Posts Tagged ‘Ragnar’

Imagine… 200 miles…. 33 hours… 12 member team running through the Arizona desert for a cause! Well that’s the Ragnar Del Sol Relay that takes place on February 24-25, 2011. The Ragnar Del Sol Relay stretches from Wickenburg to Tempe, AZ. I am joining Arizona Youth Partnership’s twelve member team will be participating in the relay to keep resources available for under-served communities.

What is Ragnar?

The Ragnar Relay is a 200 mile relay race from Wickenburg to Tempe with 12 runners per team. It begins on Friday, February 24th in the morning and the ends on Saturday, February 25th in the afternoon. Each runner runs 3 legs of the race that range from 3.5 to 9 miles and vary in difficulty.


Together we are raising money for Arizona Youth Partnership’s (AzYP) Basic Center Program for Homeless youth in rural Arizona. Arizona is ranked 4th in the nation for families living in poverty. AzYP has recently taken steps to secure community support and funding for a Basic Center in Kingman, Arizona.  This program is designed to prevent homelessness by providing a temporary shelter for youth ages 12-18 who are in crisis.

How can you help?

One of the ways that I am helping with this is raising $500. Every tax deductible donation will go directly to support Arizona Youth Partnership’s Basic Center Program. Click here to go to my donation page. Also feel free to check out the goals of the Basic Center Program below and my “Runner Profile” for this years race.

The goals of the program are:

1) Provide emergency shelter and services to runaway and homeless youth (RHY) and their families.
2) Provide outreach, support services, and referrals to youth at-risk for runaway or homelessness.

Race Profile

Like Ragnar, fun is the name of the game… this profile reflects that.

  • Name: Michael Miller
  • Nickname: Mike… or Dash Rawhide: Zippy McChafkins as a Cowboy
  • Runner #: 3
  • Amount of miles: 22.4 miles
  • Race History: In 1482 BC the a cultural phenomenon began on the island of Fartlek, where teams of twelve domesticated chinchillas were raced as a way to determine if the local tribe of the Saucony would stay on the north or south side of the island.  What they feared the most was that they would anger the gods and usher in Ragnar-rok. Unbeknownst to them the local population of chinchillas didn’t enjoy running, but preferred sitting back and drinking daiquiris, and soon organized and moved to Key West. Having no way to determine what part of the island to live on, they decided the only option was to assemble teams of twelve to run around the full 210 mile circumference of the island and hope that would be enough to assuage the expectations of the island gods. What came from this tradition was the cultural race of Ragnar, which has been observed for the past 3,500 years. Betcha didn’t know.
  • Personal philosophy on running: Running with friends is far better than running with hungry lions.
  • What is your favorite running quote? To a runner, a side stitch is like a car alarm.  It signifies something is wrong, but you ignore it until it goes away.
  • Why are you running the Ragnar?  Because I love running, I love road trips and I love AZYP… I don’t know why I wouldn’t.
  • If you happen to drop your phone in a cattle guard, what is your strategy to get it out? Hire a chinchilla with the promise of a daiquiri to scamper down and grab it for me.
  • What is your greatest fear running Ragnar this year?  I don’t know if I have any… possibly that I will have to run in denim
  • How will you pass time between each of your runs?  Taking pictures, cheering on other runners and talking trash about how my van is better than the other van.
  • What is your training strategy?  I’m training for a marathon the month before, so after that my goal is to keep up the training and get as many “kills” and zombie “kills” as possible.
  • Imagine: You are running 8 miles uphill at 6am. You receive a picture text of a wonderful breakfast that runners from the other van are eating. What do you do?  Nothing, there are some people who can’t hang… I’m not so soft, and I have no problem running 8 miles uphill at 6am. Enjoy your breakfast, we’ll send you a picture of lunch .
  • Describe the feeling of finishing Ragnar. Have you ever seen the joy brought to a chinchilla if you buy them a daiquiri? Yeah it’s something like that.
  • At what mile will you regret signing up for this? Mile 42… but I wont have to run that far.
  • What do you like/dislike about running overnight?  Not seeing the ground dip away when you are running on dirt trails, but when you look like someone out of Tron, it is all worth it.
  • What’s your favorite post running food?  Roasted Chinchilla… okay, no … Anything that Kari makes.
  • What is your favorite Ragnar memory?  Hands down it was progression of Andrew laying on the ground and the lost/retrieval of the phone from the clutches of a cattle guard. If I had a close second, it would be cheering Gauri on during the last leg, I loved her adamant perseverance and the camaraderie of a team that was going to cheer through any pain.

