I've done relays before (Ragnar four times), but never a marathon relay, and never on inside around an ice rink. Going into Saturday's race, with full confidence I can that I was nervous and excited. My team, which was the name of my running club, was made up of me, two ladies I do track with and another girl who is part of the club that I do 90% of my running with (aka my running beastie). Our track coach, who is married to one of the members of our team, was there as well.
We got to the Petit Ice Center 2 hours before our race began, and walked out to the track. My first thought was, "It is sooo cold!!!" I was glad I packed my arm warmers and running gloves for this race! I do think it was warmer outside on Saturday than inside. We saw the half marathoners from wave 2 finishing up and went upstairs to hang out in a warmer area. Our race strategy going in was fairly simple:
6 x 1 mile repeats at 1:55 per lap or less
Our order, like true relay teams, was:
Runner 1 - 2nd fastest runner on team
Runner 2 - 3rd fastest runner on team
Runner 3 - 4th fastest runner on team
Runner 4 - (1st) the fastest runner on the team
I was runner #4 and knew I would have to run under 1:55 if we wanted to break 3 hours, which was our goal.
Our track coach would call out our splits every lap, and be the one to switch our ankle timing band. This worked out great. It was incredibly helpful to have him say my splits, even though I was wearing a watch and timing myself. He also recorded all of our splits. He was busier than any of the runners, and I truly appreciated all of his work.
I don't know what my splits were, as my track coach hasn't totaled them up yet, but when I was running it seemed like I was going faster than what the splits were showing (not good). Usually for mile repeats, I find the 3rd lap to be the most challenging, but today it was the fourth lap for some reason.
Turning around the track never hurt my legs, or any of my teammates. It was great to see so many people on the ice skating, or in the stands near the track cheering. It was fun to run by my teammates every lap and hear them cheer, and then to look at my coach and wait for my split. I love the feeling of being on a team.
It turns out that we didn't get our sub 3 hour marathon, but instead ran a 3:01:45, which is a 6:57/mile average and was good enough for the 3rd fastest all female team, earning us a medal. Our time also includes 24 ankle chip switches, so if we handed off with a bracelet or baton instead we could've gotten it. We all tried our hardest, which is more important than reaching the goal. If we do it again next year, which we hope to, along with the fast guys from our club, we'd change a few things and I am confident we could run that sub 3.
I'll post splits when I know them, as I am incredibly curious what my times were. If you live near Milwaukee, I would definitely recommend the race.