Thursday, July 30, 2009

TO infiniti and beyond..RAGNAR!

If there is a chance..the slightest The Ragnar Relay! Never will you have so much fun...for me that isn't hard..BUT Ragnar was a blast!

A week ago I was heading to a van NOT knowing anyone (except Christine) I was going to be hanging with for the next 30+ hours...unsuspecting of anything that was about to happen!

You know how the relay went for me.. I ran my fastest, yadda yadda, had fun...drank beer, ate nachos, nothing unusual... WHAT you don't know is how damn funny that VAN ride was for 370 miles!

Our relay took 29 hours to finish the 187 miles of the Pacific Northwest Passage...I lacked patience and really missed the point during my waiting... I'm competitive. What can I say? What I didn't miss was the camaraderie...BECAUSE that really is what running a relay is all about.

The name of our relay team was SLOW and STEADY..I should have known from the name it was not about the speed! AND like our teams name we were just that...What I learned from Ragnar is that first impressions aren't always right and that friendships just happen! I also learned that 187 miles ISN'T that far...

SOME RAGNAR memories:
**Running in the dark requires a head lamp, a reflective vest and an ASS flasher...I used the head lamp to look for bear, cheetah and often times monkeys!
** Christine blowing chunks after her first leg...AWESOME!
**I taught the team that BEER and nachos make you faster..AND it does! CARB load...
**Reflective vests are super cool...especially when they have lots of flashing lights! AND when they look like Buzzlight year BUT turn out to be Nancy...
**YOU have to be a team player...When D allegedly sprained his ankle Kathy picked up his final mile of his 2.9 mile run..Please! Christine of course said "OMG! I sprained my ankle and kept running 15 more miles!" I of course told D to get his out of the van and keep running...OH and pick up your pace!
** Yelling out the window of the VAN to every RUNNER on the COURSE! Looking good, finish STRONG..or whatever...
**Annie yelling at Christine.. "QUIT twittering and help!!"
**Annie renaming our team Vest Molesters! Yes..the flashing lights made for some HOT vests!
** Sleeping in a VAN isn't so bad...especially with a sweaty beach towel.
** making Stacy WAIT 7 minutes in the exchange at 4:30 AM...NOT my fault your VAN lost you!
** You can set the bar high...and you can make people WANT to push a little harder!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ragnar Relay...Team SLOW and Steady! First 24 hours!

I had no idea how much fun the Ragnar Relays were going to be...not any idea at all! I just knew that I was supposed to be at the VAN in West Seattle NO later then 6AM on Friday morning..AND that is where the fun began!

The alarm clock didn't need to go off..My dad was yelling up the stairs at 4:30AM for me to get up! Man oh man...4:30AM came fast! I packed all my crap the night before so I was ready to roll. GOOD thing I talked to Christine about what to pack or it could have been a disaster! The backpack consisted of 3+ outfits to run in, flip flops, 2 pairs of running shoes, a change of dry clothes for the end and my Boston jacket of course! I threw on my first running outfit and headed OFF to the VAN with my coffee! (yes I put on lip gloss and mascara...hello, that's a given!)

Made one stop before getting to the VAN at Starbucks! Ordered a triple skinny vanilla latte, oatmeal and banana loaf.. I apparently thought I would be running ALL 185 miles of the RAGNAR RELAY!

Finally at the VAN! Huge van...10 seater. 2 rows know, so you have more room to stretch... :/ The VAN mates started to arrive and pretty soon our VAN team was there..My first impression... Can't say. A arrived last with her foam roller and a bunch of stuff. Hmmm...the first thing she said "why the hell is there only 1 bench in the van...we need to put one back"... Little BOSSY I thought.... And just like that the bench was back in the van. Wasn't sure how A and I were gonna hit it off! In our van 5 chicks and one dude!

Off we went to Blaine, Washington...Which is right on the border of Canada! It took us a few hours to get there...all along my stomach in knots. YES I get like that before every race...AND I was the first runner so I had to set the bar high. In those 2 hours...I have never laughed so hard and learned that first impressions are wrong...I also learned that A and I are more alike then I could have ever imagined. C and I spent much of our time interacting with the group while tweeting and facebooking...JEEZE..that was ridiculous!

