Tag Archives: Ragnar

Relay Fever: Ultra Style

4 Apr

Well it is that time of the year when we are trying to decide what relay we want to do. Who we want on our team. What time of the year is going to be best. For some of us the decision is to do an ultra or regular team. If you decide on an ultra, are you going to do 3 long legs or 6 shorter legs?

Holly, Lauren and I are Ragnar ambassadors. We are here to talk about some of our relay experiences especially ULTRAS!!

I have done 3 ultras. All 3 with Ragnar. (Northwest Passage 2x and Las Vegas 1x) I have done 6 regular(12 person) teams.

I remember after my first ever relay in 2011. We had so much fun and thought the next year we should do it ultra style. We were obviously in that post-race bliss period and decided on something far more stupid than we thought could be possible. It was obvious that we would do 3 long legs. Legs and team name were picked in the van back to Portland the next day!! NWP ’12 Comin’ In Ultra Hot would be there!

I am not sure how we ever decided on 3 legs instead of 6. I think that the biggest reason was the wardrobe. I like to take 3 sets of clothes to wear one on each leg. If we were doing 6 legs that is 6 sets of clothes. That is personally more than I want to pack. Another reason is you run long and then you get a long break. You can actually have a “meal” instead of just a snack going into your 2nd and 3rd runs. You have more down time to take naps because people are running longer so you are not having to stop at every exchange like you normally would.

I remember training really hard for that first ultra. I would run long Thursday night and then long Friday morning. Then I added in a few Friday night runs when it got closer to the race. I remember being nervous too. Just like you would be nervous for your first half marathon or marathon.

The FINISH of my first ultra!

The FINISH of my first ultra!

I think that one was the most prepared for in the 3 I have done! We were all happy that we had done 3 long legs. I will say after doing an ultra team I didn’t really want to do a 12 person team again. I liked how the entire team was in the van. Way less logistics than a 12 person team. We were always on the go. But we had big breaks the way the legs played out with who was running them.

I felt like the 2nd one(NWP ’13) would be better just because I had already done one. Ultra Dicey was a smorgasbord of runners. 2 of us had returned from the year before. We were the “veterans” that “knew” how to do an ultra relay! HA! I did not train like I did the year before. But I was fresh off half-ironman training so I thought I could wing it. I will say it is much harder when you are not totally prepared for it! 🙂 Early on we decided to do 3 long legs as well. I remember being super sore too!!

Rollin' the dice!

Rollin’ the dice!

When I got Ultra Dragging Aces together(Las Vegas ’13) we had a big discussion on the 3 vs 6 legs. It was quickly decided that we would go with 3 legs. The clothes were always the issue!! Secondly the time between legs was greater. More time for our legs to “recover”!!

I have been super sore after all of them. Now neither that is because I have run 30+ miles inside 30ish hours or being cooped up in a van having run all of those miles or being sleep deprived. Who knows really?!

I think that one of the biggest factors in running a relay is fueling. You need to make sure that you are eating enough to fuel your body for your next run. But you run the risk of stomach problems. With an ultra it is even MORE IMPORTANT to fuel right. You are always on the go and need to be prepared!!

Now you can check out the relay maniacs stories and then you can decide for yourself how many legs you would like to run!

Holly has done 2 of the hardest Ragnar’s (Wasatch Back and Colorado) as a 6 leg ultra. She is taking on Las Vegas this year and I had to be the one to tell her she doesn’t run anywhere near the strip!! She swears by 6 legs. She believes that you can run faster in 6 legs than 3. Go find out what her take on the whole clothes situation is or not!!

Lauren did her first ultra relay last year. We actually met at exchange 26 at NWP! Yeahyaaa! Her and her team decided that there were a couple of legs that were too long and have constructed a 4 leg plan for this year. She might be on to something here and may never go back to a 12 person team.

I am more of an endurance runner. I think that is why the 3 legs appeals to me. Long and slow. Someone who runs every day and fast may like the 6 legs that are shorter that can be faster. How many legs would you want to do? If and when you complete an ultra relay you will feel like a BAD-ASS! ESPECIALLY if you do 3 legs and get to run through your first exchange screaming ULTRA…just passing through!!!

I think that doing a 6 leg ultra would be interesting. I would pack double the clothes and see what happens!

Ragnar Florida Keys

6 Feb

I am flying over Memphis as we speak! In route to Ft Lauderdale via Atlanta!

I left the snowcalypse just as it was hitting Portland! I am beyond excited to be going to Florida for the weekend. Where the weather is going to be 4x as warm as it is in Portland! (Almost)

I will be starting off my team (#Nuunaritaville) as runner 1 at 11:30am tomorrow. It will already be quite warm by that time. We are being sponsored by Nuun. Woot woot! Still not sure how Kristen secured that but I am just glad I got an invite! :)We will stay hydrated that is all I can say! Should be a fun time in the sun!

