Saturday, May 3, 2014

18 weeks to 50k! And relay recap

I'm in!
Two weeks ago I was lining up as the first runner in our relay team, at a pre-dawn hour, when my friend (also on the team) asked me if I had checked my email.

What a way to start my first relay!
Race day jitters? No.
Just a DYING curiosity if I had been selected for McKenzie River Trail Run: a premier, western Oregon, trail ultra.


Stacie was in. Our trail running partner, Kristen, was in...
I had to wait until about 2 PM before I got the news, but then opened my email like a kid at Christmas, to discover that I will also be training for the 50k!

More details will follow about training. For now, let me just say that my first goal is to survive the training for this race, mostly uninjured. Secondary, is to put in the work for a really great (for me) 50k.

Do I expect to beat Meg Arbogast's course record? Absolutely not. But I do believe I can finish strong (for me). And, after today's run, that should include a note that I am NOT fast on trails.  Slow as a turtle coated in energy gel, I still love running on them.

To say I am excited is an understatement. Let the training begin! 18 weeks and counting down.
***

Relay Fun
The Roseburg to Coos Bay relay was a real adventure! Terzah and EB had some useful advice regarding bringing baby wipes and plenty of different shoes for different terrains/weather. It rained on us for a few hours, and those of us with extra clothes and shoes were happy to change them at every opportunity.

Leg 1: I told myself I WOULD NOT go out too hard. I had the rest of the day to run still :)

No problem. It was uphill for 4 miles.

When the gun went off, all the guys (I was the only girl starter) took off ahead of me at a 5min/mile pace. I let them lead and stayed back, but gave a solid effort to run at ~ threshold heart rate.
TypeDistance Split settingsDurationTotal DurationPaceAvg HRMax HRNotes
1Interval1 mi7:50.247:50.247:51143150 
2Interval1 mi7:39.6915:29.937:40148151
3Interval1 mi7:44.9723:14.907:45150155
4Interval1 mi10:05.0933:19.9910:06142162
5Interval0.05 mi0:05.5533:25.541:519596  Forgot to turn off my watch. Typical!!!
Leg one was had 500ft of steady climbing in 4 miles. Hard, but not as hard as some other legs were.
Random teams at leg 4/5 exchange

Leg 6:
Before the exchange, my respect for our team captain grew as I watched him run the hardest portion of the relay. It was no joke. He literally ran us up to the top of the coast range and gained 1000ft in 2 miles.

Runner coming up Reston ridge in the SW Oregon coast range.
It's impossible to do justice to the grade with the camera.

I did not envy him. I had only 3/4 of a mile and 300 feet to climb to crest Reston Ridge. After that it was bombs away!

I was trying to work hard, but the effort was spent more in maintaining my balance and preventing slipping during the steep gravel downhill.

The Lone Peak 1.5 trail shoes did great here! Once I hit gravel and the rain started to come down, they kept me on the road.

 This section was really beautiful as the small Coquille river winds through forests.

TypeDistance Split settingsDurationTotal DurationPaceAvg HRMax HRNotes
1Interval1 mi8:35.898:35.898:36151169 Cresting the coast range
2Interval1 mi6:32.7915:08.686:33155158
3Interval1 mi6:29.3921:38.076:30153157 Just don't die here! Gravel, downhill,
4Interval1 mi6:56.9628:35.036:57157160 vehicles passing...
5Interval1 mi6:28.9835:04.016:29154158
6Interval0.31 mi1:58.4737:02.486:23149153

The mighty Coquille river- on the leg after mine.

Waterfall on the Coquille. About 1/4 of the relay was on gravel along this river. 

Team-mate Amber, busting it out!

Leg 11
Up...and down again!
Here is where I was passed by a 12 year old girl. She told me "Great job," as she sped past me going uphill.

(In the future, when passing people, I will remember to just be quiet.) She was moving on at a good clip, as if she had fresh legs.
I was not.

