Summer Races 2014

Oh how I love when we just start to get a taste of warmer weather in Minnesota. I don’t know about everyone else but once it starts getting a bit warmer outside I get very motivated to run outside again!

My motivation led me to sign up for a BUNCH of summer runs! I’ve mentioned already that I signed up for runs but I had a lot of interest in what exactly I signed up for so I thought I would share in one post!

My first run that I am signed up for is the Minneapolis Marathon RELAYΒ on June 1st. I am running with my parents and one other person, a team of 4 people.

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My next race is the Color Run 5K on July 13. If anyone would like to join me for this run I have a team started: Anytime Anywhere Any Crazy Race, our start time is 8:30am. You can enter promo code color5off for $5 off! Any and all are welcome! I did this run last year with my friend Steph and we had a BLAST!!

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Yea, We’re special πŸ™‚

I’m also signed up for the Bacon Chase 5K July 19th. I haven’t done this one before but honestly how could it not be awesome! Bacon!! haha Anyways if anyone is interested please sign up and spend the morning running and eating bacon with me πŸ™‚

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Next is RAGNAR!!!!!! August 15-16th. I love love love Ragnar and I am so excited for this relay run! Incase you have no idea what Ragnar is about you can check out my blog posts from last years Ragnar: 1, 2, 3 & 4. What an amazing relay this is…. this will be my second year running but my third year participating.

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My final race that I am signed up for is the Women Rock Half MarathonΒ on August 30th! I ran this half last summer and I am very excited and nervous to do it again! I was not prepared last summer for this race so I hope to be more prepared this summer. I also hope to be a lot lighter this time around πŸ™‚ If anyone wants to tackle a half marathon this summer I’d love a running buddy!!!

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There really is no time like the present to get running!!

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Please let me know if you sign up for any races this summer!!!!! I’m looking to sign up for maybe 1 or 2 more!!

What runs are you signed up for so far?

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Ragnar Relay (final 24 legs)

Sorry this has taken so long for me to write about…. it has been a super busy week.

We left off in the park in Stockholm, WI.

According to Ragnar rules starting at 6:45pm everyone outside of the van has to wear reflective vests and the person running has to wear a head lamp and a blinky light on the back of the vest. Joanna was up first to start our second set of legs.

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While Joanna was getting into her zone, and we were waiting for Stuart to come in Mom decided to put some purple hair chalk into Dad’s hair.

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Shortly after that Stuart came in and Joanna started her run. We headed off to find a spot to park and cheer her on.

Her leg was a rough one because there was a couple tricky spots that had construction and the highway was down to one lane. We stopped at a lookout shortly past the construction zones to wait for Joanna to pass.

We had some comedy from the flirt, Mark, while we waited for Joanna.

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Apparently I was the only one paying attention when this picture was taken πŸ™‚

When Joanna ran by us she was pretty shook up and all we head was that she hurt her knee…. Mom asked if she needed her to finish but Joanna said she could finish.

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She was running pretty good so we headed to the exchange so Mark could get ready to run his leg. She came into the exchange very strong and then collapsed when she was done running. Herm (our driver) and I carried her to our van so she could give her knee a rest. We wrapped it and got ice and then headed on her way. Luckily I was pretty much ready to run so we didn’t need to be at the exchange to terribly early. We did not have time to stop and cheer on Mark though.

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We got to the exchange and I quickly went to the port-a-potty and was ready to go. Mark came in and I started on my way.

I was really excited for this run because it was nice and cool and it was 3.4 miles all pretty much downhill. It was dark out and a pretty weird feeling. There was no one around me…. I was just running along in the dark listening to music. I could hear the bugs buzzing over my headphones. I turned onto a gravel road that had trees on both sides. My van passed me on that road and I told them it was scary as shit πŸ™‚ Of course my mom freaked out a little so they stuck close to me on that road. Once I got used to running in pitch black it really wasn’t bad at all. I actually started to really enjoy it. Then I turned onto the highway and I could see blinky butts up ahead of me. I just followed the people up ahead and got into a zone. I really felt like I was flying because I was running downhill. This 3.4 miles was some of the best miles I’ve ever ran. I’ve had runners highs before but this was so much more amazing. I was kind of sad when I came into the exchange and handed off to dad.

Dad ran his leg and then handed off to mom. Mom was freaked about running in the dark so we leap frogged with her. We would drive slowly ahead, wait for her to pass and then drive slowly ahead again. She did really well on her run. Then she handed off to Jane. We did the same for Jane and then headed to the Ellsworth, WI High School (I believe) to meet our other van and wait for Jane to come in.

