Ragnar Relay Del Sol Recap 2015

For the fourth year in a row, I participated in Ragnar Relay Del Sol in Arizona, going from Wickenburg to Mesa. It’s held in my home state so it only makes sense that I would travel west for the race – I get to run AND see family and friends!

Stacey, Justin, Omar, Nicole, and I began the day loading the van and getting coffee, and then we headed to pick up Marette. We decorated the van with our team name: “Crazy Cervezas,” and our slogan: “Stay thirsty my friends.” Since we were going with a beer theme, we had shirts made with the Dos XX symbol intertwined with the Ragnar symbol {see below}.


imageEvery year, Ragnar Del Sol is near or on my birthday, making it the perfect way to celebrate. This year, my sister-in-law Nicole surprised me with cupcakes from the Sweet Tooth Fairy Gourmet Bake Shop and a necklace and button to wear! The Thin Mint and Nutella cupcakes were my favorite.
image-1We arrived at Exchange 6 about 45 minutes before our runner came in so we had ample time to check-in, listen to the safety briefing, take tons of pictures, and meet up with our Van 1.

We knew it was going to be a hot day so we all started by chugging water! Soon, our runner came in and Omar was off to start the 7th leg of the relay. Unfortunately, legs 7-12 had no van support whatsoever so we couldn’t stop to give water—we just honked as we drove by. The day started to get even more hot as Marette {runner 8} took off. Again, we drove by, but offered our support in honks and cheers.

At that point, I was trying to get pumped up for my 13.5-miler, and I was feeling pretty confident. I chugged water, ate some GU chews, and went pee a few times {Funny story: one woman dropped her iPhone into the port-a-potty hole…but reached in and grabbed it out!! Everyone around was dying laughing, and maybe slightly disturbed!}. We messed around with Omar’s GoPro as we waited. Marette brought one too, which made for some really fun pictures and videos throughout the entire relay—I really need to invest in one.
We heard the volunteer call Team 313 and I got prepped and ready to go with some music. Jeff got me some Beats by Dre Powerbeats {wireless bluetooth earphones} in pink! for Christmas, which work so well! I would highly recommend them. I always used to whip the headphones out of my ears with my arms while running so these are really convenient. The only problem is that you definitely have to have service for the bluetooth to work properly. My songs broke up the first 3 miles, which was really stressful, but then it was smooth sailing after that.

I also ran a quick first few miles—my first mile being under 7 minutes. I definitely jumped the gun. But, the rest of my miles were about 8-9 minute miles. It was a really grueling, hard, hot, hilly run. We had four water stops, which isn’t a lot when it’s 85-degrees outside, but I was thankful I brought along my Nathan belt and water bottle, which I refilled at each station. I did get a really bad chaffing burn from the belt though since I just ran in a sports bra, so there was a lot of skin-to-belt contact. I almost ditched it all at one point, but water was more important than a little chaff, right?

The route was pretty, but also boring. I “killed” 10 people but then there was no one else to look forward to passing. There also weren’t very many vans going by that were cheering, which was so unusual. But, I pepped up when I finally got out of the desert and saw a neighborhood and gas station—signs that my end was near.

This leg is the longest Ragnar leg for any of the relay races, and since I traveled here for Ragnar, I’m really pumped I was able to do this leg, no matter how hard it was. Plus, I got a fancy shcmancy medal for it! #doublemedals

I passed off to Stacey {leg 10} and we continued on through the Arizona desert and through runners 11 and 12 to finish near Sun City somewhere. We were all pretty tired, hot, and hungry at that point and made the decision to grab some Barro’s Pizza, somewhere we’ve stopped at in past runs. This time though, I was not. feeling. it. I felt terrific right after my run, and then it just hit me. I kept puking {sorry, TMI} and had a terrible stomach ache. I think I was just super dehydrated, but I know I’ve never felt that bad for that long. I must have kept throwing up for about 6 hours and got maaaybe 45 minutes of fitful sleep. And I definitely wasn’t hungry. I went to a medical tent and they gave me some electrolyte mix to put in my water, which helped a little.

But, that’s the thing about Ragnar, you have to suck it up because you have another run coming up. And that’s just what I did. Luckily, the night runs are cool and crisp so I felt refreshed after I was done. I still felt a little sick, but I was beginning to feel a little normal {aka hungry}.

