My Summer Training | No More of the Same Old – Time to Change

I am entering my 8th year of Summer running.  I began my running career in the summer of 2010 in preparation of the RnRLV 2010 (last year it was during the day). Since I started running, I had different goals:  Running the Disneyland Double Dare (formerly the Dumbo Double Dare) in September and training for marathons that would take place in September.  Last year, I was still in ‘training’ mindset for Disneyland but my Meniere’s Disease took over and I spent more time on my back and when I did run, it was torture.  Not to mention, Honeybear was in her final months – so my focus was her until the very last day.

I made the decision early this year I was not going to have a repeat of getting up at 3am to run my miles and I wouldn’t put my mind and body through the struggle.  I live in Las Vegas where it is nearly 100F at sunrise.  I have lost too much time of my life getting up at 3am (having to go to bed at 7pm to ensure I get enough sleep).

This year – it is going to be different and it’s all good!  While I am going back to Disneyland for the Challenge, it is my last year of that Challenge and I am not looking to PR or hit the podium.  I don’t have a marathon (thank goodness!) and my brother is needing help with his recent hip surgery.  I will not repeat summer training of years gone by.

Here are my changes:

  1.  Dog runs in the early morning.  I will not let them run over 2 miles due to the heat.  If I choose to run for myself, I will not run over 2 miles.
  2.  My training runs are done in the evening when the sun goes down.  I only ran in the evening during my first summer and I really enjoyed the nighttime runs.
  3.  When the heat is just too bad to bear, I will spend at least an hour indoors doing cardio with one of my home DVD’s.  As of this writing, I have spent the last 3 days indoors cranking it out.  I am dripping with sweat and I feel really good, too!
  4. My long runs will be in the pool.  I joined an aquatic center and I will spend my long run time as an aqua jogger.  This way, I get in my time and miles without the scorching sun and protecting my body from the heat drain.  I used aqua jogging as a rehab during my 2013 plateau fracture and it is the best cross-training workout you can do, injured or not.
  5. Be happy.  I cannot, I just cannot go through another summer like I have in previous years!  I cannot let the Fall race goals consume me where I put myself and my happiness in danger.

So far – the summer is doing well.  I am not starting with the typical “I am going to hate this, but I have _____ race to train for”

I am not letting running control me, in any ways.  It is my choice and I am choosing to adjust what I need to adjust to stay happy and healthy.

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How are you adjusting your training this summer?  Feel free to leave your comment below.  

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV

*Sponsored by RobKellerMD.com and KT Tape

*Ambassador for RunGum and Glukos Energy

~Blog Disclaimer – Click Here


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 

________________________________

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


RACE RECAP: Avengers Half Marathon | Legacy Streak Continues

Brother and I arrived to the Superhero Avenger Half Marathon weekend on Thursday and headed straight to the expo.  Immediately, we saw some good differences.  More Marvel characters on the banners and an overall better vibe.

After the lackluster Dumbo weekend, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Dumbo was suppose to be the crown jewel of the Disneyland races and they fell short in so many ways.  The first two years of Avengers (this being the third) were managed wonderfully but a lot of details were missing.  It was evident that Avengers has the lowest production budget but it did not hinder the experience.

We quickly got our packet and headed upstairs to the expo.  While the Disney expo’s are always well organized, the main problem is they are identical every year.  Nothing different, same old, same old.  While I love structure, it would be nice to have a different look to it or even different set up. Their expo speaker was downright annoying.  It was like fingernails on a chalkboard.  Disney may want to consider pre-recording with a voice actor and pipe in the feed in the future. When we arrived to pick up our shirts the volunteers were already going nuts with the expo announcers voice and “announcing”. That was the only real downer about the expo, that I saw.

We headed over to the merchandise area so I could buy my traditional pin and I found one of my cast member friends, Robyn!  I love that gal and real bummed I accidentally deleted our picture from my phone.  Ugh!

After all said and done, we headed to the hotel to unpack and get ready for the big weekend.  Brother was running the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge (10k and Half) and I was running the Half.  I plan to keep my Avenger Legacy going as long as I am able.

