Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Favorites

Things I'm loving this week

  • #100happydays challenge. You may have seen this hashtag around instagram or facebook- the premise of the 100 Happy days challenge is to find something each day that makes you happy and capture it on your media of choice for 100 straight days. If you make it through all 100 days straight, you get sent a little 100 page book with all your moments. Today is day 8 for me. I love that it forces you to find at least one thing that happened each day that truly made you happy, thus appreciating what you have in your life.
  • Weight loss. I started T25 for a variety of reasons, but the two that  sealed the deal was to give me a focus since my 50 states is finished, and to sculpt my body that 3 years of mainly running with minimal weights robbed me of.  I was giddy when I stepped on the scale Monday morning to see I officially lost 10lbs, but more so that it got me back into a weight range I've been aiming for in the last several months. Icing on the cake was when I put on a tank to work out and it was super loose (it was skin tight across my lower abs when purchased)
I'll be working on cleaning up that bathroom mirror now 
  • Veggie Experimentation. I absolutely LOVE vegetables. I'm always experimenting for what I can cook in large quantities to last me a few days. My latest obsession is broccoli, sweet potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower, white onions and slice almonds roasted and then tossed in a pesto vinagrette I came up with. Combine that with egg on toast with jalapeno cilantro hummus and orange bell peppers and you have an explosion in your mouth. I've had this 4x this week and still not sick of it! 
  • Indulging in sweets. Despite all the good I've been doing in the kitchen, I still have a sweet tooth. I generally have something available to keep it at bay- lately its either hot chocolate or mint oreos (where I have 1 or 2). Not sure if its to offset all the veggies, but I've been craving sweets more often than normal this week. Since I've been good, I've allowed some indulgences as long as I trade off with something else. Last night the dessert 'trolley' came to our suite at the hockey game. This was my first trolley experience & was overwhelmed by all the choices. I couldn't decide between the peanut butter chocolate cake or the s'mores cake, so I got both! Sarah had a shot of patron coffee in a chocolate deep shell which was also tempting. For the record, I wasn't able to finish either.
  • Twist on a classic. The other day I was looking for something on you tube (for the life of me I can't remember) when an ad popped up for some movie that is coming out shortly with Paul Walker. The entire trailer had a 'dark but seductive' version of "Stand by Me" playing that just really intrigued me. Apparently this version was also featured on "The Following", so a lot of people had googled it which made my search that much easier- band is Ki:Theory and I've been listening to it while getting ready in morning and find myself dancing. It starts out kind of scary, but man does it get good. Also, only video I could attach on here is really weird- ignore that. 

  • Busting a move. Speaking of dancing, I've been doing a lot of it lately. Let's set the record straight- I am the epitome of a tall white girl- I have no skills other than 'backing it up'. Thanks to the you tube channel Jessica Fitness, I've been doing a lot of dance workouts. Another "fitness" goal of mine is to be more flexible, coordinated, and just have better balance. I truly think this is helping. As an added bonus, if somehow any of my friends happen to convince me to go dancing this summer, maybe i'll have some moves? Leah and I already discussed that one night we are going to literally just bust out t25 movements on the dance floor to see who joins in. If that happens, I'll make sure to get plenty of documentation. 
What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Week in Review (3/17/14- 3/23/14)

Last week everyone that has kids seemed to take off and leave the city due to all the school's being on spring break. Not only was work a ghost town, but also certain parts of Nashville. It was nice to have a low key week.

St. Patricks Day (Monday) -
T25 Total Body Circuit
2.5 mile run

Immediately upon coming in to work my boss handed me a little gift to enjoy St. Patty's day (for those that don't know- my last name is Jameson- I actually don't like the drink, but she made the brownies the previous week and they were amazing!)

Mid-day my phone just died and the only way it would work is if it was plugged in. Normally I wouldn't freak out too much, but I combined my work & personal phone into one so I could get it all paid for. This means if Verizon can't fix it, I have to follow a protocol at work to get a new one. we had a giant celebration at our running group and Nike was there testing out shoes and giving out prizes, so I know I had to go for a short bit before heading to Verizon

There were 2 shoes to try out- first one which I was itching to try was the Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 (neutral shoe). The one time I'm excited about testing out a shoe and they don't have my size. I did try on a 9.5 and boy was it comfortable for walking around, but I knew I needed the extra room for running.

