Thursday, September 27, 2012

DC Ragnar -- It's OVER!

So, as y'all know, I ran in the DC Ragnar last weekend. I had a total of 15.1 miles in the 197-mile relay race that started at Rocky Gap State Park near Cumberland, MD and ended at National Harbor.

My first leg was crazy! We are talking about 1076-feet of elevation increase and 804-feet of decrease over 7.9 miles. It was hot, dusty, winding, and they're was a lot of gravel on the road.

Before starting my first leg

Here comes the runner before me

Off I go!

Handed off to the next runner

Checking off the box

My second leg was 5 miles in the middle of the night. It was very eerie. I enjoyed the country part of it, but when I was in a neighborhood, I kept expecting someone to come outside and yell at me.

My third leg was short and I took off like a bat out of Hades. I was so ready to be done, but I worried that the next runner wouldn't be there yet. I'm not sure how soon before I got there that she arrived, but I'm sure it wasn't but a couple of minutes.

All done!

We all crossed the finish line together and I now own my first race medal :)
Me and my medal

Our team

Jen and me. She's the reason I agreed to run up a mountain in the first place :)

Anyways... On to the next challenge... I'm going to run in the TCS Annapolis Half Marathon for my first half marathon this December. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2 Days Until Ragnar / What's on your Playlist?

My Ragnar team has a Facebook Group and the wonderful person who jumped in to replace a member last week asked for suggestions for her playlist. It got me thinking, what's on your playlist for exercise? Do you have a go-to song that energizes you?

I'm going to address the second question first. I have a couple of songs that will pump up my energy based on my mood. The "Power Song" I have set on my MotoActv is "Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson. I downloaded it a few months ago when I was having a rough time and needed something to boost my mood. I really like "Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd for the end of a run. I also find that "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys (from The Departed soundtrack) and "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" by Pitbull put my pace solidly around 9:15min/mi (I run between 10 and 11 normally). 

Okay... Playlists.... I have several based on my mood and length of my run. I have some that shuffle and some that don't. I have one that is just called "Running" and has 65 songs on it and randomly shuffles. I have one called "45 Minute Classic Rock" and it is about an hour of music from 20 or more years ago. It kills me that "Mysterious Ways" by U2 is played on our local classic rock station, but it does fit in more there than in my "60 Minute Pop" playlist. That one is full of Katy Perry, Pitbull, and similar stuff. It also is the home to the songs I like from Zumba. Then I have one for a 120-minute run that is a mix of everything. 

I haven't decided to what I am going to listen for my Ragnar runs. My guess is I will go with a straight shuffle for my 7.9-mile leg and 5-mile leg and do the pop playlist for my 2.2-mile leg. I top-loaded that one with my speed-inducing songs ;)

What's on your playlist?  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

3 Days Until Ragnar / Trying to Balance It All

So, it's 3 days until Ragnar! Let me tell you that I am terrible at trying to balance everything. I was supposed to run 4 days a week, still try to use my gym membership, work this summer, and hang out with two small children all day. Making it all work has been stressful. I had to get up at 5am to go run, particularly on days that required more than an hour of running. My house is a permanent mess, but I blame that more on having two kids. I haven't been to the gym at all this month because I'm too afraid to get hurt. I am in awe of the people who make it work all the time. Here's to all of you!

On another note, yesterday morning, I woke up with a pinched nerve in my shoulder. It feels better today, but is still kind of painful.

Monday, September 17, 2012

4 Days Until Ragnar / Food!

Yesterday, I mentioned packing. I was typing while my husband was giving my sons a bath, so I really was rather short about all of it. I have been rolling my clothes and packing them in Ziploc bags since I went to Girl Scout camp as a child. I'm packing each round of clothes in it's own bag and they go in there when I'm done.

So today, I'm going to talk about food. We have a group stash of food for which we each put in $10. I'm bringing my own supplies because, I didn't train on anything they bought. I trained on yogurt, granola bars, eggs, tuna, hummus, and berries. So here is a list of the food I packed for myself.

Hopefully, this with the list of food that we have as a group to share will be enough for me to avoid the fast food traps. I hope that we get to exchange 18 early enough for me to partake of the goodies that the creamery has to offer. I would love to be able to get a cup of fresh yogurt before my second leg.

