Friday, August 22, 2014

Upcoming Goal

Summer is screaming to a close and I think the only thing I am feeling excited about is that I will have more time to train when the girls are back in school. Since I am feeling relatively good and I want to keep running with it (pun intended) I set a big goal for myself.

Drumroll please . . . . 

Ladies and gents, I am training to run the Point Defiance 30K in October. It's also on my birthday, so in addition to being a big goal race, it's also a birthday present to myself (and my family's gift to me as they hang out all day waiting for me to run around through the mud and trees!).

30K is no joke. It's 18.6 miles (and from what I read on Lindsay's race recap, it might actually be even farther than that!). That is really, really far. Those of you following along at home might know that I haven't ever been able to run farther than 14 miles in training without injuring myself, so that's definitely weighing on me. Luckily the race also has a 15K option if I just physically cannot do the 30K.

This weekend I will do a 10 mile train run. I keep thinking this is my longest trail run ever, but a couple of years ago or so I ran four loops of the Discovery Park trail, which totals just over 10 miles. Not sure yet exactly where I am running this weekend, but I suspect the options are both a little more tough than Discovery Park. Bring on the challenge, though!

I checked in with my chiropractor this morning and she did a little work on my feet and calves. My plantar fascia is getting a teeny bit annoyed on my right foot, which my chiro says is likely connected to my calf needing some love. She gave it some of that hurts-so-good kind of love in the office and sent me out with strict orders to keep loving on it at home. She also reminded me I have got to start doing my strength exercises again. When I left her office I made a mental note that those exercises are as important as my running in getting me to the starting line (and finishing line!) of the 30K and I need to take it very seriously. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: August 11-17

Not a terrible week, but it was chock full of runs where I didn't feel 100%, I don't know why, exactly, which is frustrating! Also a little annoyed that I didn't manage to run one more freaking mile during the week to equal my weekend mileage, but I didn't lose sleep over it. Life happens. Didn't get any strength in (again! UGH!) but I am trying to get back in to a routine of my PT exercises most days. I don't know what is wrong with me. My strength and PT exercises are what made me able to run again, why in the world do I have a mental block about keeping them up now?!

Total Miles: 17

Monday: Rest

It was freakin' hot and I was freakin' tired from the weekend.

Tuesday: 2.5 Mile Run

Holy cow, this was way harder than it should have been. I was going to go 3 miles, but couldn't even do that much.

Wednesday: 1600 Yard Swim

I decided to try again to count laps, because instead of swimming for time, I wanted to go a full mile (1600 yards is pretty close). Turns out I actually enjoyed counting laps, with every stroke I literally said the lap I was on in my head. It blocked out all of the "noise" in my head and it made for a really peaceful swim! 

Thursday: 5.5 Mile Run

Hit up my favorite trail, the Discovery Park Loop Trail, and did a couple of loops. The first one I ran way too fast so that by the time I did the second one I was walking a bit about ever .3 miles. Ah, well. It was a wonderful run anyways. One other positive about the trail is that it is fairly well traveled, a big loop and not too technical, so I felt safe running it by myself. 

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Yoga

Yoga on the beach! Was so glad the rain and gloom from the previous few days was gone so it was a sunny morning for yoga. 

Sunday: 9 Mile Run

I met Sally for my longest run sine April 13th (when we did 14 miles). I felt sort of sluggish at the start, like I was running with extra weight.  Sally plotted a fantastic route that took us from Gasworks park, across University Bridge, over to the Arboretum, then down through Madison Park, up through Capitol Hill, back across the bridge and finished at Gasworks. We climbed a monster hill in the middle (I love those hills!) and finished at a minute per mile faster than we started. Luckily I loosened up and felt great by the end. Sally did a few miles before and after meeting me, as well. Damn. I can't wait for the day when we can run our entire long run together! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Not Looking Forward to Back to School

How is it that summer basically feels over? I am refusing to buy school supplies, don't even want to think about back-to-school clothes shopping, and mostly, well, I just don't want to send my kids back to school. 

The other day we received letters from school explaining some new changes for the school year, one of which was that the start/end times changed and 15 minutes was added on to the school day. This probably doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but over the course of a school year that adds on a few more days of school. And I think that royally sucks. 

