Friday, July 13, 2012

Ragnar Chicago Race Recap Part II

Where were we? 

Oh yeah, I got a mere 2.5 hours of sleep and I was groggy.  Not enough sleep does not a happy Alyssa make.  

Thankfully, the beautiful sunrise over the lake made it a bit better.

I really, really wanted some coffee, preferably iced but, of course, there wasn't any around or any way to get that.  So I just did without.  

Once runner 12 arrived and slapped the bracelet on runner 1, our van was off for our last legs!

After a quick pit stop at a local gas station to refuel our water and ice supply (it was going to be another scorcher and we wanted to be prepared!), we headed to the next exchange.  I was starting to prepare for my run, both mentally and physically, at this point and it was making me nervous because the temperature kept going up, up, up.  

I was also worried because my stomach was kind of bothering me and I couldn't go to the bathroom (uh, TMI?).  This is pretty much my number one fear for running and racing because being out somewhere while running and not being close to a bathroom is bad news bears.  My extremely particular side insists that I always eat the same thing pre-race or pre-long run in the a.m. -banana, peanut butter, toast with a side of coffee.  This always gets my digestive system a movin' and makes for a pretty good run.  Since I couldn't have my coffee, things weren't working out like I planned.  Thankfully, once I got to the exchange before my run things worked themselves out.  

It was HOT when I started running.  Gross.  I was sweating before I even started and after running 12.5 miles in the previous 24 hours my legs felt pretty heavy.  I started off slow because I knew it would be a long 7.8 miles-my longest leg yet.  My run was on a trail again this time.  Trail running is nice because it tends to have more shade but it really stinks because it also means no van support.  With only one water stop around mile 5, I knew it could be challenging hydration-wise.  I cannot stand carrying a water bottle in my hand while I run so I tried to drink plenty of water before my run.  

The running zen from the night before was nowhere to be found and I found myself struggling to keep up the pace.  I was uncomfortable.  A nice guy ended up catching up to me and I chatted with him for a bit about the heat and tired legs before he started pulling ahead of me.  I made it my goal to keep him in my sights.  Every once in a while a really fast runner would cruise past me.  At this point, I was really jealous of their speed because it meant they would be done so much faster.  

The water stop was absolutely amazing.  I stopped there and walked while drinking two cups of water and dumping another on my head.  Knowing I still had 3 miles left was a little disheartening but I told myself to just keep moving.  

Once I exited the trail and headed into town towards the exchange zone, I attempted to pick up the pace but I was pretty tanked.  I did conjure up a bit of energy to run faster once I saw the exchange.  I downed a bottle of water in about 3 minutes after that and I was incredibly glad to be done.  The best thing about this leg was I ran from Wisconsin to Illinois.

I'm not even sure what my overall time was for this leg but I believe my pace was just under 10 min/miles, like 9:55 or something.  Hey, it was a long time ago and I don't own a Garmin watch.

Once our van handed off to van 2 we set off to get some food and ended up at On the Border.  One Corona, 3 fish tacos, and lots of guacamole later we were stuffed and satisfied and headed towards the finish line to wait for our team to finish.  

Since it would be awhile before our team got there we sat under an umbrella and sipped on Summer Shandies.  At this point my feet started to swell.  By the time van 2 arrived they were disgustingly large.  I will spare you a picture because I didn't take one as I wanted to forget it ever happened.  I believe this was a result of spending so much time on my feet and probably had a bit to do with salt balance and water consumption.  I don't know enough about that to go into any detail but I think it may be connected to why I get so many blisters and a lot of chaffing when I run as well.  

Once runner 12 arrived near the finish we all joined together to cross the finish line.  Then I jumped in the lake.  Best.decision.ever.  The water was cold and refreshing and I was already covered in salty post sweat.  

We took a few team photos and headed back home.  It had been a long 2 days.  Overall I covered 20.3 miles in just over 24 hours.  And our team pounded out over 200 miles.  We didn't win any awards for our performance but it was a lot of fun and an interesting bonding experience for our company. 

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