I had zero desire to try the other shoe, Nike Zoom-Structure, but since you got a free beer for testing either shoes, I decided to do a short run in them, hop by phone store, and be back before the giveaways started
As expected, I hated the shoes and got my usual pain on lateral sides of my arch and decided to make this run REALLY short, a whopping 2.5 miles. 

Went to Verizon where I waited for over 45 min with no service, then left to go back to St. Patty's day celebrations with the run group. 

RIPPED class in lieu of T25

Requested a new phone, found out I needed president of my market's approval who is of course on spring break and his assistant left for the day so it would have to wait till the next day. 
1 hour Ripped class after work (nailed it) followed by usual Tuesday night trivia. We were not on our A game and didn't do so well. Things got a little heated when a team was trying to say that the tallest mountain peak in North America is Mt. Denali- clearly its Mt. McKinley which is located in the National Park called Denali. It took them 10 min to find a website that corroborated their answer to which I argued if it takes you 10 min to find something on the internet to back up what you think is correct for a game of trivia it shouldn't count. Crazy how I was the only one drinking just water at my table yet I was the most vocal-- guess you had to be there to appreciate the back and forths. 

5 miles with co-worker
T25 Speed 1.0

Got the approval I needed for the phone. Work day uneventful. 2 summers ago I actually trained for a full marathon and did most of my long runs with one of my co-workers. The marathon didn't happen because I developed a bad case of plica inflammation which mimicked a meniscal tear. We haven't run much together since, but I agreed to do an easy 5 with him after work. Weather was pristine with a nice cool breeze.
Finished my t25 workout and the roommate had a few friends over for dinner. Afterward I showed them all the workout dance videos I've found and we swapped dance moves. I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles to look coordinated while dance working out. (you tube jessica fitness and you'll get all her workouts to popular songs) 

Double Day - total body circuit + lower focus

Big day:
1. My phone arrived and I got a mini upgrade and now have Siri (I had the 4 IOS before, now I have the 4s IOS) Also I could never upgrade to the 7 version due to not having enough space from all the pictures. Now I have the 7 and not sure how I feel. My biggest sense of loss is I don't have the emoticons anymore. Apparently I can just download the emoji app and install it, which I still need to do. 
2. I actually ventured out with my 2 work besties for lunch (I always stay put with either my lunch I bring from home, or a salad from our cafe) Old Chicago has an amazing deal- $7.50 for pizza buffet + salad+ a cookie. Beer is not included but was a much needed break from the day. 
3. I finished Alpha round of T25 (5 weeks)!!! I waited until after the weekend was over for measurements since I was still bloated from that time of the month but happy to report my progress:
Pounds lost: 10.2
Inches lost: 2 from waist, 1.5 from chest, 1 from thigh, +1 in bicep

I'm still not where I want to be and started up Beta round on Sunday---- crazy intense. 

4 mile lunch run

Work was slow so I called it a day and left early. Met a bunch of people who still hadn't scoped out Tennessee Brew Works. I've been a few times, but this is the first time it was warm enough to enjoy their awesome patio. 

A year ago this photo would be me and all guys. So glad to have more girlfriends in my life! 

Roomie love 

4 miles
Broke in my new (but old) shoes. Last year I ran in the Saucony Mirage 3s. I loved how lightweight they were and allowed me to run faster (I got my PR in Maryland wearing these) 

My problem was that these are 4mm drop and I was used to an 8mm drop. I did too much too soon and ended up with excruciating calf pain from May - September. I tested them out for my 5 miler on Wednesday to see if I should re-visit a new pair now that my mileage and lengths is decreased and after a successful run I hopped on to and snagged a pair for super cheap $54 and change after taxes. If you use code FB15D that gets you 15% off. (facebook 15% discount is what it stands for if it makes it easy to remember.) 
They only had the deep magenta available, but they were fabulous for my 4 miler on Saturday!

