LVTC 2016 Championship Series | Waited 6 Years For This Moment

After my first ever long distance race in 2010 (RnRLV 2010, the last year the event was during the daytime) I ventured into the unknown world of racing and collecting bling.  My first year, I did not travel to any races, I ran only local races.  A great deal of those races were LVTC events. They were great practices for me and I could work on my jitters of being at a start line.

Quickly, I learned about the LVTC Championship Series.  It was a collection of 10-12 races each year that a racer could receive points for participating and placement (Overall and Age Division).  I didn’t take much interest in the series as all of this was new to me and I was focusing on chasing bling and PR’s.  That all changed during the LVTC Christmas party where I saw the Top 5 winners of the Champions Series (CS) receive a beautiful silver bowl trophy.  Those who placed in 6-10 received a ceramic mug.  At that moment, I wanted to earn a silver bowl!

I had four major goals in my running career:

  1. Qualify and run the Boston Marathon in 2016 (the 20th anniversary of the race). Well, we know how that went.  Ugh!
  2. Earn the Gold Phidippides Award every year. Accomplished every year since 2011.
  3. Earn a spot on the USATF All-American team.  Accomplished every year since 2011.
  4. Earn a LVTC Championship Series silver bowl trophy.  My best place was 8th in 2015.

Every year, I have set out to achieve #4.  Like #1, I became frustrated how close I got but never right there. So often, I plan to run the designated races but something interferes with the schedule or I am injured.  I was close in 2015 with 8th place and I believe I would of earned the 5th spot if I had not missed so many events.  BTW, I loved my mug 🙂

At the beginning of the year, my brother and I set out to run every CS event.  However, since they added the Revel Marathon to the schedule, I knew I would miss that one for sure.  I had to work hard and get good placement throughout the year to get my silver bowl.  My eyes were on 5th place.  Anything higher was certainly gravy to the year.

We started at the year at the traditional LVTC Championship 10k at Kellogg-Zaher park, that is also the location they hand out the CS awards.  Gosh I hate this course, not sure what the appeal is for any race to be in the direction they choose to go. There are many other options.  I was in the top 10 after that race.  Most runners show up for the first race, so I wasn’t too worried about where my standings would be at this point.  I had 11 months to ago, after all.

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February – we had the metric mile race at the UNLV track.  I finished in a strong Overall place.  That boosted my standings to put me in first place. Now, that was a hoot!

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March – Celebrate Education back at Kellogg-Zaher.  Here we go again. What an awful course layout and a strange distance of 8k.  The wind was beyond blistery and I could not breathe.  My dizzy spells kicked in and I muddled through it to get another AG spot.  More points.

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April – my friend, Ryan and I pushed a lovely person in a wheelchair for the Summerlin Half.  I knew the best I could get was the participation points. An AG placement was out of the question.  Points are points.  By this time, I was already getting irritated with my running and why was I doing this CS once again?  I had committed to one more year to try to get the bowl, and whatever happens – I was done.  No more trying next year.

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May – opted out of the Revel Marathon.  Remember, I am retired from that distance.  Not even the CS silver bowl award could bring me out of marathon retirement.

June – Summer Series. Back on the track at UNLV. Another awful race performance, but I earned some good points and keeping myself in a good CS placement.

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July – no race

 

August – Legends 5k.  The person who heads up the CS series is Coach Phil Lawton.  A beloved coach who have coached many of our area superstars.  Legends is his baby and he takes a lot of pride in managing this race.  This was my race to honor Honeybear, as she had passed away not too long before that.  It was a struggled, I had to walk a bit of the 5k.  The heat tore me down and kept me there.

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September – Forrest Challenge.  I hate this race. Never ran it before and I will not to do it again. 8k elevation at Bristolecone area at Mt Charleston.  I would of never finished if it had not been for my friend, Ryan (same person who I ran with at the Summerlin Half).

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October – Danny Gans.  Brother and I were so ready to be done with the CS series.  We both placed in our AG.

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November – Turkey Trot with Jus Run 5k.  I was very happy at this race, I knew it was my last CS race.

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December – after running the Holiday Half the last two years and loathed this course as much as I hated Forrest Challenge I was not looking forward to this event.  I opted out of the Holiday Half and ran a 5k fun run with my son instead.  Best choice, don’t you think?

Going into that race, I was in 2nd place and I had the silver bowl locked in.  I knew our local elite Erica Schramm would take 2nd if she won 1st place OV at the Holiday Half.  I was shocked to hear she earned 2nd OV behind her female teammate of RRRC.  That put us in a tie for 2nd and since I ran more races than her, I was the 2nd place winner and she was 3rd.  Erica was far more deserving of 2nd place as she is a much speedier runner than I. 

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2nd place.  That is far more than I could of ever imagined I would be at the end of the year.  All I needed was 5th place for that silver bowl.  Better yet, my brother earned 2nd place for his CS efforts. The irony – 3rd place male is named Eric and the 3rd place female is Erica.

On January 7th, I finally held the silver bowl trophy in my hands.  I was able to stand next to my brother and know we accomplished our goal, together. We can retire from our Championship Series efforts…finally.

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2016 LVTC Championship Series Awards

 

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The moment I received my silver bowl, finally. Yeah, that’s a pretty cheesy smile!

 

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I waited six years to do this!

 

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Both 2nd place finishers. I am grateful to share this past year with my brother.