We arrived in Blaine..quaint little town on the Ocean! Is the Ocean the same as the bay? Anyway... K picked up our race stuff while we decorated the VAN! We ended up with number #17! All the other teams were doing the same...COOL Ragnar Relay VIBE going on...

I got ready to race...because that is what I do... I race.

START time...At the start line with the 9AM start wave there were 20 teams going out.. In total all day from 8AM 170 teams of 12 (some Ultra) were going in waves! 9 AM start consisted of 6 dudes (about) and the rest chicks...OH and Wonder Woman. RAGNAR RELAY about to start...the 10 second countdown was now underway!

Off we went...My first leg was a 10k.. Still trying to figure out my race strategy I worked my way in behind a chick who started with a fake ass on. She had a decent pace going and was right behind the boys. I had no idea who was behind me at this point..didn't look back, just trying to figure out how fast I could run the leg! I stayed with fake ass girl for awhile...and was pacing around a 8 min mile, I thought... I knew I had a little more in me so I picked up and passed the chick. The miles aren't marked in RAGNAR on the course, ONLY directions..SO pacing wasn't even an option because I forgot my Garmin in CA. I could see the dudes ahead of I just pushed a little harder! My VAN was on the course in NO time cheering and supporting my run! At the 4 mile mark I asked the team how far back that chick was and Christine yelled..DON'T let her pass you! Which implied the chick was getting close to me..So naturally I needed to speed up. I pushed a little harder and there it was... the ONE MILE TO GO sign! All the other VANS of the other teams were on the course cheering, cow belling and being supportive of ALL the runners! I jammed in my last mile to make the exchange to Christine who was runner 2! Leg time 45:17 or so, pacing a 7:17! First chick in...right behind the boys!

NOW everyone GET your ass in the VAN! On the course we go! That's how it works! Ragnar! Run, drive, repeat! Sleep...we shall see! Our VAN drives the course to support our runner's race..water, cytomax, Gu...anything our runners need the TEAM is there to give our runner! Couple of cheer stops along the way and POOF! we are at the next exchange! RUNNER 3 is off..D, our only VAN's dude is on the course!

All the chicks in the VAN.. N resting up for her leg in the back...K driving the VAN and A navigating...C and ME... hanging in row one of the VAN! AND the day continues RUN, DRIVE, REPEAT until we make the our 6th runner exchange to VAN 2...

LUNCH time... Boundary Bay Brewery! Where the hell are we? We have about 6 hours until we get to our next VAN exchange...Everyone in their next running outfits...fresh and ready to run..we head to the next exchange town...Bellingham! My PRE race lunch is 2 beers and chicken nachos! HELL ya! That's how this chick rolls! Next exchange in Bellingham..4.4 miles for me...That's easy...Off we go to the exchange are to rest for our next races!
Waiting, waiting, waiting....I have no patience... In touch with VAN 2 trying to figure out when to expect the next exchange...It's hot out! Sweating just sitting and waiting...Anxious. WANT to go...Finally we get the call! Ready to run..In purple... Almost 8PM.. (Ragnar rules say I have to wear a reflective vest if running after 8PM)...Here comes RUNNER 12...The exchange is made...

I blow out of the exchange at a 6:30 PACE...why? I have no idea.. I was alone..on the RAGNAR course.. I knew there was a chick a mile or so ahead...GOAL, catch her! I turn up the Ipod and power on! Working on my form, lowering the arms and relaxing the shoulders. I see the chick...and keep my pace...round the corner and pass her! My VAN on the course! C is waiting with water..the chick tries to sprint with me..not sure why...I say to her "if you can hold that pace YOU are my HERO!" I grab some Nuun and keep going... NO-ONE told me about the effing hill that I'm looking at... I am ahead of the chick still...BUT I know I need to power up that hill...SO...I use the arms and push a little...then I decide to Galloway it! 60 on...30 walk...The hill levels out..I look at my watch...OMG! I can still sub 32 mins this 4.4 miles.. I kick at the ONE MORE MILE TO GO sign and push thru to the exchange....31:27! Yep...a 7:08 AP! HOLY crap...C takes the exchange and she is off!

