Sunday, July 29, 2012

Race Recap: 2012 Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage - Part 3

Are you sad this is the final part of my epic relay recap trilogy?  Read part 1 and part 2 to catch up on the good stuff...or as New Kids on the Block would say "the right stuff, baby" <---sorry, I went there

So, it's Saturday morning...5:30AM to be exact and while I barely slept I actually felt a tad rested.  Of course, nothing a little Nuun Kona Cola and a trip to Starbucks couldn't fix (stop number 3 on the relay FYI).
Kona Cola and Zensah leg sleeves = TWO relay essentials!

Van 2 rolled in with many sleeping beauties in the van and soon Megan came in and handed off to Holly to start our last legs!  We got a tad "lost" on the way to the next exchange which allowed me the lovely privilege to see the hill I would be climbing for over half of my 3.1 miles (thanks Mason!) so I started to psych myself out on my ability to run such a hill on little sleep and not that much good food (gummy bears, dried mango, and brownies don't count!).

Holly came barreling into the exchange and Meghan captured the best slap bracelet handoff of them all and I was off!


Surprisingly, the hills weren't as bad as I thought they would be and I even killed three people on the way up, 2 boys BTW! I think the sheer fact that I was almost completely done running propelled me uphill the whole way.  After the up there was a looonnngg downhill so I opened up and pretty much sprinted down before encountering the final hill of the run.  I came into the exchange in about 29 (9:26 pace) minutes which was just what I was hoping with the hills...a sub 30 minute 3.1 miler.

Hey I'm DONE!!
I wouldn't change any of the running for the world but man it feels good to be DONE!! I was happy to cheer on the rest of my van including the hero of the group, Holly, who picked up a 4th leg after Becky was too injured to run...serious rockstar!!
supporting our hero on her gorgeous run!
Meghan finished off van 1's journey and the only thing on our mind was bacon! Mason not only drove, navigated and pretty much provided everything for us...but most importantly he went ahead to the restaurant while we all freshened up and ordered massive quantities of breakfast food!  We also got the pleasure to meet our two stowaways for the relay courtesy of Meghan and we named them...
Meet Ragnar and Drunk Puppet (DP)
For more information on Drunk Puppet please please please visit Becky's blog!

After eating probably more calories than we all burned we made our way to the finish line for some more relaxing and beer drinking while waiting for van 2 to bring it to the finish for us!

And then 32 hours, 13, minutes, and 45 seconds after we started the day before, Megan brought us home and we were done!
Van 1!

Team Nuun Kids on the Block!
Like I said before, no words can really describe what this experience was like and I encourage all of you to try a relay at least once in your running won't regret it!  I was in a van of all Ragnar newbies and it was fun to experience it with them and I'm fairly certain all of them would tell you it was an amazing experience!  I know I've made friends for life and we have all already started discussing when our NUUNKOTB reunion will be.  Keep an eye on my I Run Alot page and I'll link up all my teammates recaps as they come in!

And of course, a thousand million thanks to NUUN for sponsoring the team and not leaving out one teeny tiny detail.  Special thanks to Caitlin at Nuun for organizing everything pre-race! And without the super navigating skills of our talented drivers and nighttime running buddies, Mason and Tyler, I'm sure we would have gotten lost, fallen asleep while driving, and not have been properly caffeinated (special thanks to Mason's Starbucks app who never failed in locating the closed place to caffeinate!).  Go by some Nuun today and support this Pacific Northwest company!

Question: Who is going to sign up for a relay right now after reading all my recaps? 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Race Recap: 2012 Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage - Part 2

Make sure you read or re-read part 1 first!

Okay, where did I leave off?  Oh yes, we were freshened up (thanks to ShowerPill!), fed and ready to head to the next major exchange where we would meet with van 2.  We had quite a bit of time once we arrived at the school exchange so being the good little Nuun ambassadors that we were we went around to spread the love with some single serve tabs and Nuun tattoos.  Mason gave us a good one liner to say as we handed out the single serve tabs:

"Practice good hydration" - the single serve wrappers look a lot like another thing that comes in a little square packet ;)

We helped a lot of people practice good hydration ;)!  As we were tattooing the masses we spotted the ultimate prize...the butt cheek of one of the members of team Risky Business.  Becky got down to the "risky" business right away and proved her temporary tattoo talents had reached new levels!

