Packing Tips for Race Traveling #FitnessHacks #FABHacks

In my early years of racing, I traveled A LOT.  It seemed like I was on the road or in the air at least once a month.  I learned many tips on the way, and the key elements to ensure you have all you need on race day.

Even though I do not travel as much as I use to and when I do, I still follow the same guidelines.


TOP TIPS: – everything you need on race day should be in your carry on or in a bag that you have on your possession, if you are in a car.  That includes everything.  Shirt, shorts, bra, shoes, socks, FUELING (more on that later), salt tablets, watch and whatever else you need on race day.

I put my race day items in a plastic bag (or two) and put in the bottom of the bag. Why?  I can place the travel teams I need for the trip on top and not have to worry to disturb my race day items.  How many times have things fallen out of your bag?  Yeah, me too.

I do not put the bag in my car trunk, either. It is my carry all for my travels and it assures me I have my gear in my sight, at all time.  God forbid, someone should break into my car trunk and steal my bag.

FUELING:  Do not expect or anticipate you can purchase your fueling at an expo or nearby sports store.  I have heard over and over, runners panic because their brand or flavor is not available.  Bring your own fueling.  If you are flying, you should have no issues with them passing through TSA.  I have never been questioned or had any issues.

Here is a picture of what my racing gear looked like for my carry on. (Note:  this is from my last race trip in October – I no longer wear these shoes).

Race Bag

I pack my clothes in a plastic bag – so, they are easily separated and of course, clean.

Happy Traveling!

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
*Team Super Hero Master’s Elite 2013-15
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RACE RECAP: Disneyland Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon | Part 2 and LOTS of wind!

In case you missed my Part 1, CLICK HERE

After an exciting day at Disneyland park, celebrating an (early) birthday, I was ready to give the Half Marathon shot.  I felt very rested (thank you foam roller) and I felt I could have a strong performance at the Half.

Bro, mom and I left the hotel around 3:45am as Bro had a special meet-up (details, coming soon).

It was chilly and I absolutely needed a jacket. I was wearing my Team Super Hero singlet, shorts and arm warmers.  I put my hair in pigtails and wore a sparkly head band (for my mom), instead of a visor. This move, would prove to be the smartest thing I could of done for my race.

We made our way to the corrals and my brother was escorted to behind the announcer platform.  During a special Veterans moment, he was representing the Air Force, with Captain America (character).  I was giddy at that thought of him being up on the stage.

Disney had representatives from Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Army and Navy.  I couldn’t be more proud to see him up there.  My bro is the one in the Team Red, White & Blue (red) shirt.

Avengers Half Marathon 2014 20141116_050452

Photo courtesy of Emil Cheng

Afterwards, he made his way back to Corral A and we had our traditional pre-race selfie. I am cheesing it here,don’t ya think?

Sis and Bro

We started the race at 5:30am and I was anxious to get it done and well, be done. I love Disney races, but I wanted to go home. As you know, I am cutting back on my traveling and I couldn’t be happier.

The course was slightly different vs the Dumbo Double Half.  Different direction throughout the park and then we made our way into different sections of Anaheim.

As I made it to Mile 3, I was at a 8:12 pace and holding it without much effort.  Then…right at the Mile Marker sign there was a huge gust of wind. So much so, that people’s bibs were ripping off their shirts.  One runner ran right into me and I was able to catch him from falling to the ground.

Palm tree leaves were flying everywhere and the DUST!  Ugh!  I put on my sunglasses, even though it was still dark.  I needed to protect my eyes from the dust and debris.  In my mind, I thought “okay – this won’t last long”  I was so wrong.  So, very wrong.

Mile Marker 4 was DOWN.  If you have run Disney, you know how huge those signs and clocks are, it was down.

I don’t remember seeing a Mile Marker for 5 or 6 or 7. They must of all been down, too

Coming into the parking lot of the Crystal Cathedral, I saw aid stations tables down and one was tumbling across the pavement.  Tumbling!  Runners were tossed and pushed aside from the famous Santa Ana winds.  This was bad and I wondered if they were going to Black Flag the event.

We all kept going and I felt like I was running through mud.  Dirt in my mouth, leaves hitting our faces and I began to think about mama being at the Finish and how cold she must be.

Around Mile 6, I knew my race was out the door, as was everyone else’s.  It was a matter of staying upright and trying to stay safe.  I felt I was running at a 13 minute pace, I couldn’t imagine being at a sub2 pace (9min miles).

We made our way to a bike path leading into Anaheim stadium. The wind got worse and worse.  I stumbled a few times, but stayed upright.  Several runners were tossed to the ground.

