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Ragnar Update: Race Report Part 1 - Pre-Race

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Whew, it's been quite the weekend. I've been busy and I still don't really have time to get this all typed out, but if I don't start now I will never get it posted. Without belaboring the intro, here is my Ragnar Relay race report.

Date: 10/21/11 - 10/22/11
Location: Las Vegas, NV area
Race Coordinator: Ragnar
Event: Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2011
Start Time: 8:00am
Total Distance: 188 miles
My Distance(s): Leg #3: 5.3 miles, Leg #15: 5.4 miles, Leg #27: 5.8 miles
Weather: 60-90°F and dry (very low humidity)

Wow, so... where do I even begin!

If you don't know what a Ragnar Relay is... it's a scenic, outdoor relay race that covers 200-ish miles (mileage varies per race). Teams vary from 6-man "Ultra" teams, to 12-man regular teams. Teams can be co-ed, or not. Races are broken down into 3 groups of 12 legs for a total of 36 legs. Each person runs one leg in each of the 3 groups - for 6-man "ultra" teams, each person runs two legs in each group. Every runner for every team provides their estimated 10k mile pace and then Ragnar organizes everyone into waves that start every 30 minutes. The slowest teams start first and the fastest start last, beginning at 6am and lasting well into the afternoon on the first day of running. For this year's race, there were 475+ teams.

That's the basics. The rest is a jumble of logistics. For more details on what goes on at a Ragnar Relay check out www.ragnarrelay.com .

So... Last year my SIL started to get a team together, but it died pretty quickly because it was last minute and our possible runners all began dropping out before we could get any momentum, so the whole idea died pretty quickly and I forgot all about it... until the end of August of this year when I had finished all my scheduled races.

I don't know what it was, but something reminded me about the race and I went and checked out the Ragnar site to see if the Las Vegas relay had already been run or not. I found that it hadn't and just innocently signed up as a "runner looking for a team," just casting my line out to see if anyone would bite, but not really expecting a response.

Maybe a week later I received an e-mail from a team looking for runners. We e-mailed back and forth for a couple weeks until I was comfortable (and had broken the news and gotten the okay from my wife) and finally decided to go ahead and sign up.

Once I signed up, it was a whirlwind of activity. The team was trying to sign up runners to their remaining slots before the end of "new runner registration" and trying to get all the details worked out. Then, in September, the 6 of us that were local all decided to meet for dinner so we could get to know each other and get some details worked out. The 6 of use were all running in our first Ragnar, but 5 of our runners from out of town had all run in a few and were experienced Ragnar runners.

After that it was just a countdown to race day and deciding whether to rent minivans or 15-passenger vans, who would bring water, and getting all the other details sorted out.

The week before race day I slowly began laying out all the clothes I would need for the race. I put out 3 sets of running clothes, plus a jackets, sweat pants, gloves, headbands, extra pairs of socks, extra pair of shoes, flip flops, etc. I wanted to be able to wear clean, dry clothes for each of my 3 legs.

On the day before race day, I bought some various snacks (granola bars, Marathon energy bars, and some Powerade) and 3 cases of water bottles and then went down with Ryan (one of my teammates) to pick up one of our 15-passenger vans.

That evening, most of us met for dinner at Antonio's restaurant: Sienna Italian Authentic Trattoria (how awesome is it to have a teammate that owns an Italian restaurant!). We carbo-loaded and discussed our last minute plans on where to meet the next morning so we could all get to the van and to the race starting line in time for the pre-race safety briefing.

Two of our teammates coming down from Utah had car trouble on the way into town and weren't able to make it dinner, but they did make it in for the race.

I got home from dinner on Thursday night just after my daughter went to bed which was very disappointing because since I would be getting up super early the next morning, I wouldn't be able to see her before I left for the race.

I got everything all packed up and ready to go and was in bed by 9:30pm.

I woke up a 3:15am on Race Day - Friday morning. I packed my stuff in truck, kissed my wife goodbye, and headed off. I bought ice for my cooler for our water bottles, and then picked up Devin (one of our Utah out-of-towners) at 4am. Our team was split into two vans - one van for the first 6 legs, the other for the next 6. We would then switch off after every 6 legs. Devin and I we met the everyone else from the first van at Ryan's house in the south part of town at 4:45am. (since the runners from the other van didn't need to start until leg 7, they didn't need to meet until 9am). We packed up van #1 and headed out at 5:15am for start line at Echo Bay on Lake Mead - an hour and a half drive (approx).

