Parowan City Half Marathon [Race Report]

I registered for the Parowan City Half Marathon a while back and had kind of forgotten about it until I got home from our cruise. Then I had an epiphany, “Oh yeah… I have a half to run in a few short weeks. Yikes!” And I hadn’t run a half in over a year cause the last one (when A was 7-months old) was so rough on me physically. So I had to get myself up from a long run of 6 miles to half marathon in short order.

Well, I did it and my training went really quite well! All of my long runs felt strong and I was happy with how I’ve ramped up. Could it have been better? Of course. But I was pleased with how things went in prep for this race.

Want to know how to make an out-of-town half marathon trip a little bit harder?
Make it a mommy-toddler road trip.

On Friday, I loaded A into the car so she and I could hit the road. We had a nearly 3 hour drive ahead of us (the race is in Southern Utah) so I strapped her into her seat and made sure she had a water bottle and a bag full of books within reach. I can easily make the drive on my own in 2.5 hours, but with the kid we had to stop at a gas station for about 10-15 minutes to look at everything in the store and just let her move her little legs. I never knew there were so many monkeys to be seen in a gas station… but there were. Monkeys on food wrappers, monkey toys, and things that kind of look like monkeys but aren’t really monkeys.

The good thing about this race is its proximity to my mom’s house. Which means that A had a babysitter for the race AND I got to share my kiddo with her grandparents. We all went to the packet pickup at the fairgrounds, where A put my bag around her neck and was spinning around in circles. I took video of her spinning and extracted this still using the app Vhoto.

My kid wearing the race bag around her neck while holding a cowbell.

My race bib with the timing chip attached to the back (Jaguar timing system), race shirt, bandana with the race logo on it, brochures for the area, keychain and a sample of Deep Blue Rub by doTerra were all in the bag. Race organizers/volunteers also had written every runner’s bib # on the bags, so you could put whatever you wanted in the bag, take it to the start line and use it as your drop bag. They return the bags to the finish line for the runners. The city was also giving away cowbells for spectators. Charming little touches that come from a small town race!

I woke up at 4 am to get ready for the race and drove my mom’s vehicle to the race start (so she could bring the kid in my car. Moving a car seat is a pain!) The runners all gathered at the fairgrounds and we were driven to the start line up the canyon on school buses. It was still dark when the buses left, but the sky was brightening so the scene when we got to the reservoir where the race starts was pretty and serene. I looooooooove me some mountain air.

Sun about to peak over the horizon at Yankee Meadows reservoir

I am not entirely sure what the temperature was at the start line, but I’d guess it was in the mid 50’s. I was so excited to feel cooler temps and even possibly feel a little cold. After so many days in the Vegas summer, it’s nice to escape the heat every now and then! The race start was so casual, I’m not even sure where the official start “line” was and there wasn’t a starting mat. So the race timing was gun to chip finish, except there wasn’t a gun. So I guess it was “person counting down” to chip finish! The first three miles of the race are on dirt road and there were volunteers to direct us around the cattle guards in the roads. Once more, small town charm.

This race is a downhill race. Really downhill. I knew it was all downhill, I had looked at the elevation profile. But I didn’t realize just how steep some of these downhills were! And as awesome as the downhills were, the last 2.5 miles or so were kind of hard because it was either flat or a very slight incline. It’s hard to get your legs turning over properly after so much downhill!

Course Map  Parowan City Half Marathon - Yankee Meadow Run in Parowan, UT

I had to make a pit stop at mile 6. To be blunt… if I didn’t stop I probably would have shat myself. And I’m not in contention for any prizes nor am I competitive enough to just keep going in the face of that potential humiliation. So I stopped at the porta potty by the aid station. Notice, I said THE porta potty. Just one, a single solitary one. And there was a line. I waited there for 5 minutes. I know this because of the difference in my actual time and the “moving” time recorded by my Garmin. The volunteers at the aid station were friendly and chatted with us as we waited in line, “I guess this is the point where runners gotta go, huh? We’ll tell our bosses we need more potties here next year!” LOL! Yep… definitely need a couple more.

But for most of the race, I was really moving well and I was loving the mountains. There were hand-written signs all down the canyon along the course with sayings like, “Smile, you paid for this!” and “Your feet hurt from kicking so much butt!” My favorite was probably “No! You’re not almost done!”

