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How to have a Ragnarly, dude! relay race September 5, 2014

Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Running.
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Today, we are a week out from Ragnar DC – squee!  I started re-reading posts this morning from Ragnar TN back in 2012, and it got me all excited for the fun that is to come.  But, I also started getting a little anxious about logistics and packing – after all, there are a LOT of moving parts when you’re talking about 12 people, 2 vans, 200 miles, and zero sleep.

There are oodles of blog posts about how to pack for Ragnar.  When I was prepping for Tennessee, the chronic overpacker in me got really frustrated – you want to have everything you could possibly need for 3 different “mini” races (and for lots of potential weather scenarios), but you also can’t take up so much room in the van that you don’t have any left for the really important stuff (otherwise known as your teammates and a cooler).

So, rather than put together yet another in-depth packing list, I’m going to talk about the things you probably DON’T need to bring to Ragnar…

Lounging/non-running clothes – Okay, so I’m not talking about clothes for partying after you finish the race, or PJs for in the hotel the night before the start.  I’m talking about clothes for DURING the race, after you have completed one of your legs and the waiting begins.  While I definitely recommend bringing three separate running outfits, there is no point in putting on “regular” clothes in between.  You probably won’t have time anyway.  Make sure you have flip flops or slippers or other comfortable non-running shoes, and call it a day.

Enough food for a small army – Yes, you will definitely eat a lot during Ragnar.  But, not everyone likes the same things, and even ONE person’s tastes will vary during a 30+hour period (for example, I liked pumpkin muffins at the beginning of Ragnar TN, but I had eaten so many of them by the end of my second leg that I never wanted to see another one as long as I lived).  Make sure you have plenty of hydration, and sure, pack some portable and chewable fuel, but remember that you can usually stop for food at least once or twice during the journey.  I distinctly recall both a Zaxby’s AND a Cracker Barrel stop during our van’s off time.  At the time, they were both the best meals I have ever had.

Full size pillows – They take up a LOT of room.  Chances are, not everyone will be sleeping at the same time, so you could always use folded up sleeping bags and/or blankets to rest your head.  If you have one of those airplane neck pillow things, all the better – it’s small, and it works for both sitting up sleep AND laying down sleep!

Your pet – I love my furbabies as much as the next person.  Probably more, come to think about it.  But as much as you don’t want to take Fifi to the kennel while you run around the countryside, do the humane thing and spare your dogs/cats/cockatoos the misery of being crammed into a van with a bunch of crazy, delirious humans.  Plus, you don’t want your best buddy breaking loose when one of your teammates, in a sleep deprived haze, opens the door to the van before you’ve actually put the leash on.

A bad attitude – Seriously, just don’t.  Ragnar is FUN!!!  If you come expecting to have a good time, meet some cool people, and enhance your existing friendships, you’ll be in great shape.  The opportunity to be tired and cranky will most certainly present itself, but don’t take the bait!

Anyone else have tips on what not to bring?

The Travel Bug – Lewes, DE July 22, 2014

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Originally, my summer travel plans consisted solely of my August trip to California (to see my amazing sister and ADORABLE nephew).  But…sometimes I just get that bug, ya know?  When the walls I’m used to just won’t do, and when I’m dying to explore something new and different and exciting.  And it’s great when the travel itch can be scratched by driving just a few short hours away.  That’s exactly what happened when we spent July 4th weekend in Lewes, Delaware – and now I am completely enamored with “the first town in the first state.”

The real reason we chose to go to Lewes for the holiday weekend was…beer.  🙂  I found out the week before that Dogfish Head was opening a beer-themed inn in Lewes, which is more or less halfway between the brewery in Milton and the brewpub in Rehoboth Beach.  Hubby and I didn’t need much convincing, let’s just leave it at that.  But if you do, there have been a few articles written about the Inn – and Jason and I (and Jack!) really enjoyed our stay.  It is pricey, but the location can’t be beat (short walk to both beach and town), and the hospitality was top-notch.

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The beach at Lewes was another big draw for us – unlike the other area beaches, they allow dogs (before 8 AM and after 6:30 PM during high season, and all the time in the off-season).  I have never seen my puppy happier, or sleepier!  He and his mama had fun splashing around and chasing tennis balls in the waves – while daddy stayed in ankle-deep water, of course.  What can I say?  Jack and I are definitely the water babies of the family.

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There were tons of dog-friendly restaurants and shops, and even though there were obviously a lot of out-of-towners (it was July 4th weekend, after all), the whole town had a very relaxed, welcoming vibe.  But, there was still plenty to do – we opted for an afternoon of kayaking the Broadkill River, followed by a tour and tastings at the Dogfish Head brewery.

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Even in holiday traffic, Lewes was only about 2.5 to 3 hours away from DC.  It was also a pretty drive, between crossing the Bay Bridge and going through some quaint Delaware farmland.

I can’t believe it took me so long to “discover” Lewes and the surrounding beaches.  This fan of sand and surf is awfully glad to have them nearby!  I am already plotting my next trip…

Seasons change November 8, 2012

Posted by bettyjoan in Running.
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Last time I posted, it was summer – I was talking about record high temperatures and the Peachtree Road Race.  Now it is November, and holy crap, we are leaving today to embark upon the craziest running event ever (the Tennessee Ragnar – more on that in a minute).  What the hell happened???

