

As the Tri-ing for a Challenge saga kicked off last September, I immediately knew what the primary focus would be for this $10,000 fundraising goal: sponsoring a Ragnar team. Between race registration, logistics costs, team shirts, etc. it would cost about $2,500 to $3,o00 to field a team of 12 runners. If I could get each of the 11 other team members to raise $250, on average, my investment in this team would break even.

I’ll let you know how we did in a couple of blog posts. Hint: my investment was a good one.

My first step in putting together a team was to rally the participants from our “Undetermined” team from last year (so named only because we didn’t get the “Pain Now, Beer Later” name instituted before the change deadline. Drat!). Right out of the gate, Sir Brian made his move. He said “YES!”, then went out and raised a RIDICULOUS sum of money (over $700 to our cause, plus an additional $500 to local charities) while training for and racing in the ‘Yukon Do It Marathon’ up in Port Orchard, WA.

Brian’s wife, Melissa, decided to join in on the fun, as did Suzanne and Mike from last year’s squad. The team was starting to fill up! Brian and Melissa knew this really cool lady, Sharon – or Sha-Run, if you will – and she was all excited about joining in on the fun (then she went out and raised nearly $700!).

And then things got nuts. Sharon is a recruiting machine. Next thing you know, we had a whole squad of Honey Badgers on our team. Jess, Marie, Tami, Kris and her husband John, and Shannon. As race day neared, Mike had to drop out due to injury, and Shannon due to a new job. Sharon got Ginger on board – yes, the infamous Ginger (I’ll talk more about her in an upcoming post) – and Suzanne recruited our ninja, Jamil.

We split up into vans. Our resident Ragnar addict and multi-race veteran Jess served as my co-captain – she became the queen of Van 1. I maintained my co-captaincy duties as the court jester for Van 2. Tami’s husband Doss served as driver/shepherd/videographer for Van 1; our friend Christie from the team last year as driver/caffeine pusher of Van 2. (Note: it killed them both a little bit to be drivers and not runners.)

Plans were set. And then we embarked upon race day. Where all holy hell – and I say that in the most fun sense of the term, because we had a blast – broke loose. We’ll pick that up in the next blog post.

But… just to give you hint of what took place… here is the team photo at the finish line (photo courtesy of Doss, our resident videographer and official team photographer):

After the race in our team shirts. Yes... I am wearing a pink 'Hello Kitty' tutu. Get over it.

After the race in our team shirts. Yes… I am wearing a pink ‘Hello Kitty’ tutu. Get over it.

And this is how we usually could be found... Facebook-ing the moment to each other. Seriously. We had a ton of fun as a team - I love them all.

And this is how we usually could be found… Facebook-ing the moment to each other, giving each other $#!#, and having fun. Seriously. We had a ton of fun as a team – I love them all.

Tomorrow: the relay

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