Time for The Ragnar Trail Relay Smackdown!

2014 April 7

A little running nerd talk today…

Ragnar Trail Atlanta 2014 Women running team moms

We finished the Ragnar Trail Relay race!

There were 8 of us and each person had to run 3 different loops of the trail for a total of 24 legs. 120 MILES!! And camping was involved. Which means 3 tents and a whole-lotta STUFF.

But first a HUGE thank you to my super fun ‘Pretty in Pink’ team. Thank you for inviting me. Thank you for encouraging and pushing me. Thank you for putting up with my need to write down every single runner’s time and organize when we needed to be at the transition tent!

Ragnar Trail Relay camping porta potties 8 women

Personally I was super worried about the distances… I was the 7th runner out of 8 on our team taking turns. It became really clear from the early runners that the hills of the loops were kind of killer. Much less tree roots and wonky bridges and a lot of twists and hairpin turns! They had me scared and I hadn’t run yet…

Ragnar Trail Relay Atlanta 2014 3 loops Red Yellow Green mapI’m happy (and surprised) to report I finished each loop pretty strong. I was right in the middle as far as speed on the team. 2 of our runners regularly average an 8 1/2 mile road pace(!)… wow, what? And a couple of the moms on the team run long relay road races several times per year… But anyway.

My First Loop : Green, Shortest One

The first loop for me was just under 4 miles and I finished in 45 minutes. It had the least amount of crazy hills/turns etc. though. So I didn’t know if I ran a good time or maybe it was the ‘easy’ loop? Plus it had cooled off in the early evening.

My Second Loop : Red, Longest One

Ragnar Trail Relay carissa rogers goodncrazy night running 7 hours later my turn was up for the LONGEST loop at just under 7 miles at 3:40 AM (IN THE DARK). Each team has an estimate for when the previous runner is going to come in so I had to be over at the ‘start/finish’ tent 15 minutes early scanning the tracking screen (the previous runner’s micro-chip would light up the screen .25 miles before she got to the transition tent). So after only 3 hours of sleep… I was off.

The first 2 miles were sort of flat. Then a whole lot of ups and downs and a crazy hill of GRANITE for the rest of it. One team member suggested I eat a ‘gel chew’ energy thing every time I felt like I was lagging. Which was about every 10 minutes. I walked up every hill (as all the team members were doing). But since it was dark I also walked down a lot of hills too. We all had headlamps and for mine I held a small flashlight in my hand as well. About half way through when the crazy starts to hit, you’re like… WHAT AM I DOING out here in the middle of the night with a flashlight?

Plus all the ‘ultra’ runners are passing by like there isn’t a slick MOUNTAIN of granite under our feet! Okay bunches of regular runners are also passing me. (SHUTUP.)

I felt like I was running only BARELY faster than a walk… my poor teammate back at the transition tent waiting was going to be waiting a LONG time for me to pass the ‘micro chip’ belt thingy to her…

Right about the point where I was mentally done… probably around the 1 hour 20 minute point… Still jogging, still moving and my lungs were surprisingly fine (plus it was strangely warm out on the trail?) my phone said it was 49 degrees though… anyway, a fast runner dude was coming up behind me and when he passed me I asked if he had any idea what the current distance was? The trail race isn’t marked except for the loop color you are on and at the end the last mile is marked.

Ragnar Trail Relay Red Loop women running He said he wasn’t sure but by his calculations he had about 10 minutes left so maybe close to a mile left? And then about 20 yards up ahead of me he hollered back: Hey! The final mile marker is right here…. If he had been closer I would have hugged him!

Sadly, that last mile nearly killed me. I think my hopes were up or something? Plus there were 3 more fairly large hills before I saw the quarter mile mark! How rude.

I finally passed off the belt/microchip to the next runner around 5:15AM… I officially hated that RED LOOP! But I was so pleased at my 1 hour, 35 minute time!

Back at the tents I changed and washed down with baby wipes (weird) and happily crawled back into my sleeping bag + blowup mattress for 2 more hours.

As a team we tried to head over at the transition tent as much as we could to cheer on our runner coming in and the new one taking off, but during the night not a lot of us were awake for that!

