RACE RECAP: Big Game – Downtown Las Vegas

12115892_1654372588136519_4483373897316612947_n.png

It has been a few weeks since Bro and I had participated in a race, so we were both anxious and excited to get back on the course.

Unfortunately, the week leading up to the Big Game race, I was experiencing some achilles tendon issues and by Thursday, I realized that I would not be able to race the event.  I was hopeful I could run a strong race.  Most importantly, I was excited that Bro was going to drop the hammer on the 10k. While his fitness and speed is not up to where he was pre-surgery, he certainly was doing very well.

I woke up with a headache and horrible stomach distress.  I seriously thought about DNSing the race, but I knew I could manage a 5k, somehow.  Had it been a half marathon, I knew I could not do it.  I spent a great deal of time in the bathroom in the night so I was tired and probably somewhat dehydrated.

The starting line was in Downtown Las Vegas.  After all these years of racing, I was finally able to race in DTLV.  I had participated in the Santa Run, but nothing else. 

At the race expo we were given the option of a black and white shirt, to choose a “Superbowl team”.  That just seemed odd.  Why black and white?  That concept didn’t seem to go over too well on race day.

The morning of the race, was a beautiful sunny morning.  (Originally, I planned to wear my capri’s but opted to wear my shorts after all.)

I fueled up with Glukos Energy tables and RunGum

At 8am was the 5k start and 8:30am was the 10k start.  This way, I could see my brother finish his 10k.  YAY!

5K Started and we immediately took a left on Las Vegas Blvd (not the Strip, but in the DT area).  Making our way through 1-2 hair pin turns, we turned left onto 10th and the Finish line was in sight.  I tried so hard to pick up my pace, but my ankle had other plans.  Every time I tried to speed it up, the ankle protested and I had to pull back.  While my finish was strong, I was very disappointed in my time of 26:##.  (A few weeks ago I ran a 23:59 in AZ)

The Finish Line was uneventful, to put it bluntly.   They only provided water and electrolyte drinks.  No banana’s, no food.  Major oversight and many runners were unhappy.  We are not asking for a full meal, but fruit would of been nice.

The positive is the Finish Line had cheerleaders and live bands. I love their energy! The downside, they kept crowding the course and runners had to weave around them to get to the Finisher chute.

I waited for my brother and was able to see him with a strong 42:## finish.  The best part was seeing him smile when he turned the corner and saw me standing there.  Seeing his finish was the highlight of my morning!  He will get back to his 35 or 36:## in no time!  By the time the 10k finisher cams in, the finish line was almost empty.

We made our way to the Gold Spike for the Awards Ceremony.  While it is a nice idea, it is not runner friendly. I have seen way too many races have their awards ceremony at a different location (other than the finish line) and it doesn’t work.  It didn’t work this time, as a very small percentage of the runners showed up.

At the Gold Spike we were warmly greeted by a gentleman, who we believe was the owner of the race and Martha Watson (4 time Olympian in the Long Jump).  There was a wonderful photo backdrop for the awards celebration.  Certainly, they made great effort to make this special for the runners, no doubt.

.facebook_1454945127597

Another big snafu was the awards. They had to wait for the awards from the RD, Tim Kelley.  They arrive 30 minutes late and they were in boxes.  Have you tried to sort through hundreds of AG and Overall medals?  It was a nightmare!!!  Bro and I jumped in to try to help and it was beyond frustrating.  Bro said the same mess happened last year.  My question would be, why aren’t these medals unpacked and sorted hours before the awards ceremony?  This was a very frustrating element for the racers.  75% of the medals were not picked up and thus, proves that runners will not walk to another location for their awards.  I hope they reconsider this idea for future years, my brother said they had the same mess in 2015.  That’s 2 years in a row with the same problem.  Easily fixed.

Brother earned 2nd in his AG and I earned 1st.  After the Awards Ceremony we headed home to watch the game and rest.  I fought off a headache for the rest of the night and went to bed shortly after the game was over. 

