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Ragnar Relay del Sol - RunOther


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Wickenburg to Tempe, Arizona
United States
Ragnar Events, LLC
70F / 21C
Sunny
Total Time = 23h 16m 40s
Overall Rank = 3/400
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Oh God...RAGNAR again.
Amazing how absence makes the pain seem less and the fun more. That's the trick RAGNAR plays with your brain. What was a painful, uncomfortable, sleep deprived, and often smelly 24 hours somehow becomes this magical bonding of team and human spirit AFTER the race is finished and fades to memory. For me all those unicorns and glitter dissapear somewhere between Suprise and Anthem AZ at 2:00am as I finsih my second run and remember the ugly truth. Good Lord, RAGNAR suck ass.
Event warmup:

DURAPULSE Ultra, back to defend it's Ultra title from last year as well as trying to do what on paper looks like a big ask. Can a team of 6 crack the top 3 overall running against teams of 12? It had never been done here at the RAGNAR Del Sol and we were stupid enough to give it a shot. Our team this year was stacked. Coach Nick, Dr. Joe, and I in Nick's big old Expedition, and Stephen Hanniman, Elliot, and John Argue in car 2. All three were looking very strong coming into this race, especially Elliot who is training for a sub 3 attempt at Boston.

So Nick, Joe, and I made are way up to Wickenberg for our 3pm start. There were just a handful of teams starting at this final, late start time and we knew they would be the best. there was one other Ultra Team called Altitiude Adjusted from Denver starting with us so we knew they would be the team to beat. The race started and Joe and I drove up the route to support Nick. By mile3 he was in second behind a 12 man team of a bunch of young guys who were really moving. The other Ultra team guy was already falling behind. By the time Nick made the first exchange to me, we had a lead of about 8min.
Run
  • 23h 16m 40s
  • 202 miles
  • 06m 55s  min/mile
Comments:

And I was off! I was running the exact same legs as last year but due to a few modifications of the route I would cover 39 miles instead of 37 over my three runs. I had planned to target a similar HR effort as last year but within the first few miles, my HR was about 8bpm's higher then what I had planned. I tried to back off a bit but I just kept running hard so i made a decision....a poor one not to be emulated. What the hell, go as hard as you can and deal with it later. Yeah, that will end well. So along Vulture Mine Rd. a ran, holding in the 6:30's, feeling great. Through the intermediate checkpoint and onto New River Rd. still clipping along, listening to some tunes, and effectively putting myself into a hole at mile 8 or so of a 39 mile race. Brilliant. Part of my foolish thinking was that if I was going to be running so close to my threshold so early in the race, I better at least beat my time from last year. That became my goal. As I closed in on the exchange, I realized I wouldn't make the time and my enthusiasm flagged. All that effort and I ended up 2:45 slower as I handed off to Joe.

I walked over to Nick and saw that the Altitude Adjusted Team van was there and they had a woman running thier second leg. Turns out her husband was supposed to run but got hurt and so she came instead. As i tried to get my head around how I felt about my run, to add insult to injury the guy running the same leg as me came around the bend. He had run 3min back into me cutting our lead to only 5min. That really stung. Not only was I slower but there guy was fatser and I was now a time liability. Great, my run fitness is sad and I have to go up against their best runner, at least we hoped he was, we still had yet to see their Van 2 in action.
Run 1- 1:29:43, 13.52 miles, 6:38 pace, 166HR Average

Nick drove down the road to support Joe while I got in the back and squeezed into my ZOOT recovery tights. I had two PB and J's and a liter of coconut water to help recover. Nick could see I was bit upset and pointed out that I only started run training at the end of December, less then 2 months ago and to expect to be at the same level I was last year was unrealistic. I knew he was right and I had no problem with my race result from XTERRA a few weeks ago where I was a few min. slower then the previous year but being part of a team and feeling the desire to perfrom for them made it much harder to accept. Regardless, I had a lot of work left to do and needed to get over myself.

Joe was running great but their female runner was flying. The sun had set and we arrived at the first major exchange to hand off to Stephen, John, and Elliot. The check point was n a huge dusty parking lot and the three of them had been there for a while and were wearing surgical masks to deal with the dust! It was THAT bad. Elliot looked like a S.A.R.S. outbreak refugee! Joe came in and handed off to Stephen. 2min. later, the gal came in and now we knew for sure we had a race on our hands.

