Yoga With Friends and a VLOG

Dealing with an injury (no matter how small) can be very frustrating. Whether you are regular at the gym, a crossfit junkie, or you swim, bike or run; finding a way to stay injury free is key. I have had some BIG injury free PR’s this year and am pretty sure I have a big marathon PR coming. Now I just have to focus on being smart and staying healthy so that I can properly train. Do you hear that body of mine? NO INJURIES ALLOWED.

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In the past few months I have found a new love in YOGA! Did you know I was originally so scared to take a class? Scared. I had the biggest fear of making a fool of myself and failing. Such a normal fear right? Failure! LAME EXCUSE. I got over that speed bump by going to my first class with my sister and Ashley and now I am loving practicing! It makes me feel strong and I am hoping it helps me resolve some of these little injuries that like to creep up when I am marathon training.

On Saturday I met up with this girl and this girl (and her awesome man) to find my inner OM.

Yikes. Wavy hair that didn’t want to go back and a face still lathered with nighttime beauty cream. Attractive, I know.

We took a one hour Vinyasa class at Lululemon (it was FREE!) that had us sweating our hineys off. It was fab-u-lous. The hardest part is avoiding purchase post class. We all know I have a serious love for Lulu.

Ash and P-Diddy. How cute are they? Awwwwwww

Us in our total natural state of sweatiness. Um, I need to know both of these  girl look gorgeous after an hour workout?!?! 

Kaitlyn is currently training to be a yoga teacher! Maybe she and Chacha can open their own studio and I can be their receptionist. Hear me ladies? I’ll work for free classes 🙂

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On Sunday morning I ended up getting 10.25 miles in and then did this with my boy. He freaking cracks me up! If I would have let him he would have given you our address and phone number. Good grief. Enjoy 🙂

Do you practice Yoga?

Have you ever done a VLOG? If so I wanna see!

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The Finish Line

The hardest part about being runner number 6 in an ultra relay is being the anchor. One by one your teammates finish and celebrate while you have to mentally prepare for one more go. It’s tough. Really tough.

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We went into the early AM hours ready to finish. Most of us had double-digit legs that normally would be a walk in the park. That is not the case in a race like this. SR took off for her final leg really strong. OUAL followed with a really speedy 7.5 miler. I think both Sarah’s had sub-8 paces! Margot then took on Torrey Pines. If you have run the La Jolla Half Marathon you know how difficult of a climb TP is! She looked so good as she finished and at that point we started to think we had a chance to win. We just had to keep our pace up but knew it wouldn’t be that easy. We were tired, we had been running double legs for 20ish hours and we were starting to feel delirious. We were only one exchange behind another female ultra team that started an hour and a half before us. If we catch them, we win. If we don’t it will be close.

Chiara was up next for a 15 mile run. Yes that says 15 miles. Normally 15 miles on a Sat is NBD. This was NOT a normal Sat. She mustered every last ounce of effort and finished at the beach. She had some doubt midway through yet she somehow set it aside and conquered it. Mental strength. So hard at this point in the game.

We were closing in on the last 4 legs and we would be done. Chiara came through the exchange, slapped the Ragnar bracelet onto Pam who then ventured out for 17 miles. Yes 17. Could it get any tougher??!? She made her way through Mission Beach, Ocean Beach and into Downtown making it look so easy. We met her at the Embarcadero with water and such and then she headed towards Chula Vista. My stomach was still janky. I had not eaten. I could barely drink but kept on sipping Nuun. I was mentally freaking out. I knew that Pam was running at a fast pace and I had to be ready to go. 11.3 miles. Less than a half marathon. I got that no prob, right? Riiiggghhhtttt.

Pam cruised in and had hammered out a 8:15ish pace. DANNNG GINA! I high-fived everyone and remembering saying “Let’s finish this!” Off I went.

The first 5 miles were so weird. My legs were heavy, my mind was wandering and my stomach was sloshing. You know when you can hear and feel water swishing around? That’s what was happening. It was a mental game. I made it through the first leg and I was so thankful that the course was flat. I would have been crawling if it wasn’t. My stomach growled. Crap, now I’m hungry? Crap! I need food. Why didn’t I eat? Oh yeah, I probably would have crapped! LOL! I had my phone with me and slowed to a jog and I texted our team. I basically said that I was dying (so dramatic, I know) and I’m sorry and I would be there soon. My 8 min pace slowed. I talked to a few people around me who looked fresh off of a good night’s sleep trying to channel their energy. It didn’t work (Note: If I was able to talk I was able to run faster. Hindsight is 20/20). I put headphones in. They made me nuts. I was jogging so slow that I should have just started speed walking. I decided at that point I would run 800m in the 8’s and 800m jogs. That is the only way I was going to finish without jeopardizing our team.

