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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Runner’s #1 Addiction | It is not Finisher Medals

While we all love to cross the Finish Line and receive the medal, to signify our accomplishment.  Better yet, to receive an Overall or AG award sweetens the pot.

Yet, runner’s have an addiction, and we are not ashamed to show the world.  Our shoes!  A runner can often be identified by the type of shoes.  Each brand appears to have their own culture and style of runners.  Advertising works, huh?

After Meb won the Boston Marathon 2014, I know many runners chose to switch to Skechers.  After the recent USATF World Championship controversy, many opted to not run in Nike’s.

Yet, the is the not the addiction. The addiction is we don’t want to let go of our shoes, right?  I am a self-proclaimed organizing and de-clutter freak.  I keep what I need and want is truly sentimental.  One would never call me a hoarder or pack rat.  Yet, the day I realized my first pair of Brook’s were done, I remember looking at them and gazing. These were the shoes I ran my first endurance race in 2010. These were the shoes that brought me my first Overall awards.  So many memories, but I still parted with them and donated them to charity.

In 2014, 4 years after running with Brooks, I was asked to test out the Altra Running shoes.  You may remember my experience from the Runner’s World Half Marathon in Bethlehem, PA.  Click Here.

After that experience, I knew it was time to say goodbye to Brooks.  It was like saying goodbye to an old friend.  Yet, Altra had the design I was looking for, a foot-shaped shoe, less cushion and zero drop.

My feet have not run in anything since October 2014.  In fact, I have 4 pairs, but I do not run in all of them.

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Pair 1, purple – was my first pair of Altra’s.  (One 2’s) – they are now my errand or house cleaning shoes

Pair 2, purple – my recently retired racing and running shoes

Pair 3 (middle pair) – my Intuitions. I wear them on my easy run days

Pair 4 – my new One 2.5’s. (color:  sprite)  I wear them on my speed, long runs and racing days.

 

One may wonder if I am connected with the company and is this a paid endorsement?  Nope.  While I did receive a complimentary pair at Runner’s World – the remaining pairs are paid for and by my choice.  I am not a Sponsored Athlete nor an Ambassador of Altra Running.

 

Ironically, when people find out I wear Altra’s.  I am asked “you run trails”  or “you run ultra distances?”  While I have run some trails, I am not a trail runner.  I love the road.  Ultra marathons are not something I am looking to run, any time soon.  It’s a shame that more road racers do not wear Altra’s, they are missing out.  My entire family wears them, including my speedo brother.

I am a road racer and runner and wearing Altra’s have given me a chance to improve my form and speed.  I was able to PR by 19 minutes on my marathon in January.  A PR I have been chasing for 3 years.

I have zero plans or desire to move away from Altra shoes.  If you have not looked into Altra’s, I recommend you do.  www.AltraRunning.com

Run Fab,

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
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RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
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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.

 

running evolution

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
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
*Team Super Hero Master’s Elite 2013-15
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Have Trouble Sleeping the Night Before a Race? | #FitnessHacks #FABHacks

Whether it is your first or your 100th race, getting enough sleep the night before is often a stressful time.  I learned very quickly some great tips and rarely do I have an unrestful night, pre race.

 

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1.  Do not, under any circumstances eat and attend the Pasta Dinner the night before. That is not carb loading.  You need to carb load 72 hours before, not the night before.  In fact, carb loading should be a progression, beginning 72 hours before a race.  Eating heavy the night before not only will sabotage your race day, but will keep you awake.  While it is not the popular choice, I no longer go out the night before a race, no matter how many invitations I receive.  The night before a race, I am at home or in my hotel room, eating my own meal and away from the crowds.  It allows me to focus on my goals and what I hope to accomplish on race day.  After the race, is when I meet up with friends.  If your race is important to you, then do not go out the night before.  Your legs, your mind and your stomach will thank you.

2. 2 days before your race, get up really early.  I mean, REALLY early. I will get up around 3am, 2 days before the race day. That leaves me with very little sleep, on purpose.  So, on the night before race day, I am tired and can fall asleep easily and early.

3.  Melatonin.  A natural vitamin, that is not a sleeping pill. It is in the vitamin section and you only need 3 mg’s to doze off.  (Check with your Doctor before taking any new supplements).

4.  #2 and #3 – practice this several times during your training period.  Ideally, before your long runs.  This allows you to test out your sleep patterns and if Melatonin can work for you (I know a few people who have tried Melatonin and it gives them a horrible headache.  Don’t wait until race weekend to find out, it may not work for you).

Try out these tips and let me know if any of them work for you.  Happy pre-race day rest!

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
*Team Super Hero Master’s Elite 2013-15
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Summer Training | True Test of Your Will & Spirit

Greetings from Las Vegas (in the middle of the Summer)!

Say the words “Las Vegas” to anyone who does not live here and the typical response is “ugh!  It’s so HOT there!”

Yes, we know, we live here.

Does dry heat make a difference?  It does for me.  I lived in the horribly humid Nashville, TN for 9 years and I can handle Las Vegas heat over humidity, any day.

