Just the Miles... 36ish of them - Ragnar Ultra DC

In this post I just want to review how I ran the Ragnar.  I'll go through each of my legs, my time, etc.  My next post I'll tell about the Ragnar itself and the team experience.

But, before I do that, let me introduce you to the Ragnar, because it still is a race experience not many have heard about, although it has for sure grown!

This is a group race.  Typically you run each 200ish mile course with 12 runners.  There are 2 vans of 6 people and you leapfrog your way, between the two vans, along the course.  Each runner runs 3 total legs, broken up, and the mileage for each runner varies.  Each runner may average a total mileage of 13 - 19 miles.

There is an ULTRA version of this.  That is where your team is only made up of 6 people, with all of the same mileage.  Each runner now has 6 total legs and double the miles.  Each runner may average 26 - 50 miles, depending on how you break it up.

I ran my first Ragnar in 2010.  It was fun, a great experience.  I was super fast back then!  I wasn't sure, after I finished, that I would do it again.  As the years went on I was positive I wouldn't do it again.

Last year Molly wanted to Ragnar (bucket list).  I haven't posted about that... still!  It was sort of a mess, getting the race all ready.  I was the captain, the girls that I wanted to do this with all ended up backing out for various reasons.  I wasn't excited for Ragnar ADK last year.

BUUUUUt, it ended up being fabulous!  I met wonderful people, laughed hard, ran well.  Still, I said I'd not be interested in doing a Ragnar again, unless it was an Ultra.  That would be a challenge.  That I would be interested in.

When Jeremy (who I did the Ragnar with last year) asked if I wanted to be on his ULTRA team I wasn't ready to answer.  I wanted to try it, but like I wrote about earlier, I was feeling pretty crappy as a runner, maybe needing to take a break.  Still I said yes!  I'm glad I did.  I don't think I would do a regular Ragnar again, but I'd be up for an ULTRA again.  It was a great challenge.

Ok, let's review Ragnar DC - Ultra!

As I trained for this Ultra Ragnar I expected to run 40 miles.  I tried to prepare my body to run the full 40 miles in a day and a half.

I don't know why, but I was SO relieved finding out 4 of my miles were distributed to Stacy!  It was just 4 miles, but not having to do the full 40 gave me this crazy confidence boost!  I wasn't so sure about 40, but I was totally sure about 36!  Brains are funny things!  

Now looking back, I was well trained for those 40 miles, and of course I would've been fine doing the 4 more!

I was runner 5 and 11.  Here is the map of my legs from Ragnar, along with my Garmin times.

My first run:  1:00 pm.  This run was on a dirt road.  I didn't get hit too bad with dust.  It was fine.  I was excited to get my body moving at this point.  What I remember from this leg is the switchback point where I slowed waaay down to get up it!  I knew I had a mile climb.  I was prepared for that mentally.  I also remember coming downhill fast, trying to find even ground, pretty sure I'd slip and fall at some point!  I ran with the downhills which were pretty good at the end.  I was sure I would feel that in my quads later - indeed I did!  I only passed a few people, there weren't many on the course with me here.  Carson pulled through for me and took some pictures of and for me!  Thanks buddy!  He's awesome.

My second run:  6:40 pm.  This run was initially 9 miles.  This is the one that they took 4 miles off of, for me, and added it to leg 10.  This was a beautiful run along the river.  It was on a trail, it was dusk.  I loved it.  A guy asked if he could pace off me this run.  It was good to be side by side with a runner for a bit.  I jumped ahead to pass another runner and left him behind!

My friend Melissa who is from Maryland and just moved back there, loves trail running.  Here in the Buff I just didn't get what the fuss was all about.  It is obvious I don't know where the good, long trails are!  I texted her and told her that I finally get it!  I get why people love trail running!  I tried to take in the river as much as I could, careful to watch my footing too.

My third leg:  I ran this leg at 11:40 pm.  I was feeling a bit sick prior to this run.  I didn't put my head lamp on until I started running too.  It kept slipping down my forehead.  I tried to adjust it and made it bigger.  Sweet!  I spent at least half of that first mile trying to get it to fit right, while running!  This run I passed 24 people!!!  24!  I'm not even counting the people I passed twice, since I had to duck off the side of the road during the last mile.  Who knows, if I'd have kept going I may have passed even more...

