Ragnar Checklist

This weekend will be my second Ragnar So Cal race and as the day gets closer, I am getting more excited! We have more than half of our team reuniting from our first Ragnar. I am excited for not only the fun weekend but also a weekend getaway once we finish and most importantly a chance to redeem myself from the last Ragnar. Our team met on Friday to go over the last minute logistics. While I was a coach last time for our team, it was extremely easy to just be a participant this year. There has not been as much work which has led me to being excited for the race instead of stressed out.

Training and Running Lately

Before our meeting on Friday night, I headed out for an easy run just to move a little on my rest day. I did two miles a little slower than my race pace and my pace felt very comfortable! It is amazing what training and Orangetheory have done for my fitness in the past 6 months. For the race I am the first runner so my legs are: 2.30 miles (easy), 4.00 miles (easy) and 7.90 miles (very hard). I am so pumped for the first two legs because a flat road will allow me to really test my race pace. The last leg is going to really challenge me as a runner but I am excited for the challenge! My pace has increased, my legs have felt great and my recovery time has been faster.

Ragnar Relay So Cal Recap Part 3

Ragnar Checklist

These are the things I learned from my last race that are vital to have over the long weekend with no showers, lots of running and various weather. Our team agreed this year it would be best to individually handle our own food and drink for the weekend which means chocolate milk all weekend for me! :) Besides food and drink, these are the things each runner must have on them for Ragnar:

  • 3 sets of running clothes (1 for each leg)
  • 3 large ziplock bags for each outfit (great for storing those smelly clothes after)
  • Running shoes
  • Compression socks for your recovery
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Change of clothes for in between legs
  • Jacket for night (especially at the beach)
  • Baby / Body wipes
  • Sunblock
  • Car phone charger (be sure to check what your car uses for chargers)
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Personal toiletries- medicine, glasses, etc.
  • Extra toilet paper and towels
  • Deodorant (this is a must for obvious reasons)
  • Run gear: Earbuds, water bottle, watch tracker, etc.
  • Cash/ Credit Card/ DL
  • Pillow and/or blanket
  • First aid (bandaids, antibiotic cream, ice pack, etc.)

Good luck to all who are participating in Ragnar this weekend!!

I am an OC Ambassador.. again

Over the weekend, the husband and I ran a local 5K race. The race was rough. It was hot and it was significantly uphill but the post race high kicked in immediately after. It has been 5 months since I ran a race (the OC Half marathon) but this was the perfect start to my upcoming races. I have been doing consistent running at Orangetheory which made the sprint to the finish line yesterday feel just like an all out pace. Outside of Orangetheory I have been running at the gym and am excited that it is finally cooling down at night for some outdoor runs. In terms of races, I have a lot of exciting stuff to look forward to.

OC Marathon 2017

I am so thrilled and honored to be a part of the OC Ambassador team again for 2017. I don’t know yet if this will be the year I will do the full marathon but the half is a likely race. This will be my third year completing my favorite half marathon to date. This year they are adding the “OC Combo Crush” which is a challenge to complete the 5K on Saturday and the full or half marathon on Sunday. This lover of medals would love three medals for two races!! Be sure to sign up online and chose ‘Samantha Bruce’ under ambassadors.

OC Marathon Ambassador 2017

Run Revel Canyon City

Our next big race on the books is Run Revel in November. This is my first Run Revel and I am thrilled to be running with the husband. I have been ensuring that my training involves a significant amount of stretching my calves and KT Tape to prevent shin splints. Especially being that the race is downhill, I want to ensure my shins are kept in the best shape I can to prevent injury.

Ragnar So Cal 2017

Our So Cal Team from 2015 is getting back together. We entered in the lotto where I thought the chances were small that we would be picked but we were lucky to be picked. The team will be re-uniting in April and while I am not looking forward to a lack of shower for the weekend, I am looking forward to redeeming myself from the last race. The beach, spring weather and running 200 miles – it sounds so crazy but so exciting.

Happy Monday!

Ragnar Relay So Cal Recap Part 3

…And here I thought I could recap the race in 2 posts. That just shows how much goes on during Ragnar. Let’s finish it up with the finish line recap!

