31 July 2011

Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage: Part One

Last Thursday (July 21st) Will and I were packed up and ready for our big adventure- running a 190 mile relay race from Blaine, WA to Whidbey Island, WA!  Chris and Mandy arrived at our house and we decided to decorate the van a bit before heading to pick up the other two runners in our van.  Each team is made up of 12 runners and are split into 2 vans.  The other 6 girls on our team we had not even met yet and they would be meeting up with us later on Friday.  Our team name was "How the West Was Run" so we had a western/cowboy type theme and our colors were orange, blue and black. 

Once we had most of the decals put up, we were ready to hit the road!  A quick stop to grab Jason over by the Tacoma Dome, and a not so quick stop to get Maria in West Seattle and our van was complete!  We made a stop once we got close to our hotel in Ferndale to eat some dinner at The Olive Garden (OG) to do some carb loading.  I don't think our waitress got the memo that our table of six needed breadsticks to be continually restocked, they were being rather stingy with them.  But that's ok, the Italian Sushi (as Jason renamed it) somehow filled our bellies and we were once again on our way.
Italian Sushi!
We got to the hotel and realized that our team only had 3 reflective vests.  Oops!  Each van is required to have 6-one per person.  Somewhere along the way I thought they had been purchased so I didn't worry about it.  A quick trip to Fred Meyer and we were good to go!  We got to bed around midnight -the alarm was set for 4am so we could head out by 5am!  Let the sleep deprivation begin.
5am never looked so happy!  I totally photo bombed Will's self photography haha!
Our assigned start time was 6:30am, and we still had about a 20 minute drive ahead of us from the hotel.  Once we arrived at the starting area we had to check our safety gear in, attend a quick safety meeting (they are strict with the rules!) and of course get our race packet!  Our team number was 236, we all got our own race bib- including the van!  We wandered around the starting area, took some photos and checked out some of the other teams decorations. 

Thanks for this lovely shot Will! 
This van went all out decorating!!!
Soon enough it was 6:30am and Jason (runner 1) was at the starting line ready to get our team going!  There was a guy in our starting group who was part of a 4 person ultra team- that means they all ran 45-50 miles!  Amazing.  Jason took off down the road and we hopped back in the van to start the leap frog running game called the Ragnar Relay!  We stopped about 3 miles down the road and cheered him on and offered water as he zoomed past us.  He was super speedy!  We headed up to the first exchange area and Maria prepared to run her first leg as runner 2. 
The guy in front was part of the 4 person ultra team- Jason is in the white shorts!
Basically a volunteer radios ahead to the exchange area which team is heading in and they start calling that team down to the exchange chute.  Jason then passed the slap bracelet to Maria and she headed out down the road!  Maria then passed to Chris, Chris passed to Mandy and Mandy passed to Will (runner 5).  Will ended up being super speedy on his run and by the time we got to the exchange area I barely had time to use the bathroom really quick and grab a drink of water!  I was standing in the exchange chute waiting for my Garmin to locate the satellite and I could see Will charging towards me!  I just stuck my arm out for the bracelet and took off down the road- setting my Garmin as I ran!
Iron Man Chris getting ready to start his first leg of the race!
Chris exchanging with Mandy (runner 4)
Entertaining ourselves while waiting to cheer Mandy on!
My studly husband running in his Vibram's!
Is it my turn yet?????
I had been very patiently waiting for my turn to run- since I was runner 6 I was last in my van to go!  I think I waited like 6 hours for my turn which was tricky because I ended up being hungry just before running!  I wore my "does the shirt make my butt look fast" shirt and bright orange socks and they turned out to be great choices!  I got lots of comments on my shirt as well as numerous thumbs ups, and people loved the socks (plus I was easy to spot!) while out on the road.
That was the only guy to pass me on this leg!  He was quick.
Thirsty girl!
My first leg of the race was 6.5 miles long, and since it was about 1pm the sun was a bit warm, but pleasant.  I passed quite a few people on this leg of the race, and I only got passed by one speedy guy around mile 2!  I chose to not wear an ipod during the relay- there was plenty of stimulation to keep my mind busy and I wanted to be able to focus on my surroundings.  The van stopped twice for me- thank goodness I was thirsty!  It was fun to see everyone waiting on the side of the road waiting for me while I ran by!  There were a lot of turns in the last mile and also a lot of waiting at stop lights which was terrible, but overall it was a quick run!  6.5 miles in just under an hour- pace 9:11!
Thirsty again!
When I came into the exchange area it was like one giant party!  It was at Bellingham High School and since it was a major exchange both vans from each team were there.  I came running through and didn't immediately see anyone waiting in the exchange chute, and I had never met anyone from van 2 so I wasn't sure what to do!  I looked around and all of a sudden this girl came shooting out of the crowd, running straight at me so I assumed it was my fellow team mate!  She was wearing cool red and white arm sleeves- I slapped the bracelet onto her arm and she was off running!  Then I saw Will and we found the rest of van 1 and we were officially on break while Van 2 took over. 
The crew of Van 1 after completing our first legs!  Chris, Maria, Mandy, Will, Me and Jason.
We headed straight to our second hotel to shower and get checked in.  We grabbed something to eat and rested for a short time then headed back to the next major exchange area because van 2 was close to being done already!  We got to the exchange area a little bit early so we rested in the grass area and relaxed in the sun waiting for van 2 to finish.  And then less than 5 hours after I completed my run- van 1 was back in the game!
Resting while we wait for Van 2!
Aaaahhhh!  So comfy!
To Be Continued!