The Intuitions did great here. It was all paved and I tried to cut loose on the downhill; however I am not the best downhiller and tend to apply the brakes more than use the momentum.
TypeDistance Split settingsDurationTotal DurationPaceAvg HRMax HRNotes
1Interval1 mi7:32.617:32.617:33144151
2Interval1 mi9:46.0317:18.649:47151154
3Interval1 mi6:48.2824:06.926:49147152
4Interval1 mi6:34.2030:41.126:35148154 Stopped and asked for directions . Grr.
5Interval0.13 mi0:53.0631:34.186:49151152

At the bottom of a long hill I had to stop at an intersection.

There were no markers and I didn't want to turn wrong, so I stayed put for a few seconds until I saw someone waving down the road. When I got to the exchange, that was it for my running. It was time to switch roles to cheerleader.
Some of us refueled with healthy snacks.
Ahem...not me.
Chris took the last leg after Makalah and Stacie each threw in their best efforts. He must have had a good eye on his watch because somehow we came within 18 seconds of his predicted finish time for the 67 mile relay.

Smiling because we are about to eat our own weight in pizza.
Final thoughts
I had an opportunity to put a pair of Altra Intuition 1.5 to the test with lots of high-speed downhill running. The Lone Peaks also saw some fast running. Both pairs of shoes, and my feet, held up well over the 3 legs.

There were no bruised toes or lost toenails despite the topography! My legs were great post-relay (which I attribute to lots of hilly trail running over the last 6 months), and I was even able to get in a session of 800 repeats later in the week.

This event was a wonderfully organized, but laid-back, affair. As a fundraiser for Camp Millenium, (a camp for children with cancer), it is inspiring to know that race fees went to a worthwhile cause. The Roseburg to Coos Bay relay will most certainly be on my race calendar again, (if I am invited back, ;) hint hint. )
***
Are you looking forward to any BIG races?
Have you ever been in a race lottery?
What's your most memorable relay experience?
Can you eat baby carrots and run right afterwards? I am afraid to try!

59 comments:

  1. What a beautiful race course!! Sounds and looks like you were super strong! Congrats on getting into the 50K! I did as well. Guess that means lots of trail running this summer. :)

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    1. You are doing MRTR!? Awesome, Lauren!!! It would be fun to get on the trails with you this summer- your way or mine. I'm curious if you have done this one before. ?

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  2. i love all your pictures. i'm pretty sure i would be too distracted by all the beauty to even remember to run.

    you and your team are so speedy!!!

    congrats on getting in! that's so exciting. i can't wait to see your plan :)

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    1. Ha! That's the problem with that section of the relay- it is certainly distracting. Thanks a lot Dawn! I will be sharing the details each week (unless I am distracted and/or otherwise preoccupied with wife/mom duties ;) )

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  3. Aw, congrats on getting in! Exciting. And good job on the relay - I still have never done a relay, but if I did it would be trails. Just beautiful.

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    1. I would love to see you do a trail relay, Gracie. Praying for your complete recovery. ♥

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  4. Congrats on getting in to the 50k! and nice job on the relay, looks like it was a beautiful one to run. My most memorable relay was probably Hood to Coast, so much fun1

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    1. Thanks Christy! I've never been on a H2C team, but will have to someday since it's practically in my backyard. I bet that was a fun experience! Good to hear from you :)

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  5. So happy to hear that you got into the 50K trail race! I am so excited for you and really can't wait to hear about your training and the actual race itself. And, of course, I know you will have beautiful pictures from that one. :)

    And I'm also so happy to hear the relay was so fun. Girl, you are fast!! I can't believe you were hitting those 6:xx paces in a relay race. This relay sounds so easy compared to all the logistics of HTC. I will have to try to do it one year -- maybe we can put a team together. :)

    Can't wait to hear what you do next. Really sounds like you are running healthy and your speed is coming back for sure! xo

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    1. If you ever want to do this relay, just let me know. There were people who drove down from PDX that morning! They left really early... but they made it!
      You could stay closer though :) If you want to next year, let me know. I bet i can find you a spot. It's pretty cheap too- less than 40 bucks.
      Thanks for the comment !