The last leg of Van #1

Van #1 headed to the start of our last exchange with Van #2 to try and catch some sleep. The two options were to sleep on the golf course near the exchange or in the van. Since the husband and I had only brought blankets, we decided it’d be warmer to stay in the van. While we stayed warm, we did not get much sleep before it was time to get up at 3am. We organized the car, got ready for the next round and set out to say goodbye to runner #1.

Unfortunately after I finished leg 2 and before I started my 3rd leg, things went downhill. I have never had problems with being dehydrated in any sports or races. Most often people think of 100 degree weather if dehydration is involved. We had cool weather both days but regardless I did not drink or eat enough to support the activities I was doing. The Ragnar medics that helped were so sweet. Although they couldn’t do much on site, they were accommodating, attentive and appreciated. After it was decided by my team I wouldn’t run the last leg, I just focused on drinking water and catching up on my sleep.

Although I was bummed to miss out on my last leg in the beautiful Torrey Pines, it was beneficial for me to recover. After Van #1 finished their last legs, we grabbed pizza and were able to relax before we had to meet Van #2 to cross the finish line together. Our van was lucky because one of our team members lived in San Diego. She generously let us use her shower and couch. Let me tell you, that was the best shower of my life. There is only so much dirt and sweat build up that a person can handle.

Ragnar 2

The finish line at Mission Bay

After filling our bellies and catching a nap, we headed to Mission Bay for the finale of the weekend. The finish line was one huge runner party. The backdrop of the bay with boats and calm water was one of the highlights of the race. The energy of the teams waiting for their last member to finish together was infectious. Since this is a relay, I loved that teams cross together because it is a group effort that is needed to be recognized. All members were needed to get from Huntington to San Diego. After we crossed the finish line together, we took pictures, grab our beers from the beer garden and ate pizza. Each team member received a team medal which really emphasized the team camaraderie. When you put the back of the medals together they had a message that read: “Together we ran 200 miles.”

Ragnar

All in all the finish line at Ragnar was a fun atmosphere to relax, recap and regroup. Everywhere you walked, you heard runners retelling their tales of hills, lack of sleep and blistered feet. The question that was asked most often was “What legs did you run?” I thoroughly enjoyed my first Ragnar experience and understand why people continue to do the races every year. It is such a unique, special race that you have to witness for yourself.

Ragnar 3 Ragnar 4

Thank you to Ragnar Relay, the amazing support and volunteers for a great weekend. It is amazing what goes into these races and how smoothly it flows. Every volunteer we had was kind, helpful and enthusiastic. See you in October for Ragnar Napa Valley!  

For more information about Ragnar, visit https://www.ragnarrelay.com.

Ragnar Relay So Cal Recap Part 2

I know you must have been on the edge of your seat waiting for the next recap of Ragnar. Well in that case, let’s get to it.

Van #1 drove down to Oceanside around 12pm on Friday. Our next set did not start until after 6pm so we knew we would have plenty of time to relax. We grabbed lunch and parked the van in a designated Ragnar parking lot. Over the next few hours, we were able to enjoy time at the beach, tag other team’s vans and relax our legs before our next run.

Tagging is a fun activity where each team leaves a team magnet or marks with window paint the other team’s vans. Especially when you are parked in large parking lots of other team vans, it can be fun to walk around and hit as many vans as possible. Team pride is important during Ragnar. Not only do you decorate your own team vans, often have team shirts made, many including our team dress up in costume. Our team name was “Team TBD- Totally Brain Dead” with a zombie theme; our tagline was “will run for brains.”  It only seemed fitting as we knew we would be zombies after little sleep, no showers and lots of running.  Many of us created tattered, dirty and bloody zombie shirts as our costume to wear during our race. We decorated our van with zombie warnings, caution tape and “bloody” hand prints. Getting in the “zombie” spirit was definitely easy being a Walking Dead fan who had just watched the finale.

  VanVan2

As we started to approach our next start time we started to organize our van in preparation of getting our next set of running clothes together. Since my next leg would fall after 9pm, I knew I wanted to wear my zombie outfit in the second leg since it was at night. Wouldn’t you want to be running in pitch dark and see a zombie chasing behind you? I dressed in my zombie shirt, skull bandana and safety gear. No zombie look would be complete without lots of dirt and grime on my face.

