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Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage - RunOther

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Blaine to Widbey Island, Washington
United States
Ragnar Relay Series
62F / 17C
Total Time = 25h 51m 9s
Overall Rank = 55/300
Age Group = 1
Age Group Rank = 1/7
Pre-race routine:

We picked up our van the night before and stayed at a friends house about an hour and a half before the start. Drove to Blaine (last exit before you hit canada) and got signed in. I was not running the first leg so no real warm up, just some van decorating and eating.
Event warmup:

It's difficult to warm up with these types of relays. Especially since we were an Ultra team with just one van. You usually stretched a little and jogged in place as you waited for your partner to hand off.
  • 25h 51m 9s
  • 190 miles
  • 08m 10s  min/mile


I came into this race completely relaxed and naive. I have been running "seriously" for over a year now. Mostly trail runs up to 25k and a few road half marathons. College friends invited me to run this Ragnar Relay event and I was stoked to give it a shot.

I had no idea what type of pace to keep. The race coordinators stager your team start time by your predicted average 10k time. My 10k was 6:45. However, thats without running for the rest of the day and going BALLS OUT! Therefore I figured i would go at a much more conservative pace as I would be running 6 total legs of 31+ miles.

Leg 1 Moderate (5.5): I was 4th to run on the team and was anxious to hit the pavement. All the previous 3 runners had kicked butt and I was excited to finally get my chance to shine! With my dads lucky 1974 Boston Marathon jersey on, I got the wrist bracelet and the exchange and took off like a terror. A teammate had given me a riddle to think about to pass the time. I raced through the possibilities in my head and just went on cruise control. When i noticed i was running close to 6:25's i told myself I had to slow down. It was really hard to. I was having a ton of run with this flat section of the course and of course my legs felt fresh. I reigned it in a bit, and passed off to my team feeling great.

Leg 2 Hard (6.7): We had blasted off with 1 other Ultra team that was in our category at 10:30 and they were about 1:30 ahead of me when i grabbed the wrist band. They had nicknamed me "waldo" as my dads Boston shirt made me look just like that. Red and white stripes. I wanted to keep our team (the Mad Hatters) in contention so I once again shot out like a rocket. I caught the competition after a 500 ft bump in the road and passed him. He looked fresh too but once again this was only our second leg. I kept my head down and my iPod and 11 and ran like hell as I knew i had about a 6-7 hour break after this. Finished as the sun began to fall over the bay of the Puget Sound right at a 7:00 min/mi pace.

Leg 3 Easy (2.8): On paper this was supposed to be my shake out run before my 4th leg which was my longest and hardest. However, I hadn't run in about 7 hours (my longest break by far) and got the urge to hammer this one. I let me team know that I was planning on under 20 min so they should hurry up to the next transition. It was flat and pitch black. My first night run. With the headlamp on and reflective vest I hammered out the course passing 13 runners and passing off to my team feeling great.

Leg 4 Very Hard (7.8): My legs started to feel heavy. I def should have taken it slower on my last run as I only had about 1.5 hours of rest. I apologize to my team for making to late to the transition and costing us valuable time, but the dang bathroom line was crazy long! I took the handoff late and headed out in the dark with my head lamp. The night felt cool and great. My legs felt heavy but lungs were great. There were a series of rollers with two main hills on this run. I just kept concentrating on passing as many people as I could. I tried to keep my mind of running my counting the numbers I passed. Unfortunately my math skills are poor and I cant count well in the dark with zero hours of sleep i found out. All i thought to myself was this was the last hard leg and I would pretty much be done. I hit the mountain top finish as the sun came up. The hill seemed like everest even tho it was just a blip on the elevation chart. I finished with a 7:29 avg and didn't have enough energy to chest bump my teammate as we previously had planned.