Later in the day a few of us went to see Divergent in Imax (during the day it was only $1 more than regular seating). I haven't read the books and I won't read them due to knowing how it ends, but I figured it would be neat to see the movie since I heard it was well done. I have to say that the actor who plays 'Four', Theo James', was worth every penny spent for that ticket. And on top of his looks, hes also British whichs prompts the question why you can't meet a man like that : wipes drool off mouth: 

After the movie we head out for some bbq, enjoyed watching Wisconsin beat Oregon, and called it a night. 

First day of beta- core cardio

I started my day off excited to try the next 5 weeks of T25, but I got my ass handed to me... no literally my ass still hurts as I'm writing this. I'm 3 days in and I have a hard time keeping up. I'm hoping as I get used to the moves and the speed I won't keep having to pause and modify, but at least I'm being challenged?

Rest of the day was lazy day- cleaning, organizing, grocery shopping, and meal prep for the week. I ALWAYS have roasted veggies on hand since they are scrumptious and easy to make. I vary what I get based on availability and price. This week: broccoli, bell peppers, parsnips, 1 japanese sweet potato (they're purple) and regular sweet potatoes + not pictured- white onions and edamame.  

I also made a bunch of chicken patties from ground chicken + spices, dijon mustard, and onions, but the photos didn't turn out. I love experimenting in the kitchen, but for me, everything is about simplicity and time constraints. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Week in Review


T25 Lower body followed by 4.2 miles 
We finally had a nice day + the advantage of daylight savings = still light for group run at 6pm (I even had to wear sunglasses!)  We were able to resort back to the neighborhood routes which mean lots and lots of hills. The run kicked my butt (combo of out of ‘running shape’ + tackling trails the day before + 2 T25 workouts) Luckily I wasn’t the only one wheezing so I didn’t feel that out of place. 

Woke up very early to do T25 before work since I knew there was zero time afterward. If you didn’t hear from Friday’s post, a few of my friends did another Predators trivia and won upgraded glass seats to the April 10th game. Sarah was the only one from my previous team that also won, so we’re calling ourselves the double champs. 

Yoga at lunch 
The day started off in tragedy, my keurig DIED. It exploded all over me (had to change) then turned off and lost all power. I never could revive her and I realized she had a good life (6-7 years?) and she was loud anyway so I threw her away on Friday.

My body told me I needed a break so I took the day off, yup, finally missed a t25 workout and I’m okay with it. Rest of the day was spent relaxing and watching tv.

T25 + 30 min of doing the workout dance to Katy Perry’s “Dark horse” song. I’m slowly looking slightly less awkward.
After all the dancing I showered and had ladies night of pizza and gabbing. My favorite part was playing with the adorable 4 month old Annie, a bernese mountain dog
I couldn't get a great picture of her, but its basically the same source- look at those paws!!! 

Up early for T25 (Total Body circuit- the hardest in my opinion) I was able to do 5 deep push ups in a row before modifying and 3 oblique push ups before modifying.
Friday felt more like St Patrick's day than yesterday. Mom sent a care package for St. Patty’s day to work- much prefer mail during the day to help brighten it vs. when I'm already home :) 

We also had our St Patty's Day celebration in the afternoon since a lot of people are out this week for spring break. Beer, treats, golf, and Irish music. My boss also had her 2 year old son come in dressed like a leprechaun, but I felt weird if I took a photo- trust me it was adorable. 

 Afterward a bunch of friends headed to Whole Foods for the $20 food / beer pairing collaboration with Tennessee Brew works (newest craft brewery in town- such a great deal and an even more fabulous time! 
5.1 miles
I wanted to explore this side street we found when walking to Whole Foods the day before and low and behold it actually was a segway into one of my normal weekend routes. Aside from some female cramps, the run was perfect!!

After getting cleaned up, Leah and I looked at our first housing option in East Nashville. LOVED the porch, location, and the entire first floor, but was not a fan of the bedroom and bathroom layouts, so the hunt continues.

Since I was already in East Nashville, met up with Sarah and headed over to St. Patty's day fest in the area. Aside from the food trucks and people watching, we've seen better so we headed out after 1 beer in... miller lite and it wasn't even green :( 

Leah asked me to go out with her friends to this swanky bar, but sometimes you just need "me" time. I did some window shopping (and real shopping) at Kohls, ate solo at Whole Foods, and watched a movie. Turns out one of her friends was 1 hour late in meeting up, the food was pricey, the conversation was sub par--- staying in on Saturday night... winning!!!