We got through our night runs pretty quickly and then went straight to our next big exchange in hopes of a little sleep, a good washing {with baby wipes}, and pancakes. In years past, our team always gets to this exchange too late when they’re all sold out of pancakes!

So, we rolled in, parked, and pretty much all passed out for about an hour or two.
I woke up to the smell of pancakes from the front of the van—Omar and Justin made a trip for some. I promptly got up and ordered four plate-size pancakes {hey, I didn’t eat the entire night!}, but could only eat about two of them. They. were. devine. though. Then we had some dance parties and waited for Van 1 to come in.

We met up with our super-duper volunteer, Heather at this big exchange too, which was nice!
Everything was smooth sailing from there! We were able to provide van support for all these legs, which was really nice because, again, it was really hot out. My last leg was really short, and slightly downhill, so I was able to run it pretty fast. I ended with a total of: 20.9 miles.

I just love this last part of the relay. There’s so much energy (because we know we’re almost done) and excitement going on, and we start getting into civilization and there are some really pretty legs along the Scottsdale Green Belt.

We celebrated at the end with our entire team, wearing our awesome team shirts, sombreros, fiesta tattoos, medals, and some cerveza! I even ordered us these poncho beer koozies!
We were all pretty sleep-deprived, hungry, and cranky at the end {myself included}, but it was still a Ragnar Del Sol for the books. I think since next year will be my 5th year in a row doing Ragnar Del Sol, I want to make an Ultra team to add a little change and challenge. Does anyone want to volunteer to drive? 🙂

{I know I never finished my Adirondacks recap, but I’ll post Part 2 soon – plus, registration for this September is open!}



TCS New York City Marathon 2015

Well, this happened yesterday. I’m officially signed up for the TCS New York City Marathon this November! {Eeeek!}

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 10.00.32 AM

It’s really hard to get drawn for the big races in New York City. I was sad in December when I wasn’t drawn for the March NYC Half Marathon {an amazing course that I PR’ed in last year}, but I was excited to enter into the TCS New York City Marathon lottery, and have been patiently waiting for drawing day.

Yesterday, I woke up and took turns refreshing my email, New York Road Runner account, and bank account. One of them was bound to give me answers. I squealed and legit almost peed myself when I saw the New York City Marathon in the list of My Upcoming Races. I didn’t even care about the price—I had tingles all over.

It’s funny to think back before I ran a marathon and to remember how I said I would never run one.{ “People who run marathons are crazy folk.”} Then, I ran my first marathon in Nashville and it was one of my worst running experiences, ever! If I hadn’t already signed up for another marathon before the race, I’m sure that would have been my last. BUT, who can resist a little Disney magic? I did my second marathon at Disney World  in January {which I can’t wait to share}, and it was probably the best running experience, ever! Complete 360.

I didn’t know how it was going to go, but I still put my name into the New York City Marathon lottery –  I had just heard from so many different people how incredible and inspirational this race is. I knew it would be one that I could run by myself, because I really wouldn’t be by myself. There is never a moment where spectators aren’t cheering you on along the sidelines.

I went to see the elite runners and cheer last year and it was so energetic and exhilarating. Extremely windy and cold, but, amazing. I’m going to send all of my positive thoughts and energy for good weather this year. I can’t wait to start training and to work towards a sub 4-hour marathon.

My friend Lisa didn’t get in {super sad face}, but is 99% on board with running the Philadelphia Marathon, which is a few weeks after. So, I think I’ll have a training buddy—which I desperately need. I might also look into getting a personal coach to make a training plan for me, or look into some group runs. I want to add more speed work and timed mile repeats into my training regimen. I’m eager to get started already!

Did anyone else get in? Let’s train!


30 before I’m 30 bucket list

Happy March. After a few months of ridiculously cold weather, March brings a promise of melting snow and spring. Don’t mind me as I dream of days underneath these palm trees.

But, it’s time for a wake-up call from said dream. AND a wake-up call for this little blog here. As I have done often, I took a few months off to focus on where my passions lie and take time to actually do them.

Now, I’m itching to get back to writing and sharing. Get excciiiited. While I have a ton to share, I’ll leave you with a little bucket list I put together for this year. I turned 29 {Yoinks!} about a week ago and am just coming to the realization that this is going to be my last year in my 20s. I got a little sad about it, so I wanted to boost my mood and come up with some adventures, goals, and challenges to partake in this year.