Not sure what the face in the second picture is all about but it is reason #123 why this girl is so cool...that and the fact that she rocked a side ponytail non-stop for over 24 hours!

As we waited, nighttime hours were upon us so we started getting our reflective gear ready!

Before we knew it Holly was off on her run and it was time for me to get ready for 5.7 miles in the twilight.

I looked at the map before my run and noticed it was partly on a "trail" but this trail looked like it was basically right next to the street.  Well, it wasn' was set pretty far off the street and on the other side of me was an unidentifiable wooded was a tad spooky and I'm pretty sure I sprinted that entire 2 mile stretch!  With only a headlamp to light the way I was glad there weren't any rocky obstacles to trip over and I was eventually on the road again...PHEW!

About half way into the run a girl came up from behind and I thought for sure she would just whizz by me but we got to chatting and agreed to run the rest of the scary dark run was awesome!!  We ended up passing about 5 runners together (KILLS!) and ended in the city of Burlington in about 51 minutes (8:57 pace).

I was a pretty hot and sweaty mess after that humid night run and Meghan was a huge ShowerPill pusher (or maybe she was tired of smelling us) so I immediately wiped up and felt much better!

My terrible attempt at modeling a ShowerPill

Corinne ran what appeared to be the safest route through the city of Burlington, by restaurants and homes until we saw a guy jump out of his bushes and scare a runner.  We immediately pulled over and yelled at him to stop being an idiot that he was going to scare people!  He didn't seem "all together" and when we left I saw him crawling like a bear across the street...I sure hope he didn't terrorize too many people that night.

Becky was SOO stoked when Lindsay on the Go and her were able to run their entire second legs together!

Katherine, Becky, and Meghan rounded out the second stretch of runs and around midnight we were done again!  We handed off to van 2 and hightailed it to the next major exchange to attempt to get some sleep.  I slept a pretty restless total of 2 hours on some wrestling mats (that Ragnar promised were clean!) and received a 5:30AM wake up

Megan, Stacie, Holly!

Next runs, heroes, and the finish line party.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Race Recap: 2012 Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage - Part 1

DISCLAIMER: There is literally no words I can write to describe the experience of 1) the Ragnar Relay itself and 2) running it with the amazingness of Nuun and my whole team...but I do have a blog so I guess I'm supposed to try right?  I also won't go into any details on my  teammates  legs as you can make sure to stalk them yourselves to get the whole picture!

Team Nuun Kids on the Block
Pre-Relay Fun!

Van 1 ladies Corinne, Katherine, Holly, Becky, me, Meghan
Nuun seriously went ALL OUT for us to make this experience the best possible and they kicked it off with dinner and van decorating at their headquarters Thursday night.  It was great to meet the rest of Nuun Kids on the Block and so much of the Nuun family.  We chowed down on pasta, salad and bread with a little beer and Nuun thrown in before heading outside for some serious van decorating.
Carbs, hydration, de-hydration

I got home at a decent hour, set up alarm for 4:15AM (YIKES!) and actually got a pretty good nights sleep.

Relay time with Nuun is here!!

Van 1 met at 5:15 at Nuun HQ and headed north towards the Canadian border where the relay starts.  Mason (Nuun CEO) was our super awesome driver and his wife, Katherine, navigated (and was runner #4) for basically the entire trip.  I dare you to find another company with a CEO who is as awesome and down to earth as Mason.