I sent another I’m alive text with 3.8 to go. I got an encouraging text back from Chiara saying they were there and to text when I am a mile out if I can. Look, you know I was not blazing along if I could text. However, I am quite proud that I can text and jog. Safe? No! Annoying to other runners? YES! Sorry for my rudeness people, but I needed my team!

I made it to this sign and stopped to take a pic

I  was so happy to see this sign. For whatever reason at that point I decided to walk for a minute when I heard “HOOOOONNNNNKKKKK. WOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHOOOOOOO!!!! GGGOOOOO NNNIIICCCCOOOLLLEEEEEE!!!” It was our 12-woman team!!  They were there to pick me up just when I needed it. That’s a TRUE TEAM. We may have been divided into 3 vans but we had each other’s back. FREAKING AWESOME! For just a moment I wanted to cry happy and sad tears at the same time.  Happy because they encouraged me to get my butt to the finish, sad because I knew they saw me looking like a total failure. I remembered I had a team waiting for me. I was not going to quit now.

I sent the last text. “Less than a mile. Lets effing finish.” That’s word for word.

I picked it up to an 8ish pace went through the tunnel and saw my team!! We lined up and ran to the finish (Margot hobbled, poor girl!) and got out medals.

WE DID IT.

WE FINISHED.

203.5 miles in just over 29 hours. Dang it felt good.

We hugged, we laughed, we took pictures. We celebrated

(Thanks Cajun Runner for the photos!)

We were so happy to be done. We went into this race knowing it would be awesome but we had no idea how it would change each of us. We learned a lot about what it means to be selfless, humble and supportive friends. We  had highs and lows and stood right by one another. We were a freaking team. We started as running friends and finished as sisters. Only 8 months before we were eating pizza, laughing making plans to run this race in like a record pace. We freaking did it.

Oh, and one last thing. You probably already know this but…WE WON!

Will we be back to defend our title next year? Pshaw. Come on. You know we can run faster than that! We are waaaaay to competitive to not come back and crush our time. I mean, we originally thought we could do it in 24 hours. We’ve got that. No doubt. Fo sho.

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So there you have it. My Ultra Ragnar experience in 4 super long posts. I am sure you all are ready to move on to a new topic!!  Thank you for letting me share this with you. I still smile watching the VLOGs and looking at the photos. This is an experience that I will never forget.

Thank you Pam, Sarah, Sarah, Chiara and Margot for all of the laughs, encouragement but most of all for your friendship. I mean that. When we are 85 and SR is still running ultras the rest of us will be drinking wine and reminiscing on this time. It will be awesome!

Thank you to all of our sponsors who took GREAT care of us!

BIC Bands

Nuun

Click Espresso Protein

Pro Compression Socks

Running Skirts

Run Pretty Far

Aspaeris Pivot Shorts

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And now on to the next race. It’s soon friends. VERY soon.

The saga continues…

So when I say we “had to find it” I mean it. Laying the hammer down is a mental game. Our bodies are very capable of doing more than our minds often allow us. Being mentally strong for an Ultra Relay is key.

Once we hit dark and realized that sleep might not happen we had to dig deep. We passed SR in the van while she was out on her 19 mile craziness and asked her if she needed anything. She yelled out ” A bodyguard.” OK, done. At the exchange in the middle of her run Dave was able to join her. Serve, protect and pace. Thanks Dave. Just as we did during the day we took turns running in the night. Our nutrition was not great and sleep was not happening. It is so hard to sleep in a van when there is so much going on. It also comes down to feeling like a crappy friend if you are not there to cheer on your runner.

I laid down in the back seat, snuggled under a blanket and prayed that I would fall asleep. I even tried those weird relaxation techniques where you relax each part of your body until you are fully relaxed. It didn’t do squat. At least I laid down and “rested” but there was no sleeping.

