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.

Dan

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
*Founder, Running Troops
Running Coach & Public Speaker
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RACE REPORT: 6 Tunnels Turkey Trot | It Was a Family Affair

Last year, I was on the sidelines watching my friends & family run this race.  I am glad I was healed and well enough to participate.  It is my favorite course, so any chance I get to race in 6 Tunnels, I want to be there.

Earlier in the week, I battled a fierce head cold, so I came to the race with some stuffiness and very low expectations.  You may recall, my last 5k was in PA, when I felt wonderful and failed miserably at my 5k, for no apparent reason.

Arriving at 6 Tunnels, bro and I met up with mom and his Canadian friends, Andy and Rachel. We know it’s Thanksgiving when Andy arrives, for his yearly trek.  This year, he brought his sweet girlfriend to experience Las Vegas.

Bro was scheduled to race the 12k, but a glute issue was keeping him from racing his best, so he decided to drop down to the 5k and run with me.  Since I suffer from Exercise Induced Asthma (EIA) and I had chest congestion, this was not prime conditions.  I didn’t care, I was out there to push as hard as I could and enjoy being at 6 Tunnels with my friends and family.

Andy (Bro’s friend) was scheduled to run the 12k and Rachel (the friend’s, girlfriend) was participating in the 1 mile.

  • 12k started at 8:00am
  • 5k started at 8:05am

That was the first problem.  With the size of this race (over 1000), the 5k’ers were bottle necked at mile 1/2, since we had reached the 12ker’s walkers.  I have finally come to the decision, that walkers will not move over.  I respect they also paid for this race, but please move over when others are trying to run around you.  They really should start the 5k at 8:00am or even 8:30am.  The first half of this race was nothing more than weaving and running into other people.  That can be completely avoided with a different start time.  I have been to plenty of races where there is at least 30 minutes between each distance start.

Coming into the first tunnel, the dust was the worst and I have run this course a lot.  I even had to put my hand over my mouth to keep from breathing the dust through my mouth.

Out of the first tunnel, I tried to surge a bit, but I was at the 8:23 mile mark.  That is my half marathon pace, not my 5k pace, even on that trail/dirt course.  Then, into the second tunnel and that was dust was even worse.  Ugh.

Turn around and back through the tunnels, at least I was mentally prepared for the dust.  Coming out of the second tunnel, I went into my surge…well, I tried.  Once we hit the 1 mile turn around – we were met with 4 and 5 people across (walking) and blocking the course.  Bro tried to plow a way but people were not listening to us “runners coming through, please move aside”.

I felt good and I felt strong, but I knew a PR was out of my reach, I was held up way too long on bottlenecks and moving around others.  I was NOT that far back, I was in the top group and these crowds made us feel like we were in the middle or back of the pack.

Came in a 25:20.  Respectable on a trail course and missed my course PR by a few seconds.  I was very pleased and much happier than my race in PA, that was for sure.

Once I crossed the finish line, the sneezing and wheezing started.  Oh mercy, that kept coming for at least 10 minutes.  Rachel met up with Kirk and I.  Next, we had to wait for mom on her 5k and then Andy on his 12k.

While I was in my sneezing attack, Kirk ran out to find mom.  I was quite concerned she was on this dirt/gravel course. I didn’t want her to do it, as he is so prone to tripping and falling.

Mom and Bro come in and sure enough, she fell.  Allegedly, someone tripped her on the course.  Oh, Mom. 

We checked results and I was 2nd in my AG (again).  This is a pattern, I always get 2nd in my AG at the Turkey Trot and this was my 3rd 2nd place AG for this Turkey Trot. I finished 88th overall (including men) out of 723 racers.  No complaints from me!  

Here I am with my AG award and Ladybug’s ball (the course, where Ladybug’s ball tradition began in 2011)

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Mama got 2nd in her AG.  And even though Kirk was tagging along with me, he got 3rd in his AG. We both giggled, at this one!

