Monday, July 7, 2014

Looking back at Ragnar Cape Cod

Apparently there was a time at the beginning of May that I ran in a Ragnar Cape Cod relay- I know here we are 9 whole weeks after the fact and I'm just now writing about it? Truth is, I kind of lost my running / blogging mojo. Combine that with the fact that this was my 11th overnight relay, and all the recaps run together--- I ran a lot, I got very little sleep, I ate like crap, I had a great time with strangers, it was a blast etc etc.

Despite the traditional similarities that come with running a relay, there were 3 major differences for this one that made this a 'newer' experience  for me.

1. Everyone on this team was new to me. 
When I told my friends I was doing a relay in Cape Cod with a bunch of people I didn't know, I consistently got the eyebrow lift followed by the question "how in the world did you even find out about them?" I guess with all the traveling and meeting up with strangers I just don't think twice about it anymore, but since not everyone has reached that level of familiarity as I have, here is how it went down:

I joined the team by responding to a facebook post looking for 2 more runners my friend Julia put out there. Julia and I met through blogging and then ran on an ultra team for Northwest Passage together. I also recognized Nancy's name since I've been following her blog the last several years, but everyone else, despite most blogging, I was unfamiliar with.
Once I was 'officially'  part of the team, Betsy reached out since she also happens to live in Nashville. We met up once for lunch and then agreed to get on the same R/T flights to East Coast to keep each other company.
Betsy and I showing how Nashville girls have some hops!

Unfortunately a few weeks prior to race day Julia had to back out due to family commitments, so that left me with 1 person I barely knew going into the long weekend. No big deal- it actually makes the trip more interesting because you are constantly learning about your teammates the entire time. I guess this could go either way in the good / bad department, so I lucked out!

And in running order--- Meet the team!

 Photo Source
2. I was the only Ragnar Veteran on the team
I think there may have been some of the folks in van 1 who have run a relay before, but this was their first time experiencing a Ragnar. Despite trying to figure out the logistics of everything (huge shout out to Betsy for making this all come together so smoothly), this was a huge plus in my book. I think sometimes we do things so many times we become de-sensitized to them--- thats how I've become with racing lately (although by taking this huge break I'm hoping my first race back I'll get the butterflies again). It was incredibly refreshing to have everyone be genuinely excited about the entire experience with all the questions, enthusiasm, cheering, and photo taking. I strongly believe that it's possible to feed off other's energy, and they kept me fueled the entire weekend.  If you want to see their take on their first relay, here are some of their recaps. 

Jen- Running with my Girls

3.  I have officially rode out the 'no longer have to train' bus
Ever since I made the decision to run a 1/2 in every state, I've literally had multiple half marathons every single month the past few years with only a few months exception where it was just 1. This meant that I could take several weeks of dialed back mileage and never really lose too much of my endurance. There were a few times where I struggled for maybe a week, but it all came back. This weekend was a big reality check for me. Although I had purposely been taking it easy for 4 months leading up to the race, I guess I just didn't grasp how hard 10 miles could really feel when your body hasn't done double digits in months.
This was hands down the hardest relay for me physically. I was reminded of when I first got back into running 4 years ago- I could never get my breathing down, my form didn't feel natural, I was sore after every run and 'finding a groove' seemed impossible.
Who knew you could get THIS tight after 10 miles?!?

 I have now lost everything I built over the last 3.5 years- stamina, speed, and most importantly- confidence in my abilities---- CRAP.  Although this was a wake up call that I need to get back on track, I'd be lying if I said I immediately was motivated to get back into the grind and come up with a plan to gain all that was lost. Instead, it made me realize that I need to enjoy time off now, because when I decide to train again, I'm going to have to go all in if I want to get back to the level where I last left off.

Now onto things I didn't learn, but were more re-affirmed:
The Cape is Beautiful

You can never have too many group photos 

Running by yourself the entire relay stinks
My first two runs I didn't have a single kill. Occasionally I would get passed by someone, but other than that, it was just me and the road
This is what my last run looked liked.... 

and then finally caught up with people and had to photo it and send to the group text in the middle of my run

I've never been so excited to mark down kills before

I am a giant compared to some of my teammates (in all fairness, she's under 5'0)

There is a lot of history along the course- and this is just what we saw on our part of the run!
Mayflower, Plymouth Rock, structure surrounding Plymouth Rock 
Pilgrim Monument 

Tomb that marks the death of the first pilgrims

And lastly- the last 100m of both your last run, as well as the entire relay, is always full of smiles.... 

Another successful relay in the books- if you have the opportunity to go visit the Cape, I highly recommend. If you're able to run while there, even better. Both times I've ran the Cape I have gone in May--- first time it was bloody hot, this time it was pretty chilly. Weather is a grab bag there as the forecast changed leading up to race day. 

Next relay is the infamous HOOD TO COAST. I'm on an all ladies FAST team, so its about that time to get my butt in gear!!!

Have you run a relay before?
What is your favorite part?


  1. I love relays!! I have to admit though I have only run 2 of them. I did Hood to Coast and Ragnar Colorado. Both awesome. My favorite part is how much fun I never expected it to be. I love how it takes something solitary and turns it into a team event. So fun to cheer on teammates and meet lots of interesting people along the way. I have a Ragnar in Napa in September and am pretty excited about that.

  2. So fun having you on the team Lisa! We needed that expert advice (particularly in getting us moving on figuring out vans and such ..... I could NOT have made that happen without your advice). Love knowing another Nashvillian!!

  3. I had the most fun ever doing my ONE Ragnar... hard to believe it was over 2 years ago. I love that pastel tank at the end.

  4. I love the Cape. What a great spot to relay. I can totally relate to the not knowing anyone nervousness. I had the same thing at Ragnar Atlanta this year! Great job! You all look like you had tons of fun!

  5. It was awesome to have someone who had so much Ragnar experience!!! I'm so jealous that you are running HTC, it will be so much fun! And don't be so hard on yourself - you definitely did not lose all your fitness and it will come back to you easily, it's natural to have highs and lows in your training :)