In other athletic news… Who is excited for the Olympics? I am glued to the TV when the summer Olympics are on but I am slowly liking the winter games as well.

It is going to be a crazy 2 weeks since Sochi does not seem to be prepared! 😦

Here are a couple of articles:
Sochi Problems! Lots to do and problems won’t be done before the games finish!
Shaun White! It all be interesting to see what happens!

Who is your favorite all-time Olympian? (Summer or Winter) Amanda Beard and Natalie Coughlin. I actually have lots!!
What is your favorite sport to watch?! Swimming and gymnastics for me! I’m getting into the skiing and snowboarding!

Ragnar Packing List

18 Jul


As I was preparing for Ragnar NWP this weekend I quickly found out I did not have a packing list. Like triathlon packing I have a file in my head of what I need and how to pack. This will be my 5th running relay. I guess I have another file for what to pack in my head as well. It is a little more fuzzy than my triathlon one so I thought I would get it on paper.

Before I even start this list I have to tell you that I am a minimalist. I do not bring a lot of extra “stuff”. I bring the necessities and that is it!

SET OUT: 3 sets of clothes. PUT THEM IN: 3 separate plastic baggies. This alleviates having to dig through your bag for all the different parts of each clothing change.

**In my opinion, this is the MOST IMPORTANT part of packing for a relay. ANY RELAY!**

In each baggie:
visor (or hat)
sports bra
compression socks

2 pairs of running shoes–I have always taken only 1 pair but I am getting crazy this year and taking 2.


2 pairs of shorts
a couple tank tops/shirts
1 sweatshirt
sweat pants
Pjs (for hotel rooms)

**Another tip: This is just what I do but it works pretty well. After each leg I take a “relay shower” which consists of going into the porty potty or van and wiping down with a wet wipe. Then proceeding to put on the next legs outfit. You are “half-way” clean, less sweaty, stinky and you are all set for your next leg. This eliminates bringing “hang out” clothes.**

Reflexive vest
Hand-held water bottle or fuel belt (more for ultras…but if it is going to be hot it could be a good idea also)
Racebelt (or just pin your bib on your shirt)
Body glide
Road ID
Gu, gels, bars, nutrition


Chargers for everything!

Towel–You will want to take a real shower at some point
Sleeping bag–If you are able to sleep a bit

Chocolate milk

Coconut water
Nuun hydration kit
Peanut butter pretzels
Big box of wet wipes/baby wipes

Van decorations/blue tape/window markers
Now supposedly these are the BEST window markers. We had a team swear by them last year. I will do a full review if they are that good or bad. 🙂

Here is our shirt. Ellen designed it for us. Our team name is “Ultra Dicey” She got us our shirts through Custom Ink. They did a great job. They are women’s specific and cute.

I am packed and already to go. I hope I have everything!!

UPDATE ON yesterdays TIPS post: My friend, Sherrie, who was a part of my Comin’ In Ultra Hot team from last year brought to my attention that I failed to mention: RUNNING!!
Tip #10: This is an ultra. You will most likely be going your half marathon pace instead of 10K pace. Slow it down a bit. Especially for your first leg. Just getting through the first leg at a little slower pace will guarantee you have a good 2nd/3rd leg! If you go all out and kill yourself the first leg you will not have anything in the tank for your 2nd/3rd.

In my experience. My first leg is just a tad slower than I want it to be. My second leg is right on pace and every time my best leg. My third leg is much harder but still on pace. 🙂

Moral of the story: PACE YOURSELF!!! IT IS A LONG 30 HOURS!!

Do you have any other tips and/or items to add??

Tips on Running an Ultra Relay

18 Jul


I have run the Ragnar Northwest Passage(NWP) relay twice. My first ever relay was NWP 2011. We had a 12 person team. After that weekend on the ride home we decided that we would do an ultra relay(6 person team) in 2012. 5 of the 6 of us in our van were in. We were on a huge high from the weekend. We picked our legs, our new team name, costumes, and everything was set before we even got back to Portland!

Lets back up for a minute. A relay is when you get your 11 closest friends or 5 closest friends to run 200 miles with you, sit in a van sweaty for 30 hours, and have a great time at it!!

As the twelve months went by we ran and planned. Executed an awesome 1st for all of us ultra relay. We decided that it was hard and most of us did not want to do it again. But Ellen and I are back for round 2!! Suckas!!

At the start line in Blaine, WA at the Peace Arch 2012.