You can also head over to Mandy's blog and read about our adventure from her point of view!  She did a four part blog and you can read part one HERE , part two HERE , part three HERE  and part four HERE!

27 July 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Hurry up Garmin!
Will was so quick running his first leg of the relay I barely had time to get myself ready to run!  I was standing there waiting for my Garmin to locate the satellite and before it did I just had to stick my arm out for Will to slap the bracelet on me and finish setting it as I ran down the highway!!!  I love how it looks like I am doing the robot though :)
Doing the Robot

I think I had it set by this point!
I am working on the full recap- it takes a while to get a 30 hour race into words!!!

24 July 2011

188 Miles of Fun

Van 1
Hello everyone!  We got back home from our Ragnar Relay adventure late last night- we had such a blast!  I will do a full recap soon, but here are a few pictures for now. 
The starting line at 6:30am.  Jason is starting us off- he is in back with his arms up.
Waiting for Will to pass me the bracelet before my first leg- 6.5 miles!
The runners of Van 1 after completing our first legs!
Maria exchanging the bracelet with Chris
The last few yards of my 3rd leg!  18.6 miles total for me, and Van 1 was DONE!
Goofing around waiting for Mandy to run by so we could give her some water and cheer her on

20 July 2011

Running Topless and Breaking Things

So I am a little bit behind on blogging lately, so either I need to do 4 posts in a row or just one big crazy one.  Lucky you- it is going to be one big crazy one!  So here is a run down of the last week, with lots of pictures and not very many words.
The girls had to go a second time- they didn't get soaked enough the first time I guess!
Last Wednesday Devan finally cashed in on her birthday present from her Aunt Jaime (my bff), which was a fun day/night of doing whatever she wanted to do- and she could bring a friend as well.  So Jaime, myself, Devan and her chosen friend (Kara) headed to Wild Waves for an afternoon of BFF fun!  We totally lucked out because the weather forecast was for rain, but we ended up with great weather and a fairly empty water park!  After that we headed to Southcenter for some quick shopping and then to The Cheesecake Factory for some dinner.  Good thing I had run 5 miles that morning and walked around Wild Waves for 6 hours- I think I earned half a piece of cheesecake!  Jaime and I shared the mango key lime and it was fantastic.

The girls LOVED those water slides
Those grins and sparkly eyes say it all- what a fun day!!!
The next morning I was scheduled to run 8 miles, so even though Devan had stayed the night at Jaime's I still had Niko at the house with me.  So off I trudged to the treadmill room- I put it on a 2% incline and proceeded to sweat my butt off for the next 77 minutes.  I actually took my shirt off about 15 minutes into the run just to see how it felt- pretty darn good!  Niko came in at one point and said "oh, you are sweating again" - at least he didn't tell me I should put my shirt back on haha.  Maybe my new goal should be to look good running without a shirt on in public.  I do not have proof that it doesn't look good- I just know that I am not comfortable doing that right now.  Hopefully sometime in the near future though! 

Friday I drove up to Road Runner Sports in Kent.  After searching all over at other stores for the Saucony Kinvara 2's I finally found the exact one's I wanted there.  I also bought Will a pair of New Balance Minimus Road's so he could have a second style of shoe for his running as well (he has been using the Vibram five fingers). 

Meet the newest addition to my running shoe family- the Kinvara 2!  Aren't they cute?
Saturday morning we were in the car and heading down to Eugene at 7:30am to drop the kids off with Will's mom for 8 days!  We were meeting halfway since she lives in Medford, and there are quite a few other relatives down there as well so they are in good hands.  Devan was sad to see us go, but Niko just looked at her and said "what, are you going to miss them?"  Boys and girls- so different!  It was a REALLY long day of being couped up in a car, so we were happy so go for a run when we got back home (11 hours later)! 

We both put on our new running shoes and headed out for an awesome 7 miler over the Narrows Bridge around 6:45pm.  I wanted to run together so I had to slow my pace quite a bit, which felt strange!  I used the time to focus on my form (especially in the new shoes) and also to help Will with his.  He was running on his tip toes and looked like a total goof- and yes, I told him that!  The way he was striding just seemed to be using so much unnecessary energy.  It looked a bit better towards the end of the run.  It is nice having a running partner though, and it was perfect after such a long drive.

