Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay - The Runner's Version 2011

CoachLesley.com Orange Ogres Van TuTu
Actually though, unless I was actually out running, I never felt that I could take of my Captain's hat (see photo for what that hat looked like).  And even when running, I'd be thinking of things which needed to happen next.  since my brain tends to work this way generally, it was not a big deal, but i was surprised at the added effort.

We all got up to Bellingham for Van 2 start in good time.  I was extremely fearful that the prediction spreadsheet used to predict when to expect each runner would be very slow compared to how everyone would actually run.  Would we miss them?!  Turns out I did a great job at predicting overall pace for the team.  I predicted we'd finish between 1:16 pm and 1:32 pm depending on whether one runner in Van 1 was able to complete her legs.  She ended up just sensibly running two legs and we came in at 1:19.  Dang that was satisfying!

For me, I wanted to run strongly but I was going to have an added challenge of running 4 legs instead of 3.  And instead of putting legs back to back, I was going to run what was supposed to be my last leg, then wait for the next runner to go and then run my 4th and final leg.  I wasn't sure how my body would respond and it turns out I needn't have worried.

I was runner number 2 in the second van.  Our first runner was a young guy who was a relatively new runner but fast.  He was great!  he kept it easy but still belted out a blistering pace and made it look like cake.  it was wonderful to finally be running on such a pretty day.  Since I'd never been in Van TuTu before in this event and it was neat to see some different areas.  

Leg 1: Only 2.8 miles but straight uphill and then downhill to the next exchange.  However, I never got any warm up and forgot to use my inhaler before the run.  I felt awful on the uphill portion of the run and both could not acquire satellites nor remembered to turn on my watch at the beginning of the run.  Oy.  Yeah, i was distracted by captainly duties for sure!

No worries though.  After about 10 minutes, I started to feel a bit more warmed up but then realized it felt really warm and humid and i was running into a ferocious headwind at times.  Don't think just run and just catch those ahead.  I think finally i was hitting my stride and feeling better and...I was done!  The best part of this?  We'd made tutus for all van members and I wore mine for this run (with my orange shirt - we are the orange ogres after all) and got a lot of honking and support from other teams.  Yep, it's the details which make this event even more fun.

Everyone ran so well their first legs.  It was a beautiful evening in Western Washington and I was happy to hand off the running mantle to the next van.  Off we tromped to the major exchange.  I chowed down (pasta, chicken with feta, olives, cucumbers, peppers in a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar - perfect!) and brought out my sleeping bag and rested.  We knew we had a couple hours and i desperately tried to sleep.  My throat got so sore and my ears plugged up once I was lying down and a dear vanmate started snoring on the ground next to me. The sore throat and the plugged ears was weird.  the snoring?  typical.  I am the lightest sleeper ever.  It was really nice to stretch out and relax.  after a bit I started getting texts from Lesley and got people up and we tromped back to the van to get ready to start again.

Overall, the course was very well marked for directions and safety for both runners and vans.  Leaving Pioneer Park at La Connor though had some problems.  We could not figure out where to go based on the directions.  Turns out the directions were only how the runner was leaving the exchange and not how the van would leave the exchange.  We had to come back to the exchange and ask a volunteer for help.  He was able to pull up a gps program on his phone and walk us through where we needed to go.  Thanks un-named volunteer directing traffic for helping us find our way at after mid-night when we were not at our sharpest!   

By midnight, temps had dropped to comfortable running weather.  I debated longer sleeves like I saw many other runners departing the next exchange but ultimately decided to go with short sleeves and gloves.  I'd hoped to run this next leg pretty hard and if I did, I'd get pretty warm.  It was a good choice.  My second leg was 7.7 miles from headed towards Anacortes.  It had some bumps in it but ended on a long flat over an amazing trail which used to be a railway trestle out OVER the water in Fidalgo Bay.  I'd heard about this trail but never seen it.  I'd not done any warm-up except just trying to walk about.  But right away I felt good partly because I'd used my inhaler.  I started off fast and settled and then just worked my way up the hill.  i saw no one at all associated with the race which worried me a bit.  Was I going the right way?  Were we as a team very far behind (this is a captain's worry!).  No matter, I just kept at it and eventually got along a long straight road where I could see flashing blinkies ahead of me.

Perfect!  I gradually reeled in a few and was happy to see cop cars patrolling the area as well.  THAT really did make me feel better. I got passed by one gal who then seemed to stop and get water and I never saw her pass me back again.  We went by the refineries up towards anacortes but I didn't pay much attention.  I just ran.  And finally, I made the turn onto the Tommy Thompson Trail and was just amazed.  I didn't need a light here even though it was dark.  It was flat and fenced and there was only one way to go.  I could see a blinkie a fair bit ahead and made it my mission to catch this person.  After about halfway across the trail, the fencing which had been on either side disappeared and there was just rocks and open water.  That was very disorienting and I felt like I was going to pitch right into the black water on either side. 

With just a half mile to go, I finally caught up with the blinkie which had been ahead of me.  He had been running well and stopped to walk.  I yelled as I came close, "allright?" and got a "no."  I yelled back "just half a mile" and he started running again.  I really had not been paying attention to what pace I was running and finally peeked towards the end.  Hot damn!  8:16 by garmin.  That was faster than I had expected.  Maybe I'd pay for this later but it was worth it.  garmin connect link


1 comment:

Dusty said...


Awesome outfits!!!