We made it to Blaine with plenty of time to spare, checked in, received our safety briefing, and got all Nuun/Ragnar tatooed up!  Holly was runner #1 and the pouring down rain started just in time for her to begin the relay for us.  Summer...where are YOU?
It's raining so hard it's blurry! Van 1 before the start!
The 9:00 starting field
Since I was runner #2 I just started mentally preparing myself for 6.8 miles of running in the rain :(.  At about 10:00 I was off on my first run for the relay!  The first few miles of my run was on a pretty busy street and the van couldn't stop so it was a bit lonely but I had runners in the distance to try and catch up to kill to keep my mind busy.  It was seriously pouring but the silver lining was that it wasn't cold so I wasn't too miserable despite the sloshing around of water in my shoes at approximately .5 miles into the run.
Nuun support with a monster thrown in...totally normal :)
I eventually made it to Birch Bay and got a pretty good view for the rest of my 6.8 miles.  I was drenched and kept ringing out my hair to stop the dripping down my neck, but a little rain wasn't going to ruin the awesomness of this race!  I didn't wear a Garmin but just ran like I felt without going too hard since I knew I had many miles left.  
Thanks Becky and Holly for capturing the pics of my first run (pre-race game face, running in the rain, handing off to Corinne)
I handed off to Corinne after 1 hour and 2 minutes (9:10 pace) of running and immediately took my shoes off in fear of large blisters...thankfully there were none!

Corinne had a loonnngg leg of over 8 miles and we couldn't stop at all for her run so we went straight to the next exchange and got down to business...Nuun tatooing business that is.
Hey, I know you...that's Nicole!
After Corinne, Katherine was up, then Becky (who had the BIGGEST smile on her face the entire run since it was the first time she ran in 8 weeks) and finally Meghan who busted out a long run despite being pretty sick.
Pure running joy from Becky...I love it!
Poor Meghan felt about 10x worse after her run but luckily for her we ended in Bellingham, where she lives, so we dropped her off at her house for a hot shower and nap while we ate.  Of course it was also awesome to have a real bathroom to clean up in and she even attempted to dry my and Holly's shoes!  We picked up Meghan who looked and felt better and made our way to meet with Van 2 to start our second legs.

Next up...night running with butt tatoos, dark trail running, and spectators pretending they were bears....


Monday, July 23, 2012

Nuun Kids on the Block HAS the Right Stuff...Baby!

Well we did it!! Team Nuun Kids on the Block covered almost 200 miles in about 32:13:45 glorious hours in the 2012 Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage.  There was rain, wind, cold and finally sun!  Every single second spent with these amazing ladies and super supportive and fun drivers was pure bliss.  I cannot say enough about how awesome Nuun was before and during this entire experience.  They took care of everything and didn't leave anything out!  They are not just a great product and company but great people who are most definitely part of my life forever now!

Many recaps are coming but I want to wait until I get all the fabulous photos so I can do it justice.  If you are dying to see some awesome updates and photos to go twitter and search #NUUNKOTB and relive all the fun and memories.  
Probably my 10th bottle of Nuun at this point!
Van 1 all done and ready to rock the finish line party!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Breakin It Down - Ragnar Relay Runner #2

Like I'm sure you all need reminding that I'm running the Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage with a group of super awesome bloggy girlfriends and Nuun...but what you might not remember is that it is THIS FRIDAY!

And since I'm a super technical runner and like to have detailed plans for all my races (NOT!) let's break down my legs shall we?  I am runner #2 and until last week I had the least amount of mileage out of anyone during Ragnar.  And I was totally ok with only having about 13 total miles...until I found out it is actually now 15.  So, that whole "I'm not going to train for Ragnar since I'm fresh off half marathon training" thought really isn't going to cut it anymore.  But it's too late to do anymore training so I'm just going to have to suck it up and run a little more than I anticipated.  

Leg #2 will be 6.8 miles of scenic flat roads around Birch Bay.  I was runner #2 last year and besides this being a longish run it isn't too eventful.  It is a good time to pick off some other runners and test my speed...dare I say I would like to do this run in under an hour?? We shall see...

Our team start time is at 9:00 AM so I'll probably on the road for leg #2 around 10:00 AM so the weather should still be in the morning cool zone.

Leg #14 is 3.7...scratch that 5.7 miles through Burlington.  Yep, this leg was 3.7 easy peasy miles at first but Ragnar decided adding 2 miles the week before a relay is no big deal.  While I know I can handle the mileage I'm just worried about running too hard on my 6.8 to be able to give this run my all, someone on my team should try and hold me back on my first run so I don't run out of gas...ok?

According to our super technical, I'm sure it's really accurate pace calculator, I should be running this around 9:00 PM. Again, perfect timing for some cooler weather and some sweet reflective gear and glow necklaces!

