CHAR SHARES: When A Blogger or Athlete Lets You Down

In 2011 I was given an introductory course into the what I call the “Dark Side” of running.  Someone who I admired, trusted and even called a close friend began a career to hurt me and my family.  Why?  She found out I knew of her (illegal) personal activities and I think she was scared I would reveal the truth to her followers.  That time was the launching pad of many things in my life but most importantly learning that runners are people and people will hurt us and disappoint us.  Lord knows, I am sure I have disappointed people in my own life!

We follow bloggers, we follow pro elites and more.  When they fall, we hurt!  We hurt bad.   We hurt because the image of them is shattered.  Do we have the right to be angry?  You betcha!  The persona they have created has vanished and we are left wondering who and what to believe.

We forgive, and hopefully move on but we don’t forget.  Apologies can be accepted but trust is violated. 

If anything, we should learn not to put someone up on a pedestal and be mindful that what we see of their persona on line is never who they are at home or at work.  Is is fake?  Yes and no.  You don’t see my medical struggles, and I don’t want to share visual pictures of my vertigo attacks or worse.  You see pictures of me smiling with my husband, friends or brother.  You don’t see the crying photos.  The photos that look like I got run over by a truck.  I create the “persona” on IG because that is what social media is for you and me – you know it and so do I.

Find your inspiration in others is okay, but be mindful that nothing and no one is as they appear to be on social media.  Our food isn’t always that pretty, our hair isn’t always perfect.  If you want real life – look within your own family and neighborhoods.  Real life in real time.


Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV

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Day 4 of RWHalf & Festival: Half Marathon Day!


Day 1 – Arrival Day and Rodale/Runner’s World HQ Tour

Day 2, Part 1 – Run, Yoga & Food

Day 2, Part 2 – Kid’s Races!

Day 3 – 5k, 10k and Being with my Brother

I woke up at 12midnight to horrible rib pain.  I walked down the hotel hallways and bagged up some ice.  By 2am, it wasn’t any better and I decided to get up and get my racing kit ready and to keep moving. For some reason, laying down (in any position) was bothering my ribs. By now, walking was painful.  I guess the 5k hurt me more, than I realized.

At 2am, I discovered my Half Marathon bib was missing.  It was not in my Half Marathon gear bag, I had a different bag for the 5k.  For a few moments I was worried and then, I realized 1) My ribs are hurting way too bad, that will hinder my ability to breathe  2) the Bib is missing and should I make RW Public Relations jump through hoops to get me another bib.

My answer was:  not race the Half.  I knew in my heart of heart, that my rib issue would cause me more grief and I couldn’t risk it. I was very disappointed, as I felt I could redeem myself on this Half.

I got dressed (in my jeans & hoodie).  I waited until I knew the Bro was awake and I texted him the news. Naturally he was disappointed, but since he saw the damage of my BCW marathon falls in September, he felt I made the right choice.

I walked to the Sands Hotel & Casino and it was COLD! I was so glad I bought this hoodie at the Vegas airport.  While I am not a hoodie type of person, I was this weekend!


Found Bro and we had a our FREEZING IN PA picture



Bro’s same goal:  sub7 pace.  I think he had it in him, as this course had hills (his specialty).

Race Start:


After the start, I made my way into the Casino outlet mall for some warm coffee. Around the 1:05 mark, I started to head to the Finish.  I was immediately passed by the Overall Winner and realized it was the same winner as the 10k.

It was great to watch the top group come in. A few of my fellow blogger-mates came in on the front pack.  One of our bloggers is an Olympic-trials qualifier!

I expected Bro to finish around 1:35 and then…in the distance, I could see him.  I looked at the clock and realized that a sub 1:30 was within his grasp. I started screaming and yelling to kick.

He crossed the finish in 1:29:## – another sub7 race! 


He could not wait until the awards ceremony, as he had to get back to hotel. They would not give him a late check out, not even by an hour.

I waited and he earned 2nd in his AG!  3 awards in 3 races!  The man pulled off a Hat Trick!

I ran back to my hotel to get ready and leave for the airport.  In hand, was his 2nd place AG plaque.  I was determined to get it to him, soon.

Our original plans was to have the same flight home. But his connector to Philly was delayed and it messed us all up.  I came into Vegas sooner than he did.  Hubby and I went back to pick him up and to give him his plaque. A few days later, he came to my house and I was able to get photos with all his awards.  This is my favorite.


