Thursday, April 30, 2009

One Ragnar-ly 24 Hour Relay

Almost five years into my running "career," the thrill and excitement of a race has diminished. There really is nothing to match your first marathon in terms of joy and pain. Not to say that I don't enjoy running races now, but just that it no longer has the cachet it once had.

However, this past weekend I participated in a race that reminded me of the crazy entertainment value running can have. Ten brave souls from different orbits of my running circle participated in the first ever Ragnar Relay Los Angeles, a 178 mile relay from Santa Barbara to Dana Point. A great time was had by all. Not only that, but we also wound up doing well. Our team, Relay Relay Ridiculously Good Looking, finished 19th out of 105 teams and finished third in the "Open-Mixed" division. We crossed the finish line in 20 hours, 22 minutes.

Unfortunately the race wasn't exactly 178 miles. At the last minute seven legs had to be cancelled because of permit issues. It didn't affect my legs, but the runners in Van 1 had to reshuffle. It didn't detract from our enjoyment, though.

I was runner #7, the first runner in the second van. I actually had the ideal legs. My first two legs were the longest of the whole group until the last six legs. I ran 7.7 miles for the first and 7 miles for the second. Then for my last leg I ran a quick 2.8 miles along the Huntington Beach bike path. Basically I got to finish easy. Andy and Katie weren't so lucky. Andy had to run a hard 10.2 miles in Huntington Beach for his last leg and Katie had the unenviable task of running uphill for over 8 miles along the 133 highway leading to Laguna Beach in the middle of the day. They both rocked it, though.

As for me, I did better than I thought. I ran my legs fairly fast considering I hadn't jump started my training until three weeks before. I ran the first two legs at a surprising 8 minute pace. I thought I'd be lucky to run a 9 minute pace for both. The last leg was accomplished at a respectable 7:10/mile pace, which is comparable to my previous 5K paces--and this was done after having already run 14.7 miles in the last day and barely getting any sleep.

I had a terrific time riding down south, cheering friends on and checking out the gorgeous ocean views. We couldn't have asked for better weather too. I was on such a high the whole weekend. When I finally got home on Saturday night I crashed and slept for almost 12 hours. I'm already looking forward to doing this race in the future.

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