Category Archives: relay

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.


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!


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.


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!


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.


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!!


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.


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. 🙂

NUUNaritaville {a giveaway!}

If you hadn’t seen in my last few posts, TOMORROW I will be running Ragnar FL Keys with some wonderful friends as team NUUNaritaville. I have been pretty excited about doing another relay since I ran Hood to Coast last summer. It was just such a fun experience — the running is great, but more than that you get to spend some close time with good friends (or make new ones!). I’m really looking forward to another great relay with all the jimmy buffet references you can think of {Wastin’ away again in NUUNaritaville}!

With a long distance relay, staying hydrated and well-fueled are very important! In addition, you may have to run in the middle of the day with hot sun beating down on you. Nuun is a great drink to keep you hydrated by increasing your electrolyte intake during those hot sweaty runs. Plus, it will help you be ready for the next leg of your adventure.

At Hood to Coast, we were given some skin products from Naawk, and they were nice enough to provide my Ragnar FL Keys team with some samples as well. Naawk has created some great products — my favorites are the sunscreen and the lip balm. The sunscreen comes in SPF 30 and 50, and smells amazing. Good smelling sunscreen may have helped our van stay a little less stinky by the third leg at HTC!

So, in honor of my second relay, and first event of 2014, Naawk and Nuun have been generous to provide me with some items for a giveaway so you can be prepared for your next outdoor adventure!! If you win this giveaway, you will win a race day kit from Naawk (pictured below), and your choice of a Nuun Active Hydration 4-pack. Enter on the widget here!

naawkracedayMixed 4pack-tubes-382x369

We’ve been doing some last minute shuffling of runners due to an unexpected injury from one team member, so I’m not totally sure what leg I will be running. But if you’re interested in following along and seeing some of the FL Keys beauty, find our team on twitter using #NUUNaritaville

Back at it

First things first — I’ve been working on updating my blog, and transferred over to WordPress. I know several people have mentioned that they weren’t able to easily leave comments before, so I’m hoping that this might help with that issue. Let me know how it works! Also, bear with me if any links don’t work great yet…still working on some minor improvements.

This week I am working back into running!! It is amazing how much I missed it, and how happy I have been to be pounding the pavement, even if it is only a couple miles. Not to mention, the warm weather around here has made me glad to be able to get outside and enjoy it rather than sitting inside on the bike trainer or at the gym. So far, I ran 2.8 miles on Sunday, and 3.4 miles on Tuesday. Today, ran just over 4!

Generally, my leg has been feeling OK. Not totally 100%, but it isn’t really hurting either, so I’m taking it day by day. I’m going to keep trying to slowly build up the miles over the next few weeks. I am getting SO excited for Ragnar FL, and I want to be able do my best for my team. Plus, I’m currently slated to run the longest leg for a total of 20.2 miles!

Otherwise, I have been feeling a little uninspired lately with my own at workouts, so I have been using a few YouTube videos and the Nike Training Club app to mix things up (Thanks Holly for the suggestion!). It has been fun to try some different workouts. Sometimes you have days where someone tells you exactly what the workout is rather than coming up with exercises to do on your own! Work-wise, I have been writing a lot the last couple weeks, so when I get home I don’t really want to think anymore!

So generally, right now I’m focusing on keeping my muscles strong, and building back up my mileage. I’m still fitting in at least 5 minutes a day of core strengthening (not just abs!), and stretching. And since I don’t want a post of all words with no pictures. Here is my current favorite stretch — a version of legs up the wall — it feels different than the typical both legs up the wall pose, and I LOVE it!

photo(20){basically, just get your sit bones close to the wall with your back and head rested on the floor, but in a corner. keep one leg up the wall, while the other is out straight on the ground. one leg up vs two seems to hit a slightly different part of the hamstrings.}

What workout do you do when stuck in a rut?

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?

Hood to Coast with Nuun, Part I: The Fun Before the Race

To start describing this epic adventure of running Hood to Coast, I first want to tell you about all the fun we had in Seattle before the actual race.

I arrived on Wednesday morning with an easy direct flight from Sacramento. Meeting new people started right away, as Karen was on my flight too! After arriving in Seattle, we were whisked away straight to Nuun Headquarters to drop off our stuff, and left to explore the city on our own for a few hours.

A group of us (Meghan, Leslie, Catey, Mallory and I) headed to Pike’s Market and the waterfront. I love checking out the beautiful flowers and grabbing some fresh fruit at the market. I actually ate an almost 1 lb yellow peach as part of my lunch…. it was amaaaazing!

