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Ragnar Bound

Monday, April 08, 2013

I will be running Ragnar Southern California relay race in less than 2 weeks. Up until yesterday, I was very worried about my ability to keep up, and had seriously thought several times that I should back out. But…I’m stubborn.
I want to run this relay!
I’ve backed out of one relay in the past and wasn’t going to do that again. This year decided I would commit to only 2 races. Ragnar, and the Vancouver USA Marathon. I have not signed up for a single other race (yet), because I feel that in the past I’ve jinxed myself by planning out an entire year of races ahead of time.

Back to Ragnar.

For anyone new to my blog, I broke my elbow the first week of Marathon training in January. I took a tumble during a night time fun run, and put myself out of (running) commission until recently. The orthopedic approved walking for the first 4 weeks, then approved running as long as I wore my splint. Well, even with attempting to balance the weight, it wasn’t an option to run with a 2.5# splint on my arm. I knew I was doing some damage to my shoulder wearing it to even do my long walks. I also knew I wasn’t giving up on another marathon or another relay, and that I had to do what I could to maintain some semblance of fitness.

After 10 weeks the Dr finally released me to do pretty much everything, except lift weight heavier than 10 lbs. Finally, back to what I consider “Real” training. Now, please don’t think I’m discounting what the walkers do. I am amazed at the difference in muscles used to walk 13 miles vs. running 13 miles. I’ve also fully accepted that I will be walking a good portion on the marathon. On the other hand, I did NOT want to accept that I would also be walking a good portion of my relay legs!

Since the Dr. released me, I’ve been doing 2 short runs and one long each week, plus time on the elliptical, keeping my focus on Marathon training. MY marathon training includes walk breaks. Lots of them. Quite often within less than ¼ mile….that is, until yesterday.

Yesterday I joined two ladies who are going out with the walking group, but running at a very slow 13+mm pace. When I’ve been running on my own, I’ve been slowing back to around a 11:30mm pace. Before I fell, I was averaging 11mm, so I figured slowing that much should be good enough. Duh…I should have thought again when I couldn’t maintain 12's for more than a half mile. Yesterday I figured I’d run a half mile, walk a couple blocks, run a half mile, etc. I knew if these two were trying to maintain a 13-13:30 pace I’d be able to at least keep them in sight for the first 5 or so miles of the route.

The first 2 miles were from the Hilton, which is close to the river, to my neighborhood in NW. Steady uphill the whole way, with a 200 ft elevation gain. We ran at about a 13:20 pace. As we came up to Fourth Plain Blvd I heard my Garmin chirp, and realized I’d just run a full mile without walking. I figured we would be stopped at Fourth Plain for the light, but no, it turned green immediately after we reached the intersection so my run continued on… The two mile mark was at 45th Street, where we turned to head toward the freeway. Again I was shocked…I hadn’t run this far since the week before my tumble. I also knew this was the easy part, as we got to head downhill for a bit. Down the hill and across two intersections, again with very little stop time for the lights to change, not enough to make a difference in my heart rate at least. Up a short hill and across the pedestrian bridge at the freeway, and down into the park…and lo and behold at the far end of the park I still had not stopped to walk. There is a hateful hill at the east end of Leverich Park, that I rarely run up. Yesterday I found myself at the top of it with amazingly little effort. I finally slowed and took my first walk break at just past 4 miles. From that point on, I was running approx. ½ mile, then taking a short walk break. I had thought I would lose sight of the two women I was with, but was either with them, or at most 3-5 blocks behind them, all the way back to the Hilton.

I now know that I CAN run my Ragnar legs, or at least run enough of them to maintain the 13 minute pace that I updated to after I fell. I know that I should be able to run at least ½ of the marathon, and walk the balance at a decent pace. Best of all, I know I can once again run the majority of 11 miles and feel terrific the next day!
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