At 5:30 a.m. it was my turn to run again. This time we were in Escondido heading into Carlsbad. I felt comfortable because I know the area so well. Finally in SD. I ate a bag of PowerGel bites and took off for 8.5 miles. The first leg was 3.9 miles and they were freaking awesome. A few climbs with some fast downhill miles in foggy weather. YEAH BUDDY! 

I was so thankful for this part of the course as I needed a little help. I hit 3 sub 8 miles on this part (let’s not get too crazy, by sub 8 I mean 7:50) and was hoping I would be able to make up some time for my team. Yes this was about fun and being smart but let’s be honest. Our group of gals are competitive by nature. We wanted to catch everyone. We wanted to freaking win.

I breezed through the exchange on my way to the second leg when I realized where I was. NOOO. The Carlsbad Marathon course. Time for a pace killer.

At this point I was in the high 8’s and passing a lot of walkers. It felt hard and I ended up running with another girl on a mixed ultra team for a mile or so. She told me that they had started at 11 am. Yes! We were catching people. I hit the downhill and finished strong. Total time for legs 23 and 24 1:11:38, 8.52 miles, 8:25 pace.

I headed into the exchange and talked with Pam and Chiara for a while. I felt positive about this run and actually thought to myself “Sweet, a negative split on legs. Maybe I can run low 8s high 7s for my final legs.” It was then that my stomach went into major fail mode.

Looking back now I was having a total nutrition fail. Total.

We were headed into the home stretch and knew what we had to do to win this thing. Now it just trying to figure out how to do it on no sleep.

To be continued…

Rangar SoCal Continued…

We moved from the start to meet SR at exchange 1. It was still overcast and we were hoping the weather would stay that way. We were following our 12-person team on Twitter and they had mentioned that the heat was bad inland. Shoot. If we could have brought the beach weather with us we would have.

SR finished her first 2 legs strong running a 7 min pace. The sun was breaking through and we could feel it getting hot. You know when you can feel the sun radiating off of the sidewalk? That kind of hot. Crap. At any rate, SR was done and OUAL took off for her two hilly legs. We hopped into the van and move to the next check point. We did this point to point transition for each runner on our team. We  would sit and chat and wait for the signal that our runner was coming through. We would cheer, offer water, ice, gels, whatever. SR was doing toe-touches and jazz hands. It was awesome. OUAL ran strong in the hot weather. It was not easy but she killed it.

Margot was runner 3 and had to battle not only the heat, but major hills and lots of stop lights. If you are a runner you know that any one of the three can be a spirit breaker. She was tough. She might have cussed out the trees at exchange 6 where she finished but, hey,  they might have deserved it.  Chiara followed her (runner 4) with again a hot, hilly run. I remember at her first exchange (we ran two legs at a time) someone handed her a cup of ice and she opened her sports bra and filled it up. That’s how you cool the girls down. HA!

By the time Chiara finished the sun was going down. We all put on our safety gear and Pam (runner 5) took off. I knew I had about 1:20-1:25 until it was go time so I just sat quietly, waiting. Pam’s hubby had brought Pizza but I couldn’t eat. I knew that cheesy deliciousness would not mix well with hills.

Before I knew it Pam cam cruising in, slapped the bracelet on me and I was off. It was freaking dark. No street lights, no bike lane, no sidewalk. I am a wuss and my imaginiation was running wild. What’s that sound? Is someone hiding out in that grassy field. I’m going to get kidnapped and noone will know! Run faster!! I took off to endure 10ish miles uphill running against traffic. I sorta wished I would have asked someone to run with me but by the time I thought about it I was 3 miles out. I had on a super bright pink vizipro longsleeve, headlamp, vest and taillamp. By god, if a car didn’t see me then the driver had to have had his/her eyes closed.

I remember feeling like the hills were dominating me instead of me dominating the hills. That’s never a good sign. I was breathing crazy and looked at my Garmin and saw 8:35. WTF? Why does 8:35 feel like 6:35. Eff. I am so screwed. I started talking to myself outloud “Go faster, your team is depending on you!” then I started singing outloud. There was noone around me so why not. I made it through the first leg and saw my team. That was so awesome! It gave me a little mental boost that was much needed. Plus it confirmed that I was going the right way, ha! I probably should have had a gel (I had not eaten a whole lot) but powered through. My average time to finish 10 miles in a race would be around, I don’t know, 1:16 ish. Good grief people this leg ended up being 10.11 miles in 1:28 (8:42 pace). I was pissed. I don’t know the last time I ran that slow (no offense to anyone, I do not think 8:42 is an awful pace. It just stings the ego when I had just busted out a 7:25 pace on a 25k 3 weeks ago). My heel was throbbing and I didn’t care. I was so mad that I had slowed us down. I just remember telling the girls that I thought it was hard, smiled, changed my clothes in a porta-potty in the dark (ewwww)and made my way to the back of the van. Ibuprofen? Check. They told me I did great but, like most people, I am my own worst critic.