We had a few hours of down time and made our way to Suprise. Reports fro Car 2 were very encouraging. Stephen had ripped his initial run and we were back up by 5min with John out on the course. John ran great but the lead held the same so we knew they had one solid guy in that van and one slower. Now Elliot had his longest run of 14.6 miles to be the final test of the other team and he burried it, 6:25 pace and added another 8min to the lead.

We had spent our time getting some more food at a local Safeway and chilling in the car waiting for their arrival. Elliot arrived around 11:30pm or so and handed off to Nick. We felt confidant that Nick could put in some additional time into our lead, giving Joe and I a huge cushion should we need it. About 12:45am I began my second and most difficult run from Suprise up New River Rd. which was a gradual climb of 444 feet over 12 miles. Doesn't seem like much but when you are tired and it's pitch black out and you can't see the road, it kind of zaps your legs. The route also detours through a very sandy/rocky wash for about a 1/2 mile that's very slow going. I felt ok coming through the first intermediate checkpoint but with 5 miles to go and the climb starting to bite, I began to struggle. My HR was in the low 150's, whcih is about the same it was at this point last year, so that was ok, but my legs were getting heavy. I knew this would be the case and I just had to focus on that little circle of light made by my headlamp.
Run 2- 1:30:17, 12.22 miles, 7:23 pace, 151HR Average

Back into the recovery tights and time to start thinking about getting some sleep. As we drove to the Civic Center in Anthem, I set up a bed in the far back of the Expedition. We arrived and tried to find the other guys only to discover they had gone to the wrong checkpoint. Good grief. We told them to hussle on back as we expected Joe in shortly. I took this opportunity to get in the back and get some sleep.

What I recall most disticly about this time was as I drifted off to sleep, I was suprised we were still in Anthem. i awoke when the car doors opened and i heard Nick and Joe getting in. Gee, I thought, that seemd like a long time. I could hear them talking and caught something about Joe's ankle, which had been injured not too long ago and nick questionoing if he could even continue. Uh, oh. Joe had twisted it in the dark on his first run and it had swollen up so bad he was hobbled...and the gal had caught him on the road. We were 2min down. As there was nothing more to do but get to Carefree and wait, I went back to sleep and managed to get almost 2 hours of rest.

Around 6am I got up and we had a little team meeting. Joe was done. Nick was talking with Stephen to figure out the logistics of hwo to take up Joe's final run without altering the order of our runners. Stephen had managed a huge effort and had put us back up by 2min and then John backed that up with another great effort and added 3 more min. So Elliot had a 7 miler and put in another 8min. giving us almost 12min lead time as Nick took over around 6:30.

So the plan was Nick would run, i would run, then Nick would run half of Joe's leg and Stephen the back half and keep going into his planned run. I was feeling pretty stiff and sore and had a very challenging run to face, 13.3 miles with 9 of those miles going down Dynamite. My quads were going to be hurting. My run began with a climb, short descent and then a short climb and I actually felt decent. As I bagen to run down Dynamite, I just focused on trying to keep my turnover up. I am so familiar with this long stretch of road as I bike it all the time but that only made it seem longer. before i made the mile 7 checkpoint, i knew the wheels were starting to come off. With 5 miles to go, i was shattered. Every step was a physical and mental effort. I never felt in jeapordy of not making it but my pace was slowing and I was terrified that I kmight get caught by the Altitude Adjusted guy who I figured was flying behind me trying to pull their team back into the race. I began to feel very emotional as I struggled and it's about as close as I have ever come to breaking down in tears while running. I was that spent.

As I neared the bottom of Dynamite and the turn into Rio Verd, I was caught by my buddy Erik Svans from the ONE Multisport 12 man team. We had a great battle with them last year for the Ultra race. Erik gave me some nice words of encouragement and as their team car drove by I called out that I was officialy course clutter. The last 2 miles through Rio Verde was a slog and only with a few hundred yards left did I glance back to make sure no one was coming up to catch me but thankfully I was all alone and handed off to Nick.
Run 3- 1:42:50, 13.35 miles, 7:42 pace, 139HR Average