We will spend our last couple of weeks of summer enjoying our free time, though. The bucket list of summer activities is no where near completed (but we've been working on it!) so it will be fun to go on a few more fun adventures. 

It's been a wonderful summer so far, which is a relief. Summer break can be tricky for me, because as a stay at home mom, I am used to having a lot of time to do family management stuff and also get in my workouts and appointments and person things without using up time I would otherwise spend with the family (or sleeping!) The girls have such different personalities, summer break can be tricky for them, too. Eloise wants to go-go-go. Iris needs time to chill out. I fall somewhere in the middle of their spectrum. Fortunately they have agreed on some kind of truce for the summer, not engaging in knock-down, drag-out battles as often as they were doing the school year (hallelujah!). I am so very much enjoying having kids at home that are, well, a true pleasure to be around, because they aren't constantly fighting. 

So what have we been up to? I have been posting a good amount of photos on instagram, but we've been to the pool more than once, taken an afternoon trip to Vashon Island (I keep meaning to do a blog post about that!), gone to visit Grandma and Grandpa, done a few amazing summer camps, gone for an overnight with besties to Great Wolf Lodge, had play dates, explored the woods, had lots of dinners outside, jumped on the trampoline . . . and many other wonderful things. 

Four happy girls finishing a ride on the Howlin' Tornado at Great Wolf Lodge. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: August 4 to August 10

My new thing is I am planning on ramping up my long runs until I am able to run another half marathon. I don't actually have a half in mind, will just keep doing long runs until I am ready, then I will find a half to run. It feels much less stressful that specifically training for a half. Since I just love long runs, I am happy to keep doing them even without a goal in mind! My other plan is to make sure I run at least as many miles during the week as I plan to run on the weekend. So, if I run 8 miles on Saturday, I have to total at least 8 miles Mon-Fri. The aim is to keep my long runs to 50% or less of my weekly mileage.

Total Miles Run: 16.9

Monday: 5 Mile Run

It has been a while since I did an early morning run that was this far and it felt really good! Odd story: for the first about 2 miles before my turn-around I was following a girl who was about 1/2 block ahead. She was dressed in long sleeves and pants and did not appear to be wearing running shoes. Her long hair was down and she had on a decent sized back pack. She was just running. I kept thinking she was running to catch a bus, or a taxi, or something, but nope. When I turned around she was still heading straight. She was easily running 9 min/miles! I was so curious, what was she doing running that far and that fast?! 

Tuesday: Strength

I didn't want to do a full-on, kick my booty strength session, so I did one round of something I read about on called 12 Exercises to Build Your Running Body. I set an interval timer for one minute of work and 30 seconds of rest and it was a hard, short workout! Definitely recommend these exercises for other runners. Extending the workout in to two rounds would be very challenging, as would taking less rest breaks! 

Wednesday: 3.9 Mile Run and Strength

So I have been hearing about this idea of keeping the hard days hard by doing harder runs AND strength all on one day. Started the morning with a two 1/2 mile hill repeats and some more mileage to warm up and cool down. The run felt awesome! And don't ask why I didn't go to 4 miles. I have no idea . . . .

When I got home I did two sets of:

*extension/flexion with a dumbbell
*bicycle crunches
*forearm plank with leg abduction
*jacknife crunch
*prisoner squats (or lateral lunges in the 2nd set)
*donkey kicks
*goblet squats with a dumbbell (or lunges in the 2nd set)

Thursday: 40 Minute Swim

I decided to definitely not count laps at the pool for a while. I struggle so much in so many ways while swimming and counting my laps will mean that I will start comparing the workouts to each other and get competitive with myself . . . and I don't need to do that right now. Swimming is for recovery and cross-training and fun! 

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 8 Mile Run

I met Sally, Alma, and Alma's friend Andy for a fantastic eight mile run around West Seattle. We started in Lincoln Park then went north on Beach Drive before heading up Jacobsen hill. If you're a runner in West Seattle, you know that hill. The exciting part was we stopped to see the goats that live on that hill! They were so cute and a highlight of the run. After the goats we kept going up, up, up and then looped back towards Lincoln Park. The miles flew by, I felt great the whole time, almost like the running was an afterthought to hanging out. Alma and Sally are training for the New York City Marathon, so I hope to tag along on a few miles of their long runs. 