Friday –

Just like Dumbo, I set out for my AM shake out run while the 5k was happening.  It’s always so much fun to see all the runners walking around Downtown Disney with their medals.  I try my best to congratulate as many as possible.  I remember when a 5k seemed like an impossible dream to me.

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After a quick shower, I headed back to the Expo for my runDisney Volunteer shift. I have never volunteered with rD before, so I was excited.  Historically, I go to the park on Friday but this year, I opted out so I could volunteer.

I volunteered at the 10k booth and met so many first-time runners!  It was so much fun and I hope to do it again.  Maybe work the actual race sometime.

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RunDisney feeds their volunteers very well! A catered meal form the Disneyland Hotel.

 

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At the expo with my first rD volunteer shirt!

 

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My volunteers buddies!

Saturday –

Up at 3am so we could be walking towards DL for my brother’s 10k.  I decided I wanted to do another shake out while they were running.  My foot and toe was not feeling so good, and I needed to see how it was feeling.  Once my brother and friends started towards the corrals, I started my run. First, through DTD and then onto the DL/DCA courtyard.  That was so surreal!  No one around but the Cast Members.  Lights were on and Superhero music was playing.  I could of run in circles all day like that.  I took a quick photo at the DL gates.  I started to feel regrets about not going into the park this weekend when I saw the gates.  #HeavySigh.  Headed back through DTD to the Finish Line and wait for Kirk and a few friends.

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At the DL gates pre sunrise. I loved this run!

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“Goofy Joe”

After the Male OV runner broke the tape, my dear friend, Joe Spatafore came through in his hand cycle.  Let me tell you about this man.  He is injured and instead of sitting on the sidelines and pouting he found a way to compete.  He is using a hand cycle.  I have never seen this man happier than when he is on the course.  I love him and his family dearly, they are family to us! (see picture below).

Not too much longer after that, bro came through.  He was 11th OV, won his AG and the Military.  Mission accomplished!  He has earned an award at every Disney race he has run in. 

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#RunningBro flying into the finish (of course)

Sunday –

Half Marathon Day!  After hearing from the runners how much they enjoyed the 10k and the improvements (vs last year and Dumbo) I was eager to see what the Half Marathon would bring.  First, I knew the course was different.  I had zero issues with the previous courses, but I know many hated the part by the River near the Anaheim Stadium. This year’s course was avoiding that area entirely.

Brother and I were dressed as Quick Silver and Scarlet Witch.  They are siblings in the Marvel comic books and movies.  I spent a long time searching out exact replicas of some of her accessories like the jewelry and arm bracers.  I was excited, but also feeling “oh geez” I felt completely out of shape and wondered what would happen.  My foot was not feeling so hot and overall, I knew I was not in the racing form I needed to be.

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Race began and we quickly ran into the park.  During that hour it is PITCH BLACK. Disney really needed more lightening, a few of us almost tripped and fell.

First, we were in the DCA area and the regret of not going into the park was sinking in.  Then, we ran into DL.  I looked up to see Walt’s apartment and then it hit me as we turned the corner on Main Street.  The castle.  Yep, I had officially regretted not going to the park.  I loved volunteering but no park time did throw me out of my zone.  I couldn’t stay focused while running in the park, not at all. The worst?  Seeing It’s a Small World with the Christmas lights.  I could of easily just stopped the race at that moment and sat there for hours.

Made our way outside of the park and I did my best to regroup, but never quite got there.  Foot was aching, but not hindering me.  As we climbed the freeway overpass to get into the Stadium area, I felt the toe “pop”.  That did not feel good at all.  I didn’t tell my brother as I know he would of made me stop.  Until I was limping, I felt there was no reason to stop.  This was around Mile 7.  I wanted to finish and get as many pictures as I could with my brother on the course.

Coming out of the Stadium, we were met with a long line of performers in Marvel outfits.  I saw the comic book version of Scarlet Witch, but not the movie version (what I was wearing).  I did get a few shout outs, too. That was fun. 

The last few miles is identical to the Disneyland Half Marathon and I was ready to get back into the park (Mile 12) and be done.  My foot was hurting and I couldn’t get the vision of the park out of my head.