Leg #26 is an "easy" 5K in Oak Harbor.  I put "easy" in quotation marks because that is what Ragnar says but it appears the first 2 miles are all up hill.  While that doesn't necessarily scare me by itself but after running over 10 miles combined with probably 1-2 hours of sleep I'm sure my legs will hate me every step of the way.  But I'll probably still try to run this thing fast because afterall it is just 3.1 miles until I'm DONE!  

Pace calculator predicts this run will be about 7:00 AM...again...perfect timing with the weather.  I should be able to enjoy all my runs in cooler/comfortable weather conditions...this makes me VERY happy.

So there you have it, that is runner #2's journey in a nutshell.  I have a good friend running #2 on another team so I'm looking forward to comparing notes after this is all done.

In other Ragnar news...look what came in the mail today??
MUCHO thanks to BondiBand for giving us a sweet deal on these bad boys and making them in record time!
Don't worry van drivers, you won't feel left out...there is a band in there for you too :).

Question: What is the number one thing you would never leave for a running trip without besides the obvious of course?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Meet Nuun Kids on the Block #NUUNKOTB

I know you have all been dying to know who else is on my Nuun Ragnar team right?  Cause I haven't talked enough about this.  If you are new to the relay running world go check out this video.

There is supposed to be a video here but it will NOT cooperate so go here!

AWESOME SIDE NOTE: I went to the website to find a video and was watching this one and my team from last year is in it!!  At about second 36 there is a handoff between two of my teammates...EEK!!  It flashes by in like .25 seconds but we are still famous!

In summary 12 runners, 2 vans, 200 miles, everyone runs 3 times.  My friend Lindsey stated it perfectly at the end of Ragnar last year when she said relays are extra awesome because they manage to take  single person's sport and turn it into a team sport...I couldn't agree more!

And without further Nuun Kids on the Block!
Me, Alanna, Tasha and Holly

Runner #1 - Holly from Leaps of Faith
This girl has naturally taken on a total leadership role with our team and has hooked us up with a ton of goodies and designed a super awesome Nuun Kids on the Block shirt for our race.  I got to meet Holly at the RnR Seattle expo and I felt like I already knew her and greeted her with a big hug...hope she didn't think I was crazy :).

Runner #2 - ME - You all already know too much about me so I won't describe myself to you all, you're welcome.  I was actually runner #2 last year and I'm not exactly sure why I voted to do it again but I'll take it and just try to run it faster than last year!

Runner #3 - Open right now...originally Tasha from Healthy Diva so super sadly she is injured...we will miss her!!

Runner #4 - Katherine from Nuun
Katherine is actually the wife of Nuun CEO, Mason, who will also be our driver!  Can't wait to pick both of their brains about Nuun - get ready for a lot of annoying questions.

Runner #5 - Becky from Run Fun Done
Becky and I go way back, back to the Girls on the Run 5K that is where she lended her fabulous photography skills to the race.  She is a serious spitfire and her energy is going to be great at 2AM when we are all fading!  Hey Becky - I challenge you to take a flattering picture of me running :).

Runner #6 - Meghan from Meghan's Wanderings
I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Meghan in person yet but I'm certain she is cool and super badass because she has completed about a million half Ironman's! And she has a banana suit...are you bringing this Meghan??

Stacie is to the left of me!

Runner #7 - Jenny from Coming Up Lemon
Jenny picked arguably the hardest legs in Ragnar so if that says anything about her I'm sure she will be an amazing addition to our team.

Runner #8 - Kim from Nuun
I had the extreme pleasure of running with Kim for a while during the RnR Seattle half and she was so sweet and so motivating at a point in the race where I was loosing focus and my running mojo...she will be a huge sense of support for Van 2!

Runner #9 - Alanna from Love My Runners
Alanna is a Canadian and I like all Canadians so I'm sure we'll get along just fabulously, we met super briefly at the RnR Seattle expo too!

Runner #10 - Stacie from Skipping in Seattle
This girl has some serious running style.  I'm pretty sure she never just wears a random pair of shorts and a shirt to a race so I can't wait to see what she pulls out for Ragnar!

