my relay race - a very different kind of running experience!

this past weekend, i ran sections of a relay race. It's a 'ragnar
relay'. they have them all over the country. this race went from
Cumberland, MD to National Harbor in DC. 203 miles total.

the way it's supposed to work is you have a 12-man team and each
runner runs approx 3, 10kms, each spaced about 12 hours apart. the
runs actually vary from 2.5-11miles of varying difficulty. so as
runner #7, i would run legs 7,19,31. our team was sorta thrown
together through friends of friends which made it cool to be in such a
situation with quasi-strangers! plenty to talk/laugh about.

two of our runners got injured during the week before the race! we
were lucky to find one replacement and we just absorbed the legs of
the other missing team member.

we had one real ringer, a dude that runs 100-mile races and figured
he'd nail these hilly legs at 6:45 pace!! (I predicted i'd do 8:30 -
and don't think i even hit that, everyone else was 10-11min/mile

end results, i ran my 3 legs, one for the missing runner and then
paced 5-miles of the last runner, Heather, my g/f. total time for our
team was ~31 hours (placing #85 out of 226 teams - almost 20 teams
didn't finish). i'd gotten 2.5 hour nap on a soccer field - get this
- awoken by someone lining the field and a flood of middle school
girls warming up for their 8am soccer game!! a game in a field with
hundreds of sleeping runners!! most runners still wearing sweaty
clothes and lanterns on our heads :)!! seeing the parents just drop
their kids off to go run into what looked like a hippie commune was
the funniest site!

i really tried to go fast in this relay, but my first leg was 103
degrees at 1:00pm!! and the hilliest!

next leg was ~72degrees at about 11:00pm

then just over a 5km at 4:00am. it's 300' incline was almost the
death of me at this point. ( i finally got a nap after this).

the race was finally into familiar territory in rock creek park. i
decided to treat this like a regular training run. just couldn't
'race' anymore. --total of ~29.5miles

then pacing the finish was a walk/run. my g/f was the actual runner
and she was DUN! we stayed at the gaylord hotel at the harbor. soaked
in the pool. every beer and bite to eat was the best i'd ever had :).

i found it's much harder to run a few fast races with breaks than it
is to just run 30miles all at once! i think i'll always remember this
event though. one cycles through every possible emotion in this
situation. part camping trip, party, triage, pity party about who
didn't throw away their empty gatorade bottles etc :)

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Comment by J-F lemay on September 30, 2010 at 9:19am
Hey Mark! As you said we're in a similar situation! Last saterday I take part in the tour of lake memphremagog (74 miles). We were 2 teams of 6 from a local running club! My part was 3 legs of 4.7 miles spaced by 2-3 hours for a total of 14.2 miles of pretty hilly wind in the face road running! I finished it with a 7:30 min/mile pace!!! Not bad hein? but I was unable to walk correctly and staires were hell for 3 days!!! Ouch!!!Ouch!!!and Ouch again!!!! The fastest team ran an average 5:08 min/mile pace and fished in 6h50min! Those guys were real machines!!!We were a mix of good and slow runners and close that thing in 10h 45min! The last team who finished in the last minute of the 12 hours cutoff deseved an all finishers ovation plus a nice 5 min fireworks over the lake! Amazing!!! After that adventure the pasta dinner was more than welcome (same for a few beers)! It's the team!!! Yeah the team effect was amazing i saw some of my teamates who ordinary have difficuty to run 3 miles on flat and then they ran 7 miles of hills and looking strong at the end! Wow!Definatly something else than ordinary races! For when the first "running with Eric relai run"??????
Comment by Jason Penticoff on September 29, 2010 at 7:21pm

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