We finished in 2:08:02.  (Last year, I finished in 1:53 and an AG award)  Funny, the course was the same distance and my race time was much longer but this year’s course went by much quicker.  If I had to choose, I would say this year’s course was the best of the 3.  I hope they keep this one!

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We immediately headed to the medic area so we could ice.  My brother is having ongoing achilles issues and of course my foot needed ice.  It was there, when I told him about my foot.  Yeah, he wasn’t happy I hid that from him, but oh well.  I think having compression socks on was a godsend to me.  Kept my foot stabilized until I could get off it.

After icing and a few quick photos we needed to get on the road so my brother could run the RnRLV Half marathon that night.

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Overall, this event was the best of the 3 years (and I enjoyed them all) and MUCH better managed than Dumbo.  What a relief!  I knew RunDisney could pull it off for us.

GRADES:

Medal:  B – I love Disney medals but they do need to change them every year.  Unfortunately, they took away our spinner medal from the previous years.

Shirt:   A – Always love their shirts.  They are the only shirts I keep.  Long sleeve, to!

Course: A – Loved this course layout. Please keep it!  I heard many other runners rave about it too. It’s a winner, folks!

Mile Markers:  C – way off.  Some were off as much as 1/10th of a mile.  Not good.

RunDisney Cast Members:  A – Kind, smiling and always helpful.

Characters on the course:  A – (At Dumbo, they put the Characters behind fences, railing and completely out of reach.  huh?)  At Avengers, they had the Characters with great backdrops.  BTW, bring Black Widow a bit closer to the course not stuck back in a nook.  She was easily missed at DCA.

Post race food:  A – bravo!  (Dumbo post race food boxes were AWFUL.  Greasy cheese, recycled boxes from Princess and Tinkerbell.)  Avengers – much better (see photo)

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Post race photos:  A – (Another Dumbo fail.) We had generic RunDisney backdrops, nothing race specific.  Avengers – love the backdrops! Bonus – they created a special photo area with the Disney photographers were you could bring your family for photos.  What a fantastic idea!

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Announcers:  B – (That was a BIG Dumbo fail.  It was like watching a WWE (wrestling) match on that stage.)  Avengers, they had the ladies (Carissa and Andrea) on the stage and Quami “on the Street”.  Quami was on point and found his place vs being on the stage.  Carissa and Andrea on the main stage are okay. Andrea stepped up her game and seemed more confident.  Carissa did fine on the 5k and 10k (as I am told) but once she got to the Finish Line for both races and during the Half Marathon pre-race she was her typical screaming in the mic person.  She really needs to take a chill pill and let the mic do the work.  I still think a male/female combo is best for this venue, not a fan of the two female announcing team (even though Andrea is one of my good friends).  Surely, RunDisney can find a male to compliment a female (and yes, my vote is on Andrea because she did a great job, not because she is my friend).  Keep Quami on the street, it was a lot of fun to watch him! BTW, grateful beyond words that RunDisney did not have the announcers dance on the small stage.  That was a total embarrassment at Dumbo.  Let them announce, don’t make them dance.  Please.

Race Vibe: A – I give it an A because I saw so many happy and smiling faces during the weekend. (Unlike Dumbo where everyone was walking around disappointed and unmotivated).

OVERALL grade: B+/A-:  Fix the announcing team line-up, the mile markers and repetitive medal design, they will have an A race.  I hope that rD realizes the importance of the Start & Finish Line announcers.  It’s not just a bunch of people on mic’s, they set the tone for our event.

Despite my lackluster race performance and I didn’t go into the park, I love this race weekend.  Why? It’s a different demographic.  Not about Princesses or sparkles.  It’s about Superhero’s.  It was a lot of fun to watch all the CosPlay and see runners become their favorite Superhero.  I will be keeping my Half Marathon Legacy going for sure.

Dear RunDisney:  if you happen to read this.  Request for Dumbo weekend: Be sure to recognize the 5 year Legacy runners of the Dumbo Challenge.  Even a special bib would be great, but please do something.

