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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Ragnar Vegas - Ultra Race Recap

Because I clearly didn't get enough Ragnar in 2014 ... first #RagnarSoCal, Then #RagnarADK...and finishing with Vegas in early November.

You might recall me writing about Bondi Band having a wee contest to run #ragnarLV this year. I applied here. Then blogged about it here and here. ANd I also blogged about what to pack for a Raganar here.

It is safe to say this was the race I trained for all year. After all it as so MUCH running. Adirondacks was ONLY 28 miles in 30 hours. This was gonna be over 34 miles. (After all was said and done, my mileage count was 36 miles - what's a few extra?)

I have never run that many miles in a two day period. I have come close with my training, but think I am ready to tackle it and remain strong on all the legs. And not die. BONUS! And, it appears only have one leg with an appreciable incline. WHEW!!!

#BONDiGirls were 
Amy (my Tough Chik sister) who can also be found on Twitter and IG
Cherie who blogs at Overactive Blogger and can also be found on Twitter and IG
Camille who blogs at Running with Scissors and can also be found on Twitter and IG
Angela who blogs at Cowgirl Runs and can also be found on Twitter and IG
Katie who can also be found on Twitter and IG and at Chase This Skirt!

It was hard. It hurt. It was FABulous.

In Vegas, I started the party. We were to be up and out of the parking lot by 430 am...but one room didnt set an alam. So we were close to 30 mins late leaving. I am rarely typeA. This caused me to stress out. So here's is the number one hint for a relay race. Where you stay in a hotel. With more than one person. SET TWO ALARMS!
I am not much of an eater at 4 I had some Energybits, a VegaOne smoothie and a banana. I had had hydration and nutrition with me. But I also thought that I will be done pretty much a halfmara by 8 am and would chow down then. The van was loaded with yummy food. We got to the start about 10 minutes before I was to start running. Thank GOD the race was delayed a bit and I could use the loo and try to get calm. Just get down the mountain... my legs ended up being just OVER 12 miles (a 3800+ foot elevation drop coming down Mt Charleston running through Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest. I ran this puppy in 55 minutes. HA! Never will I prob never run a HALFMARA in that sort of time. I flew down that mountain. And had to keep telling myself to slow down. Only took a quick potty break at first exchange (did not eat early enough the night before - but I knew that!) and got water. It may have been cool at the start (0C / 33F) but it warmed up FAST! 
The first 3 miles was crowded and a gal fell into me. I broke her fall and went down. And got right back up and finished my legs.
Owie shot after leg 1,2 finished...I iced and disinfected it. Medics looked at it at leg 6, 12...
still took 6 weeks to heal! I still have a scar. Yup. BadASS!
When I finished it was sunny and getting warm. Within a few hours would be blazing hot.

My next set of legs add up to 13.5 miles - starting at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Passing through bonnie Springs Ranch. These 4 legs are not in town or anything. So I am expecting some fantastic scenery. Umm it blacker than the ace of spades and I could see JACK. it was also colder than I thought. I was not at all near warm enough...and reception was terrible so I couldn't phone and ask for assistance. So I kept trucking. It was hard running all that way in darkness and facing traffic on the highway - sometimes a bit blinding! Since vehicles couldn't stop on those legs it was hard going alone. But still dug deep and got 'er done. Oh and you know how I said I thought I only had one leg with an incline? HA!!  This was full on incline the WHOLE 13+ miles. Good thing it was damn dark out.

I was super excited when I saw the "ONE MORE MILE" sign but was thinking wow...I must be motoring. Alas...about 12 more minutes later I see another "ONE MORE MILE" sign. I believe I swore a blue streak out loud! A runner behind me and a runner ahead heard. We all laughed. I cant tease us - we are sleep deprived and somewhat crazy at this point! I finished and was sooo cold - the wind had picked up and it was past 10pm. I was STARVING yet had no energy to eat. Thank god the gals had some eggs and salty chips handy. And some Almond Milk! I ate that. rested. Ate again. Napped. Cheered. Ate again. Napped. Cheered. You get the cyclical picture.

My last two legs started fairly early in the morning. I am kinda sore..but not bad, considering the kind of mileage I had already put in. Cammie hleps stretch me out...We all roll a bit...and have some laughs.