{no, not enough time to go on the ferris wheel}

As we were wandering around, Meghan mentioned that a friend she used to work with was now working at Brooks/Moving Comfort, and that he had invited her to come for a visit. She called Daniel to come pick us up, and he gave all of us an awesome tour! It was cool to see where the magic happens there since I wear their products — both shoes and sports bras.

{excited to be at Brooks! Mallory and I fit inside this shoe on wheels — but I just have a pic of Mal only}

After our little tour, we headed back to Nuun HQ to meet up with all the other ladies who had arrived. Nuun took us out to The Garage to play pool and bowl, eat snacks, and give us some time to get to know each other. It was really cool to meet so many other bloggers in real life that I have started to get to know online.

Thursday was another great day! In the morning, we headed to Oiselle HQ for a run and some more hang out time. It was a gorgeous day for an easy run around Green Lake. Those ladies are so lucky to have a perfect run spot right outside their doorsteps.

{The whole group post-run!}

In the afternoon we went on a Duck Boat Tour, which was an absolute blast. I think I was laughing the entire time because our driver was hilarious — Captain Chaos! Plus, how can you resist quacking at everyone when you are on a duck! We saw a lot of sights including many Starbucks, the Space Needle, Pike’s Market, and Lake Union.

{Party on a duck!}

{Great view of downtown Seattle from Lake Union}

The evening was filled with dinner and van decorating at Nuun HQ. Plus there were even cupcakes in each team flavor! Thanks Megan!

By the end of the day I was exhausted and so ready to start running the relay! Stay tuned for Part II–all about the running!

OBX Marathon Training Week 8

OK, I know you were probably hoping to see a Hood to Coast recap already, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything I want to write about! But, in case you were wondering — it was amazing. From getting to know so many wonderful women from all across the country, to running my first relay, I loved every second of it. I expect I should have a more complete recap up in the next couple days. For now though, here is just a taste of the adventure….

Monday: swim 1250 yds. Kept this swim easy for recovery from last week’s long run

Tuesday: total body strength workout. Also kept this fairly light so I didn’t stress my legs too much, but I knew I would have a few day to recover so I wasn’t worried. But, I didn’t want to do a hard intervals day like my typical Tuesdays.

Wednesday: rest.
I traveled to Seattle, and did lots of walking. Checked out the Public Market for lunch. In the evening, we all went to a bar/bowling alley called the Garage for some time to get to know each other, and have some food and drinks.

Thursday: 3 mi run, easy
We visiting Oiselle in the morning and went for a run around Greenlake. It was an absolutely gorgeous day! In the afternoon we went on a duck boat tour. Then there was dinner and van decorating at Nuun!

Friday: Run HTC!!!
We started at 1:15pm, so I had one run on Friday afternoon, one overnight, and one Saturday morning. Like you saw in my previous post, this run was 6.7 miles with some rolling hills and a long downhill.

Saturday: Run HTC!!
My second run was at about 3:15am — 5.25 miles mostly uphill. And the third run was about 12:30pm for another 5.35 miles of rolling hills and some winding downhill. We had really great weather the whole time (a few sprinkles over night, but the temperatures were awesome). Post race festivities were also fun including pizza, a beach concert, and ice cream. And never wanting the weekend to end!

Sunday: Hang in Oregon.
My Mom made it out to Oregon to visit her friend, so they picked me up and we toured around the Oregon shore before heading back to Portland to relax. Somehow with dead legs I climbed up this huge tower (164 steps of a spiral staircase) in Astoria, OR (home of the Goonies) — but at least I was greeted with an incredible view.

I’m now back in Sacramento — looking through as many photos as I can. I had an amazing time and I look forward to sharing more about it with you this week!

What were you up to this weekend?

Also, reminder that there is still time to save 15% on your Nuun Hydration order using code hydrateHTC at checkout through the end of September!

From Hood to Coast

First thing Wednesday morning, I will be traveling North for Hood to Coast thanks to Nuun Hydration!

First, I will be flying to Seattle to prep with all my teammates and visit Nuun headquarters. I’m pretty excited to meet these incredible women I have been getting to know virtually over the past few months.

The actual hood to coast race is Friday to Saturday.I am in the lineup as runner number 6 on team lemonade. Here’s a little more info on each of my three runs.

1. 6.75 miles. Classified as difficult. This run is estimated to start around 5:15pm

2. 5.23 miles. Classified as difficult. This will take place overnight, around 3:30am.

3. 5.35 miles. Classified as moderate. My last run will be at approximately 12:30pm.