Rest day 
Since rain was on the forecast ALL. DAY. LONG I decided to start my spring cleaning, aka operation purge my closet.  It amazes me how even though I do this every year, I still manage to have bags of stuff to get rid of. This is just round 1 since I was getting tired.

I made plans to meet up with Betsy for our first IRL meet up and to discuss our upcoming Cape Cod logistics. Our team is a mix from all over + locals so meeting up with vans , organizing hotels, etc is a little more complicated vs if everyone were from out of town. It took a lot of brainstorming, but the hand map Betsy drew is getting us closer to figuring everything out. 

Had a movie day rest of day with roomie and we made from scratch sugar cookies for our Tin Roof group run on St. Patty's day- homemade = way better :)

I'm embarrassed by how many I've ate thus far, so what is leftover from our run will be brought to the office. Apparently I just can't have sweets in the house!

Anything exciting in your week?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Trails, Trivia, T25

If you haven't heard already, Elizabeth has organized a great group of ladies to round out the Nuun sponsored team to run in the inaugural Ragnar Trail Atlanta. Unlike traditional Ragnars, there aren't some locations that are easy flat terrain  and some that are hard... all trail Ragnars are filled with hills, rocks, sand, and whatever other obstacles can be challenging. This particular one is held in the Georgia International Horse Park which is laced with all the above. Here is a preview of what is to come

Barely a flat part in sight. I don't mind hills, but hills on dirt that you need to grab on to tree routes and constantly look at the ground so you don't fall, that is another story. I found a too good to pass up deal last week on clearanced out trail shoes, so I decided to hit up our local tough trails, Percy Warner, with a few of my friends who are on another team for Ragnar Trail.  With walk breaks included in our time we had an 11 min pace for our 4 miles and I felt like we were flying. Considering 2 of my runs for Ragnar Trail Vail Lake in November were 11:51 and 11:59 total pace... I call this a huge win. 

I was excited to go again this week and meet (for the first time) my teammate for Ragnar Cape Cod, Betsy, but it's supposed to rain. I'm not the most coordinated on trails, add rain to the mix and I'm pretty sure I might hurt myself. Come on mother nature please play nice!

If you've been reading these past few months you know I'm an avid trivia player. Back in November me and a few friends who traditionally aren't on my weekly Tuesday trivia team decided to try the first ever Preds trivia  which was held at Bridgestone where our Preds hockey team plays. Everyone gets a discounted ticket that plays, and if you win first place your seats get upgraded to ICE seats and if you get 2nd you get the lower bowl. The first time around we tied with another team and won the tie breaker to get the ICE seats!!

Photo: Feeling like a VIP .....

A few weeks ago Sarah and I received another email stating they were going to do it again. Our November team actually consisted of an ex and all his friends, so I hardcore recruited all my weekly trivia members that were available, and a few others to get a diverse team. The result- again tied for first and broke the tie breaker to WIN ICE SEATS AGAIN!

The game we all chose is 4/10 and we actually were able to get all 9 seats together on the ice (last time they had to split it up into 4 and 3) It's nice to know how facts you think are useless that are in your brain can reap big rewards!!! 

Today marked the end of my 4th week of T25. At first I didn't think I was noticing many results aka 'why aren't my abs chiseled yet', but luckily I've been tracking my weight and inches every Saturday. I don't have results yet from this week (obviously its friday) but as of last week I was down 6lbs, 2 inches off my waist, and 1.5 off my chest. I think the best part was one of my guy friends who I hadn't seen in a few weeks commented the other day that my frame "looked smaller"- I'll take it. Aside from results, I've learned 3 things about my body:
1.) My legs are strong. I've always had strong legs (mostly quads and calves) so some of the moves don't bother me. Just call me the squat queen. 
2.) My upper strength is very weak in comparison, but I have come a long way. For me pushups are not comfortable- its not the arms part, its actually my back. Yesterday  I was so proud that I could do 3 oblique push ups before I needed to modify-- baby steps. 
3.) I am naturally uncoordinated. After 4 weeks I'm finally able to do some of the moves that just seemed "awkward to me" I've also been trying to learn the dance /workout to Katy Perry's "Dark Horse"--- maybe someday I'll record myself doing it and post it. Let's just say I don't look sexual at all doing it and instead that I'm trying to hard. 