Runner #11 - Dawn from Running at Dawn
I met Dawn at briefly at a blogger dinner before RnR Seattle (she was sitting at another table).  She dominated the RnR Seattle half while raising money for the American Cancer Society so I'm pretty sure she is fabulous person.

Runner #12 - Megan from Daily Sweat
Running the most miles out of anyone during this relay and a whopping 10 more than myself (the lowest mileage I might add - not sure why I wussed out and picked that one!), I have no doubt Megan will be a strong anchor.  She busted up her face on a bike ride recently and went right back out there and competed in a triathlon like days later...serious courage!

Do you already love every one of these girls like I do?

FINAL COUNTDOWN...8 DAYS until Ragnar with NUUN!

Question: I feel like everyone I know is running Ragnar Northwest Passage, are you?  If so, what is your team name, your start time and your runner number?  I want to stalk you :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Adventure Run and Bloggers Go Bananas!

Man last week was sure a fun one for blogger meet ups, running, and 4th of July fun!  After the super official 4th of July Mimosa 10K Fun Run, I had another running adventure lined up for the next night.  Every first Thursday in the summer Road Runner Sports at Greenlake does an Adventure run.  I've been meaning to participate for like the past 3 years but never did until last week.  And since summer decided to arrive it was  HOT one.

a whole lotta runners!
Here is how it works:

At 6PM sharp Road Runner reveals a huge map with a bunch of businesses on it.  You also get a GPS enabled map emailed to you if you pre-registered that tells you the distances between each checkpoint.

not my map, but a previous one stolen from here
Since I know the neighborhood pretty well my girlfriends and I quickly decided on a strategy.  We wrote down a few of the locations and took off!

You have exactly 60 minutes to run around, collect tickets, and get back to Road Runner.  Some checkpoints get your more tickets depending on their distance from the start and some you can get more tickets for doing things like jumping jacks, going on a slippy slide, etc.

We ran and ran and ran and went up a big hill, down a big hill, up another hill, and down again.  What I thought might be a super leisurely 3 miles ended up being a speedy, hilly 5 miles.  When we returned we handed in all our tickets to be entered in a raffle to win TONS of prizes.

Hydration, hydration, dehydration
They rattle off the winning numbers so quickly you really have to pay attention!  Seasoned Adventure Runners had creative ways to keep track of their numbers like placing the all on a long piece of tape in order...clearly I was a virgin!  Sadly, I did not win anything but one of my friends won a gift certificate to a restaurant and a Starbucks gift bag.

We all agreed it was a fun time and I will definitely be back next monday.  Seattle runners - mark your calendars for August 2!

Next up...Blogger Go Bananas!

Kerrie at Mom vs. Marathon was contacted by Dole to hold a bananas party and although we all thought it was a bit odd we figured why not get together, chat and eat yummy bananas?  That isn't weird at all right?  So, on Sunday afternoon I made the trek out to Kerrie's house and hung out with some super fun ladies eating all things bananas.

She definitely went all out with the bananas and monkey theme and even had "banana" music on for us to enjoy.  Some of the recipes were standard banana fare like banana bread, peanut butter and banana sandwiches and smoothies.  Other things that were surprisingly delicious included banana protein bars and banana chicken curry salad.  I will post recipes to both really soon...promise!

We indulged in all things bananas and then took a walk on the trail by her house just chatting about everything under the was so great to get to know these ladies better!
Zoe, Me, Chelsea, Mel, Kerrie, Nicole
Before we left we got a little swag bag from Dole that contained this contraption...Nicole's face sums up all our feelings/thoughts about this device.
Get your minds out of the's a banana guard to keep your banana safe from bruising in your lunch box :)
Thanks Dole for thinking of a fun way for us ladies to get together and spend an afternoon!

Question: Do you love bananas?  Do you often eat them straight up or in smoothies, bread etc.?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Race Recap: 1st Annual 4th of July Mimosa 10K Fun Run

Okay, while this wasn't a "real" race it was still just as I knew everyone in the race and we all won ;).  Nicole from Ricole Runs always has some great ideas (running a 50K and Half Ironman not being one of them) and this one was born on twitter and ended up with a fun group of girls running a 10K the morning of July 4th.