AND just like that we are back in the VAN..on course! Cheering, supporting, having fun! The SUN is setting and the sky is a little grey..yikes! RAIN? Lightening...RAGNAR rules..If lightening strikes CLOSE by the runner must get in the VAN... apparently the lightening wasn't close enough..C keeps on running...makes the exchange to D..and runner 3 is off! INTO the dark...

Run. Drive. Repeat. Sleep....nah! BEER time...stop in at a cute little store in Mt Vernon, Wa. Couple 6'ers of beer and some sunflower seeds.. I'm not hungry...but man did I need salt! On the course supporting the team again...drinking beer out of my water bottle.. RAGNAR rules..what happens on the course stays on the course! We make our from Bellingham to La Connor, Wa. NEXT exchange to VAN 2....11PM...need food now...we try every place in that little town..NOTHING open. We find a bar...have a beer, some popcorn and decide to head to Deception Pass our next VAN exchange...SLEEP? Yes...sleep is a must!

Pull into the Deception Pass park..about 1AM...A, D and N sleep in bags on the grass and K, C and I in the VAN. Nothing like sleeping in the front seat of the VAN with a beach towel. My next leg should be at 5AM based on the text messages and tweets we are getting from VAN 2! Alarm is set for 4AM...I actually slept..miracle....
FINAL VAN exchange...awake at 4AM, a little chilly out...dark. Get a text at 4:20AM that RUNNER 12 should be at the exchange in 30 mins... I'm ready.. head light on, ass blinker on, reflective vest...layered up, ready to go... PHONE rings...VAN 2 wants to know where we are...4:39...They lost RUNNER 12 and underestimated her speed...SHE was waiting for me...7 minutes...DAMN! I now had to make that up...

I hurry to the exchange take the bracelet and head up the hill...wait I mean hills...OMG! Did someone forget to tell me about this HILLY course...I start climbing...I can see 2 blinking lights in front of me...I'm alone in the dark...The blinking lights are getting closer....I push a little harder...I round a corner...pass one blinker...pass another blinker and start heading up another hill...VAN meets me at mile 2 with H2O...Can't take it...too early, might barf! I tell them to meet me at 3...They are there waiting...I say not yet...mile 4! I am busting it on a down hill and don't want to slow down...passing a few more people..I round another corner and start another climb...a cool chick catches me and we run awhile together! My VAN drives along me and I hand them my head light. The sun is rising...I tell them to meet me at the exchange.. Miles 4.5 until 5.5 was all down hill. The friend I made on the course started cruising and my IT band starting to hurt a bit! I pick up speed and try to ignore the annoying pain...hit the bottom of the hill and start my sunrise run along the ocean, harbor, whatever the hell you call it. It was an awesome morning to do my final leg!

Final push of my last last was 2 miles UP hill...what the heck!!!?? UGHH...definitely not the speed I had day 1...BUT I'm still moving. I start climbing the hill...slowly...I see a few people in front of me...passing 1 of them was my I keep pushing thru...ONE MILE TO GO sign shows up just in time..yeh 1 more mile on the hill! I pass Wonder Woman...AND finish my final leg! 7.9 Miles in 1:04:20...pass off to C... AND we get back in the VAN!

On the course we go! RUN, DRIVE, REPEAT! About 30 miles until we hit Coupeville...OUR VAN's LAST exchange...

A lot of fun on the COURSE....laughs, new friendships and challenges!!

PART 2, THE Finish! Coming soon....WITH funny as hell highlights and so much more..

PS: if you want in on Ragnar next year let me know... we are looking for 2010 teams NOW!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Getting it IN...on the Road

Day one of the road trip complete..getting to Portland! Thank GOD yesterday was a rest run, swim or bike. MANY miles on the road...almost 600 to be exact! Just me and the kids! That was a workout enough! Made it to Portland alive with only one mishap...the 9 yro peed on my foot! Besides that mostly uneventful...just a lot of complaining by the 13 yro. UGH!