Zombie                 Zombie2

My last leg #18, was 3.0 miles with an easy rating. Within the first half mile, the incline kicked in but the cooler weather was definitely appreciated. Since some of the portions of the race were poorly lit, I was motivated to follow where I could see at least one runner in front of me. At times this kept me faster than my planned pace which I was thrilled about. While I did feel this section warranted a higher rating due to the elevation gain, it was a quick run. As I got closer to the finish line, the crowd got louder and louder. I was thrilled to cross the finish line as the exchange was another fun one to finish since all vans were present. Due to the late hour, we headed out quickly to get to our next exchange to try and catch some sleep before our last run.

Check back Monday for the final recap of Ragnar.

For more information about Ragnar and all locations they host, visit https://www.ragnarrelay.com/

Ragnar Relay So Cal Recap Part 1

Who willingly tries to get 12 people to sign up to participate in 2 day relay race of 200-ish miles? But wait.. There’s more! This race will also start at 5am; run through the middle of the night and take place in a van with sweaty, smelly, sleep deprived runners. Those who sign up for this activity are crazy. Those who decide to be a captain of a team and convince others to join are just plain insane!

Well, I am one of those insane people. Not only did I sign up for my first Ragnar race in So Cal, for some reason I thought being a team captain for my first relay would be a great idea. Most often I have these so-called brilliant plans then a few days, weeks or months later I find myself asking “Who’s crazy idea was this?” Oh yes that crazy idea was mine.

It has been a week since Ragnar So Cal has come and gone. I didn’t want to recap the race right after I ran it because I would have told everyone run for the hills (just make sure they are downhill because running uphill is brutal). Unfortunately, during the race I experienced my first case of dehydration which prevented me from doing my last leg. However, here we are, a week after the race and I have been asked would I do it again? The answer was “Sure, add me to your Ragnar Napa Valley team.”  The majority of our Ragnar So Cal team has decided to form a Ragnar Napa Valley team for October. That alone should show that all of the first timers from our team would do it again.

What is it that makes people want to do it all over again? I think the experience is just too unique to pass up! I believe Ragnar promotes a strong camaraderie among all types of runners despite age, athletic ability and sex. The team aspect allows newbie runners to race with more experienced athletes. Competing as a team allows you to be a part of a race where you get constant support from start to finish. Runners feed off the energy of cheering on their own team. With each leg you know that you are running to a team member to pass off that slap bracelet for them to keep the relay going.

Ragnar1

A little more details before I jump in my first leg recap: 12 team members, 2 vans, 184.2 miles to be exact starting in Huntington Beach, finishing in San Diego. Each team member runs 3 times in a consecutive order. Each leg they have ranges in distance from 3-12 miles at varying difficulties.  Races start on Friday between 5am to 11am depending on the average team pace. Racers will finish anytime on Saturday between 10am and 8pm.

My first leg was #6 for 6.7 miles starting in Tustin listed as a hard rating. The first mile in, my legs were feeling fresh as I started to feel a slight incline kick in. By mile 2 that incline fully kicked and steadily climbed through each and every mile. The first 2 miles were a mix of trail and residential running.  Past 2 miles, the elevation gain made my legs feel heavier with each step.  I felt a push to keep going every time we hit a stop light and a group of runners would gather, jumping around, waiting for the light to turn green. The last mile was brutal. My legs started to feel heavy and I thought about walking when vans started driving by on the street, honking and cheering out the window. That meant the finish was close and I was almost there! I think the worst part of leg 1 was the difference in Ragnar’s distance from my Garmin. When my Garmin read 6.2 miles I told myself you can push it another .5 miles. Then as I turned the corner I saw Ragnar’s sign stating I only had one more mile!! Talk about crushing when I saw that last portion was another hill to conquer. But this was the worst of my legs and I had already done almost 6 miles. What was one more mile at this point?

Ragnar2

After I handed off the slap bracelet to runner #7 I sat back, caught my breath, thankful that I just finished my hardest leg. Now was the time to eat lunch and enjoy the break Van #1 had before our second round.

Stayed tuned for Ragnar So Cal Recap Part 2…