20160207_110211 20160207_103618

The aspects I liked about this race event:

  • The course.  Fast and easy to run.
  • Course markings.  There was no way a runner could make a wrong turn.
  • Aid stations.  Even for a 5k, there was plenty of aid.
  • The Award presenter at the Gold Spike was wonderful and very inviting to the runners.
  • Results were posted immediately.  That deserves a double thumbs up!

Aspects of the race I did not like:

  • Emcee and Announcer at the Start Line, but nothing at the Finish.  Yes, the marching band was nice, but nothing beats an emcee at the Finish Line.  If you have one at the Start, please have one at the Finish. All major races, follow this pattern.
  • What was the purpose of the long tables, with black table clothes and chairs at the finish?  It was rather confusing to know what they were for.
  • Expo was outside on Friday.  I think you can have one day expo, inside. This is Vegas and the evenings get chilly.
  • The Black and White shirt concept.  In addition, the shirts should not be unisex.  Please offer unisex and women’s fit.
  • No food at the Finish Line. That’s just a no-no for a race, like this.  If someone told you otherwise, you were advised incorrectly.  It is expected by all racers.  Even bananas would of been great.
  • We expected more racers & runners.  You had well over 600 participants in 2015 and less than 500 the second year.  With as much TV coverage you had, I thought there would be more runners. A drop in your second year is not good.  Please examine the details to improve the race experience for the next year.
  • As I said previously, the organization of the Awards Ceremony (or lack thereof) was not pleasant.  It can easily be overcome by sorting the medals hours before the race starts.  Martha (the 4 time Olympian) was there all morning, she said she would of sorted through the medals, while we were racing.  I have sorted through enough medals to know this has to be done way before the race, not unpack that morning.  The medals arrive from the manufacturer in a mess, please do not expect this to be an easy sort.

While this was not a bad race, it was mediocre at best.  It can be a great race, Las Vegas has hosted several local events in the DTLV area to huge crowds.  We may or may not run this race next year, we will be waiting to see if there is another race scheduled on the same weekend.

Thank you to those who volunteered and those who the owners of the race.  It’s evident you want this to be a great race, and we believe it can be.  However, the many organizational missteps and lack of attention to details will be the tipping point for many runners if they return or not.  Wishing you nothing but success in your future events! 

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by RobKellerMD.com & KT Tape
*Ambassador for RunGum
~Why My Blog Comments Are Closed – Click Here
~Blog Disclaimer – Click Here

 

 


RACE RECAP: RnR 10k | My Brother’s Return to Racing

After a successful Avengers Half Marathon, a quick stretch out in the DL parking lot, replenish some nutrition, we were on the road by 8:15am.  Not knowing how the parking and getting to the start line would be for RnR 10k, we were zooming home as fast as we could.

Kirk was the driver and I sat in the passengers seat to self-massage, replenish and rest.  Before we got in the car, I put on my full-leg compression pants.  On the ride home, we chatted about a mirage of things, but the upcoming 10k was foremost in both of our thoughts.  His plan was to run/walk a 3:1 interval at a moderate pace of 9:00.  That is a nice easy pace for him, for sure.

Slippers were a priority on the drive home!

IMG_20151115_100312 [2806051]

Leg drain and stretch time in Barstow (while the Bro takes a selfie)

11988744_1008326432524239_3491711803596748120_n

We arrived back in Las Vegas very early. We would soon learn, it was too early and we should of taken the time to stop more and stretch out (for both of us).

We changed clothes.  I knew the weather would be getting a lot cooler and windy, so I put on capri’s, my 2012 RnRLV shirt and a grey tank underneath.  To cover my ears, I wore a neon green headband.  We found a nice place to warm up and stretch out inside the SLS Hotel & Casino.  (The 10k Start Line).

10k outfit

20151114_172340 [2806050]

As we were leaving the SLS, I saw Becky (she & I were members of the same running club, when I first started running in 2010.  I love seeing this girl!)

We had a quick run, warm up and then headed into our corrals.  The Producer from ESPNRun found me (pre-scheduled) and we had another quick interview shoot.

Here we are, waiting for the gun. This is our tradition, a #RunningSiblings pre-race selfie at the Start Line.