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  6. I'm running a 50K this Saturday - can't wait! Glad you're running one, too! Your relay looks fun and beautiful with that river and waterfall.

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    1. Hope you have a GREAT race, Tina!! Watch out for the roots and gators :)

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  7. Wow- a 50k!! That's so exciting! Congrats on the relay, too. I just started thinking about post-partum goals... probably the Philly half in the fall and then I'd love to do a winter/spring marathon and try to get my BQ again so I can get to Boston one of these years!

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    1. It won't be long until you can put the post-partum plan in action, Laura! I have no doubt that you will re-BQ :)

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  8. Wow Raina!! I'm so excited for you! this sounds incredible. Incredibly hard. Incredibly wonderful. And definitely something I think you will thrive at! This trail running stuff is definitely a different league...you're bad A! :) And man, I bet it is pretty hard for you to be impressed when it comes to beauty after running in so many amazing places!

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    1. Or rather, just running on your trails. period. Gorgeous!

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    2. Hey girl. :) YES- it's a totally different kind of running. One where I enjoy the freedom from paces and the joy of the unexpected. I don't feel so BA when I am running with other runners-definitely still a trail noob. I'm sure you're loving the trails there in NC too right now!
      So nice to hear from you ♥

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  9. Congrats on getting in!

    That relay looks tough, congrats to you and your team!

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    1. Thanks Kristy! Tough, but totally worth it. Very glad I was hill-ready, though! Thanks for the comment love :)

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  10. Love your pics! Congrats on getting into the 50K- whoohooooo! And I'm also glad you had fun on the relay. Take care!

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    1. :) Ah yes.. I forgot to mention I got some great advice from you as well! Seems like you have done a few relays ;) .. Hope you have a great week, R!

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  11. I am excited to follow your ultra journey! It looks like you had a really great relay, such beautiful views :) I can't believe how speedy you were on that kind of elevation, that's awesome. I am curious I just received me new Torin's 1.5 they seem quite a bit bigger(wider) than my original Torin's. I did run 10 miles in them yesterday and they felt great, but they look wide on my foot. Were you in the same size for each shoe?

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    1. I have seen some variety on the Altra sizing too. The Intuition 2.0 are about 1/2 to 1 full size shorter than the Lone Peaks, and a bit shorter than the Intuition 1.5. If the new Torins seem way too lose, you might contact Altra for an exchange, or even send them a tweet. They have good customer service! This kind of info is good for them to hear about so they can make notes on their website. I believe they have (or are working on) a sizing chart for customers to select the right size. I know they will want to get you in the right size, which can be tricky if your local store does not carry them.

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    2. And, thanks also for the comment, Karen!! You've been doing some great running :)

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  12. What a stunning relay! So beautiful.

    And congrats for getting into the 50 k - soooo happy for you! :)

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    1. Thanks Karien! Have a great week :)

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  13. Good news getting into the 50k - exciting times! Best of luck with your training.
    That relay course looks so beautiful, it must have been a dream to run on!

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    1. It sure did have some good views to distract. Thanks for the well wishes, Sherry! Good to hear from you.

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  14. Yay for the 50k! Trail ultras are the best! Having said that... I might do a road 50k in September. Haven't done that for some time now so will see. Relays are always fun!

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    1. Ah! A road ultra will be fun! Well it's not Comrades.. so I wonder which one it is, Johann? Thanks for the comment! Hope your week is going well. :)

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  15. Great job on the relay and super congrats on MRTR!! I ran it last year and really enjoyed it. I didn't originally get in, but got in as a last second entry so I ran it for fun, which it was. It's a beautiful course and they do a great job. You're going to have a blast!! Let me know if you have any questions, I'm sure there are much more experienced people than I am, but I'd be happy to help out anyway I can. :)

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    1. Here's a link to my race report if you're interested:
      http://lauriehiggins.blogspot.com/2013/09/2013-mckenzie-river-trail-run-50k.html

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    2. Thanks so much Laurie. I will definitely be using your race report for info ~ And any other tips I can get from you :) !

