Well, it was a week ago today that our 12 person team set out on the 192 mile journey from New Haven, CT to Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts. The adventure, The Ragnar Relay, was instantly a memory of a lifetime from the moment I ran my first leg. For those not familiar with the event, it’s basically 12 person team’s with two vans, 6 team members in each van. You take off as Van 1, Runner 1 and work all the way through Van 1, Runner 6 then you hit a major exchange where Van2, Runner 1 takes off and this process repeats for the next 26 or so hours until you end up at the finish line.
The most curious part for me was how the logistics work and most importantly, the hand-offs. Here is an example exchange between two of my Van Mates at a standard exchange:
It’s really pretty simple. As the runner you wear a slap bracelet (think 1988!) and you just give that to your next runner and they take off out the chute.
The course was extremely well marked. We had only a few instances of runner’s saying they were confused but none ever got lost or really went off in a direction for extreme distances. That’s a big undertaking when your race course is 192 miles across two states!
As the runner’s in your van are doing their legs you will “leap frog” them and offer them support and encouragement. This is what separates this race from any other out there. In a Marathon your support may be intermittent with friends and family at certain mile markers, but imagine them roving in a van and continually supporting you along the whole journey…awesome!
That’s a good example of the support you can give your runner’s along the way. And don’t take my “pick her off” reference as poor sportsmanship. We all know how good it feels to pass folks on the course and during this race you get the opportunity to pass a bunch if you can tweak your speed just right!
You can also see that video was shot as the sun was rising…like 4 something in the morning. Many people ask, “so you run this at night too?” Absofrigginlutely! I slept for 25 minutes the whole race and you can hear Matt in the video say he slept 30 minutes on the van floor. This is all part of the fun, sleep deprived delierium!
You also will encounter runner’s from your other van while you head to the next major exchanges. Here we run into our runner from Van 1 as we head to a major exchange.
That’s what this race is all about. Fun. It’s just a great time.
So, How Did Team, Chuck Norris Kicked Our Team Name’s Ass Do?
I’m glad you asked! We finished 25th out of 178 teams (coolrunning.com results) and 3rd place in the corporate division! I’m really proud of those results and the team did an AMAZING job!
So, How Did I Do?
Again, glad you cared enough to ask! I’m really proud of the showing I put out.
Ragnar tells you to use your 10K pace as the pace you should use when we did our initial calculations with them. The number I was working with was 9:21/mile, which is a respectable per mile distance time for me. Here’s how I did:
Leg 1 (5:39pm): 5.91 miles in 51:05 – pace 8:39/mile
Leg 2 (2:02am): 3.61 miles in 29:00 – pace 8:02/mile
Leg 3 (11:04am): 5.80 miles in 50:10 – pace 8:39/mile
I killed my predicted time. I was running pretty comfortably at the 8:40/mile pace and my 2a.m. leg felt like butter and I was cooking at almost 8/mile flat (that’s cooking for me!).
Here’s my final run, final exchange – it was HOT
I felt great after that last run. Sure, my leg’s were tight and the cumulative effects of not sleeping, running, and being crammed in a van was all catching up to me…but this event was SO fun and our team was so great that I just felt that oh so awesome runner’s high!
And of course, we finished as a team…192 miles of fun and running came to an end
Did you notice the FiveFinger’s Love! In the video of us catching up with our runner from Van 1, he’s rocking the Black/Grey Camo KSOs and I of course was wearing my trusty black KSOs (now with 500 miles on them!). We also had one other team mate running in KSOs.