Category Archives: friends

Ragnar FL Keys Recap: NUUNaritaville

I can’t believe my Ragnar FL Keys experience is already over. I felt like I had been working on planning it and looking forward to it for so long!

We arrived late Wednesday night so we could have time to decorate the vans and buy van snacks on Thursday — two key components to a good relay. Not everyone had arrived yet, but we weren’t going to have time the next day to get those things done. I think we did a pretty good job! Lots of Jimmy Buffet quotes to go with our theme: NUUNaritaville.

vans

Friday morning, our start time was 11:30am. As van 1, we got to the start area early to go through the safety checks, put on our temporary tattoos, and get excited!

start

I spent most of my time in the van as the navigator — luckily I only got us lost once, and we ended up just BARELY making it to the exchange before Jack finished his leg…phew! I wanted to make sure everyone else was having a good time, and didn’t have to worry about where were going.

As Leslie mentioned in her recap, we had team members from all over the country, and many people didn’t know each other. Sometimes that can be a little nerve wracking because you don’t know how everyone will get along, but  it didn’t seem like we had any isssues. In van 1 we definitely had a great time, and I’m sure van 2 did as well!

Onto the running… I was runner #2, which was scheduled for 18 miles. However, two of my legs ended up being longer than scheduled, so I actually ran 19.

My first leg started around 12:30pm on Friday — in the heat of the day. Luckily I only had a 4.5 miler on tap. I was so excited to be running and felt really good even though it was hot! This run was through Miami with quite a few traffic lights to deal with. At one point I had to go up on a walkway over the road. I was glad the signs were accurate, because there seemed to be way more turns than I remembered from the maps! I was able to keep my pace up, and even with all the traffic light stops, I averaged 8:44/mi. I was SO thankful when my teammates stopped to give me some water and a power arch boost about 3 miles in.

leg1

My second leg was at 10:15pm in the dark along a canal path. At the safety meeting, we were told to be careful not to go off the road in this area because of the alligators! Yikes! Nervous in the night!! The road here was dirt and rocks, and made for very difficult running — near the end of the run when my legs were tired, I almost rolled my ankles several times. The good news was this leg was shorter than most of my van mates in the overnight hours, with my mileage being 5.25 miles — average pace of 8:55/mi. It was also cooler overnight so that was a bonus too. Another fun thing about the overnight leg was that it really seemed like we were catching up to the other teams more. With an 11:30am start time we got a later in the day start than many other teams!

night

My last leg was by far the most beautiful, but also the hottest. I started running around 10:30am. My last leg was the longest, scheduled for 9 miles, with most being along the 7 mile bridge. There was no van support allowed on this run, and the only Ragnar water station was at 2 miles due to traffic on the bridge. I was really nervous about this run because I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to be feeling. Plus, the heat was definitely an issue. When Leslie handed off the slap bracelet to me, she said “take it easy, that heat is no joke!” — and she only ran 2.4 miles!!

I actually ended up feeling pretty good through mile 6. After that though, I was really feeling the heat and getting tired. With ZERO shade out on the bridge, it was pretty intense. This run also ended up being long, and by the last 0.5 miles, I could not wait to be finished. My vanmates took good care of me after this leg, and let me wait in the shade (of the portopotties, HA!) while they got the van. It definitely took me a while to cool down after that one. I ended up averaging 10:11/mi for the 9.5 miles, which I was very happy with given the heat. I passed a lot of people on this leg because so many others were feeling the heat.

leg3

After van 1 finished our running, we headed to the finish line after a tasty lunch stop. Van 2 rocked their final legs and Matt brought team Nuunaritaville into the finish line just before sunset on Saturday. We were all so proud of our finish — our final time was 30 hours 43 minutes. Good enough for 89th place out of 478 teams!!

finish

I wish we had planned for an extra day in the Keys following the relay. Next time we do one we will be sure to leave some time for fun afterward. At least we made a quick stop at the beach on our way out of town.

