29 July 2012

Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage -Part 1

After a little slumber party on Thursday night, complete with thunder and lightning and pouring rain of course, van 2 was ready to head up to Bellingham to begin our Ragnar adventure!  Amy had come up from the Portland area and Matt had flown in from Utah so they stayed the night at our house and Paul headed over from Gig Harbor and by 8am we were ready to hit the road.  I had done a bit of decorating the night before but luckily not too much- most of it washed off in the rain. 

We soon discovered one of the unique things about our van- the window wipers didn't work!!  So we drove for 3 hours on the freeway in the pouring rain without them- no big deal!  Just a quick note about the van- I spent countless hours trying to find one to rent without success so I ended up "renting" one from a friend of a friend who owns a daycare.  The passenger window doesn't roll down, there was about 1.5 boxes worth of cheerios inside when we got it (yes, we cleaned it first), the battery died once (while I was running!)- but otherwise it was perfect!  And it was WAY better than not having a van.
Van 1 at the starting line!  Jody, Cory, Sarah, Pauline, Dawn and Mary Beth. 
Van 2 in Bellingham!  Steve, Will, Matt, Paul, Amy, me.
We made it to Bellingham in record time and met up with our final runner Steve who lived about 20 minutes away.  Our team was complete so we attended our safety meeting and headed back to our van for a bit.  The rain had finally quit and I was hopeful that it was done so we (I) decorated the van again- there were several other teams doing the same thing.  Including NuuNKOTB- they were parked right by us and they gave us samples and tattoos from Nuun in exchange for some of our chalk markers!  Sweet deal!

Our super groovy van
Happy Days!  Get it?  It will be fun.
Finally we got word that runner 6 was out and it would soon be time for van 2 to get our feet moving.  Van 1 had started at 8am in Blaine and they arrived into Bellingham around 2pm or so, and just like that Matt was off and running!  He was super speedy too- "there is just so much AIR here" and finished his 6.5 miles in no time.  Next up was Paul, then Steve, then Amy, then Will and finally ME!!  Runner 12 was a position for a very patient person that can run pretty far. 

It's official- van 2 is running!!
Steve rocking his leg!
Amy's turn! 
It was tricky to make sure I kept my body fueled to run at 6pm- especially since I would be running 10.8 miles!!  I ate a cliff bar around 4:30 and also a banana at some point.  I was planning to carry my own water and just get a refill if needed from the van but Matt convinced me that they would stop and support me since I was running so far and I finally agreed.  Not carrying something for 11 miles sounded pretty good.  Will came into the exchange and off I went- even listening to some music which I never did last year.  And just as promised our van stopped every 2 miles and handed me water and took my empty Gu packets and cheered me on.  They were THE BEST!  It made those miles fly by knowing that in just 2 more miles they would be there, and then just 2 more miles- it was awesome!!!

There I go!
At the 8 mile mark I told them I was fine until the finish -they didn't need to stop again.  I caught up to this guy wearing Luna sandals and chatted with him a bit.  Then all of a sudden there it was- the sign "one mile to go" and I was on a mission to finish, knowing that my van was eager to take a break once I arrived. 

Sarah looks really excited for my arrival!  Her expression cracks me up.
That was pure joy -ready to pass off that sweaty bracelet!
Sarah was waiting for me at the exchange and I passed her the bracelet and I was done!  10.8 miles in just under an hour and forty minutes- my average pace was 9:13 which was pretty good considering I stopped to drink water 4 times and got held up at a few lights.  I also found out that the battery on the van had been dead after I started running and they quickly got a jump from another van and I never even knew the difference! 

I survived!
After I collected myself our van headed to get some form of real food which ended up being a sandwich from Quizno's since most of the van was tired.  I was not one of them since I had just run so far- I was amped up still!  But food didn't sound good to me so I was perfectly fine with that choice!  Then we drove straight to La Conner High School which was the next major exchange and had the chance to clean up and get some rest. 

My priority was taking a "shower" with the shower pill since I was feeling really gross and sweaty.  Those wipes are amazing- I felt 100% better afterwards so I ate my sandwich and then Will and I decided to take a nap in the gym.  Worst nap ever by the way, I did not sleep a wink.  There were people talking, slamming doors every 10 seconds and blowing up/deflating air beds the entire 2 1/2 hours we laid there.  But we laid there and rested anyways until we got word that van 1 would be finishing up around 12:30am. 