“30 before I’m 30” bucket list:

– Enroll in a writing program to finally start my novel writing.

– Get a 1:30 half-marathon time

– Zipline over tropical trees in Costa Rica

– Rent a beach house in Montauk this summer

– Break a 4-hour marathon time

– Study Italian

– Learn to play Chess

– Work on catching up with friends and get better at replying to texts/emails

– Do 100 double-unders in a row (without whipping myself)

– Find the best Eggs Benedict in NYC

– Volunteer. Volunteer. Volunteer. (Races, food kitchen/pantries, animal shelters)

– Pierce my nose again

– Get another tattoo

– Go sailing

– Travel somewhere all by myself

– Start taking CrossFit classes

– Get back into photography (my camera is way too dusty on my shelf)

– Learn to bake using actual measurements versus just throwing in ingredients that “look” measured, like I normally do

– Visit more of New England

– Take 20 minutes each week to meditate

– Master my yoga headstand

– Learn to play tennis

– Buy fresh flowers once a week

– Go to a hockey game

– Learn how to french braid

– Take speech classes (I stutututtter ;))

– Always make sure I have fresh nail polish on

– Eat pizza once a week

– Go parasailing

– Learn to let go (of emotions, people, possessions) when necessary

I will no doubt add or delete things from this list, but having these things to look forward to makes me more excited for the year.

Bring it on 29!


Ragnar Relay Adirondacks Recap #1

IMG_1248Running on the east coast in the fall is incredible. It actually feels like fall: crisp, cold, colorful. Ragnar Relay Adirondacks was an amazing experience and I had a blast working as an ambassador for Ragnar the months prior to the race. I’m so grateful to my contacts with Ragnar, Leslie and Amy (whom I got to meet!).
IMG_1196We had some bumps in the road with people dropping out, but luckily found replacements. We still only had 11 runners, but most of us were eager to pick up legs, so it worked out.

We had a team dinner the Monday prior to Ragnar where we had a run, ate pizza, finalized details, and I gave them some goodies, like Ragnar bandanas, colorful sweatbands I ordered, Mr. Kate watercolor tattoos (really cute, and they stayed on for over 2 weeks!), and more. I would definitely recommend getting together right before the race so everyone is on the same page. We had weekly runs, but not everyone can make those, so having a mandatory meeting is crucial.

Van 1 went up Thursday and stayed in a hotel near Saratoga Springs to be rested for the start. Van 2, an amazing, strong group of women—Lisa, Erika, Natalie, Alyss, and Sarah. We met at my apartment early Friday morning so we could pack the SUV I rented. It was super spacious, even for 6 girls and all their crap (which is a LOT of crap!). By the end though, everything was thrown everywhere and we must have lost our phones each about 20 times! It was actually hilarious.

So we headed out (I was so proud to actually drive though the city for the first time. Was scary, but I did it!) and raced to check-in because our runner was coming in. We were in the middle of the safety meeting when she came in, but only had to wait about 5 minutes for us (woops!). To be fair though, they came in a little earlier, which is fab! Van 1 had amazing costumes on too! Our theme was to pick a color and pattern, so there was red sequins, and pink zebra and orange cow patterns. 🙂 They did a great job, especially for running in the heat…which it WAS so hot!
Sarah started off Van 2 with a 9.4-mile leg! It was her first Ragnar so I’m sure she was nervous but she literally rocked it! We stopped a few times to give her water, because again, it was SO hot and her leg was so long.
We also had time to decorate the van, which was fun. Our mascot was: Man, Bear, Pig.
IMG_1195She then passed off to Lisa for a 6.1-mile leg. I had never seen this before, but for Lisa and Erika’s exchange, your team actually picked where to hand off. So we had to track what mileage Lisa was doing and pick a point. Luckily, there was a huge group of vans parked around where the exchange should have been so it worked out.
IMG_1190Erika started running her 4.8-mile leg and Natalie started prepping for hers. It was so much fun stopping around other vans and seeing them cheer people on. We saw a ton of Ultra teams (which I still would love to do one year).

