I ran Ragnar Northwest Passage (my first relay) two weekends ago. Never heard of Ragnar or a relay? Here’s the short version: 12 runners pile into two vans and take turns running. Each person runs three times, and by the end of it, the team runs a total of 200 miles.
Relay recaps tend to get pretty lengthy, so I’m going to give you the quick and dirty version: IT WAS AWESOME.
The key to having fun during a relay is having good people in your van. When you’re sleep deprived and having GI issues (oh man, my stomach was a hot mess!), you don’t want to be in a van with high-maintenance drama queens. Thankfully, my van was pretty darn awesome. No drama, just lots of laughter, singing along to 90s pop, and encouragement.
Here’s a quick rundown on my legs:
Leg #1: Totally flat 4.2 miles (8:34 avg pace) starting at 5:30 p.m. I started way too fast and positive split like a champ. Since it was only four miles, I didn’t bring my handheld water bottle. Big mistake: it was pretty warm, and I was so thirsty by mile 2.
Leg #2: 8.99 miles with rolling hills (9:16 avg pace) at 3:30 a.m. This was my favorite leg. I loved running at night and overall felt really good the entire time. I was riding a major endorphin high when I came through my exchange.
Leg #3: 4.8 miles with a steep hill and nice downhill (9:11 avg pace) at 12:30 p.m. Since I was runner #12, I was my team’s final runner. There are a few downsides to being the last runner, but being the one to see that “One Mile to Go” sign at the end of the race made it all worthwhile. My team was waiting for me near the finish, and we all ran through together.
Going into the relay, I wasn’t sure if I would like it or if I would want to run another relay. I can officially say that even though I’m just now catching up on sleep/life, relays are awesome and I already can’t wait for next year. Seriously, so fun.
Now, a quick update on my training plan.
I recently had an epiphany and realized that it would be smart to shift my focus from Portland to CIM. Dad and I are kinda/really dumb and signed up for both races earlier this year, but from a realistic standpoint, we’re only going to be able to run one.
I pitched the idea to Dad, and at first he was pretty annoyed. But eventually my persuasion skills (and logic) won out, and we made the decision to make CIM our goal race.
Why the switch? The main reason is that I need/want the extra eight weeks of training. In order to maintain a 9 min/mile pace, it needs to feel super easy. And right now, it doesn’t. Now that I have the extra time, my coach is having me focus on base building and speed work to make GMP feel easy.
Second, CIM is a faster course. It has a net elevation loss and very few turns so you don’t run the course long.
I made this decision a few days before Ragnar, and I’m sure it’s a big reason I ran so well. I feel way less stressed, and I’m confident that I’m finally going to get that damn sub4!