Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Ragnar Relay: Run. Drive. Sleep? Repeat

As a part of a 12 person relay team (TWSKA*), Cute Boy and I ran our way across the state of Florida this past weekend, taking part in the Ragnar Relay. We started in Clearwater and ended in Daytona Beach 32 hrs later.
The whole event was an absolutely amazing experience. The adventure began in Daytona early Thursday night, where we loaded the gear into the 2 team vans and drove across and spent the night in a hotel not far from the start on Honeymoon Island.
Bright and early on a very humid Friday morning we arrived at the start line, checked in and got our race numbers and fancy technical long sleeve t shirts. I'm not gonna lie, the schwag is always important.
Ahead of us lay 193 miles of roads, trails, paths, highways, dirt and uncertainty. Then the start horn sounded and our first runner Lani was off. Each one of us ran 3 legs, ranging in miles from 3 to 9.5 and from easy to moderate to hard in difficulty.
I had the easy spot on the team, my legs were all between 3-4 miles; easy-moderate*-easy. That was very awesome, since I had an ear infection that had me in bed all of Wednesday, plus my running schedule has been way off because of work travels & training for the century ride in the Keys.
My first leg was through New Port Richey and was a little challenging to navigate. I was nervous because they had told us at the start that whilst there would be good signage on the course we couldn't rely on those as someone (sometimes even other teams trying to beat out a rival!) might remove them, turn them around or try to confuse the runners. It did actually happen, so one runner got lost.
I wrote down all the street names and distances and carried with me on a soggy piece of paper, and then my Garmy and I dutifully checked off each waypoint, turn and twist. It was stupid hot, and both Cute Boy and I ran around high noon. Temps were near record highs and the humidity out of control.
The 2nd leg was in the dark of night, I ran along state road 50 in a straight line for the 3.8 miles I needed to get done. Nearly a full moon and perfect temperatures, but I didn't really enjoy on-coming trucks going a million miles an hour. Then there was this dead, nasty, smelly, bloated, ripe opossum that I almost stepped on.
The final 3.2m leg took me straight into Alexander Springs state park, which was awesome. It was really muggy and I kept hoping it would rain a little so I could cool down, but instead it just got muggier with every step. Overall I was happy that I ran at or faster than my predicted pace for each leg, the last one even at a 9:40 pace, which is completely unheard of for me (I had some nice rollers and a good downhill that helped).

My team was awesome. I still can't believe that all 12 of us got along so great, especially considering that we were very cramped in our minivans and that we went for 32 hrs with hardly any sleep, and I was meeting some of them for the very first time!
The best thing about this race was definitely being a part of team TWSKA. We had runners of all abilities, 7-8 minute milers and all the way up to 11-12 minute milers, and everything in-between.

My friends Mikey and Adrianne and Morten and Tammy met us at the finish - and went with me, Cute Boy, Lara, Denise and to dinner. It was sooo nice to see them when we ran across the finish line and big thanks to Mikey*** for snapping the photos decorating this post.

*Twelve Wild Soles Kicking Asphalt

**no hills in Florida? Really? Well then we have very tilted roads in some places and something should be done about that.
*** Now if Mikey would ever get going with a website for his photography, I could at least link to him!


Kolbrun DeLux said...

Til hamingju með sigurinn! Mér finnst þetta falleg mynd af ykkur hjónaleysunum ;o)
Kveðja til ammeríku frá kreppýlandi.

Mikey... said...

Wouldn't have missed it for the world. What am awesome event. Pretty inspirational and fun, so maybe I'll do one of these one day... right after I get done with my website,

Hayley said...

Congratulations on the relay! I live in LA and are getting ready to do the Ragnar Relay in LA for the first time. Do you have any other tips? Like what to bring, what not to do? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!