Once I hit the flat ground it literally felt like I was moving through mud, it was so hard to pick my feet up! I wasn’t the only one feeling that way… I saw lots of walkers in the last stretch. Even people who were walking in the finishing chute because they just couldn’t do any more. And even though I had several moments where I felt really worn down in that last stretch, I was impressed with my surge to the finish line! And my toddler ran some of the steps with me in to the finish.

Want to know how to make an out-of-town half marathon finish a little bit sweeter?
Make it a mommy-toddler road trip!

Mommy and toddler at the finish.

I literally crossed the finish line, turned around the chute and dropped to the ground so A could run into my arms.  She told me she loved me right there at the finish. She’s way better than any medal I could receive!

We walked over to find some food, and proof of being a mother… every food item I started to eat the kid said she wanted it and I would give it to her. I ran 13.1 miles but she needed to refuel! :-) We shared watermelon, banana and a peanut butter granola bar. (Which prompted her to say “Is PEANUT BETTER!” upon first bite.) After we’d eaten a little, A stood up to give me another hug and then said, “Mommy go shower!” Yes dear, I will take care of that.

Refueling with the kid

If you only do races for the bling, the Parowan Half Marathon isn’t the race for you. The medal was kind of weak. But here’s the thing… the race is SUPER cheap (I think I just paid $35 or so) and it’s in a beautiful place. So I don’t care that the medal isn’t a heavy showpiece. It’s still a souvenir of a great event!

2014 Parowan Half Marathon Medal

My legs started hurting pretty shortly after the race, I knew I would feel that downhill. I used the sample of the Deep Blue Rub before I got in the car to drive home. (First time ever trying that stuff, it felt pretty good!) But my legs were pretty trashed. Here it is several days post race and I’m still feeling it! Hopefully this makes my muscles even stronger for downhill races cause I have another one in about a month!

I would recommend this race to anyone/everyone. Travel to do it if you must, you’ll find plenty of fantastic things to do in the region (if you need help, just ask me!) – it’s a great little event and I really enjoyed myself (I would do it again, and again, and again!) I’m also quite pleased that I did a half marathon, it’s been a while since my last one!

I wore my Narrative clip during the race. I will post a real review of the gadget at some point, but I just wanted to share some of the better pics it snapped during the race.

 

Foam Glow 5K [race report]

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Saturday evening I ran the antithesis of my morning 5K that day… instead of a fun little community race with people doing it for fun and for time, the night one was all about partying. The Foam Glow 5K took place at Sam Boyd Stadium and was host to 9000 party-goers. I was really quite surprised at the amount of booze people were consuming BEFORE the “race” had even started. Like most of these fun/themed runs, it was not timed.

I was a little on the fence about this race… I ran The Color Run and had fun. I ran a Color Me Rad race and had less fun. I’ve made fun of the crazy themed races that are emerging every minute. But I went to the race with a couple of friends and tried to keep an open mind, which served well because…

I. HAD. A. BLAST!

I wore the race t-shirt, one of the rare instances where I would actually do that. It was a nice, crisp, white canvas that I could totally destroy with the color!

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We got there with plenty of time to kill, but we got great parking and got to be involved in all of the pre-party stuff. Initially I wasn’t going to get messy before the race… but that plan quickly got tossed out the window.

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The race was set to start at 8pm, or as the sun set so we could run in the dark. When we started to see people filtering over to the start line, we made our toward the start line. I knew we didn’t want to be at the back of the pack because they were releasing the runners in waves. They just strung ropes up in between segments of people once the start chute was filled and the start time was near. We ended up being in the second wave. Looking back at the sea of people behind us about 20 minutes before the race started, I was glad I didn’t have to wait for all those people ahead of me!

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The starting lineup… 9000 runners. It extends back and curves around, you can see some of the lineup between those trees.

It got dark and we started running. And then after a little bit, we started to walk. My co-runners weren’t quite prepped to run a whole 5k straight, but that’s okay. We had fun power-walking and running. The first foam station was, unfortunately, out of commission when we got to it. There was an ambulance with flashing lights, so I wonder if someone was hurt or sick. (Drank too much in the heat then ran?) But the other foam stations were blasting, you had to run through a nice layer of foam that was accumulated on the ground, while foam shot out of cannons at you. There’s no avoiding it, you will get messy. And it’s fun!

We ran across the finish line… kind of. It was the only finish line I’ve been to where you actually run toward the finish line, then pause to cross the line while waiting for people to take pictures!

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My friend Jenn at the finish line. Her first 5K!