20151115_153450 [2806052]

Bro REALLY wanted me to run full board and try for another AG award.  My heart was not into it.  This was my brother’s first race, I couldn’t miss that moment!  I made the mental decision that I would take off at the start, but I would start walking about half mile in, and wait for him to catch up with me.  I was running with my brother, no matter what he wanted!

The gun went off and I took off.  Legs felt fine, not super, but fine.  I could of kept running but this one time, I was listening to my head.  I was going to slow down and find my brother.  I had my morning.  I had my glory. This 10k was all about him, not me.

And there he was.  I quickly met up with him, by his side and informed him I am running/walking with him.  My heart felt at peace, again.  I have spent months waiting for him at the finish line as he finished his walk.  This time, we were going to finish together, running.

(The other issue was safety.  I felt better knowing I was right by his side. If something happened, I could run to get medical aid.)

We settled into our run/walk and kept going.  It was around Mile 3, I started to wish I had taken more time to self-massage and stretch out on the drive.  I was tightening up, like a drum.  By Mile 4, my left quad started twitching.  Twitching?  Not sure what that was all about!

By 4.5 – the awful winds kicked in.  We were tossed about on the course and ate a lot of dirt.  I knew the Half Marathoners had started and our minds were on Devin.  He worked so hard to PR on this course and I feared if these winds kept up, it would be out of his reach.

On the final mile – we ran (not a sprint).  I was smiling from ear to ear, each step.  We crossed the Finish Line in a respectable 57:32.  Not bad for a man who was on crutches 2 months ago.

Crossing the Finish Line was the turning point in the weather.  The wind and rain got worse (can we say “2011!”).  The temperatures dropped rather quickly.  After his icing session at medical, the ESPN Run Producer met up with me for my final interview.

We started walking towards the UPS to pick up our bags and the weather kept getting worse.  Both of us were getting uncomfortable.  RnRLV did an outstanding job at communicating the bad weather situation to all the athletes.   To say this was an improvement is an understatement. Good job, RnR!

11206117_1008428489180700_1576965767672130110_n

Kirk and I went into the Bellagio to get warm before we walked to our car (at the Venetian).  That was a welcome relief from the winds and cold.

As we returned outside, the weather was worse.  My instincts went into panic mode and I worried about all the runners on the course.  With over 45K runners, they were still running the first left of the race.  Crowds were controlled, they looked safe, I saw RnR staff on the side of the road looking out of the racers and so many more safety features.   We left the Strip knowing all was well (except for the weather).

12227056_1008433849180164_9102787462718269711_n

I am grateful for the RnR welcoming me back to my home race and being a part of my #EpicWeekend and #EpicDay

Onward to the next race on Thanksgiving Day (which happens to be my birthday!).

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
~Why My Blog Comments Are Closed – Click Here
~Blog Disclaimer – Click Here


That Time You Open an Email From RunDisney | What a Surprise

On 10/07, when I was on my way to meet up with my friend, Kimberly for a trail run at Red Rock, I received an email from RunDisney.  I recognized the subject line, I had seen it before when I earned 3rd in my AG at Avengers.

When I opened the email, instead of being excited, I was very confused.  Here is the RunDisney email:

Original RD email

Why was I confused?  I earned 4th place in my AG (screenshot below), as of 10/07/2015:

10k results

The next day (10/08), I emailed and phoned RunDisney.  I knew there was a mistake and I did not want an award I didn’t earn.  RunDisney was very helpful and assured me they would be looking into the situation and let me know, why I received the email about earning 3rd place.

A few hours after the phone call, I receive this email (screenshot below), which explains what happened.

Another email

 

It was official.  I was 3rd in my AG!  I knew I could PR (well, I hoped I could) but I wanted that AG for my brother.  I ran in his honor, since he was home recovering from his hip surgery.  I wanted to “give” him that AG, now I can.

20150905_070753

After I wiped away the tears, I went to MarathonFoto.com to see the photos for myself and sure enough there is the man, who is suppose to be a 51 year old woman.  (For those who do not know, RunDisney does not permit big swapping, trading, transferring or selling.  I can only hope he did not know the policy and this was an honest mistake on his part.)

