Miss part 1? Check it out here.
As expected, it continued to rain off and on throughout the day on Friday, though the heaviest rain definitely happened during my first leg in the morning, with it easing off into a lighter steady rain for most of the afternoon. My second leg was the Red and Green loops, starting 7:30pm.
At some point in the evening, the Ragnar SWAT added a sign around trail conditions and apparently someone didn’t quite agree that the Green loop was “fun.”
I had packed some extra snacks for this run since it was going to be longer than my first run and I made sure my headlamp had new batteries since we definitely weren’t going to be getting any extra light from the moon. I was still wearing my visor to keep the rain off my face and this created a bit of a blind spot for me close to my feet – I kept adjusting my headlamp so that I could see far enough in front of me to run, but then I would have a halo closer to my body that was completely dark. Add that to the blue lights I had on my back that kept making me think that someone was catching up to me on the trail and I was working on some mind games for most of the Red loop.
The good news is that the slower rain throughout the day meant that some of the standing puddles that had been created during my first leg were no longer there by the time I ran my second leg. The Red loop was 7.6 miles and I really felt the length of that leg. I struggled mentally – my legs felt okay, but my head wasn’t completely in it and I couldn’t decide if I was hungry or I should stop eating. Since I had run the trails for this loop so many times in training, I just kept trying to visualize where I was on the trails if I could actually see anything in the darkness. There is a big loop around Lake Haigler and the trail is so close to the lake that you can see to the other side, so you could see the runners who were ahead of you (though I didn’t quite realize that at the time) and then the runners coming behind you as you crossed to the other side of the lake.
There were sections of the Red loop that were as muddy and slippery as the Green loop which forced me to walk, but there were definitely still runnable sections as well. Once I got to the one mile to go mark and I reconnected with the other two loops, I started to feel a little better and soon I was headed up to the transition area again. As I came into the barn, I handed off my Red bracelet, filled up my water and then headed out on the Green loop.
It was kind of nice heading back out on the Green loop – I knew what to expect, I knew it would be muddy and I was able to figure out where I was based on what I remembered from when I had run it in the daylight. After running the Red loop, it felt like the Green loop just flew by and before I knew it, I was heading back up the hill to the transition barn again.
So, I haven’t officially done an ultra yet. For Ragnar, I’m counting this as an ultra since all of us ran 4 legs (instead of the standard 3), but I only ran 19.5 miles over 2 legs, so it didn’t quite hit the ultra mark from that aspect. When I finished my second leg, I was really doubting I would be able to run another, even longer, set of loops, but I actually got a lot of sleep between my legs and I was starting to feel pretty good again, so I know my legs would have been able to handle more mileage. Now I just need to work on my mental game!