Friday, February 28, 2014

How to Captain a Ragnar Relay Team

As a follow up to my 2014 Ragnar Relay - REGISTER TODAY…no seriously! post here is a bit more info/advice on how to be a captain, since you registered already right?

Are you a type A organizer and love to be the leader? Well then captaining a Ragnar Relay team is the job for you!  Are you thinking about organizing a Ragnar team but are too scared of the responsibility? Don't be!  I have run Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage for the past 5 years and for 2 of those I was a captain (for both a 12 person and a 6 person team).

And you usually get a pretty cool swag item like this awesome sweatband!

Northwest Passage next year (July 18-19) is dangerously close to selling out so get on that right now!
Team Six Pack With Racks Part II is coming back with only one new runner.  So here are 5 tips to get you started on the process of building your own Ragnar team:

1. Find Some Runners - The biggest "obviously" of the bunch but start asking now.  Ask your friends, your friends friends, your twitter friends,  your co-workers...anyone! Decide if you want to have a 12 or 6 person team and start recruiting. Scared to run with strangers? Don't be, that is honestly the BEST part. In my 5 years running this race I have always ran with complete strangers in my van and it has worked out perfectly every single year.  In fact most years I didn't even meet someone in my van until the day of or before the race!

I knew ONE person in this photo before this race! Northwest Passage 2010
Only knew these ladies "online" before Northwest Passage 2012 with Nuun!
If you are doing a 12 man team I would highly recommend having a trusted friend assist you with things closer to race time like picking up vans, coordinating food, etc.  If you are a team of strangers consider doing a happy hour or 2 before the race to get to know each other, pick your legs, and general team bonding.  It's not necessary but it's nice!

2. The Money Situation - When I captained teams I did not register the team until I had 11 (or 5 for an ultra) runners checks in my hand.  I told my teammates their spot was not secure until they paid and it worked. I couldn't afford to shell out the money up front so this strategy worked well for me. If you have the dough, go ahead and register...I promise you'll find enough runners before race day.  I broke up payment into two chunks: 1) registration fee up front and 2) van rental, gas money, plus a little spending money.  Chunk number 2 was calculated before the race and teammates were required to pay me before the race started.  I knew the price of the van and just over calculated the cost of gas for each van and then put an envelope with cash in each van and told them it was for gas and whatever else they  wanted to use it for.

I will note that the first couple of years I ran Ragnar one person paid for EVERYTHING up front and we paid him back and he admitted that he lost money both years because people didn't end up paying him all the this happens I have no idea but it is the reason I make payment upfront a requirement...I ain't made of money people!

Oh and HEY...someone posted about this exact topic on the Blognar...READ IT!

3. Van Rentals - If you are going to run Northwest Passage just reserve van(s) NOW, seriously, go do it! Especially if you want a 12 or 15 passenger van because even months before there will be NONE to be found in the greater Seattle area.  I've done relays in minivans, 12 passenger vans, and a suburban and you know what...I survived each one.  Is having the room of a 12 passenger van awesome...FOR the price worth it?  You need to decide that with your team.  Our ultra team got hooked up with a Suburban last year and we found it to be more than enough room for us and our stuff and I've already reserved one for us for 2014.  Such a good little planner I am ;).

Mini vans...

to big 'ol 12 passenger vans!
4. Volunteers - Guess what...if any one person on your team lives within 100 miles of any point of the Ragnar race course you have to provide 3 volunteers or pay $120 for each of them.  I know lots of teams that just fork over the money but not this thrifty captain.  Ask family members of runners, friends, even co-workers!  My co-worker and her friend volunteer for my team every year and they absolutely LOVE it! And good ol' Blognar strikes again with more advice on getting volunteers.

5. Food and Stuff - There are lots of other things you need to remember and take in consideration when planning for an overnight relay. Snacks, water, required reflective gear, etc.  As a captain you can choose to go shopping yourself and add it to the money but in my opinion that just creates more work.  I tell my runners to bring minimal snacks and then usually we stop along the way to pick up other stuff as we need it.  12 man teams have time to go out for meals between legs.  If you are running it ultra style encourage your runners to come with all the food they'll need during the race in case stopping is hard to do.   And remember, it really is only about 30 hours...don't overdo it :).

Other things to consider:
  • Do you want a separate driver or will the runners take turns?
  • Do you have a super early start time? Maybe you want to camp or get a hotel near the start line the night before.
  • Do you want team branded shirts? Team shirts/costumes are pretty darn awesome but not required.
  • How will you handle drop outs? Make others run or find a last minute replacement? Once year my team recruited someone 12 hours before we left :).
The Ragnar website is also an awesome resource for more information including:
Question: Any other advice you would like to see about Ragnar? I'm sure there will be many more posts about Ragnar coming up, but let me know if you want to hear about something specific!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Recipe: World Famous Pepperoni Bread

Confession: I meant to post this before the Super Bowl so you could all enjoy it at your parties but yeah that didn't happen!  This recipe is one handed down through the generations (ok only two) from my grandma on my mom's side. I've been making it for over 10 years now and every single time I bring it to a party or gathering people just go absolutely crazy for it! I've had so many friends ask me for the recipe over and over again I figure I better post it so I can just send them a link next time.

