Last weekend, 12 of my co-workers and I ran in the Ragnar Relay New York 2010. This was a 180-mile relay race from Woodstock to New York City. The race was a fantastic experience and posed a good challenge. The hardest part is dealing with very little sleep as you never have more than 3-4 hours to relax and although we did rent a hotel room, it was mainly to clean up our outsides (and insides) before our final legs. The race was a fantastic team-building experience as you got to interact with your team a lot more than any single-day experience would let you.
The way this works is the 12 runners are divided into two sub-teams. These are generally labeled “van1” and “van2” since that accurately describes how we got around. The relay is broken up into 36 legs, each runner runs 3 separate legs. Distances range from 12-16 miles. Typical legs are from 3.5 to 8.5 miles. My legs were 4.0, 3.6, and 6.0 miles. Elevation gains range from 100 ft. to 700 ft. across that distance. Your team runs non-stop, physically handing off a bracelet at each exchange. Van 1 runs 6 legs, one for each runner, and then hands off to van2 who runs the next 6 legs. This gives each van a quiet period to go along with a busy period. The whole event went from 19 hours for the fastest teams to about 36 hours.
My midnight run was probably the most miserable. It was about 4 miles, in the dark, and I had to contend with this monster hill and the bugs. At one point I thought I was lost. There were no cars, no support, and no other runners. These were country roads, so there were no lights. I was lit up like a firefly, though, as all night racers have to have reflective gear, a flashing but-lamp, and either a flashlight or a headlamp.
I was looking forward to a nice beer at the finish line, but all they had was Heineken and Miller Light. Prices were reasonable ($4 and $3 respectively) but the line was long and I was pretty damn tired. Before my last leg I think I started to hallucinate. I had to volunteer a shift at one of the exchanges and I could barely speak.
We had one of the best names, IMHO, but the team who won Nom de Plume (Best Team Name) was Team #157, I’m Woodstocking Your Girlfriend. Lame. Here are the race results, which you might find interesting.
1 Team, # 183 North American Distance Squad 19:28:05
133 Team, # 10 Liquor Nuts 29:06:03
199 Team, # 170 Ragnar It’s so easy a Caveman can do it. 34:16:21
Note: Some teams are called “Ultra” and they only sport 6 runners, so the runners on those teams run twice as long.
Everyone is pretty jazzed about doing this next year.I hope I can finally break the mythical 10 minute mile mark; I’m still running 12-13 minute miles depending on elevation. Just recently I started to show I can run 11:30 minute miles so there has been some progress on that end.
Here is a quick snapshot of my training in the last three months. Certainly more than I trained last year. Blue is running, red is cycling. I still haven’t started swimming and I have my first triathlon of the season in 5 weeks!
See you next time!