I am to finish with my last two legs (10 miles) in and around Henderson and the River Mountain Loop Trail! I am feeling good and thinking this is some serious badassery! I have been training with a whole lotta miles and back to back to back runs. I hope I am ready for this...eek.

I get out there and that morning run - is glorious. Its pretty simple - 3 miles and bit... but then I have to pee soooo bad...I figure no one will see. It's a big old field on desert nothing. And then 5 guys pass me. They actually stopped to High5 me as I was getting back on the path! MORTIFIED! Then my team tells me they also saw me drop trou. AW FFS! hahahaha. Awesome! I actually nail that run in about 35 minutes. Pretty sweet given my state of lack of sleep and running close to 26 miles the day previous.

My garmin dies just as I pull into my last exchange. I get more water. It is blazing hot now. I can;'t believe how hot it got in 40 minutes. I take a bottle of water, and my water belt is full. I am about to run several miles on a pathway where no one can come I need to ensure I have water.
I will say this "7 miles" was the damn longest I have ever run. The gal who I run most of with claims we actually run almost 9 miles on this leg...I dunno. It was hot, lonely and thought. And hilly. Holy Hell Hilly!
I finish. It is super emotional...moreso than I thought. I walked close to half a mile at the end, after running out of water. But then I dig in and run that last quarter mile. Bawling.I got all my legs completed in just over 7 hours. Hot diggity DAYEM!
And we carry one onwards to the finish....where I join the gals to run across the finish line! 
 It was AMAZEballs. It really was.
And so was that beer at the end.
And the next day the soak in the hot tub and the dip in the UNHEATED pool did our legs wonders!
 THANK YOU to the wonderful Bondi Band folks who generously sponsored our team entry, hotel, van and some new awesome team gear! Find em on Twitter and IG!

They also hooked us up with goodies from 

Thanks again to our fab sponsors for the wonderful product and the amazing good times! 

Have you run a ragnar?
Which is your fav?

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

OMG! What to do for a Ragnar?

Ragnar races are a special breed of relays. I have been lucky to do 3 this year - with Tough Chik and 2 (eek - ultras) with Bondi Band! The ones I have done are point-to-point with 1 (if you are crazy and doing and ultra) or 2 vans. So much fun, but there is a little prep work involved.
How do you train?  

You need to prep for the mileage. In my first Ragnar, I had a fair bit of mileage - 18 miles planned. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t have a huge amount of time to prep for Ragnar SoCal in April – only 3 weeks, but I was in the throes of marathon training, so I thought, Oh I will be fiiiine. I was. I had been putting lots of miles on and running 4x a week. Heck, I even added on an extra leg at the end to help out a teammate.

But I did learn that running "doubles" is a good idea. Run two runs a day a few times before the race. And, once I knew I was going to do an Ultra - double the miles, double the fun - I did em on Saturday. As in: I ran Saturday morning, Saturday evening then Sunday morning again! Or any variation thereof. Weeee. Once my mileage got high (and I was running 10 miles plus 10k plus 10k or more) it got tiring, but I swear it is the best bloody training ESPECIALLY for an Ultra. (I was able to step in at the last minute and join an ultra team in September with virtually no issues). Your legs need that training, and so does your head, and the voice that says ‘but I am sooo tired”.

Some folks say get your runs in during the heat of the day, if you aren’t acclimatized to the heat. But I live in Canada, so I say run whenever you can.

And, eat well. ESPECIALLY for ultra teams. Trust me. You don’t want bathroom issues. No junk. No booze (for me) and drink ALL the water. Pamper your body. Get a massage. Keep in fine form. Besides the training part, you gotta roll and stretch (in training to keep away the niggles and ESPECIALLY during a Ragnar race! You are in a van with 6 others for a whole lotta hours! There can be cramping.

Lastly, read the Ragnar Bible. If you have never done a relay, it really does help you get a sense of how the event works. Basiclaly if you do any bigger relay, just read the rule. CRAZY thought, I know. But it  I amazing how many people do not know the rules. Just be prepared, I say.

Now onto Packing. WHAT the hell to pack?

THREE  running outfits (top, sports bra, shorts, socks, whatever YOU run in). Afterwards put the outfit into a gallon-size ziploc bags.  Best idea EVER to do this. I actually “pre-package each outfit into the bag. Saves space and makes grabbing the next clean, dry outfit easy.