The original recipe uses Rhoades frozen bread dough that you have to thaw and roll out (pain in the butt if you ask me), so I've simplified it a bit with pizza dough from the can!  This recipe is not healthy, it's not fancy, but I guarantee the loaf will be devoured in seconds if you bring it to a family or friend gathering…unless it's a vegan party…

Pepperoni Bread

2 loaves = ~20 slices depending on how thick you cut them

Ingredients for 2 loaves (you can always make just one but the pepperoni and cheese you buy makes two loaves perfectly and trust me, you'll want to have extra!)
  • 2 - Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough cans (you could really use any pizza dough you wanted, this dough just comes out of the can in the PERFECT shape already)
  • 1 - 2 cup package of shredded medium cheddar cheese
  • 1 - package of sliced up pepperoni (usually near the lunchables in the refrigerated section)
  • Shredded parmesan cheese for sprinkling
  • 2 eggs


Pre-heat oven to 325

1. Chop up the whole package of pepperoni
2. Take two small mixing bowls and divide pepperoni evenly between them
3. Divide the package of shredded cheddar cheese into each pepperoni bowl
4. Add an egg to each bowl and mix to combine

Bowl of goodness - cheddar cheese, pepperoni, 1 egg

5. Take the dough out of the package and place on non-stick or floured surface. It should be just the right shape right out of the can but just make sure it is the same thickness everywhere and in a rectangle
6. Spread the contents of each bowl on the dough - leave about a half an inch around the border
7. Sprinkle with parmesan - I should add that about 50% of the time I forget to do this step and it is still delicious :)

8. Roll that baby up like a cinnamon roll.  Squeeze those ends together as you roll up and seal the end seam well
9. Place both rolls seam side down on a cookie sheet

10. Bake for 20-25 or under VERY golden brown on top - this will ensure it's cooked inside
11. Let cool for at least an hour before slicing into whatever size slices you want

note small "explosions" on the inside seams

I should warn you that some of the contents may explode out the bottom/sides sometimes. Don't worry, there is plenty more inside and then you have a snack. I've also had friends take the sliced up pepperoni bread (after being stored in the fridge) and re-heat it in the oven to give it a slightly more crunch taste.

I have no pictures of the slices because they get eaten THAT FAST.  Now I've had friends give me all sort of suggestions for other things to stuff in this bread or even that dipping it in marinara would be good and I simply tell them that I am a pepperoni bread purist and don't mess with the original recipe or way of eating it…you can do whatever you want though, just don't blame me if it doesn't turn out.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2014 Ragnar Relay - REGISTER TODAY…no seriously!

Oh man, apologies for over a month since my last post…I honestly really do miss this space and using it to chat with my little reader group and just record life so I am going to try and post more, pinky swear!

First item of business is the fact that you should probably re-stock up on your Nuun supply right now.  Use code FEB14NUUNLOVE when you check out for 20% off until the end of February.  Nuun NEVER has discounts higher than this so get on it folks :).

Secondly, I have something really important you must all know! Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage is almost SOLD OUT. And I'm not exaggerating when I say that. As of February 15, there were only 35 spots left, who knows what it is down to now!

Six Pack With Racks is registered…are you?

Are you on the fence about running it because you are afraid you won't find enough team members or organizing it will be too much work? JUMP OFF the fence because I can 100% guarantee you that you will fill your team and I will help you organize!  So go click register right now and then here are some ideas/resources for you to fill your team and captain it…ready GO:

So, you registered right? Good for you…now go find runners:
  • Ask your friends, your friends friends, your co-workers
  • Put it out on social media
  • RSVP to the relay on Facebook and post there
  • Go run with local running groups and ask those people
  • Ask me to help spread the word for you!
So, you need help being the captain, here are some good resources (I hope to post a more detailed "how to be a captain for NWPassage" in the near future as well):
In other Ragnar news, I went to the Super Jock and Jill Monday night run event last night to spread the word of Ragnar and tell them to register NOW as well and it was a ton of fun.  Fellow ambassadors Amanda and Dana helped out and it was great to tell people about how much crazy fun this relay is.  There were probably close to 30 runners there and only a very small handful had never heard of Ragnar.
Ragnar is super generous with their swag, t-shirts for all!
We shared the night with my favorite yoga outfit in Seattle, Jasyoga, and Erin helped us all limber up post run.  We are hoping to get Erin more involved in Ragnar this year so everyone can get limber while on the race course whether it's doing van yoga or having a mini Jasyoga session at major exchanges…good idea right??!!

Amanda, me, and Erin from Jasyoga

Stretchin it out!
Any Ragnar questions? What is holding you back from registering today?