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Ragnar Chicago Race Recap and Post Race Recovery


Want to know more about the entire Ragnar Experience? Check out my post from yesterday! This one will be more about my individual running and recovery.

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Ragnar Chicago 2015 Race Recap!

Ragnar Chicago 2015 Review and Recap Suzlyfe

Team #222 One Man Per Van

  • Van #1: Judy, Andrew, Alison, Mo (Captain), Ashley, Elina
  • Van #2: Sara, Jessie, Beth, Krista, Susie, Eric
  • Start time: 7:45 AM Friday
  • End time: 2 PM Friday (I think)
  • Total Miles: 196.5 mi; Madison, Wisconsin thru Milwaukee to Chicago, IL (Montrose Beach)
  • Final Time: 29:56:06, (125th of 356 in our division)
  • Transportation: 1 Mini van (van one); one Buick (#StruggleBus)
  • # of Kills for the van/team: Unknown because the rain washed away all of our kills (symbolic???) and our decorations
    • A “kill” is when you pass a runner on course
  • Eating spots: Monk’s Bar and Grill in Madison; Monty’s Blue Plate in Madison; Water Street Bistro, Coffee Shop, and Gallery (Wales?); Noodles and Co (post Eric’s first leg); Dunkin Donuts (by Exchange 30); 2 market stops Read about it From Yesterday

I was Runner 11–My legs totaled about 16.6 miles. Temp wise, I was very lucky–I didn’t get any rain, the temps were perfect for me (other than leg 2 where, I over dressed, but whatever)–in general, conditions were perfection for my runs.

Leg 11 (4:50 PM)

  • (Hard) 5.78 mi, 45:59, 7:58 pace, 15 kills
  • Glacial Drumlin Trail (dead straight, packed gravel/dirt, entirely 1-2% incline)
  • Perfect temps for running, slight cross winds, shade and clouds

First off, one of the coolest moments occurred right as I started running–I hear “That’s my coach! That’s my marathon training coach! Wooooo!” And I just about flipped my lid. So THANK YOU!

I needed this run. I ran my heart out. I needed to know that I could do it, and I needed to lay it all out there in case it wasn’t an option after. I hadn’t planned on doing that–I had planned on doing run/walk if need be, but as soon as I set off, I just couldn’t let it go. So I ran. And I ran HARD.  

Suzlyfe Review and Recap of Ragnar Chicago 2015

glacial trail Ragnar Chicago 2015 review recap Suzlyfe

The entirety of the run was uphill except for the last .5 miles, but you wouldn’t know if from my splits! I just plugged, chugged, and rocked it out. I took headphones, but didn’t use them–I just listened to the sound of my running, the wildlife, and watched everything that I passed. The trail was dead straight, and transitioned between woods to marshy/wetland areas and then lastly into a small town area.

suz finishing run ragnar chi

After my first run, I was just about the most annoying car mate ever. I was AMPED. I ran that leg basically as hard as I could and to say that I had adrenaline coursing through my veins would be a understatement.  I think I apologized 15 times for being so annoying on the ride from my exchange to a brief stop at a market to the next exchange. SORRY AGAIN MY FRIENDS. Stopping at a grocery store gave me a chance to pick up a fun drink (soda) as well as some fruit, carrots (in case I wanted something not snacky!) and a greek yogurt to help with recovery. I thought about getting ice for my feet, but that never happened, and luckily I don’t think that I really needed it. 

Leg 23 (1:20 AM)

  • 5.9 mi, 50 ish minutes, 8:30 pace (Garmin started late), 13 Kills
  • Racine, WI Neighborhoods (asphalt, turns)
  • Cooler then warmer then not windy then breezy but humid regardless (overdressed for leg)

My second run was through the neighborhood streets of Racine (we were warned to be quiet) and along Lake Michigan. I had plenty of light, overall (though of course I was glad to have my headlamp), and I have no doubt that the route would have been GORGEOUS during the day–I could hear the waves lapping the shore, and the air was full of blooming trees (getting my allergies going!). I should have stuck with my original clothing choice (just a light pull over) but I put on a light jacket and ended up a little sweaty. The other fail of that route was that my blinky light fell off twice, and on the final time shattered! Luckily, I had an extra shoe light, and, having my jacket on, I was able to click it to that. Otherwise, I was out of options. I thought that I would be rather out of sorts running at that time of night, but I was totally fine (I had a few sport beans with caffeine as well, in case). I was actually really surprised by my splits–I felt like I was running much harder! But really, to me, this was no different than running during the day–likely would have had a different report had it been raining or thru the trails.

Leg 35 (12 PM)

  • 5 mi, 40:03, 8:01 pace, 6 kills
  • Wilmette Neighborhoods and Northwestern University (Flat and slight decline, sidewalk, turns)
  • Warming up, not humid, some sun but otherwise shade

As I mentioned yesterday…At my exchange, we didn’t get the text from Krista saying she was a mile away (which we did as a warning signal for the next runner), and all the sudden I heard them calling our number and I had to sprint to the exchange!