MYTH:  we do not have 120F temps year round, only for a few weeks during the year.  In the AM, I am running in 80 degree weather.  On my long run it was 75F when I walked out the door.  It spikes very quickly in the triple digits, but typically it hovers around 105F, most of the Summer.

Last year was my worst Summer training, ever.  I was training for the Big Cottonwood Marathon in September and it is blistering downhill. The only way I could make it happen, was to train in the Summer.

exhausted runner

I approached last year’s Summer training as wisely as I could.  I fell apart by end of July, despite my plans.  August was an awful training month for me, awful awful.  This year, I am approaching Summer training differently.  I have tweaked to know what works and what does not.  I might have to get up at 3am or 4am to get a run in, but it keeps me from mentally falling apart when the temp’s start to rise.

I don’t believe in pushing myself to unhealthy extreme’s, either.  My core temperature rises to very high levels if I am running in the sunshine and temps over 80F.  I recently ran a 5k and I thought I was going to faint at the end.  It’s just how my body is and I am not going to force it to change.

So, how does the Summer test you (and me)?  Naturally our body slows down.  That means our paces will probably not be where they want them to be.  My solution? I don’t wear a watch.  This morning, I did my speed work.  No watch, I just ran as fast as I could.  I knew if I looked at my watch, I would get frustrated.  I focused on my form and keeping my pace.  I walked away from my training feeling solid, not “what just happened out there?”

Another solution, I map out my runs before I go.  That way, I don’t have to turn on my watch.  I do wear a watch, because it has my RoadID, but I rarely turn it on.  I save my watch for race day.

Summer training tests you on how bad you want your goals.  Somewhere, down deep we realize that we must train in the summer if we want to achieve our Fall racing goals, no matter the distance.

I am like any other runner, I have moments when I want to quit and stop.  There are times, I have to walk as I can feel my heart rate elevate to high levels.  Yet, one thing is constant – each time I step out that door for a training run, I keep my end goal on my mind.  It is the only way, I will keep moving.

I will visualize accomplishing that goal.  I will talk to myself about that goal.  I Summer is another pathway for me to get there.  If I don’t make my goal, I know I gave it all I had and I would rather of tried than regret.

How about you?  How are you getting through the Summer?  Please share this blog post on Twitter and FB with your tips for Summer training.

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
*Team Super Hero Master’s Elite 2013-15
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*CHAR SHARES* Pick Your Purpose vs Popularity |Stay True to You

After running a few events or even after your first, you realize and witness what an diversified group we are.  Different backgrounds, different cities and different goals.

As with any group, there are some who believe they “know” what race fun is and is not.  For myself, after 4 years of racing, I am quite frankly tired of anyone saying to me “why don’t you just have fun when race?”

Or the ever popular, “I am not running for speed, I am running for fun”

I don’t get it.  Why does anyone think that running for a personal best is not fun?  Why must someone feel the need to even proclaim why they are running that event?  Shouldn’t we run for ourselves and who cares if others approve or not?

At a recent race, I was next to a racer who was going on and on about how she was not going to race for speed, she was taking it easy, she wanted to enjoy the scenery and whatever else.  I stood there listening to her explanation and she paused, I think she was waiting for me to proclaim my goals.  I did not, my goals are my goals.  My reply to her?  With a big smile, I said “enjoy your race!”  I saw her at the end of the race, and she asked, “how did you do? Did you PR?”  I said, “fine, it was a lot of fun!”  She stared at me with a blank stare. 

I find it comical that this was from the same runner, who was going on and on about not running for time and I never once indicated my event goal.

For the record, I have a blast, at every race. Training and pushing myself is FUN for me.  While others may need costumes, selfies and others to define their “fun”, that is not type of fun at a race.  There is no wrong or right way to have fun at a race, but wearing costumes nor selfies do not have a monopoly on the racing fun.

Not everyone (if anyone) will approve or accept your running goals. They won’t accept why you don’t attend Pasta Parties, group photos, beer gardens, photos on the course. Others won’t accept your vision, your dreams. That does not make you a bad person or horrible friend, if you chose not participate. 

It only means, you have found out why you run. Not everyone enjoys all the meet-ups, parties or other.  Some enjoy the social aspect of running. I think all are fine and fun, if that is what the person wants to do and stays true to themselves, not follow what the “popular kids” do.

Keep your focus and true to yourself. You paid the money for that race, please do not allow anyone to dictate to you, how you participate. After all, why does anyone care (or judge) if you race, run, jog or skip through the course.  It is your time and your energy – you can spend it any way you wish.

Find your purpose in running and stick to it.  Choose that over popularity. Trust me, that is when running becomes fun.  Be true to your running and racing goals.

 

 

 

PurposePopularity

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
*Team Super Hero Master’s Elite 2013-15
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Introducing the FAB-O PRIZE package winner!

My thanks the THOUSANDS of entries for the $800 prize package I offered on my blog in December.  The winner was selected, randomly by Rafflcopter.

 

The winner is……

Paula Varble in car

*Paula Varble of Indiana!*

Twitter:  @pvarble1

 

As we await the shipment of all the exciting products to her door step, she has given me permission to share her story with you. 