My Third and Final Loop : Yellow, Middle Distance

My last leg started at 12:30PM in mid-day sun. Probably about 70 degrees when I left and not super humid but the direct sun sort of gets to you anyway, even in the trees on the trail there wasn’t much shade because it was mid-day. That was the just under 5 mile leg and it was the one everyone had been complaining the most about because of the hills on it. My muscles were starting to get pretty sore by this point, so I was worried. But once I got started I was surprised at the pace I seemed to be able to keep up. By this point in the ‘race’ it’s clear we were in the bottom 20% of the teams because I was the only one out there for most of the loop. Many teams finished in 17-19 hours total. 7 and 8 hours earlier than us!

I finished that leg in just about exactly 1 hour. Which completely shocked me. I figure I ran the two short legs in daylight at about a 12 minute pace. But the long one in the dark was more like a 13 minute pace… even though I felt like I was running SO SLOW?? People figured that they were about a minute slower per mile on the trails… if that’s true am I really capable of an 11 minute mile pace on roads? Maybe, if we are talking about a long distance, more than 7 miles, I wonder if I could keep that pace?

Ragnar Trail Atlanta women runners racing goodncrazy

So What’s Next for Me?
And a few questions…

  • There is a Warrior Dash in May. I signed my poor husband up to run it with me. It’s ‘only’ a 5K, but it is more like a mud-run with a crazy obstacle course??
  • Also I’m ready to own some sort of device to keep track of distance/pace/time? Most of the women had a ‘Garmin 10′ they were using. But it’s about $129 on Amazon—I just looked it up. Ouch. Anyone have other suggestions?
  • Also water, energy gel/chews? I don’t usually drink water on my runs. But am considering buying a hydrating belt. Mostly because it’s fun to say ‘hydration belt’.
  • Recovery Food? What does that mean?
    This was a whole new culture for me and I had no idea what to bring? I ended up with bananas, chocolate milk and little beef sticks.
    Oh and my NEW favorite thing in the WORLD! I bought bakery homemade high butter bread and was looking for a small jar of peanut butter already mixed with honey in it. But instead I found a small jar of Biscoff Butter… what is that?
    Oh it’s COOKIES. Spreadable cookie butter on amazing bakery white bread? BEST. PRE. POST. Middle of the night. WHENEVER snack.
    I figure if I’m running 15 miles in 26 hours, then I get to eat anything I want, right!
  • But seriously the chocolate milk was divine after my legs. I don’t care for Gatorade and I was drinking a lot of water before the races and then peeing a lot too (I was scared I’d need to pee during one of the loops?!).
  • I need to have a chaffing discussion as well. But TMI for now eh?
  • Also the mouth breathing thing and super fluffy gas after all this? Is this a common runner’s problem or just me?
  • Can we talk about Canker Sores? I developed several on my tongue after the race. I’m wondering if this happens to others after long distance or all nighter relays like this?

Ragnar Trail Atlanta camping tents women runners running

Would I run another Trail Relay race?
(Or a regular road relay race?)

I totally would, just not for a long time. I still can’t walk down stairs without wincing each step! It would be great to get 2 teams together to run this same trail race next year. What a huge camp site THAT would be, eh?!

Ragnar Trail Relay Atlanta 2014 #ragnartrailATL

 

Keep Charged W ZonePerfect’s #BlogForward & Win A Portable Phone Charger!

2014 March 31

Soooo… What were YOUR January Resolutions?

ZonePerfect Blog Forward Challenge

How did you do? (Do you remember what you resolved?) Did you make it more than 6 weeks? Because that’s about the average time most people KEEP their resolutions. So if you did then YAY! —You’re average.

I’m going back to my list for 2014: Letter To Myself, #BlogForward
Where I basically begged my future self to stick to something. ANYTHING.

Am I average or did I find any success at all?
There were 6 categories I was working on. And I’m happy to report I did fairly well in some of them. I did exactly average in others. Sigh.

First a Few Successes in 2014

Successful Sisters

I stumbled into the perfect solution to keep up better with my sisters (there’s a lot of us!). We all agreed we needed extra kicks and kudos when it comes to exercise so we created a private Facebook group where we could challenge each other, congratulate and enjoy having a shared goal together. I’m so happy with this newfangled way to connect with my sisters! I had been feeling like my relationship with them was kind of faltering as we are all in the thick of raising our kids and the chaos of life right now.

