I’ve talked about packing for Ragnar; now let’s talk about the running.
Going into the race, I had a general idea of what to expect: 3 legs, the first hilly and long, the second short and flat, the third short & a little hilly (with a big downhill section at the end). I also knew that if the rest of my team stuck to their projected mile times, I’d likely be running in the late morning on Friday, then late at night on Friday and, lastly, early in the morning on Saturday. It worked out pretty much as expected.
Here’s a breakdown of each leg & how I did (apologies if this is a little dull … I’m just sticking to run performance today):
My first run: Leg 3
- 8.2 miles
- 509 ft of elevation gain (though my Garmin said I climbed just 437 ft)
- Time: 1:08:21
- Avg page: 8:21 / Avg moving pace: 8:15
Keep climbing, climbing, climbing.
How I felt: I was surprised by how strong I felt on the first leg. I was really excited to be running and felt really pumped every time I glanced at my Garmin and saw strong paces, especially because it was all uphill (except for two little breathers). I passed a few people, listened to good music and enjoyed myself. (Though I did have a few moments where I wondered if I was pushing the pace too hard, since it was only the first leg. After those initial doubts, I honestly just told myself to shut up and forget about conserving. That it would be okay to focus on one leg at a time.)
My second run: Leg 15
- 3.5 miles
- 35 feet elevation gain
- Time: 26:36
- Avg page: 7:54 / Avg moving pace: 7:48
How I felt: Halle-freakin’-lujah, I broke 8 minute miles for the whole leg! Granted, it was short. And super flat. But I don’t know that I’ve run splits like this since high school. Maybe not even in high school. I’ve always been slow, and I’ve always thought I was fated to be slow forever. And while 7:54 minute miles are still slow by competitive standards, for me they’re pretty freakin’ good.
It probably helped that this leg was at 11:00 pm at night because I really, really, really wanted to finish it quickly and get back in the van. Running along deserted streets in the dark is scary, you guys. So I pushed my pace partly out of fear. (Whatever gets you to the finish line …)
My third run: Leg 27
- 4 miles
- 196 ft of elevation gain (though my Garmin says I climbed 253 ft)
- Time: 32:08
- Avg pace: 8:08 / Avg moving pace: 8:02
A loooong downhill section at the end, that my teammate had to turn around and climb back up.
How I felt: I was in NO mood to run when I started. Super tired and a little nauseous. We’d tried to sleep for a few hours on a high school gym floor, but we probably got less than 2 hours total. We left the gym at 4:30 am, drove to the next exchange, and though it was around 8:00 am by the time I ran, my body had no idea what time it actually was.
I also felt some knee pain during this leg – and it pissed me off (more on that in another post). Still, by halfway through, I knew I was approaching the big downhill section and I just wanted to be done, so I really pushed myself.
Now that I look at my splits for mile 3 and 4, I wish I would have gone faster in the beginning. I could’ve PR’d pretty nicely.
Overall, I’m happy with my performance and relieved I got completely manageable legs. The first one was challenging, but the other two were easy. I tried to race each leg, not just run, and I can tell I’m getting tougher mentally. That’s a pretty awesome feeling.
I’ll be back next time with final thoughts on the relay, plus some team pics.