Friday, February 29, 2008


I somehow wrangled two days off from work, which means I'm now a part of the Running Shop's team for the Ragnar Relay Del Sol. The race runs 182 miles from Wickenburg, Arizona to Mesa. The team placed second last year after Google sent some hired goons to clean up, but this year we actually have a shot at the win. Our team has 12 members split between two vans, and according to the race program I'll be running legs 3 (5.9 miles), 15 (6.9 "hard" miles), and 27 (5.5 "very hard" miles). Hmmm. We start at 6pm and run through the night, and with luck we'll finish at Riverview Park in Mesa around noon.

For this adventure I'm armed with four mix CD's (one all Wilco of course) and two containers of Kiera's cookies (one for each van). I'll get to catch up a bit with my fast buddy Jason, who now lives in Phoenix, and I'll get plenty of quality time with a bunch of other runner buds.

As for the legs, I feel like things are starting to come around after a week or so of plain old running. Here's the week so far:

Mo: 10 miles, 1h13, 7:05 pace
Tu: 12 miles, 1h24m, 7:00 pace, feeling good
Tu: 5 miles, 38m, 7:31 pace
We: 10 miles, 1h13, 7:18 pace, lots of trails and hills
We: 6.2 miles in 44m
Th: 10 miles, 1h11m, 7:06 pace, lots of trails
Fr: 4 miles very easy (so far)

I'm really excited about getting to do one of these races. I've missed the last two along with cross-country club nationals because I couldn't either find the time off or the money, but with an art show behind me and a perfect storm of guilt for my boss (my co-worker just took two days off last week), it just worked out this time. I'm bringing along the video camera, so if I can get my act together I'll post a clip or two next week.

As far as my approach for running three 10K(ish) races in the span of 18 hours goes, my plan is to start a bit conservatively on the first leg and hopefully build from there. Forcing myself to warm up and cool down after each section will be paramount, as will getting in some protein and carbs post-leg. Mystery Coach has advocated chocolate milk a few times, so perhaps I'll give that a go provided we have a functioning cooler. I think a few bananas for potassium and also a yogurt or two will help as well.

Wish me luck, and drop me a line if you're going to be racing too.


Greg said...

For me nothing reignites my passion for running more than one of these relay races. Just to spend a couple days surrounded by other runners really is a nice change of pace.

As for your strategy, I've always found it's best to go as hard as you can on each leg. It really isn't the same as doing a marathon where if you take it easy on those early miles you'll have something left for the last legs. After running 2 legs and spending the night in a van, you're gonna be running on fumes on that last leg anyway, so you might as well run fast on the early legs while you still can. All the seconds count the same whether you gain them early or late.

That's my warped philosophy anyway.

Have Fun!

Grellan said...

Sounds like a great adventure. My advice is to enjoy every minute (on and off the road). Best of luck!!!

Ewen said...

Best of luck Mike. 'Very hard' looks like uphill most of the way with a mountain in the middle!

Sounds like fun. Looking forward to the videos and 'inside jokes'.

Love2Run said...

Good luck Mike! Relays are a blast but you won't get much sleep. Great way to recharge the batteries though. Have fun!