Never again. My biggest concern once I finsihed was that I might have hurt myslef or put myself into a hole right in the middle of my IMSG training. But nothing felt too off and once Nick completed his last short extra stint, we went into Fountain Hills and Nick dropped me off at my house. I was able to shower and get changed, pick up 2 six packs of Fat Tire for the finish line, and met nick and Joe for breakfast. We headed down to the finish at the Tempe center for the Artsand waited for Elliot. Little did we know that he was killing himself on his final leg and because of his HUGE effort, he was running us into 3rd place overall. Amazing. We had defended our Ultra title and had made the top three by a margin of about 6min ahead of 4th and only 5min behind 2nd. Even had I been in better form and Joe had been able to run, it would have been impossible to win as the first team went 20:30, almost 3 hours faster then we did. So we are retiring from the Ultra Division going out on top. Never again...well maybe as a 12 person team for fun. :)

Final Run Total- 4:42:50, 39.09 miles of running over a 19 hour period, 7:14 pace



Post race



Last updated: 2011-10-03 12:00 AM
Running
23:16:40 | 202 miles | 06m 55s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 3/400
Performance: Average
Course:
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
Course challenge
Organized?
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

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2012-02-28 9:35 AM

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Champion
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Fountain Hills, AZ
Subject: Ragnar Relay del Sol


2012-02-28 9:55 AM
in reply to: #4070324

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Veteran
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Eastern WA
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay del Sol
i was looking forward to reading this report, and it was worth the wait! what an amazing accomplishment for the 6 of you, avg sub 7 for 200 miles, unreal.  have a speedy recovery, and ill be cheering you on at st george, nice work
2012-02-28 11:10 AM
in reply to: #4070324

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Expert
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Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay del Sol
I'm still hurting from the race... but it was totally worth it.  Nice job Jedi Master.
2012-02-28 12:17 PM
in reply to: #4070589

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Champion
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, Minnesota
Gold member
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay del Sol
Hah - I totally agree with your assessment in the first paragraph.  The amazing part of Ragnar is that anything can happen over the course of 20+ hours.  Great job!
2012-02-28 12:32 PM
in reply to: #4070324

Regular
66
2525
Tucson
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay del Sol

You Ultra teams are insane!  That being said, now that I'm no longer a Ragnar rookie, I'm certainly going to be doing the Ultra in the future.  Serious props to you guys.  Quite the effort out there.

I also 100% agree with your assessment of Ragnar.  Tough.

I slept 11 hours Saturday evening.  First time I've done that since I was 17 years old and that was after knocking back a liter of Diet Mtn Dew...I was tired.

2012-02-28 2:29 PM
in reply to: #4070324

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Master
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Overland Park, KS
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay del Sol
Holy crap, my legs started hurting just reading this.  That's awesome Brian, nicely done and great RR.


2012-02-28 6:33 PM
in reply to: #4070324

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Expert
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Las Vegas
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay del Sol
That was AWESOME!  Great report - my feet hurt just reading that.  Congratulations on an epic race!
2012-02-28 10:23 PM
in reply to: #4070324

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Master
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Chandler, Arizona
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay del Sol
Great RR Jedi Master, very impressive with the effort of the entire team.
2012-02-29 4:28 PM
in reply to: #4070324

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Champion
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Calgary
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay del Sol
nice job.
2012-02-29 7:24 PM
in reply to: #4070324

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Master
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University Park, MD
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay del Sol

Epic effort, and a gripping report. 

As long as you still had the presence of mind to pick up a couple of Fat Tire 6-packs for the finish, things must have been ok.

12-person teams are a lot of fun, though less epic.

2012-02-29 7:28 PM
in reply to: #4070324

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Master
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Elgin, IL
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay del Sol
Way to tough it out. Ragnar seems to be all the rage in Chicagoland as well ... can't see how being in an uncomfortable car for many, many, hours and doing multiple runs is fun, but they love it.  I am happy to cheer from afar.


2012-02-29 7:54 PM
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Master
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Albuquerque
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay del Sol
wow! Heck of a race report!
2012-03-02 9:15 AM
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Pro
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Norwalk, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay del Sol

totally freaking awesome!!!!

 

Congrats Jedi Master!!

2012-03-03 11:16 AM
in reply to: #4070324

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Subject: RE: Ragnar Relay del Sol

Another Podium!!  Congrats. 

Great RR.  I was surprised to read that your strategy was that aggressive.  You're usually much more caculated, but hey - Ragnar sounds like a bad a$$ crazy long race.  Crazy shite happens, I'm sure.

And the harder it is the more fun, right?

 

 

 

 

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