Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ragnar report

OK, I know that the Wasatch Back was two weeks ago, but I have wanted to blog about the experience of my first Ragnar. So two weeks later, here's the short version:

I ran the 12th, 24th and 36th legs of the race. Surprisingly, I had more energy for the 24th and 36th legs than I thought I would, especially after little sleep. I ran all three legs under my projected time, though on 12 and 36, just by about a minute. Still, I was ecstatic that I not only ran, but felt that I ran well.

My first leg was tough, and was the only one I wasn't completely happy with. The route was 3.1 miles uphill -- really uphill. The first mile was flat, and I ran it relatively quickly, as planned before I got the the elevation gains. I walked more of the last two miles than I wanted to -- I didn't think it was going to be as nasty as it was. Still, I made it under my projected time and was ready for dinner when I finished.

Our van had about six hours until we were running again, and we worked our way to the state park where the next exchange would be. I ate, then tried to sleep for a few hours. I normally can nap rather easily, but this evening, I couldn't. Maybe I was full of adrenaline, or maybe I got too much sleep the night before, but whatever I tried, I couldn't sleep. I dozed for about a half-hour during the night before my second leg.

I was worried about that second leg because of the lack of sleep and because my knees were sore from the uphill leg. But, I was surprised how well I did. I came about three minutes under my projected time and got a major second wind about midway through the leg. The sky was getting lighter just as "Light of Day" came up on my Shuffle (alas, Joan Jett's version instead of Bruce Springsteen's). All the training was worth it for this one leg.

I managed about 90 minutes sleep after my run and ate breakfast before our van was up again. My final leg ended the race for our team, and I got to see Wife (she was volunteering) at the exchange before I departed. This leg was mostly downhill, and it felt like I was flying. However, right near the end, it went back uphill and slowed me down more than I would have liked. But when it flattened out near the finish, I saw my teammates and we ran in together. Actually, I ran in ahead of them -- I saw our overall team time and wanted to break 31 hours and 30 minutes. I thought we made it, then saw the official time handed to us -- I missed by one second (the clock at the finish line I was seeing was off). We didn't hang around long because it was raining, but I didn't mind. I had finished my first Ragnar, and got to finish my first Ragnar. I can't wait to run it again next year.

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