Ragnar NW Passage

Throwback Thursday: Ragnar Northwest Passage 2012

** I wrote this partial relay recap waaaay back in 2012.  I never quite got around to finishing it {spoiler alert}, as it’s been languishing in my drafts folder for the last 4 years, but it’ll give you a good idea of how much fun relaying can be.  I highly recommend it! ** 

Remember when… I ran a relay in July?  And was regularly blogging?  Yeah.  Me too.  I might as well get back into writing by posting the longest race recap ever.  There will be no breaking this up into separate posts.  You’ve been forewarned.


I think I’ve finally figured out why I have been putting off writing this recap.  I feel bad about having had more fun than I did at Hood to Coast last year.  There.  I said it.  It was MORE FUN.  Part of me feels like I’m being mean saying so.  It feels like I’m somehow negating the friendships I made through HTC.  That’s not the case.  Things changed after HTC for me.  This year I felt like I knew people already – Nuun staff in real life and teammates from Facebook and Twitter.  Last year (even after all the emails) I still wasn’t sure what everyone would be like.  To my introverted self the pressure of meeting new people was a little paralyzing.  HTC helped me get over it a bit so Ragnar was easier.  This year I was more confident in my running abilities and at peace with my pace.  I admit that last year I felt like I was the weakest link in our van.  This year I got over myself.  Comparing Hood to Coast to Ragnar is like comparing apples to oranges; you can try, but they’re just different.  

* The Beginning *

My Ragnar weekend started on 19 July – a Thursday and also my anniversary.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Colin deserves the “Husband of the Year” award for telling me it was okay to spend 3 days on my own (don’t worry… he and Spud had fun too).  After putzing down the I5 we arrived at Nuun HQ in the early afternoon.  It was just in time to join Caitlin as she picked up Holly from the airport.  We had a bit of an adventure trying to buy bagels on the way there, me being no help navigationally, of course, but it all worked out.  This was when I learned that, due to a rental snafu – “sorry, we just don’t have your nice comfy 12 passenger vans, oops – hard work was being done to ensure we’d be able to get around.  We were saved by Good Chevrolet and Michael’s Chevrolet when they each loaned us one van!

Caitlin dropped Holly and me at the hotel and we promised we’d arrive back at HQ for dinner.  Lauren met up with us and we played tourist (disregarding the fact that we were all at RnR Seattle in June), going to Pike Place Market after hitting up a Starbucks.  Might not have been the smartest move to walk, but it was a nice day.  I didn’t end up buying anything though I longed for the cheap, beautiful flowers I couldn’t take over the border.  After returning to the hotel Lauren drove us up to HQ so we could meet the rest of the team.  We sequestered ourselves in the waiting area – love the cardboard couch! – and, as people arrived, we doled out the fun accessories people brought (sunglasses and jelly bracelets to go with the 90s theme).  We sort of felt like we were invading since the office is really open, but eventually Mason and Zoe called us out on hiding and told us to make ourselves at home.

* Wherein I get tipsy and chatty… *

Apparently a Thursday evening hosting bloggers called for a party atmosphere at the HQ (although reading Twitter has lent me to believe that any day is an excuse…).  By party I mean drinks were involved.  Since I was the pariah who doesn’t drink beer I had the choice of gin or vodka.  Since I don’t drink gin, vodka it was.  And perhaps more than I should have had.  Now, this wasn’t entirely my fault.  Yes, I drank it all, but Mason made it for me.  Pretty sure it was 3 parts vodka to 1 part Tangerine Lime Nuun All Day – in a red Solo cup.  If that wasn’t the ratio I am a cheaper drunk than I thought!  Anyways, I get chatty when I drink (and then really quiet if I’ve had too much).  I just realized I’m like Raj on Big Bang Theory, ha!  I was pretty happy to see Italian food for dinner.  Next time I will eat before I drink!  Over dinner we got to know each other, Mason said some nice things I don’t remember, and then it was van decorating time!

When we were done Lauren drove me, Holly, Becky, and Jenny back to the hotel.  We took advantage of the rooftop hot tub – the distant lightning made one question the choice – and turned in relatively early.  Becky and Holly had an early pick up to get to Bellingham for 9am while Jenny and I got to take our time as we were in Van 2.