This was such an exceptional weekend!  Many have asked if I like this better than my Heartbreak Hill Boston trip.  It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Different city, different people, different bloggers, different vibe.  I truly, truly enjoyed both and would go back to both or either of them, again and again.  If I lived closer, I would of registered for them, already.

Runner’s World hosts exceptional events. Racers giving it their all, no matter their finish times.  Even though I was there to work as a member of the blogging team, I had a blast, learned so much from the sponsors and other exhibitors.  It’s a memory that Bro and I will keep in our hearts for a long time.  I posted over 50 photos on my Instagram – go check them out @ladybug_runner

Every moment of this experience, was wonderful, so far.  I am so grateful for this opportunity that Runner’s World has given me.

*Disclaimer:   I was an invited guest blogger to the Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival in Bethlehem, PA.  The views, reviews and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the organizers nor sponsors or any other company/individual affiliated with the event.



Day 2, Part 2 – Runner’s World Kid’s Races

Onto the Kid’s Races!  The night was so special, I felt it needed it’s own blog post.

Recap of the last two posts:


Day 1 – Arrival Day and Rodale/Runner’s World HQ Tour

Day 2, Part 1 – Run, Yoga & Food




After a full day with my blog-mates with a energetic shake-out run, food, yoga and more food, Katie (Runs for Cookies) and I hung around the race location to watch the kiddos to officially kick-off the weekend festival.



My hair had a mind of it’s own during this trip and where was I looking?  Can we just call this trip a bad hair and bad camera time for Charlene? 

The first race was the iddy biddies for a quarter mile.  Bart Yasso led the way on the lead bike.

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The excitement was in the air and the crowd went crazy.  RW allows the parents to run with their children, which is a good thing. For those children running solo, they were directed into a Finish Line area where the parents could pick them up.  A wonderful safety feature is a parent cannot pick up a child without a matching tag, similar to gear check.

Next up were the 7-8 years old, they ran a half mile.  Again, Bart on the lead bike


Next up were the oldest kids – 9-10 years old, I believe. They were to run a mile. Well!  The lead runner, a boy almost ran past Bart Yasso and clocked in a 5 minute mile.  Geez, kid!  (Somehow I missed a picture, sorry)

The Runner’s World festival had officially begun!  I am glad Katie recommended to stay, it was a great way to start the race weekend.

Afterwards, we set out to find some dinner.  It wasn’t an easy thing to do (since I am GF) but we found a local pizza place, Sotto.  Katie loved her pizza and I had a caprese salad.

Back to the hotel room to prepare for the first day of racing and seeing my brother!  I couldn’t wait to share this experience with him!


Every moment of this experience, was wonderful, so far.  I am so grateful for this opportunity that Runner’s World has given me.  I look forward to sharing the next few days with you in upcoming blog posts.

*Disclaimer:   I was an invited guest blogger to the Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival in Bethlehem, PA.  The views, reviews and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the organizers nor sponsors or any other company/individual affiliated with the event.


Day 2: Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival | Run, Yoga & Food

Onward onto #RWHalf Day 2. In case you missed it, here is my Day 1 recap

After a nice night’s sleep, Katie F. and I set out to our first official day as bloggers.  This is the day the real work began for the bloggers.  Time to report into social media and share with others on what is happening!  As a RW blogger, we were there to report to our followers and test out new products.  For me, it has nothing to do with products or how many freebies I can get in my luggage, but the overall experience of posting on social media and sharing with you, what I experience.  I would come, even without all the perks and freebies.

We met in our hotel lobby and was quickly escorted to the back side to be met up with by Cindy Lynch of Running Skirts.  For the 3rd year in a row, they were a sponsor of this event.  I have known Cindy for awhile and it’s always a pleasure to see her at an event.  While both of us have a West Coast connection, it’s fun to see each other in non-West Coast locations, too.

Our first activity was “The Great Shake Out Run”.  We were paired up into groups with other bloggers and 1-2 Altra staff.  Of course, I was paired up with fast people and with my body in it’s recovery phase from my marathon falls, this was going to be interesting!

Cindy instructed us, we were to run to bags of clothes, put them on (including the goofy accessories) and tag our next team member.  Of course, my clothing consisted of a pink running skirt and wings.  I think it was a conspiracy. 

After our costume leg of the race, we were given clues on our next location.  Off we ran to St Lukes Hospital (a race sponsor) for a group selfie (per the instructions).

After the hospital, we were off to an Irish Pub and another group selfie.

THEN…off to Sands Casino for a photo in front of the yellow corvette on the casino floor.