Along the bike path – there was a long line of Avenger characters.  I would say every character there ever was.  I felt so bad for them and the volunteers braving the elements to help us out.

Making our way into the Stadium, the photographer got this picture of me.  This is a screenshot of – you can see the dust & haze.



Ran through the Stadium and coming out on the other side, we had a bit of rest from the wind, I decided to surge to possibly gain some time, so I can finish sooner vs later.  That didn’t last long. Back came the winds and flying Aid Station tables.

I saw the Mile 10 marker ahead. I knew I needed a 1:30 to hit my sub2 and even though I felt I wasn’t on track, I could have an idea of when I could finish.

I passed Mile 10 at 1:27:##

I gasped. There was no possible way I was running an sub2 pace in this wind, there was no way.

I passed Mile 11 and I was still on a sub2 pace.  The winds were still just as strong and I was more determined to finish.

The self talk had to kick in and I remember thinking, “oh come on now…you trained all summer for moments like this.  You trained your legs to run when it hurts”

As we continued, I felt if I could just hold my pace, I could squeak in a sub2.  That would make me really happy in this race.

Finally, into the park and running by Paradise Pier. I knew the Finish Line was just around the corner.

Once again, Rudy Novotny cheered me and always has a knack for making all the racers feel loved and welcomed.

I crossed at 1:54:33.  I have never hurt so much after a Half Marathon. I felt like I had run for 48 hours straight and used every ounce of my energy.  I couldn’t get to mom nor Kirk (the barracades), so I picked up my medal and food and met them at gear check.

Here is my exhaustion picture – I am pointing at mom and Kirk at the Finish Line.


Ladybugs Ball



My legs were thrashed.  From Miles 3-10, it was the more exhausting thing I have ever done.  I really should of slowed it down, but I ran by feel and what I could manage.  My right leg started hurting again (like my old injury) but since I didn’t feel a pop, I think I twisted it from the windy gusts.

I liked the course, I just wish I could of enjoyed it more.  I will certainly be back in years to come. 

We had a chance meeting with Jose, who is an Island Boost Ambassador. Always great to meet new people, as the opportunity arises.


All of us were freezing cold, dirty and tired.  We headed back to the hotel within 30 minutes of my finish.  I couldn’t wait to get into a warm room and out of that wind.

Packed up the car and started the long journey home.  YES!

At some point during the drive home, I decided to see the results.  I knew Kirk did well, as always.  I pulled up my results and let out a scream.  At that moment, I was 3rd in my Age Division which means I placed at a Disney race.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be able to say I placed in my AG, during a Disney race.  I cried, mom cried and Kirk was beaming.  What is more amazing to me, I kept a fairly consistent pace, after the winds kicked in.  Based on my Garmin, I was on a 8:12 pace at Mile 3 and by 3.1 it had already dropped to an 8:42.  That boggles my mind!

My results

I checked Kirk’s results and he won his AG…and the Military Division.  That’s my Bro!

When all was said and done, Mom had a 5k PR, Kirk won two awards and I won my first Disney award.  In addition, we had wonderful family time and made more memories.

I can say, this was one of the best birthday’s, I have ever had.

I want to thank…

  • my husband, my brother and my mother for making sure I came this weekend.  You knew, I needed to be there and you were right.


  • The volunteers, cheering squads, RunDisney staff and everyone who braved those wicked winds to ensure our safety.  I wish I knew every single one of your names so I could tell you THANK YOU, personally.
  • Island Boost.  I was toast at Mile 8 and you brought me back to life.


  • Altra Shoes.  While runners were falling around me, somehow you kept me upright and my legs stable. I swayed and staggered, but never came close to a fall.  I know your shoe design kept my feet planted and my legs strong.

Onward to the remainder of 2014 and resting my still, very painful and sore legs.

Have you raced or run in brutal winds?

How have you trained for windy races?

RACE RECAP: Inaugural Disneyland Avengers Half Marathon Weekend | Part 1

I love Disneyland, that’s not a secret, so when another race opened up for DL, I jumped at the chance.  In addition, it was pretty close to my birthday.  I decided I would go to the race and spend some time the park to celebrate my birthday.  That’s been on my Disneyland Bucket list for many years.

As the days drew closer, I needed to juggle my schedule and even considered not going to the weekend, at all.  No race, no park time.  Yet, my husband and brother figured out a way for me to go to the race weekend and get some park time.  Although, I went down kicking – I am glad they held to their guns and insisted I go.

