Ragnar 101- Captaining a race

Being the captain of a Ragnar Team can be a fun and/or stressful endeavor. Captaining a trail Ragnar is much easier than a road race.

Requirements for both road and trail:

Organizing the team. Obviously you have to recruit a team for the race. For road races this means 11 people, for a trail it is 7 people. (Not including yourself). Once you have the team members you must register the team. This is done through the Ragnar website and requires payment. Some Captains require runners to pay upfront so they can cover the fees while other captains allow the runners to pay them back after they have purchased the team. Once you have paid for the team you can add runners through the Ragnar website to your team through email. While registering the team you have to have a team name. I’m not going to go into how to make a name (there are other sites for that), my recommendation is to think about something fun for decorations and team shirts, that also encompasses your teams spirit!

The easiest way we have found to keep a team organized is through making a Facebook group. Obviously this depends on if people are on Facebook and use it easily. This allows the team communicate with each other and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Team shirts, decorations, or other fun things are another great thing for captains to organize. Most teams for Ragnar Relays have team shirts or things that set them apart from others. One year we did silicon bracelets to pass out to other teams. Some teams for road races do magnets for the vans and trails do decorations for their camp sites. I use Customink for shirt creation.

Another thing needed for all Ragnar Races are volunteers! For Road races teams must provide or pay for 3 volunteers. For Trails teams need 1 volunteer. The captain needs to make sure volunteers are assigned or paid for.

Trail Captains:

Trail relays mean a lot more organization of who brings what. Unless you are paying for glamping, you need to bring all your own camping supplies for a trail race. This includes tent, sleeping bags, ice chest, chairs, etc. (I will do a future post on preparing and packing for a Ragnar Trail). Since space is limited it is easier if only certain people bring certain things. This needs to be organized ahead of time.

Road Captains:

Road relays means a lot more organization and reservation ahead of time. A Captain needs to decide if the team will be staying at hotels, and what cars will be used. Most teams rent vans for the race. A captain will need to do this well ahead of time and make sure the van is reserved and paid for.

The captain will also need to organize who is paying for gas and such and how tea members will be paying for these things in the end.

 

All captains should make sure the team is organized and training before the race. If the team is all local it could be fun to get together for a few group training runs, or team meetings. It is always fun to meet in person.

 

As a captain I put together spread sheets of everyone’s information. Ragnar provides some spread sheets or you can make your own. Make sure to include runner order, money (who paid, who owes etc), contact information, who is bringing what, and dates and times of important information.

Color War

For Easter I was asked to put together a color run for our students. That sounded fun to me so as usual I jumped full in and took it to the next level. It was a little more than I anticipated, but turned out to be so fun!

First we decided to make the colored powder instead of buying it. This seemed easy enough, but was much harder than anticipated in bulk. Had we been doing it for 5-10 people it would have been great, but close to 50 people it was a little more difficult. I got the recipe for the powder from HERE and changed it a bit to fit our needs. Essentially it was mixing cornstarch and water with food coloring and drying it out. The first batch turned out mostly unusable, but the following batches we made it work.

We ended up mixing the water with the food coloring first which helped with the mixing and actually coloring. Then we slowly mixed in the cornstarch. We found that using more water than recommended made it easier to mix the corn starch in and get a more even color.

We mixed 2:1 cornstarch to water. Of course that made the drying out process a little more difficult as well. Once the powder was mixed we smoothed it out on baking sheets and put it in the oven. We have convection ovens here on campus that cook very different than normal ovens. We found that putting it around 200ish degrees and taking it out and mixing every 5 minutes helped it break up better and not over cook. This is where we messed up on the first batch. The recipe said to mix every 1 minutes. This was way too long for us and it was already rock hard. Once we took it out and let it cool, I processed it in the food processor until it was powder. Once all was finished I separated it into smaller bags.

For this war I hid all the smaller bags of powder (about 30 each color) around the field. Then we separated the group into 4 teams based on each color. Each participant got a colored band in their teams color to help identify teams. The rules were simple throw powder at the other player, and no face shots. To make points the teams needed to get the least amount of their own color on themselves and the most of it on the other teams. Another piece to the points was to collect as many empty bags as they could in their teams bucket. (This was really just to prevent trash from being all over the field.) So once all the teams were ready I blew the whistle and off they went.

It was interesting seeing some students collecting their color powder and waiting to use it while others just threw whatever they found. Some used most of their time to collect bags, while other chased after peers. I even saw one boy pouring out the other teams color powder so that they couldn’t use it on him. It was interesting to see the strategies that they used or didn’t use.

Once it seemed like most of the bags were found and the activity was dying down I gave them a 2 minute warning to make sure they used it all and put all the bags in the buckets. When it was over I blew the whistle and they came in to count their bags and get pictures to judge who won based on color and count.