At this point SR had taken off on a 19 mile adventure into the night and I had time to get over myself and suck it up. Being around all of the girls made everything so fun! I needed to STFU, adjust my attitude and enjoy this time with my friends. We cheered each other on and took on an all night running journey.  We were on a mission to catch a few teams. At 9:30 pm we had no idea how hard this race was about to get…we needed to lay the hammer down. But first we had to find it.

To be continued.

So the story begins…Ragnar SoCal Ultra from one gal’s perspective

After losing my first post about Ragnar I have found it even harder to recap the awesomeness I experienced. You see, running for a team was so different from running for myself. I had people depending on me and no matter what  I knew I did not want to let them down. This is my story of the coolest running event I have ever participated in.

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3 weeks before Ragnar I ran 5 races. The plan was to just build mileage and get ready for our Ultra Race. Well, I ended up running a LOT faster than I should have resulting in a heel injury. It was not terribly bad but bad enough that I could not run more than 5 miles at a time. Bad enough that I could feel it walking. Bad enough that I should have gone on run rest. Completely.

Instead of blogging about it I kept in on the DL as much as possible. In my VLOG I said it was “A Little Sore” I was afraid that my team would be so ticked off. Afraid that they would have regretted asking me to run. They were al in marathon shape while I was mastering the pimp walk. I cross-trained and did a few short runs. I would log my workouts on DM so things didn’t seem too off. I down played it big time so that no one would freak.

2 days before Ragnar I had a breakdown at home. I cried and knew that my pace would be significantly slower than normal. My dear husband told me not to run and I told him that was not an option. I would NEVER bail on my friends. I stretched, I iced, I Ibuprofened. I drank more tart cherry juice than I thought possible. I ate pineapple like it was going out of style. I packed up my crap, got into that van and headed to Huntington Beach.

SR, Me, Pam, Margot, Chiara and OUAL.

When we were loading and decorating the van I told the girls about my heel. Chacha knew and Pam knew but I don’t know if they knew how it hurt. Pam (bless her heart) told me to take my shoe off and she did what she could to make it feel better. She felt the big knot. It hurt like a mofo to get it massaged but it had to be done. I told them all that I would have to take it easy but in my heart I was scared out of my effing mind. I was so worried that I was going to get seriously hurt. I sucked it up, put on my #38 and smiled. We we’re going to do this thang.

We headed to the start and SR took off like a low flying jet. 1 pm on the nose. The clock had started. We were excited. We wanted it bad. It was time to prove ourselves to ourselves…to each other…and to several other teams…

Stay tuned…


!@$*&!@#…and a Ragnar Slide Show

Well, somehow I lost my entire, sappy Ragnar post. I’m kind of ticked that I have to start over but it is what it is. Technology. @#&%^#%^%!&. Love it. Until then enjoy this little ditty I put together. It’s short and sweet. Just how you like it 🙂

We freaking did it.

We finished. The 6 of us conquered 203.5 miles in about 29 hours or so. We sweated, we stank it up, we did not sleep, we ran…but most importantly we had a whole lof of fun. We were friends before we started but now we’re more like sisters. It’s awesome.

Photos and recaps coming. For now here is some footage just in case you missed it on Twitter.

Be warned…we have some bad language from SOMEONE in this one. Hey, we are tired and quite frankly looking fug. What do you expect after no sleep, showers, etc?

I am going to go eat some real food (I am HUNGRY) and relax and will be back with lots of photos. Stay tuned!

Let the VLOG’ing begin!

As promised I will be recording our Ragnar experience! To kick it off here is a little ditty from me. Please excuse my funkiness and the number of time I am “um.” Wow, good thing I bailed on my  journalism career.I would be jobless! Oh, and NO I am not sponsored by Starbucks. I should have put the cup down 🙂

Enjoy…