Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ragnar Relay

I love running Ragnar but I have to admit that at 2am I'm not quite feeling the love and wonder what the heck am I doing? How is it that I can consider this fun? Even during my easy 3 mile run did I wonder how I thought getting 2 hours sleep, running 18 miles in three intervals is fun and running at 2pm in the heat (yes, it was ONLY in the 80's). But now that its over and I've gotten some sleep and looked at the pictures I can say I had fun.

I love running in the dark and have had my best Ragnar runs on my midnight leg. This year I was in van 2 and the 2nd to last runner so two of my three legs were in the dark. I was looking forward to them. For the nighttime legs it is required to have a headlamp, reflective vest and a new requirement this year is a tail light or butt light as we called it.

My first leg started at 7:19pm and was 8.5 miles and was on a dirt road uphill. Running on dirt is preferable except when there are cars drivi
ng on the road also. The biggest problem for me dealing with the kicked up dirt was the headlamp showed all the dirt making visibility very low.
When I twisted the headlamp to point up, it helped some but then I cou
ldn't see the ground and the rocks on the road (which caused me to twist my ankle twice) Despite the visibility issues I ran an average of 7:58 minute pace in 1 hour and 8 minutes, which was exactly what was projected.
My second leg was my toughest leg. I was tired and it was so windy that many times I was shifted to the righ
t by the wind. It also required crossing the street to run on the other side. Luckily it was at 5:40am only insane runners are out at that hour. The leg
was 6.44 miles along the Carefree highway with the first 4.5 miles being uphill. My pace was a little slow at an 8:05 pace and it took me 52 minutes.

After our van finished our second leg we stopped for breakfast (yeah!!! real food) and then drove to exchange 30. We got there about 9:30am and had until 12:30 before we expected to start moving again. I got about 1.5 hour of sleep over in the shade. Last year I remember 2 volunteers that had dressed up and had lots of enthusiasm. This year, they were at exchange 30 and were a kick.

My third and final leg started at 2:29am and was an easy 3.1 miles. No hills! It was hot though and in typical fashion I started out too fast with my first mile at 7:13. Having no other option but to slow down I ran a 7:37 average pace in 23:40 minutes. Considering I had only had 2 hou
rs sleep, had run 15 miles up to that point and it was in the 80's, a 7:37 aveage pace is really good.
There are various events that happen during the 27 time period that deserve mentioning. First is Trish is my hero. During her first leg she had an asthma attack and she still finished the leg strong and with a smile. Her remaining runs were influenced by her first run but she still had a great attitude.

Next is Road Kill Marianne. That's what she does to people who stalk her not once but twice.... she leaves them behind on the road. One her first leg there was a guy that drafted off her on the hill for most of the run. One her third leg, he was back but we didn't learn until after the run that it was indeed the same guy drafting off her again. Marianne got pissed that he was drafting off her, running right on her heals and she took off and left him behind. She now has the nickname Road Kill Marianne becuase during her 2nd leg she stepped on road kill in the dark.

Our team was awesome and everyone in our van got along great. Thanks Dave (driver), Julie, Jim, Marianne, Paul and Michael for a great Ragnar experience.

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