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  • My thanks to RunDisney for upping their game and making the necessary improvements since the Dumbo weekend.  It was wonderful to walk away from a Disney race with good feelings vs “what just happened?”. See you at Tinkerbell!

 

  • My utmost thanks to my husband, kids and dogs who continually see me out the door and welcome me home with hugs, smiles and licks (the dogs, not the husband and kids).

 

  • My brother who convinced me to wear Scarlet Witch and run along side of me despite your weird jokes.  I am now emotionally attached to this character.

 

  • To Joe and MJ – seeing you was a highlight and I am so glad we can share our Disney experiences

 

  • To Emil – Dude!  You wore a cotton shirt.  J/k – I always love seeing you at races.

 

  • To Andrea – thank you for your enthusiasm and lunch!  It was great to see you again!

My Race Day Essentials

Fueling:  Glukos Energy Tablets – Fruit Punch

Extra Kick:  RunGum – Cinnamon

Support:  KT Tape – Pro Extreme

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

 

 

 


#RunningSiblings Interview with Mark Jensen – Owner & Formulator of Glukos Energy

My brother and I had the opportunity to sample the Glukos Energy at the RnRAZ.  When we arrived at the expo, we had never heard of their brand but I had heard about a new “liquid” gel entering the market.

At that time, I wasn’t looking for a different fueling, I was doing okay with the one I had been using. I had some issues with it from time to time but I was accepting it as a status quo for my overly sensitive body.  My brother, on the other hand was in desperate need to find another fueling. Everything was too sweet for this overly sensitive stomach and nothing gave him the long term energy he needed for marathons.

We read how Glukos boasted of no gluten, sugar or the junk.  Frankly, I thought “here we go again” another new-fangled gel.  When we introduced ourselves to the CEO, Mich McCormick he offered us samples.  Immediately I sensed a difference, the sample looked like water.  I said, “no, I want to try your gels not a drink”.  He said, “this is our gel”. Go figure.

I wasn’t kidding when I said it was like water and it went down as easy!  After speaking with Mick, we met up with Mark (the founder & formulator) and he was kind, informative and showed such great interest in every athlete who came by their booth space.

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After many runs using Glukos Energy my brother and I are 100% sold on this product and Mark agreed to give us an interview.  If you are the type to want to listen to an interview, you can do so at this link:  CLICK HERE

For those who want to read the interview – here are the highlights and fun facts of Glukos Energy.

Glukos Energy came about around 2003-04 by Mark Jennings an accomplished runner and triathlete who was tired of the same old stuck in your gut, snotty feeling gels.  After working on his MBA in Oregon, he developed a glucose base fueling.

Why glucose?

Glukos Energy

According to Mark, it was a simple solution. When you go to the hospital and need an IV – what is the IV?  Glucose.  Glucose is what your body needs for energy and promote healing.

Glukos Energy was born with their gel’s about a year ago with their tablets and chews.

The tablets are my favorite!  (CLICK HERE to learn more about the product) A runner can put one in between their cheek and teeth and suck on it(something like a large Sweet Tart candy).  According to Mark, it is the most concentrated form of glucose they have.  (I believe it, it is my favorite product, thus far). Or if you prefer to drink your glucose, you can put one tablet in your water (one tablet for every 8 ounces of water).  They are non-effervescent (no bubbles) and very easy to suck on during a run.  You can carry the tablets in the tube or in your fueling belt.

The chews are just as popular. (CLICK HERE to learn more about the product) I like the chews and will consume them before a run. The texture and consistency is different than any other chew I have tried.

The gels, the flagship product of Glukos Energy. (CLICK HERE to learn more about the product) Easy to drink and no additional water needed.  Mark says that is how it was designed.  Haven’t we all been stuck in a race and need to take fueling but an aid station is 2 miles out?  (pointing finger myself). This way, no water is needed.

Glukos Energy is growing in popularity, too.  If you have not heard or noticed they are the official course fueling for Rock n Roll marathon series.  At the end of 2015, they were in about 1,000 retail stores.  By the end of 2016 Mark projects they will be in 8-10,000 stores.  That’s tremendous growth for a company that is a year old.

