So this will be the last recap post of Ragnar Relay Cape Cod. Hopefully by now I’ve somehow managed to convince you that running 189 miles in 24 hours with a bunch of your friends stuffed in a van is actually a lot of fun. 🙂
Although to be fair, last we left off, I was getting a little anxious about my 9 mile leg.
My mom ran right before me and her leg was a quick 2.4 miles, barely enough for a warm-up! She absolutely CRUSHED this leg, running it at a speedy 8:20/mile pace! (Now that I know she can run that fast, she’s going to have to stop blaming ME for pushing the pace on our training runs!)
While she was running, I was having a minor meltdown about what to wear. It was sunny but very breezy along the water. Many of the runners were just wearing tank tops but I didn’t want to part with my jacket in all that wind! Finally one of my teammates talked sense into me, reminding me that I would be warm within 3 minutes of running. He was definitely right.
I set off, and it really was hot. The first 2-3 miles were all rolling hills, which I was not thrilled about. My legs felt heavy and tired. My van met me around mile 3, cheering and handing me a fresh handheld bottle of water. I think this was the mental boost I needed and I settled into the run, trying to enjoy the scenery and the ocean breeze.
I kept trucking along, reaching a stretch along the highway. Not scenic at all, BUT for the first time in the relay, I could see runners up ahead of me – runners I knew I could catch. I tried to play it smart though. Taking short walking breaks as needed and slowly reeling a few in. First, I passed a man in green compression socks… then a woman wearing a baseball cap… then another runner. I finally felt like I was racing! And then thankfully, the stretch along the highway came to an end, and I was running along a quiet country road through the woods, which meant there was shade again!!!
Vans weren’t able to stop along the highway obviously, but many had pulled over alongside this stretch of the race to cheer on and offer support to their teammates. And they didn’t just cheer for their friends, they cheered for everyone. And it was awesome. I was offered water, got a high-five, and lots of cheering and cowbell.
I tried to pay that back, offering a smile and a little friendly commiseration to every runner I passed (I think I passed 6 people in total and was passed only once over the 9 miles!).
Finally, I was running down the final winding road that led to the beach for the next exchange. That meant my 9.4 miles was done!! Average pace: 9:19/mile. Slower than my other legs, but I was actually pretty pleased with this all things considered. Now it was time to stick my feet in the ocean.
Then, it was time for the post-race beer and clam chowder.
What an incredible race. I feel so lucky that my mom and I were able to join in on this experience at the last minute, and I would recommend the Ragnar Relay to anyone in A HEARTBEAT. I asked my mom on Sunday if she would want to do it again next year. Her answer- Yes.
I would too. Hopefully we’ll see you in 2016 Ragnar Relay. 🙂