Anya, Rebecca, Me, Lindsay, Becky, Robyn, Jordanne, Nicole
Summer decided to arrive right on time on July 4, as it tends to do, so even at 10AM the sun was blazing and I was warm!  We all met at Gene Coulon Park in Renton and ran along Lake Washington Blvd for a super official out and back 10K.  I really have no idea how long I actually ran or how far since we kind of ended up split up towards the end but it doesn't was a ton of fun.  I got to meet some awesome new blog and non-blog ladies.  Not only are they all great runners but they boast job titles such as Pediatric Psychiatrist, Principal, Web Producer...and on and and fit!
I ditched the leg sleeves before the run cause I'm not sure I really understand their use plus I didn't want weird tan lines :)
Poor Becky from Run Fun Done is still on the injured list and still met us to attempt to bike with us and her super cute pup Ada, but they wouldn't let her in the park since there were going to be fireworks there later that night.  Luckily, she scoped out a park nearby and we all met after for eating and drinking mayhem!

Ada the Dog :)
And boy did we EAT! Nicole brought mimosas and we had breakfast casserole, caramel buns, coffee cake, funfetti dip, fruit, pasta salad and I know I'm missing much much more.  Everything was delicious and we vowed to try and make this a monthly occurrence!

I left with a full belly, a smile on my face and some sun on my skin...couldn't ask for more!  The rest of the holiday was spent with some friends at a place near Lake Union to watch the big show! We basically sat around and ate and drank for 6 hours waiting for the fireworks to start.  My friend captured and put together this pretty amazing collage of our fun :)

Lake Union, jello shots, flag headwear, fireworks, and USA shirts...Go America!
Run + friends + food + drinks + fireworks = Perfect 4th of July!

Question: Who out there is as excited as me that summer has finally decided to arrive in Seattle? NO complaining about how HOT it is...ever!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's Time for Relay Business

Hey all, it's July and we all know what that's Ragnar month!!  On July 20 I'll be traveling with 11 other awesome ladies and our drivers up to Blaine, Washington to start the Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage with Nuun!

I took it easy on the running front last week only logging a couple shorter runs and doing some cross training. And then I took three glorious days off from any and all type of exercise mostly to enjoy some shenanigans in Portland that included this lovely bloggy lady that I had only met the week before at Rock and Roll...reason number 1,098 I love blogging and the friends I've made.

Laura and I at the Northwest Organic Beer Festival in Oregon
I spent the weekend with my friend Lindsay in Portland I when I put the word out on twitter Laura jumped on the chance to drink beer with me...I mean...who wouldn't :).  We had a blast trying all sorts of beers...a lot of them in fact...hence the not working out for three days straight...oopsie.

So, now it's Tuesday and it's time to start thinking about this whole relay business and the fact that maybe I should start running again?  Luckily there are some great running events happening this week that will get my butt out the door!

Tuesday - Busted out 4 miles after the power went out at work and thus my house (since I live dangerously close to work) so what else would I do?

Wednesday - Nicole from Ricole Runs is pretty much the coolest chick out there and she is organizing a totally last minute First Annual Mimosa Fun Run 10K.  We are meeting at a park in Renton at 10AM on July 4th...hit me up if you want the deets!

You should follow Nicole, she tweets awesome (sometimes crazy) running plans all the time!
Thursday - Adventure run with Road Runner Sports - I signed up to do this last month but the weather was blah so my friend and I backed out but since summer starts after July 4 here (this is actually TRUE!) it will be nice and sunny for this July 5 run.  I'm going with my friend who runs like sub 7-minute miles so I'm sure I'll actually be dead by the end of it...nice knowing all of you.

Friday - Probably cross training

Saturday - Long run? Maybe...

Sunday - I really need to hit up Sunday morning Yoga church, as the instructor calls it :). Then in the afternoon it's time for Go Bananas blogger party at Kerrie's house. We "might" run after stuffing our faces with all things Dole bananas, I'm sure it will be an awesome time.

Wow I have a fun week with all my blogger friends planned!  If you are a local blogger and want in on any of this goodness just let me know!

Stay tuned later this week to meet all the members of Nuun Kids on the Block...try to contain your excitement for this ;)

Question: What are you doing for the fourth? Are you watching any awesome fireworks show?