“Probably the thing I love to share the most is I’m a past dog hater turned absolutely in love with my ten pound little Morkie (Maltese/Yorkie mix) whom we adopted three years ago.We have been married 4 1/2 years and he is our only “baby”.

 

Paula Varble

I have one brother who is 13 months older than me but since he was held back in first grade people always thought we were twins.

I love fitness and nutrition and at the age of 40 I finally found my passion last year. I just completed my nutrition course and will be testing soon to become a certified professional nutrition coach. After ten years of being an Administrative Assistant for a local college, I’d love to one day turn my passion of nutrition into a full-time job.

My facebook page, Get Fierce!Fitness, is www.facebook.com/getfiercepv and my website is www.getfiercepv.wix.com/getfierce.

Jesus is my anchor, so in it all and through it all, He gets me through the tough times in life.” – Paula

 

Congratulations Paula,I cannot wait to hear you have received all your goodies!

 

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com and KT Tape
*Team Super Hero Master’s Elite 2013-15
*Founder, Running Troops
Certified 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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My Altra Shoe Review | One2’s

I am not stranger to Altra shoes, but I have not paid attention.  Following my blog, you know I am brand loyal. I have worn the same style of racing shoes since 2012.  I had a few months were I tried another brand and quickly moved back to my original brand.

In the past, I have to wear Men’s style.  My toe box needs are wider than the average female shoe, plus Men’s color of shoes are more my liking.  I

As you know, I was an invited blogger to the Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival in PA, in October.  One of the many wonderful gifts was a pair of Altra shoes.  I received mine days before the trip, so I had not tested them out on a run.

Back it up a bit.  I am surrounded by Altra lovers, but still I thought they were for trails, only.  My brother ran the Disney 5k in them, that’s doable in trail shoes.  I have friends who swear by them, but they are 100% trail runners. So, I never entertained the thought of looking into them and besides I was happy with my current shoes.

I tried on the shoes, and my toes were happy.  Much wider, but I was not convinced I would like these shoes.  I wore them to the first day of blogger duties and after listening to Golden Harper (who is the founder of Altra shoes) on his philosophy of a foot-shaped shoe and zero drop, I had to speak with further about my road racing goals.

My goals are to BQ in 2015 but to increase my speed so I need a shoe that can serve both.  I learned he designed the One2’s for marathons but they are great for speed.  I felt the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

Golden switched me to a women’s shoe and a size bigger than I typically wear.  And they are purple.  I love purple, but on shoes?  At that point, I didn’t care.

AltraOne2

Altra One2

One slip into my newly fitted, I had found my new shoes!  They say you find when you are not looking. That was me. I had no intentions of leaving my shoe brand.  I have been a faithful user since 2012 and I was happy.

For the first time in 4 years of running, my foot felt relaxed. I was almost giddy with excitement.

Since that time, I have trained exclusively in my One2’s.  I feel lighter but more supported.  I feel my feel are doing what they do best, relax.  It took me a few days to transition, since I wear minimalist anyways.  The hardest part was to relax my toes and let them splay.

A few days after wearing my One2’s I put on my old training shoes and I felt like I was wrapped in an ace bandage and I said, “ouch!”

I have not worn my previous brand for running, since that time.

This past weekend, I ran the Disneyland Inaugural Half Marathon in Anaheim, CA.  If you have not heard, we had to tackle the fury of Santa Ana winds.  Staying upright was often impossible and yet, I was able to keep myself running and foot planted the entire way.  Through the winds, flying debris and dust I was able to pull of a 3rd in my Age Group, when I typically finish in the Top 15 in my AG.  This was my best Disney finish, ever!

How did my feet feel?  Incredible.  Despite the leg pain I experienced from being tossed around by the wind, my feet felt great.  I was able to tackle the inclines (on my toes) with ease.  That was not possible in my previous shoes.  Having a wider toe box has proved to be the winning ticket for me.

Here I am in my One2’s at the end of the race. (I am waving at my mom and brother) and again with my brother, post race.  You can see he is wearing his green Altra’s.

Finish

Jose

Thank you Golden Harper for fitting me with these shoes and I look forward to a long and successful relationship with your brand.  P.S. I am hoping Santa brings me another pair!

 

Have you tried the Altra shoes?  If so, what was your experience?

 

*Although I received a complimentary pair of Altra shoes, the opinions are mine and not influenced by Altra, Runner’s World or any other source.

 

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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RACE RECAP: Disneyland Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon | Part 2 and LOTS of wind!

In case you missed my Part 1, CLICK HERE

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

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

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

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

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

Avengers Half Marathon 2014 20141116_050452

Photo courtesy of Emil Cheng

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

Sis and Bro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stadium

 

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

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

I passed Mile 10 at 1:27:##

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finish

Ladybugs Ball

 

Medal

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

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

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

Jose

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

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

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

My results

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

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

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

I want to thank…

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

 

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

 

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

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

Have you raced or run in brutal winds?

How have you trained for windy races?