 

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Our Celebration Lunch. Well, we had more – but this was the fun part.

 

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“Is this really happening?”

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No words an ever convey the gratitude I have for Coach Phil

 

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Finally, the picture that Coach Phil and I have waited for.

 

My thanks to:

My brother (pictured) who accepted my invitation to join me in the Championship Series challenge.  We had some crazy adventures along the way, but I am grateful he tagged along and earned a beautiful silver bowl for his athletic accomplishment and his patience.

To Coach Phil Lawton (pictured in the center). The man with the vision and never once let me forget about my Championship Series dream.  He encouraged me and reminded me every month why I set goals.  Thank you for being the man you are and keeping the running dreams alive for all of us.

My husband, kids and furkids.  You send me out the door, month after month to chase down my goals.  Cheered me on, even when I didn’t have the strength to get out the door for a training run.

Ryan Launder – you ran 2 of these races with me.  I appreciate your friendship and the ability to keep my head in the game to finish the miles.  Donuts on me, any time!

 

…thus, ends my LVTC Championship Series quest 

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Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by RobKellerMD.com and KT Tape
*Ambassador for RunGum and Glukos Energy

~Why My Blog Comments Are Closed – Click Here
~Blog Disclaimer – Click Here


RACE RECAP: Resolution & Revolution 5k | Back2Back 5k’s

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My brother and I decided to run the TripleDareRuns.com Resolution Run (New Year’s Eve) and Revolution Run (New Year’s Day).  The NYE race started at 4pm at Kellogg-Zaher park.  I was curious to know what direction they were going as there are many options, but very few good options.

Day and half prior to NYE, I was in my closet tidying up and I fell off my step ladder. To keep myself from hitting my head I fell in such a way that the ladder sandwiched (smashed) my left ankle in between the two parts.  Nice bruise huh?

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After a day and half of epsom salt soaks, essential oils and the wonderful KT Tape recovery patch, I tried out my ankle the morning of NYE with a short dog job.  It felt okay, so I decided to give the NYE 5k a whirl.  Not a race, but at least give it good effort.

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When we arrived at Kellogg Zaher park, it was good to see some familiar races from years gone by!

 

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After a solid warm-up, we were ready to go.  Bro started his 10k about 3-4 minutes before the 5k.  The course went the opposite direction of most races out there, which I love.  I will certainly look at this option for New Day Racing.

The first part of the 5k is an up and down while climbing to the underpass.  Not overtly hilly but enough to take some wind and overt energy to get there.  Once to the Durango overpass, we made a right to continue onto the paved trail to the turn around.  After the turn around it’s basically all downhill or a good decline to the finish. All felt okay, I was sitting around 10th place female Overall at the turn around.  Once I could settle into my downhill pace and relax my breathing, I was hoping to move up a few paces. Eventually, I passed two more ladies and finished 8th Female Overall.

This race certainly was going better than the brainless one I had a Hoover Dam on 12/10!

I finished the race at 25:32.  Meh.  I wasn’t too happy with that, but whatever.

Not too much longer after that my brother finished and he was first male Overall in the 10k. Score!  I earned 1st place in my AG.  I am always grateful to be on the podium, especially in the top spot. Received a champagne glass as my AG award.

After a few pictures, I headed hope to settle in for the night to be with my doggies.  Las Vegas is firework Capital and I was ready to buckle in for the night.

It was great to finally meet Heidi Dove, the Race Director!

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Next Day:  Revolution Run 5k – New Year’s Day

Same location, starting at 12noon.

10k started a few minutes before the 5k.  I was tired this time around.  I was up and down most of the night with all the booming going on around our home.  I decided to push and keep my pace at a steady sub9 up the hill.  I had no idea what I did the night before, but inclines are just not my friend and I need to be more aggressive.  I have lost way too many races and PR’s because of inclines.

After the turn around, I settled in but the sleepiness was getting to me.  I felt it was more important to just hold onto what I had.  I was in 5th Female OV at that point. At less than 1/2 mile to go a female racer zoomed by me and I could tell she had to be in my AG or older.  Not sure where she came from!  lol

So, I ended up with 2nd AG this time.  No AG awards, this time.

My brother won the 10k again.  That’s a double!

(how do you like my ladybug socks?)

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It was a good racing weekend and I am grateful to be upright before, during and after the race.  A little winded, but what do you expect when you are sprinting a 5k?  All good, right?

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Race Shirt

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My finisher medals and NYE AG award. No AG awards presented to the AG winners on NYD

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Happy 2017 from the Running Siblings!

 

My thanks to Triple Dare Runs for their hospitality and nice race.  I am sure we will be back for another event.  Of course, the weekend could not of happened without the endless support of my husband, my teenage boys, my furkids, Daisy Mae and Jack and my brother.

I would also like to thank Glukos Energy, Run Gum and KT Tape for getting me through these two races. Keeping me upright is a big task these days.

My Race Essentials:

NYE:  Running Skirts Compression

NYD: Vimvigr Compression

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Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by RobKellerMD.com and KT Tape
*Ambassador for RunGum

~Why My Blog Comments Are Closed – Click Here
~Blog Disclaimer – Click Here


RACE RECAP: Hoover Dam 5k | Celebrating a Friend & My Favorite Place to Race

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Brings back memories of my first sub 2 Half Marathon (2011)

My first, 1st Place Overall Win (2012 – same course, different event)

My last 1st Place Overall Win (2015 – same course, different event)

The 6 Tunnels/Lake Mead/Hoover Dam area is my sentimental place to run and especially race.  This is the place I ran a 5k the day after Ladybug passed away in 2011. While this isn’t the same course, it is the same area and I love being there.

