Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ragnar Relay NY: Our Team's story

Ok, so now that I've gone over the basics of Ragnar NY, here the details about our team's journey.
By the end, we were definitely Ragnasty!
Our team was quite the mix of people from all over the country. To be honest, I hadn't met three members of our 6 person team until the day I buckled into the van, but there is really no better way to get to know someone then to be tucked in a van with them for 48 hrs without showering or sleeping. Luckily enough, our team got along great. We had a few obstacles that could have created conflict, but somehow our low key attitudes and high degree of sarcasm won over and we all had a great time. I think your team members are really one of the most important part of Ragnar. Oh, and I guess, lots of advil, biofreeze, snacks, and of course Febreze!
I was 'recruited' to the team (I guess crazy females are hard to find?) because my brother was on the team as well. He and I had previously run NYC marathon together, so I knew what to expect from him: no training but a good performance. He is one of those people that doesn't really get around to training and complains that you are forcing him to do 'crazy things', but somehow pulls out a solid race. The only thing that makes me not totally hate him for this is that he is always wildly sore afterward. Maybe one of these days I will dedicate a post to his 'training theories'.
Handing off some water and fuel to the brother.
The first few legs went well enough for our team. As it worked out, the three boys ran first in the rotation followed by the ladies. I started things out for the ladies with the longest leg of the whole relay (16.6 miles) as my first leg. Unfortunately, the weather was unusually hot for NY in May and I ended up starting my leg at 3pm in 85+ heat, not ideal long run conditions. It is well known that I am a true northern that melts like butter in the heat (no, 9 years in the south has not changed this), so I was a little worried, but I filled up my fuel belt and hit the road. Also of worry was my recent IT band issue. I had not run since Flying Pig Half Marathon to help rest/recover, but I had only been able to walk up/down stair for a few days at this point. Because of the hilliness of the course I decided to try out a little strap thing which ended up working like a charm and I had very little IT band pain on the uphill portions!
Chugging along during my first leg.
The heat really did a number on me during the leg. I ended up tossing the van my fuel belt several times for a refill, as I just couldn't seem to get my body temp down. The van took great care of me and served as speedy bar tenders. I don't know if it was sitting in the van for 5 hours before the run, the odd time of day, or the heat, but I really couldn't seem to hit stride throughout the run. I gutted it out to a nice uphill finish and figured a good meal would put me back in business.
The brother helping me up the last hill of the 16 miler.

Yep, bloody toes returned!
I gobbled down a sandwich that the team had waiting for me and drank a gatorade, but it didn't settle for long. I ended up barfing and to make it worse, 2 of my team members joined me. We run as a team, and we barf as a team. Luckily, the other two seemed to recover quickly, while I continued to yak on and off for about 4 more hours. I was still unable to hold down fluids by the time my next double came around (around 1am) and it was time for the team to pull together.
Midnight stop at a quick stop. Would have been more appropriate if it was called 'Got the Runs'.
Since I had yet to successfully refuel from my 16 miler and several of the team members were hitting the pepto hard, it was decided that we would change it up and run each leg as singles (we exchanged runners at the end of every leg like the 12 person teams did). This allowed us to have shorter legs, but still the same total mileage. The second goal was to get me back to health so I could be back in the rotation in the late legs, when everyone would be tired.
The next few hours weren't pretty, but we got it done and in good spirits. I took over as minivan driver to help provide rest and by early morning was starting to hold down drinks and snacks. I pulled it together and they assigned me the finishing stretch into the finish line.
Wearing the zebra skirt gave me the extra kick to the finish.
We finished in style as a group. They all met me about 100 feet from the line and hobbled across with me. They handed out some very heavy medals that actually double as bottle openers! The Ragnar folks really know their demographic. Celebration included pitchers of beer and showers for all. Though we had our share of obstacles, our team really pulled together. By the time we piled into the car the next morning for the drive to Boston, chatter had already turned to 'which relay we were doing next'. After all, a few of us still need a little Ragnar redemption.
Nope, even foot torture didn't make me barf again. Thanks for the support guys.
Lessons from Ragnar:
1. Your relationship with your team is vital, not only for the fun, but because at some point over the 180 miles, something will go wrong and you all will need to work it out.
2. Sleep is not important and showers are equally overrated.
3. The best training method would be to run 10 miles, take a catnap in a closet, run another 10 miles, stay up all night driving a minivan, and then run your last ten. If you can comfortably complete that workout, you will love Ragnar.

Hope you all are having a good week!

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...