12441721014_696f581c22_c

We had many newbie relayers, and I think everyone on our team had a great time! For more fun recaps on our excitement in the Keys, check out Leslie, Heather, and Raechel‘s blogs! Thanks to Nuun Hydration for keeping us hydrated in the intense FL heat, and to Naawk for preventing our sunburns. Thanks also to Beko for so many fantastic photos of our van & the team! I had so much fun making many new friends hang spending time with old friends on this trip. I can’t wait until the next adventure. 🙂

2013 Wrap-Up

For me, 2013 was truly one to remember. I love photographs, so to wrap up 2013, I wanted to share some of my favorite images of the year. Enjoy!

It brought me to the finish line of so many races…

 

 

..and also other fun adventures like vacations…

…exploring California…

…and finally finishing my graduate degree.

There were many miles in the pool,

on the bike,

and on foot.

And most importantly, I spent a lot of time friends both old and new.

   

Hope you had a great year too! I’m looking forward to more exciting times 2014! Thanks for reading along and sharing in my adventures.

What was one of your favorite adventures from 2013?

Passed!

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I did officially pass my PhD defense this week! Very exciting!  Things went mostly smoothly during my presentation (with only a brief computer automatic restart shaking things up in the first few minutes). And I handed in all my final paperwork on Friday morning. It is so strange to be finished with my degree. But, I’m also excited to see wherever life will take me next.

This weekend we had some friends in town visiting, so it has been nice to relax and enjoy some quality time with friends. Plus, soon we’ll be traveling home for the holidays too!

Of course, I couldn’t miss my weekend run, so I made sure to get up on Saturday morning for a long run (seriously, I think long run Saturday is one of my favorite things ever). My knee has been bothering me a bit this week, so I was taking things easy. So while Ryan went out for a 19-miler, I aimed for something shorter, and then walked for a few miles. I ended up doing some running on trails rather than just the pavement, which was awesome! Total, I ran 9.5 miles, then walked almost 3.25. It made for a solid morning — plus, how can you not enjoy a beautiful sunrise like this?!

So, how was your weekend? 

By the way, to celebrate the holidays, if you need to stock up on Nuun (a great stocking stuffer!!), you can get the friends and family discount for 20% off one order using the code HOLIDAY13 now through Dec 31!

Hood to Coast with Nuun, Part II: Race Recap

Awesome. Incredible. Perfect. Fantastic. Beautiful. Unforgettable.

These are just some of the words that come to mind when I think about my Hood to Coast experience. I wouldn’t change a thing about how it all went.

My teammates: Lauren, Leslie, Lisa, Jolene, and Dre were such great teammates.We were always there to cheer each other on, and to share stories. Thank you for motivating me and showing so much caring and heart, and providing countless hours of smiles and laughter. You all have such positive attitudes, which I LOVE. I feel like we all clicked right away. I am so glad that I have you all as new friends! xoxo.

And Jay — we couldn’t have done it without you! Thanks for putting up with all of us, driving 200 miles, keeping track of our times, cheering us on, and helping us get whatever we needed… like lots of chocolate milk!

The running: Each of time I ran was just so much fun. I nearly exactly hit my predicted paces! It was hard to wait to be the last runner to go in my van, but cheering for them kept me busy and helped quiet my pre-race nerves

Leg #6 — 6.7 miles 52:44 (7:53/mi) starting at 5:10pm
For this run, I really just wanted to focus on having fun, not pushing it too hard, but finish strong. My awesome teammates cheered me up the one big hill I had (they are awesome!) with a power arch. Seriously, that dropped my pace a ton and really revved me up! I powered into the exchange and handed off to Kim.

{Dre gave me water but had to chase after me to get it back! Also, I officially LOVE power arches!}

At the end of this leg, my Mom was there to cheer me in to the exchange!! She had never seen me running a race before, so this was very exciting! I don’t get to see her very often since we live across the country from each other. I was so happy to give her a big hug!

{Love you Mom! So exited you were there!}

Leg #18 — 5.25 miles. 44:14 (8:30/mi) starting at 3:15am
I’m not much of a stay up all night kind of girl, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with my energy level at this time of night. But I think I was just still so excited and having fun with my teammates, that the adrenaline was keeping me going. This run was 5.25 miles of gradual up hill. It was partially on a highway, and partially through a neighborhood. It was hard to decide if I should run in the road or on the sidewalk in the neighborhood. The sidewalk had lots of little juts up and down, but the road wasn’t very good either, so I kept changing it up. This leg was pretty quiet — I only saw and passed 4 people! There was a little bit of light mist happening during this leg, which I thought was kind of awesome. It was the perfect temperature for running!