I registered for the race primarily to be with good friend, Jeff Liu as he completed his 50th State with a Marathon.  He actually finished in September, but because of the lack of concern or foresight of that RD, he did not have a qualifying race and had to do Nevada again.  I knew he would be happy with the BBSC events and it would surely qualify for a 50th State Qualifying run.

My brother registered to run the 10k and I opted for the 5k.  Since I have run several 5k’s out there, my mind was on a specific course and never entertained the idea it would be a different course than what I have run in previous years.  Error #1, study the course map before you run.  If I had, I would of not been so confused during the race.  More on that later.

We arrived to Boulder Beach to a very chilly morning.  Jeff, Kirk and I were ready to go.  Kirk and I sent off Jeff onto his quest and got ready for our start. 10k’ers started 5 minutes before us.

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At the 5k gun, I headed towards the familiar hill to take us onto the course, what I didn’t know – we would turn left not right.  I really don’t like the left direction, it’s a pain in the butt steady climb. Not something I want to do within the first 1/10 of a race, when I have not even gotten into my groove.

So, we head into the climb, and I am sitting around 4th of 5th overall. I knew if I could hang onto 4th, I had an AG win for sure.  As I was coming up on the turn around I was closing in on 3rd place racer.  At the turn around I made the decision to gun it.  My strength is in the downhill and the 3rd place would keep up or fall behind.  I passed 3rd place and held onto that for a bit.  She came back and zoomed by me but she didn’t hold onto it. I passed her again and closed in on 2nd place.  I passed 2nd place and this is where it gets weird, very weird.  I know this course and I know the turn to go back to Boulder Beach.  Even though the runners ahead of me kept going, I turned down the wrong road.  Once I discovered that, I had to turn back and onto the course.  My mind went south after that.  Okay, the next turn was Boulder Beach, but when I looked at my Garmin the course was way short.   That was confusing me and I was using way too much energy and brain power to try to figure this out.  Came up on the turn off to Boulder Beach and I was instructed to keep going straight.  Okay, that is when my brain truly checked out, that made no sense!  Where was the turn around?  Was the course long not short?

I started to run and I could feel my brain melt down. At the Mile 2 mile marker….I stopped. I stopped on the course, yes I did.  I said, “this isn’t adding up, we have to be going the wrong way!”  A gal whizzed by me and took 2nd place.  At that moment, I saw the turn around up ahead and ran towards it.  Whoever said that running is all mental is true.  I lost this race because of my brain, not my legs.  In fact, on the decline, I was between a 6:27-7:12 pace.  That shows you how much I screwed up if my overall pace was 8:37 for the race. (see that drop after Mile 2?  That is when I stopped)

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I held onto 3rd OV place for the Women’s 5k.  I didn’t deserve it, I ran a horrible race.  Not my proudest moment and not because my time sucked, but I zoned out and couldn’t regroup.  That is inexcusable for an experienced runner.  Despite my mental disaster of a race, coming into the Finish at Boulder Beach is always a treat for me.  I am taken back to my first sub2 Half Marathon and my two other OV win’s.  With Lake Mead ahead of me, there is something special about this finish location.  

As soon as I crossed the finish line and the announcer said my name, a few people came up to say “hi” and a “congrats” but the one I was most excited about was seeing my previous teammate, Chris Clark.  It was so good to see him, again!

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Shortly after, I received a text from my brother he had finished the 10k and he earned 2nd OV.  The 10ker’s ran to the Hoover Dam parking lot and were shuttled back.  So, all in all it was a good race for the Running Siblings.

The Awards ceremony was fun!  All the podium finishers were happy and the crowd was very celebratory.  I have had many podium finishes, but it is always a treat when all the winners are on the podium. Lately, there is only 1 or 2 of us on that podium.

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My brother and I went up to the Hoover Dam hotel to have a quick meal and then back to the race Finish to wait for Jeff. While I was waiting, I was able to walk around with Ruby, she is owned by the staff at BBSC.  Cuddling with a dog at a race is always a good thing.

Soon enough, here came Jeff into the Finish!  He was an official 50 stater.  What a relief and we could celebrate his quest is finally over with.  Congrats, Jeff!!!

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Despite my mentally horrible race, I am so glad I went.  I find it so peaceful to run out there.  Before, I felt Ladybug.  Now, I feel Ladybug & Honeybear and that is pure heaven to me.

Cheers to all the racers and BBSC!

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Race Day essentials:

Shirt:  Glukos Energy 

Headband:  Boni Bands

Arm sleeves:  Nike

Shorts:  Brooks

Socks:  Running Skirts Compression Socks

Fueling:  No electrolyte replacement needed for my 5k

 

Next up:  Triple Dare Resolution & Revolution runs on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  It will be my first time to meet these RD’s and I am very excited to get to know them.