I will admit, right off the bat, that this post is going to make more sense for only a few of you.

Last weekend I ran Ragnar Del Sol 2011 with an awesome group from Arizona Youth Partnership. Over the 33 hours of running there were over 1,000 pictures taken and some great video. All of these are from Van 1, but it will give you an idea of some of the awesome-ness of this race. I love my whole team, but there is a special place in my heart for “The Hulk”, “Book ‘Em” Dano, “G-Funk” , “Slo Mo”, “the Beast” and our fearless driver Mr “Stay Out of My Camper” himself. :).

I am reading a book that made a point that when you are excited about something, you have to tell someone. What it actually said is that the excitement isn’t entirely complete until you share it with somebody else.

When I think about getting excited, there are a handful of things that come readily to mind… I hate to admit this, but youtube seems to be at the top of that list. I don’t know what it is, but when I find an awesome video it seems a shame that my friends don’t know about it. Three months ago, if you said double _______ … anything, it took all of my self-control to not ask if you had seen the Double Rainbow video.

That being said I know that nine times of out ten, I actually temper my excitement. There really isn’t anything all that cool about exuberance. On the contrary, if you can remain cool and collected in the presence of something awesome, it is a testament to how chill you can be.

But you know, I don’t pride myself on being cool… actually if I am honest I think I take a small bit of pride in not being cool, and to that end there are three things on which I am going to totally “geek-out.”

(Note: Mr. Miller proudly acknowledges that these admissions verify his nerdiness & lack of “street -cred”)

1. My computer is free at last!

On Monday my desk lock broke locking my laptop inside. Day after day, with various attempts there was no getting into this circa-WWII bullet proof drawer. To give you an idea of how bullet proof, I took video of some of the invasive techniques that were used by myself, then custodial, then maintenance, then the lock shop, then the welding shop, then me and my dad and a bunch of power tools late last night. (Note: I am having problems loading said video, but I’ll put it up later)

Suffice it to say, I am excited to head to a coffee shop this afternoon and catch up on writing my sermon and quite a few different projects I am running rather late on.

Speaking of running…

2. I am running Ragnar Del Sol!

Two years ago I heard about a 24-hour race that … well here is the description:

You and 11 of your closest friends running 200(ish) miles, day and night, relay-style, through some of the most scenic terrain North America could muster. Add in crazy runners, inside jokes and a mild case of sleep deprivation. The result? Some call it a slumber party without sleep, pillows or deodorant. We call it a Ragnar Relay.

How do you cover 200(ish) miles? Only one runner hits the road at a time. The rest of your teammates are on support duty in your race vehicles. Teams require 2 vehicles, with runners 1-6 in van 1 and 7 -12 in van 2. Van 1’s runners will cover the first six legs. It’s a relay, so as the each runner begins, the crew in the vehicle can drive ahead, cheer their runner on, and meet them at the exchange point to pick them up and drop off the next runner. After the first 6 legs, van 2 picks up the slack and starts putting in the miles. A day, night and day later, you’ll have made it all the way from start to finish!

Anyway I could never convince 11 of my friends to do something so crazy awesome, and I figured it would take a couple of years of getting people to run in shorter races and I would slowly ease them into the idea.  Well, a couple of days ago a friend of a friend contacted me and asked me to join their team to run in two weeks. This is what excitement + bit of ridiculousness = awesomeness looks like.

The group is from Arizona Youth Partnership, an organization that focuses abstinence education, and the team’s name is “Hey Kids, Keep Your Pants On”… that will explain a bit of the video.

3. The future of where we are going as a church is AWESOME!

The details are still being worked out, but all signs point to the Crossing and Revolution church joining forces at Easter. First and foremost I love Revolution and the leadership and the opportunity to unite in vision still floors me.

What makes me really excited is this very vision. I was reading in 1 John at Bible study and I read this opening:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life– 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us– 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
(1 John 1:1-4)

I’m excited because so much of what I have read about in Acts and through Paul’s epistles have always seemed so improbable. Now I find myself looking at a future with fellow Christians from two different churches, where are actually, legitimately talking about and pursuing “Let’s reach all of Tucson with the Gospel”.

What’s cooler is when everyone at Bible Study also responds with the same degree of excitement and anticipation.

What this looks like, and what the plan involves is still taking shape, I will have more to write on later, but when it comes to excitement and my joy being made complete, this is certainly something I am “geek-ing out about”