Also, the start of this run was at a high school, where they had a pancake breakfast as a fundraiser. Jolene, Lauren and Leslie got a breakfast. I had to make myself stay outside because the smell of the breakfast at that moment was so incredibly tempting, but I knew there would be some bad things happening to my GI system if I ate any of that stuff right before running.  Luckily for me, I didn’t have any issues during my middle of the night run!

Leg #30 –5.35 miles. 42:00 (7:52/mi) starting at 12:45pm
This was probably my favorite run of the relay as far as scenery — I was running through winding back country roads surrounded by big beautiful trees. It was getting cooler as we neared the ocean, but the sun was shining. Gorgeous!

My legs were starting to feel the accumulating mileage, but I was so excited to say that I finished running my first relay and Hood to Coast! I wanted to really put out there everything I had left! I expected this run to be almost entirely downhill, with some of it being pretty steep. While this was true, it also had many short and steep uphill sections, gradual climbs, and sharp banked curves that made it a fairly difficult run. My team stopped one more time to give me a power arch as I was flying during one of the downhills. I was seriously just so happy! Thanks again for keeping me going ladies!

Finish line fun: After I finished running, we drove to Seaside to await van 2! When they arrived around 6pm, we all got to walk through the finish line together! We celebrated our accomplishments with drinks and ice cream along with enjoying the post-race concert and fireworks. Perfect ending to an amazing relay experience.

  
The support: None of this would have been possible without Nuun and its great employees. Everyone was so welcoming and positive, making us all feel at home and part of the family. Thanks for making everything run so smoothly, and for providing all of us with the experience of a lifetime. I am so glad to be a part of your team. I love how supportive you are of endurance athletes of every level.

Big thanks also to all the other companies who helped keep us moving including Oiselle, Naawk, Tigertail, Endorphin Warrior, Sparkle Athletic, Amphipod, and Swiftwick. Check them out — some seriously awesome products!

The incredible women I met on this trip: (Too many to name, but you can find a list of everyone from Lindsay, here) Thank you for the motivation you provided, and the brief chance to get to know you for real rather than just what we see on your blog. Thank you for showing me how unbelievably supportive the running community is, and for giving me so many memories. For showing me that hard work and dedication can lead to something magical when combined with happiness and laughter. For reminding me how much fun it is to race your heart out and love what you are doing. I am so glad to have met many of you and I can’t wait until we can have a reunion!

What has been one of your most favorite adventures?

Birthday, Beer, and Baseball

I was hoping to get this post up last week but it just didn’t happen. This weekend Ryan and I went camping with friends. I wish I had taken a photo of the monstrous ice cream we ate on Saturday but I wasn’t carrying a camera with me! After we got back yesterday, we went out to dinner with a friend. Today we had an awesome BBQ with all the friends who rode in the Tour de Cure with us. So much great food! I made this corn and tomato salad — it was delicious.

Anyway, I still wanted to share more about our Cleveland trip, so here is more about our weekend away…
Besides the race, we also were able to visit family while in Cleveland. It was a big weekend of celebrations with my niece’s first birthday on Saturday, and my brother-in-law’s MBA graduation on Sunday. Here are some of the things we did.
Friday, after we arrived, we checked into our hotel and spent some time with family. We went for a nice long walk because it was gorgeous out. Some of us stopped in to a local brewery (The BottleHouse) for a quick tasting. It was a cool place — pinball machines, and seemed like lots of bands play at night on the weekends. We were the only ones there though at the time…I guess that’s what you get for a Friday at 3pm! At night we went out to Chocolate Bar for dinner. The food was good, but it was pretty loud. We had to try a chocolate martini!
Saturday was my niece’s 1st birthday. We had lunch and cake and she opened presents. Fun! 