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Andy came in strong on his 12k finish and we had a great time chatting about the race. Here is our group photo with medals and AG awards.

 

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I am so happy I could run this race, again. I missed it!  Once again, beautiful day and great temps.  This course never, ever disappoints me.  The only disappointment was the overt crowding and bottle necks.  That can be completely avoided, hope the RD makes those changes for next year. 

My race gear:

Shoes:  Altra One2’s (purple)

Socks:  DryMax

Headband:  (Black) Bondi Band

Shorts: Brooks

Shirt:  TSH singlet with a black tech shirt underneath

 

Another Turkey Trot is done and I am so glad I went.

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and Island Boost
*Team Super Hero Master’s Elite 2013-14
*Founder, Running Troops
Certified Running Coach, Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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What’s Happening at FAB Running in November | Big News Coming!

It’s November and it feels so odd to even type that!  It feels like just yesterday it was the middle of the summer and I was suffering from the heat.  I am glad those days are behind me (for now).

 

I thought I would give you and overview of what is happening behind the scenes at FAB Running!

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Check out the 5k medal! (The 11k medal is larger)

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First up – this Sunday, 11/09.  I am back in the Race Director saddle as the Las Vegas RD for the National Veteran’s Day 11k, 5k and 1 mile Fun Run.  This is the fourth year of our the Las Vegas event and the first year they have asked me to direct the race.  I have been working very closely with the national office to ensure this event is enjoyable and eventual for all!  My goal is to celebrate our Veterans, their families and our freedom.

  • Mark Jones is coming in from San Diego as our race announcer and DJ.  You will know him from many southern CA events like Awesome 80’s, Hollywood Half, Costume Party Run and more.  An added bonus, is Mark is a Marine veteran.
  • My brother, Kirk Buckley will be the lead bike for the 11k.  A great athlete and an Air Force Veteran.
  • We have a special surprise for you, for the National Anthem! 

——> If you have not already registered, be sure to do so. We are expected to sell out within the next day or two.  CLICK HERE

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After the Veteran’s Day Run, I will be getting ready to head out to the Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon at Disneyland.  While I am not a super hero fan, per se – I could not pass up a Half Marathon close to my birthday and at Disneyland.  I will not be wearing a costume as I hope to have a good paced race and frankly, I just don’t have the time nor focus to create another costume.  I will be in my traditional Team Super Hero Elite kit, so I will be in the right them.

After Avengers a dear friend and I are spending a few days in DL.  It’s no secret I LOVE Disneyland and for the first time, I am going to celebrate my birthday in the park. While my birthday is around Thanksgiving, this will be my celebration.  After going to the park over 50 times, I think it’s time to do it on my birthday.  I look forward to laughs, pin trading and girl time.

I cannot wait to wear a Disneyland HAPPY BIRTHDAY button!

Happy Birthday button

 

So, what’s my big news? A FAB-O GIVEAWAY! 

 

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I will be launching a giveaway on December 1st,  that will blow you away.  No, really it will!

As of this writing (subject to change) I will be offering a prize package of:

  • Altra Running Shoes (I will be posting my shoe review, after Avengers Half)
  • iFit Active Band
  • Joe Weider Fitness Gear
  • Lotus Yoga Gear
  • Island Boost Fueling Package
  • KT Tape
  • RobKellerMD.com OGF supplements
  • Hollywood Half Marathon race registration (Hollywood, CA)
  • Desert Dash race registration (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Runner’s World Cookbook
  • Runner’s World Big Book of Running for Beginners
  • Shakeology Package

 

The retail value is over $500!  How would you like to have this under your Christmas Tree or give as gifts? 

Be sure to follow my blog to enter the contest.  The more you tweet & share – the better your chances.

Stay tuned until December 1st!

Any race plans for November?

What prize is the most exciting to you? 


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

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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.

 

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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.

 

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