It seemed like everyone had a great time playing and wanted to do it again. I don’t know about making all the powder again, but it was sure a fun activity to organize. Thankfully it lasted longer than just handing people bags and letting them throw it at each other. The only thing I would really  change is maybe to get everyone a little wet first, that way the color would stick better.

Mt Shasta City with My Grandparents

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I few weeks ago I spent my days off with my grandparents. My grandparents have been spending the summer driving their RV up through California. They decided to stop in Mt. Shasta City so that I could visit with them. I drove out on Sunday morning and spent Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday with them.

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We just relaxed and visited. It was so nice to not have much to do and just enjoy family. We ate good food, walked Cali (their dog), and read books.

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Mt Shasta City is a beautiful, small city. From almost everywhere in the city you can see Mt Shasta covered in snow. I really loved my weekend and getting spoiled by my grandparents.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

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A couple weeks ago I went to hike in Lassen National Park. I planned to hike to Bumpass Hell which is the volcanic area. Unfortunately there was too much snow to do the hike that I had planned. I knew there was still going to be snow but I didn’t realize how much snow there was going to be. It was incredible.

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After driving around for a while I decided to hike to Echo Lake. There was still quite a bit of snow on this hike but it was beautiful! The snow made the temperature perfect for hiking. I still got hot and sweaty but wasn’t as hot as if I had been hiking in Redding.

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I am looking forward to hiking in Lassen again when there is less snow.

Ragnar Socal Part 2- Legs1-12

I know, I know… I’m so far behind on blogs! I am trying to get Ragnar finished by tomorrow and do a post about my North Carolina trip to post on Wednesday!  For now here is part 2 for Ragnar

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After meeting our Ragnar team on Thursday night and decorating the vans, everyone was so excited to start the next day. I went home that night and finished packing my things and got went to sleep, ready for the next 48 hours of craziness.

We woke up at 4:50am and put our first set of running clothes on. We were supposed to meet the team at 5:30 at the start line. Julie was coming to our house and the rest of the team was meeting at Shannon’s to drive to the start line in Huntington Beach.  As we arrived at the beach and the start line, we noticed hundreds of huge white vans, all decked out in window paint and decorations ready for Ragnar. There was such an excitement in the air as everyone couldn’t wait to start their race.

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The girls from our van helped Van 1 check in and get ready for their first legs. Lisa was ready for the start at 6:15 and got ready for the 6:15 wave. After more pictures we were so excited and ready to begin. Lisa started and we were off to the vans. Van 1 was to go to the next transition and our plan was to go eat some breakfast. Van 2 didn’t have to run until later so we had time to kill before getting to exchange 6.

0030_ML1_0044Getting all sorted

0025_ML1_0039Lisa Getting warmed up before her start

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0040_ML1_0060Shannon and Lisa just before the start

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0044_ML1_0066 Go Lisa

10157258_10152308466879618_1432628590_nNuun was a great Sponsor and set us tons of Nuun and water bottles for Ragnar! so we had to take a picture with their sign!

We drove down the coast a bit and stopped near dog beach so that we could cheer Lisa on as she ran. We cheered everyone on and they ran by. It was fun to meet Lisa on her first leg and watch the sunrise at the beach.

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Lisa running by as we cheered!

After cheering on Lisa our Van headed to Coco’s to get some food. We ate plates full of bacon, eggs, and pancakes and then headed to our house to use the bathroom and print out some stencils for the van. It was fun laughing and taking pictures at the house to prepare for our legs. We decided we wanted to see if we could catch up with a few other Van 1 runners before we had to get to our exchange. We headed towards Mile Square Park to follow the Ragnar route and look for runners. Eventually we found Virginia running and yelled and cheered for her. We drove up a little ways and stopped to cheer her on and see if she needed anything.

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Virginia Running

IMG_1929 10170866_10202772978539856_1063224300_nGetting a Selfie with Virginia at the light!

One of the most fun parts of Ragnar is getting out of the vans and cheering for people. We always made sure to cheer on every runner that came by. It was great to see the smile on people’s faces as we cheered for them.

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Cheering for Random Runners

After stopping for Virginia we drove to Angel Stadium so we could catch up with the group one more time before heading to our start. At Angel Stadium we cheered, took pictures, tagged vans, and had fun watching all the Ragnar craziness. Soon Van 1 arrived and Valerie was on her way to the exchange. As soon as Valerie came in Shannon was off on her first leg. Valerie’s family was waiting for her as she finished and it was great to meet them and see their excitement for her. Her daughter is a little “Toughie” in the making.

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At Angel Stadium waiting for the other van!

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0061_ML1_0091Valerie Coming in

0065_ML1_0095Shannon starting her leg

0072_ML1_0102All but Shannon who was running at the time!

