Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ragnar Las Vegas (Subtitle: I Think I'm Back?!)

Although I like to pretend that you have all been waiting around with bated breath, the reality is that many of you might not have noticed that I have stepped away from blogging for...wow, has it really been eight months? Crazy.

In that time my work has ramped up big time (don't worry, I still get to write from home in my pajamas), I have had the chance to run some great races and I even moved, with husband and three cats in tow, to the Pacific Northwest.

So, what brought me out of my self-induced blogging retirement? Ragnar Relay Las Vegas. This was my second chance to run a relay (first being Hood to Coast 2012), and it was every bit as fantastic as I had hoped. Unfortunately, that isn't because I secretly love being cold and cramped in a van for 30 hours. It is because I like being surrounded by awesome people who want to eat, breath and sleep (or not sleep) running.

If you aren't familiar with the typical relay set-up, it involves a team of 12 running 36 legs, which totals anywhere from 185-200 miles. This particular adventure started on Mt. Charleston, just outside of Las Vegas, and ended in Lake Mead. My van of six consisted of:

Runner #1: Nicole
This woman just gave birth four months ago, but you would NEVER guess it.  She was incredibly fast and tackled the very first (hilly!) leg of the race. However, I have a feeling she had an advantage. From the little I know of parenting newborns, a nap in a van is basically equivalent to a full night of sleep for her, right? Nicole lives near me now, so I plan on getting her expert opinion on races nearby.

Runner #2: Kelsey
I used to live 90 minutes from Kelsey, and she is a complete sweetheart with one of those adorable southern accents. Seriously, she could be insulting me straight to my face and I would just be picturing Scarlett O'Hara and a big 'ol glass of sweet tea. I can't remember how many times this past weekend Kelsey said, "This is SO MUCH FUN!" I love how much joy she brought to the group.

Runner #3: Sandy
I was super excited to meet Sandy! She has a clear goal for running, and has had one for some time. Hey, her entire blog is named after getting to Boston! I really appreciate how hard she works to accomplish her dream, and she doesn't shy away from knowing what she wants. She totally underestimates how fast she is, and I really can't wait to see her succeed.

Runner #4: Caroline
Sweet Caroline! This lovely lady has been in my van twice out of two relays, so it has become clear that I am incapable of running an event like this without her. Thank you, Caroline, for your incredible playlists, fantastic photography skills and hilarious personality.

Runner #5: Zoë
Serving as both driver and runner of the MOST MILES on the team, Zoe pretty much put all of us to shame. After little sleep and lots of running, I can barely walk in a straight line, but Zoë managed to maneuver that van with style.  Plus, being the mother to perhaps the cutest little girl ever bumps her up even further on my list. Zoë: I am a fantastic babysitter. I work for hugs. Call me.

Runner #6: That's me!
I won't give myself a descriptive paragraph, because that's just odd.

Pure joy at being finished!

Alright, now I am going to try to recap the awesomeness of the relay as quickly as possible. Ready?

Thursday: Flew into Las Vegas, checked into a pyramid. Overpriced frozen yogurt. Water bottles that cost the same as bars of gold. New and old friends. Sleep.

Friday Morning: Relay begins! Drove to Mt. Charleston. Ears popped at 8,000 feet elevation. Snow. Let me repeat: Snow. In the Nevada desert. Confusion.

Friday Afternoon: Um, night. Not used to this early sunset thing. I ran my first leg in the dark, which was rerouted at the last minute. Four miles at 7:56 pace - obviously some downhills! Dinner at Chili's. Good times.

Friday Night: My leg two was a midnight uphill 10-miler through Red Rock Canyon. Apparently, it looks like this during the day:

 For me, it looked like this:

My knuckle lights died after mile 2, I had a near panic attack and my phone battery was dying. Basically, I am completely unprepared and a giant baby. I called my husband to tell him I might die in the desert, cried at the finish and then forgot about it altogether within minutes. Running is fun!