The bulk of our interview was discussing the Olympic Trials.  Did you notice who came in third place? That was Glukos Energy Athlete, Jared Ward.  Recently, Jared discussed his pre race and during race fueling plan using Glukos Energy.  Considering the heat of that day and he looked incredibly strong at the finish, I would say that Glukos was a big part of his success.

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To read Jared’s interview – CLICK HERE 

We cannot thank Mark Jennings enough for his time and also creating such an incredible product.  After all these years, we might of found the product we can stick with for a long time to come!

If you have not checked out Glukos Energy – please do,  I know you will be glad you did!

Please check out my brothers blog and read his opinion of Glukos Energy.  CLICK HERE

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: 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
*Sponsored by RobKellerMD.com & KT Tape
*Ambassador for RunGum
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Race Recap: RnRAZ Part 1 of 3 | Expo Time!

Has it been a year, already?  Last year, I crushed my marathon PR by 19 minutes at this race.  After 4 years of training for a marathon, I finally had a time I was proud of.  Last year, my brother earned his first sub3 marathon finish and first RnR AG award.

So much has changed in that past year.  Oh geez.

When New Year’s eve turned to 2016, my thoughts were about returning to AZ. With my brother’s recent setback, post surgery, there were moments we wondered if he could even walk a half marathon.

Bro and I left on Friday AM and made our way to Arizona.  We were both excited for a host of reasons. First and foremost, we KNEW that he would be able to run/walk the half marathon.  I decided a few weeks prior that I was going to run with him to ensure his safety and to have another fun run, together.

We drove straight to the expo.  It was game time!  Well, not a game, all business.  You see, my brother and I were invited by RnR as guests to blog, Periscope and report on the weekend events.  I was ready – including a selfie stick for my Periscope broadcasts.

RnRAZ Expo

I began my Periscope broadcast the moment we walked into the doors, I wanted the viewers to get a good sense of what a RnR bib pickup and expo was like. Nothing was scripted or pre-planned.  I liked that!

After picking up our bibs for the 5k and Half Marathon, we bumped into (literally) a man who was a legacy Half Marathoner.  He was so nice (I should of taken his picture, darn it).  After the bib pick up we made our way to the merchandising were I picked up a shot glass for our family collection and a headband for colder temps. (I was thinking ahead to RnRLV).

Our next objective was to stroll around and see what exhibitors were in attendance. After the strolling, we headed to the heavy medals. That is where RnR displays their Heavy Medals and Challenge medals like the California and Texas medals.  Okay, you know I don’t run for bling but I couldn’t keep my eyes off these medals!  If you run 15 or more RnR (Half’s or Full’s) in a calendar year you will receive the Hall of Fame medal.  There are a few dozen who achieve this status, every year.  Holy Moly, check out these photos.  I loved the 8 track medal – so I need to win the lottery to get to all the races, right?

Heavy Medals

Medals

After the heavy medal drool session, we stopped at a few sponsor booths.  First, was Glukos Energy, they are the official energy source for RnR.  Their expo space was a hot spot!  Everyone was tasting their gels (actually, a liquid), bars, tablets and chews.  My brother was looking for new fueling so this had our attention.  They were gracious and sent us home with samples to try out and write a review at a later date. 

Glukos

My initial thoughts?  I loved the concept and the taste.  Mark, the company founder and formulator was a great person to speak with and certainly made you feel like our concerns mattered and he sincerely wanted us to try the products.  We both left the booth excited to try this new product!

Next, we stopped off at Maui Jim sunglasses. They are a high-end sport glasses.  You probably have seen Meb wear them.  Kirk found a pair he wanted, I told him to put it on his Christmas Wish List.

Maui Jim

Next up was the Toyota booth.  Neither of us were in the market for a new vehicle, but we wanted to see the pacer cars and more.  Upon arrival, we were invited to participate in their carnival games and photo booth (in a car).  This was goofy fun for the both of us!

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We enjoyed ourselves at the expo and meeting some of the new RnR staff.  Of course, seeing the old friends was a treat.

It’s good to be home!

On the floor

Next up:  RnRAZ 5k! 

*Disclaimer:   I was an invited guest to the RnRAZ, 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.

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