Ragnar Relay Part 1-Prep

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Well there is so much to say about our Ragnar Relay experience. I can’t believe Ragnar is over. I am definitely going through withdrawals! It was one of the best experiences of my life and I am so happy I got to do it with my family!

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I am going to break up Ragnar into a few posts otherwise you would probably get bored before finishing the first scroll

As you know we have been training for months for Ragnar Relay. My mom and I were on Team Tough Chik. We couldn’t decide whether we were more excited to run Ragnar or meet the other chiks? Either way as the day approached we got more and more excited! We had created a face book group that was essential to our team. With people living all over the place and most of us never meeting before, Facebook was our main communication. Through facebook we were able to plan costumes, make sure only one person per van was bringing big items, and discuss logistics.

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I felt like my running training was going well. I would have liked to get a few more back to back long runs in but, I was feeling good on the running side of things. Our Mojave trip was great training for long hours in a car, getting dirty, and going to the bathroom where ever you can. We felt pretty well prepared. Well as prepared as you can be for first timer.

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A few weeks before the race mom and I went to Target and stocked up on essentials for both vans: baby wipes, tissues, hand sanitizer, hair ties, dryer sheets, trash bags, fabreeze, paper towels, sunscreen, tampons and whatever else we could find. We ordered cowbells and party supplies online, gathered reflective gear, and found anything else that could possibly help us through the race.

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Part of our Target Shopping trip

A few weeks before the race Shannon and I went to the team captains meeting in San Diego. This meeting was great to familiarize us with rules and course changes.

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The week of I made some stencils so we could draw our “chik” logo on the vans, and made binders for the vans. In the binders would go our “race bible” (all the rules and information about Ragnar), our cell phone list, and emergency contact information, legs maps, and our end of race shower information (more about that later). I made a few other decorations that would be able to go on the vans as well.

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A few days before, I started packing my bag. I learned from a lot of different blogs how to pack for a Ragnar event. Most people said to pack each outfit in a separate Ziplock and make sure all your night gear is together. That is exactly what I did. I had a bag for leg 1, 2, and 3. I had a bag for my night gear (headlight, taillight, vest), a bag for my after clothes, and I made a bag for just in case. My “just in case” bag had an extra pair of pants, extra socks, my number belt, and a pair of gloves. My number belt was in this bag because my mom and I were using magnets to hold our number on.

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I also packed a second pair of shoes. I wasn’t sure I should bring them but was really glad I was able to change them out when my toe started to get a blister. The hardest part of packing was deciding what bag to bring. I didn’t want something too big and take up room in the van or too small that I couldn’t fit everything. The other essentials that I packed were things to sleep with. I packed my hammock (sadly didn’t get to use), a sleeping bag, small blanket, and my travel pillow.

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Thursday night before the race our team all met up at Shannon’s house to decorate the vans and eat dinner. It was so much fun decorating and meeting everyone. We had a great group of girls and were excited for the following days.

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IMG_1892Our team All ready for tomorrow!!

Julie, my mom, and I drove one van home as we were planning to meet everyone at the start line the next morning. There was no reason for us to drive from Huntington Beach to Lake Forest and back to Huntington Beach for the start. On the way home we lost almost all of our fringe, and the magnets. We learned very quickly which decorations would not work on the freeway.

A Couple of Tips for packing:
-include a dryer sheet in each bag (cuts down on dampness and stink)
-night gear: spend money on a running vest
I bought a light that attached to the end of my visor it was so much better than a band around my head
-test out your clothes and night gear before the day of

Thing I should have packed:
-a warm comfy sweatshirt (my running jacket wasn’t enough)
-my sweats (my running pants just weren’t warm enough for sleeping on the beach

0152_ML1_0224we were so cold we wrapped our blankets around us. We did get a few great complements on our fashionable outfits! 🙂

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My Packing List:

Running Gear

3 sports bras

3 bottoms

3 running tops

3 running socks

Visor

Headband

Sunglasses

Jacket for night

Neon vest

Head lamp and blinking tail light

Sweats/ sweatshirt (should have brought)

First aid kit

Pillow

Headphones

Purple Nail Polish

Random:

Ziplocs

Trash bag

Sharpie

Towel

Blanket

Hammock

Paper towels

Cell phone charger

Toiletries:

Toothbrush

Toothpaste

Painkillers

Sunscreen

Baby wipes

Shewee

Hand sanitizer

Hair ties

Shampoo/conditioner

Deodorant

Facewash wipes

Chapstick

Dry Shampoo

Van time:

Rainbows

Regular comfy clothes(after)

Video camera

Phone

Window paint

Compression socks

White board

Dryer sheets

Eye mask and ear plugs

Foam roller

Van Decorations

 

Running in Snow

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If this Southern California Girl can run in the snow and crazy cold temperatures anyone can.

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If you have read some of my previous blogs you already know that I am training for Ragnar SoCal! So that means a lot more consistent running and training lately. Ragnar also means I have been learning to run and train in the snow. I know, so many of my friends and family have already said I am crazy. Honestly, I don’t deny it! This morning when I went out to run and it was 0°F and my teeth were frozen I also believed I was crazy. But when you are training for a race you do what you have to do.