Bro, Mama and I left on Friday as Mama had her 5k on Saturday morning.  After arriving in our hotel, we got ready for the next day. After her race, I planned to visit the park for about 6 hours.  While it was not what I planned nor a full day, I would take any moment I could be in my favorite place in the world.

We got up at 3am and was out the door by 4am.  It was about a mile walk and mama was excited.  She was not nervous like Dumbo Double 5k, she was at piece and we were confident she would do well.

We walked her to the Corrals and then, Bro and I set ourselves in the bleachers to watch the finishers.  Gun time was at 5:30am, she was in the last Corral.

By the time she started, the wheelchair winner was crossing the Finish Line.  We had a general idea when she started by not, exactly.  Based on our calculations and what the announcers said, she was 12 minutes behind the gun time.

At 56 minutes, the gun time clock stopped.  My heart sunk, my first thought was they have swept the course.

Within seconds, she was at the Finish (found out the clock broke).  Based on that clock time, and her crossing time, she finished in the 44-45 minutes range and that is a gigantic PR for her. Although it was not an official timed 5k, it was still a big deal to her (and to us)





After her race cool down, we head over to get some coffee and warm up.  I was started to get antsy to get into the park.  So, they headed off to their day and I headed over to get my park ticket.  I chatted with a few cast members and did some pin trading, too.  I love trading with cast members.

I was meeting my friend, Jacqueline in the park.  Before I met up with her, I decided to purchase a Chip n Dale hat.  I saw this new edition the last time I was in the park and wanted to buy it for a birthday present, to myself.


My sweet friend, Jacqueline and I

After the hat purchase, I made my way to Small World.  As you know, it is my sentimental favorite ride and I begin every Disney trip to Small World. One exception was in 2013 when we were there during Halloween. The ride is closed to prepare for Halloween.


(please excuse the squinty eyes)

It was so much fun to be in Small World again.  I feel like a kid and I can feel the joy, as I sing along with the ride.

After Small World, Jacqueline & I spent the rest of the day riding rides & pin trading

Button Carousel Goofy ChipnDale Grotto Oswald Pluto Tikki Room

I headed back to the hotel, early enough to get some rest, roll out and stretch. I had a Half Marathon in the morning & I hoped to do fairly well.  Most importantly, fuel up with my typical meals and ensure I am well hydrated.

Next up…Day 2 of Avengers Half Marathon and what it was like to run in tornado winds.




Tips For Your Running Rest Days | #FitnessHacks

We have all been there.  Training is solid and going strong and you wake up one morning with an “UGH!”  You are beat up, worn out and tired.

What to do?  Do you press onward to another training day or take an unscheduled rest day?

I listen to my body.  Typically, my rest days are Tuesday’s.  Which gives my body a full 48 hours of rest before I meet up with my Speed Coach on Wednesday evenings.  I want my legs fully rested during the base building base of my training. When I am in the middle of my training cycle, I will take a rest day after my speed sessions.

1.  It makes my legs push on tired legs

2.  I can rest after a hard speed session


So, back to the topic.  What is rest?  For every runner, you will find a different answer.  I will offer you some insight to consider and see what works best for you and your goals.


To some, resting is doing nothing.  I will disagree on that approach.  Even if you are not running, you should be stretching, rolling and even consider a good shake-out walk.  Keep your legs limber and blood flowing. Remember, rest is a part of training.  Unless you are nursing a nagging ache or pain, you probably don’t want to be laid up on your couch all day.


Nutrition. Do I sound like a broken record yet?  Nutrition and hydration are key to your rest day.  Look at your rest day as a day to recover.  Use this time to hydrate and replenish your nutrition.  Eat more protein sources and keep the carbs lower.  Drink plenty of water.


The past few days, I have felt off.  I came to the realization that I was not drinking enough water. Water is your lifeline to…life.  Coffee, tea and sodas are not hydration, they are drinks. Drink water.


I aim to drink a bottle of water every 2 hours, beginning with the morning.  I drink at 8am, 10am, 12noon, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm.  When I start getting forgetful, I will set daily alarms to remind me.



Cold Weather Running | #FitnessHacks #FABHacks

Hello FAB-O friends and Happy Monday!  Can you believe it’s November?  WOW! 

We have all heard the importance of acclimating for warmer temperatures.  Taking 2-3 weeks to run shorter and easier miles, so your body has a chance to settle into the summer heat.  Sound familiar?