__________________________________________________

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by RobKellerMD.com and KT Tape
*Ambassador for RunGum

~Why My Blog Comments Are Closed – Click Here
~Blog Disclaimer – Click Here

 

 


RACE RECAP: Pumpkinman 5k | This Was a Surprise

It’s been awhile since I posted a race recap and thought I would start with the BBSC Endurance Racing Pumpkinman 2016 in Boulder City, NV

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Last year, my brother was still in his post-op recovery and walked the 5k.  It took him 45 minutes to complete his 5k (walking), he could run a 10k faster than 45 minutes.  He was frustrated and I could see his patience was wearing thin.   It didn’t help that I earned a 3rd place Overall and I knew he was feeling left out of the festivities of getting an OV award.

Fast forward to this year.  What a difference a year makes!

Last year, I was still trying to grab onto what Meniere’s Disease was doing to my body and how it was going to affect my running.  This year, I came into this race with zero expectations.  I was lucky to be able to run 3 miles a day, for 3 days in a row. The disease had run havoc on my body within the past 6 months.  This would of marked my 5th run day in a row, I was excited to see if my body would allow me to run 5 days in a row.

Last year, I earned the 3rd OV.  I laughed at that possibility, this year. Seriously, laughed.  It was not happening.  I was going to be jumping for joy if I finished the race with no walk breaks and did not pass out at the finish line.

I opted to go a little Halloween on my outfit.  A skeleton singlet, black skirt (yes, you read that right – A SKIRT), a black choker and Sugar Skull headband.  Of course, I had black compression socks and my new black Altra One 2.5’s to round out the outfit.

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I will admit I was feeling very body conscience in that outfit. The singlet was way slimming (aka tight) and I was in a skirt.  But, I seem to muddle through those body shaming thoughts before the race start.

My plan was to run the 5k (bro was running the 10k).  After a warm up and the traditional start or finish line selfie, I was ready to get on the road.

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The 10k and 5k started at the same time and I saw a number of women ahead of me going towards the 5k turn around. Not until the turn around do you have any idea who is running what distance.  My breathing was rather labored, but that is expected and I have resided that 1.5-2.5 are the hardest points for me to run in a 5k.

As I came up on the turn around, I saw one and then two gals turn back up. They were 1st and 2nd place obviously. Then, there were 3 gals ahead of me also turning around.  3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th. However, as soon as I turned I could see it was a mother and her two young daughters and they had already were worn out. They sprinted the first half and had nothing left, I think.  Not wanting to chance anything, I bolted past them and realized I was now coming up on the incline (of the decline at the beginning to the race). I told myself to put as much distance between the gals and me, as they might catch me on the incline.  I was going for the 3rd place and if my head could stay upright I had a shot.

Climbing to 2.5 I really, REALLY wanted to walk.  I mean, REALLY.  I was scared if I pushed too hard I would be kissing pavement very soon.  I really wanted to look behind me to see who was there, but I didn’t.  I knew that once I changed my focus, I would lose my balance.

I found myself getting closer and closer to 2nd place, but I didn’t feel compelled to push any harder.  OV to me was great, well – standing upright was such a huge accomplishment, I didn’t want to blow it.

Crossing the finish line, I was standing!  Breathing hard, but standing.  I finally looked at my watch after 30 seconds of standing there and realized I had not turned it off.  It was just ticking past 25 minutes. Which meant I was under 25 minutes?  No way, I decided to wait for the official results.

That’s impossible on this hilly course. A week before, I did a 26.54 on a flat course.  So, I went to the timing table. BBSC Endurance Running has this coolest timing feature.  Key in your bib number and it gives you a print out of your time, place and pace.  Poof!

My first print out had me as First OV and a pace of 168:11 per minute.  haha!

I told Alex, their wonderful timing guy to fix and made my way to get some water and get back to the finish line, I wanted to video tape the bro finishing up. This was a big deal race for him, so I wanted to catch that moment.

I knew JJ Santana would win the 10k, and I was pretty sure that Bro would be in the Top 3.  My hope is he would finish in sub40, that would be awesome.

At the 37 minute mark, I could see him coming up that last incline towards the finish.  He crossed the line at 38:##!

I finished in 24:26.  16 seconds away from a PR and I was worried about standing upright. Thank you to my body for cooperating!

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(Due to the sun facing the podium and casting shadows, we decided to do some creative poses on the podiums.)

In addition, we wore created special bibs to show our support for Craig Trainor who tragically lost his legs in a freak automobile accident this year.  He is a valued member of the BBSC family and we wanted to show our support to his recovery.

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Our traditional post race Finish Line selfie with a beautiful Uhaul truck in the background (thanks, Bro)

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All in all, it was a solid race and I couldn’t be more grateful that my body allowed me to do this race, not only to finish strong but to earn another shinny bling.

Thank you BBSC Endurance Running, Boulder City, Nevada for your hospitality, my brother, my husband and the incredible people in my life who reminded me through the many months of this dreaded disease that I still had speed and muscle left in me.  I ran for you and because of you, I finished.

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Fueling before:  Glukos Energy Lemon chewable tablets

During the race:  RunGum Cinnamon flavor

Post race:  RobKellerMD.com Original Glutatione Formula capsules

Outfit:

Black skeleton singlet (sorry, I cannot remember where I bought it.  It was awhile ago)

Black Zoot running skirt

Black compression socks from Amazon

Black Altra Running One 2.5’s

Sugar Skull headband from Amazon

Black KT Tape for knee support

_______________________________

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


My Yearly Memorial Run To Honor Ladybug | Benefiting Heaven Can Wait

Every year at the St Patrick’s Day Run (formerly owned by Mountain Man Events, now owned by BBSC) I run to honor Ladybug.  You may recall, this is the event I ran the day after she died and was nicknamed “The Ladybug Runner”.

