Sunday, May 08, 2011

No-regrets Ragnar

I decided for reasons I am yet unclear on that I wanted to run in the Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage race this year. Because I don't have 11 friends foolish enough to do this with me, I submitted my name as "looking for a team," and some women rashly invited me to join them.

Every runner on a 12-person team runs three legs over the course of 187 miles (Blaine to Whidbey Island) over "a day, a night and a day." Legs vary in distance and difficulty, from 5K to over 10K, from "easy" to "very hard." Teams have a limited window to complete the distance, but at this point, I'm having a hard time nailing down exactly how big that window is.

I said I'd be happy to run any leg, so our team captain gave me position 1, with legs 1, 13 and 25. This is perfect: not so hard that I'll end up getting our team swept off the course (I hope), but not so easy that it won't present a real challenge. It also means I get to start with a representative from every team (the only time we'll get to see that) and run from Peace Arch State Park, which sounds pretty frickin' cool.

Especially since the last .75 miles of my final leg looks something like this:

I has a fear.

My race profile is 6.3 miles (hard), 4.4 miles (moderate) and 7.8 miles (very hard) for a grand total of 18.5 miles.

I'm not that concerned about the distance, since I've run farther than that doing marathon training and races. What spooks me slightly is the little-sleep, wow-my-teammates-are-fast aspects. I don't want to be the slowest, and I really don't want to be the grumpiest. I calculate my third leg as happening sometime in the middle of the night, which should be interesting....

I'm going to try to limit my incarnation as the seven dwarves to just four: Bashful (at first, I've never met these women!), then periodic rotations through Sleepy, Happy and Dopey.

So Friday began my somewhat unintentional training for the Ragnar. I went for a run that just happened to be slightly longer than my first leg. So I decided to see if I could do all three legs in 24 hours. Saturday morning I went for a moderate (read: leisurely) 4.4, and Saturday afternoon ran a hilly 8 to, around and back from Discovery Park. It went surprisingly OK.

I'm hoping to do a more realistic trial run as the race day gets closer: an early morning hard run, a late afternoon moderate run, and a middle-of-the-night nasty. If anyone wants to come along for that one, some company sounds just peachy.

I'll keep you posted.