Did you know, you should follow the same philosophy for cooler temps? Did you know that hydration is just as important in the cooler temps as in the warmer temps?

cold weather

You have been running sleeves, shirtless or anything in between for months and months. Now, you are running in long sleeves, hats and gloves.  Give your body enough time to adapt to more clothing and most importantly to the temperatures. Take 2-3 weeks to acclimate to the cooler temps and you are setting yourself up for a great Fall/Winter season.

A sudden onset of cold into your lungs can cause breathing problems.  A sudden snap in cold can make your body muscles react differently.  Acclimate your body to the cooler temps.

1.  Warm up with dynamic stretching before a run.  Get the blood flowing and circulating all through your body.

2.  Deep belly breathing.  Warm up the muscles around your lungs, you will be glad you did.

3.  Brings hydration, but not freezing cold.  Have it room temperature – even warmer.  You need to keep up your hydration in the cooler temps.  Less sweat doesn’t mean less hydration.

4.  Keep up with your clean and healthy eating.  Cooler temps brings on the hot sugary chocolates, candies, cookies and more.  Watch your intake and be sure to have good food in your body, not all junk.

5.  Don’t drink alcohol before a run. While drinking might make you feel warmer, it will cause your heart to pump harder to keep warm.

6.  Eat something warm when coming home.  Soup & warm beverages will help you regulate your body temperature.


Enjoy your cold weather runs and races!


How do you get ready for the cooler temps?  Do you change your training? 


Halloween Candy Alternatives | #FABHacks


It’s here – it’s Candy-Indulging day! (or as we call it, Halloween).  It is my husband’s favorite holiday.  In our home, we lean toward the comical, whimsy side and stay away from the blood and gore.  (thank goodness).

I don’t have a sweet tooth, so I am not overly concerned about having loads of candy in my house, but maybe you want to offer alteratives to the candy?


Here are some quick #FABHacks for your trick-or-treaters (I have handed out each of these ideas and never a complaint from trick-or-treaters)


1.  Buy a few bags of toy plastic toys at the dollar store. Army men, dinosaurs, police, fire, bugs, etc.  Put a few in a plastic bags with a decorate twist tie or ribbon

2.  13 pennies into a plastic bag

3.  Bags of pretzel bites

4.  Cheese ball snacks

5.  Still have candy?  Decided who is the last kiddo to come to your door and give them whatever is left over.  They get the haul!


halloween candy


What to do with your kids Halloween candy? 

1.  Put the stash in a place you have to make extra effort to find.  For example, under a bathroom sink or in the garage.  When you give a piece to your kid, you may have one.  Be an example and show your kid you don’t need a bag full of candy, either.

2.  Keep candy for their school lunches.

3.  Break up hard candies and store in your baking supply for cookies, cakes & bark.

4.  Throw away candy that has no interest to you.  There are always those “I hate these!” items.  Get rid of them.


With extra thought and a little preparation you can have a festive Halloween, without all the indulgence.  Enjoy!


How are you celebrating Halloween this year?

Are you making any changes to reflect your healthy lifestyle?


Icing Your Feet | #FitnessHacks #FABHacks

Before I started running, the thought of putting ice on any part of my body, frightened me.  Now, it’s something I look forward to!

If you are not icing after every run, even if you feel you don’t need to, you are risking injury and additional inflammation.  I have my key spots I always ice:  knees & ankles.  Yet, there are times, I feel my feet need a good icing too.

I posted a picture of me icing my feet and it was met with quite confusion and some people indicated they had never thought about icing the feet.  Don’t forget to take care of your feet!  I wear socks when I am icing my feet, it can be quite painful, if I do not. 

Here are 3 ways you can ice your feet and two of them, you probably already have in your freezer


1.  Traditional ice pack



2.  Bag of vegetables. In this picture, I am using corn, in this picture.  Bag of peas, also works great.  Don’t use lumpy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or carrots.  I have bags of frozen vegetables for this purpose, only. I bought the bags at 99cent store.  Cost?  Yep, 99cents.



3.  Frozen water bottle. This is my favorite way to ice my feet!  Not only is it cooling, but rolling the bottle back and forth is very therapeutic to the bottom of your feet.  Cost:  depending on how much you pay for bottled water, but I can buy 24 bottles for less than $3 at the 99cent store.  So, that is about 5-10cents a bottle.  Use regular tap water.




Do you have a #FitnessHack for icing?  Please post as a comment or email to me at – I might feature your #hack!


A Change & Re-Focus | Looking Forward to 2015

A year ago, at this time I was in the initial stages my healing for my plateau fracture.  14+long weeks later, I was running. During that 14 weeks, I re-discovered what I love about running & racing.  I have achieved 2 Half Marathon PR’s (a PR time I was chasing for 2 years) and traveled to the East Coast to participate in 2 Runner’s World sponsored events.