A minimum of TWO pairs of shoes.  You have 3 or 6 (crazy ultra talk) legs in 36 hours. You’ll want dry shoes that are not pounded down by your feet from your last run 8 hours ago.
Comfy non-running Clothes to chill or sleep in.   
Recovery Shoes – flipflops/crocs/barefooters – for after the run
Recovery tools – a roller “ball” or stick to roll out and help recovery for your next leg. If you have room pack Mr. Foamie!
Compression – socks or sleeves – your calves will thank you. I wore mine the whole time for each of my races. I love my CEP Compression! And for fun, Bondi makes some great ones too. Though I did change em out to match outfits.

Hydration – a handheld, a belt or a vest. No matter how short a leg is, you NEED water. Especially if it is a long distance or warm out. Seriously.

Favourite Headgear – sunglasses, bondi band, hat/ visor, buff – keep the sun and sweat at bay. Jacket – Either a windbreaker to run in, a jacket for after runs or at night - you will need this.

Blanket – roll it up as a pillow or use for stretching out outside the van.
Accessories - iPod, headphones, sportswatch, race number belt/spi belt, etc
Reflective Gear - you gotta have a reflective vest, head lamp, flashing reflector light

Don't Forget: electronic device chargers, ice packs, KT tape, anti chafe crèmes, ibuprofen

What’s in the Van?

Water. You need a water plan. Your van needs to have enough for your team. My last team (6 of us on Ragnar ADK) consumed 100 bottles in 2 days!

Nutrition. gels, chomps, chews, beans, energybits. Pick your poison and have em ready for EVERY leg. You never know when you might need them. I use Energybits to run with, but in the middle of the night, I take em for a wee bit of energy boost or mental clarity! Find what works for you.

Electrolytes. Yes water is great. but you also need some electrolytes. I love Nuun and Vega. Just make sure you carry it.

Wash Up with Baby Wipes or ShowerPill Athletic Body Wipes. Show your van mates (and yourself) some fresh clean love. trust me. You don’t want to be all nasty in your dried out sweat for 36 hours.

Food - Be prepared. You might not really be able to stop for lunch or dinner. And do you really want junk food? Have some good staples - PB, trail mix, Chocolate Milk, Almond Milk, Protein shake mix, Bread, etc - handy! My favs include anything -Vega - pre and post run rocks!

Snacks – salty, sweet -   I also find it’s a good idea to get a sense of what your team might buy, so you can bring anything else you personally want.  My faves include pretzels, beef jerky, dried fruit!

Van Decorations.  *do this Pre-race- obviously! Many teams decorate their vans — show your team spirit! Team Gear - shirts? skirts? matching gear? A team look is fun  - always good for recognition.

I really love a relay race - all the people, all the cheering!

I have done several kinds. Point-to-Point, ones that all loop around to a central location, trail, road .... and every one was freaking awesome You suffer together and you laugh your asses off - and make some amazing friends along the way. You cheer other teams on, you find out that you do have what it takes to be a freaking rock star.

What Ragnars have you done?
Got a fav Relay?
Or do you think there could be nothing worse than being in a van with 6 other peeps?
(if so,  you should try it you'd love it)

Wordless Wednesday: Why Ragnar?

Monday, 3 November 2014

Ragnar Vegas - an Ultra Adventure

AGES ago BEFORE I  ran RagnarSoCal in April , I applied to run Ragnar Las Vegas .... (my application is here
Well hot damn. That time has finally come. I have been futzing around and running like a demon and looking for a job (and not writing much in prep for the big adventure)!

The time has finally come!

Tina Fab is HITTING the STRIP! 

 well FIRST we are running our arses off! 

I will be runner 1!! My first ragnar I was runner 12. And amazing experience to bring home the team. And in my last one - in New York- I was the 6th runner in the Ultra team, and finishing that was pretty sweet. In both those races I had decent mileage - 21 miles and then 28 miles.

In Vegas I get to START the party and have over 34 miles to log. My first two legs add up to 12 miles (ummm with a 3800 foot elevation drop)  - coming down Mt Charleston running through Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest. Who knew Vegas had a "mountain" and some snow?  My next set of legs add up to 12.5 miles - starting at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Passing through bonnie Springs Ranch. These 4 legs are not in town or anything. So I am expecting some fantastic scenery. I finish with my last two legs (10 miles) in and around Henderson and the River Mountain Loop Trail! Thinking this is some serious badassery! I have been training with a whole lotta miles and back to back to back runs. I hope I am ready for this...eek.