If you don't know what I'm talking about- here is the you tube video. It's definitely a leg workout, but the challenge is can you look coordinated while doing it? Some day...

Friday, March 7, 2014

Five for Friday

1. Contrary to what some people think, I actually eat pretty healthy. I don't blog about all the times I sit at home and stay in, so the perception is that I'm always out partying eating bar food. I also don't talk much about how I'm a nutritionist and know a ton about the content of food and what you need to eat in order to get which vitamins and minerals.... I could talk your ear off about all that stuff though. The reason I don't blog about all that is because I could go on forever about it. There are some blogs devoted to that type of content- if you have questions, great I will answer them, but helping people with their nutrition for 6 years got me burnt out on giving advice and listening to excuses, and I don't want to go down that road again.
This is what a typical week or 2 (depending on how much quantity I make, looks like) I haven't been in the mood much for meat, so aside from my ground chicken in the stuffed bell peppers, I've been really upping my veggie and quinoa intake. The more (natural) color my food has, the happier I am :)

2.  My friend Julia (who used to blog at Pain, Pride, and Perseverance) posted Tuesday night on Facebook they had 2 openings on the Cape Cod Ragnar Relay team this upcoming May. Thank goodness I happened to be cruising my newsfeed and responded within 5 minutes of her posting. I got in and they happened to find the 12th person as well-- woo woo. Team Name is Beauty and the Beast(s). 

I haven't decided what I'm most excited about yet:
  • Crossing off another 'new to me' Ragnar off my list
  • Seeing and getting to run with Julia again (she was on my Ultra Beast Mode team)
  • Meeting Fancy Nancy for the first time even though I've been following her for years
  • Turns out this random pairing of people has someone from Nashville on it! Betsy who blogs at LiteralB is in my backyard. I know zero bloggers who are in my city so its exciting to make an IRL friend and then actually get to see her in the area. sidenote: I do have 2 IRL friends that I met who were Nashville bloggers- Jill H and Ashley. Jill stopped blogging and Ashley moved. Both were also on my Ultra Beast Mode team. (also on my header- one of my fav pics)

3.  Wednesday I joined Leah at a 'new to me' run group- "East Nasties" in East Nashville. I've been wanting to go for years, but its hard to get out of work and fight the traffic to make it there by 6. There were at least 60-70 runners here which I'm told is pretty small. It was nice to see quite a few runners I know, which means one of my goals of getting to know more local runners is working. Since the weather was cooler (high 30s) that apparently means I'm going faster without realizing it. We had a 3.5 mile route and within 1 mile I thought I was going to wet my pants.  My pace slowed drastically and one of my friends purposely ran 20 feet ahead of me to antagonize me to catch him. With half mile left to go Leah came back to look for me (shows you how fast she is) and I told her I might explode so she showed me where a public bathroom was- ecstasy. Finished the run in 7:37 pace ---what?!?! I seriously thought I was going 9s, but I'll take it! 

4. After the run they were having free pints at Nashville Running Company as well as giving away entries to the Country Music 1/2. I hate this race so I decided I wasn't going to do it this year. I said that for past 2 years and then signed up last minute. This year its different because the race is the week after Easter and my family plans got switched around so we're celebrating it same day as the race. Now I don't have to worry about caving into peer pressure.  For those that are interested, here is the shirt this year. Medals are from last year, but I'm fairly confident it will be the same bulky pewter with a boring plain ribbon. 

At NRC they also had a $50 clearance shoe section. I happened to luck out and find a pair of  Pearl Izumi trail shoes in my size!! I've been going back and forth with purchasing some trail shoes for Trail Atlanta, as well as other trail Ragnars / races I plan to do. Obviously this deal was too good to pass up (originally $115) so I bought the shoes and am sporting them today so I can break them in before a group trail run on Sunday.
So comfortable and LOVE the bright orange. 