* It’s Raining.  Aw, crap. *

Usually I can start a recap with “the day dawned bright and early.”  Yeah, no.  The day dawned at regular time and was pouring out.  The extent of my wet/cold weather gear?  My Sugoi jacket and my Vancouver marathon long sleeve.  No extra shoes.  Not even really extra anything.  Tyler and Kim from Nuun picked Jenny and me up at 9am, where we joined Stacie, Dawn, and Megan in the van.  I put in a request for a frontish seat (after having been in the back row last year) and got the first row with Stacie.  We actually kept to our seats for the most part of the relay.  Our first stop was Starbucks/Kim’s house.  We needed coffee and she needed a few things she forgot (and also offered up extra cold/wet weather gear for those who had nothing either).  I grabbed my usual venti tea and scone for breakfast, which turned out to be a poor idea.  That much tea, a tiny bladder, and an underwhelming amount of rest stops = running to the bathroom at our first exchange!  And then running to the port-a-potty because they were free!  Yes, I understand school fundraising, but not to make people pee!!!  Not cool, Bellingham High.  Not cool.

After the drama of finding a place to go we convened back at our van.  We had a while before Van 1 would hand off to us during which we needed to change, attend the safety meeting, pick up various race stuff, and hit up the merchandise tent.  I got a hoody (which I am wearing as I type) before they sold out.  Unfortunately, I should have also bought the pint glass as those were sold out later on.  We decided to find a place to eat and wandered over to a local sandwich shop across from the high school.  I felt really bad for them because they didn’t know about the relay.  Obviously a miscommunication somewhere as that could have been a really good day for them.  It wasn’t too much longer until it was our turn to head out.  Jenny grabbed the snap bracelet from Meghan and we were off!

* Whirlwind *

I’ll be honest with you.  This part is kind of blurry.  Even though I’ve done a relay before it’s amazing how fast it all seems to go by.  Pretty much my recollection is this: Jenny starts, we drive, cheer her on a couple of times (really bummed I forgot my cowbells at home!), get to exchange, Kim runs, we drive, cheer her on, get to exchange, I get out and ready to run.

My first leg was 6.1mi/9.8km along Lake Samish.  I’ve only ever seen the road I ran along from the I5, but it gave me a fair idea of what it would be like.  The weather was cool, but not raining.  I was nervous, but feeling pretty good.  As usual I went out too quickly although I thought I’d be okay.  Not so much.  I got a massive stomach cramp about half way through which I wasn’t anticipating.  It slowed me to a walk as did the hills that I wasn’t quite well enough trained for.  I wasn’t all that keen on the hill coming up to the exchange either.  Mostly because I seem to have blocked it from my memory and didn’t know it was going to be there!  Along the last stretch of my leg I succeeded in scaring the crap out of myself.  There was something in the bushes along a driveway, probably a squirrel or something small that sounded much bigger.  Anyways, I had my iPod with me in my handheld and the cord moved with my arm.  I looked to see what the noise was, got hit by the cord, and jumped a good foot into the air.  Thankfully there was no one else around to see that!  It started spitting rain a little bit when I came in to hand off to Stacie and then I was done.  My final finish time was 1:02:25 – 10:13/mi or 6:21/km – super proud of myself as that was the fastest run I’d run in a very long time.

Post run I got changed back into my neon cheering wear as I was off duty for the next however many hours.  Stacie handed off to Dawn, Dawn handed off to Megan, Megan got pelted by gummy bears, we handed off to Van 1 and it was dinner time in Burlington!  Again, it seemed like people weren’t notified about Ragnar coming to town as Red Robin was hopping with relayers and a local soccer tourney filling it up.  The manager was pleasant, but frazzled as she’d been there the majority of the day.  My adult sized macaroni and cheese was the perfect dinner.

* Late and Stupid aka Seagull Fishing and Lemon Tea *

Funny things happen during relays when you aren’t running.  In reality, and to the outsider, they probably aren’t all that funny.  But to 7 people who have been running/driving/going non-stop pretty much anything is funny.  Or downright hysterical.  After dinner all of us were pretty tired from a long day.  But then the conversation somehow turned to seagull fishing.  Stacie had to explain as all of us gave her “WTF?!?” looks when she brought it up.  Essentially, lay down under towel on beach, put food/bait on top, feel seagull land, sit up and trap bird in towel.  See?  Hysterical!  I can’t remember if this was the same time Jenny made us watch a video of the dolphin midwife, but that was hysterical in a gross way… I know you’re dying to look that one up, but seriously (srsly) don’t.  We didn’t do much more than drive straight to the next exchange and try to get a little bit of sleep.  I managed to get about 2 minutes of sleep as every time I thought I was close to dozing off something would wake me up.  The 2 minutes came right before our alarm went off.  Oh, well, it was to be expected.  We all roused ourselves to see Jenny off on her second leg.  She had a really hilly leg and it was pretty darned dark so we made sure we stopped and cheered quite a few times.  At one point we parked at the top of a hill and had ourselves a little, and rather loud, dance party.  Not sure that the other vans appreciated our enthusiasm, but, meh, we were having a great time!