Well, life and work and all of that crap happened.  After my boss got promoted in late April/early May, things just snowballed out of control until his replacement (long story) arrived in October.  Then October decided to be a hella hairy month instead of the usual breather (we switch over our fiscal year in October, so generally we get at least SOME kind of break – not so this time around).  In between, I traveled a lot for business, I tried to get into yoga (verdict: I like it, but I definitely need more practice, and finding the time is tough), and we also trained for and completed both the Bike MS two-day ride AND the Athens half marathon.  So, it’s not like we’ve been sitting on our asses, but I wouldn’t say we’ve been focusing on our training quite the way we’d like.

Which brings me to today.  Ragnar COMPLETELY snuck up on us.  I wasn’t stressing it TOO much, since my legs were easy-to-moderate difficulty, but then one of our teammates had an awful family emergency and had to back out at the last minute.  We couldn’t find a replacement runner on such short notice, so we had to play fruit basket turnover and switch everyone around.  Now I am running more mileage and harder legs than I was before, so I am a lot more nervous about the whole thing.  Plus, I believe now more of my assigned shifts will be in the dark of night than previously.  Eek!  Guess I better use the time I have today and make sure I have some Mace to carry with me…I am such a weenie when it comes to running in the dark.  I can only pray the someone else will be running around my pace, and I will have some company!

All anxiety aside, I am looking forward to the Ragnar experience.  I think it is going to be a lot of fun.  Challenging, definitely.  But how many people can say they have run from Chattanooga to Nashville with a dozen of their friends?  🙂

I am sure there will be a follow up post.  Stay tuned!

2011: A Run-Through January 1, 2012

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I know I probably should have written this “year in review” BEFORE the clock turned over to 2012, but I still think it’s worthwhile to look back and see what this past year has held in terms of my athletic pursuits.

At the beginning of 2011, I was preparing to run the Publix Half Marathon here in Atlanta, and it was to be my first big race since Chicago AND my first 13.1 with my husband (he’d never done a half before, and after watching me run Chicago, he decided it was time to get on the bandwagon).  Unfortunately, I broke my ankle in early March and had to watch from the sidelines as hubby completed his first half marathon.  Truthfully, I’m really grateful to have gotten that experience – it was so amazing to see him and cheer him on at different points on the course.

Once I was healed, we did a couple of smaller races together – the Floppin’ Flounder 5K (PR) and the infamous Peachtree Road Race 10K (PR).  Talk about two totally opposite races!  The 5K was a small race in Charleston (we were there for a wedding), and the Peachtree…well, everyone knows what a shitshow THAT is.  Both were beastly hot, so they had that in common.

The first race hubby and I ran together ended up being the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon, which was an absolute blast.  Not only did we PR, but we enjoyed gorgeous scenery (seriously, the race felt like it went by in a snap because the surroundings were so lovely) AND a post-race wine tasting festival.  The fact that the race was an excuse to hang out with my sis who lives in San Francisco was an extra special bonus.

In August, I decided to jump back into the tri world, and a girlfriend and I competed in the Tri to Beat Cancer in Athens, Georgia.  Considering how limited my swimming and cycling had been, the race went pretty well – and I was rewarded with a photo op with the great Vince Dooley!  I will always have a special place in my heart for triathlon, because it’s really how I got started with endurance events in the first place, but I think I’ll be focusing on running for a while – it’s just so much simpler than having to remember all that gear!

September was a big month, with the Bike MS at Callaway Gardens (more of a social event than a race, but it got me back on my bike at least) and a first for hubby and me – a 5K and a 10K in the same day, with PRs for both!  The courses were very tough, but it was a fun challenge and one that I’m glad we got to do together.

The last race of the year was the Savannah Rock & Roll Half Marathon.  Even though we PR’d, it was probably my toughest race of the year.  BUT, it was an incredibly fun race weekend, since we ended up renting a beach house with friends and having a terrific time.

So, that adds up to 2 half marathons, 2 5Ks, 2 10Ks, a sprint triathlon, a bike race, and a broken ankle.  I’d say it was an eventful year!

What does 2012 have in store?  Stay tuned to find out!

Chattyvegas, here I come! July 10, 2009

Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Swimming.
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This is it.  My “A” race weekend is right around the corner.  Not that Iron Girl wasn’t a HUGE accomplishment (and a TON of fun), but this race has always been my holy grail.  I mean, come on, an OLYMPIC DISTANCE TRIATHLON.  I don’t guess I’ve ever attempted anything even remotely relating to the Olympics.  Hell, I barely even WATCH the Olympics (thus earning the nickname “Hanoi Jane” from one of my buddies).

I’ve been a good little triathlete and have been tapering.  I went to the beach last week and did two nice, flat, low-mileage (14 and 9, respectively) rides.  I ran a few miles on the beach.  I tried to get lots of good sleep and curb the alcohol consumption.  I did NOT manage to curb my fried shrimp consumption, but what are ya gonna do?

We had our last group swim on Wednesday night, and I got back from vacation early and was able to attend.  Thank goodness, as I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this workout–a 300 meter warmup, followed by two-by-two sprint races, followed by relay races (during which we sprinted, sunk down and touched the bottom of the pool, and sprinted some more), followed by the highlight of the evening…

…doggie paddle racing while singing the “Meow Mix” song.  No lie.  If I can doggie paddle 50 meters while meowing, laughing, and NOT inhaling enough water to clog my lungs, then Chattanooga will be a piece of cake.  Ha!

Our coaches still can’t believe the crazy and humiliating things we will do at their request.  I hope they realize now that we are putty in their hands, thanks to the time and energy and faith they have put in us all season long.  A little meowing in exchange for teaching me to swim, bike, and run?  No problem.

Hope everyone has a great weekend–wish me luck!