Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Race Recap: Ragnar Chicago 2012

This time last week we were loading our gear into a 15 passenger van about to embark on 30-some hours of  sweaty awesomeness. (Note: That would have been true if I had published this the day I started the damn post. Blogging FAIL.)

Being the only Madison locals on the team W and I decided to host a team dinner.  Carbo-loading feast for 13 people, no problem. Truth be told, I probably made it more work than it needed to be, but that's how I roll.
Before the hungry runners arrived  

Being the only Madison locals on the team W and I decided to host a team dinner.  Carbo-loading feast for 13 people, no problem. Truth be told, I probably made it more work than it needed to be, but that's how I roll.

I opted for penne with sauce and ground turkey (suckas, you thought it was beef didn't you?!), followed by my all time favorite dessert, homemade strawberry shortcake. There was salad and bread and all things a runner needs before tackling Ragnar.

Food was eaten, conversation flowed, fun was had (I hope), until the mosquitoes descended upon us and we all fled for safety.

I don't even think I made anyone sick. ;)
Fast forward to race day.  Van 2 was nice enough to pick up W and I on the way to exchange 7 in Lake Mills. By 11am when we headed out it was already getting HOT which did not bode well for my running...

Van 2: B*tches Be CRAZY
I work hard to avoid photographic evidence of me running because, well, it's not pretty. So you'll just have to take my word that I ran.  

Leg 7 started at Lake Mills HS headed down the street a bit before turning onto the Glacial Drumlin trail. I really couldn't complain about my leg because legs 6, 8 and 9 were WAY worse, but it still sucked.  The trail is a very forgiving crushed gravel, but there was not nearly as much shade as I thought there would be.  It was like 1pm'ish and HOT already and let's face it, I am just not a good hot weather runner. I sucks the life out of me and I just haven't built the mental toughness to push through it.  Leg 7 ends with ~3/4 of a mile, mostly uphill, on the side of an unshaded county road. Nothing says 'KILL ME NOW' like running on the side of a black-top county road in full sun in HOT weather.

Leg 7: 4.7m 53:28 (11:22 avg pace) 

W before his first leg.
Apparently I stopped taking pictures at this point...

After we finished our round of running we headed to Noodles for some food (which, not shockingly, didn't sit super well with me) before heading to Martin Luther HS to catch some z's.  This break last year we had enough time to eat, catch a few hours of sleep and get ready to run without feeling rushed.  This year after eating we had barely enough time for a cat nap before we were back at it.  I maybe snoozed for 30 or so minutes thank sin large part to the asshats yelling in the parking lot.   

Leg 19 started at Martin Luther HS and headed to Franklin HS.  Last year this leg followed the Root River Parkway and was flat and fast and fabulous. Since they changed the exchange for 2012, this year it headed out from Martin Luther HS and straight down 76th straight for 2'ish miles.  By straight down I really mean straight up, as in uphill. For 2 miles. Granted it wasn't steep, but it was constant for 2 fucking miles. It was 20-degrees cooler than earlier, but those first few miles took a lot out of me.  Eventually we turned off of 76th and made our way onto a multi-use trail of some sort through some park. The trail was awesome with some rolling little hills, twists, turns and whatnot.  What sucked was turning off the trail and finishing the leg running uphill. Again.  What also sucked was that the leg was almost 1/2m long.

Leg 19: 5.49m 58:49 (10:42 avg pace)

The cooler temps, and by cooler I mean in the mid-70's, felt downright chilly after the heat of the day.  It was refreshing but cool when not running.  We finished up our round of running at the YMCA in Racine at 5 or so in morning, watched the sunrise, and then promptly passed out on the grassy median in the parking lot for an hour and a half.  After that little cat nap we made our way to the next major exchange for pancakes and little relaxing before we started another steamy day of running.

I started my final leg, leg 31, around 9:30 from North Chicago HS.  Last year this leg wound its way through a neighborhood before making its way onto a crushed gravel path for the majority.  Not so lucky this year.  This year I had the pleasure of running the first half on sidewalks in the full sun and heat of the day.  I made my way through some Naval base, base some Seamen (hey-o!), and eventually onto a multi-use path.  Holy balls, Saturday felt even hotter than Friday.  There was a point during the run I started to get the chills, which is never a good feeling when it's wicked hot out.  Luckily my van was able to stop a few times and refill my water/hose me off because every step was a challenge. There was never enough shade.  But it was flat, so there's that I guess.  I finished at Lake Forest HS, which ps, has the most amazing front lawn I have ever seen. Like take off your clothes and roll around neked on the grass amazing. Seriously. Only by the time I finished I was too overheated and miserable to enjoy it.  I have never been so happy to be done running.

Leg 31: 5.1m 1:01:04 (11:58 avg pace)

I feel even worse for my teammates who had to run as the day got hotter.  Saturday seriously became a death march.  We did our best to pace to our runners and take care of one another, but it was almost too hot to matter.  W spent some quality time tossing his cookies at Northwestern after his leg.  And poor Maureen had the longest, hottest leg of them all to finish it off.

Trust me, these medals were well earned.

We wrapped it all up at Montrose Beach in Chicago.  I wish I could say we celebrated and got epic at the finish line, but really we all just wanted to be done with it.  We were ready to be out of the heat, clean, and off our feet. That's not to say we didn't love (almost) every minute of the experience, because I know that I did. And that W did. And that I adore the ladies of Van 2 so flippin' much.  But enough is enough already!

I'm disappointed in my running this year. Not just at Ragnar, but this spring in general has been a let down.  I'm still at it, working things out, hoping for a break through.  But in the meantime, I'm going to savor the memories, the friendships, the laughs...and start plotting an planning for next year.

Ragnar Chicago 2013, I'm coming for you! Here's hoping for cooler temps in 2013!


Maureen said...

I would really love next year to not be a death march. The heat was unbearable.

Your party was so awesome! I had a blast! Thank you for hosting :)

Ara said...

Sounds like Chicago Ragnar is a TON of fun!!!