I am both nervous and excited, just like before any race. I love that a relay comes with a team — something I have missed a bit since running and triathlon are usually individual events.

I think I have everything I need packed in my bags, but I always feel like I’m forgetting something when I travel, so this is no different. I guess we will just have to see what happens! I’m guessing that no matter what, I will have an amazing time! I’ll be sure to tell you all the details when I get back!!

If you are interested in following along on my Hood to Coast adventures, follow me:
On twitter: @KristenL_DYL (#nuunhtc #teamlemonade)
On Instagram: kmelli

Running of the Elk Half Marathon Relay: Race Recap

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know that Ryan and I had a great race on Sunday morning in the Running of the Elk Half Marathon Relay. In fact, we won the coed division!

Our team is the Fat Penguins
Still working on perfecting a penguin drawing.

Since everyone likes to hear all the details, let’s start at the beginning. Race start was 8am, but we had about a 20 minute drive and still needed to get our packets, so we got up around 5am. Our friends Matt & Raechel were also running the relay, so we all drove to the race start together. We swung by the race start for the guys to pick up our race packets and once they brought back our bibs Raechel and I headed to the exchange point.

Ryan was running the first leg (7.5 miles) and I ran the second leg (5.6 miles) for our team. I don’t know much about the race start since I headed over to the exchange right away. But the exchange point was set up well with a few portopotties and a radio station and drumline for entertainment.

The actual exchange seemed a little confusing for the first few teams. I think the race organizers originally wanted relay runners to leave the main road to exchange and the second runner to return to the road. But it didn’t really happen that way. Instead, after the first runner crossed the timing mat, they just high fived the second runner and #2 continued running. I think it worked out ok since the race wasn’t very big, once a couple teams had gone through. With more runners, this may have gotten in the way of the half marathoners.

Anyway — Ryan was hoping to maintain at least a 7 min/mi pace for his leg, putting him arriving at the exchange around 53 minutes. He was actually able to cross a minute or so early, and his average pace was about 6:53. (Of course, I didn’t know exactly what his pace was until we finished). But what I did know was that he was only the third relay person across the timing mat, and the first in the coed relay! It was then my turn to keep us moving ahead!

Relay exchange is so exciting and it really pumps you up to get tagged in to run! I started the first 0.25 miles of my leg going way too fast! I guess I was just excited!!! I realized pretty quickly though and started to slow down.

Since the race was on the smaller side (around 800 half marathoners), and Ryan kept a good pace, runners in our area were very spread out. It was so strange to be running nearly alone in a race. The runners near me were also keeping a faster pace, so I was passed by a couple right away. But then it was mostly just me trying to keep up my pace and chase down the faster guys. I was only passed by one woman (first woman in the half marathon)! I also only recognized one guy who passed me as being part of the relay. So, generally I knew we were doing pretty well.

My goal was finish with an average pace of less than 8 min/mi. My estimated 10k time from McMillanRunning based on my most recent half marathon pace was a 7:52/mi, but I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to maintain that. I ended up being able to run my leg of the relay in 7:44/mi! Much better than I thought I could do! Ryan said he thought he ran about 0.05 miles too short, and I ran my leg a little long. Our overall distance according to our watches was 13.15 miles.

My splits were:
Mile 1 – 7:40 (oops, too fast!)
Mile 2 – 7:53 (that’s better — feeling more maintainable)
Mile 3 – 7:45 (finally in a rhythm — no longer thinking about pace too much)
Mile 4 – 7:47
Mile 5 – 7:52
Mile 0.7 – 7:25 min/mi

I crossed the finish line for our relay team in 1:35:20!! I was so freaking excited! I just knew we had won it! I saw Ryan right after I crossed the finish line and gave him the BIGGEST hug!

After I finished, we wandered around the finish line area for a while, and cheered on Raechel to the finish. Then we scrounged up some pancakes (best post race food!) and picked up our award once our time was official! I also found my friend Ana who raced the half. She’s currently training for her first full marathon!

Our award was this awesome Running of the Elk tile — actually we each got one, so we have two. Now we are trying to decide where to put them! Maybe on the mantle?! Gotta celebrate our victories and improved performance, right?

Half medal was a little larger than the relay medal. 
They also even gave super tiny medals for the 5k — seemed like a fun idea for families and kids!

Now we are both on a runner’s high, and thinking of the next running race! (You can probably already tell based on all exclamation points.) We might do a 10k or 10 miler in a few weeks, and our next half marathon is in Cleveland in the middle of May. Already looking forward to it.