Thursday, June 19, 2014

Race #9: Ragnar Trail Relay - WV part II

Yesterday, I described some of the challenges we had on Friday with the rain and mud, but Saturday morning, the sun came out and while it still wasn't very warm with the wind, it was much nicer than Friday afternoon / night. 

While I was sleeping, the team continued running and because of the trail conditions, we slowly became farther and farther behind our projected pace. Originally, we were planning to be finished by around 11:00am, but by 8:00am, we knew that number was way off. As I woke up, our team was discussing the possibility of doubling up our runners so that for each leg (red, yellow, green), two people from the team would run at the same time with the only stipulation being that the two people had to run together. Our captain went to talk to the race officials to see if we would be able to do that. Unfortunately, because runner #2 was out on the course (on the toughest leg), we were told that we were unable to double-up. At the time, only those teams who hadn't started their last legs yet (i.e. were at runner #8 or less on their second leg) were allowed to double-up. 

In the meantime, one of my teammates asked me to switch legs with him since he was battling a knee injury and my last leg was going to be the shortest loop and his was going to be the longest loop. I willingly agreed to switch since originally I was thinking of running that leg with him depending on how I felt after my second leg so that I could end up running all 3 legs and I was well rested since I didn't get to run Friday afternoon. What I didn't know was that our runner who was currently running the hardest loop was also battling an injury and had thought about asking me to switch with her if runner #8 hadn't. Luckily, she was a major trooper and made it through her leg, despite having to walk a majority of it due to her hip injury. 

As our #3 runner went out onto the course, the course officials gave us the green light to start doubling-up on our runners. The runner who switched with me immediately went out to catch up with our runner who was on the course and the rest of us started packing up the campsite so that once we finished we could head out (and get warm & dry!). 

Leg #3 - Green Loop Red Loop
I ran with our captain for the last loop and we were both amazed at how difficult the course was in terms of hills and major rocks to climb up, over and between. I am definitely thankful that I didn't have to run that loop in the dark! 
  • Mile 1 - 15:23
  • Mile 2 - 18:27
  • Mile 3 - 17:48
  • Mile 4 - 19:05
  • Mile 5 - 17:07
  • Mile 6 - 19:36
  • Last .47 - 19:39
I still felt pretty good after finishing that loop, but I know all of my teammates were hurting from the 3 (or more) loops that they did. The other person whose loop got skipped Friday afternoon ran twice overnight to pace / try keep up with two of the other women on our team. 

I was able to take some pictures on the last trail since we definitely had to do some walking and after seeing other people's pictures from the other trails, I definitely wish I would've run the Yellow loop in the daylight. The photos of the trail below are from the Red loop and the finish line and, of course, the swag!
As in the Key West relay, Ragnar provided free race photos. The Trail Lunatics survived!
Review
I'm not sure how I feel about this race… I enjoyed the trails that I was able to do, but I'm really disappointed that I didn't get to do all 3 legs. Now, I think the Ragnar officials definitely made the right decision to stop us for a couple hours as the storm came through, and I understand that, like any race, there's a time limit, so at some point runners would definitely have to be skipped. I will also take blame for not going off and running the other loop on my own - I spent a lot of my "free time" catching up on the sleep I didn't get in the week leading up to the race.I am also disappointed at the fact that it seems like there was only a photographer during the day on Friday and I didn't see one on the course on Saturday, nor did I hear my teammates who ran the other loops talk about seeing one. Overall, I'm not sure I'll do another trail relay race - I think our team was well prepared for the conditions that were thrown to us and we survived better than a lot of teams - but there's only so much you can do with mud and rain and everyone ended up cold and wet. However, I will say that after this race, I'm definitely interested in trying out other trail races, so I'll be keeping an eye out for one later this year.

Did you do the Ragnar Trail WV? Have you ever done other trail races?

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