Natalie started on her 4.7-mile leg and passed off to her sister Alyss, who went running along in her adorable tutu for her 6.3-mile leg. We tried cheering for her but she was too fast and already went past the spot we were at (plus we were occupied taking pictures with our Ragnar and water color tattoos!) so we booked it to our last exchange, my 5.4-mile leg.
It was so amazing guys! I felt so fantastic and strong! About 2 miles in, I came upon a guy who was running at a good pace (just under 8 min miles) so I asked if I could run with him, and we ended up just chatting the rest of the way to the end. He was from Philly and it was his first Ragnar, but he’s done plenty of swim races and triathlons! So nice to meet people like that.
IMG_1203My sweet van after our first legs were done. I mean, look at that view of Lake George!
IMG_1208Then, it was time for us to get some grub and rest and for Van 1 to take off into the night.

More recaps coming shortly… 🙂

6 Tips for How (and What) to Pack for a Ragnar Relay
4 Training Tips for Any Ragnar Relay

A Case of the Funks

Do you ever go through funks? Like such a funk that you don’t even want to wash your face at night, pack your lunch, or do anything remotely productive? Yea, me too!

Sometimes you just have days when everything goes wrong.

I try to remember all the things I need to be productive for and be grateful for: a sweet husband who thinks to buy me my favorite snacks at the store and loves to clean the apartment; my challenging, but awesome, new job; my health; my fun-loving friends; sweet notes and calls from far away family; trips and runs I’ve been physically and financially able to take.

Still, there are days where I feel so petty and hard on myself about how I’ve been running, how I perform at my job, how my hair frizzes out to Mars, how I put on eyeliner, and continuously looking at Instagram, photo-stalking (or shall I say sulking) because I’m looking at a 23-year-old who seems to be more successful, prettier, more fit…happier? I love social media, don’t get me wrong-it’s my job after all. But, sometimes, it just pulls at my heart (and brain) strings, and I just can understand why I succumb to comparing myself to people.

I’m also just so homesick right now. I haven’t felt this way since we moved two years ago (tomorrow!). I don’t ever regret moving here, but I’m not sure if we’ll be able to get back home for the holidays so it’s a little disheartening.

Does anyone ever feel this way? Maybe it’s the changing of the seasons or my homesickness, but I really hope it goes away soon.

To top it all off, I’ve sprained my ankle. Just a little, nothing to write home about, but I took today off from running. Here is the schedule Erika and I came up with for our marathon. It’s nice to have a goal to look forward to and work towards.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 12.00.43 PMSo, depending on my ankle, here is my workout schedule this week:

M: B|X at BRICK New York
T: Rest
W: 5 miles
TH: 6 miles
F: 4 miles
S: 11 miles
SU: 3 miles & yoga at Church Ave Yoga & Body Center (Plus cheering on runners at NYC marathon!)

Cheers to a funk-free rest of the day. I need a good slap in the face. 😉

Happy Tuesday!

6 Tips for How (and What) to Pack for a Ragnar Relay

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset The first year that I did Ragnar Relay, I researched what to pack for the race and it helped SO much. Being prepared for an overnight race like Ragnar is crucial! You don’t want to forget a pair of socks, run out of water, or have a lack of band-aids if a blister comes along.

So, I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way.

1. Food {because let’s be real, it’s the most important.}
To avoid people bringing the same thing, start a list with your van so people can sign up for certain items. Bananas, peanut butter, bagels, cream cheese, peanut butter-filled pretzels, salt & vinegar chips, and hummus and veggies are always on the list for my van. You want to think of healthy carbs and protein {for fuel and energy on your runs} and salty foods {to replenish electrolyte stores} to snack on, not to act as a meal substitute. Vans normally have time to stop for actual meals somewhere. I’ve stopped at Barro’s Pizza and Chipotle {twice} in the past.
IMG_7073 Also, each person in the van should bring two gallons of water. It makes it easy to refill reusable water bottles. {The gallons also help when trying to brush your teeth or wash your hands on the side of the road.} I also make sure to bring a few bottles of Zico Chocolate, Gatorade, and maybe a Rockstar or two. 😉

When you get to the finish line, each team usually gets two boxes of pizza or some other food they provide, and you have your $1 beer tickets, for your choice of a Sierra Nevada beer. So, you get to end with a good amount of carbs. 🙂

2. Decorations & Props

{This is my fave van each year at Ragnar Del Sol: Fro-Motion}

Basically, it’s a runner’s version of “Pimp My Ride.” In the past, we’ve attached LED lights across the van roof, added boas or fun, bright ribbon, and written on windows with window-safe markers.
It’s really fun to tally how many “kills” {number of people you passed during your legs} on the van! Pretty much every van does it.