What would you take with you on a 2 day car trip where you have to run 15 miles or more?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

5 Days Until Ragnar / Packing!

So, since I only have 2 runs left before Ragnar, I'm trying to start packing. 3 days out of a backpack. I need 4 running outfits, minor toiletries, extra running shoes, my running accessories, my stash of personal food, and my costume stuff. Tomorrow, I will take a picture of my food stash and post it here ;)

Sorry to be short.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

6 Days Until Ragnar / Proving It To Myself

So, about a week from now, I will be DONE with Ragnar DC. Yesterday, my team captain had me adjust my pace time. Our team was over 11min/mi and Ragnar doesn't allow that. I had my pace at 10:45. I ran my first 5K in April at 10:38 and my second 5K at 11:02. I figured that was probably about where I stood. Well, I've been consistently running 10min/mi and sometimes I manage even faster, so I adjusted my pace to 10. Well, today, I set out to prove to myself that I could do it, with hills. Oh, I more than proved it. I did 9:45 with 200 feet of incline over 4 miles! I guess I am ready for my 7.9 miles up a hill :)


Friday, September 14, 2012

7 days until Ragnar / Night running

So, last night I met up with two of my teammates for a night run. For those of you who aren't familiar with this kind of relay race, You start at a set time (6:30am for my team) and you don't stop running as a team (everyone has 3 set legs) until you reach the finish line. This means we will be running through the night. Don't worry. It's pretty safe. We are required to wear a reflective vest, a headlamp, and a tail light.

It takes a little getting used to the headlamp and running when there isn't much ambient light. I bought a vest that has additional lights on it and I have reflective bands to wear on my ankles. It also helps to wear light-colored or bright clothing. Our shirts for Ragnar ar hot pink :)

We started our run in a well-lit neighborhood. That wasn't bad at all... Just like a normal, daytime run with a little lower visibility and a little more equipment. Then, we went on a trail with almost no ambient light. The good news was that we could see each other well. The bad news was it was DARK. You have to pay more attention to your footing and that can slow you down a bit. I've run the trail we were on dozens of times and it still freaked me out a bit at first. I'm glad my night leg looks like it will be on some major roads and isn't unassisted.

Do you think you could run at length in the dark?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

8 days until Ragnar -- ACK!

I'm so upset. My training buddy found out that she won't be able to run Ragnar. We had run over 100 miles together in 3 months. She helped me get through many a run I didn't think I could handle. I'm going to miss her next weekend.

I'm not sure if this is a bright side or not, but I moved into her spot. This means that my longest leg went from 4.9 miles on a relatively flat surface to 7.9 miles with a 1000 ft elevation gain over the first 4. ACK! I guess it's been a good thing I've been training hard. You should train for what you want to do, not for what you can do now :)

Wish me luck. I think I'm going to need it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

9 Days Until Ragnar / Running-Related Personal Questions

I've been following the Another Mother Runner blog. Monday, they did a post called "10 Running-Related Personal Questions." So, here are my answers

1. Best Run Ever: Last month, the second time I ever ran over 7 miles. I did it under my listed Ragnar pace and probably could have put in another couple of miles. This is followed closely by my run last Sunday when it was sunny, cool, and I had no problems pushing myself.

2. Three words that describe my running: slow, plodding, determined

3. My go-to running outfit: This summer, it has been my Reebok shorts and my Running Divas tank.

4. Quirky habit while running: I dunno. I know I am very aware of time and don't wait more than 5 minutes for anyone to show up for a group run.

5. Morning, midday, evening: morning... midday runs make me miserable

6. I won't run outside when it's: Icy or really hot

7. Worst injury and how I got it: I fell during a Zumba class and twisted my ankle.

8. I felt most like a bada$$ mother when: I ran during vacation in 100% humidity and with biting flies and mosquitoes.

9. My next race is: Ragnar DC on September 21-22.

10. Potential running goal for 2013: I want to try and do 2 half marathons. Probably Zooma Annapolis, but I'm not sure about my second one.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

10 Days until Ragnar / Remembering 9-11

So, we are 10 days out from DC Ragnar. I ran this morning, but just around the track in my neighborhood. I did 4. It felt good. I would have done 6, but with sick kids and a sick husband, I decided to cut it short. I actually made it out, ran, and showered before anyone else was awake.

Today is the 11th anniversary of the attacks on the WTC and Pentagon. I lived in a DC suburb at the time and worked for an international organization. I happened to be at our annual conference in Kansas City and was watching the news before my first meeting of the day. I got home a week later to learn that one of the other women in my young adults group at church had passed away in the Pentagon.

Where were you when the attacks occurred?

Monday, September 10, 2012

11 Days until Ragnar!

I'm going to try and blog every day until Ragnar and then blog about it when I get home :) It's only 11 days away! Aside from a small problem in May when I just didn't feel like running and the last couple of weeks when I was getting just a tad frustrated, my training has been great. I followed the beginner training plan from the Ragnar site for the most part and feel very comfortable running 5+ miles.

Yesterday, we had beautiful weather and I had a nice, but slow, 7.3 mile run with some of my teammates. Unfortunately, both boys are sick, so I didn't get to run my last 60-minute hill training this morning. I hope to be able to get a run in tomorrow... or maybe tonight. I'm really hoping they don't give the terrible cold to me.

How are you taking advantage of the cooler fall-like weather and lower humidity?