This year, I wanted to do something extra special, since it was the 5th anniversary of her death.  I contacted Heaven Can Wait Animal Society of Las Vegas to see if I could do a fund raiser for them. They provide no-cost to low-cost spay and neuters to pets in need.  As you know, that is my animal advocacy platform = spay and neuter!

From their website, “Heaven Can Wait Animal Society, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) animal humane organization, was formed in 2000 by a group of 5 concerned citizens with the idea of building a beautiful 20 acre sanctuary to house all of the unwanted animals in our community.  In the meantime, though, animals were and still are dying at rate of around “30,000 per year in our local shelters with even more just dying in the streets.  Therefore, we decided to refocus our efforts slightly away from rescue and more toward promoting spay/neuter as the solution to the tragic pet overpopulation problem here in Las Vegas.”

About 2 weeks before race day, we launched the fund raiser with their social media following and I held my breathe.  I wanted this to be a success for them, I hoped for $500!

Days leading up to the race, we went over $500 and then, something happened.  The night before the race, we reached $1,397!!!  It took my breathe away because I saw the irony in that number

Ladybug died when she was 13 and she was born in ’97

I woke up on race morning so excited and so proud of the race community.  I had one job to do and that was run a strong 5k in her honor and for all my animal loving friends.  For the first time, I was wearing a Ladybug Runner shirt.  A design from my brother.  Okay, I know – 5 years later I finally get a shirt.  Don’t laugh too much!

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My brother and my son drove to the race day. I asked my son to come with us because he started the yellow tennis ball tradition and I felt he needed to see this special moment.

After a warm-up, Renna and Alex from HCWS met us there and brought poster boards to cheer me on!  How sweet. They said they had 2 more, and I had to wait to see them.

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The weather was perfect and we were ready.  My brother was running the 12k and I, of course was doing the 5k.

The race was set at 6 Tunnels and I couldn’t wait to get started!  Unfortunately, some inconsiderate runners hindered the start for me and many others.  They decided as soon as they crossed the finish line to STOP and take selfies.  Really, people?  In front of all the runners.  Despite being told to move they stood there, GIGGLED and took their dang pictures.

Once I got around the inconsiderate runners (I hope they have some wonderful pictures of people getting angry with them and tell them to move, seriously) I started moving.  I wasn’t looking to PR, but I did want a good time.

Right away, I could feel my feel not grabbing the dirt trail. That was very unusual for this course, it’s not hard, it’s loose gravel and dirt.  But, I felt slippery.

That never changed, but I was having a blast and I kept going!After the turn around, tried to push but my feet couldn’t get underneath me.  Good grief.

As I turned the corner into the finish, I could hear tons of people screaming and of course, I saw the poster boards from HCWS, well kinda. (I saw the posters, but I didn’t actually see what they said.)

After I retrieved my medal, Alex (from HCWS started walking towards me with a big poster board).  On the board was a big red heart and Ladybug’s picture!  OH….I cried!  What a sweet gift!

Here is my post race photo with their sweet signs.

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We waited around for the awards.  My brother was first in his AG and I was the traditional 2nd in my AG.  The day was perfect and I couldn’t imagine having it any other way.

 

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BUT WAIT!  By the time the fund raiser ended, we had raised close to $1,500 in less than 2 weeks!

Thank you HCWS for allowing me to race to benefit your charity.  I look forward to doing this again and again.  If you are an animal lover, please consider making a donation to this great organization at www.hcws.org

For a great race experience, every time – please check out BBSCRun.com!  You will be glad you did.

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
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RACE RECAP: Big Game – Downtown Las Vegas

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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.

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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. 

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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
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RACE RECAP: Last Race of 2015 & First Race of 2016

A few weeks ago, my friend Ruth told me about the “double 5k” on NYE.  My first thought, “okay, that’s a 10k, not 2 5k’s”.

I soon learned what a double 5k would be.

A 5k before midnight + watch the fireworks + a 5k after midnight.

That makes sense and sure sounded like fun!

My brother and I signed up, immediately.  The more opportunities he can race, the better.  And it’s a 5k!  You know how I love my 5k’s.

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The race was sponsored and managed by Cadence Nevada Master Planned Community in Henderson, NV.  I had no clue where it was, but it promised to have a spectacular view and course.

Doesn’t everyone color-coordinate their race fueling with their outfits?!?!?

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Ruth met at my house around 9pm and the 3 of us were off to Cadence.  My vehicle was packed with warm clothes and blankets.  In typical NYE Las Vegas fashion it would be cold.  I wasn’t worried about the races, but the time in between the races, concerned me.  I was overly concerned with my brother’s leg muscles tightening up in the cold.  The temperatures were to dip into the high 20’s at midnight.

We were met with this spectacular view upon our arrival.  Yep, we were going to have a great view of the fireworks!

 

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The Las Vegas Valley with The Strip, in the horizon.

Waiting for the race #1 to begin (I didn’t wear the puffy coat during the race)

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Ruth, Kirk and myself

The first 5k started at 10:30pm.  Bro and I decided to run together.  This was the first time my brother would attempt to run a mile without any walk breaks.  A big test.  Unfortunately, the day before, I started to have stomach problems, so I wasn’t feeling my best.