With Shannon running we had to head to the Great Park for our first exchange and to check in. At the Great Park there were so many people and vans. We were so excited and getting more excited every moment. Funny thing with being Van 2 is the nervous, excited feeling you get before a race sticks with you for hours and hours until you finally start your first leg. After checking in we listened to our safety briefing, where they told us all the safety rules that we needed to know. Once we listened to the Safety briefing we got our flags and shirts and did a bit of shopping. This major exchange was full of energy as people were waiting to start their leg. Once Van 1 arrived we hung out with them and made sure Amy was ready for her first leg. Soon we found out the Helen was near and we went near the start to cheer for her and wait for Amy to start.

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Checking in

0089_ML1_0127Helen Slapping the bracelet on Amy

AmyAmy Starting her leg

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As Helen came in we cheered and cheered and watched as she passed the slap bracelet to Amy and Van 2 was off. The great park was CRAZY. It took is an hour to get out of the parking lot. While waiting to get out of the parking lot the Ragnaliens (my dad and uncle’s team) passed us going into the park. Amy asked us to meet her at mile 3 and 6 of her 9 mile leg to give her some water. We missed her at mile 3 as we were sitting in the traffic but found a place to meet her around mile 7. We stopped in the Asics parking lot and cheered for Amy and the other runners. We gave her water and headed off to our next exchange to get my mom ready for her leg.

Mom’s first exchange was at a small church. We arrived and got through the craziness of the parking lot. Julie did a great job of getting us through the cars and an amazing job at parking that beast. With Mom read for her run we waited for Amy to arrive at the exchange. Finally Amy came and slapped the bracelet on my mom and she was off on her first leg. With her off and Amy recovering we started toward Saddleback church for the next exchange.

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Julie’s Awesome parking

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Nervously waiting

0101_ML1_0143And she’s off

As we were driving into the parking lot we remembered that we needed to get ice so we drove back down Glen Ranch (slowed to cheer my mom on) and stopped at a gas station to get ice and cold drinks. As we drove back into the parking lot we noticed my Aunt Cyndi standing on the corner as a volunteer! Once parked Kathy got out and got ready for her first leg. As she was getting ready Julie and I walked over to see my aunt and watch for my mom to come in. As we walked over we found my mom standing there waiting. OOPs. I ran to find Kathy and told her my mom was already waiting. We ran over and my mom slapped the bracelet so Kathy could start her first leg.

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Mom waiting for us to show up

Once Kathy was running her leg we headed to the next exchange to meet her. My leg was next. As we drove to the exchange I started getting ready and was feeling really nervous. This leg was 6.7 Miles unsupported. Unsupported means that the van was not able to stop on the course and cheer for me or give me water. 6.7 Miles was a really long run to have no support.

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IMG_1968Waiting for my start

As we arrived at the exchange I finished getting ready and went to the bathroom one last time. Once I was ready and we thought she would be coming soon we walked to the exchange. This exchange was kind off the side of the road. We waited for Kathy to come as I got more and more nervous. At this point I was just ready to start running. Finally Kathy arrived and I was off. Well I was off for like 100 feet until I got to the stop light. Once the light was green I had to wait for another stop light so I could actually start running. Finally I was off and heading to the trail. This leg was on the Aliso Trail. I was a beautiful run and I was feeling really good. I got really bored pretty quickly though. Without people cheering for you or other people with you it’s just not the same. At one point a rabbit passed in front of me and I got so excited. Finally I hit the water stop and was hoping that I was at mile 4. I ran and ran and ran. I was so worried that my uncle was going to pass me on this leg. I really didn’t want to get passed by him. After what seemed like an eternity running by myself I finally saw my mom standing at a corner. When I saw her I was so excited! I knew I had to be almost finished. She started to run with me and finally I saw the exchange area. No One mile to Go marker. After a super narrow right turn I saw Casey and slapped the bracelet on her wrist! I was so thankful to be done.

IMG_1976So happy to see someone!

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Casey finished her leg and the Ragnaliens caught up with us at the exchange. As we started Tina off, we watched as my cousin Cameron finished his leg and their last runner Melissa started hers. Then we were off to the major exchange point at Doheny State Beach.

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Waiting for Cameron

Casey (2)Casey Finishing her leg

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Part 3 hopefully coming tomorrow!!

Name it and Claim it!

I want to share with you a post that I wrote for The Chicks That blog! Our perception of ourselves has been really on my mind lately and I wanted to share with you the post so here you go!! I hope you enjoy and learn to love yourself too!

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I have realized over the years that we as women are too hard on ourselves! We are constantly thinking we are not good enough! Maybe like me, you have looked in the mirror lately and thought, “ugh, this looks terrible.”