5.  My lease is up in June. I've moved every year I've lived here to a new house or apartment, always with a new roommate. Leah and I get along so great, and without sounding too sappy she has really enriched my life. For the first time since I've lived here, I've found someone I can tell ANYTHING to and don't need to worry about judgement. I trust her completely. She told me a few months ago she didn't want to continue to live in our apartment when the lease was up because, like me, she's always been in the same part of town and wants to expand. I live exactly 2 miles from work- it's been heaven this past year. My plan going into this year was that I would continue to rent for one more year, and if someone doesn't sweep me off my feet when my next lease is up, then I'll go ahead and purchase my first home. I really don't want to move, but I also don't want another roommate. I decided to take the plunge this week and start looking in a different part of town. I know sounds silly, but its a huge deal to me since Franklin has been my home for almost my entire time here (plus I've been spoiled with my lack of commute) I keep reminding myself that when I do buy, I can't afford Franklin anyway, so this is practice for the real deal. We've got 2.5 months to find something we both love- my requirements are at least 2 bed, 2 bath and ample closet space. Let the hunting begin!!!

Do you like to cook? What is your favorite veggie?
I have 3 I love preparing: brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, broccoli! 

What is your trail shoe preference?
I haven't had trail shoes since high school, so I'm just venturing into this side of running

Thursday, March 6, 2014

February Review

February was a month of discovery. I got my focus and routine back. I made the transition to severely cut back on running and to not stress about it, and instead up body weights and exercises. I've been religious about yoga 2x week, t25 5x week, and from there getting in a run when I'm able or another class. On the social front, the roommate and I have also grown a lot closer since her and the boyfriend broke up. I rarely have those "lonely" moments when I have nothing to do because she's always finding different activities for us to participate in, and through that new friendships with others have been made!

Total Mileage:  61 miles- haven't broken 60 miles since November... ironic that when i decided to 'cut back' I run more mileage--- mostly due to Ragnar.

Highest Mileage week: 23- all my miles were during my 2 day Ragnar Del Sol stint- didn't run a single mile outside of this during that week.

Races Planned / Completed: 2/2

My first ever 15k- instant PR- Recap HERE-- organization of Ram Racing was great, swag was awesome, course and weather were brutal.

Another Ragnar Relay crossed off the list- escaping to sunny AZ while the rest of the country still has bitter cold temps- best decision ever! Recap HERE

New to Me: (Because you should always be trying something new) 

  • Bought T25 focus and am well into week 3. Originally was doing it in my living room with the roommate, but then my downstairs neighbor complained about 'excessive jumping', so my new home for 25 min each day is our yoga room
  • 15k was a new distance
  • Went to Tunica, MS for a trivia tournament- who would've thought they had these types of events?

Accomplishments for February 
  • I finally found my focus and am honing in on sculpting and transitioning from "runner" to "athlete". Already notice increased strength, flexibility, and flatter stomach! Its nice to have structure again. 
    1. Branched out of my traditional distance and tried something new for a change
    2. Ran 2 races without a care about time and never once looked at my watch (kind of a big deal for me) 
    Current Book:  Nothing at the moment

    Current Excitements/ Obsessions:
    • Ragnar Trail Atlanta with Elizabeth, roomie, and 6 other lovely ladies I have yet to meet to represent Nunn.  Team Elecktrolit (their new flavor) is bound to be a blast 
    • Watching my body transform
    Current Songs

    Since I've misplaced my ipod again, I've been using my phone (pandora) to fuel workouts. Can't get enough of Knife Party, Skrillex, and Dead Mau5--- great beats. 

    Current Treat
    Last year around this time I kept finding random flavors of my favorite cereal- first there was 
    Then a week later I found this gem

    Now here I am finding yet another (and my current treat)
    What will they come up with next? For me its a great 'finisher' after dinner when I want something sweet. Healthy- no, but it could be worse. 

    Current Goal (s):  

    Same as last month: Main focus is to do what I need to get my body back on track before summer (Mid May- June) :
    • Lose 10-15 lbs (down 4lbs, however noticing a big transition in my mid section and legs, so not as concerned with scale #s
    • Although I'm still going to run- my focus is switching to more weights / sculpting- currently running about 1x a week. 
    • Up the produce-- every single meal has a ton of veggies, now I just need to work on the fruit
    • At least run 1 race a month- got in 2 last month and have at least 1 planned for the next few months
    February Major takeaway:  Consistency has ALWAYS been my downfall, so its continually been something I try to work on. Having Leah join me in T25 has been a  blessing since she has become my accountability partner to keep me on track. It's not rocket science, but its amazing when you make something a priority, how you start to restructure your day to ensure said activity gets done.  I've found myself on more than one occasion waking up early to get in my workout because I know I won't have the opportunity to do so during or after work. I'm not a morning workout person, so this is progress for me. Can't wait to see what March has in store. 