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  16. Congratulations on getting into the 50k!!

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  17. Congrats on the relay and on getting in the 50K! Excited for you. I swear you take the best pics. My most vivid relay memory is my final leg of Ragnar Madison to Chi. It was high noon and literally 100 degrees. Oh the drudgery.

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    1. 100f would kill me! This girl is made for the pacific northwest. LOL
      Have a great week, Marcia!

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  18. That looks like such a beautiful course! Great job!

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    1. Thanks, Chad! Great to hear from you. :)

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  19. Great blog, pics, and race, Raina! Enjoyed the read. Hope training for the 50k goes well and you stay healthy. Keep going!

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    1. :D Thanks for coming over from G+ (or twitter!), Jimmy! Glad you like the blog ~ I appreciate the encouragement! Enjoy your running week!

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  20. Congratulations,for your 50 k race,,wonderful pics.!!!

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    1. Thanks Manuel! Very kind of you to comment today! Hope running is going well for you :)

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  21. Those hills look frightening, I know how much a camera takes off them. Excellent news getting in to the 50k trail ultra (seriously, a road marathon's not enough? ;) Look forward to hearing about your adventures, and wishing you all the luck in the world to get there in one piece!

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    1. One piece is really the one thing I am hoping for, Andy. But you know how it goes... no risk, no reward! Thanks so much for your support. Hope to see you also with a great fall race!

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  22. Great pics, Rain and some seriously fast running in the relay! I enjoyed the relays I did and I'm glad you had so much fun with your experience!

    Congrats on MRTR! I have no doubt you'll rock it and look forward to your reports on the journey.

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    1. Always great to hear from you. I kind of wish that other relay was still around that you did. It would be quite an adventure, if I have the start and end points right. :) Hope your getting some good runs in! Thanks, Kyle!

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  23. Congrats for the 50K, I'm sure you will have a good one. Interesting post and pics about your relay run. Good job overall, your progress is inspiring! :)

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  24. Thanks Benjamin! Glad to hear from you :)

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  25. Congrats on getting in to the 50k - sounds like it's coming at a great time for you! You've got the trail running and hills in your legs already, you have a plan in mind (I think - I'm sure you do!) and you're so excited about doing it! Sounds great! Your relay race sounds fun but HARD! I love relay races - I did one in central oregon a few years ago - and was talking to Kristen about H2C - if you need a team member in 2015, give me a call!

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    1. It would be a lot of fun to do a relay with you Petra!

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  26. Yay for getting into the trail race you wanted! I have never been in a race lottery before, the anticipation is killer! Yay for awesome times in the relay, I have only done one (last year) and we didn't refuel with healthy things... it was pretty much cheese puffs and other random things. Oh well!

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    1. haha! We were eating a lot of chips, or I was. Thanks for commenting. I hope you have a great weekend!

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  27. I'm late as usual to commenting, but what a beautiful relay! You are so fast, too--I'm impressed. Congrats on getting into the 50K race. I hope the training is fun.

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    1. Thanks Terzah! Late is OK.:-) I'm always happy to hear from you.

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  28. Congratulations on getting in to the 50k - now you 'just' have to do the training. Nice going with the relay too - looks like fun on an amazingly scenic course.

    Luckily lotteries aren't used for races down here. Six Foot Track would be the hardest race to get in to - you have to qualify then enter on the first day. We don't have road relays anymore either : ( The very high cost of insurance has stopped them. Ran a few back in the 80s and they were good fun. Next 'big' race will be the GC 10k in July.

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    1. Too bad about no more relays Ewen!
      Yes, all I have to do is train for this thing now... I think it might be easier than 5k training was!

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  29. Congrats on getting in to 50k.
    I think that God created those places to run! Thanks for sharing the photos.
    I had only one relay experiences, I was running my leg (5 km) under 4:00/km when a man while crossing the road during the race felt on me!!!!

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    1. Oh my! That sounds like a dangerous relay, Stefano!

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