Sunday: Rest

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Grand Ridge 5 Mile Trail Race Re-cap

Elevation profile for the Grand Ridge 5 Miler.

Before I go in to my re-cap, I just have to start with this picture, because HOLY CRAP. That was a lot of climbing, and an insane amount of work. My Garmin showed an elevation gain of 979 feet, where the Evergreen Trail Runs site said it was 750 feet. Who to believe? At any rate, it was a lot of climbing.

Heading in to this race I was extremely nervous. Not having run very many trails I was not only new to trail racing, I am still new to trail running. 

Luckily everything went quite smoothly and I ended up being prepared enough for the race. The website didn't make it clear if we would have any aid stations so I brought a small hand-held water bottle, as well as a gu. It was a good choice, they didn't end up having aid stations for the 5 milers. 

It was a pretty small group for the 5 mile race, about 100 of us, much smaller than what I am used to seeing at road races. We had a pre-race talk (mostly they just told us about the sponsors and the other races that Evergreen Trail Runs puts on and then how not to get lost on the trail) and then a simple countdown and we were off! The first half mile or so was on a wide road, I felt like everyone took off in front of me, but I tried to calm my breathing (and my heart rate!) and keep a slow pace. After about half of a mile we started up the first huge climb. It was nice to see everyone walking on the uphills-- I had heard trail racers do this, but still was worried I would be the only one! 

The first 3.5 miles were a lot of work. Hard work. I could barely catch my breath, even on the relatively few flats or downhills. It took everything I had to run a few steps whenever I could. It was so humid, as well, the air felt thick and heavy. There were moments were that race felt like a very bad idea, because I just might keel over and die. I caught up to my friend Kerrie on the only open part of the course about half way through and jumped in to her selfie:

Kerrie and I, mid-race selfie. Thanks Kerrie for the picture! 

Before the race, in the back of my mind, I thought finishing in a hour would be pretty good, I would be happy with that. As we climbed and climbed and I saw how slow I was going I thought I was so far off with that goal and would be lucky to finish at even 1:15. Shortly after I began feeling defeated about my pace (but certainly not my effort!) the course wound past a volunteer who told me "it's all downhill from here!" and he was right! I started to fly. Well, what felt like flying to scaredy cat ol' me. It was an insane amount of fun to bomb down that last huge downhill, but I was DONE by the time we hit the flat part and had to run that half of a mile back to the finish. I walked TWICE in that half mile, looking at my watch, willing myself to run again so I could finish in an hour.

Course map for the 5 miler. It was a "lollipop"

And I managed to do it: my Garmin read 1:00:37! Good enough for 7th out of 26 in my AG. The inner competitor in me is happy with that, for sure. 

That long downhill to the finish solidified my love for trail runs. It was pure bliss. I can't wait to do it again! 

Happy Hokas with my race bib. 

On a side note: my new shoes were . . . okay. I didn't even notice them at all until that huge downhill portion at the very end. Then I felt my second to pinkie toe on the left foot starting to hurt. I ended up with a blood blister on the end of my toe, and not sure if that means my shoes weren't good for me, or what. Apparently it might have been more user error, as well. Will do a few more runs and see what happens.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: July 28-August 3

I liked this week of workouts. I had two rest days, a race, a double workout day, a hard strength day. A lot of fun and a lot of variety-- works for me!

Total Miles Run: 13.8

Monday: Strength Training

I met up with my trainer for a workout, knowing I was in for a world of hurt. And I was right. Man, it is so much harder to get back in to strength training after a break than to just stick with it! We did things like pike push-ups, hopping up on to a ledge, side lunges, regular lunges, squats . . . my legs were absolutely shaking!

Tuesday: Rest

Holy cow I was sore from Monday. Like really, really sore. In a way I hadn't been in a very long time! So that was fun and also annoying. 

Wednesday: 4 Mile Run

Tested out my new shoes! Great run, though it was surprisingly hot even at 7:00 am. AND my legs were STILL SORE. I am getting old. 