Faking it.  There was no real sleep.
What the heck?  We parked next to this "toilet"- oh Honey Bucket where are you???
I texted Matt who was sleeping out in the van and gave him a heads up so he could be prepared to start his second run.  We packed up our beds and headed out into the night to get ready for the next part of our adventure!!


25 July 2012

Do you want to run a relay race? It will be fun.

I am working on my Ragnar Relay recap- it is definitely hard to find the words to describe such an awesome adventure.  Meanwhile, enjoy this video that made us laugh every time we watched it!!

18 July 2012

Did Somebody Say More Cowbell?

I think our team needs more cowbell!
Oh boy, I have been a terrible blogger lately.  So much to do and so little time to type about it!  I will catch up really quick while I have a moment though! 

On June 30th my whole family and a group of friends ran the Down and Dirty mud run out on Fort Lewis.  This was the third year for us and we had a great time just like always.  It is a family friendly event and this time it was only 3.3 miles rather than 5 which was nice for the kids.  We dressed up in the theme of the day as superhero's and all just stuck together and had a great time.  I highly recommend this for a first time mud run -it is pretty tame compared to some out there these days.  Niko ran the whole way and talked almost the entire time.  At one point I was actually chasing him down -he found a burst of energy and was just tearing off down the trail!  Fun times.

The clan after the mud run!  Such a fun time!!
Then on July 7th we went to my cousin's wedding in Olympia.  The ceremony was in the State Capital building and it was beautiful inside and the wedding was really nice.  I am happy for my cousin, he seems very much in love with his new wife.  I was able to see some family I had lost touch with over the years which was interesting.  Yeah, I will leave it at that.  Interesting.  Ha!

Just after saying "I do"
Of course I had to get dressed up!  Niko said I looked like a cave woman. 
How does he even know what that looks like??
I have of course been keeping up on my running, doing my usual three days a week and averaging right around 20 miles each week.  I have also been doing Jillian Michael's Body Revolution a bit more regularly.  I am almost half way done with it and plan on finishing it up once Ragnar is complete. 

Last week I was scheduled for an 8 mile run on Wednesday and since the kids were with me and I was scheduled to work in the afternoon I mentally prepared to hit the treadmill.  I made it about 2 miles before I decided that I was going to just finish my run outside later after work so I got to 4 miles and called it quits.  It was just so hot and sweaty and BORING.  Usually I can handle the treadmill but lately I have been having a hard time with it.

Ugh, even in just a sports bra and compression shorts it was just too
hot, sweaty and boring on the treadmill.
I texted my friend Seth and asked if he was up for a run around 9:30pm over the Narrows Bridge- and he actually said yes!  I was pretty happy so after work I changed and ran to his house which is a little over a mile away and we set off over the bridge and back.  We chatted and the weather was great.  We actually passed a group of 5 or 6 runners wearing headlamps on the bridge and I figured they were training for Ragnar too, or maybe Hood to Coast.  I dropped him off at home and then finished my run home.  That was 7.5 miles so I did 11.5 miles in one day last week!  That outside run was 1000 times better than my treadmill one though!  Don't you just love friends who will run with you any time of the day??  Awesome.   

Seth and I on top of the bridge.  So thankful for friends that will run with me at night!
So, other than that stuff I have been busy preparing for the Ragnar Relay that is happening Friday.  Actually I am the captain of our team this year and I do not know what I was thinking way back in MARCH when that sounded like an ok plan but it has been causing me an insane amount of stress the last couple of months.  I have lost count of the runners who have said "I'm IN!" and then said "oh, sorry I am OUT" in practically the same breath. 

How hard is it to get 12 runners to commit, pay, train and stay healthy several months in advance?  REALLY HARD.  But I finally got my 12 (just last week in fact) and I think we are ready to run.  Oh, and about that.  I have the farthest distance on our entire team at 24.4 miles.  My first leg is 10.8 miles- that is a pretty significant run!  Then I have 8.9 roller coaster miles at night for leg 2.  Then I get to bring the team to the finish line with a final 4.7 miles.  I am pretty excited about being the one that crosses the finish line, even though I was runner 6 last year and I swore I didn't want to be the last runner in our van this year because I hated waiting around all day to run!  And here I am literally the last runner on our whole team- runner 12!

