Sunday, July 20, 2014

Oh Ragnar, My Ragnar

Mid run view back to Anacortes Refineries  - it's rather dark
That's it? We are all done with the most fun event of the year already? 

Ragnar was just part of the training plan for me this year which meant i wanted a lot of miles and I wanted to run solidly but mindful that I need to resume marathon training. That means I needed to run solid times but nothing too hard and I needed to eat/drink well during and after the event to recover. Done and done! 

I gave myself the most miles on the team (Runner 8 with 19.4) and it also meant i returned to some legs I've run before (the run course is tweaked every year so there were some changes). I'll cover the running in a later post. Having run later in the van rotation the past two years, I can say that for me as Captain, it works better if I run later in the rotation just for energy level and monitoring within the van. 
K handing off after a great last leg!

I do find that changing energy level very interesting to follow. People typically get worked up and ready to run and then have a big spike of adrenaline after the run. After changing, eating and continuing along the course, 2-3 legs down the line they can crash and need to sleep. Thus those last runners in the van don't necessarily get the same sort of support as the earlier runners as people drop out to rest when their bodies are demanding it.  I can't really let myself relax until we have the definitive "off times" and once we are to our rest areas. Generally this isn't much of an issue for me but it is something I'm mindful of and this time I did arrange a time where i could try and rest in the back of the van while others drove and navigated. It helped. 

We were a slower team this year after going through so many runner changes and we were also a mixed masters team. We've always been close to that but finally this year managed all over 40 (and some much more!). We had a group of very solid runners but no one who is really speedy which can help bring up the run average of someone who is much slower. It's no big deal about being slower (our average pace was 9:45 which really isn't that slow!) and our overall time of 32 hours was a good  finish (fastest team 22 hours - slowest 38.5 hours). It also meant we were always surrounded by many teams which was fun and energizing. On the negative, we finished later and got stuck in ferry lines trying to get home. K and I didn't finish from returning vans until 9 pm.

I love seeing the costumes, van decorations and clever team names. I love seeing our runners be so nervous and unsure and sandbaggers and then go out and RUN! 

This year we also had an athlete who has been on the team twice before as a van captain for me. In those previous years she has only completed two legs and had someone else run the last leg. This year despite some hip issues she was able to finish all three. Even though she had the least miles of anyone on the team, she was out there working longer overall than anyone else by a lot as she is a much slower run/walker. Gutsy. As I said. And that is the essence of Ragnar. You do it for yourself and for the team and it is a challenge on every level.

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