Oak Harbor’s Sandee Waller runs along Flintstone Freeway during the Ragnar Relay. (Photo by Jim Waller/Whidbey News-Times)

My wife runs Ragnar; Ragnar runs my life

I have a problem.

Last weekend, the Ragnar Relay made its annual trek from Blaine to Langley. More than 5,000 runners took part; one was my wife, Sandee.

There’s the rub — Sandee is a Ragnar junkie.

Ragnar runs a series of 18 relays sprinkled across the United States. The one that weaves down Whidbey Island each year is called the Northwest Passage. Most of the relay teams include 12 members, each running three legs to cover 200 miles from the Peace Arch to the Island County Fair Grounds.

The competition goes beyond the road race. Each team tries to out-clever the other with a catchy name like Twisted Blister, We’ve Got the Runs or We Run Better Than the Government.

Sandee and a group of 11 friends decided to compete in the 2013 relay. Unfortunately, she was bitten by the beast. Her buddies said “been there, done that” after the 2013 event, but Sandee, like me at a pizza buffet, keeps going back for more. She has now run eight relays in five states.

The Ragnar people should be arrested. Once they get someone hooked, they make it easy to feed the habit. Sandee’s wiser friends no longer want to take part, but that doesn’t stop her from finding a team. Ragnar has its own version of Match.com where individual runners can find teams that need a few runners to fill out their rosters. So, off she goes in a van full of strangers to points unknown. No red flags there.

I just don’t get the appeal.

Crammed in a van for 36 hours with a bunch of sweaty strangers, getting about three hours of sleep (usually while sitting up or on a hard gym floor) and surviving on Gatorade and bananas, all while running 20 miles over three legs in 36 hours, doesn’t sound like fun. No amount of perfume and endorphins can overcome that recipe.

I know, complaining about someone taking up a healthy endeavor is like griping about someone eating too much broccoli.

If Sandee just ran the local relay, there wouldn’t be a problem. It’s the trips to Hawaii, Nevada, California and Arizona that irk me. That’s a lot of money for flights, food and hotel rooms. Not to mention the entry fees. Tell me, why fork over money to Ragnar for the right to put yourself through the relay’s wringer?

I’m all about saving money. My family says I’m cheap. I say I’m frugal. You be the judge — I’m willing to drive 13 miles out of the way to save a penny on a gallon of gas. When my kids were in school, I refused to buy lunch bags. Why spend a buck on 50 brown paper bags when you could find sacks around the house for free. My boys said it was embarrassing to pull out their lunch stuffed into a bag that used to line a cereal box. Embarrassed?! They should have felt lucky. How many kids have apples covered in Cap’n Crunch dust?

Sandee thinks I should go with her when she travels out of state. But why should I go to Hawaii or Southern California in November when I can stay home and cover a middle school girls volleyball game? Who wants to go to Las Vegas — there’s nothing fun to do there.

I did relent and go to Phoenix. (We got to stay with friends for free.) I, however, was left to fend for myself while she was out running. I was forced to fill the time by watching a couple of Mariners’ spring training games.

Ragnar just added a race in England. Of course, Sandee wants to go. Going to Europe has always been on our bucket list, and she thinks this would be a great time to fulfill our dream. But it is in September. I’m not sure getting to see Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Roman Colosseum is worth missing a few Seahawk games.

And, there’s more to it than money and the Seahawks. When she is gone, I am left alone to tend to my own needs. I can cook a DiGiorno pizza with the best of them, but instead of being off having fun, shouldn’t Sandee be home making me lasagna?

As you can see, I have a problem.