When she came in we headed to the van and went back to Woodbury. We had about 4 hours while the other van ran their 6 legs. Sorry no photos….. to dark πŸ™‚

Luckily we are all from Woodbury, MN so we went back to my parents house and got a couple hours of sleep and a shower. When I woke up I was not feeling good. I think it was a combo of lack of sleep, skipping dinner and nerves. We headed to the Stillwater, MN junior high to wait for van 2 to come in. I took advantage of a cup of hot chocolate hoping the sugar would help with the lack of eating.

We were a little worried if joanna would be up to running her last leg. Mom packed extra running clothes just incase she needed to run for Joanna. Luckily Joanna just had a nasty bruise and no sprains so she was able to run. She ran a great last leg and then handed off to Mark.

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I was super nervous for the run at the exchange. I think it was just because it was my last run. It was just a baby run 3.1 miles. Once I started running the nerves went away but then I regretted not eating and not stretching. This run was one of the hardest ever. Luckily my van stopped shortly after I started to cheer me on. I saw my mom way up ahead and yelled at her to get the shot blocks. She franticly ran back to the van and according to Mark freaked out yelling SHOT BLOCKS ALEX NEEDS SHOT BLOCKS. I guess people were pretty confused by her craziness. She was able to find a couple shot blocks and gave them to me before I passed by them.

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I ran along a really nice path that was in and out of trees. This should of been a great run but I let my mind get the best of me and it was a terrible run for me. There definitely was a lot of walking. When I turned to head towards the exchange the ultimate challenge was right in front of me, a massive hill 😦 I tried my best to run/walk up it and was so relieved when I handed off the slap band to dad.

There may have been a couple grateful tears when I finished. It definitely was an emotional journey and so overwhelming to be able to say that I finished my 3 legs of the race.

Now poor dad had a ROUGH last leg. His was straight up hill in Afton, MN. He knew the hill from last year so he started off great. We stopped halfway up the hill and mom gave him some new water. She also had to run along with him for a little while so she could open his shot blocks for him πŸ™‚ The shot block thing became something for us to laugh about lots.

Poor dad had no idea that instead of heading up his gradual uphill they changed the course and he had to turn and go up a massively steep hill!!!! We all felt for him when we passed by the hill. Running through Afton, MN is no easy task. Lots of hills. His leg ended at the Afton state park.

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Herm (driver) and Theresa (safety person)

Herm (driver) and Theresa (safety person)

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We enjoyed taking some pictures while we waited for dad to come in.

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Dad was so happy to hand off to mom. I almost could hear him saying F*** F*** F*** as he came in πŸ™‚ He was definitely saying it during his run. He needed a moment after coming in to settle down πŸ™‚ Rough last leg but he was now done. We got changed and marked of our last legs on the van.

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Mom kicked butt on her run and came in strong.

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Now our final runner was on her way and we were all thrilled. Theresa and I were especially excited because Jane had a little prank planned for mom. As we passed Jane on our way to Cottage Grove High School she yelled at the van “Sherri, Shot Blocks!” Mom immediately freaked out and yelled for shot blocks. I quickly told her no that Jane was pranking her and that she didn’t really need them. It was hilarious to watch mom freak out.

Jane came in strong to finish off Van 1’s running.

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Jane even gave Linda, Van 2’s first runner a nice sweaty hug. And Linda was on her way. Jane got cleaned up and we were all super excited to be done!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!!!

We stopped a few times for Linda to give her water and squirt her with the squirt guns. She really needed it. She had a horrible uphill on her third run and it was very hot. She came in strong and handed off to Chris.

Chris had a baby 3 mile run as his final leg so he booked it. We rushed to the next exchange to ensure Paul was ready to run before Chris got in.

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When Chris came in Mom and I had to drench him with the squirt guns because he got my good during my first leg πŸ™‚

Paul headed off and van 1 was on a mission to find a gas station for a diet coke. When you drink nothing but water and sport drinks in the heat you really crave a pop. Luckily there was a gas station on our way to the next exchange!!

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Yay for diet coke and muscle milk for Mark.

Once our thirst was clenched we headed to the next exchange. Paul handed off the Warren.

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When we got to the next exchange Stuart got ready to run.

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And we all lined up to cheer Warren on as he came in.

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And Stuart was off….

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YAY for Warren, he did a great job finishing his hot run!

Stuart was our second to last runner…… we headed to the last exchange so Nancy could get ready to finish the race for us.

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Nancy was off….. we had to quickly head to the finish to park in the ramp and watch for Nancy so we could all run through the finish line together.

In she came and we got the joy of running through the finish line as a team.

Here is a link to a You Tube video of our finish:Β http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wdwMhqCA2s&feature=youtu.be

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Finish team photo:

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For finishing Ragnar we got to eat pizza and have a free beer!!!

