Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Last year's Ragnar Relay was the running highlight of 2009--just a whole lot of fun--and this year's version is no exception. Longer than last year's race--200.6 miles--and no cancelled legs, our team, Prefontaineous Combustion, ran a great race. Official times haven't been posted yet but we finished at around 28 hours, roughly an 8:37/mile pace. It's just amazing to think that between the twelve of us on the team, we ran for 28 hours straight for 200 miles and made it from Ventura to Dana Point.
Ragnar isn't for everyone. Having to stay up all night, running, smelly, stuck in a van with your increasingly smelly friends for over a day is an ordeal. But for the right person it's also a great deal of fun. I guess I'm that kind of person. It's a huge effort to run this race, but I'd more than happy to do it again next year.
I had the honor of running the very first leg. I was worried because the night before I was feeling so lousy with a cold and fever. I'd hate to run feeling so lousy. Thankfully, the big bowl of tom yum goong I downed on Thursday may have helped. I woke up Friday morning and felt better--still congested but less sickly. Still, I wasn't 100%. However, I knew that when I run with a congested nose, it inevitably clears up. Sure enough, dressed in a skimpy tank top and short shorts from American Apparel, I was able to run my first 8 miles without feeling like I was sick. I hadn't run for a week and even that wasn't an issue.
My first leg was the same exact leg I had run the prior year. I didn't realize it until I got to Ventura and remembered the course. As such, I had a bit of an advantage in knowing what to expect. It's an easy enough course--flat and fairly scenic--so I don't know if experience is a huge advantage, though. I ran the first leg in a pace just under 8 minutes per mile, which made me happy.
After a bit of rest, I ran my second leg just before 9pm in Woodland Hills. This was another 8 miler but also flat. Most of the run was along the Orange Line bike trail which made it an easy, relaxed run. I was a little surprised how loose my legs felt, as if I hadn't even run earlier in the day. My only problem was a case of post-nasal drip that annoyed me. It tickled the back of my throat and so I had to find ways to relieve the irritation. It wasn't a huge issue, though. I was also able to find a couple of runners who were running a strong pace and used them as pacers. I finished the second leg at just under 8 minutes/mile again. I guess that's just my cruising pace.
The third leg was in beautiful Wilmington at dawn: an easy 2.6 miles. I liked that as a reward for running two long legs, I was getting an easy short run as my last leg. However, if I had to ran the three runs, I would place this as my least favorite. I was stiff the whole way and was just worn out. Having just woken up 20 minutes before running, my legs were stiff and sore. I really should have stretched them out a little. I had nothing in the tank except the knowledge that if I kept running I will finish and I won't have to run again the rest of the day. That got me through it. I'm not sure what my pace was for this run since I didn't see what time I started. I'm guessing I ran a 7:40ish pace, so I probably finished at just under 20 minutes.
After that I donned my pajamas and cheered on my teammates as they finished their runs. I even joined Van 2 for their last leg and took some pictures. All my pictures are up on my Flickr page.
Until next year!