Then the after-party! If you don’t feel like you have gotten colorful enough in the pre-party and during the race, you have the opportunity to dance to club music while getting blasted with even more foam under blacklights with glow necklaces!

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We jumped into the party, got covered in a new layer of colorful foam and headed to the blacklight photo booth to take our picture.

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My hands were too slippery… I couldn’t get my glow necklaces fastened!

Then we went back for more foam! But after a bit, it actually started to make me feel cold! Also, the foam REALLY REALLY REALLY BURNS the eyeballs. I was surprised at how much that hurt. If they marketed it as “Join 9000 of your not-closest friends as we spray foam into your face that burns your eyes out of the sockets” nobody would sign up! Okay, it’s not that bad. But it does hurt a lot! I actually got pretty adept at turning sideways and running with my eyes closed in the race. But there was no way to avoid it when you’re being sprayed from every direction in that after party!

I don’t think I’ve ever been messier in my whole life, but it was so much fun. I got home and my husband told me I looked like I’d been murdered.

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I still have a little bit of lingering color around my fingernails and my eyelids were kind of hard to get un-pink, but the rest of me was clean immediately after my shower. It didn’t stain my hair at all (DAMN!). The next test will be washing my running clothes to see how they come through. The shoes are permanently colored, but they already had a couple of layers of color on them from the other colorful runs I’d done. They are my designated “color-added” run shoes. (I’m trying to avoid using the official name of one of those races to describe them all! I’m so weird with technicalities like that! Like “Kleenex” vs. tissue.)

If you get the chance, grab some friends and do one of these. I actually have some other friends that I’d love to take with me on a race like this because I just know we’d have a blast.

Blonds Have More Fun 5K [race report]

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On Saturday morning I ran a 5k called “Blonds Have More Fun”. It’s part of the “It’s Just Hair” series by local race company Jus Run. It’s a new race series and this was the first race in the series. (The redhead and brunette ones are still coming up… and yeah, I’m signed up for those too. I’ll get a special medal if I do all of the series.) Participants were encouraged to dress up as their favorite blondes… so I ran as myself! LOL! I could say that I am my favorite blonde… but I could also say that I’m too boring tame lazy to run in costume!

It was a pretty morning, not way too hot… it could have used a little bit of a breeze. But overall it felt nice for the last day of May in Las Vegas.

The race was held on the path around a local soccer park. The last couple 5k’s I’ve done have been there as well! It’s interesting to see how each race director manages to direct us in slightly different patterns to get the 3.1 miles mapped. Some lead us uphill immediately, but this one started us downhill for about a half mile before we looped around to start our uphill climb. I liked having the downhill to warmup a little.

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The bad thing was that after I started going I realized that I was feeling kind of weird, just having a hard time catching my breath and my heart was racing more than it should have been. So I ended up walking for a couple of stretches. I was a little annoyed at myself for that, but I had to get my breathing in check.

Jus Run has nice medals for their runs, this run was no exception. At the finish we all got a lovely medal with a good amount of heft!

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I don’t require a medal for 5k’s… but they’re fun nonetheless!

To go along with the celebratory atmosphere and the idea that “blonds have more fun” there were chocolates at an aid station and champagne (err….. non-alcoholic sparkling cider. There were kids there!)

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I hung around for the awards ceremony and applauded for the overall winners. The overall female winner was young. I don’t know her exact age, but she was in the F 10-19 age group. I thought it was interesting that there were no awards to give out in the M 20-29 age group, because there were no men in that age group participating! And it was extremely surprising to me that I was called out as the 2nd place finisher in the F 30-39 age group! (I was beat by a gal dressed as “… Baby One More Time” era Britney Spears… catholic school girl skirt, thigh high socks and tied off shirt. I give her mad props for running in that!)

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Photos from the race that the event organizer posted on Facebook:

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The next race in this series is in October. Depending on the weather, I may or may not run it with the stroller. It’s the Redheads Rule race… maybe I should dye my hair red for it!

Moms Rock 10K [Race Report]

Moms Rock - Jill crossing start line

On Saturday I ran a 10K called Moms Rock. In case you can’t figure that out… it’s a tribute to mothers and it’s held on Mother’s Day weekend! The race started at 7 AM and it was held on gravel/dirt trails, so I didn’t take the stroller. I thought it seemed an appropriate irony that the night before I ran a Mother’s Day race was a night where Alex woke up wheezing and coughing, and I was awake with her for about 2.5 hours in the middle of the night!

