My Yearly Memorial Run To Honor Ladybug | Benefiting Heaven Can Wait

Every year at the St Patrick’s Day Run (formerly owned by Mountain Man Events, now owned by BBSC) I run to honor Ladybug.  You may recall, this is the event I ran the day after she died and was nicknamed “The Ladybug Runner”.

This year, I wanted to do something extra special, since it was the 5th anniversary of her death.  I contacted Heaven Can Wait Animal Society of Las Vegas to see if I could do a fund raiser for them. They provide no-cost to low-cost spay and neuters to pets in need.  As you know, that is my animal advocacy platform = spay and neuter!

From their website, “Heaven Can Wait Animal Society, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) animal humane organization, was formed in 2000 by a group of 5 concerned citizens with the idea of building a beautiful 20 acre sanctuary to house all of the unwanted animals in our community.  In the meantime, though, animals were and still are dying at rate of around “30,000 per year in our local shelters with even more just dying in the streets.  Therefore, we decided to refocus our efforts slightly away from rescue and more toward promoting spay/neuter as the solution to the tragic pet overpopulation problem here in Las Vegas.”

About 2 weeks before race day, we launched the fund raiser with their social media following and I held my breathe.  I wanted this to be a success for them, I hoped for $500!

Days leading up to the race, we went over $500 and then, something happened.  The night before the race, we reached $1,397!!!  It took my breathe away because I saw the irony in that number

Ladybug died when she was 13 and she was born in ’97

I woke up on race morning so excited and so proud of the race community.  I had one job to do and that was run a strong 5k in her honor and for all my animal loving friends.  For the first time, I was wearing a Ladybug Runner shirt.  A design from my brother.  Okay, I know – 5 years later I finally get a shirt.  Don’t laugh too much!

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My brother and my son drove to the race day. I asked my son to come with us because he started the yellow tennis ball tradition and I felt he needed to see this special moment.

After a warm-up, Renna and Alex from HCWS met us there and brought poster boards to cheer me on!  How sweet. They said they had 2 more, and I had to wait to see them.

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The weather was perfect and we were ready.  My brother was running the 12k and I, of course was doing the 5k.

The race was set at 6 Tunnels and I couldn’t wait to get started!  Unfortunately, some inconsiderate runners hindered the start for me and many others.  They decided as soon as they crossed the finish line to STOP and take selfies.  Really, people?  In front of all the runners.  Despite being told to move they stood there, GIGGLED and took their dang pictures.

Once I got around the inconsiderate runners (I hope they have some wonderful pictures of people getting angry with them and tell them to move, seriously) I started moving.  I wasn’t looking to PR, but I did want a good time.

Right away, I could feel my feel not grabbing the dirt trail. That was very unusual for this course, it’s not hard, it’s loose gravel and dirt.  But, I felt slippery.

That never changed, but I was having a blast and I kept going!After the turn around, tried to push but my feet couldn’t get underneath me.  Good grief.

As I turned the corner into the finish, I could hear tons of people screaming and of course, I saw the poster boards from HCWS, well kinda. (I saw the posters, but I didn’t actually see what they said.)

After I retrieved my medal, Alex (from HCWS started walking towards me with a big poster board).  On the board was a big red heart and Ladybug’s picture!  OH….I cried!  What a sweet gift!

Here is my post race photo with their sweet signs.

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We waited around for the awards.  My brother was first in his AG and I was the traditional 2nd in my AG.  The day was perfect and I couldn’t imagine having it any other way.

 

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BUT WAIT!  By the time the fund raiser ended, we had raised close to $1,500 in less than 2 weeks!

Thank you HCWS for allowing me to race to benefit your charity.  I look forward to doing this again and again.  If you are an animal lover, please consider making a donation to this great organization at www.hcws.org

For a great race experience, every time – please check out BBSCRun.com!  You will be glad you did.

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
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RACE RECAP: RnR 10k | My Brother’s Return to Racing

After a successful Avengers Half Marathon, a quick stretch out in the DL parking lot, replenish some nutrition, we were on the road by 8:15am.  Not knowing how the parking and getting to the start line would be for RnR 10k, we were zooming home as fast as we could.

Kirk was the driver and I sat in the passengers seat to self-massage, replenish and rest.  Before we got in the car, I put on my full-leg compression pants.  On the ride home, we chatted about a mirage of things, but the upcoming 10k was foremost in both of our thoughts.  His plan was to run/walk a 3:1 interval at a moderate pace of 9:00.  That is a nice easy pace for him, for sure.