Bring it on Ragnar!!!  We are ready
Our team is taking on a 60's retro theme this year and it has been fun creating shirts and finding outfits and decorations.  I decorated some cowbells today and picked up some of the basics like glow sticks, window markers and nutter butters.  Oh come on, you know you love those cookies!  If you are on facebook and want to follow our team's progress and fun pictures you can go HERE and "like" us.  I am also tweeting away on twitter these days and you can follow me @runnergirltiff if you would like.

I will try and get one more "pre ragnar" post up about our team, but if I don't you will find all kinds of info on facebook and twitter.  Anyone else out there running Ragnar?  Any tips I need to know?  Last year we were in Van 1, so I am excited to see the course from Van 2 this time.  I can't wait!!  I am especially looking forward to the beer at the finish line! 

10 July 2012

Seattle RnR- The Events Edition

Oh, you thought Seattle Rock and Roll was just a race?  No, no, no- at least not if you do it right!  This race is actually an excuse to get together with other runner friends as many times as possible over the course of 3 days to eat, drink, shop and talk about all things running! 

My 'weekend' started when I picked my long lost BRF Cynthia (that's best runner friend fyi) up from the airport on Thursday evening around 5:15pm.  We drove up to U Village to grab a bite to eat and check out the Lululemon store and do a bit of shopping.  Our next stop was a local runner's house to attend the Another Mother Runner House Party hosted by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea.  They are the authors of the book Run Like a Mother which I purchased almost 2 years ago at the Iron Girl race in Seattle, and a brand new book- Train Like a Mother that they were promoting.  I loved the first book- if you haven't read it I highly recommend it.  These ladies are hilarious, honest, helpful, and it is just a perfect book to read as a mom that runs.  You can buy your own copy HERE!
I love all these things!
Once we arrived at the house we quickly grabbed a glass of sangria and wandered around saying hi to everyone.  There were many local bloggers and runners we knew and it was fun to get to know some of them in person.  There were snacks and then we went outside to sit and listen while the authors read from their new book and did a TON of giveaways.  They gave away a baby jogger stroller (no need for that in my house!!), moving comfort bra's, water bottles, nuun, insoles, socks, yurbuds, giftcards and tons of other stuff I am surely forgetting.  I didn't win anything but one of the ladies gave me her water bottle when she had won two.  One of the giveaways was to who had been to the track most recently- I had been Monday and she had been Tuesday so she got the bottle initially (super nice of her to share!).
I had never tried these socks, but now I need more because they are amazing! 
I bought a copy of the book and a cute purple tshirt that says "i run things" on it.  You can get your very own right HERE.  The authors both signed the book for me and we took a few photos.  Actually, I didn't take any photos at the party (what is wrong with me??) but somebody was taking fancy photos with a nice camera so there are photos somewhere!  We also got treat bags with sofsole socks, nuun, gu, coupons, samples and other fun stuff inside!  Soon after that we called it a night and made the hour drive back to Tacoma to get some rest before the next busy day!

Expo time!
Friday morning after I dropped the kids off Cynthia and I got ourselves completely packed with everything we may need in the next 36 hours.  Which was tricky since the weather was all over the place and I still was not sure what all I would need for the race!  So I packed everything I may possibly want to wear and we set off for the race expo at Century Link field in Seattle.  I love race expos and the Rock and Roll series never disappoints!  We arrived early so it wasn't too busy and within minutes we had our race bibs and goodie bags and were ready to shop!

At the Brooks "run happy cavalcade" there are a lot of fun activities and games to play.  I actually won a free pair of Brooks shoes!  I never win anything, and honestly was just hoping for a shirt since I thought that was the big prize lol.  The girl scanned my card and then rang a cowbell and presented me with a card good for one free pair of Brooks shoes of my choice.  I was sooo excited!! 

After that we wandered around and shopped, collected samples and checked out all things running.  Heaven.  We bought some nuun (lemon tea and kona kola-yum!) from Zoe at the Nuun booth and got an awesome water bottle.  I was a little sad to miss out on meeting up with some of the other bloggers at 3pm when Mel was doing a little chat on the stage, but we had to go to Bellevue to check into our hotel before the dinner that night.  I tried (twice!) to register for next year's race since the discount is really good, but the computers were down both times and then I forgot to check one last time before we left.  Dang it!

