Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I'm pushing pause on my posts about favorites for swim bike and run, so I can write about my Ragnar experience.

At a Memorial Day BBQ, I was talked into doing Ragnar by my friend Melissa. She had lost a member of their 12 person team and needed a replacement. Ragnar is a 12 person relay running 195 miles from Madison to Chicago.

I had margarita or something that night and wasn't sure what I was getting into, but it sounded fun. I have forever wanted to do Hood to Coast relay as it starts just a few miles up the road from my parents house in Oregon. Not sure Madison to Chicago would provide quite the same experience, but I was on board for some good training and new adventure.  My training has been in a little slump for a few weeks and sometimes doing something really different can shake it up.
Team: "yea right!"
my home for 2 days

We started in Madison Friday around 12:30 pm. A few of the people on the team are from my subdivision. My neighborhood has many fast fit triathletes runners and bike racers! Its a little mini Boulder in the far western suburbs!, but the other new friends on the team were a blast, hilarious, and had me laughing right away, so I knew it would be a fun weekend. The atmosphere was so different from a huge competitive 70.3 race which was such a nice change of pace from tri-geekdom.  In fact the competition might have been for  cutest team shirt, or decorative van, which we of course didn't win.

My 3 segments were not long, so Scott and I came up with a strategy, which was run the first leg hard. 2nd easier, 3rd fast again depending on how I felt. The first run was about 4:00 in the afternoon Friday. It was on open roads through Wisconsin. It was hot (maybe 75 LOL!), no shade and hilly country roads. It was supposed to be 6 miles but ended up 7. I felt great despite sitting in a van for several hours, but was more concerned about going off course. I passed 2 people right away and then found my self solo out on long open country roads, just hoping I was still on course.  I kept looking back to make sure those I passed were still there.  I was running hard and trying to push the uphills, got to mile 6 thinking I was done and saw the 1 mile to go sign!

My second run a 4 mile stretch along a wooded parkway at about 3:00 in the morning! It was chilly and very dark. I had tried to sleep a little before but it didn't go so well. I was cold standing and waiting my turn and threw on an extra long sleeve top at the end and stood with a blanket around me waiting with my teammate Ryan who ran after me while everyone else slept.  I don't run fast in the dark, I feel like I tip toe because I can't see where I'm going. My legs were stiff but after the first mile it felt better, ran with my eyes open wide as I could to see and not miss a turn.  I just ran and didn't care about pace and tried not to get lost. After our night shift was done we drove through the dark to Racine where we had a few hours to rest while van 2 ran their sections.  I finally slept about an hour and a half curled up in a ball on the van seat. I was so tired, that even though short, I was out cold.  I woke up to this beautiful sunrise, and realized we were basically at the start of  Racine 70.3.

  We still had a little time before our first runner had to go and everyone was in search of coffee. We drove the streets of downtown coffee. Serious? Not even gas station coffee was available! What place survives like this?  I always stay at Danny Delgado's lake house for the half ironman, so I've never had to go on a coffee hunt in Racine.
Van 2 found coffee while we were running

My last run was 5.5 miles on a gravel path/trail. It was straight and unscenic. This is the run I was supposed to go hard again. I was mostly excited to get it done and head to the beach to celebrate. I took the first mile to warm up and then tried to run fast 1 mile, 1 mile easier/ 1mile hard etc for the rest. I did get  15 "kills" though, because most people were dying at this point and were really slow. Kills are how many people you pass.

ryan's sand-angel 
After our last runner finished, we celebrated in the van! then headed into the city to wait for van 2 to finish. We ate pizza at Lou Malnadi's unshowered, sweaty and  partly still in running clothes, then headed to the beach to wait for Melissa who was running the last leg. It was a big party at the finish on the beach at Montrose.
cheers to fun

At the end of the trip I had run 17 miles in about 15 hours. Not completely epic and certainly isn't what they do during an ultra, but it was solid running with enough quality miles to trash my legs.  I was tired for a few days, and when I tried to run Tuesday, there wasn't much there. I felt like the hunchback turtle I saw crossing the road in the middle of somewhere Wisconsin.