And finally back to ArtQuest for a crossword puzzle and to the finish. We came in a very close second.  The run was suppose to be an easy pace, so I wore my long sleeved tech shirt from Running Shirts (perk from the RW Heartbreak Hill festival in Boston) and my Brooks jacket. Big mistake.  I over heated, quite quickly and eventually took off the costume, too (thank goodness).

After arriving at ArtQuest at the Steel Stacks, we had a wonderful breakfast of fruits, berries, yogurt parfait and more. Thank you, Altra Running for providing our breakfast.  It hit the spot!

While enjoying breakfast, I couldn’t help by sit in awe of the Steel Stacks.  The history buff, that I am, my mind wandered in what the production plant was like in it’s glory. The people, the action, the sounds.  I am still day dreaming.



IMG_20141017_085257  After breakfast we were given the opportunity to hear from some great speakers.  Budd Coates, Runner’s World coach shared his knowledge of proper breathing techniques.  As a person who suffers from exercise induced asthma, this is a great topic. He provided additional information for us to try out on our next run.  He is author of the book, “Run On Air”.  I cannot wait to dig into it, time for a refresher.


IMG_20141017_091315 Golden Harper – the founder of Altra Running.  Not only did he share his personal athletic story, he also shared his Altra story.  More than the “this is our technology and why our shoes are better than anyone else” type of story.  His philosophy of a foot-shaped shoe resonated with me.  I typically wear men’s shoes, they are wider in the toe box.

The more I heard from him, the more I knew I was going to be an Altra Running fan. I had the ONEs, but I wanted him to tell me if they were the right shoe and fit for me.  After the Altra presentation by Golden and his business partner, David – I asked Golden if my current ONEs were the right shoes for me and my goals (Marathon training and racing).  He said he designed ONEs to be a marathon shoe, but it is perfect for racing flats, too.  BINGO!  He refitted me and put me into a women’s size.  Within one minute, I could feel the difference and I was giddy inside.

IMG_20141017_102701 I joined my fellow bloggers at the iFit presentation with Kristin.  You may have noticed I have posted/tweeted a series of photos regarding my new iFit band.  (I will be writing a product review and hosting a giveaway, in the very near future.  The Prize?  A $130 iFit wristband.  Yep! The real deal.)

After the iFit presentation, we were onto our Yoga and Relaxation session.  We walked over to the Steel Stacks visitors center and was warmly greeted by our Instructor.

We were given a collection of yoga equipment.  A yoga mat, bag, block, band, foam roller & foam stick.  I was glad I brought a larger suitcase for my travels!




The Instructor was wonderful and very helpful to show us how to use each item.  Since I am not a fan of traditional yoga, this was all new to me.  I tried to keep it light and not too hard, as I had a 5k and Half to race. The stretching felt great and much needed for my body.

IMG_20141017_133924  Afterwards, we had lunch with wonderful food from the Runner’s World Cookbook.  I love how they take care of us and ensure there are vegan and gluten free options.  And guess who sits by me?  Editor, Joanna Golub.  My dorm-mate from Boston.  It was so good to catch up with her!  (can I take a worse picture?  The humidity is getting to my hair, can you tell?  haha)

Our first speaker was Elizabeth Comeau from the new women-focused, women-inspired website, Zelle.

IMG_20141017_124713 From the moment she opened her mouth, I thought, “I like her!”  She was real, she was mature enough to realize what women wanted to be successful with their running careers.

IMG_20141017_125600 Our next speaker was, Sean MacMillen from Team Red, White & Blue.  He shared his story of horrific PTSD and how running saved his life.  Since I am a big supporter of TRWB, I was thrilled to hear his story.  He was another person who was real, mature and had the right focus in life.

After our last session, we were released for the day.  I had my back pack and the yoga bag, I needed to drop it off at the hotel. Luckily, the hotel is less than a mile away.

Myself, Katie and a few others made our way back to the hotel and did a quick freshen up before we headed back to the expo.  The expo was at the ArtQuest building (where we spent our morning).

Up a few flights of stairs to pick up the shirts and other race goodies.  Back down the other side to enter the expo.  While the expo was smaller in comparison to most, I was thrilled to see a small expo.  It’s no secret that I do not like expo’s and have not liked them since Day 1.  I loved the smallness of this expo as you see one expo, you have seen them all, right?