Running. Who Knew?

The best thing I did was say yes to a group trail relay run (In A WEEK!). I’ve had some hard weeks where I simply didn’t have time, but for the most part I’ve run 2 or 3 miles a couple times a week. And I’m super excited to announce I ran 6 miles today for the first time IN MY WHOLE LIFE! And crazier? By about the 4th mile I was all… hey? I’m kinda liking this? And then I looked around and wondered who I was, cuz running is definitely NOT my thing!

And I talked my husband into running the Warrior Dash in May. I’m told it’s more like a REALLY muddy obstacle course. Bring It.

Blogging: This Thing I Do

I’m not writing as much as I had hoped but a couple fun new things have got my creative juices pumping. First I’ve recently been part of a couple great media trips. And that always inspires my travel and writing itch.

And second, I’ve decided to ramp up my photography game. Challenging myself to shoot more in ‘manual mode’ learn more about my camera and practice taking more portrait-style pictures. I’ve had SO much fun! Experimenting on my kids mainly right now. But the photos I took in Louisville were seriously some of the best I’ve ever taken in my life.  Low F-stop, soft window lighting… I’m so ready for spring so I can figure out what people mean by the afternoon golden light hour?!

Photography soft window light goodncrazy photography

Let’s Talk about the Water/Soda Challenge

I made exactly 6 weeks. Cold Turkey. NO SODA. And bigger surprise? I was ingesting 60+ ounces of water every day. And I HATE water! Downside: I also located every bathroom in every single store in my town. And then… a giant freak Southern snow storm hit. And the KIDS. The kids were HOME. ALL. DAY. For DAYS!

minecraft table decorations cub scouts blue gold banquet party ideas

I blame the snow. Soda was required to get me through. And I really didn’t seem more or less energetic or healthy or able or not able to get my running and exercise in. So… I try to drink a LOT of water and yeah, I still have a couple sodas each day. I suck. But I’m okay with that.

Volunteering and Community

I have to boast a little bit… I dreamed up a plan to have a Minecraft themed Blue & Gold banquet for the cub scouts this year (I’m the Cub Master). And well… it was the best Blue & Gold ever in the whole wide world. The end.

Now what will we do next year to beat THAT?
Crap. I gotta come up with something!

*** GIVEAWAY***

Win a Nifty Cell Phone Charger!

I am participating in the ZonePerfect #BlogForward Challenge. And just for commenting on my post today YOU can enter to win a Portable Charger to help keep your life energized! (Get it?)

How To Enter:
GIVEAWAY QUESTION ANSWER IN COMMENTS:

Did You Keep Your 2014 Resolutions Longer Than 6 Weeks? Why or why not?
Must be 18 to enter and live in the US. Contest ends April 15th at midnight eastern.

 

Plus Here’s a link to $10 of savings from ZonePerfect!

{My favorite is the Chocolate Graham flavor in case you wanted to know?}

Become A ZonePerfect® VIP & Save up to $10*
Your first coupon will be emailed to you. Join Now
*$10 in savings relates to savings spread across a one year period and may vary.

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Disclaimer: I am participating in the ZonePerfect #BlogForward challenge and I have received product as part of my participation. All thoughts, opinions and fear of water are my own.

A GoodNCrazy Oregon Weekend!

2014 March 28

I’m gonna let the pictures speak for themselves.

 

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Huge thanks to the husband and dad for surprising us with tickets ‘home’ as his Valentine’s gift to us!

*Travelon.com Bag review is coming, I am testing out the shoulder bucket bag for the next few weeks while traveling a ton! So far it’s the perfect size for airplane travel. And it has ‘no slash’ straps and IR blocking technology. But does it hold my big girl camera while flying (I never know what to do with my camera when I travel)? The answer is a BIG yes.

I miss my crazy zany Oregon mom-pack. I’m in love with all things Carolina and there are fun moms here too. But so far they haven’t been toilet papering with me? Much less kidnapped, mustached, roadtripped, hottubbed or cardboard Edward pranked. The Moms here have no idea what’s coming!!

 

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