Hi everyone! Since things have been super busy with the Her Tern Half for the past 13 weeks I realize that there are some things that may have been overlooked in my life. Like this:
Just in case you forgot/somehow missed it, I’m running my very first Ragnar Relay NEXT WEEKEND in Colorado! In fact, I’m leaving for Denver tomorrow morning! I’ll be busy from Friday through Wednesday at a work conference, and then I’ll meet up with my teammates on Thursday before running 200ish miles on Friday and Saturday with 12 total strangers through crazy high elevation and awesome mountain views. And then I get back to Anchorage at midnight on Sunday. Here’s the FAQs on the situation:
Have I trained for this at all? Um, not really. No two-a-days or running at crazy hours of the night. All I’m doing to prepare for this is banking on the fact that I ran 13.1 miles two weeks ago and hiked 16 miles last weekend. I feel like I can handle any of my assigned legs after powering through those distances!
What exactly am I running? I’m runner #2, which is honestly exciting because I go right after our captain and I don’t have to wait too long to get started. The nervous pre-race feeling is the worst part! And I’m not even running crazy distances or at any super weird times of the day so I got really lucky. Here are my legs and projected start times, which are based on me running an adjusted 12:00/mile pace due to the heat and high elevation:
Leg 1: 6 hard miles at 8:27 am Friday
Leg 2: 3.8 easy miles at 8:43 pm Friday
Leg 3: 5.1 moderate miles at 6:11 am Saturday (ugh that’s early)
Total: 14.9 miles in 23 hours!
Do I know anyone else on the team? Nope! When I found out I’d be in Denver a few days before this race I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity to run it. So I found a group of girls on the Ragnar Facebook page who were looking for another runner, and I signed right up! The only tough part is that they all live in Colorado and a few have met before, so I’m nervous that I’ll be the odd girl out since I don’t live there. Plus I may be the only one who dies from altitude sickness which would be pretty lame.
What am I most nervous about? Honestly, the elevation is terrifying. I ran the Zion Half at around 4000ish miles above sea level and definitely felt the effects of it towards the end, but leg #1 of this race has me ending at around 9400 feet! That’s the highest leg out of my three and also my longest, so I’m worried that I’ll get hit hard in the beginning and be a hot mess for the rest of the weekend. I really appreciated the advice I found on this website, which really breaks down what I need to do as a sea-level runner/hiker to adjust and to stay safe. It’s good that I’ll be in Denver for a week to give my body time to adjust, although Denver is still significantly lower than Copper Mountain.
What am I most excited about? Crossing a new state off of my 50 states list, running in a gorgeous place, testing my limits with running, and meeting lots of new runners! Also, I’ll be eating a lot of Chipotle next week. Which has nothing to do with running, but I’m just really excited about it!
How am I preparing over the next week and a half? I’m planning on doing a few 3-4 milers while in Denver with a longer run on the weekend – maybe 7 miles? I’ve also been stalking free/cheap yoga classes near my hotel downtown so that I can keep stretching throughout my time there, and plan on getting some kind of portable foam roller I can stick in my suitcase to keep my legs feeling fresh. Oh, and these should help too:
I’m so excited about my new shoes! I realized last week after running an easy run that my feet, shins, and ankles were kind of feeling off. It was that “Time for new shoes” feeling and the fact that I’d already run 300 miles in them this year made me realize that I needed new shoes before Colorado! So I upgraded to the ASICS Gel-Kayano 21s. When the saleswoman opened up the box I literally gasped – mint green is my favorite color! They are so much prettier than my pink/orange/purple Kayano 20s and honestly I’m excited that for once in my life I found cute running shoes that actually work with my overpronating feet. They fit perfectly and my test run in them last night was awesome! No more pain at all, and I ran so fast that I caused a 6.2 earthquake! (Just kidding. Tectonic plates caused the earthquake, not me. It was the biggest one I’ve ever felt and I had to take cover since things were falling off walls and shelves! Oh, Alaska.)
Overall, I’m honestly pretty excited about my first Ragnar! My priorities are to have fun, take it slow, and not die out there, and my teammates are feeling the same way. Next week I’ll take a closer look at what I’m packing and what advice I’ve been using to plan for the race, so stay tuned for that!
Have you ever run a Ragnar relay? do you have any advice for a first timer/someone who lives at sea level and has to run at high elevation?