So, I'm doing the Ragnar Relay Del Sol next weekend, and just completed a pretty sweet simulation this morning. For those who don't know what a Ragnar Relay is, it's a 12 person relay race covering about 200 miles. They have them all over the country. The Del Sol relay runs from Prescott to Tempe on Friday and Saturday.
I had started to get a little nervous a few weeks ago that I wouldn't be able to do it at all because my ankle started to really bother me. I think there was something going on in my peroneal muscle and tendon. But after wearing a brace and taking almost 3 weeks off, I was able to get back into it with enough time to get some final training in. I really wanted to simulate the relay as best I could to see not only how my ankle would hold up, but also to see how it would feel to run three times in a little over 24 hours.
My plan was to run Friday morning, Friday evening, and Saturday morning. My legs for the relay will be 5.5 miles, 8.8 miles, and 8.4 miles for a total distance of 22.7 miles, so I did runs of 4.2 miles, 6.3 miles, and 5.0 miles for a total of 15.5 miles. I wanted to be able to run 8 minute miles and not push it at all just to play it safe on my ankle.
Run #1, 4.22 miles, 33:22, 7:55 pace
I got up at 5 AM for this run. I don't think I've run this early since before Christmas. It was dark and a little chilly, but not bad at all. I started out with my first mile around 8:20, but I really picked up the pace without realizing it and kept the rest under 8:00. I even ran one mile in 7:33. I was a little worried that I was going too fast, especially since I still had two more runs to do, but I was feeling really good, so I just went with it.
Run #2, 6.34 miles, 48:53, 7:43 pace
I wasn't able to get out last night until after 9 PM. I had gotten my girls to bed by 8, but my son was still awake, and I had already offered to take care of him while my wife had a friend over. By the time I got him to bed, it was pretty late, and very dark. But there was a beautiful starry sky to enjoy. I really wasn't sure how this run would go after having dinner only a couple hours earlier. I'm not used to running in the evening, especially with so much food in my tummy. The first couple miles or so, I was really feeling it, but after that, I felt great. I felt strong and had lots of energy. I did a two loop course. The first just over 25 minutes, and the second in 23 and some change. I really felt like I was in a groove, and was tempted to do another loop, but knew I still had one more run to do in the morning.
Run #3, 5.02 miles, 38:21, 7:39 pace
I stayed up a little too late last night, and couldn't stop thinking/dreaming about my next run. So I was pretty tired this morning, but I did get up looking forward to this run. As soon as I started off, I knew this wasn't going to be as good as last night's run. I felt really slow and like I had no energy, so I was very surprised when I kept looking at my pace and seeing that I was well below the 8 minute pace I was anticipating, thinking that can't be right. And it turns out that my average pace for this run was the fastest of the whole weekend.
Was this little experiment a success? I'd definitely say so! My ankle held up extremely well. I was able to increase my pace with each run (although the last one didn't feel as easy and comfortable as the first two). Plus, it was exciting to do something I'd never done before. I'm getting more and more excited to do it again next weekend! Expect a race report and hopefully some pictures then.