Thursday: A.M. 1250 yd swim P.M. 4.7 Mile Run

Seemed like a good day for a double workout. Short-ish swim, 35 minutes to do 25 laps. I counted them so I could use it as sort of a benchmark to see if I get any faster. Of course, fiddling with my goggles, drinking water, adjusting my swim cap, once I weed all of my distractions out I might immediately become faster, haha.

My friend Ray met me for an evening run in Lincoln Park. I love running there, but it can get a little boring because you have to re-run trails to get decent mileage in. Running with him made me really push myself so that was extra awesome. 

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 5.1 Mile Run

Grand Ridge Trail Race! Re-cap coming soon. Preview: it was HARD. 

Sunday: Rest

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Preparing for My Next Big Thing

Some of my Ragnar team mates and I have been kicking around the idea of signing up for another Ragnar relay. We haven't bitten the bullet yet (ie, no money has been thrown down) but there are high levels of seriousness. For reals. I mean, for realz. It will be a Big Thing. 

So I've been preparing myself for this Big Thing by shifting more of my focus on trail running. This meant an hour long trail run with my team mates last weekend in St. Edwards park, which was So. Much. Fun. I forgot how much I loved running trails with friends, it had been a while! I am still not comfortable enough to run trails on my own, so I just hope that my team mates want to keep getting together! 

Not the best photo of us, but here we are mid-trail run. 

Step two is I just had to go get new trail running shoes. Okay, in all honesty, the trails I am running/will be running for the foreseeable future likely won't be so technical I couldn't run them in my road shoes, but having new shoes helps me feel legit, and is also really, really fun. I went to The Balanced Athlete in Renton and tried on a bunch of different shoes before deciding on the Hoka One One Huakas. In my opinion they look like Hoka-lights. The have the built up sole, but not as huge as the other I have seen. I think these have a stack height of 25mm in the forefoot and 27mm at the heel, so they give me more cushioning than my beloved Sauconys while still maintaining a low heel to toe drop, which I like. 

I ran in them on Wednesday and I loved how they felt, so I am excited to take them to the trails! 

Still can't decide if these are cool looking or ugly. 

Step three is to run my first trail race, so this weekend I am doing the Grand Ridge 5 mile trail race. I sent a message to my team mates asking if they were interested in doing this one with me, and Ray sent a text back saying he just registered! Well, I had to register, then, no backing out if Ray was committed. I won't lie, I am a little nervous. Trail racing is very different from road racing-- for one, there is a teeny little trail, not a huge open road. I am not entirely sure on the passing/be passed etiquette, so hopefully I figure it out quickly. I also don't know if I should carry water with me. Stupid, huh? These are the things I worry about. 

And this has nothing to do with any of this, other than it also makes me really happy. I had a coffee mug made of our Ragnar team's logo!

Coffee tastes extra yummy in my new mug. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: July 21-27

There was a theme for this week, and it was: EXHAUSTED. Ragnar didn't injure me (thank God!) but it did completely wear me out. My friend pointed out that she was tired, too, and she thought the culprit might be losing that whole night of sleep. I think she's on to something. I also felt vaguely sore most of the week, like very low-grade DOMS. Anyways, I didn't have much in mind for workouts this week, and I certainly didn't deliver anything too exciting. I mostly focused on skipping a lot of workouts, but looking back, I see that I did four, which perfectly meets my summer goal. None of them were strength, however, and that sucks. I also didn't do a single moment of my PT exercises, and that really, really sucks. Need to get back in to that so I don't re-injure myself!

On that front, zero foot pain this week. Is it crazy of me to think maybe it's actually really gone now?

Total Miles Run:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 3 Mile Run

It took a lot to get me out the door for this. I felt okay while running, but was tired.

Wednesday: Rest 

I had hopes of doing some strength or something, but NOPE.

Thursday: 40 Minute Swim and 1.2 Mile Hike

Still tired. I probably would have skipped this if I had to go at my usual time (like 7:00 am). Instead I had the luxury of going after a more normal wake-up time. I felt slow swimming, but more than likely that was due to being in the lane next to a crazy fast swimmer, haha.

In the afternoon the girls and I went for a short hike on Vashon Island. It was pretty short, 0.6 miles each way, but there was a 400 foot elevation gain on the way back up, so that was kind of tough! 

