Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ragnar Relay SoCal

Rosa and I joined our extended family team for the Socal Ragnar Relay -- a 200-mile relay race from Huntington Beach to Coronado Island. We had been looking for some motivation to exercise and thought this would be a great idea. We started training right away….and then stopped a few weeks later. Fortunately, we still had months to prepare as it was only Fall 2010 and the race was April 2011. Christmas came and we both were fitted for the right running shoes (a suggestion given to us by every runner we ever talked to). We stocked up on some cold-weather running gear as well and started running.

About 2 weeks into my training, I started developing shin pain. My entire shin would get really tight and swollen, to the point where I couldn’t fully move my foot up and down. Logically, I went to the internet to find out what was wrong and diagnosed myself with shin splints. I took a couple of days off and did a lot of stretching/icing. I also bought some compression socks on the advice from a post on a runner’s website message board. My first time running again felt good, no pain. But a few days later I noticed the pain again. I went back to resting/icing/stretching/self diagnosing on the internet but the pain would not go away. I eventually went to a physical therapist and he told me the problem was my shoes (I had thought this might be the case but didn’t want to believe it since I had been “custom fit” for shoes). I tried a more cushioned and neutral shoe, hoping that would solve the problem. After a few runs, the shin pain was still there. Not wanting to spend money on another doctor’s visit, I went to see a trainer at BYU that Rosa had access to through her major. He had worked with runners before and runs 5 miles or so every morning. I figured he knew what he was talking about. His solution was that my strides were not long enough. He gave me some tips and after putting them into practice my shins hurt worse than ever. At this point I was getting very frustrated. The race was weeks away and I hadn’t put in much training because of injury. I went back to the internet (at the suggestion of my cousin Christy, who was experiencing similar pain) and watched a Youtube video on shin taping. I tried the taping and had a pretty good run my first time with it. I decided to try the taping with my old running shoes as well (not the ones I was fitted for, the $50 ones I bought at Famous Footwear) and had the best run of my entire training. After two pairs of running shoes, a trip to two different doctors, compression socks, a gym membership and a dozen or so Youtube videos, it seemed like I finally had a solution! Who needs doctors when you have Youtube? I got about 2.5 weeks of solid training in and headed for California for the race.

The actual race was an awesome experience. Each team of 12 separates into two 15-passenger vans and we take turns running. My cousin Jason rented our vans 3 months in advance to make sure we had them. Unfortunately, Enterprise called us the day before and said they no longer had our vans, but would give us mini vans to make up for it. So kind of them They said a “corporate account” came in and took them. We fit into the vans but were extremely cramped and had no room to stretch out as we went from room for 30 to room for 16. I would recommend NOT renting from Enterprise. Ever. I was runner 5 in van 1 along with my dad, brother, Rosa, cousin Janae and her husband Erick, and my Aunt Patti and Uncle Mark. As one person in our van was running, the rest of us would drive ahead and wait at the exchange point. We’d provide water and snacks along the way as well. While van was driving, van 2 would be “sleeping” and waiting for us to finish. While van 2 was running, van 1 would “sleep.” Hence the slogan Run, Drive, Sleep?, Repeat. Overall I ran about 13 miles split between 3 legs. It was a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anyone, especially if you can get a team of family/friends together. The distance can be intimidating but if you stick to the suggested training schedule (and not get hurt) it’s very possible. It was the first race that I had ever done but I got through. I joked a lot about “retiring” from running after it was all over but that was just out of frustration from my injuries. I’m actually starting to run again and look forward to training for another race.

Team "Hey Pal, Are You Going to Finish Those Fries?" after finishing Ragnar SoCal