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Cheers to beer and pizza….. and finishing the 2013 Great River Ragnar Relay!!!

The ladies

The ladies

The men

The men

 

Our awesome drivers and safety people

Our awesome drivers and safety people

 

The Runners!!!

The Runners!!!

Finishing Ragnar is an amazing accomplishment….. I have to quote another blogger who wrote about his Ragnar experience.

“We’re crazies, weirdoes, fools who spend money to torture our bodies and minds and then return with nothing but a medal and a T-shirt. To an outsider I can understand why it may appear that way, but having gone through it, I now understand. Ragnar fundamentally changed who I am as a runner and as an athlete.” The words of Mark McGinty

I could not say it any better then Mark McGinty. Ragnar truly did change me as a runner. Even though my third leg was so terrible my second leg made it all worth it. No one will truly understand the feeling unless they have gone through it πŸ™‚

I will definitely be doing Ragnar next year and I hope to have longer legs next year.

Any fun Ragnar stories???

Who wants to run it next year?????

 

 

 

Ragnar Relay (first 12 legs)

Sorry for the delay in posting…. it has been a very busy week.

Last Friday started at 4:20am. To be honest the night before Ragnar I barely slept. I think it was a combo of nerves and excitement. At 4:20am my mom’s alarm went off and people started getting up one by one. A few people showered before we loaded up our van and headed to Winona, MN.

From the beginning our Ragnar adventure was exciting. On our way to Winona our lights on the top of our van slowly started to fall off. We had to pull over once to bring in one of the strands. We also had to do a quick pull in of another strand that fell off the top of the van.

Once we got to Winona, half of our team went and did the safety check. Joanna, our first runner, got into her zone before the start. Mark, our second runner, started to freak out! His running shoes were no where to be found. We emptied out our entire van and his shoes were nowhere. Me being the optimistic one told him to wait to freak out until our second van got to the start. I figured he put his shoes in the other van by accident.

The second van showed up….. no shoes!

Luckily our safety person, Teresa, had running shoes that would fit Mark. Problem solved for now.

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At 7 am Joanna started.

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Once Joanna was on her way we headed towards the van and on our way to the next exchange. We of course honked and hollered when we passed by Joanna.

Once we got to the exchange Mark started getting ready to run. He gets in the zone by listening to up beat country music πŸ™‚ He also likes to stretch and strike funny poses.

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And there may have been some warm up kicks…

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Soon after the kicks Joanna arrived and Mark was on his way. Not going to lie my nerves kicked up a notch once Mark was on his way.

We headed back towards the van so Joanna could get cleaned up and then we were on our way.

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I’m not sure why I was so nervous…. I think it was a combo of nerves and excitement. I definitely felt some pressure to do well. My whole team had already done a Ragnar Relay.

Once we got to the exchange I tried my best to not worry much and to get into some sort of zone.

Looking super happy :)

Looking super happy πŸ™‚

I only had to wait a few minutes and then Mark was within view. I headed across the street to the exchange area and waited for him to give me the SUPER sweaty slap band.

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While I was running, Mark got changed and checked off his first leg.

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My run was a hot and sweaty one. The sun was beating down on me and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. My goal was just to finish, I’m totally ok with walking when I need to. I actually surprised myself during my 5.4 mile run…. NO WALKING. Every time I really wanted to walk I saw my van up a head wait for me to pass them. I knew I couldn’t walk while they could see me. I am so happy that they stopped to cheer me on so many times, it really kept me going.

When I was over halfway done I ran past my van and yelled at them to bust out the squirt guns. Luckily our second van had stopped somewhere up ahead of my and they had the squirt guns out and full of cold water.

It felt so great to see the finish line…. running up to the bright orange exchange, and seeing my dad waiting for me.

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Stopping and Starting Watches :)

Stopping and Starting Watches πŸ™‚

It felt like such an amazing accomplishment to finish my first leg. My whole team was there.

Mom and I

Mom and I

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It felt so good to relax and not have to worry about running for a while. The nerves went away and I started really enjoying watching the race and seeing all the crazy people.

My dad passed off to my mom…

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Mom is the super speedster of van 1. She was on a mission to kick butt… and she did.

Next up was Jane…

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Jane was the member of our van who last year never wanted us to stop and give her water. She just got into her groove and just went. This year it was quite hot during her run and she gave us permission to stop πŸ™‚ No worries, last year we still stopped to cheer her on.

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This year she actually took our water πŸ™‚

Jane had one of the hardest runs of our first 6 legs. Hers was almost all up hill on gravel. I think she was very happy to see the orange of the exchange. I know I was, it meant that our van was done running for a while and van 2 was up.