Jenny handed off to Kim and she headed off.  We made sure to stop and cheer for her as the second half of her leg was unsupported.  More loud dance parties ensued – I think the other runners liked seeing us.  About half way through her run Kim was starting to hurt.  However, she is one tough lady and pulled through admirably and with a fair amount of speed.  And just like that it was my time to run again.  It was 3:30am and, because he is awesome, Tyler agreed to run with me.  I wasn’t too thrilled with the thought of having to run this leg by myself.  It went through a bit of an industrial area and, as I’m not the speediest of runners, I was a little paranoid.  I thought the first part of the path was dirt or gravel, but turned out to be a paved bike route.  It was also fairly well lit.  But there’s safety in numbers and I was glad for the company; especially when we saw the seagulls painted on the path – got the giggles then and wished for a camera.  Unfortunately for Tyler he wasn’t really prepared for pacer/bodyguard duty and ended up running in his safety vest and non-techy clothes.  I know that there would have been many times during this leg that I would have given up and walked had I been alone.  As it turned out I ran 2.7mi/4.35km in 28:24 – 10:31/mi or 6:32/km – which I consider a win since I was going on no sleep!

Once I handed off to Stacie (who took Tyler with her; again, safety in numbers) I went back to the van.  Just before getting there we were somewhat accosted by an official who was very adamant that Dawn know where she was going on her leg as she got to cross the Deception Pass bridge.  I get that he was just being safety conscious, but it seemed like a bit of overkill at 4 in the morning!  Stacie had a ridiculous uphill for her second run.  Since it was early morning things were getting loopy again.  I don’t remember who was awake for it, but Kim, who was driving with Tyler out of the van, started serenading our runners with Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup.”  Essentially there was a promise of a cold drink, dubbed “Lemon Tea” for it’s Nuun-like resemblance, at the end of leg 22.

Red solo cup,  I’ll fill you up

Let’s have a party, let’s have a party

Red solo cup, I’ll fill you up

Proceed to party, proceed to party

This was srsly (another inside joke that I really can’t explain) one of my favourite parts of the relay.


Wordless Wednesday: Packing



It’s hard to believe that it has been almost 3 months since I found out that I wouldn’t be running HTC I would be running Ragnar Northwest Passage with Nuun!

The ball gets rolling on Thursday with Colin and Spud dropping me off at HQ in the afternoon.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but Colin earns the title of world’s best husband as 19 July is our 9th wedding anniversary.  I think I’m going to have to push really hard for an ultra team next year so we can have a 10th anniversary trip!  #runnerds! Once I’m dropped off I’ll be meeting up with Holly (van 1), who is coming in from Oregon.  I’m assuming we’ll toodle around town until it’s time to see the rest of the team for dinner and van decorating.  I asked about decorating rules this time around and, unfortunately, this is a no-go:

Window art is highly encouraged, but there was a bit of an issue getting the rest of the van clean after Hood to Coast 2011 (so I heard – thankfully it wasn’t me that had to drive up to the rental place in it…).

Thursday night I’m hoteling it in Seattle with Holly, Jenny (van 2), and Becky (van 1).  I’m pretty thankful that I’m not in van 1 this time around as they have to leave at 5:15!  My Friday starts at 9am with a van ride up to Bellingham-ish.

According to the handy Ragnar pace calculator I should be running at the following times:

Leg 9 * 6.1mi/9.8km * Moderate: 4pm

Leg 21* 2.7mi/4.3km * Easy: 2:30am

Leg 33 * 6.8mi/10.9 * Hard: 12:15pm

Apparently I was blinded by my love of downhill. Forgot it was quite an uphill to earn it!

For running a total of 15.6mi/25.1km within 24 hours I’m surprisingly calm.  Not sure if it’s because I’ve done a relay before; it’s NOT Hood to Coast, therefore less pressure; I feel like I know the people better this time around; or just because I get to hang out with the Nuun folks, but I’m so happy to be able to do it!  I”m packing tonight so it won’t be a mad dash tomorrow and hopefully I won’t forget anything.  Tomorrow’s Wordless Wednesday post apparently has its subject matter!

Pop back on Friday for ways to follow our team!  Twitter will be the main source, but I’m sure Facebook and maybe blogs will be utilized as well.  Just a head’s up that I won’t be tweeting much myself due to roaming charges (free WIFI is where it’s at!), but if you search for @lovemyrunners you can find out how I’m doing.