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As I did in Boston, my focus was to meet the sponsors and thank them for their generosity and supporting the event.  This has become a highlight for me! I have a chance to spend one on one time with each sponsor and get to know them & their company focus.  This is my type of networking & socialization.

I took pictures of the sponsor booths who were kind enough to chat with me about their products or events, I had so much fun chatting with them!

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After the expo visit, Katie and I met up and she made a great suggestion to stay for the Kid’s Run.  In Boston, I missed the kids run’s and I cannot remember why I did.  This time, I wanted to see the Kid’s and share with you what I experienced.

That’s the next blog post. There will be a Day 2, part 2 blog:  Kids races.  They deserve a dedicated blog post, don’t you think. Wait until you see the pictures…they are adorable!

Every moment of this experience, was wonderful, so far.  I am so grateful for this opportunity that Runner’s World has given me.  I look forward to sharing the next few days with you in upcoming blog posts.

*Disclaimer:   I was an invited guest blogger to the Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival in Bethlehem, PA.  The views, reviews and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the organizers nor sponsors or any other company/individual affiliated with the event.




Day 1: Arrival at RW’s Half Festival in Bethlehem, PA

For the second time, I was invited to be a part of a Runner’s World event, as an official blogger.  You may recall, I was a part of the RW HeartbreakHill Festival (Boston, MA) blogging team in June.

This past weekend, I participated in the Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival in Bethlehem, PA.  As an added bonus, my brother chose to fly into PA to be a registered racer for the hat trick!  I was excited to go to PA, as I have never been there.  I have several friends from PA and wanted to see a taste of what they knew, so well.

Arriving at the Philadelphia airport, my fellow bloggers, Dani, Matt, Katie F. & myself drove to our hotel in Bethlehem, PA.  Without traffic, it is typically 1.5 hours.  We hit traffic on the way to the hotel, but it gave us a chance to catch up with each other, since our Heartbreak Hill Festival in June.  Katie F. was my hotel roommate for the weekend.

Upon arriving at the hotel and after check-in, we were whisked away to Rodale Communications HQ, where we were warmly greeted by the staff.  Of course, I was asked (as a joke), “any cardboard boxes this time?”

That is a story that will forever follow me, won’t it? (insert joke)


After our wonderful dinner at the Rodale cafeteria, we were officially welcomed by Editor-in-Chief, David Willey and the Mayor of Running, Bart Yasso


From there, we were on our way to tour HQ.  This is the heartbeat of Runner’s World, I was very excited to see the office and it’s set up.


First, we stopped in the prayer/solitude room.  Bart Yasso had an official Native American name for it, but it escapes me at the moment.




We were taken upstairs to see the art department and various office.  Of course, Bart’s office was a BIG hit with the blogger group.  His office is lined up with race memorabilia from all his decades of racing.




Several stops in the Art Department to see the past, present & future issues in the works.


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Next up – the Social Media department.  Yea, my heart was happy to be here. RW does an excellent job in their social media department.


After floating through more offices and listening to what David and Bart had to say, we made our way outside (by now, it’s dark and rather nippy for this desert dweller.  Glad I bought a hoodie).


We roasted marshmallows and some of the bloggers ate s’mores.




From HQ, we were bused back to our hotel.  Shortly after I arrived in my hotel room, Katie texted me to ask if I would come down to the hotel lounge for a bit.  Although, I am not a drinker – nor do I frequent bars, I was happy to come down and chat with the other bloggers for a bit.  Spent about an hour chatting with Kristin from Fit Bottomed Girls.  What a great person to chat with, I enjoyed her conversation very much.

Finally, my head and body were just too tired, I had to get to bed.  The next day was officially Day1 of our blogger duties & I had a feeling we were in for some big surprises.

I would like to introduce you to the blogging team.  Full of athletic talent, social media savvy and all around happy people.  Our pictures, made into two collages:









Their blog/websites (in alpha order, by their first names)

Ali from Ali on the Run
Aliah from The Get Fit Diva
Beth from Shut Up And Run
Dani from Weight Off My Shoulders
Dick from Better Cheaper Slower
Doug from Rock Creek Runner
Jamie from From Couch To Ironwoman
Katie from Runs for Cookies
Katie from Ms Fit Runner
Kristen from Fit Bottomed Girls
Lauren from The Foodie Runner
Matt from No Meat Athlete
Presley from Run Pretty
Sarah from Picky Runner

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*Disclaimer:   I was an invited guest blogger to the Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival in Bethlehem, PA.  The views, reviews and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the organizers nor sponsors or any other company/individual affiliated with the event.