While van 2 was running we headed to Stockholm, WI to hang out in the park and relax until it was time for us to run again. Some of our runners slept and some of us headed towards the water to watch Mark skip rocks.

Sleepers

Sleepers

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It was nice and relaxing to hang out in the park. I sure was happy not to be in van 2. We drove along their running route and it was intense. Poor Linda had a straight up hill for miles.

Here are some pictures from Van 2’s first 6 legs:

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They are such a fun group of people. I can only imagine all of the hilarious things that happened to them on their adventure.

I will share the last part of the race with you all tomorrow.

Van 2: Anything fun to share?Β 

Pre Ragnar (Volunteering and Van Decorating)

Here comes the fun filled posts about Ragnar. I have so much that I want to share with everyone so I am going to break it up into multiple posts. This first post will be about volunteering and decorating the vans.

Thursday around 11am My mom, Theresa and I headed to Winona, MN to help set up the start line. Each team who lives within 100 miles of the race has to provide 3 volunteers. Since my mom and I were also running we signed up to set up the start line. Last year I also helped set up the start line and it was SUPER easy and fast.

This year…. was a little different. Since we left at 11am we drove straight to Winona and did not eat lunch. We arrived for our 1pm shift and got started right away. Our main focus was setting up the tents for water and packet pick up.

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We set up the tents on the right side of the picture. Once the tents were set up we organized the boxes of packets/tshirts. We also brought down all of the cliff bars, shot blocks, ragmags, tattoos and whatever else went into the packets.

When we got the start line all set up it was about 3pm and we thought we were done…. NOPE! This year they decided to add a Ragnar store to the start line. We found out that we also had to help set this up. By this time we were starving and hot from being out in the sun.

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Luckily they had the tent up we just had to bring all the inventory from the truck to the tent. Set up the racks and hang all the clothes. It was so unorganized. We did a lot of waiting around for them to count inventory before we could hang it. They didn’t find table clothes until after we already had the merchandise on the tables so we had to take it off to put the table clothes on. By this time the volunteers were started to get really annoyed. Eventually we ran out of hangers and had to stop. Luckily the guy who was in charge of start line setup (not the same person as the lady in charge of the retail store) came up and said we could go!!

WOOHOO…. music to our ears. We were so done. AND STARVING.

Theresa, my mom and I headed back to Lake City, MN to turn on the air at the house (my parents second home/weekend house/cabin :)) And then we headed to get some much needed drinks and food.

While we were eating the rest of our team was meeting in Woodbury to load the vans and head to Lake City.

Once they got to Lake City we started decorating the vans.

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Van 1:

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Van 2:

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Once the vans were decorated it was time for bed. We had an early morning…. up at 4:20am and left Lake City for Winona by 5:15am.

Ragnar day 1 (friday) update coming next….. hopefully by thursday!

TEAMMATES….. please leave comments about funny things that happened during the van decorating!!!Β 

Ragnar Bound

Today is the big day…. Our team heads to my parents cabin in Lake City, MN to decorate our vans and sleep for the night.

For those of you who have no idea what the ragnar relay race is…. here is some background. The Wisconsin/Minnesota ragnar relay race is called the great river relay race. It goes from Winona, MN to Minneapolis, Mn from friday morning until saturday afternoon. There are 12 runners per team, plus two drivers and 2 safety people. The drivers and safety people can be extra people who want to ride along or they can be runners. Runners 1-6 are in van 1 and runners 7-12 are in van two. Each runner runs 3 legs. I’m runner 3 and I run 5.3 miles, 3.4 miles and 3.1 miles. Last year I volunteered at the start line and I was the safety person in van 1.Β Here are some pictures from last year.

Van 1

Β  Β  Van 1

Van 2

Van 2

Running threw the finish line

Running threw the finish line

This morning my mom, our friend Teresa (wife of one of the runners) and I are heading down to Winona, MN. Each team has to provide 3 volunteers. We are the lucky volunteers. We are helping set up the start line!

Once the start line is set up we will head back to Lake City and get ready for the rest of our team to show up.

Then tomorrow morning at 5am we will head back down to Winona to get to start the race. Our start time is at 7am. Our team name is Anytime, Anywhere, Any Crazy Race.

I will be sure to give you all a full recap on Sunday!!!

I also made a special treat for the vans. I made the Chia Peanut Butter Power Bars that are part of my August Pinterest Challenge.

From Running 4 Cupcakes

From Running 4 Cupcakes

I’m really excited to try them! They looked really good. Hopefully they will give us extra energy between our legs.

Anyone going to watch Ragnar at all? Or have you ever participated in a relay race?

Anything fun planned for the weekend?