I have never run that many miles in a two day period. I have come close with my training, but think I am ready to tackle it and remain strong on all the legs. And not die. BONUS! And, it appears only have one leg with an appreciable incline. WHEW!!!

I should introduce you to the team...sponsored by Bondi Band
Inspired by Bond, James Bond. 

This fab design was created by Katie - our teams uber talented designer! 

We are all gonna be Miles Galore.
C'mon...take a Bond Girl ... make em a runner name can do it! 
I am excited to meet (though I already know two of the team) and run with the other FAB members of my team - #BONDiGirls:
Amy (my Tough Chik sister) who can also be found on Twitter and IG
Cherie who blogs at Overactive Blogger and can also be found on Twitter and IG
Camille who blogs at Running with Scissors and can also be found on Twitter and IG
Angela who blogs at Cowgirl Runs and can also be found on Twitter and IG
Katie who can also be found on Twitter and IG and at Chase This Skirt!

Is VEGAS READY for all the FABulous?? 
Is Ragnar?? Is the World??
Oh yes. This is gonna be FREAKING AWESOME!

Oh and remember Donnie - mascot of the #littlebloggybluebirds and Banff Ekiden relay fame?
He is also dreaming of Vegas! My fab pal Cori created this Donnie Masterpiece when she she heard that Ange had seen Donnie in Action at another one of my relays ...and requested he join the team! 
Watch for Donnie's adventures on my Instagram. #donniedoesvegas is gonna trend. 

I would not be doin this race without our amazing sponsors!
So indulge me while I give em a massive shout out:
  • The wonderful Bondi Band folks who have generously sponsored our team entry, hotel, van and some new awesome team gear! Find em also on Twitter and IG
aaaaaand also:
  • ENERGYbits: These little green spirulina pills have been keeping me on the go for a while. I am excited to share and introduce my teammates to being #poweredbybits! 
  • Chase This Skirt: The wonderful Katie has made us awesome skirts that will rock out our look! Find her on FB and Twitter, too! 
  • I am a lover and a regular user of Vega and so pumped they hooking us up with #vegasport and #vegaone products! #fuelyourbetter, indeed!!  Check em out on Twitter and IG.
  • Clif Bar Company have provided us with a whole lotta Bloks, Bars and Mojo for the race. We are totally gonna be able to #meetthemoment with Clif! Find em on Twitter and IG, too.
  • Krave Jerky: One of my fav snacks after a run! yum for protein. Hey, did you know Meb is a spokesperson? Check em out on Twitter or IG
  • Nuun Hydration: Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE me some nuun! So happy they are helping us hydrate. Show em some #nuunlove on Twitter or IG
  • I am a lover and a regular user of Vega and so pumped they are gonna hook us up with some #vegasport and #vegaone products! #fuelyourbetter, indeed!!  Check em out on Twitter and IG.
  • KT Tape is gonna wrap us up in some love, too! Check em out on Twitter and IG.
  • ShowerPill: we are sooo gonna need these awesome athletic body wipes during the 36 hours in the van - no showering and a whole lotta running! Shower em with love on IG or Twitter

  • Thank You SO MUCH to all our fab sponsors for the wonderful product we have been given! 
    We are gonna smell fantastic, be energized, hydrated, taped up if need be, and happily snacking in our van!! 
    Also random point here - in Ragnar Adirondacks I discovered using KT tape on my back to allievate some heat induce bra chafe. BEST idea everrrrr!

    Have you done a Ragnar? Run Vegas?
    Cheer us on! 
    #RagnarLV             #RagnarVegas
    #BONDiGirls           #teambondiband

    Tuesday, 21 October 2014

    Ragnar Adirondacks: Ultra Good Times (part two)