The race was held at a local state park, Floyd Lamb State Park, a place that I’ve actually been running at fairly frequently the past several months. It’s pretty there, I find it peaceful and it clears my mind. It’s one of my little oases here in Las Vegas. (An oasis with actual water, my other one is very dusty/dirty/open desert!)

Anyway, I woke up early to make sure all systems were go, then went to the race start. I found the Team Challenge group at the race, they were doing this as their mid-training cycle tune-up race! It was great to see them, I really do miss coaching in that program. Someday I’d like to return to it! I also stopped to chat with Jim, the owner of the local Fleet Feet Sports store.

It wasn’t too long before the race director was summoning everyone to the start. She explained the course, as well as informed us that there may be some cones missing as there was some jerk running out there on the course throwing all the cones into the desert and threatening to mace the volunteers that were trying to fix them. I don’t understand why somebody would do that to a race, but I’ve heard about people pulling down markers at several races. Why?! WHY?!!!

Anyway, I guess I could see that the course might be a little confusing when listening to the description if you’ve never run out there, just because there are so many offshoots that you could take and the 5K went off on some of those and then would reconnect in with the 10K before leaving the trail once more. This required lots of signs around, but I think overall people were fine with it.

Moms Rock - Jill crossing start line

This is the only photo of myself I found in the race photos… as the race is starting.

The race felt great, there was a pretty good headwind when running to the north, so that felt like it was slowing me down… but it pushed me along when running to the south! And as much as I love doing races with my daughter in the stroller, it was a lot of fun to get to do one on my own for once too!

After the race I ran into more people I know. Charlene was kind enough to snap a picture of me and one of the people I saw was a gal I trained with for the San Antonio RnR marathon back in 2008. I actually haven’t even seen her since I had a kid… and Alex is 20.5-months-old now! Weird how you can spend so much time with someone for years and then you just kind of drift apart.

I stopped at Starbucks on my way home after the race. The gal at the register asked what my number and medal were from, so I told her I ran a 10K. She said, “A 10K?! Whoa! What is that in real miles?”

Moms Rock 2014 Medal

When I told her it was 6.2 miles she said, “And you’re still walking?! That’s crazy!” Sometimes I forget that people react that way, especially when I feel a little down on myself that 6-7 miles is my “long run” these days and I used to run 13+ every weekend! Good reminder to myself that our journeys change throughout life!

Interesting fun fact: There were 135 finishers in the 10K… 100 of them were female!
I was 12th out of 100 females.
20th out of 135 runners.
8 out of 32 in my AG.

DJs for PJs 5K [Race Report]

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This morning Alex and I ran the DJs for PJs 5K. Well… I ran it, she went along for the ride.

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I picked up my packet the day before at a local Kohl’s store. Part of the event was a pajama drive for kids, so I had purchased a pair of baby pajamas at Target earlier in the week. I felt a little silly carrying a pair of pajamas into Kohl’s to donate. I guess I could have just bought a pair there!

Race participants could pick between a gray or a blue shirt. My shirt is a size S and it is huge. It will either become a sleep shirt or disappear completely.

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The packet also came with about a billion pieces of paper for various businesses, some of which I actually found interesting. There were some for free drinks and free desserts. (Okay, odds are I will never redeem those, because I don’t need a yard size drink and the desserts are at places I probably wouldn’t take my daughter for dinner and I don’t know what a date night is anymore.)

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Also, there were a couple of things for free workouts: a boot camp workout and a couple classes at a yoga studio. The yoga studio is nowhere near my house… but they have TRX classes. If I can fit in a couple free TRX classes, I’d love to try it! Those may be worth redeeming.

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We also got some other random stuff, including a water bottle that came with a warning that you should never put it in the dishwasher as it may melt. WHAT?! And a pen on a leash… in case your pen wanders away. And one of those RedStar sunglasses cards. Anyone ever redeemed one of those?

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It was about 75 degrees at race time, but it definitely felt warmer than that! My body needs to do the first heat adaptation! (The second will come when we are over 100 all the time! Vegas Baby!)

 

Runners/walkers were encouraged to wear their PJs for the race. The irony, I wore an old race tech-shirt to bed with a pair of gym shorts. I got up in the morning, changed out of those into a different tech shirt and running shorts! The people who actually wore PJs looked too hot!