We’ve also brought along props to fill our down time during rest stops. This could be hula hoops, a hacky sack, a boom box for dance parties, a football, frisbee, etc. The world is your oyster at Ragnar.

3. Yoga mat, foam roller, & Icy/Hot, etc.
I’d highly recommend packing a sleeping bag or yoga mat for sleeping arrangements and/or actual yoga practice {last year, my good friend Marette – a certified yoga instructor – gave us a lesson!}. It’s also great when you are in a parking lot and are itching for a solid foam roll. Just bust out the ole’ yoga mat! The foam roller works wonders for legs that are cramped and tight after being in a van for hours.
Icy/hot helps with aches and pains that may pop up on the fly, like shin splits or IT band. Other important things that are helpful are baby wipes {for a van shower}, band-aids, extra hair ties, Chapstick, Vaseline or BodyGlide, and a car charger.

4. Pack each running outfit into ziploc bags
This is crucial. You’ll be in a van with up to 6 other people with all their bags and purses and food strewn about that you don’t want to lose anything when you’re up to run. Plus, you can put the dirty clothes back into the bag after you’re done running to prevent odors. {Your teammates will appreciate this!}

So, think about if it’s a short or long run, night or day run and build from there. Undies, shorts/capris/pants, tank, short sleeve/long sleeve, light jacket, sports bra, headband. Fold everything tightly into a bag and with a permanent marker, write which leg you’ll be using that gear. Easy peasy!

5. Costumes:
Yes, costumes. They aren’t just for Hallowen after all. I love me some themed parties and impromptu outfit nights. Just me?

We’ll, for Ragnar, you at least better have a bright colored outfit! At least. Teams go all out with themes. I’ve seen a whole disco van before with runners wearing bell bottoms, big tound sunglasses and afro hats for their legs. I’ve seen speedos, tutus, and banana suits, and more! It so much fun and pretty hilarious!

For me personally, it’s distracting to run in too many things, so I like to get running related outfits, like personalized shirts, colorful sweatbands, or fun headbands, and then save my costumes for down time.

This year, my team is picking a color and a pattern. I have neon yellow and feathers. I already have a few fun yellow things I got, so now I just need to add feathers on the mix. Shouldn’t be a problem since I adore feathers! I have big dreams to make a chief’s head piece!

6. Ragnar-required gear
This is uber important because if you have one too few safety vests or headlamps, you’re not allowed to participate. Each runner is required to have a safety best, because even if you aren’t the one running, everyone participating in Ragnar is required to wear them during nighttime hours {about 5pm-7am}.

Each van also needs 2 headlamps and 2 tail lamps. We all just share them {yes, sweaty bands and all}.

That’s about the jist of everything you should pack and how you should pack it. Just a few more days until the big race!

PS. Ragnar Relay Del Sol 2012
PSS. Ragnar Relay Del Sol 2013
PSSS. I’m Officially a Ragnar Relay Ambassador
PSSSS. 4 Tips for Training for a Ragnar Relay
PSSSSS. I just realized I didn’t do a recap for my Ragnar Del Sol 2014 race! BUT, here’s a link to my Facebook photo gallery.


Five Foodie Favorites

Thank everything that today is Friday. Yesterday was a very, very bad day. So many things went wrong and there were so many unwelcome surprises. But, when days like that happen, I have to remind myself to count my blessings and think about all the things and the people that I’m grateful for. And today is a new day, right? I can’t wait to celebrate a friend’s birthday this weekend, compete in the NYRR’s 5th Avenue Mile {I’m not even sure of the last time I did a timed mile!}, participate in the Wanderlust 108 Festival in Prospect Park, and head to Six Flags with my BFF’s. I’ll leave you with these five foodie favorites I’ve delighted upon recently.

IMG_0839{Egg whites, avocado, and grape tomatoes atop toasted rye bread}

IMG_0944{Veggie, pickle, and cheese platter}

IMG_1023{Sauteed zucchini, fresh veggies, pickles, cheese, and hot cherry peppers on top toasted multi-grain bread with roasted bell pepper spread}

IMG_0986{Brunch with the hubby at Buttermilk Channel—I drool over their biscuits!}

IMG_0881{SO many fresh, delicious veggies atop toasted rye bread with a roasted bell pepper spread}

Obviously I’m loving the whole “toast” trend! What do you like on your toast?