21428

I am grateful that RunDisney is the type of Race Management company who does not look the other way, as I have seen many RD’s do.  I would of never thought of an RD reviewing photos to confirm the racers identity.  Very smart!

Based on the timeline of Avengers, I should have my 10k award in November.  No matter how long it takes, I will cherish it and be grateful for the opportunity to run another Disney event. 

 

Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
~Why My Blog Comments Are Closed – Click Here
~Blog Disclaimer – Click Here


RACE REPORT: Disneyland 10k & Half Marathon | 3rd Annual Dumbo Double

Labor Day weekend has become my FAVORITE time of the year on my race schedule!

  1. The cooler temperatures, I finally get a break from the Vegas summer heat.
  2. Traveling to Disneyland!

This was my fourth year to participate in the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend and 3rd year for the DDD.  I was just as excited as I was my first year (2011)!

In addition to the run training, many preparations are needed for this trip.  I have to prepare mine and my husband’s costumes, prepare our race gear and of course, what we will need to visit the park!

Our initial plan was to arrive on Thursday, do the expo and go to DL on Friday…boy, did our plans change (and for the better!)

We left our Vegas home around 5am, in the hopes to arrive at the expo around 10am.  We arrived at 10:30am and quickly picked up our bibs for the 10k & Half. This year, they required participants to have their pictures taken, not receive a plastic wristband for the DDD.  I am told that RunDisney found out that runners were removing their wristbands and giving them to other runners, so they could pick up a FREE DDD medal.  That’s stealing folks, you didn’t earn nor pay for the medal, shame on you!

After the bib pick up, we retrieved our shirts and I was so excited about the shirt designs.  I loved all 3 of the shirts.

After the shirt pick up we made our way to the merchandise at the expo. They led us upstairs to get a wristband and told us a 30-45 minute wait.  Ummmm, no.  2 hours later, we are still there and we had not made our way downstairs, that had another hour wait.  The reason they said they did it this way was the size of the merchandise area is so small.  We were in a HUGE ballroom, upstairs.  Why not move the merchandise to upstairs?  They could also sell more vendor space.  We left, without buying a thing.

Next, we met up with my sweet friend, Andrea Kooiman for lunch. She was also the RunDisney Expo announcer, so I was hanging with a celebrity!  Our good friend, Joe Spatafore joined us, with his friend.  (Joe is also one of my coaching clients, he and his wife are HUGE Disney fans).

 

11986505_10207418698252584_4222953503262902387_n

Within the next hour we were gifted with a bunch of surprises from a dear friend.  We were given 2 treats:

  1.  A park ticket
  2.  A parking pass

Which meant, we could go into the park that night and see the Paint the Night parade and have some Disney fun!  I was so giddy, I almost started crying.

We checked into our hotel and since I have been a regular there, they gave me free parking. 3 kind gifts in one night…I almost could not contain my excitement.

As we entered the park gates and I saw the Castle, like every time before, I am in awe.  I never grow tired of the castle view.  It welcomes me Home.

Of course, we headed straight for Small World.  I couldn’t smile big enough to contain my excitement.  I noticed right away, they painted the facade and I am glad.  It needed it and next year is the 50th anniversary of the park ride (which I will be there!).

Once I sit in the Small World boat and I hear the music, my calms arrives.  I am in my happy place.  We rode Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain and a few more.  We chose not to wear our pin lanyards, so we could just mill about.  We met up with Thor, hubby was pretty excited about that.

11896129_10207420465776771_919816922223801857_n

A few hours later, we decided to line up for the parade.  Experience tells me to get as close as possible to the Exit/Entrance. This way, we can leave pretty quickly.  We had a big day, the next day – back to the park!

I was always a fan of the Magical Electrical Parade and I have never seen a Disney parade that matched that magic.  I had heard from many Instagram and FB friends that Pain the Night was out of this world.  They are right.  I stood there in total awe of the lights and music and then came the tears. (Do you get the impression I cry a lot at DL?  It’s true)  If it had not been for the generosity of a good friend, we would of not seen the parade.