I constantly catch myself thinking that everything looks terrible on me, I am ugly, and fat. I think I can’t do anything, I’m not strong enough and I am not good enough for whatever. I think about running a longer distance and I think it’s not possible. Any time I think about a goal to set, I first think can I actually do this?? A goal should be attainable but it should also be a goal! Something that you have to put effort into and actually work towards! The dictionary definition of a goal is “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim.” A goal takes effort! It is tiresome and takes work (a lot of work).

We need to start thinking more positively about ourselves. We need to set goals that take work because we can accomplish them. I am not saying we should become cocky or arrogant but we need to see that we are worth it and we are strong!

I watched this dove ad recently that was amazing and the whole point was that we see ourselves so much harsher than other’s see us! (watch the ad below)

How do you see yourself? Is that true? I love in the movie “The Help” when the nanny tells the little girl every day “you is kind, you is smart and you is important.” That should be our mantra! We need to remind ourselves that we are women (and men) that can do anything!

When we think of ourselves better we will be able to live it!!

Have you heard of Darling Magazine? It’s all about women and being beautiful as you! Here is a recent video they shot on perception and confidence!

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I encourage you today to declare who you are! Or maybe who you want to be. You may not actually believe it yet but you will if you keep reminding yourself! Look at yourself in the mirror and declare who you really are!

You are strong! You are beautiful! You are tough! You are important! You are smart! You are a warrior! You are Loveable! You are fit! You are Amazing! You are worth it! You are _____!

Leave us a comment here or on the Chicks That Facebook with your declaration today and start living it!

I am Jessy and I am a Chick That is Strong!

Human Trafficking Awareness Month

If you don’t already know fighting Human Trafficking is a cause that is very close to my heart. I have researched it so much over the years and have helped with organizations that raise awareness and fight human trafficking.

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As January is Human Trafficking Awareness month I thought it would be a great time to share some information with all of my readers and to raise awareness on my blog. Most people don’t know very much about trafficking and think it doesn’t exist the way that it does. Most people have seen the movie Taken, in which a young girl is taken in Europe to be sold in the trafficking ring. While this movie starts people thinking about trafficking, they don’t realize that it is happening right in their backyard and could happen to them here in the US.

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It is estimated that over 100,000 children are in the sex trade in the United States each year. The average age of girls in sex trafficking is 12-14.  12-14 that’s crazy! These women and young girls are sold to traffickers, locked up in rooms or brothels for weeks or months, drugged, terrorized, and raped repeatedly. These continual abuses make it easier for the traffickers to control their victims. The captives are so afraid and intimidated that they rarely speak out against their traffickers, even when faced with an opportunity to escape. Traffickers use force, drugs, emotional tactics, and financial methods to control their victims.

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The first step in fighting human trafficking is awareness. If we are not aware that it is happening then it cannot be fought! One thing you can do is to raise awareness just by talking about it and researching it. You don’t have to go out on the streets personally and “rescue” people (unless that is what the Lord has called you to do). Another thing you can do is put this number in your phone 1-888-373-7888. This is the national human trafficking resource center. Anyone can call them for more information or if you see something or someone that looks suspicious.

As part of an effort to raise awareness and fight human  trafficking in America my company Chicks That is giving 20% of all sales to organizations that help fight human trafficking right here in the US.

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Later in the month I will also be making bracelets for girls in the genesis project shelter. You can purchase one of these bracelets and it will be sent straight to a girl at the shelter so that she can know that is loved and special.

 

Here are some organizations that I personally support: (there are so many organizations that fight this but this is just a few)

The Genesis Project

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A21 Campaign 

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Not for Sale

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Shared Hope International

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International Justice Mission

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Shared Hope Defenders (this is an amazing campaign for men to pledge to stand up and treat women right!)

I will also be making bracelets for girls in shelters in The Genesis Project. If you would like to purchase a bracelet for one of these girls or donate to their shelter please let me know and I will give you more information.

6 degrees and my phone quit on me

Ok so Saturday I went out for a jog, that just turned into a walk. I almost turned around at the end of my street but I decided I had to just tough it out. It was 6 Degrees!!!! I was so cold! half way through my 3 miles my phone quit on me. My phone got too cold and just shut down I couldn’t even turn it back on until it warmed up for an hour in the house.

When I got back to the house I couldn’t feel my legs, my mouth and nose were frozen in place, and I thought my toes were going to fall off. I immediately decided I would not be walking or running again unless I figured out how to dress for the weather.

Today I purchased a  beanie/face mask, and more pairs of thick socks. I have decided tomorrow I am going to wear 2 pairs of pants, another layer on top, my beanie/mask, and 2 pairs of socks. If this doesn’t work I don’t know what I am going to do. Definitely will have to start researching more!!

Any tips for a new cold weather runner?