It was a peaceful run , mostly.  There was a portion of the run where I was unsure if I was going the right way and there were no vans or other runners to be seen.  I was nervous I was going the wrong way, that I'd get lost!  A van passed and I asked if I was going the right way.  They weren't sure and said they'd come back if I was going the wrong way!

The moon was out, so I could see the fields I ran past.  I ran through a neighborhood and there were a couple of little hills to change things up.  It was a great run, even in the middle of the night!

My fourth leg:  5:30 am.  I may be most proud of this run.  I will tell you all about the hardships of trying to fuel, rest, recover, run again and again, in the next post.  All of us felt sick in the middle of the night.  Before this run I felt sick too, but better than I had during my last run.  I at least felt confident I'd not have to stop on the side of the road!  What I felt as I got started with this run, was that I was SO hungry!  Mid run I felt like my insides were eating themselves.  I didn't see my van until maybe the last mile or two.  I yelled for G-rade!  I needed calories.  I had hit a wall!  They were there at my aid, love them.  It feels good to be supported!

I started this run with a couple of guys that I'd caught up to.  We stayed together for about a mile and a half.  I pulled ahead a little after that.  I could hear one of the guys behind me for a few miles.  I pulled away as I hit mile 4.  There was some good uphill running happening in this leg.  I slowed down just a bit and stayed steady.  I felt strong this whole run.  That is what I'm so proud of.  That is what feels so good!  There was no devil/angel on my shoulder like many training runs from this year.  I felt tired sure, but I never felt like I couldn't do it.  That doubt was overcome.  I was in my groove and despite my depletion, despite the hills, despite my body being tired and fatigued I ran steady and strong.  I just kept going.  It was good.

As I was walking back to our van, the guy who was behind me came up and congratulated me.  Told me he wanted to catch me, but just couldn't.  He told me I was awesome!  That made me feel pretty cool, not gonna lie.  I appreciate people being like that, giving like that.  It made me happy!

My fifth leg: 11:19 am.  It was hot at 11 am!  Friday we lucked out and it was overcast the whole day.  This was my easy leg, though!  My legs were already feeling sore.  It took them a minute to feel like they were functioning properly!  I could feel my quads with each step!  I ran through town and then on a local trail.  Actually the very same trail my buddy Melissa had run on the day before!  I was right in her neighborhood.  Wish I could've seen her.  I felt better than I did through the night, but I was craving real food at this point.  Only one more leg to go!  We were almost finished!  Stacy and I were feeling some girl power!

My sixth leg: I ran this run maybe an hour after my previous one.  That may not have been enough time to fully recover!  I borrowed Jer's Garmin for this run.  I was afraid I wouldn't have enough battery for the whole thing.  I probably would've been fine.  I believe I averaged 8:30 for this run.  It hurt!  It was stinkin' hard, and it was such an easy, flat leg!  I started good, but about halfway through felt like it just. wouldn't. end!  That last little hill, up the overpass felt like Mount Everest!  I know I was depleted and it felt hot and I wanted it to be over, but I just kept going.

Most of this race happens in MD.  You forget that it's the DC Ragnar.  I was rewarded with this amazing run, on the path across from our nations capital.  I loved seeing the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial across the river.  It was cool.

Garmin: 6.3 Miles in 54:33 pace 8:40

 Lap 1/7:52  Lap 2/7:42  Lap 3/8:20  Lap 4/8:45  Lap 5/9:06  Lap 6/9:51

So glad Stacy grabbed my camera and took these!!!  I ended up being our team finisher and we headed to the finish line after this leg.  Yea!  We did it!  I did it!  

I trained hard for this.  It was worth it!  It felt so good to finish.  I felt strong, satisfied, accomplished and so very hungry!!

My phrase throughout this experience was 'next time I never do this'.  I'd make notes on how I'd do things differently... when I never did this again!  EX:  Next time I never do this I'll bring soup...

Like I wrote before, I needed this!  I'm so glad I did it.  

Stay tuned for all of the fun stuff as I tell you about my team, the race, and notes on what I'd do different.