The course was uphill for the first half. I’ve run this path soooooo many times. I don’t even know how many times, yet today it felt harder than it ever has in the past. Maybe because I was pushing about 50 pounds uphill! (I think the stroller weighs about 30 lbs and my little peanut is around 21 lbs.)

I like the pace chart from my Garmin, how you can see where it dips on some inclines. Oh, and where my passenger demanded WATER! and when she was ALL DONE! I’m not so competitive that I’m going to ignore that, it was warm!

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I had a lot of cheers on the course, lots of people yelling out “Go Mommy Runner!” and “Run Mom!” At the turnaround the volunteers there were yelling, “First stroller runner! Woo hoo!” It was kind of funny, I have never gotten that much attention for pushing a stroller in a race. At the finish line there was a gal just a little ahead of me and some guy started yelling, “Go mom runner, push it in. Pass that girl!” So I did… :-)

We got a medal when we crossed the finish line. Then the organizers said, “Give them another one, for the baby.” So Alex has her own medal, her very first one. She likes pointing out the “baby” on it. (She points out babies everywhere.)

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Jamba Juice was one of the sponsors and they had little smoothies at the finish for everyone. I went to pick one up and they asked if I wanted one for my cute baby. I had assumed I would just share some with her, but they promised there was enough for her to have her own. She loved it.

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What she didn’t love was all the people who wanted to talk to her. And when the race photographers/videographers gathered right in front of me and asked if they could take our picture and get video of us, she started to cry. She has a little bit of trouble with straw cups sometimes, she tries to tip them up like she was drinking from a sippy cup. And well… that gets messy. So when you are already kind of upset and then end up with cold smoothie all down the front of your chest, you might be sad and start crying harder, saying, “Go go go. Home.” So we left before the awards ceremony could start, thus I have no idea if I placed in my AG or if we won any of the raffle prizes. But we did ruin a shirt!

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It was a fun little event, I think the crowd was a little smaller because there was the big Mustang 50th Anniversary Half/5K going on, but that’s a one time thing and if they do this one again next year I’d participate. It’s a good cause and they did a nice job with the organization. And there’s something about having down a race in the morning that makes the day feel so much more interesting than if we’d just done the menu planning, grocery shopping, stuff around home like usual.

Race Report: Chefs for Kids 5k

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Embarking on my new plan for the year… run shorter races where I can take the stroller… I signed up for the Chefs for Kids 5K. I actually did this race two years ago, when I was just a few months pregnant with Alexis, so I guess this is the second time she’s done the race with me!

The night before, we stopped by Red Rock Running Company to pick up my race packet. Runners got a long-sleeve cotton t-shirt.

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We also got a bag full of snacks… I was surprised at the amount of food in this bag. I admit, I didn’t want the Kool-Aid pouch, the “Big Orange Pound Cake” or the ranch Goldfish crackers much! But the Trader Joe’s pita chips were worth keeping! As was the Kind bar… Kind bars are yummy!

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The race started at 9 AM, so that was plenty of time to sleep in, get some breakfast in Alex, get dressed and get over to the park. A 9 AM start feels really leisurely! It was a beautiful day and lots of people had their dogs there, that made Alex happy… she loves dogs. You could hear her in the stroller “Hi Doggie! Hi Doggie” all morning!

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We walked to the start line and there was a gal that came up to me to ask what kind of stroller I had. She told me she was 4-months pregnant. I thought that was kind of a funny little exchange because I had a conversation with a woman at the race two years earlier that was about the same!

The gun sounded and I hit play on my headphone controls, thinking my audiobook would start up where I had paused it. But instead it just started playing random music on my phone. So I listened to an odd mix of Maroon 5, MGMT, Green Day and Sweeney Todd soundtrack while running.

Just after the halfway point, I noticed my shoelace had come untied. It’s annoying having to re-tie your shoe during a race, but even more annoying with the stroller. Pull it over, put on the brake, tie, un-brake… I’m sure that added about two minutes to my time. (SARCASM!!)

2014 Chefs for Kids Finish

Photo from the Las Vegas Track Club

We got to the finish line, or what I thought was the finish line, and started to slow down. Then someone yelled out, “The finish is at the end of the chute!” Huh? So we stepped it up again to the finish line where someone was collecting the bottoms of our bibs. The race wasn’t chip-timed.

There was a pancake breakfast post-race, as well as Jamba Juice smoothies. Alex drank half my smoothie, but she was most excited to see “BANANA!” on the table. She loves bananas, usually eats one each morning and we were out at home. So when she saw that there, it was like she won the race! Yes, free bananas for cute babies! (Or for the racers who give their banana to cute babies!)