Then we went to the expo for packet pickup. We wandered around for a bit and checked out the merchandise. I noticed the Army booth was having a push-up and pull-ups competition. I decided I wanted to do one of them! When I went up to the booth, I told the guy I wasn’t sure which I wanted to do. He asked if I had done a pull-up before, and when I said yes, he told me that was the one I should try. If you follow me on Twitter, you already know I ended up doing 12 pull-ups! I think they were all impressed. Haha. 
After the expo, we decided to check out another local brewery (Cornerstone Brewing). This one was in a little neighborhood near the expo center. They had a big flight of 9 beers, so Ryan and I shared the sampler. Another good stop. 
The rest of the night was just relaxing — we grilled up dinner and got to bed early in preparation for our Sunday morning race.
If you read my recap, you can find out all about how the half marathon went. Afterward, we grabbed brunch in Cleveland Heights at the Inn on Coventry. It was delicious! After doing a lot of walking, we used the afternoon to relax and went to the movies. We saw the new StarTrek — I’d recommend it. At night we got Dewey’s pizza for dinner. They have so many options! The Bronx Bomber was my favorite.
On Monday the big highlight was going to the Cleveland Indians baseball game. It was really hot out! But a great day for a ball game! We ended up leaving right before the exciting finish with a Tribe win, but we still had a lot of fun. 
It was a really great trip visiting family and running a race. Definitely a good RUN-cation.

Getting in the Holiday Spirit

How was your weekend??

Mine was full of holiday cheer!

Of course, first I had to get in a run. Last week I had a dream about doing a 10 mile long run (yes, I seriously dreamt about it! guess I was really missing running!), but that just didn’t fit in with the busy day for Saturday. I did squeeze in a chilly but speedy 5-miler. It was actually really great run because I almost beat Ryan and did beat Matt back to our starting point — that never happens!

General run stats: mile 1 in 9:35, mile 2 took 9:03, mile 3 was 8:33, mile 4 8:09, and finished off with mile 5 in 7:58. Sweet! I actually passed both guys, but Ryan just couldn’t let me beat him! Haha.

Chilly morning, so I layered up. Compression pants and socks, and a long sleeve shirt

After the run, we packed up and headed to Reno, NV for the night. The drive out was a little snowy, but nothing too crazy. Mostly, I just loved seeing all the snow stuck to the trees.

We went to Reno for the Reno Santa Pub Crawl! So once we got there and checked into our hotel, we got all dressed up in our holiday gear, ready to run around the town.

It is quite the event with thousands of people showing up. We had heard of it this fall when the guys went to Reno for a trip, and saw the zombie crawl. Overall, it was a blast! So many fun costumes! Not only were there Santa’s all over the place, but there was also elves, reindeer, and even some Christmas tress. I don’t have a picture of it, but my personal favorite was a group of people who dressed up as a plate, cookies, and milk.

At midnight they try to get everyone to congregate at the Reno arch for a picture. This one is from last year:

from santa crawl website

We made it just in the nick of time! The crawl was definitely a blast! I’d love to go to it again next year if we can.

What did you do this weekend?

Waking Up in Vegas

After the marathon, we spent a few days hanging around in Las Vegas with friends.

[photo from Colleen]

Sunday night we tried to stay on our feet to help in recovery. We didn’t want to go back to the Strip after going back to our hotel and showering, but luckily there was a little bar across the street. We were basically the only ones there. Ordered up some chicken wings, and played a few games of shuffleboard. 

Monday we walked the Strip, and went to Serendipity for lunch. Then we walked some more and finally found a sports bar in the NY, NY casino to watch Monday Night Football. Afterward we went to Wolfgang Puck at MGM for dinner. The food was SO delicious! I have been there 3 different times, and loved their food every time.

Tuesday we decided we had spent enough time on the Strip, so instead we rented a car for the day and visited the Hoover Dam! On our way there we stopped for lunch at In-N-Out. This is a West Coast  must for those who haven’t tried it.

 [photo from Colleen]

The Hoover Dam is pretty incredible. It is quite the feat of engineering, and incredible to see. I would highly recommend visiting if you are in the area. The drive from Las Vegas is only about 40 minutes. There are two different tour options — I recommend the more expensive one ($30) because you get to walk through more of the dam, and really see of how it was constructed.

 not the greatest panoramic, but still looks pretty cool.

Overall, it was a great trip to Las Vegas! It can be so fun to travel for a race because you get to see more of the area. Already trying to figure out where the next destination race should be! Let me know if you have any good suggestions.