We started off at a moderate 9min pace and picked up the pace to 8:15 rather quickly.  At the mile 1.25, I had to take a walk break as my stomach was revolting again.  My brother and I celebrated he ran a full mile without having to walk.  Yay for Bro!  After a few minutes we started back up and came flying into the finish. The course was great.  All residential streets were closed to vehicular traffic and we had the beautiful calm of the winter night as our back drop.

In between the two races, I walked around with my puffy coat and blanket around my legs.  Cadence did an outstanding job at making us feel welcomed!  Tables, chairs, heaters, hot beverages, water and more.  In addition, we had our awards ceremony.  I earned 1st place in the Masters Division and Bro earned a 1st in his AG. 

At midnight, we were able to see the fireworks throughout the valley, not only on the Strip.  It was time for another leg warm up and then we were off on the 2nd 5k, but in the opposite direction.  My stomach was still acting up, so I brought down the pace to 8:30ishy.  Bro decided to kick it up a notch to see what he could do.  He and my friend, Ryan were in the front of the pack for the race.  It was so good to see him way out in front of me, again.

Temps took a big drop and I was running with my neck gaiter covering the lower part of my face.  I almost wished I had a second layer of a headband to cover my eyes.  I cannot remember the last time I was this cold during a race.

Around Mile 1ish, the lovely lady who earned 2nd in the Masters was coming up on my shoulders.  I could see she was really hustling (I love it!).  Sadly, she couldn’t pass me but she was an excellent competitor and I am proud to have shared the course with her!

At Mile 2, on a short out and back part of the course, my brother comes from BEHIND me and passes me.  WHOOOOOAAAA!  How is he behind me?  Well, he took a wrong turn, so he was in catch up mode.    A few more feet and my friend Ryan passes me, I almost freaked out!  Both ended up taking the wrong turn.  (The course was not very well marked and very difficult to see the cones, so I am not surprised a few took wrong turns.)

I passed a few more ladies on the last mile, so I knew I was near the front.  My guess I was 4th Overall.  As I was coming into the finish, my brother was standing there screaming “2016! 2016! 2016!”  It felt so great to be in a new year and moving onward to a better year!

It seemed like the Awards Ceremony took forever and I was honored to have earned the 1st place in Masters, again but BEST part is my brother earned 3rd Overall!  Welcome back to running, Bro. Ryan earned 1st in his AG. Both averaged a 7 minute pace.  Sweet!

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Kirk, myself, Ryan and Ruth (sadly, the Finisher Medals did not arrive in time. How many times I have heard that excuse and Ruth was empty handed.)

This was a great event for their first time, despite the cold, several race management glitches and my stomach acting up. There are some things that need to be changed for future years, but I am sure we will be back.

Thank you, Cadence!

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
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Evolution of Running and How It Affects Who We Are

It’s no secret, that when I began my running career in 2010/2011, I ran for finisher medal.  I would not run a race unless I knew I would receive a medal.  I wanted that feeling of self-accomplishment and that medal gave me that satisfaction.

Shortly after I began racing, I won AG and Overall awards.  The competitive nature of my youth had kicked in and I found myself competing against myself for each and every race.  Half way through that year, we lost Ladybug and running in her honor became my trademark to this day.

By the end of 2011, I was hammering out a bunch of PR’s in all distances and I had evolved from running races only with medals to any races. I ran some races with ribbons and races with absolutely nothing.  I quickly learned I could use races as gauges for my focus races.  Score!

You see, I also learned early on, that I have horrible training.  I swear I could not run a 30 minute 50k during training if my life depended on it.  Yet, I will streak by that time on any given race day.  Thus the reason I am so surprised when I finish with the times, that I do.

In my second year of racing, I had a heart to want to travel and be around more runner friends. The state of CA, because my monthly home.  At least once a month, I was on the road for the next big race.

 

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By Mid-2013, I was so done with traveling, I wanted to stay home.  I had seen enough and knew what races I wanted to repeat.  I had cultivated some incredible friendships and also sides of the running community I wish I never did.  The more you are exposed to a community, you will often see the dark side.  The running community is not immune to the thralls of life.  There are cheaters, gossips, thieves and very mean-spirited people.  Because we share the same sport, does not make us immune to human nature.  I also saw the best of humanity, total strangers helping total strangers.  The spirit of human ambition and goal setting.  It was that same year, I had my first serious runner’s injury (fractured leg).

In 2014, I no longer cared about the medals or even the awards.  After being injured and unable to run for the last part of 2013, I was grateful to be back on my legs and in the Start Corrals.  I set new PR’s that I had been chasing since 2012, I ran with more determination, freedom and peace.  I ran in memory of my best friend who died suddenly, weeks before Christmas.  I ran to celebrate the unity of my new found family.

So, where am I in 2015? Good question.  I have different running values.  I still and always will treasure all my medals, but that is not why I run.  My tastes have evolved.  I am a 53 year old Masters Runner, who is enjoying the process of being the best I can be.  I am grateful for my history, my stories and experiences since 2010, but I know that person and athlete no longer exists.  I have evolved.

The athlete I was in 2010 was not the ‘wrong’ type of athlete, that was exactly who I needed to be, at that time.  Next year, I will be a different athlete and I love the prospect of who we can become.

Running is like writing a book, chapter after chapter.  One day, I will write the ending of my current book and work on the sequel.

I look forward to seeing where the next evolution will take me!