Wllmette mansion Ragnar Chicago 2015 suz

My last leg was SO UGLY. (sense the sarcasm). Basically, I ran along the Park Avenue of the suburbs, Wilmette and drooled over $6+ million mansions. My architectural heart was very, very happy!

The hottest part of my run was when I got to Northwestern University’s undergrad campus, particularly around the football stadium. This was also the first time that I got caught at lights, which you KNOW pissed me off! But still, I made great time, and the slight decline really helped. I had been fine running up to this point, but those last 2 miles, I tell you, my quads started talking to me and reminding me that, oh wait, you’ve only been back to running for 3+ weeks! The slight decline probably didn’t help either, or the fact that I had run as hard as possible for my other legs, run in the middle of the night, was running again, hadn’t eaten (or gone to the bathroom…) or slept normally in 48 hours…. But all’s well that ends well, and I made the final hand off to Eric!

Ragnar Chicago Final Handoff Suz to Eric

How I Felt (physically)

I spent a lot of time fretting about my tendons, massaging, and I even taped for the first 2 legs. I had some aching in my ankle, but not in the bone and only when I was walking or chilling out. NEVER when I ran! I think that it was largely the result of being back at PT this past week, and the muscles, tendons, and bones being manipulated. I made sure to do a lot of warming up PT exercises before my runs–making sure that my ankle and calves were nice and loose. I had gone to PT Thursday morning, as well, so I my quads and ITB felt ready to go, particularly because I rested the rest of that day, and in between legs, I tried to stay pretty quiet. I also made a game time decision about my shoes.

Ragnar Chicago Review Recap Medal with NIke Pegasus

If you are one of my trainees, put your fingers in your ears and say lalalalalalalala--I did make a last minute decision before I left Chicago to bring my new Nike Zoom Pegasus 32 with me as my “extra” shoes–particularly as the forecast threatened with more and more rain (and I really abhor wet shoes). Well, let’s just say that I put them on before leaving Chicago, and didn’t take them off except for one stint when I put on my Newtons (right before my first leg, then decided that I didn’t want to overwork my ankles and changed back) and when I was asleep! I just determined that I needed a little bit more support and less hinging motion from my ankles to take some of the pressure off. But it definitely was a risky decision to run in shoes completely untested by be other than 2 minutes of running in a different pair at my running analysis. Trainees, NEVER DO WHAT I DID (running in brand new shoes for a race). 

Post Race Recovery (Ragnovery, or Dealing with Ragnover)

I honestly didn’t do squat following my runs, which is terrible, but it was always about getting to the next place. I did do some massaging, but I really just wanted to stay off my feet.

dunkin donuts breakfast ragnar chi egg white flatbread coffee

Hey, they say America Runs on Dunkin…

Instead, I concentrated on my nutrition and getting in a full bottle of water and protein, carbs, fats and sugar afterwards–Greek Yogurt and Snack Mix immediately following my first run, then dinner at Noodles with veggies, rice noodles, sauce, a small salad; Peanut Butter Crackers and pretzels; and lastly, a Clif Mini Bar, peach, pretzels, and then a beer and snack mix. Considering the conditions, I think I did pretty well!  After Ragnar, I made sure to get in good protein and carbs both Saturday night (I had a smaller burger and split a chopped chicken salad with Alex, then had Greek yogurt, cereal, Ice cream, and PB on toast before bed) and Sunday morning. 

I iced the areas around both ankles while having my dessert, then foam rolled my legs a little bit and had Alex give them a rub before passing out on the couch. A little yoga Sunday afternoon, putting on my compression socks, and cuddling with the kitty kat rounded out my recovery plan! 

I ran Monday morning and the first mile was awesome before my legs remembered they were still tired. I have PT this morning and tonight’s marathon training coaching workout is circuits, so my workout is up to me today. Plus, I just got the awesome news that I have work off today because of the Blackhawk’s win last night!!!

Let’s clap it up for Susie’s Body!

As I said yesterday, if not for the need to be careful with my body (and the logistics), I would have done it again the next day. I had a blast. Granted, I was seriously lucky–great legs, consistent mileage, not too many hills, great temps and no rain for my legs, among others–but I also went into it with the attitude of just being open to the experience. I also had a TERRIFIC van. Sure, we got grumpy pants at times, but by and large, we got along great! I think the fact that I stayed after and willingly got back into a car with the majority of them for another hour (to pick up my car) speaks for itself!

Back of Team Shirt One Man Per Van Ragnar Chicago 2015

The Back of Our Shirts

I just wish I had gotten to hang out with other van more. But hopefully it won’t be the last time I get to see them! I would love to do an Ultra Ragnar (just 6 people), but I have no clue when or if that will happen. For now, though, I am so happy to have completed this one with a smile on my face. 

Let's do that again! @Suzlyfe's #RagnarChi Running Recap #TOTR #runchat #fitfluential Click To Tweet

Have you done a Ragnar Relay? How did it go?

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