    OK back to the #RagnarADK ... saw the on to the RUNNING portion of the Bondi Bandits Ragnar Adirondacks Adventure (check out part one here) ! The announcement (pre-race is here)!
    Up we got at 5 to get to the PARTY started! 
    We greeted each other, met Kim and Gail, loaded up the van, piled in the van and headed off to race check-in at Saratoga Springs.
    This place was gorgeous! 
    We jacked around, showed our safety gear and got our briefing and then saw off Lisa (runner 1) at 7:15 am. And thus began the UPHILL route. #awholelottahills in them there Adirondacks. I think the most uttered phrase MAY have been, "holy sh*t, it's hilly".
    I was also amazed at the crazy weather. It was BEYOND foggy! It was also warm. It got quite hot actually by noon. Everyone's first set of legs went well and we were in high spirits. 
    We had fun taking pics, selfies and snacking! 
    In fact, we took so many awesome pics 6 pics taken by our team (3 by me, 2 by Jenny and 1 by Lisa were freatured on Ragnar's blog post on top 100 of #ragnarADK)! 
    We bandited vehicles and our fellow Ragnarians delivering Bondi Bands and laughs!
    Finally by around 4pm it was time for me to get ready to get my run on. As runner 6, I was taking on legs 11 and 12. I had 6.3 miles and then 5.4 miles - for a total of 12.7miles. It was sunny, warm and i knew I could get one leg done without night gear. The team would wait for me at the exchange so I could put on the reflective gear. As I waited for Kim, I got really nervous! I had had a WHOLE day of WAITING! But I knew I could enjoy this run and I was mostly in park pathways.

    So first a nervous selfie
    And GO-TIME! 
     It was gorgeous! This was rolling hills. My pace was not as fast as I anticipated. But I was steady.
    And the views were good. 
    Then I got to the exchange...and got the night gear on. 

    And off I went for the last bit of my run...less than 6 miles to go.
    No city roads. But a lovely pathway. 
    At one point, I wondered if I was gong the right way.
    And I saw this sign
    So...if I turned left there was beer and BBQ. But if I stayed on the path I got to Ragnar exhange?
    There was a short moment of hesitation! Truth be last mile was damn long. The hills were challenging from the get go. I felt em the last 30 minutes! 
     And then I was done. And seriously within minutes it was pitch black! 
    And I had 10+ hours to wait til I ran again. I was thankful I had a short second set (about 6 miles).
    There was some intermittent napping. We has a few night unsupported legs. An Jenny, Adam and Gail has some long runs with no shoulder, guard rail...and we couldnt pull over to help. But we tried our best to cheer. Or nap. There was some napping. but I swear not much. 

    We jacked around night and day... 
    And admired van artwork - our own and others. 
    When I look at all the photos of us there were so MUCH smiles! 
    No matter if we were at mile 3 or 30! 
    Its a bit of a blur when I started my second set. Was it 7 am? It was foggy as hell! I remember being worried about Kim. She had taken a wee bit longer than we thought. But she has 16miles. Mostly in the dark. If I was feeling foggy...she must have been feeling like a dishrag! 
    And then she arrived and off I went into the thickest fog I ever experienced! 
    It was slightly spooky. 
    When  I finished my run - just shy of 5 miles in 54mins I was pleased. But I worried we needed to make up time. Was I too slow? While I was running, the rest of the team had gone ahead to my second exhange area since I had short distance. When they got there, Ragnar advised us to double up (running legs together). That way we would still run the same amount of legs...and then 'catch up'. (there were only 11 Ultra teams and we were a little behind) Ragnar wanted us to finish in daylight, so suggested this. So Lisa and Jenny took off and ran two legs. Then Adam did his two legs. 

    And then Gail and Kim joined me for my last two legs. It was 10 AND A HALF miles upFREAKINhill to the finish at Lake Placid. It was lovely but a little of hell on earth. And interesting enough someone (was it Gail or Kim) swore as much as me the entire leg! HA! I will say these two were the BEST to run with. We kept each other going. Each of us took turns saying WE got this! It was awesome. There was cursing. Eff You-ing to the hills and beyond. And a few "I am NEVER doing this again" uttered. haha. How soon we all forget! 

    Gail was also kind enough to lead us in stretching at times

     The views were spectacular. 
    And we were smiling! Mostly.
    And then we were done. 
    Holy hell it was hot at 3(ish)pm when we finished. 

    I LOVE Kimberley's FAB video! It sums up our Bondi Band aventure perfectly!

    Thank You THANK YOU BONDI for this awesome opportunity!
    Honestly This was a whole lotta awesome and am so so grateful! 
    And hella proudof all of us! 

    Have you Run an "ultra" relay?