Run Fab,

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
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#FitnessHacks #FABHacks | Preventing the Short Mileage Runs

We have all been there, we set out on a run, let’s say a 3 mile run.  We reach 1.5 miles, turn around to come back home and we finish at 2.98.  Ugh!

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After a few frustrating runs that ended up being short, despite my perfect planning, I decided to try something new. When I reach the turn around point, I keep running for another 2 minutes, then I turn around and head back.

I no longer have shorted out and back runs.  You see, 3.97 is not 4 miles and that last .03 can make a difference between a podium finish and a PR.  I am going to run and train for every mile I can, not going to cheat myself, not even for .03 miles.

 

Until next time – keep running, FAB!

 

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
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RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
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Race Report: RnRAZ Marathon | Many Surprises

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As I sit here to develop my race report, my mind is in different directions.  First and foremost, I ran a RnR race.  My first involvement with RnR since 2012 pacing gig at RnRLV and of course, my first RnR “race” since the RnRLV 2011 disaster.

In the aftermath of that fateful night in 2011, I never thought I would be sitting down to write a RnR race report.  Ever.  And as the ole saying goes, “never say, never“.

The decision to race in RnRAZ was out of need.  I needed a January Marathon to match my training plans for my BQ quest. I needed a marathon to start off my 2015 and RnRAZ was the closest in vicinity and most viable option.  I kept my plans very low-key and most runner friends had no idea I was not going to be at the Disney Star Wars and racing elsewhere.  I needed a low profile and I got it.  I needed to focus on the job at hand, and I am glad I handled it the way I did.

You see, I have spent the last 3 years running a disaster of a marathon, again and again.  Not once, did I have a finish, I was content nor proud of.  This was my last chance to see if I was going to keep pursuing my BQ dreams.  I came to AZ with no expectations and but I had hopes I would be upright, strong and not headed to the nearest ER.  As my people says, “you race well in all other distances, but you do awful, awful in the marathon.”  No amount of training seems to get me through the physical and emotional meltdown that has plagued me for the last 3 years.  I had reached the do or give-up point.

#RunningMama, #RunningBro and I set out on our travels on Friday AM. That AM I woke up with a really bad ingrown toe nail, so I immediately texted Bro to tell him I might back out of the marathon, but considering the Half.  In my previous experiences with ingrown toenails, it typically takes several days for me to recover.  As I went to the nearest pedicure place, I realized my toenail was not as bad as I thought, but glad I had it taken care of.

As we reached the expo, I realized my foot felt wonderful. Wow!  Both Mom and Bro wanted me to do the 5k, as a shake out run and I felt it would do me some good to do so.  I registered for the 5k and had the chance to have some nice conversations with RnR people during the expo.  I noticed how cordial the staff was to everyone, not only to me.  I had not seen that in previous years and this made me very happy.

After checking into our hotel we had a quick bit to eat in the hotel room.  We packed all our meals, so we were able to save a ton of money and not have to deal with restaurant crowds.

We woke the next morning to a very brisk cool air and ready to shake out on a 5k.  Met up with Dan Cruz, PR for Competitor Group and of course, he snapped a selfie of us.  One would find it hard to believe we would be in the same picture, huh?  Well, history is history and we are on good terms, now.

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The 3 of us went into our corrals and I purposefully left my watch in the hotel room. I knew if I had my watch on, I would race, not shake out.  Our pacers were pro Elites, including Olympians Ryan Hall and Amy Hasting.  I had no idea where I wanted to be so I tucked myself behind the 8min pacer and just hung out there.

Here is a picture of Bro running with Pro Elite, Ryan Hall

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The course continued along the river and I really enjoyed it.  Coming into the last 100 yards I could see I could be a sub25, so I plunked it down.  A few feet would not kill me to push, it.  I finished in 24:47 and good enough for 4th in my Division, only missing 3rd place by a few seconds.  Oh well!

I can tell you, it has been a LONG time that I felt that happy crossing a finish line at a 5k.  The race energy was fun and yet, competitive.  I met up with a fellow Seattle-ite (there were MANY) and I had to get a picture with his 12th Man flag.  He lived in Auburn, WA and I grew up in Redmond, WA.

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Here is our family picture.  Great morning, I couldn’t of asked for a better feeling 5k.  I am glad I registered.

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A picture of Ryan Hall and I post 5k

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We headed back to the hotel for relaxing and eating.  Boy, it sure makes a difference to get away from all the crowds and just chill out for a day.

After a solid night sleep, we were headed out the next morning for our marathon.  Mom was scheduled to volunteer at the finish line, handing out medals (see picture below).  Big morning for all of us.

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Bro and I headed to the start via the Tram and it was a breeze to get there.  I had heard it was a pain in the butt to ride the tram to the start, but I didn’t see any problems. Straight shot for us.  We huddled in the nearest Starbucks to keep warm and use the toilets (of course).

We separated into our Corrals, he was in 1 and I was in 3.  I was about 2-3 minutes behind the gun.  As I stood there, all I could do was ask God to honor Kirk’s commitment to his training.  He deserved to reach his goals and I would give up my race, if it meant it would be successful.  I wanted his success more than I wanted mine.

As I started the race, I felt good.  No pressure, no stress and I was going along for the ride.  A very long ride!  As I passed Mile 1, I noticed something was funky with my Garmin.  As I entered into Mile 2, I realized it was on Lap setting and resetting the accumulated time and mile, at every mile.  Groovy.  Oh well, I had a ballpark idea of my pace and I needed to just run by feel.  Finish strong, finish upright. Don’t go to the ER.  That was my goal.