We chatted excitedly as we drove, trying to rest, but were too amped to sleep. I hadn't met most of our team until the night before our race, and hadn't met Devin until that morning, but everyone was awesome and we all got along fantastically. After an hour or two, it was as if we were all long-time friends.

As we neared Echo Bay we saw our first runners on the course - the ones that starts at 6:00am. Before we knew it, we were in the parking lot and heading to check-in with all our safety gear and then to the safety briefing and then to pick up our packet with all our bibs and our slap-bracelet baton.

Then... we were ready to go. We stood around behind the start line, chatting and waiting for our 8am start.

When the announcer asked for all 8am teams to line up, it was electric and everyone was buzzing. Our first runner, Greg (60+ years old and running in his 8th Ragnar) was all set to go and took his spot under the Ragnar Start Arch. The announcer read off the names of all the teams starting in our wave. A lot of them had hilarious names like: "Curry in a Hurry" and "My Third Leg is Harder Than Yours" and "Sofa King Fast" and "Saints & Sinners (Run, Repent, Repeat)" and "Run and tell that....homeboy!" and "Morning Wood, We Run Hard" and "That's what you get for waking up in Vegas," etc, etc. And then, before we knew it, it was time to start!

--to be continued--

Course Map (courtesy ragnarrelay.com):


The Start Line

Our slap-bracelet "baton"

Waiting behind the Start Line

Our team being announced (Greg holding his arms up)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLEEPYDEAN 10/27/2011 12:49PM

    Ahhhhh you've given me so much to look forward to for my Ragnar next year. I was worried about being so slow (my current 10K time is like 40 minutes slower than some other teammates)but they assured me that the slower and faster balance each other out and are both needed.

I got a kick out of those race names.

Heading over to check out the rest...

Comment edited on: 10/27/2011 12:57:57 PM

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SALTYCHOCOLATE 10/27/2011 9:41AM

    Looking forward to reading the next installment!

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KKINNEA 10/25/2011 2:55PM

    Wow, great location for your Ragnar - waiting to hear the tales of sleeping in the van...

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Ragnar Update: Blog Tomorrow!

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's been a busy time in our family, but I hope to blog about my Ragnar experience before too much time passes. Hopefully I will have some time to get it written up tomorrow. Crossing my fingers...

Well, off to PT.

How's that for probably my shortest blog, ever. Nice.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RHONDALYN10 10/25/2011 2:00PM

    Can't wait to read all about it!!

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IMSMILEY88 10/25/2011 1:05PM

    Looking forward to hearing about it! I wanna run one of these some day!!!

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KKINNEA 10/25/2011 1:02PM

    Take your time, my friend, but I can't wait to read all about it!

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Ragnar Update: It's ON!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I need to write this quick because I need to leave in 15 minutes...

This is it!

Tomorrow is Ragnar Las Vegas!

We meet at 4:30am and start at 8am.

I picked up one of our rental vans, today. I have most of my stuff on my bed and ready to be packed.

In 15 minutes I am running home to change and then headed to dinner with our team before we all go get some sleep before we have to wake up dark and early tomorrow morning (well, at least those of us in Van 1 have to be up early. Van 2 doesn't have to be on the course until around 1pm!)

I run legs 3, 15, and 27. They are 5.3 miles, 5.4 miles, and 5.8 miles.

The weather has cooled off some, but not that much. It will be in the 80's during the day and around 60 at night. I was expecting it to cool off more than that, so I will unpack some of my cold weather gear.

I think my Achilles is feeling better. Not 100%, but still better and less of an issue to worry about.

Anyway, it's almost go time and I'm excited!

We'll see how well I manage to do updates during the race... if i don't, then that's going to be one massive race report!

Whew! That's a lot of exclamation marks. And I think I finished in time. Gotta run! ;)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAKAPES 10/25/2011 2:14AM

    Looking forward your blog with the news!

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RHONDALYN10 10/21/2011 7:10AM

    By this time you are already on the road. I can't wait to hear how it turned out. Hope it was a blast!

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Making Yourself Fat?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I just read this article and while I can kind of see why he's doing it... I still find myself asking "Why?!"

Read the article for yourself and see what you think. Is it really necessary for him to do this in order to gain an understanding of what his clients are going through? Is it just a publicity stunt to drum up business in a down economy? On a more personal level, is he risking his own life by purposefully making himself unhealthy?

Anyway, here is the link. Check it out.

