Monday, February 10, 2014

Ragnar Relay-Team Road Killers

Team RWB Tampa (and me) at the start.  Not the team I ran with.
A few months ago I was invited to race on Team Road Killers for the Miami to Florida Ragnar Relay.  I've done a relay ultra before, but never one 200 miles long.  I had high hopes of being in fantastic shape and having a 100% healed achilles.  Oops. I think my average mileage per week since November was about 15.  Before November it was even less.  Not to mention I have done zero speed work in about a year.

I was really annoyed I had to run with a headlamp when the sun was out.
I was the seventh runner out of 12. My first leg was eight miles.  It was the longest of my three legs.  Ragnar has a rule that you have to wear night running gear if you will be running after 4:30 PM.  It was sunny and hot.  Here I am ready to go.  Sunglasses, visors, headlamp and reflective vest.  It was 86 degrees out.  I started off super conservative.  Or tried to.  My goal was to run about 8:30 pace.  I knew I could run faster, but I didn't want to overdo it and then not be able to run the next two legs.  I couldn't stay at 8:30 pace, but I did force myself not to run faster than 8 minutes/mile.  The first half of the leg had a ton of stoplights.  My team thought there would be water on the course for me.  I saw a lot of other teams pulled over giving their runners water.  At some point the heat and dehydration got to me and I became angry at my team for not stopping to give me water.  I tried to remain positive, but I was shivering and feeling light headed.  It was broad day light and I was wearing a headlamp.  There might have been an emotional breakdown about that.  Finally about mile 6.5 I saw my team with water.  They realized there weren't water stops and knew I'd be unhappy.  I survived the last 1.5 miles in a slightly better place.  No achilles pain and 8 minute miles for 8 miles made me happy. I felt great.  Leg one done.

After my first leg.  See it's still sunny out.  Notice the lack of a headlamp.
I might have thrown it at my team in the middle of a (heat & dehydration induced) tantrum while I was running.
My second leg (10K) started at 4AM.  I iced my achilles twice and did not sleep (not for lack of trying) between my first and second leg.  It was pitch black and a lot cooler.  There was a steady stream of runners in front of me to catch.  Everyone had on flashing blinkers so I could see them (and the rest of the mandatory night gear, which at 4AM seemed so much more useful than 4PM).   The race starts were staggered so the faster teams were at the end, so we had a lot of teams ahead of us to catch.  I counted 28 'kills' in my 6.2 miles.  It kept me motivated and running fast.  My achilles held up and I managed to run about 7:25 pace for the 10K.  Certainly not fast for me, but I was incredibly happy just to be able to run and feel good while doing it.

The medic probably thought I had a crush on him.  I stopped by a few times for the ice wrap.

Ready for the last leg.  
I finally got some sleep.  Maybe 30 minutes in the back of the van.  After a huge plate of eggs and bacon and grits and coffee and Diet Coke I was read for my last leg.  1.8 miles in stupid hot heat and humidity.  I tried to warm up (the legs, not me...I was already plenty warm), but the legs just felt dead.  I decided I'd just go out as fast as I could and try to hold on.  As fast as I could ended up being 7:15 pace.  The legs just wouldn't go any faster and since I didn't even think they would go that fast I just stayed at that pace.  1.8 miles later I was done.  Only minor achilles pain the entire relay.

I look like I'm running fast.  Not really, but it hurt.  
Sunday was a little rough.  My legs were stiff and I was tired.  I think I slept more than I didn't.  Today I'm feeling pretty good, my legs are still a little tight but not too tight to hop on the bike for 4 1/2 hours.  GCI Race is right around the corner.


  1. Love Ragnar! The middle of the night runs always terrified me – and, were always my fastest split (you never know what's gonna run out of the ditch in middle of nowhere Wisconsin). So glad to hear your Achilles cooperated! Great running, too, Maggs! I'd give anything for some of the Florida sunshine right about now :)


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