Arrived in Portland to be greeted by my niece at the door with a ICE cold beer...IT was the best beer ever! Nice dinner party with 20! They too will do anything for a party...and our arrival was a perfect reason! haha...

Today, not a day off. I need to get the training in while on the road...This usually isn't a challenge for me BUT I need to fit in the swim and the bike too. Running is can just get it done anywhere BUT the other 2 take planning.

I'm 6 weeks out from the Santa Rosa Marathon 8/30...BUT have The Ragnar relay Friday and Saturday 7/25 - 7/26! AND the Cour de'Alene Olympic Tri on 8/8. I think I will add in the the sprint tri on 8/23 when I get home...

Tomorrow we head to Seattle for a week or so...scheduling will be easier staying in one place a little longer! Weather is supposed to hold out for the week! May be able get in some open water swims in Lake Washington or Sammamish!

Must get focused and get my days coordinated...20 days on the road is a LONG time!

Check out a few training programs I use and the relay (I'm runner #1)!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Race Report...Jungle Run PR!

Alarm went off at 5:30AM, I hit snooze and fell right back to sleep! Went off again, I hit snooze, fell back to sleep! Finally I looked at my watch and realized I had 10 mins to get out of bed, get dressed and get on the road!

Put the coffee into my race clothes, brushed my teeth and put on some mascara..YEH, laugh all you want! YOU know you race good when you look good..and it's all about the lashes!
Grabbed a balance bar (poor choice BTW!) and a cup of coffee, my gear and hit the road!

Heading to Los Gatos I noticed I forgot my Ipod! At that moment I wasn't sure what the race was gonna be for me...I need my MOJO and sometimes it comes from my Ipod. I scrambled around a bit and found the 13 yro's Ipod in my console. a certain degree.. If you like a lot of AC/DC (Good!) and other crap I would rather bang my head against the wall then listen to!

Arrived in Los Gatos with 17 minutes to race time! Met up at the goal posts with the Twitteratti group...Wished everyone luck and hit the bathroom lines! You know typical race stuff! Bathroom line was so long... I didn't even get into a porta potty until 7AM!! YEP, RACE TIME!

Got to the start right as the half marathon runners were heading out! CAN you say cluster of people?? OMG! I tried to maneuver my way around as many of them as I could and managed to break free around 3/4's of mile in...Happy to see my mile pace was a 7:36 when I hit mile 1!!!

As it turned out I paced pretty close to my 7:37 pace until I hit mile was hot, my quads were pissed and I had no salt or Gu on me! (MY bad race decision!) I was pacing ahead of this chick that I REALLY WANTED TO BEAT and she blew by me at mile 10.5! I wanted to was an out and back on slight gravel grade and I was a tad depleted...or maybe that was my excuse on getting passed. Once I hit the turn around I starting jamming again. Picking up my pace to around a 7:20 pace. The chick still ahead of me...BUT I was gaining on her...picking dudes off one by one..ALL I wanted to do was beat that chick. At about 12.5 miles I was shoulder to shoulder with her. RACE ON!!!

We stayed together onto the track and I decided I should probably have a conversation with her! As it turns out she is a 2 time Ironman! Awesome athlete and damn good racer! It also turns out that I beat her because I'm a pretty damn good racer too!

I got that PR, 1:41 and some change! Not what I wanted BUT I will take it! I learned a little more today about being a better racer...You need fuel pre-race NEVER skimp on that! (Balance BAR?? WTF?) ALWAYS come prepared... Saltsticks, NuuN, Gu...Carry extra! Lastly ALWAYS RACE YOUR OWN RACE!!!

Post race was a great time! We decided to celebrate at with burgers and beers at 10:30AM...
Can't wait for my next run! Ragnar Relay in Seattle!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Race nerves...they never ever stop

It never fails...I always have race nerves. It doesn't matter how many races I have knocked out I still get butterflies in my tummy before every race. I can't decide if it's the excitement of the race or the excitement of it being MY race, a new PR...A new challenge! The size of the race doesn't matter...the half marathon tomorrow is going to be fast and flat BUT I'm still nervous!

The day before ANY race usually flies by...I try to do everything to NOT think about the race BUT that's all I think about. Today I was lucky to meet up with cool peeps and enjoy some lunch to talk race, all good. I had many to do's to keep my mind off of tomorrow.