The Once A Week Blogger

Yeah.  So I haven’t blogged much lately.  And it’s not that things haven’t been going on.  To be honest, since I got an iPhone (very late to the plate on that one) I rarely turn on the computer.  I could blog from my phone, but I don’t love the app for WordPress so I just let it slide.  And then I realize that I haven’t posted anything in what seems like forever.  To catch up on the last little while you get treated to the ever helpful, convenient, and easy-way-out numbered list.

1.  I’m running a 10K race on Sunday.  Note that I said running it; I’m not racing it.  I’ll be thrilled if I come in anywhere around an hour.  This will be the first 10K that I’ve done in over 10 years.  I’ve slacked more than I’d like to admit since the marathon and even during training I didn’t really focus on much speed work.  However, I’m thrilled to get out to support a great cause.  You can learn more about Earth Run here and participate virtually if you don’t live in Vancouver or Kamloops, BC.  

2.  Colin and I ran the Oliver Osoyoos Half Corked Marathon on Sunday and had an absolute blast!  It was the first race we’ve ever run together.  It was also the slowest race ever (3:05:–ish for 18ish km)!  And the fun part was that it didn’t matter at all.  I’ll have a race recap up eventually – no promises from a slacker – but here are some pictures to give you an idea of what it was like (click to enlarge).

We’ll definitely try to sign up next year!  Hopefully it doesn’t sell out in 3 minutes like this year!

3.  In Ragnar news our team has a name!  We had a lot of great ideas, but everyone agreed that they could live with NUUN Kids on the Block.  There’s a lot of talk about neon, scrunchies, rolled socks, and crimped hair.  Good thing I still have this kicking around:

I am thrilled to be able to let loose my 10 year old self!  If you have any ideas that would make our late ’80s/early ’90s theme even better please leave me your comments!  I have to dig out some *real* photographs at my parents’ the next time I’m there so I can see how horrific awesome my style was back then…

Fabulous Friday

Despite finding out that I wouldn’t be running with these ladies in August, this week has turned out to be a decidedly glass-half-full kind of week.

1. I get to run Ragnar NW Passage in July. And when I said with Nuun, I meant with Nuun – it’s their corporate team. I’d be silly to turn down this opportunity and I’ve already been stalking the legs trying to decide which one I want!

2. I won a twitter contest! A really good one – as in, $126.20 from Oiselle. These are what I’m thinking of getting:

Arm warmers – probably in black since that matches most of what I wear.  Not exciting, but I’m not too much of a pink-loving girl and the orange ones won’t go with diddly in my running wardrobe…

Long Roga short, Stride short, or Bum Wrap – do I want to hide my thighs, suck in my bum and thighs, or hide my bum?  I’m leaning towards the Roga simply because they look like they’d transfer to regular wear more easily.  Yes, I do wear my running clothes as everyday clothes!  And, admit it, so do you!

Runbow Tee:

Thoughts or reviews on any of these? I love the Green Lake Hoodie (and it’s on sale), but it would still use up a good chunk of the amount.  Seriously, this is like being a kid in a candy store – I want one of each!!!

3. I booked my follow up appointment for my heart-rate training for June. I was originally going to re-test in July, but they offered me a substantial discount for booking in April. This way I’ll have my new numbers pretty much right at the start of fall marathon training. It meant giving up my Brooks Pure Cadence for now, but this is better for my training at this point. I know I haven’t gotten a lot faster (been slacking on the once a week zone 3 work) however, I feel like I am getting much better at staying in zone 1. Since I’ve been doing most, if not all, of my runs on a treadmill I know I’ve increased my speed for zone 1.

4. My marathon is next Sunday (6 May). I might feel woefully underprepared in terms of breaking 5 hours and getting a PR, but I know I will finish it. I’m excited to get my shirt (will be women’s specific) and medal because they’re really nice!

5. I got to go swimming with Spud yesterday. Yes, we hang out almost all day everyday, but this was part of school so he got to play with his friends.  I am totally counting this as cross-training!  Since there were more kids than parents/supervisors I had an extra child to look after.  Turned out that their favourite activity was having me hold them as I navigated our way through the lazy river.  Of course, I had to make sure the current didn’t run us into the walls so I got a decent lower body workout while holding 40lbs under each arm!  Win-win for everyone!

What made your glass half-full this week? Any good news?

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

Missing out on running with Nuun here…

…means I get to run with Nuun here.

 It’s hard to be {too} disappointed.

More to come.

“Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.”  ~ Jonatan Mårtensson

(thanks Mel for posting this today)