It was an absolutely stunning AM, truly a racers dream.  I made only one pit stop at Mile 14.  So…those who want to know if I had any poopy problems at an RnR race.  None.

At each aid station I sipped on water or drank Gatorade.  Check.  The water was fine, folks!

I did not fuel until Mile 12ish, as I didn’t feel the drag until then.  I continued to take my electrolye capsules every few miles and drink Gatorade.

At Mile 13, I had an idea I was at a sub2 pace, but I was not sure.  I missed seeing the clock, so I could not gauge, 100%.

Around Mile 17-18, I felt a rush of heat.  The sun came blaring down and I had layers.  I was wearing a singlet underneath Sheri’s memorial shirt for shirt. I knew I needed to shred the layers, but I was not tossing Sheri’s shirt and my bib was on the outer layer.  So, I stopped.  I had to take off my bib, take off my memorial shirt and put the bib on my singlet.  I lost at least 6 minutes doing this, I was not going to stress about it.  I was at Mile 18 and I was feeling pretty good, which is more than I have ever felt at Mile 18.

I also took some time to stretch out my hips, as a preventive measure.

Back on the course…I was still holding my own and my mind was still in place.  I continually told myself to stay mentally focused and know this is what I have trained my body to do.  Trust my training.

At Mile 22, my knees started to get overly stiff, so I stopped at a lightpole to stretch out.  I quickly texted the Bro and my hubby to let them know where I was and I was doing fine.  I vaguely remember looking at the clock on my phone, but nothing registered to me how I was doing.

Back on the course and I knew I was going to finish and finish feeling good.  Yes!

Coming up on Mile 24, I saw someone sitting in the middle of the course.  My heart skipped a beat.  It was a down runner.  I saw runners running by her and no one stopped, I had to stop.  If it had not been for the kind runners at BCW, I would of never been able to get up.

The downed runner (female) was complaining she had a calf cramp. I asked her if she needed help to get up and she declined.  So, I gave her a mustard pack and told her to swallow it with water, it will help out tremendously.  She assured me she was okay to get up and I was free to go.  I hope she made it, I should of gotten her bib number to check on her. Darn.

Coming over the last bridge, the emotions started to creep up my chest

“Keep your head, keep your head.  You have trained for this moment, for the last 3 years.  Don’t lose your head”

As I turned the corner, I took Sheri’s shirt from my belt and held it behind me like a flag.  I wanted everyone to see that shirt, especially Sheri.  As I drew closer, I saw the clock.  I saw that I had a huge PR and that was far more than I every expected of myself that day.

The moment I crossed the finish line, my mom put the medal on my neck and I needed medical attention, badly.  My knees and upper back were killing me.  My finish time?  4:13:02, which gave me a 19 minute PR and I am staring at a BQ.   A runner friend stated if I had not stopped to take off my layers, reposition my bib and stop to help the downed runner, I would of had my BQ.  While that is true, I have no regrets running the race the way I did.  I achieved my goal and then some!

A kind Medic got me immediate attention and I received medical care.  Bro found me and we both received a much needed massage.  Bro was pretty quiet, so I had no idea if he made his goal and when he finally told me what his Garmin said, I couldn’t contain my excitement.  When he finally checked his results…I cried.  He achieved his sub3 marathon!  My bro is a sub3 marathoner!  I sit here, with a big grin on my face, just thinking about his success.  He has gone from a Couch-to-5k’er to becoming a sub3 marathoner in less than 3 years.

After Medical, I was able to meet Kevin Gonzalez.  A true RnR Superstar and glad we finally met face to face.  What a nice man! 

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Bro and I picked up our Remix (running the 5k + Half or Full) and our Marathon Finisher jackets.  Beginning in 2015, RnR is giving away jackets to all Marathon finisher.  Yes, giving away.  What a perk, huh?

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As we headed back to the car, we passed the Finish Line and I looked back at the entire event and thought to myself, “this is how it should be, always”

RnR made some horrible mistakes in 2011 and they know it.  They now, have a new company owner, new management and new focus.  I began my running career with them in 2010 and I am thrilled beyond words that they are working hard to be the race company they should be.

So, never say never, folks.  Companies evolve and change.  I am proud to say I ran the RnRAZ 2015 and you betcha I am looking forward to coming back and even running another RnR, in the future. They have regained my trust.

  • Thank you RnR for welcoming me back with open hearts and honest words!  I see you are trying and I would be a fool to not acknowledge it.  Thank you for listening to me and countless others and providing a race experience we deserve.  Please keep going in the direction you are going!

 

  • Thank you to my Bro and Mom.  I could not of imagined that weekend without you.

 

  • Thank you to my husband.  I know you didn’t want me to run another RnR, but now you see why I needed to.

 

  • Thank you to Teri Mahaney of Train Your Brain for Runners.  You have given me the mental training & cleansing I needed to keep my head clear, when the legs were rather achey.

RnRAZ

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My race shoes:  Altra One2’s (purple) – both races

My fueling:  Gummy Bears, Hammer Electrolyte Capsules, Honey Stinger Strawberry Kiwi and course sports drink/water

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Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com and KT Tape
*Team Super Hero Master’s Elite 2013-15
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Running Coach & Public Speaker
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