Tips on how to have a great race:

1–TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN. Train like you are training for a half marathon. Lots of running. Duh! Do long runs on Saturday and Sunday. A month to go: do some double days. Run in the morning and run in the evening. That gets your body used to running twice in a day. Schedule a few runs (of the length that you will be running in your relay) for Saturday am, Saturday pm, and Sunday am to let you feel how it will feel come race weekend.

2–Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. The week before the race lots of water and electrolytes. Especially if it will be hot. In 2011 it was pretty hot but in 2012 it rained and it was cooler. My electrolyte of choice is Nuun. Nuun is partnering with Ragnar this year and I won a team hydration kit for us this year. Awesome! Thanks Nuun!!

3–Re-fuel, Re-fuel, Re-fuel. Make sure you are carbing up leading into the race! It is so important to refuel after you have run. My choice is chocolate milk. For ultras I drink a double and for regulars I drink a single. Make sure you are eating between your legs. Carbs and easy digestible foods. Uncrustables, peanut butter pretzels, fruit, licorice, Gatorade. Eat meals when you can depending on when you will be running.

4–Rest. As much as you can. Try and take little naps or just close your eyes for a few minutes. When doing an ultra the van is always on the move. There is no down time like a regular relay. You have to rest when you can. Bring a eye mask and ear plugs if you need them.

5–Get a 15 passenger van. You have more room to maneuver around. We designate the back bench for “sleeping.” It may cost a little extra but in the long run it is TOTALLY WORTH IT!!

6–Have a driver. Another important key for ultras. You are so tired, the last thing you want to do is have to drive. Bob was our driver last year and luckily enough he is Ellen’s hubby so he is driving us again this year. SCORE!

7–MOTIVATION. Getting 6 people together to run 200 miles is one thing. Executing is another. Cheering and leaping frogging your runners is part of the fun of a relay. Making sure your runner is doing ok. Cowbelling for them. Keeping them motivated to finish that leg and being ready to do it again hours later.

8–Recovery. Having a “stick” on hand. Ellen forgot ours last year so I had to make friends and borrow theirs. Compression socks, pants, sleeves will work wonders. If you have them wear them in between legs. Wearing them while running if that’s your thing.

10–PACE YOURSELF. This is an ultra. You will most likely be going your half marathon pace instead of 10K pace. Slow it down a bit. Especially for your first leg. Just getting through the first leg at a little slower pace will guarantee you have a good 2nd/3rd leg! If you go all out and kill yourself the first leg you will not have anything in the tank for your 2nd/3rd.

In my experience. My first leg is just a tad slower than I want it to be. My second leg is right on pace and every time my best leg. My third leg is much harder but still on pace. 🙂

Moral of the story: PACE YOURSELF!!! IT IS A LONG 30 HOURS!!

10–Have Fun. Do not think too hard about it. Keep your hydration, fueling, and motivation up, and you will have no problem having an epic relay!!

After 30 hours of running, eating, driving, and no sleeping we were done & still smiling 2012:

Who wants to do an ultra relay now??

Four Thing Friday

17 May

This is my 100th POST. That seems like a lot! Is that really possible?! Cray-Cray…I KNOW!! I feel like I should start some traditions. What traditions? I have no idea. Like weekly posts? Anyone have any ideas?

My MOST IMPORTANT THING this Friday is: I have a coupon code for Ragnar Northwest Passage. Did you NOT get a Hood To Coast team this year? NO!!!! You should take your team up to Blaine, WA and run 200 miles down to Whidbey Island. It is a gorgeous course! Believe me…I have done it twice…and doing it again this year. Can’t find 11 friends to be on your team? You can have a 6 person team. If you live 100 miles outside of the course, you do not have to find volunteers. HELLO!! What are you waiting for…GO SIGN UP NOW!!



80% FULL…Do.Not.Delay!!

SECONDLY. I ordered a Boston Strong Bic Band a couple of weeks ago. I got it in the mail this week. It was a limited edition. All proceeds went to “The One Fund” to support the families who suffered from the Boston Marathon tragedy!! So cute!

I wore this on my sweatfest trainer ride this morning!

Third! Dessert! As if I have not had enough brownies this week, Ilana brought peanut butter/caramel brownies to ladies night last night.

They were delicious. She wanted to bake to celebrate my awesome performance at Wildflower. It was also to celebrate Sheryl and Jaime’s Taurus birthdays!!

This is the one I ate.  You should see what I brought home.

This is the one I ate. You should see what I brought home.

I unfortunately got to take a huge chunk home. TROUBLE! Greg is out-of-town this weekend so I am on my own. Does anyone want to come over for dessert? 🙂

4th: I am pretty sure that Sheryl and I are the only ones in the universe who have not seen Silver Lining Playbook. We are going to see it on Sunday. I am super excited to see it on the big screen.


