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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.


SteveQ said...

Didn't you buy a treadmill in June? For someone who claims to not be running, you sure do wear out those machines fast!

Londell said...

This is the second post from someone I know who did the race. Really sounds like fun! I was thinking I should put a 12 person team on only men who weight over 210 and women over 170? But besides me, I only know three runners who could qualify unless they really start to over eat? Congrats on the treadmill... I sensed that that was a great mental benefit for you in the past to have it right there wit your favorite TV shows?

Diane said...

Steve, you're right. I DID just buy a treadmill in June, but I ended up returning it after a few days, deciding it was more money than I wanted to spend. THIS one is the real deal for me!

Londell, Ragnar Relay was a lot of fun. I'd join your Clydesdale team, but I'd rather lose 20lbs than gain 20lbs! You're very right about the mental benefit of the treadmill for me... I used to spend literal hours, when bored, watching t.v. while running.

Wayne said...

Nice job, Diane! Glad you enjoyed it and are happy with how you did. I think it's a pretty cool event and worth doing.

kirby said...

Rock on! This sounds a lot like a relay that I did around here - 199 miles from Calistoga to Santa Cruz. Dean Karnazes does it solo, while the rest of us have our 12 person teams ;)

If you and your team want to come out here for a change of scenery...

Diane said...

I wonder if the CA one is run (organized) by the same group that does the MN one. It does sound like the same thing. We didn't have the solo option, though (not that I would have been able to do that anyways!) They did have ultra teams who ran 2 legs at a time before switching off.

My team consists of women who are almost all married-with-kids, so the chances that I could convince them to do a road trip race are almost none. Maybe that will have to be MY solo debut?!