Saturday Morning: My final leg, and it was in daylight! Hallelujah. It was just under 3.5 miles, a lot of it was downhill, and my pace was 8:05. I was spurred on substantially by a van full of crazy ladies with cowbells signing "Call Me Maybe" on the side of the road. Oops, did I say crazy ladies? I meant fantastic teammates.

Saturday Afternoon: Finish Line! We waited around at the finish so we could watch Van 2 of our team come in. It was hot, sunny and absolutely beautiful.

For full disclosure, I have to say that the team was sponsored by Nuun and Pro Compression. It isn't really a secret that I love Nuun, but Pro Compression was kind of...new to me. I have to admit that prior to this weekend, I had never wore their compression socks at all. Normally, I wear Swiftwick compression socks because, uh, I'm a cheapskate and they are the cheapest ones I can find that work.

Anyhow, Pro Compression has kind of converted me. I have to say that the two brands (Swiftwick and Pro Compression) are still pretty much equal in my opinion, but Pro Compression has cuter colors/patterns. I think that Pro Compression socks are normally $50 - kind of pricey - but you can almost always find a discount code for 30-40% off.

P.S. For reading this entire post, you get a prize! Kind of. Nuun and Pro Compression have discounts, and they are as follows:

Code: ragnarvegas
Good for: 20% order
Expires: 12/31/13

Code: nuunpc
Good for: 40% off + free shipping
Expires: 12/31/13

Also, I have to say that, obviously, six women does not a 12-person team make. Van 2 was a great group of five women and one sparkly-skirt-wearing man. Although I didn't get to spend as much time with this group, they all seemed pretty fantastic.

The whole group!
Next up, I attempt to recap all of the races from the past eight months in a single post. (And you thought this post was long!)


  1. Welcome back!!!!! I can't believe you moved! Ahhh now we will never meet lol
    Glad to see you are doing so good!

  2. Look what the cat dragged in...

    Welcome back!

  3. so glad you're back and congrats on the move!

  4. Yay, welcome back! And you moved? Your house was beautiful!

  5. I was so happily surprised when your post popped up in my feed this morning! I am glad that you're back...and I didn't realize you had moved away from the South!

  6. Missed you! Jealous you moved to the PNW. Seattle is home for me. We left the ATL and ended up in NOLA...

  7. i was reading this during a meeting and busted out laughing with your this is what it is supposed to look like during the day, and this is what it looks like in the dark- too funny.
    Glad you survived and hopefully someday we'll be on a relay together .

  8. YOU'RE BACK!!! I saw that first picture on Pro Compression's facebook page but I didn't realize one of them was you. How do you like the move? I'm originally from that side of the country. I love it and miss it!

  9. Welcome Back! Your description of Red Rock Canyon at night is right on! All these posts about me being fast? It is starting to go to my head so you all need to stop now :)

  10. Yay! I was wondering where you've been! Sounds like a fun race. Glad you're doing well :)

  11. Yay! I was wondering where you've been! Sounds like a fun race. Glad you're doing well :)

  12. Welcome to the Great Northwest! I live in Victoria, BC :)
    Glad you're back!!
    Barb @ My Running Shortz

  13. Ahhhhhh I miss you!!! Can you believe one week ago right now we were in the pyramid? I am ready for relay number 3! Please don't take 8 mos to post again!

  14. Seeing a post from Gourmet Runner in my feed made my freaking day. Next time I'm on the left coast, I'm buying you beers.

  15. FINALLY she has came out of retirement...even if you left me down in the south. It was SO great getting to run in your van and seeing you AGAIN. As a southerner, I would never insult you...just saying. You are so brave for getting through that 10 mile run in the dark and I'm sorry I was asleep when you got to the van. Thanks for being you and being so encouraging!! Love you friend!

  16. Welcome back! Can't believe you moved - crazy! So glad you are out of retirement! I just told some friends Friday night that running relays seem like pure hell to me. But I was informed that anyone voluntarily running 50 miles wasn't qualified to weigh in on what is "fun". You definitely make it seem as close to fun as I've ever seen though!

  17. One does not move across the country without posting about it!

  18. You dominated SOOO hard core. And your picture of Red Rock Canyon made me laugh out loud! Let's do it again ASAP???