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Currently the ground is completely packed with snow (mostly Ice), the temperatures are usually 0-25°F when I go out, and I run hills (because that is the only place to run). It is crazy but I have actually been enjoying it.

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I don’t enjoy it when I first walk out and am blasted with freezing air. I do enjoy learning how to adapt myself to the cold. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when I almost run a PR (personal record) even though I am running hills and in the ice. I enjoy knowing that I can do it!

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So some tips I have learned about running in “real” winter climates:

Screw shoes: seriously these have been a lifesaver!!! I have been wearing these even just to walk to the mail box. Basically it is sheet metal screws that I drilled into a pair of old running shoes. They grip the ice and snow and I am able to run across ice without even thinking about the possibility of slipping. Without screw shoes I would not be able to run.

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These are my screw shoes 🙂

Layers: It is all about the layers. I have a few different pairs of pant and a few different tops that I trade out based on the temperature. Basically you have to figure out what is right layering for you. Usually for me if it is 35 or above I can wear one layer of regular pants and a long sleeve and jacket and I am fine. If it is 25-30 I wear Capri pants with long pants over and add a vest sometimes a warmer jacket to the top. 20-25 usually call for 2 long pants a compression top and warmer jacket plus the vest. Anything in the teens and single digits is warmer pants and regular pants and all the other tops plus a windbreaker. Each time is a little different based on wind and if the sun is out. Most times I end up feeling hot and partially unzip my jacket.

Cover your ears, nose and mouth: This is something I learned very quickly. You have to keep your ears covered. Some people like to wear beanies, I prefer a headband. I overheat really fast if I have beanie on although when it is in the single digits sometimes I opt for the beanie. For the nose and mouth I have a thin fabric thing I bought a long time ago snowboarding. It has been perfect and I usually only use it for the first ¼ or ½ of my run. This keeps me from breathing the piercing air and from freezing my teeth. Don’t forget the gloves as well.

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Wool Socks: Simple these are a must! My toes froze the first few runs before I had them and I am so thankful for them now!!

Mini hand warmer: this is to put in your pocket to keep your phone warm. If you are like me, then all of your stuff in on your phone (music, strava, miles keeper…). One day I was running and my phone suddenly quit on me. Not the best way to stay motivated. I learned after that to always keep my phone closer to my body and/or use a hand warmer. I made mine out of fabric and rice. I throw it in the microwave for 30 or so seconds and put it in my pocket next to my phone.

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This day wasn’t that  cold so I got away with wearing capri’s!

Well those are all the tips I can think of for right now! The biggest thing is to get out and do it! You never know what you can accomplish until you go do it. For me it is such a mental battle especially that first mile. I think “no way, it’s too cold today I will just do a short loop and go back.” When I force myself to push through and do it, then I feel so accomplished and like I can do anything!

You can do, just layer up and get out there!

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Ragnar Relay SoCal

For those of you who don’t already know I have signed up to run the Ragnar Relay in April with Team Tough Chik! I am super excited about this and yet a little terrified at the same time. Part of me is terrified because I am honestly not sure I will be able to put the training to be able to run my legs. Another part is terrified because it is a team and I really don’t want to let the other members of my team down. Another terrifying part is that this is a really long race and quite a challenge for me.

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So what is Ragnar Relay you ask??

Why I am so glad you asked! Ragnar Relay is a relay race where a team of 12 run 200 miles. Each runner does 3 legs of the race. Here is their definition from their website:

“You and 11 of your craziest friends pile into two vans and tag team running 200(ish) miles, day and night, relay-style. Only one runner hits the road at a time. Each participant runs three times, with each leg ranging between 3-8 miles and varying in difficulty.”

I have heard about it and read about it over the years and always thought it sounded like fun. Well this year Tough Chik put together a team and I signed up. Everyone that I have talked to that has run it said it was one the most fun experiences they have had as a runner.

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Thankfully our team is in it for fun and not for the competition. We are running the Socal Ragnar Relay the first week of April. Our team consists of women from all over the country. I am so excited to meet the other tough Chiks and did I mention my mom is running it too! That’s right I am on a team with my mom. My dad, uncle, and cousins are also running it this year but they are one a different team (more competitive).

Ragnar Start

While training is proving hard with all this snow and ice I am looking forward to the event and each day reminding myself that I need to do training runs with this goal in mind! Since some days it is just too slippery for me to want to run (I’m afraid of injuries), I started doing this at-home crossfit workout. So far I am really sore. That’s a good things right? Next week starts my actual Ragnar training schedule so hopefully I will get more runs in!

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So over the next few months, I plan (doesn’t always happen) to write more about my Ragnar training and preparations! Plus I am planning to take a video camera with me (possibly borrow a gopro) do that I can make a fun video for our team after!

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Goals before Ragnar:

  • Buy a hammock (to use while sleeping)
  • Run, run, run some more
  • Learn to run 2 5ks in a day
  • Don’t slip and break something
  • Write more blogs!!

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?