I trained hard and loooooong during the summer months to test out my legs at Big Cottonwood Marathon in September.  As we all know, my marathon was cut short by 2 catastrophic falls in the last 1/3 of the race.

Since that time, it’s been rough.  I have not lost my desire to run (I am still running 4-6 times a week) but my desire to participate in a race, has stalled.   I love the thrill of the competition and pushing my body to see how far it can go, but the excitement of a race has been missing for awhile.

The reality is, my mind was not ready to jump back into racing so soon, after my falls.  I had rehab for my shoulders, my ribs and my hammies.  I did not enjoy the Long Beach Half Marathon race and I had a bad 5k in PA and that was the last straw for me. I need to regroup.

Goals Concept

Looking ahead into 2015, I looked at my proposed race travel schedule and instead of being excited, I was shaking my head asking, “why?”  My goal to get to Boston in 2016 is my focus but all I saw were races that were cluttering my life, my bank account and my racing focus.

My first step is to regroup – remove races & traveling in my 2015 schedule.  As much as I love specific races, I not be returning to many of them in 2015.   Noticeably absent are Surf City Half Marathon, Los Angeles Marathon, OC Half Marathon, Long Beach Half Marathon and any trail races.

What will stay on my travel schedule?  Hollywood Half Marathon, and Disney Dumbo Double.  I am undecided what marathons I will try for a BQ, I am eyeing one in January and also one in May.  A return to Big Cottonwood is not off the table.

In this period of refocus, I aim to rebuild my racing confidence, which is noticeably missing!  I am doing this,  by continuing to train and using my Super Sleep/Change Your Mind CD’s, while I sleep.  I think the BCW falls affected my mind & confidence more, than I originally realize.

My mind and body is tired of traveling so much.  I miss being away from my husband, kids, my pets & my friends.  My husband and kids have never, ever complained or quivered about my traveling, they have been my biggest supporters.  I have a deep creative side and that is has been sorely lacking in the last few years.  I love to paint, decorate, crochet and more, I have re-discovered my creative side. I am loving it!

I, I KNOW this refocus will help me stay the course for my Boston 2016 & other race goals.  I won’t have constant travel to races hanging over my head.

I am excited to see where 2015 will take me and if I will be able to achieve my BQ goal.  I am up for the challenge, but I need to take care of me, first.  I know my new focus of not traveling so much will energize me and give me a new outlook on my training.  I will have more time (and resources) to focus on strength training and other aspects of my life.  This will provide me the balance, I want and need.

I have enjoyed all my travels in the past few years, the people I have met along the way and the memories that have been created seeing new and exciting places.  Time for me to focus on what is in my soul and travel when my blogging duties require or for a focus race (like Hollywood Half Marathon).

For now…I will be sticking closer to home and I couldn’t be happier.

What are your 2015 race goals? How have you refocused your goals?  Did you add or remove races to your schedule? 

#FitnessHacks #FABHacks | Don’t Lose Your Gloves!

Welcome to Fall!  Are you enjoying the cooler temperatures?  I know, I am.  After a long and very HOT Vegas training time, I welcome the cooler temps.

This morning, I ran with gloves. It’s been awhile since I had to think about running with gloves.  My hands are always freezing and it is even uncomfortable, at times.  Yet, my hands are the first part of my body to heat up.

My problem is what to do with the gloves, during a training run?  I could toss them, but who wants to do that?  1) What a waste of money, even if I buy the cheap dollar store gloves  2) Most importantly, it’s littering.

This morning, I set out on a very brisk 5 mile run. By mile 3, my hands were too warm.  I dislike carrying anything in my hands so, I toughed it out with warm hands.  While running, I came up with an idea to keep your hands free and to save the gloves.  After my run, I tried it out on a 1 mile shake out and it works great!

You need:  a binder clip.  I use the medium, but you will have to experiment on what size you like to use.

binder clip


Before your run, clip your binder clip to your fueling belt or your running bottoms.  Place it in a place that is comfortable for you. For me – I like it towards the front on the hip.

When your hands start to get too warm – clip your gloves to your binder clip and keep running!  It’s that easy.

OR you can use this #hack to carry your gloves, in the event your hands get too cold.





It’s cheap, it’s easy to do.  I found binder clips at the Dollar Tree for 10/$1.00. So, this is a 10cent #hack.  Works for me!

Do you have a #FitnessHack for your gloves?  Please post as a comment or email to me at – I might feature your #hack!