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Friday, August 28, 2009

Ragnar Relay update

So, last weekend I did the Ragnar Relay, the 12 person relay from Winona to Minneapolis. The team was mainly co-workers... 7 of us from my company, my friend Vanessa, a sister of a co-worker, and then 3 other friends. I ended up having a lot of fun. I was not really looking forward to it, although I knew that once I was doing it I'd have a great time. That did turn out to be the case.

As I had not been doing too much running all last winter, spring, and early summer (any running I did was sporadic, nothing consistant), when I had to "declare" my pace for the relay I decided I'd do 10 minute miles. I figured that this would be something I could most likely do without much problem over most terrain (hills, etc; stuff I don't find on the treadmill), and that I could probably still average that pace without training.

I was runner number 5 which overall was the toughest, having all 3 legs be fairly long and hilly.

My first leg was 6.6 miles and started in Alma, WI at about 10:45a on Friday morning. I told my van-mates that I'd stick to 10 minute miles although I could maybe go faster. They advised me that I should go as fast as I felt comfortable going, as we might have other team members go slower than their predicted pace. "Okay," said I. My first leg was not too hilly... very lightly rolling, and I averaged 8.5 minute miles without much problem.

My 2nd leg was 6.8 miles and started at about 11p on Friday night. It started with a LONG hill that I slowly plod-jogged up. The middle section was fairly flat/rolling, and then I got to go down the big hill I'd come up. I FLEW! And this is where trail running comes in handy, because I'm pretty comfortable and keeping up a high speed and watching my feet as I somewhat-recklessly-looking careen down hills. I kid you not that I was averaging down the hill about 6-6.5 minute miles. I passed a few people cautiously braking down the hill. My leg ended with a half mile hill that I had to take a couple walk breaks on, but overall I averaged 9 minute miles.

My 3rd leg started at about 8a on Saturday morning around Afton. The sun was up and it was starting to get hot. This was my longest leg (about 7.5 miles) and was very hilly. This was a little more of a struggle for me with the combination of hills, sun, and fatigue (no real sleep the night before and more miles than I'd run in months and months). But I plugged away and finished it, averaging 9.5 minute miles.

Overall I was happy with my performance and had a great time. It was a renewing experience, because I was able to do this without training and still have some respectable-for-me times over the miles. Makes me feel like I could train and get some speed back again.

So I bought a treadmill Wednesday night. Got a killer deal on it as a Sears closeout. It's a Nordic Track Elite zi. (I got it for $750). I have it set up in my garage/workout area again. Lifetime Fitness, of which I was a member until next month, is only 1/2 mile away from me, but it's so much easier for me to have the treadmill right at my house with my t.v. right there.