Leg 5 Moderate (5.5): This moderate was my second hardest run of the race. The fog was thick and I was so thankful for it as it kept everything cool. I took the handoff in a very precarious position. I had kept a clean slate and nobody had passed me. However I noticed two good runners that were coming in fresh on their 3rd and last leg and would be tough for me to stay in front. I say that I had a bout a 50 yard lead on the first guy. That quickly became 25. I cranked up Deadmau5 and hit whatever jets I had left. I threw down consecutive sub 7's to start and lost my competition. The last 3.5 miles were pure hell. The rollers took all the energy out of me. I told myself I was never gonna walk so I kept the feet churning. I so the lovely "1 mile to go" sign and turned around to see if anyone was gaining on me. The girl i had been worried about at the start was gaining on me. I held on by about 30 seconds in the end. Another mile and she would have gotten me for sure. I felt like I was a walking ghost after that leg. I pretty much thought i was done. I headed into the school locker room and just dunked my head in water and sat in the shower.

Leg 6 Moderate (3.8): I had planned on just enjoying this last 3.8 and cruising around 8-9 min pace. However, our team van driver (who was the best!) challenged us to finish by 12:30pm. That meant we would break 26hrs. We calculated out the minutes each person needed. The girl that ran before me hammered hers and honestly gave me like a 3-5 min buffer. I needed to run about a 30 min final leg to give our last runner a shot at breaking it. My legs started off great. My music pumped, and adrenaline amped to crush this last leg and be over with. About a 1/4 mile into it I knew i was in trouble. I hit the first hill and felt like I was gonna yack the 12 cliff bars and Powerbar Gels I had been living on for the past day right up. The sun was out and it was getting hot!!! Thank goodness for the early morning fog layer!. I kept telling myself that I couldn't be passed, and I couldn't walk. I left everything I had out there on the course. I passed off to the final and last leg getting in at 26:16. That gave our last runner about 9 minutes to work with. He didn't need it tho...Beast mode!

Overall our team did wonderfully! We finished first in our division of Male Ultra teams and 55/300 for overall teams. Only 2 Ultra teams beat us, so we beat a ton of 12 person teams out there. I ended up averaging 7:06 for 31.81 miles and the team did a fantastic average of about 8:15 for 190 miles! The event had highs and lows, Cramps, triumphs, disappointments, logistical errors, directionally errors, and great team bonding. I could not have been more proud with our team and our driver. As really just a bunch of "athletes" we proved that mental toughness with some running ability can crush 80% of the competition out there! Way to go Mad Hatters! See you in 2012 Ragnar Napa Valley?
What would you do differently?:

I would continue to stretch after every leg. After leg 3 I pretty much had given in to fatigue and just gutted it out. I would also try to sleep. I maybe got 15 min of shut eye in between legs 5-6.
Post race
Warm down:

Got in the van and headed onto the Ferry to take us off Whidbey Island! Went to Red Robin and ate 5,000 calories with an amazing Alaskin Amber Ale!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Tired heavy sore legs! Aerobically i felt great. My legs just felt like lead towards the end.

Event comments:

Some of the exchanges were crazy congested. But for the most part I felt the bathrooms were well set up. The course was laid out well (except the markings to Bellingham High school leg got lots of runners lost). Ragnar did a great job in my opinion and I would do another one for sure. Thank you to all the volunteers! thanks to my team for all the great memories and support. It was a blast!

Last updated: 2011-07-25 12:00 AM
25:51:09 | 190 miles | 08m 10s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/7
Overall: 55/300
Performance: Good
My 6 legs i ran... 1.) 5.4 miles @6:46 2.) 6.7 miles @7:00 3.) 2.8 miles @6:50 4.) 7.6 miles @7:29 5.) 5.5 miles @7:28 6.) 3.7 miles @7:06 Total: 31.81 miles @7:06 mi/min
Course: 190 mile course from Blaine to Widbey Island. Mostly flat with rollers. Largest leg of elevation change was 750ft roughly so nothing crazy.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2011-07-26 12:45 AM

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New user
Santa Rosa, Ca
Subject: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage

2011-07-27 2:16 PM
in reply to: #3614666

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Bellingham, WA
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage
This looked like a lot of fun. We watch the teams roll through town every year. The course goes right in front of my house. Glad you enjoyed it.
2011-07-27 4:10 PM
in reply to: #3614666

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage

Great job!

My brother-in-law tried this on a 3 person team.

They ended up DNF as he tore a ligament in his foot on his 5th leg.

11:54am 12.34 miles

3:30pm 6.05 miles

5:55pm 6.96 miles

9:49pm 10.53 miles

2:16 am 2.82 miles. 

Total 38.2 miles. 

Congratulations on the finish!

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