"Why a personal trainer is making himself obese… on purpose"


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KJDOESLIFE 10/19/2011 9:55AM

    Sounds like a healthy and mentally sound plan! Not. :) I get why he's doing it, but he's really hurting his body to gain that much weight in a short period of time. And an obese person can still say, "Well, you were only obese for 6 months or a year. I've been obese my whole life! Understand that!" LOL!

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TIMOTHYNOHE 10/18/2011 9:24PM

    This guy is a fücking idiot. And he makes a total mockery of those of us who have worked so hard to regain our lives. He seems to think that the only way he can understand what his clients are going through it to get fat then lose it back.

What a fool.

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ON2VICTORY 10/18/2011 9:23PM

    I would say that that is a little nuts but... having worked with a trainer that was NEVER fat, had no idea what it was like, this might be a good idea... in a way. while I would never advocate doing something like that, it might make trainers a little more sympathetic to just how tough it is and how real the cravings are.

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KKINNEA 10/18/2011 5:57PM

    Oof, sounds like a bad idea but if people will start understanding their poor habits because of it, maybe it's a good thing?

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Ragnar Update: Race Week - Time To Rest

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's Race Week! Our starting time for Ragnar Las Vegas is 8am on Friday. I'm excited!

Of course, as usual, this race comes with its own set of challenges and last minute worries.

For the past 3 weeks I've upped my training to get my body ready to run 17 miles in 3 segments over 24 hours. My training included running 3 times over 24 hours on Wed-Thurs of two consecutive weeks (5 miles/3 miles/3 miles the first week then 5/3/5 the second week), and then dropping out the extra 3 mile run last week as I started a one week taper.

This week, I am only doing the 3 miles I ran this morning. I was planning to run 4 miles today and 2 miles on Wed, but I'm pretty sure I'm starting to get an over-use/sudden training increase injury and I want to be as healthy as possible for Ragnar.

From August thru the end of September I had switched up from running 4 days a week to only running 3 days a week. Then, the middle/end of September, I had missed my long run on consecutive weekends. So, when I jumped back in to running 5 times over 4 days a week for two weeks in a row, my body wasn't very happy about it.

Until last week, I was sure I had got in my training without incident and was very happy about that. Sure, I was a little extra sore every Thursday and Friday from doing 3 runs in 2 days, but nothing more than just a little extra soreness - and my times were faster than I had been which was awesome.

However, this past week when I dropped the extra run, the Achilles on my right foot decided it was time to complain. It was either Wednesday or Thursday of last week that I noticed the back of my ankle being tender when I tied my shoes and started running, but it seemed like it was just back of my shoe rubbing on the back of my ankle.

Well, I figured out pretty quickly that was not the real cause because instead of having the spot where it "rubbed" getting worse as I ran, it loosened up and would go away after a mile or two. That told me that it was not my shoe rubbing, but instead was tendon soreness.

I contemplated not even running at all this morning (which probably would've been the best idea), but I was already awake at 5am and wasn't going to waste the time. At least I had some sense and decided to run just 3 miles instead of 4 or 5.

So, today I'm massaging and stretching it and will ice it as much as I can. I've sworn off running for the rest of this week until race day on Friday. I know that's not really enough time to heal whatever issue I've developed, but hopefully I've stopped soon enough that it will be okay for the race and then I can rest it for a couple weeks after.

I can't wait for the race. It should be a lot of fun! It will be a new experience for sure. And regardless of what happens, it will at least be a cool story to tell.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KJDOESLIFE 10/18/2011 9:34AM

    Have fun racing! I found a good website for treating chronic tendonitis if you find you're still having Achilles' issues after the race. Seems like a simple solution, but it worked much better for me than stretching and icing everyday. I occasionally get tendon soreness, but not nearly like I was (very very sore to the touch, appeared swollen and were always bright red). Anyway - good luck!

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BRANDIMACD 10/17/2011 5:25PM

    Good luck, I know you will do great! It's attack of the "injuries" week. :o/ Rest should do the trick though.

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RUNTRILAUGH 10/17/2011 4:52PM

    Just did a relay this past weekend and loved it! GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!

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RHONDALYN10 10/17/2011 4:42PM

    I cannot wait to hear all about this! Still planning on a Ragnar team here in the next year or so. This will be great info!
Best wishes!!

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KKINNEA 10/17/2011 3:31PM

    Indeed, good luck on the race! I wonder if you don't also have some phantom pains...I think you're going to do really well, your training will be there to support you!

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