This week has been strange without the kids in the house.  I have been able to do all of my runs outside which is nice- and also at whatever time I feel like going!  I ran for the second time in my Kinvara's today (my last training run before Ragnar) and I think they are going to be great shoes.  The heel drop in them is only 4mm so it is exactly the same as the NB Minimus Roads I am used to, the only difference is there is a bit more cushioning in them.  I am hoping this doesn't start to bother my knees, but at the first sign I will definitely stop wearing them.
Our team logo Mandy created.  We are getting tech shirts with this on them to wear!  I think it turned out great, thanks Mandy!
Tomorrow we will head up to Blaine to prepare for the Ragnar Relay on Friday morning!  Our team name is "How the West Was Run" and our assigned start time is 6:30am.  I am really excited- this is going to be such a fun experience!  I made some muffins this morning as well as another batch of pb protein bars.  We have purchased lots of crazy things like cowboy hats, pom poms and noise makers to cheer our teammates on, and aside from packing I think we are READY!  If you are on facebook and would like to track the progress/craziness of our team head to our team page and hit "like"!
How the west was run- ragnar relay northwest passage facebook page

Our Ragnar Van- thanks Ray for letting us borrow it.  Hopefully we won't stink it up too much :)
I made the protein bars in my mini muffin pans this time- 42 of them, each at 150 calories/7 grams of protein/15 grams of carbs- and no cutting required!!!
Oh, and I almost forgot.  Guess what I did on Sunday afternoon????  I broke something rather important- I know I did it because the kids are gone so I can't blame them :)  I set my laptop on the arm of the couch and it slid right over the edge and landed with a thud.  Here is the result: 
That is my Garmin USB ANT plug that transfers data from my Garmin to the computer.  OOPS!  So $36 later Amazon is shipping me a new one.  Lovely.

14 July 2011

Three Things Thursday

1.  Last weekend I played in a soccer tournament with Comeback Sports out at Chamber's Bay.  Although technically I have never played outdoor soccer, so that whole "comeback" business doesn't really apply to me.  Anyways...the team was mostly made up of our indoor soccer team, with a few friends added in.  I believe there was 13 or 14 of us.  We played in the "rookie" league- but either we are REALLY bad at soccer or the teams we played against miscalculated their abilities. 

The rules in outdoor soccer are quite different from indoor, so it took me a little while to get the hang of it.  I think I prefer indoor just because it seems to be a more intimate game.  I didn't really like playing with so many people out on the field, and how spread out we all were.  Plus all of the extra rules seemed confusing to me.  Maybe if I played it a few more times I would learn to like it.  For now- indoor please!  I had a lot of fun though, and the weather was beautiful and sunny.   Oh, and I am pretty sure I saw a guy wearing these purple Run Love compression socks on the field.  He looked cute in them :) 

2.  AFTER the two soccer games last Saturday, Will and I were signed up to run the Top to Bottom 5K race through Metro Parks.  The soccer games were at 11am and 3pm, our race was at 7pm- good Ragnar training!  This would be Will's first chip timed event and I thought it would be a fun race that we could do together.  We arrived at Mckinley Park and got our racing bibs and free water bottle, then decided to use the restroom before the race.  There was only 1 functional toilet at the park so that took quite a while!  I noticed people setting up our race course while we were waiting and I remember thinking to myself that seemed odd. 
Ready to race!
Anyways, we lined up and the race announcer told us the course- go up there, turn around, go this way, around here...blah blah blah.  I was glad I wouldn't be in the front because it sounded confusing!  The gun sounded and we set off down the hill, then back up.  It was a REALLY hilly course, but I figured for 3 miles I could keep up a pretty decent pace so I just pushed myself.  It probably would have been much easier to do that if I hadn't played 2 soccer games earlier in the day!  All of a sudden we were running down the hill towards where we started and the people were shouting to just go down around the corner to the finish line.  I checked my garmin and we were only around 2 miles!  So I sprinted towards the finish line (on grass) and I could feel somebody right behind me on my heels.  I didn't want to get passed but then this guy was right next to me (he was about a foot taller than me!) and he says "Let's GO!" and we raced to the finish.  He beat me by a hair, but his legs were twice as long as mine!  Fun race, not a 5K though!  I think it was about 2 miles.  They posted our results and I was the 33rd person in out of 160, and Will was 54th.  The times they posted do not make sense to me at all.  Oh well.  After the race we headed up to the Top of Tacoma bar and had some beer and nachos.  Fun, exhausting day!
Will- DONE!
We earned some nachos and tasty beverages for sure!
3.  I made peanut butter protein bars created by Jess from blonde ponytail last week.  They turned out really good, she brought us one at the bloggy dinner last month at the Spaghetti Factory and I knew I would have to make them myself!  There are only 4 ingredients in them!  So easy.  I used chocolate protein powder because that is what we always have at the house, but you could probably use whatever flavor you prefer.  I am a little obsessive about calories and nutrition so I calculated mine out- I cut them into 30 bars and each one has approximately 200 calories, 9.5 grams of protein and 22 carbs.  You can get the recipe here!