That brings me to here...I sit. I plan. I visualize what the 1st, 2nd, 3rd miles should feel like..How I can make it to my half way point exactly where I need to pace myself. I feel strong today. I implemented a lot of speed work this week and stayed on marathon training schedule..I use Hal's advanced 1 program! I feel pretty confident that I can PR with a sub 1:42 tomorrow.

I pick BLUE to run in. MY fasted half marathon was in this shirt! I always PR in blue and sometimes red..BUT tomorrow it's about the blue. I have packed my belt with all my needed items (no ) and have all my clothes laid out. YES, I am a dork like that ONLY because I am nervous...YOU get one chance to run your race...AND to me that means races aren't training runs..they are races. YOU do what you give it all you have! YOU run your OWN race! If I stop getting nervous I need to move on...BUT today I still have nerves! I'm so glad....
Check out a couple of my favorite race things: (electrolytes) (check out my infiniti 2 shoes, SUPER HOT!)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Running is about one thing...

I run because I can. I run because it makes me feel complete. I run because I would probably explode if I didn' makes me less anxious. The REAL reason I run is for the friendships I make along the miles. Running brings people together. The most unexpected relationships form and last. My best friends are "runners"...They don't run as fast but I always slow down so I can take in the conversation. Sometimes we don't talk for the week just to have LOTS to talk about on those Sunday long training runs!

Last nights Sunset Run was a perfect example of how a 5 mile run brings friends together! 5 people with this thing in common...running. All different paces just doing the thing we do... Always something to chat about making the run cruise by in a flash! Good times last night with Andrea, John, Maritza and Tara!

The post run celebration is always my favorite! Last night we landed here: and the food was yummy, the beer was delish.. BUT the stories and laughs were by far the best of all! Not quite sure how 3 hours went by so fast! AND by the way...MY car was locked in the marina when I went to get it...good thing for 4 wheel drive is all I'm sayin!

Here's to more Sunset runs, runs, laughs, friends! All GOOD!
My next race is Sunday! Doing a half: Send me good race MOJO..thinking about a PR, sub 1:40? See all my pals there! RACE ON!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Race on

Big day...big decision! Not really. My sister has these powers over me. When she suggests something I pretty much take it and go with it. I haven't done a triathlon for years. I signed up for Ironman Cour de'Alene 2010 because I needed a BIGGER challenge. With 12 marathons behind me and tattoo to show for it I knew Ironman was next! So it all starts NOW. Swim. Bike. Run. August 8th I re-enter the triathlon world with an olympic distance tri! The rest of 2009 my race schedule is booked. Lots to do...lots to accomplish. I will hit 20 marathons by Dec 31, 2009! (need one more race on my schedule!)

To date here are the marathons I have run:
  1. Silicon Valley
  2. Napa
  3. Big Sur
  4. CIM missed BQ by 53 seconds...PACE dude SUCKED!
  5. Cour de'Alene (Boston qualified 3:45)
  6. Nike Womans....HATED this race! Never the full again!
  7. Phoenix Rock and Rock (Boston qualified again 3:39)
  8. Napa AGAIN! (Boston Qualified again 3:35)
  9. BOSTON! 3:37! Every year until I die!
  10. Big Sur...6 days later 3:52
  11. Eugene 7 days after BS....PR 3:32
  12. San Diego Rock and Roll... 3:47, I walked backwards waiting for Monica for 15 mins!

I thought I had 13 down...YIKES! I seemed to have lost one in my mind! I will find it...hmmm.

Races Scheduled for the remainder of the year:

  1. Jungle Run half marathon 7/19
  2. Ragnar Relay 7/25-7/26
  3. Cour de'Alene Olympic Triathlon 8/8
  4. Santa Rosa Marathon 8/30
  5. Maui Marathon 9/20
  6. Cowtown Marathon 10/4
  7. Long Beach Marathon 10/11
  8. Nike Half Marathon SF 10/18
  9. USA Half Marathon 11/1
  10. Malibu Marathon 11/15
  11. Las Vegas Marathon 12/6