Friday, July 30, 2010

Ragnar Relay

Right after the Slat Lake City Marathon I got asked to if I wanted to join a team that was participating in the Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage. They needed someone to replace a team member who had withdrawn due to getting pregnant (later on we would have another replacement due to an injury).

Of course I would LOVE to join! While at the SLC marathon expo (very lame by the way) there was a booth with information on "Extreme Relays". They invited me and my "extreme" friends to be epic...ummm "what if I don't have any extreme friends"?

They didn't have an answer to that and since Lissa made it clear she would not be numbered among any friends that might be pressured into being extreme I was at a loss.

Until fate stepped in- kindly also allowing me enough time to let my IT band injury recover before the relay :)

I was a little nervous when the time actually came for me to pack up and head out. I had only met two of the other team members, none of us had ever even ran together.
But armed with the provided check list I packed my bags and drove up to Bellingham.

Earlier we had to provide our team captain an estimated pace per minute and based on this Ragnar assigned us a start time. They stagger the team starting times to have everyone finishing at about the same time. My average time was about 8-8:20 per mile. There were teams running at a 5 minute pace!
Ragnar has a tradition of marking "road kills" (people whom you've passed) We were many peoples "road kills" :)
Of course we also road killed many people. One team member tallied 19 all by herself! I didn't know what they were until much later so I didn't make a point of counting but I figure I passed about 15 people. In the Relay the runners tend to be spread out so passing is a bigger accomplishment in this race than others.

my team also had the cushy schedule. We were van #1 and started the race at 7:30am, finishing our legs at about 1pm...maybe a bit later due to some AWESOME person who switched the direction signs on my leg, resulting in my getting lost and spending almost 30 minutes trying to find the pass off point.
My poor team...I was estimated to take 48 minutes to run that leg and ended up wandering in (after a nice person map quested the end location on their iphone) almost 30 minutes late.
The lady who worked magic on her iphone asked what we were doing (I managed to fins another lost runner along the way) "The Ragnar Relay" we replied. "how's it going"? she asked. "Well...this is our first leg and we're lost, so...."
Not to worry the rest of the relay went smoothly. Except the time we over estimated the finish time of a team member and were still sitting in the van talking when they announced her arrival. We spilled out of the van so quickly! We didn't even have a number on our next runner! It was comical. She was understanding, just standing there waiting for us to show up.
The running schedule followed our regular sleeping schedule pretty closely so that wasn't a problem other than my leg was the last and I was still kind of wired from running when we were trying to quiet down and sleep.
Over all I was surprised how undemanding it was physically compaired to what I expected. The last leg was harder only because I had already run twice and kind of just felt like "I've already done this today, why am I doing it again"? The course was beautiful as a whole although some legs were nicer than others. I couldn't tell you anything about my second leg since it was in the pitch dark and smelled of cows. I turned to look to my left at one point and saw giant shadowy cow shapes with glowing eyes staring at me like I was a moron. I remember thinking " great, even cows think we're crazy!"
Lucky for me the medals are HUGE!

1 comment:

Amy R. Nelson said...

Good times! What fantastic stories we have from this race! It was awesome! I'm already trying to figure out how i can fit it into next year's schedule (although it's not really working).