    How was your February?

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    Ragnar Del Sol- Race Recap

    Since I've raced in all the states half marathon style, why not start crossing more Ragnars off my list? 1 month prior to Ragnar Del Sol, one of my colleagues reached out to me on a whim to see if I wanted to join their Ragnar team. "My boss made me do it" was compromised of all work colleagues who would be in town (Chandler, AZ) to go over processes with our customer service office and decided to stay in the area to do the Ragnar.   Considering I joined Bourbon Chase this year a week prior to the race, whats 1 month? As an added bonus it would be some serious bonding time with the other account managers I don't traditionally interact with on a day-to-day basis.

    This would be my first relay team in a couple of years that would be non competitive in any way shape or form.  Majority of the team members are not runners, they just wanted a fun 'team building' experience and I was just along for the ride. Although I joined the team, we were still 1 man short of the traditional 12, our team captain, Anne, said she would run 2 legs (ultra style for her) to make up for the difference. She was slated to run 42 miles and I felt bad with just my 17, so I told her I would give her my legs and take her hardest legs, bringing my total to 23 and hers down to 34.

    This was my 8th Relay to date- 5 Ragnars, 1 Ragnar Trail, 1 Reach the Beach (although Ragnar is partnering with them this year, they still have not acquired the Massachusetts one I did 2 years ago), 1 Bourbon Chase. I've got this relay thing down so I'll just go over the "new to me" experiences:

    What was different:

    • Since we were a 'non competitive team', we had a bright and early start time of 7am... and our hotel was 1+ hr from the start line (and lets not forget you're supposed to be there 1 hour before race time to check in and safety check)  We literally arrived 15 min prior to our start time. We managed to get checked in, skipped safety check (ssshhh) and were racing around to find batteries for Anne's headlamp bc apparently safety gear has to be worn until 9am. For those that aren't familiar with Ragnars... most standard 'night time hours' end at 7am. I've never felt so rushed to start and was just very thankful I was runner 3.

    Quick Van selfie before Anne takes off 

    John, Katie (the boss), Anne, Kim, Me
    • I wasn't waiting at the handoff exchange for my first run. Originally runner 2, Kim, informed us she would be running 9:30/ 9:45 pace for her 5.5 mile run. We calculated when she would get in, so we all panicked when I'm just sitting in the van and our teammate John comes running up from the bathroom stating their shouting our team number. I felt so bad because that is the worst feeling when you're busting your butt and your team isn't even there to receive the baton- not to mention this is her first run in her first relay and being the veteran I'm setting a bad example. 
    • Our van 1 was significantly faster than van 2. Combine that with van 2's first round comprising of running 42 miles and we had almost 8 hours of downtime.... 8 hours! Normally I'd be giddy at the opportunity to sleep that long, however this was after our first run so it was at 1pm and sleep deprivation hadn't set in yet. Had we known we would have been off for that long, I'm sure we'd plan some type of activity, but instead we just had fun along the course. 
    Kickin with Mr. Ron Jeremy

    Climbing on random objects and doing some planks and push ups

    Imitating the weird cactuses
    • This was the most "care free" I've ever felt in the race. Because I knew we weren't going for time, I took all my runs easy, walked if I wanted, and didn't stress if others were running past their 'predicted time'. Due to taking it easy, I was never sore! I was really nervous going into the race knowing that my last run was my longest, 9 miles, but when it came time to run, I felt fabulous! 
    • I actually had quality sleep. This has only happened ONCE before and that was during our ladies Ragnar Ultra Beast Mode in Pacific Northwest- we had designated sleeping times, driving times, and seats to be used for sleeping so everyone did great rotating and catching some shut eye. I never once felt sleep deprived. 
    • Because of the aforementioned large amounts of time between legs, we had real meals. We stopped for lunch (which is typical after first run), but I also had a real breakfast before my last run, and another lunch the following day (and shower) before heading to this finish line. This is huge guys, HUGE. Normally you're snacking on granola bars, cheez its, trail mix, and gummy bears. Because of the real food intake, I didn't have any digestive issues like normal. For those that are relay veterans, I know you can appreciate this. (and so did my bottom) 
    • No significance to this, but there seemed to be quite a large # of high school teams- nothing like getting hawked by two 12 year olds on your last run to make you feel old and out of shape 
    Quick Highlights of my legs:

    First Run- 7.1 miles; 7:45 pace. 
     As mentioned before I was late to the exchange.  For some reason I felt compelled to "make up time" that was lost with Kim just standing there waiting for me.  (the worst feeling when you come through the exchange and your teammates are not there) After 1 mile "killing it", the dry heat and sun got to me and I realized there is no rush, I can just enjoy the run- such a fresh change of pace from my normal relay experience. 
    Hamming it up for my teammates

    Unfortunately I only had support from the team once on the run and it was far too hot / dry to go that long without water that I had to ask for another van for some assistance. Afterward I let them know 1 stop for 7 miles isn't enough and to make sure we ask every runner if they need anything before heading to next exchange--- worked well rest of relay 

    I survived the first run in the desert! 

    2nd Run- 7 miles; 8:25 pace.
     I was actually looking forward to the night run and to test out my new brighter head lamp. The first mile was quick and easy and then suddenly we were being routed on a sand trail. Although I could see, my ankles kept buckling in the sand to the point it was painful. I'm not ashamed to admit that I almost cried because I didn't want to spend the next 6 miles going at a snails pace and watching every step so carefully worrying about rolling my ankles. Luckily the pity party of 1 last 1.5 miles and we were back on the pavement and we were good to go. Unfortunately my teammate that I handed off to also had trails on her run (unbeknownst to her) and it was a little over 3 miles. Her headlamp went out and she called us crying because she felt like she was on the Blair Witch Project and couldn't see- it was scary and comical at the same time.

    3rd Run 9 miles; 8:46 pace
    After my 5 miles straight down a mountain in this year's Ragnar Tn and having difficulty walking afterward, I was pretty darn nervous for my final leg since it looked similar, but 7 downhill vs. 5.
    I met a girl while waiting in line for starbucks who ran this leg last year and she let me know it was the same road the entire time and you can see the exchange from 4 miles out- awesome. 

    First 2 miles were straight up hill and I may have walked a ton slightly. Now I'm not sure where these "downhills" were, but I can vouch that the rest of the run once we conquered the uphill was flat. If there was a downhill it was so marginally small you couldn't even tell- needless to say I was slightly disappointed. My van passed by and cheered about 5.5 miles in (they got gas and beer for hotel later) but since I was smart this go round and wore my fuel belt I didnt' need anything from them. It was a pretty uneventful run- I got passed by 3 dudes (2 of which were tweens) and I caught up to a few, the end. 

    Once our van finished up we wished the other van good luck, chowed down on some burgers and beer, showered and made our way to the finish line. 

    The finish was along the waterfront in downtown Tempe- it was gorgeous and the sun setting actually made it that much more serene. I was kind of jealous the last runner got to go across this beauty of a bridge

      Overall this relay was a much needed break from watching the clock and worrying about performance. It was unique to be able to share in the excitement of "new ness" with all the team members who had never experienced a relay before, priceless to watch their celebration at the finish line and listen to all their stories.I'm also glad Ragnar finally changed the look of their medals this year, bye bye pewter, hello orange!

    And as an added bonus, they got rid of the boring plain ribbons and actually created a unique ribbon that has landscapes from all their different locations- cactus for del sol, 'batman building' for Nashville, Golden Gate for Napa Valley, long bridge for Keys etc- what a nifty idea

    Another successful relay in the books! Exactly 1 month from today I'll be joining an all girl Nuun team for Ragnar Trail Atlanta, and the following month (just committed LAST NIGHT) Cape Cod. I love relays so much more than traditional races with all the adventures, stories, bonding, sight seeing, ridiculous etc!!! 

    Have you done a Relay before?

    If you have, what is your favorite?
    I'm slowly adding more to my belt- I think the experience depends on your teammates, but I have to say Ragnar Northwest Passage holds a special place in my heart