She was wandering around, enjoying the freedom from the stroller and playing in the grass when they started to give out the awards and I was shocked to hear them say I was the winner in the F 30-39 category. I didn’t even take my watch so I had no idea what my time was.  So I scooped her up and said, “That’s us!” We claimed our certificate, but Alex was really more concerned about where that banana was.

Chefs for Kids 3rd Place

It was fun to get out to do a race and I think I’m going to enjoy just sticking to races where I can take the stroller for a while. Sure, it’s a pain to get the BOB in and out of the car (the woman demonstrating the stroller collapse on their YouTube channel sure looks a lot more graceful than I feel when maneuvering it!) but it’s worth it to keep up my hobby and built memories with Alex.

Ragnar Shout Outs

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Shout Out To: My Vanmates

  • Chris: Our fearless (fearful?) captain who made this all happen!
  • Lindsay: Totally responsible for upping our kill count!
  • Lisa: Shared tons of wisdom on all her past Ragnar experiences.
  • Jeni Jo: Stepped in at the last-minute to fill a vacancy and fit right in!
  • Jen: The swimmer-runner with the awesomely warm parkas and yummy snacks!

Shout Out To: Van 1

The biggest bummer of Ragnar is that I don’t get to hang out with half of my team that much. But to the members of the other van: Dyani, Ellen, Kevin, Eric, Suzanne, Peter and Tera… Thanks for being part of the My Little Ponies team!

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Shout Out To: Alissa

Alissa was supposed to be on our team originally, but due to circumstances ended up not being able to run with us. She still designed our awesome logo that we used on our shirt and on magnets that we used to tag other vans. It was a huge hit, we had other teams coming to us to specifically ask if they could have more magnets.

Shout Out To: Naawk

Naawk was one of the sponsors of the race, they make sunblock products. At the finish line while we were waiting for Jeni Jo to come in, I realized that I had wiped all of my sunblock off after my last leg and was starting to feel a little like I was roasting. I went to the Naawk tent to ask if they would spray me down. I was totally ready to just let them blast sunblock in my face, but they were kind enough to spray down my arms, legs, neck and then pull out a tube of cream to let me rub that into my face. Because of that, I didn’t end up with a sunburn! Whew!

Shout Out To: Fabulous Freddy’s

We stopped at the gas station Fabulous Freddy’s to put some gas in our rental van and wash the marker paint off the windows. Fabulous Freddy’s pumps gas for their patrons for no extra charge (or tip) as part of their excellent service. What was even more awesome, several of their employees came out with squirt bottles and paper towels to help us wash off our van’s windows. They did it with a smile as they asked us about our adventure.

Shout Out To: My Hubby

My hubby stayed at home with the baby while I went and played. Now, it’s true that I’ve basically occupied her for 14.5 months and it was his turn… but he made me feel relieved when he told me to “go have fun.” I do know he took her out to dinner on Friday night, which he said was hard to do, and he took her to get donuts on Saturday morning! So a little daddy-daughter date time was good for both of them!

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2013 Recap

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On November 8-9, 2013 I ran the Ragnar Relay Las Vegas as part of the team My Little Ponies and Holy cow… what an awesome experience! I seriously had so much fun!

First, I was extremely worried about this. I was nervous because I was supposed to be running 17.3 miles total and that’s the furthest I’ve run in a 24-hour period since the Las Vegas RnR in December 2011! And even though the distance was broken up into 3 legs, that almost made it a little more intimidating because I knew that after running I’d have to hop in a van and head to our next exchange! The other reason for nerves was this was the first time I’ve been away from my daughter overnight since she was born. (she’s 14-months-old) It’s not like I was leaving her anywhere weird, she stayed at home with her Daddy… but I was still nervous!

I was in van 2, so my half of our team didn’t start our legs until the afternoon on Friday, November 8. In a Ragnar Relay there are “major exchanges” which are points where one van ends their set of legs and the next van picks up the relay. So the first major exchange was major exchange 6, that’s where my van would start our runs. Major exchange 6 was very close to my house. So it was kind of nice to know the part of town where we were starting out! It was pretty warm as we wandered around the major exchange and listening to our safety briefing (which didn’t really give me a lot of info, since I could barely hear the girl talking. But it’s part of the procedure and I respect Ragnar’s needs to push the message.) but fortunately the sun was on its way down then too.