Hiking down to the water.

Friday: Rest

I set my alarm to get up to be out the door by 7:00 for a run. Instead I was wide awake at 5:00 and instead of getting up and just running early I laid in bed until the time my alarm was supposed to go off . . . then I promptly fell back asleep. Run missed. And . . . I didn't really care all that much.

Saturday: Yoga

I was looking forward to this, as it was my favorite yoga on the beach class. Also, I got one of my friends/Ragnar teammates to join me, so it was double awesome. My body needed some yoga!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Team Everything is Awesome Rocks Ragnar NWP: Post Two

. . . . and after some medicine and food, everyone was ready to roll by the time we had to run our third legs. A good reminder that anything can happen during a relay. and to not only be ready physically, but mentally, too, so that you can roll with it. You can feel strong and amazing, then horribly awful, then good again. One thing that is sure: my teammates are amazingly strong, supportive and resilient runners. 

Resting at Coupeville high school at exchange 30 was one of my favorite parts of the relay. I feel like Ragnar is stressful in the way you are go-go-go while you are on, then "ohmygod, must sleep!" when you're not. So I appreciated getting down time with my teammates. We freshened up, sat around, and talked. Ray and Tara and I spent the exchange inside the school, the other girls rested in the van for a bit, then Autumn and Erin came and joined us inside. 

Using the wifi to check devices.

Ray, me and Tara. Triplets!

I love this picture. Just hanging out together. 

Erin taking "legs up the wall" to a new level. 

Van 1 and Van 2 waiting for the hand off.

Van 2 heading in to our last legs! 

Erin, ready to go! 

There is a definite mix of "let's just get this over with!" and "oh no, it's almost over!" when you head in to your third legs at Ragnar. Exhaustion has sunk in. Likely you don't feel great. Running again seem almost impossible. But you pull up your big girl panties (or big boy boxers) and you get out there and run your ass off. At least, that's what team Everything is Awesome did! 

Erin left to run just over 6 miles at about noon on Saturday. It was around this time that the van became less than stellar supporters. We missed supporting for Erin on this leg and again for Tracy on her last leg. D'Oh! Luckily my teammates could roll with it, and hopefully they aren't harboring any resentment. Haha.

And why did we miss giving Erin enough support? We were enjoying the view, of course!

Hard to tell, but there was a gorgeous view behind us! 

Erin passed off to Tara, who was rocking the best outfit of our whole team's relay. 

Team logo shirt and sparkle skirt FTW! 

Loved this sign on Tara's leg. 

Tara passing off to Ray.

Some of my teammates started to get very serious during their third legs. They were ready to run hard and had some goals set for themselves. Ray wanted water support on his leg, but wasn't going to stop, so Erin ran along side him and passed him water. Such teamwork! And he hit his goal, which is awesome. My teammates were speedy! 

Erin passing water to Ray during his third leg. 

Ray passed to Autumn, and I see now that somehow we didn't get pictures of any of their exchanges. Not sure how that happened, but it's a bummer. 

Luckily Ragnar got a great shot of Autumn running strong! 

Autumn had almost six miles to run before passing off to me. I was ready to go. My third leg was my shortest one and though I know I didn't have the speed some of my teammates had, I was going to give it everything I had. This worked out great until a side stitch hit about half a mile before the end of the leg. I walked almost the whole last but and was completely annoyed.

Feeling bummed, passing to Tracy. 

Look how cute Tracy's socks were!

My teammates handed me some water at the exchange and said "want to go get a beer?" Um, sure?! We walked from exchange 35 over to the Taproom at Bayview Corner. My teammates assured me the beer came in "cute glasses", which ended up being true. I ordered a small glass of hard cider, but everyone else got something more normal sized.
Beer is yum.

Our last van selfie. 

The stop at the Taproom was fun, and I remember laughing until I was crying, though I can't quite recall what it was we were talking about. Everything probably seems hilarious at the end of a Ragnar! We left the Taproom to go support Tracy, and then figured out that we missed where we were supposed to meet her, at the top of a big hill. Teammate fail. Hopefully we made up for it by forming a kickass arch for her to run under at the finish line! 

Bringing Tracy in! 

