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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What Is the Race Director Responsible For? | Look At The Registration Terms

In recent years, we have seen an influx of cancelled races.  I get it, putting on a race is very costly and sometimes it doesn’t work out, as one plans.  However, I will never promote nor advertise a race unless I have the permit in hand.  Ever.  I won’t take a penny of anyone’s money in the hopes I will get a permit.  As a runner, I have often phoned permitting authorities to see if there is a permit in place or not.  I have caught 2 races as shams, who never had a permit.  Saved me a ton of money.

However, this past weekend brings up a bigger question – how much is a RD liable for when the race goes astray?  If the weather changes and they cancel due to safety, are they liable for anything?   This past weekend, the Revel Rockies in Colorado was dealt a horrible blow to their race.  Apparently, the bus company delivered approximately 50% of the 52 buses promised.  The RD was forced to cancel the Half Marathon and deal with the backlash.  (I was not registered to run this race, but I have several friends who were there).

The RD has taken full responsibility and is offering a full refund or a deferment of the registration to another one of their races.  What more can they do?  Here is their FB post on Monday morning.

RevelRockies

Some out of town runners are screaming they want reimbursement of their travel and more.  I do not get that complaint, at all.  Is this fair?  Well, as a runner and as a RD, I will say that it is never the RD’s responsibility to absorb travel costs, regardless of who is at fault.  That is assumed when you register for a race.  How and where I stay in an out of town hotel is my choice, not dictated by the RD.

While I know it is frustrating, I have lost several races and lost a ton of travel money.  I had a bad fall at an out of town race, which caused me to miss several races.  I could blame the RD for having the course on a pot hill road and I should ask them to pay for my travel expenses for other missed races, but that’s just nuts.

I commend the Revel Rockies RD for doing what they can and not putting their head in the sand, as many other RD’s have done – or better yet point fingers and say “oh well”.  I think the runners should take into account what Revel Rockies will be going through.  At the end of the day, there are more races to tackle and I believe Revel Rockies did all they could.  Let’s all take a step back and breathe, okay?

I believe that justice will prevail and I wish nothing but the best to the Revel RD.  Let’s build them up, not tear them down, okay?  They are not at fault and should not be the direction of the runner’s wrath.  Until I see different facts, the problem is the bus company, not the RD. 

 

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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~Blog Disclaimer – Click Here


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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Packing Tips for Race Traveling #FitnessHacks #FABHacks

In my early years of racing, I traveled A LOT.  It seemed like I was on the road or in the air at least once a month.  I learned many tips on the way, and the key elements to ensure you have all you need on race day.

Even though I do not travel as much as I use to and when I do, I still follow the same guidelines.

 

TOP TIPS: – everything you need on race day should be in your carry on or in a bag that you have on your possession, if you are in a car.  That includes everything.  Shirt, shorts, bra, shoes, socks, FUELING (more on that later), salt tablets, watch and whatever else you need on race day.

I put my race day items in a plastic bag (or two) and put in the bottom of the bag. Why?  I can place the travel teams I need for the trip on top and not have to worry to disturb my race day items.  How many times have things fallen out of your bag?  Yeah, me too.

I do not put the bag in my car trunk, either. It is my carry all for my travels and it assures me I have my gear in my sight, at all time.  God forbid, someone should break into my car trunk and steal my bag.

FUELING:  Do not expect or anticipate you can purchase your fueling at an expo or nearby sports store.  I have heard over and over, runners panic because their brand or flavor is not available.  Bring your own fueling.  If you are flying, you should have no issues with them passing through TSA.  I have never been questioned or had any issues.

Here is a picture of what my racing gear looked like for my carry on. (Note:  this is from my last race trip in October – I no longer wear these shoes).

Race Bag

I pack my clothes in a plastic bag – so, they are easily separated and of course, clean.

Happy Traveling!

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
*Team Super Hero Master’s Elite 2013-15
~Why My Blog Comments Are Closed – Click Here
~Blog Disclaimer – Click Here


#FABRunner Time! | Meet Sonia

As a blogger, I have been blessed with amazing opportunities to travel, meet vendors and more.  The best part of being a professional blogger is meeting your followers or “fans” as my family refers to them.

 

Today, I want to introduce you to Sonia Willens of Southern CA.  We met during my time as a Team Super Hero Ambassador.  She remains consistent in her training and achieving great goals for herself, I am so proud of her.

 

Follow her on Instgram and enjoy her fun posts about herself, newly married life, dogs and running (of course).

 

Say hello to my FAB-O friend, Sonia Willens!

 

Sonia.FABOfriend

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?


Icing Your Feet | #FitnessHacks #FABHacks

Before I started running, the thought of putting ice on any part of my body, frightened me.  Now, it’s something I look forward to!

If you are not icing after every run, even if you feel you don’t need to, you are risking injury and additional inflammation.  I have my key spots I always ice:  knees & ankles.  Yet, there are times, I feel my feet need a good icing too.

I posted a picture of me icing my feet and it was met with quite confusion and some people indicated they had never thought about icing the feet.  Don’t forget to take care of your feet!  I wear socks when I am icing my feet, it can be quite painful, if I do not. 

Here are 3 ways you can ice your feet and two of them, you probably already have in your freezer

 

1.  Traditional ice pack

20141029_160724

 

2.  Bag of vegetables. In this picture, I am using corn, in this picture.  Bag of peas, also works great.  Don’t use lumpy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or carrots.  I have bags of frozen vegetables for this purpose, only. I bought the bags at 99cent store.  Cost?  Yep, 99cents.

 

20141029_160706

3.  Frozen water bottle. This is my favorite way to ice my feet!  Not only is it cooling, but rolling the bottle back and forth is very therapeutic to the bottom of your feet.  Cost:  depending on how much you pay for bottled water, but I can buy 24 bottles for less than $3 at the 99cent store.  So, that is about 5-10cents a bottle.  Use regular tap water.

 

20141029_160734

 

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