During the “night hours” of the race all runners are expected to have on a reflective vest, carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp and have a blinky light on their back somewhere. All team members in the van have to wear a reflective vest anytime they are out of the van during the night hours. For the Vegas race… night hours were 3:45 pm until 6:30 am. Since my first leg started around 3:30, that meant that 2 of my 3 legs were during “night hours” and I had to wear the requisite gear. Although, it was never dark enough to need the lights during my first leg, I do imagine the reflective vest was a good idea as it was early dusk when I finished.

After Chris (our van’s first runner) started his first leg we piled into the van and drove to the next exchange so I could run. I was jittery, excited, happy, nervous, etc. Basically a whole range of emotions. So we had to get the “my first leg of my first relay” photo!

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For the first leg I wore/used:

The 6+ miles felt amazing, the weather cooled down and I just felt fluid and smooth. I did get held up at a highway crossing for about 5 minutes, which was kind of a bummer. And I did have to stop at several stoplights, but I didn’t care that much. But at one of them, a man was pretty grumpy about stopping. He kept muttering, “This is ridiculous. Stoplights. They should do something about this. Ridiculous.” Ummm… did he honestly think the city would shut down 187 miles of road for this race?

I passed off the slap bracelet (instead of a baton) to the next runner on my team and hopped in the van quickly, since the next runner had a leg that was 2.x miles and we had to drive to the next exchange to be ready! That continued for a few more times until we hit the next major exchange so van 1 could take over again. When we hit that we had a 3.5 hour break or so before our runs started up again. We stopped and ate at Panera. I wish the serving of chicken noodle soup was bigger, because that really tasted good to me at that point!

The middle of the night major exchange for our van to begin running again was very crowded and hard to navigate. Chris had 5.x miles to go before I ran again, I had a 3.1 mile leg this time. It was not nearly as difficult to run at midnight as I thought it might have been. In fact, I loved it. The weather felt nice and cool, no sun beating down on me, my run was all slightly downhill… it was a really good leg. Except for the man I passed who sounded like he was giving birth. He ran while making these horrible moaning sounds.  But at least he added to my kill total! (Every runner you pass counts as one of your “kills” and many teams keep tally on the windows of their vans of how many kills they had.)

Leg 2 I wore/used:

After this leg I got back in the van, rode along for the next 3 runners legs before I conked out. I got about 3 hours of sleep while laying in our van as our last runner did her leg and when van 1 took over again.

By the next morning, our team was a little off from our projected times and I realized I would be starting my leg about an hour after I had originally thought I was going to run. My last leg was the one I was the most worried about. It was all uphill and was my longest leg. 7.6 miles seems a lot more intimidating when you’re tired and have already run 9+ miles! Plus at that point, I wasn’t really feeling like eating much.

Around 9:30 am Chris passed off the baton-slap bracelet to me for the final time. I started out on my run, that took place entirely on the River Mountains Loop Trail. No traffic to contend with… but also no shade. And no water stations. And hardly any breeze. Much of my leg looked like this:

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After a while, I started to walk up some of the hills and ran all the down/flats. It was just too warm and I was beginning to closely ration my water to make sure I had enough to get me to the end. This sign was a very welcome sight because it meant that I was nearly done and I could gulp the last of my water finally!

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I didn’t get to check my final check box off until a little bit later because I had to get in the van as fast as possible so we could get to the next exchange, which was only a little over 2 miles away. Fortunately Lisa had a bottle of water for me so when I went through the exchange chute I could immediately chug something cold!

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Leg 3 I wore/used:

The day got warmer and warmer, we fell a little bit further and further off our projected finish time and we ran up and up and up hills. But team My Little Ponies conquered the Ragnar Relay Las Vegas in a little over 29 hours!

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Team Finish Time: 29:49:50
Mixed Open Division: 143 out of 339
Overall: 193 out of 429
And I got some nice hardware to show for the effort!

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Daddy and baby had a nice time together… but it may take my husband longer to recover from the effort than my recovery! (Who, by the way just woke up from her nap so I must go get her!)

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2013

Ragnar Relay logo

Ragnar Relay logoLast night I went to the kickoff party for the Ragnar Relay Las Vegas, held in downtown Las Vegas at Zappos HQ. The location was insane… of course, I hate going downtown so that may color my opinion about the spot. But unlike everywhere on The Strip, free parking isn’t all over the place. And it’s basically a hop, skip and a jump from some pretty shady areas. Going down there at night… well, it’s not my cup of tea.