There is nothing like a Ragnar finish line. As all of the other teams did, we ran across as a team. I wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time. It was over! and also, it was over :( 

Van 2 with our medals. 

The whole team with our medals. 

I signed the huge poster for our team. 

We ate pizza. Remind me to tell you the story of how Ray got his beer . . .

Our medal! I think I like it more than last year's. 

Our official finisher's photo. 

This is the word cloud on the back of our t-shirts. 
We all contributed the words, and they are, of course, things we think are awesome! 

Once we crossed the finish line we said goodbye to van 1, ate pizza and drank beer and got in the two hour ferry line. And just like, the adventure was over.

You guys. Ragnar was awesome. My whole team was awesome. My van was awesome. Everything was awesome! In fact, we loved it so much, there are now plans in the works for other Ragnar relays in 2015, so stay tuned for more info on that! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Team Everything is Awesome Rocks Ragnar NWP: Post One

In December 2013 I had the idea of putting together a Ragnar Northwest Passage team for the coming July. Finding teammates was initially a stressful endeavor-- many of the friends I asked were interested, but unavailable. Finally, as the race was selling out, I took a leap of faith and bought a team with only three friends committed. Then an amazing thing happened: the friends I found brought in other friends, and their friends brought in friends and finally the team was full.

On a side note, we didn't lose a single team member along the way, our original 12 were our final 12! 

After lots and lots of discussion, Tara's kids suggested the team name Everything is Awesome (after the song from the Lego movie) and we all loved it. The team ran with a Lego theme, decorating the van with minifig drawings of ourselves and Lego magnets as well as making matching t-shirts with the Ragnar logo made out of Lego!

Everything is Awesome Van 2.

The Teammates in Van Two

Erin, Runner 7

Tara, Runner 8

Ray, Runner 9

Autumn, Runner 10

Me, Runner 11

 Tracy, Runner 12

Being van 2 meant that we didn't start running until Friday mid-afternoon.. It was nice to be able to get a full night's sleep Thursday night, pick up the van Friday morning, and pack things up at a leisurely pace. Tara spent the night at my house so we picked up Ray mid-morning before driving to a park and ride where we met up with Tracy, Erin and Autumn. There we filled the van with food and gear and decorated the windows before heading north to Bellingham! When I picked up the van from the rental place it had 64 miles on it and was in pristine condition. Let's just say it wasn't looking so beautiful when it was returned on Sunday! (One tip: if you are van 2, pick your van up on Friday morning and return it on Sunday morning, saves a lot of $$ over a Thursday-Sunday rental!)

Ray and Tracy's window.

Once we arrived in Bellingham, we checked in, hit up the Ragnar tent to buy gear, relaxed, tagged vans with our magnets, and ate while we waited for Van 1, who had started running at 8:45 am, to arrive. Such a different experience from starting the race in the early morning in Blaine!

Exchange 6.

The back door of our van with our team logo, van sticker, Lego magnets 
and the magnet we tagged other vans with! 

The one major bummer about Ragnar is that even though you are a team of 12, you really end up being a team of 6. We didn't get to spend that much time with Van 1 and the hand-offs at each major exchange were a quick hi and bye because we always had to take off so quickly after the hand off! 

Darren, Runner 6, handing off to Erin, Runner 7. 

The team at exchange 6, minus Erin who was out running!

Once Darren came through the exchange he handed off to Erin and she was off and running! Our Ragnar relay had begun! A big chunk of her first leg didn't follow the route the van drove so we didn't get to cheer her on. Instead we waited for her at the exchange. We took that opportunity to put on our Ragnar tattoos! 

My calf, freshly tattooed.

After Erin came in, she handed off to Tara. Tara took off on her first leg, ready to tackle what she affectionately called "Mt. Doom" as it was a HUGE hill! She rocked it, of course,

Tara passing off to Ray.

After Ray's turn to run it was Autumn's, then mine. 


I went in to my first run not knowing what to expect. How would my foot hold up? Would I feel okay running at about 6:00 pm? What was this leg like? I knew how far I would have to run (6.8 miles) but didn't look at the leg map other than to check if there were any monster hills. No monster hills. Barely any hills at all! I kept getting passed by other runners (or "killed" if you want to be so morbid) which annoyed me. I reminded myself it was my own run, to do my thing and take it easy. I had a lot of miles left to run at Ragnar! My leg was a very boring slog that mostly had me hugging the shoulder of two lane highways. For a while I followed a girl with a plastic butt attached to the outside of her shorts and that completely cracked me up and entertained me for the couple of miles. 

