Sunday, June 12, 2011

Checking Out a New Race

While I took the weekend mostly off from running, I did do a double run on Friday including one somewhat long.

After work on Friday, I took a nice 4 mile run on a gravel trail near where I work. It was cool out, a lot cooler than it was earlier in the week so I was able to run fast yet it felt easy. Sort of like the way a nice fall day feels after running all summer in hot weather.

I did decide to do a long run that night, much later that night though. I didn't know how far I was going to run for a few reasons.

The main reason has to do with the Ragnar Relay. What?? Well, the Ragnar Relay was in town on Friday evening, and pretty late at that. The Ragnar Relay is something I have wanted to do for a few years now but have never been able to find a team or have enough people crazy enough to make a team. This particular relay was a race from Madison, WI, through Milwaukee all the way to Chicago. 197 mile total. Teams of 4 to 12 runners (usually 12) take turns, in relay, fashion running all 197 miles and it takes anywhere between 20 to over 30 hours to complete. Each runner usually runs 3 times (more if there are less than 12 on the team). The teams each have vans that carry the other runners from exchange points to the next and all get very little sleep. Sound crazy? Sounds like my kind of race.

This year, I happen to know a few people in the race. A friend of mine John was running as well as my Blog friend Melanie. John told me about when his team was going to be running through Milwaukee so I was planning on meeting his team for a little pick me up surprise. I had a pan of brownies, some Gatorade, and some fruit all ready for his team when I found them. The problem was that John forgot his cell phone and I was unable to get a hold of him. I found this out after he called when the race was over. Well, his teams loss is my girl's gain.

Even though I couldn't get a hold of him, that didn't mean I wasn't going to check out what the race was like and run some of the course. I ended up getting to the Rawson Street exchange point a little after 11 PM. This was the closest point the course came to my home. I then began to run the course backwards hoping to run into him and I thought that was the part he was running. It was misty rain out and a little foggy but I had run this area before so I knew where I was going. It was really cool seeing all the runners coming toward me with their head lamps on glowing off in the distance getting closer.

As I was running, I would cheer the runners on even though I could not see a single persons pace as it was really dark and the light from their head lamps made it virtually impossible for me to see. At one point in time, I did run into someone I did know. Skip was running and I didn't even know it. I recognized me as I was cheering him on. We talked for about 30 seconds and then I was back looking for John. I ran to the next exchange which I learned was a "major" exchange with tons of vans and people having lots of fun. I kept running in case I was on the wrong section. I kept going until I almost got to the next exchange before I turned around and ran back.

I stopped at the Martin Luther High School exchange for a while talking with a few of the runners before I ran the last leg back to where I parked. I ended up talking to a few runners on the course giving as much encouragement as I could and then finished with just under 14 miles in.

I don't know what this event is like at the beginning nor do I know what it is like toward the end. I don't know what it is like to run on barely any sleep or running 3different relay legs in under 24 hours. But I do know that it sounds crazy enough for me. I can only hope I get enough runners to join me next year or find a team that.

Keep on Running!!!

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