I ran the Ragnar Michigan Trail Relay a couple of weeks ago; June 24-25 at the Hanson's Recreation Area near Grayling, Michigan. Things did not go as smoothly as we wished leading up to the relay as Kevin our captain had to drop out, and another runner had to drop out a few days before the relay due to an injury, Normally a Ragnar Trail relay team consists of 8 runners. Fortunately we were able to recruit another 2 runners; one from a Ragnar Michigan Facebook page and another that was friend of another runner on our team. We ended up having 7 runners instead of 8 and since I agreed to substitute as team captain I had to come with a running schedule where 3 of us would run an extra leg; 3, 6, or 7.8 miles (normally each runner runs one 3, 6, and 7.8 mi leg). Being the team captain I took the extra 7.8 mile run, but since I was the last runner, the number 8 runner in the rotation I scheduled my extra 7.8 mile run as the third team run (out of 24 total runs) with my second 7.8 mile run being the my last and the team's 24th run to give me some time between the two long runs.
Our first runner started at 9:00 am Friday morning with sunny skies and the temperature in the 80s. By the the time for my 7.8 mi run as the third runner the temperature had risen to 90. I was not in the best of shape as I have been recovering from bursitis in one of the toes of my right foot and have been running sporadically. Two weeks before I had been able to get in 3 trail runs while in Grand Haven, MI of 5, 5, and 10 miles. The Monday before Ragnar I received and cortisone shot in my right foot to reduce the inflammation from the bursitis, and decide to rest the remaining days before the start of the relay on Friday. I managed to run my first 8.7 mile run amazing well (considering about a mile of the run was in direct sunlight) walking some of the hills and finishing in 1:23:14, 10:48/mi. I finished at 12:15 pm just before my 3 hour volunteer shift at 12:30 pm, but fortunately another team member agreed to take the first hour and half of my shift giving my time to change and eat lunch. My second run of 6 miles was about 3.5 hours after my first run and it was 90 F and sunny. I had been drinking water the whole time I was volunteering and was fortunate to be in the shade, but was still somewhat tired from my first run. I end up run-walking the second run, trying to run between hills and walk up the hills. It felt almost like doing intervals finishing in 1:12:53, 12:09/mi. My third run of 3 miles was fortunately during the night beginning at 1:00 am with the temperature at 59 F, but it was very humid. Me and a women were running up the sand hill in the beginning of the run and had both simultaneous decided to stop and start walking up at the same time. It seemed like the hill just kept going up forever as we could only see as far as our headlamps illuminated the trail ahead. As we reached the top of the hill I was slightly ahead of her and she asked what pace I was planning on running. I said about 11 min/mi and she asked if it was ok if she just followed behind me, which I said was ok with me. After running about 2 miles in the lead she asked if she could switch to lead, which I accommodated moving to side for her to pass, upon which she sped up never to be seen by me again. I ended up finishing the 3 mile leg in 31:50, 10:37/mi. My fourth and last leg of 8.7 mile began at 9:44 am Saturday morning with the temperature at 81 F and sunny. I ran/walk this last leg at a pace to make sure I could finish without being totally exhausted and finished in 1:30:35, 11:37/mi. Since I was the last runner the rest of my team met me on the way to the finish and ran we to the finish together, with us high fiving at the finish area. Overall it was a successful weekend, no one was injured and we ended up finishing 43rd overall out of 139.
Only six runners in the team photo as Matt had to leave after his run early Saturday morning to catch a plane back to South Carolina, and me and my shirt (bottom middle) looks different because it is on backwards.
Me coming down the stretch to the finish
Ragnar Michigan Tent City
Edited by Run2BFit