Screenshot_2015-09-15-13-28-43-1

Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.

The next morning, we headed out to DL and we were ready for pin trading!  We LOVE chatting with other Disney fans and cast members.  Our day was magical and we left around dinner to get back to the hotel to ensure a restful night before the 10k.

10k RACE DAY

I had not raced a 10k since 2011.  I had one 10k in 2014, after my leg injury, but that was nothing more than a test run.  I was in this 10k to push, I had a long marathon training session throughout the summer.  However, I knew after a day and half in the park, my legs would be…meh.  I was still going to run, the best I could.  No costumes, it was singlet time.  My heart was a little empty as we had to leave my brother at home, while he is still recovering from hip surgery.  Having him at my races is a tradition and so, I promised him a strong run.  I didn’t think I could PR, but I thought I could at least give it a good push.

Gun time was at 5:30am. I started in Corral A and my husband started in Corral D.  Typically, we run a bit on Katella Avenue, but this time, we were in the park, pretty quick.  I liked staying in the park, as much as possible.  I wore my watch, but I didn’t turn it on.  I had a basic goal time, but I was going to run strong, as I promised my brother.

I felt myself start to waiver at Mile 4, so I briefly walked at the aid station to swish some water around my mouth.  After that, I was able to push and get the job done.

Joe Spatafore was waiting for me at the Finish Line and I could tell by his facial expression, he had PR’d!  He PR’d at the Tinkerbell Half and now, at the Disneyland 10k!  He has worked so hard and I am honored to be a part of his racing journey.  I love coaching him!  See picture below:

20150905_064451

Joe was text tracking me, so I could know my time, right away.  I had a 1:30 PR and 4th in my AG – Go figure!  I promised my brother a strong race, and I gave him a shiny new PR.  (He loves green dragons, that’s why I have a green dragon charm on my shoe).  **UPDATE** I was informed by RunDisney, I earned 3rd in my AG (not 4th) as the original 3rd place was a man (verified by race photos). 

20150905_070753

We waited for my husband.  He struggled to finish and I thought he needed more carbs, since we had been on our feet for the last day and half.  We had a great breakfast at a quiet place in Downtown Disney.  I want away from the crowds very quickly during Disney events (I am hot, sweaty and hungry) so this was perfect.

Afterwards, we headed to Hollywood.  My husband has never been to Hollywood Blvd. We didn’t stay there too long.  If you have been to Hollywood Blvd recently, you know how awful it is.

Back to the hotel for rest and get ready for the Half Marathon day.

 

HALF MARATHON RACE DAY

Today, hubby and I would run the half marathon together. We have run 5k’s and 10k’s, but this is our first Half, together.  I made us Mouseketeer costumes and I wore a running skirt!

We started about 30 minutes after gun time (his corral, not mine) and by Mile 2, he was struggling.  By Mile 4, I knew he would not reach his PR goals, so I shut off my watch and told him, that we are strolling the rest of the way.  He ran when he could, but we spent the most of this race walking and enjoying the sights.  My favorite is the muscle car alley.  Over 400 cars.  Here I am with one of my favorite cars.

20150906_073807

Here we are at Anaheim Stadium home plate.

 

20150906_081128

Here I am in front of Small World.  (My hip is in such a weird position, my stomach looks like I am 5 months pregnant.  haha)

20150906_064420

Our picture at Mile 11-12.

11960021_10205954345630262_7369472222493757039_n

We got through to the finish and completed our 3rd Dumbo Double! This is my husband’s only running event, every year – so he was pretty excited to be Perfectly Dumbo.

We met up with Joe Spatatore for brunch and then headed home.

Avengers is only 2 months away, and I cannot wait.  Brother should be walking crutchless by then and possibly even jogging.  It is my birthday month, so I will spend a day in the park – celebrating my birthday.

Looking forward to the Fall/Winter racing season!

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
*Team Super Hero Master’s Elite
~Why My Blog Comments Are Closed – Click Here
~Blog Disclaimer – Click Here