It’s the New Year, and time for new experiences. I’m in Naples, Florida with Eric Snyder and later this week we’ll be making our way to Ave Maria and ultimately Miami. It’s not our first time in Florida, but it will be our first time running a Ragnar Relay race. We joined an existing group to round out their team to 12 runners, and we’ll be running the relay with them from Miami to Key West on Friday and Saturday — nearly 200 miles in two days.

Course Overview Map

I’m Runner Two. Like my 11 teammates I’ll be running three distinct legs of the race, which I’ve plotted on Google Maps and which can be seen in detail in the images below. And the segments and distances of my teammates can be found in the race runner chart.

Leg 2 (Segment 1)

This Ragnar relay was something I wanted to run last year with a few friends, but we were never able to assemble a full team of a dozen runners. I think the highest we reached was 8 or so, and even that was a loose coalition. This year Eric and I decided just to jump on board with another team in need of two runners. So we’ll be meeting our team the same morning we start the race, which should make for a particularly fun two day adventure since we’ll get to see new places in a pretty intimate way and be surrounded by new people in a very physical way — in a van riding along the race course. Run experiments, etc.

Leg 14 (Segment 2)

I’m really excited to be running the segments I’ll have. The first segment (Leg 2, 4.4 miles) will take me and the team right along the University of Miami campus, which I’ve never seen before. It’s an exciting way to start.

My second segment (Leg 14, 4.7 miles) seems like it’ll probably be the least fun of my three segments, which is saying something since it’s mostly along the Southern Glades Trail heading into the Everglades.

And my third and final segment (Leg 26, 9.1 miles) is the one I’m most excited to run. It’s tough to know what Ragnar means by calling it a “very hard” segment. We’ll see. But to have this segment along the scenic Seven Mile Bridge is a delight. I drove with Ben Novak to Key West for the first time last March and it’ll be neat to get there again, this time somewhat on foot.

Completing the Ragnar relay from Miami to Key West is something I added to my Quarter Life Check List last year, so this adds another layer of excitement — to come a step closer to completing most or all of those challenges is exhilarating.

Leg 26 (Segment 3)

No matter how things turn out, this will be a fun way to start 2013. Ragnar’s official tease/description:

Kick off the New Year with the Ragnar 2013 Season Opener, running from Miami to the tip of the Florida Keys.  This 199 mile running event that will push you and 11 pals as far south as you can go in the continental U.S. Starting in Miami and finishing in Key West this relay offers runners a unique opportunity to run, near the ocean side, and across the southern end of the state of Florida. Along the way you will run across multiple bridges including the Seven Mile Bridge hopping from Key to Key, passing through popular destinations such as Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon Key and Big Pine Key. The race (and your stamina) will wrap up in the tropics of the southern most city in the continental U.S.A., Key West.

I’m planning to use RunKeeper for my segments like I have in the past and will add links to the completed segments next week. Wish us luck.

Update: Ragnar went well. Great team, new friends, good experience. RunKeeper was fun and useful as usual, and my three segments are here, here, and here.