But Zappos has put together a pretty cool facility and if it works to “revitalize downtown” then that’s swell for my city. I still don’t foresee hanging out there a lot! I parked at Fremont Street (paid $6 for parking, robbery I tells ya! LOL!) and walked to the party. It was sooooooo crowded. There were lines snaking all over the place and it was hard to tell which line was for what thing. Food, checking in, picking up shirts, getting beer? They all seemed to merge together.

I found my team easily and waited in line with them to get food. That’s basically the extent of the party… waiting in line to get some pasta. But the pasta was tasty, the salad was a lovely mix of veggies and they had s’mores, which is kind of a fun touch! Except when everybody is waiting in long lines, I felt a little guilty standing there toasting a marshmallow because I felt like I was holding up the line more!

Honestly, I probably could have skipped the party, had it not been for the fact that I got to meet several people on my team for the first time ever. Some of them have been my pals for YEARS and we’ve never met face-to-face. We’ve even started a website together (TheRUNiverse.com) and still hadn’t met in person. So crazy to feel like you know people so well yet this is the first time you’ve actually been in their presence.

I’m in van 2, we start our legs this afternoon. I admit, I’m nervous about running 17.3 total miles in the next 24 hours, running one of those legs in the middle of the night and hanging out in a van for so long. I’m sad at the thought of leaving my baby overnight for the first time (with her daddy, so it’s not like it’s rough for her!) But I’m also excited for a new adventure. Wish me luck.

Race Report: Ride The Wind 10K

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This morning I ran a race. My race started at 7 AM. Things have sure changed since I became a mother. In the past, I probably would have woke up at 4 AM for this, just to stress and fuss over things, making sure I had everything together and that every inch of exposed skin was slathered in sunblock. These days, I value my sleep too much. I woke up at 5 AM, pumped while eating a Larabar, got dressed, grabbed some essentials and was in my car driving to the race by 5:45.

The race took place on the Cottonwood Valley Trails, near Blue Diamond, Nevada. This means it took me about 40 minutes to drive to the start line. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find the start, but it was very obvious where things were going on. I pulled into the lot, got my race packet, used the nasty pit toilet and was ready to go with 15 minutes to spare!

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The race was the Ride the Wind 100M/100K/50K/Marathon/Half Marathon/10K. Lots of distances. The ultra distances and marathon started at 6 and 6:30 AM. As the runners for the half and 10K lined up to listen to instructions, I noticed a little girl all dressed in pink.

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When we lined up at the start, she was standing near me with her dad. I asked her how old she was and she told me she’s six. Can you believe that? 6-years-old and doing a technical trail run! Her dad then said that her 12-year-old brother was out doing the 100-miler. Uh… WHAT?!

We were sent off and started to run. The pre-race instructions told us the trails were very technical with lots of rocks and that was the truth. The first stretch I was starting to wonder why I thought this was a good idea, I kept rolling my ankles on loose rocks.

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But after a while, we got to go downhill. And the trails even seemed a little clearer at times! Whew!

Ride The Wind 10K elevation

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I got a little lost at one point. It wasn’t just me though, there was a good sized group of us that got lost. I figure I added nearly a mile to the race distance. Plus the official measured distance of the race wasn’t a traditional 6.2 like a 10K should be, but 6.67 miles or something like that. I’m totally okay with that too… it’s TRAILS! Glorious TRAILS!

I loved this race so much. It was really pretty out there, very exposed open desert but still stunning. We had great weather for the weekend, a sudden “cool-down” meant the race was 58 at the start and 69 when I was leaving to go home.

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I wore:

I carried:

The race shirt is a tech-T, fairly simple. Not covered in sponsor logos and has the race logo on the front along with a photo on the back.

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The medal was two-sided. Cool concept, it’s a little fuzzy visually though.

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The gear bag was one of the nicer canvas drawstring bags I’ve received at a race. It has smaller pockets on the front and back that velcro shut. One even contained a poncho! We got a sample packet of Hammer Recoverite, a buff with the race logo on it, an On the Go towelette, a bottle opener, coupon for a discount at RecoFit and some literature from Hammer. I thought there was supposed to be something from Energy Bits in there too, but maybe I just missed getting that in my bag.

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I really wish there was a bigger turnout for this race, it’s a great location. Granted, it’s BLM land so there can’t be a lot of people. But probably more than this. I hope they can continue to hold it!