Ragnar Relay Napa Valley (Part 2)

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Our next runs were going to be night legs. Night legs are always really fun. The first leg for our van, Lauren’s leg, was so cool. The start was decorated with this long path full of lights. It really got all of us pumped for our runs! After Lauren took off I started getting all of my stuff ready. Night runs are crazy because it is so dark. Ragnar is awesome because they require everyone to wear a forward light, a reflective vest, and a rear blinking light on all night runs.

Leg 2

My run started at a park in Santa Rosa. I was ready to get my run started so I could conquer the hill and know I only had one leg left to run! As Lauren ran in and slapped to me I started running up the hill. This hill was killer. I ran a lot of it but did walk a lot of it as well. After the fist hundred feet or so, it was really dark. There were no street lights and all I had was my headlight. The fog was also really thick and my light just reflected off the fog. I couldn’t see more than 3 feet in front of me. There were also a lot of tree roots coming through the sidewalk. This was by far the most dangerous run I have ever done. As I came into the next exchange I was so proud of myself. I killed the hill and I finished super strong.

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I was so excited I jumped up to slap the bracelet on Valerie. As I came down from my jump there were a lot of wet leaves on the ground and I slipped and fell straight on my butt. It was so embarrassing as there were about 50 people standing around and saw the whole thing. Thankfully I didn’t hurt myself but it was really funny.

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After all of legs were finished we planned to go get food. On the way we ran into a lot of traffic. We found out that the other van, between a couple of runners decided to take a detour and go get ice. They were so far away from their exchange with their runner coming in soon. We decided to go to the exchange to pick up their runner and Lauren (our runner) would run their next leg so they could get to the next exchange without worry. Lesson learned don’t stop anywhere between your runners. Just go straight to the next exchange. When we arrived at the exchange they still weren’t there and I started to prepare in case I needed to run their next leg too. Thankfully they showed up just before Lauren came in and they were able to finish the rest of their legs.

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After the craziness we went to find food and chill before our next set of legs. As soon as we sat down to eat, we got word that the other van was almost finished with their legs and we were going to have to run again soon. We packed up our sandwiches and headed for the next meeting place. Since Lauren had taken one runners leg, one of their runners took Lauren’s run. (I was so jealous because Lauren was finished with her runs and the weather started getting hotter and hotter.) Finally I was ready for my final leg. I waited and waited. It got Hotter and Hotter. I was started to get worried that the heat was going to be a major problem on my run.

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leg 3Leg 3 Map

Finally I was able to start my last 2ish miles! With water in my hand I started running. It was so HOT! I was running by all these vineyards and grape vines and just praying for some shade. It was so hot that when there was a little piece of shade I would just walk through it so I could actually stay a little cooler. Finally I could see the finish line and I picked up my pace. The finish was beautiful with all these grape vines. I was so excited to be done! I had finished my second Ragnar!!

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When our last runner was finally off we headed for the finish line. We were all so excited to be Ragnarians and get to the finish line to meet the rest of our team and get our beers. We all crossed the finish line together and took a million pictures! Those of us who did both SoCal and Napa got our massive Gold Rush medals and took pictures as a team. Sadly Ragnar had not gotten our Napa Valley medals in time and we weren’t able to get our finishers medals. After all the pictures we headed to the party area and got our beers and hung out before our drive back.

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IMG_3164Our Fearless Drivers!

Every Ragnar is so AWESOME! We had such a great time. My runs sucked but I still enjoyed it so much! During every Ragnar I think “why the heck do I do this?” The day after through all my exhaustion I always start dreaming of my next Ragnar. I think the next one will be SoCal again in April! I can’t wait.

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Those of us that finished both SoCal and Napa got an extra medal that was huge!

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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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