So we left the expo, headed to Bellevue Square for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and a little shopping at Lululemon and Lucy, then checked into our hotel.  We had about 15 minutes to get freshened up and changed, then head straight back to downtown Seattle for our Girls Night Out dinner hosted by Online Shoes and Brooks Running.  It was pouring rain, and we had to be inside the parking garage by 6pm.  We left our hotel right about 5pm thinking we would be fine, it was only about 15 minutes away (in theory, it was pouring rain on a Friday evening).  We pulled into the garage at 6:02pm- whew!  I was ready for a drink or two at that point though!!  Not a fan of Seattle traffic.

I was lucky enough to be one of 15 bloggers to be invited to the Online Shoes Girls Night Out event on Friday night before the race.  When we arrived there were place cards layed out and a wonderful goodie bag filled with fun things like a notebook, water bladder, reusable bags, samples, gu and the best thing EVER- the VIP potty pass so we could potty like rock stars at the race!  We also had a special shirt they designed and a collapsable cooler from Online shoes.  So generous and amazing!

My friend Heather works for online shoes- she left me a little note at my place setting!
We were fed dinner from Buca di Beppo with pasta, salad, bread and lasagna- it was perfect for carb loading!  We got to meet Dyana from Brooks and she gave us some great information about Brooks and we watched a slideshow about the company.  I really liked seeing the ad campaign and being able to see how Brooks really is all about running and running HAPPY!  After the presentation Kira showed us all of the shoes and talked about them one by one.  I am obsessed with running shoes and could have talked to her about them all day long- she was very knowledgable!  We even got to pass around a shoe that isn't even on the market yet -the Pure Drift which will release in January!

Brooks shoes- aren't they so pretty?
Sneak peek of the Pure Drift to be released in January. It can alternate from zero to 4mm heel drop by adding/removing an insert. Very light, very flexible and very innovative!
After the shoe demonstration we were told we could pick out not 1, but 2 free pairs of running shoes to take home!  One from the traditional line, and one from the pure project line.  Wow, I could not believe it!  They had stacks of 5 different shoe styles in all of our sizes and I made a beeline straight for the Pure Flow in beautiful purple!  I had been wanting to try that particular shoe for a while now but couldn't justify buying it.  I instantly loved how it felt on my feet and didn't even try on the Pure Cadence, and I already own the Pure Connects. 

A wall of shoes! 
I like them!  My own personal Pure Connects in white/blue and my new Pure Flows in purple!
The difficult task for me was deciding on a more traditional style of shoe to pick.  I have been wearing minimal shoes now (zero to 4mm drop) for almost 2 years and regular shoes kind of scare me.  When I was wearing traditional shoes I also needed a knee brace- since I switched I have not had any problems whatsoever with my knee!  I asked Kira several questions and tried all three pairs on- the Glycerin 10, Adrenaline 12 and the Ghost.  I was not a fan of the Adrenaline's, they felt strange on my feet.  I did like the Ghost but since more likely than not I will be just wearing them for walking or working out I went with the Glycerin 10.  It was seriously the most comfortable shoe ever, like walking on marshmallows.  But I am scared to run in a shoe that is just so much SHOE.  For now I have been living in them for walking around and they are great!

Shoe twins!
Soon our evening ended and we made the drive back to our hotel with all of our new loot, to settle in and try to sleep before the race in the morning (race recap here).  And remember that pair of shoes I won at the expo?!?  I think I will let my hubby pick out a pair of new shoes- I mean really, how many shoes can a girl own?  Wait, don't answer that!  It will be his reward for letting me have 3 days of fun without even griping about it.  He rocks.

Thank you sooo much to Online Shoes for hosting this event in your beautiful office and spoiling us so perfectly before our race.  And a huge thank you to Brooks for sharing your business ideas, history and your amazing product with us.  And thank you to Mel for organizing and getting the ball rolling so we could be spoiled the night before our race.  If you would like to check out the awesome Brooks shoes we tried on and purchase a pair for yourself (which I highly recommend) here is the best way to do so:

Brooks Shoes- here
Brooks Pure Flow- here
Brooks Pure Cadence- here
Brooks Adrenaline 12- here
Brooks Glycerin 10- here
Brooks Ghost- here 

Happy bloggers and their new shoes!!!
Anyone else out there running happy in Brooks shoes?  What do you wear and why do you love them?  I have ran 3 times in my new Pure Flows (a hill run, an easy run and a 10 miler) and so far- LOVE them!!
Oh, and I put that cooler to good use a couple of days ago!!