Who is doing Ragnar this year? Which one? I am doing NWP and Las Vegas. Both Ultra style.

Who has seen Silver Lining Playbook? Is it fantastic?

3.1 Mile Sprint

14 Apr

I ran a 5k this morning. It was hard and fun at the same time. Before I get to the race…here was my morning.

I woke up at 6:20 ate a mini Lara bar. I got dressed. I rode my bike over to the convention center. Picked up my bib and shirt. I realized I forgot my energy gel on the counter. FAIL! Luckily enough we got one in our swag bag. SCORE!

I went out for a quick warm up and stretching. Made my way to the start line and found my favorite run “class” teacher, AMY!!

Amy is so funny. I go to her track practice every Tuesday. I always make fun of her because she calls it class! Her husband, Chris, is my coach and hers. We both were doing this 5K for our 5K threshold test. She, of course, came in sub 20 and had an “awful” race. First in her age group. She is so FAST!!

I asked the Facebook-World, How do I race a 5K? The responses:
Run as fast as you can? (<—-question mark?)
Just when you think you are warmed up it will be over.
Run as fast as you can until you think you are going to throw up then sprint for the finish.

Seems like ALL logical answers!!

Start Line:

The corrals were pretty close together. I got in the 8-9min corral. Not a whole lot of people there. There was a ton of people behind me though!!

7:30 on the dot…We we were off! I just tried to run fast and sure enough I did.
Mile 1: 8:57
Mile 2: 8:59
Mile 3: 8:53
Mile .1: :46
That ALL equals 27:54 WHAT?!WHAT?! PR. 8:57 avg miles. I was 12/128 in my age group. I secretly wanted to do a sub 28 but was not sure if that was logical or not. It was. Super Exciting!!!

Sue was totally right when she said you will be done before you warmed up! The whole thing was so fast. I got the 1st mile done. I got over the train tracks. 2nd mile was done. I forgot there was another set of tracks we were going to have to go over. I got over those tracks. Up and over the bridge. Mile 3. Sprint for the finish. It was over!! Mark passed me right before the finish. He was doing the 10K but they started before us. 🙂

Everything went pretty much according to plan. I ran fast. No trains! No bridges were up! I feel lucky because almost everyone I talked to got stopped by at least one train!

I ran into a bunch of peeps this morning.

Clockwise from the top left:
Andleb–fellow Ragnar ambassador. She was hanging at the Ragnar booth.
Brooke–You may recognize her from my Nuun video. She ran a 5K PR!!!
Ryan–I spin with him on Monday nights. He ran the half and PR’d as well. He got stopped by the train twice! 😦
Here is my outstanding outfit. I do not usually race in compression socks but they matched my shirt and it was cold outside! I usually do not use music but I thought this was a special occasion.
Mark–Fellow Swimmer. He drove me to Boise last year. We had a good time. He may say different. 🙂 He got stopped by the train.

I went over and helped Leslie run the Ragnar booth. Talked all things Ragnar for a couple of hours. I saw David, he was first in his age group. Dang I have fast friends!!

The 2 Leslie's talking Ragnar up!

The 2 Leslie’s talking Ragnar up!

How was your Sunday?

Shamrock preview + RAGNAR

24 Feb

I had a 90 minute run on the schedule. I had a late night and an early morning so I was pretty much dreading the 9 miler that was ahead of me. I thought I might die.

The sun was out! It was dry! Really what more could I ask for!! I decided that I would head downtown up Broadway and continue on Terwilliger. I was going to come back via the waterfront but decided just to make it an out and back. It was perfect because I am preparing for Portland’s Annual Shamrock 15K.

The course is flat, a lot of uphill, some downhill, and then ends on flat road.

The best thing about 3 weeks out from the race is: there are a ton of people running on Terwilliger. I am sure that it helped that it was dry and sunny! 🙂

I ended up having a great run. 9.45 mile run…check! I averaged 10:19’s which was perfect! This was my longest run post-IMAZ (besides Surf City–which was a run/walk). Another survival run!! YEAH!!

After my run I headed to the RaceCenter Expo to sign up for a few races and work the Ragnar booth.

I am a Ragnar Ambassador because I like to talk all things RAGNAR!!

Jaymi and I worked the 12-2 shift. Then Shelly and Mary took the last shift. We answered questions and talked Ragnar up. We gave lots of shirts and tats away. Had so much fun.

How was your run this weekend? AWESOME!!
Have done a Ragnar Relay before? YES!!
Which one? I have done NorthWest Passage 2x. I am doing NWP again and also LV this year. ULTRA style!