After my run I passed off to Tracy who had 4.1 miles to knock out before we took our first break. 

Passing off to Tracy at exchange 11.

We met Tracy at Burlington High School, exchange 12, which was also where we got to chat with Van 1, briefly, again. Tracy passed off to runner 1, Darlene, and we left to get some gas, food and rest at exchange 18, LaConner High School.

Van 2 didn't have an exact plan for meals, we mostly just had a lot of stuff to snack on, like pretzel chips, potato chips, yogurt, string cheese, bagels, pb&j, trail mix, and a few other things. For me this worked out well as I did up not have a single tummy issue the entire race. I did, however, really miss going out for meals with my teammates, which is something my van did last year. Of course, last year I felt very sick on my second run and I assumed it was due to my huge lunch that day! Next year we will hopefully build one meal out in to our plan.

Once we got to La Conner Tracy, Autumn and Erin elected to stay in the van while Tara, Ray and I headed inside to rest. The three of us laid out our sleeping bags in the gym, took a shower and met in the cafeteria for food. Tara and Ray took advantage of the spaghetti dinner, they both claimed it hit the spot! I had already eaten a ton of snacks in the van and avoided eating again for fear of feeling too stuffed and sick. The three of us laid down around 10:00 pm with our alarms set for 1:00 am. Sleeping on a gym floor, packed in with strangers (it got much more crowded after I took the photo below), is difficult enough under the best circumstances, but it was really tough that night. A curtain separated the cafeteria from where people were sleeping and the cafeteria was SO loud. People were laughing and yelling and having a good time. Which was great, if you weren't trying to sleep within ear shot of them. My earplugs helped a little and I got a teeny bit of restless sleep, getting up just before the 1:00 am alarm went off. 

Sleeping on a gym floor is awesome! Or not. 

When we got to the van the girls who tried to sleep in there reported it was pretty loud and they didn't get much rest, either. Not surprisingly, many of us didn't exactly feel 100% at 1:00 am, but we rallied, and Erin, our first runner, was ready to run her very long middle of the night leg.

We supported Erin as much as we could and then sent Tara out on her second leg. We didn't get to see Tara much on this leg, as she got to run across a bridge across Fidalgo Bay at the end of it. Tara passed off to Ray who had a short run through Anacortes, then it was time for Autumn to go. 

Ray all decked out for the night!

After Autumn it was my turn again. Leg 23 was here, which was the leg I had been thinking about for months-- it was the one that would take me across Deception Pass! I was initially bummed when our start time was announced and I discovered that I wouldn't get to cross Deception Pass during the night. It turned out that running across it just after sunrise was about as perfect as it gets.

Check this out:

The view was incredible, obviously. I have driven across this bridge maybe twice in my life and knew it was very high, and it made me dizzy just thinking about it. I was equally excited and terrified before running across it, but it ended up being really, really cool and not at all scary. I had my phone in my hand in the above picture because I had stopped at the start of the bridge to take a selfie:

Me taking a leisurely water/gu break before hitting the bridge. 

The rain started (or rather, started again. It rained on Friday night, too) around the time I was leaving the Deception Pass bridge. It was kind of nice at first, but then the road opened up in to an unprotected hill and the wind hit me in the face. Suddenly my amazing run turned in to a death march for the last mile. Up the hill, in to the wind and rain. I felt bad for Tracy, she had to run her whole leg in that weather!

Here I am telling Tracy, "yeah, good luck with that!" or something else equally supportive.

You know what is hard? Changing out of drenched, stinky running gear in the back seat of a van. 

The rain washed off our decorations! We had to re-decorate later after the rain stopped.

Tracy passing off to Darlene at exchange 24.

We were definitely ready to pick up Tracy at exchange 24 because that meant it was time for our break. 

Unfortunately, at this point some of us were not feeling so hot . . . were we able to turn it around??? Hmmm, check back later this week to find out in part two of my re-cap . . .