Slippers were a priority on the drive home!

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Leg drain and stretch time in Barstow (while the Bro takes a selfie)

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We arrived back in Las Vegas very early. We would soon learn, it was too early and we should of taken the time to stop more and stretch out (for both of us).

We changed clothes.  I knew the weather would be getting a lot cooler and windy, so I put on capri’s, my 2012 RnRLV shirt and a grey tank underneath.  To cover my ears, I wore a neon green headband.  We found a nice place to warm up and stretch out inside the SLS Hotel & Casino.  (The 10k Start Line).

10k outfit

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As we were leaving the SLS, I saw Becky (she & I were members of the same running club, when I first started running in 2010.  I love seeing this girl!)

We had a quick run, warm up and then headed into our corrals.  The Producer from ESPNRun found me (pre-scheduled) and we had another quick interview shoot.

Here we are, waiting for the gun. This is our tradition, a #RunningSiblings pre-race selfie at the Start Line.

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Bro REALLY wanted me to run full board and try for another AG award.  My heart was not into it.  This was my brother’s first race, I couldn’t miss that moment!  I made the mental decision that I would take off at the start, but I would start walking about half mile in, and wait for him to catch up with me.  I was running with my brother, no matter what he wanted!

The gun went off and I took off.  Legs felt fine, not super, but fine.  I could of kept running but this one time, I was listening to my head.  I was going to slow down and find my brother.  I had my morning.  I had my glory. This 10k was all about him, not me.

And there he was.  I quickly met up with him, by his side and informed him I am running/walking with him.  My heart felt at peace, again.  I have spent months waiting for him at the finish line as he finished his walk.  This time, we were going to finish together, running.

(The other issue was safety.  I felt better knowing I was right by his side. If something happened, I could run to get medical aid.)

We settled into our run/walk and kept going.  It was around Mile 3, I started to wish I had taken more time to self-massage and stretch out on the drive.  I was tightening up, like a drum.  By Mile 4, my left quad started twitching.  Twitching?  Not sure what that was all about!

By 4.5 – the awful winds kicked in.  We were tossed about on the course and ate a lot of dirt.  I knew the Half Marathoners had started and our minds were on Devin.  He worked so hard to PR on this course and I feared if these winds kept up, it would be out of his reach.

On the final mile – we ran (not a sprint).  I was smiling from ear to ear, each step.  We crossed the Finish Line in a respectable 57:32.  Not bad for a man who was on crutches 2 months ago.

Crossing the Finish Line was the turning point in the weather.  The wind and rain got worse (can we say “2011!”).  The temperatures dropped rather quickly.  After his icing session at medical, the ESPN Run Producer met up with me for my final interview.

We started walking towards the UPS to pick up our bags and the weather kept getting worse.  Both of us were getting uncomfortable.  RnRLV did an outstanding job at communicating the bad weather situation to all the athletes.   To say this was an improvement is an understatement. Good job, RnR!

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Kirk and I went into the Bellagio to get warm before we walked to our car (at the Venetian).  That was a welcome relief from the winds and cold.

As we returned outside, the weather was worse.  My instincts went into panic mode and I worried about all the runners on the course.  With over 45K runners, they were still running the first left of the race.  Crowds were controlled, they looked safe, I saw RnR staff on the side of the road looking out of the racers and so many more safety features.   We left the Strip knowing all was well (except for the weather).

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I am grateful for the RnR welcoming me back to my home race and being a part of my #EpicWeekend and #EpicDay

Onward to the next race on Thanksgiving Day (which happens to be my birthday!).

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
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RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
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Filming with the ESPN(Run) Crew | 11 hours later & then some

I received a phone call from Competitor Group/Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series asking about doing a video feature with ESPN(Run).

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ESPN(Run) is a Spanish speaking network, that is not in the United States (boooo!) but you can view online (with subtitles).

I met with the production crew to go over their plan and their requests.  I asked them if I could bring a fellow runner friend, Devin Mancuso – as I thought he would be perfect for this shoot. They welcomed another addition to the production! The plan was to meet at Lake Mead at 7am. We were going to go to 3 locations.  Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyons and the Strip.

We met up on Veteran’s Day, and the weather was beautiful. Well…except for the winds blowing off of Lake Mead and it was COOOOOOOOOLD!

Devin & I started off with interviews about our running, our plans to run the RnRLV and what we thought of each other (I wonder what Devin said about me, I have no clue!)

The shooting was he and I running back and forth – maybe 100 meters, at a time. Different shots. Sometimes together and sometimes separately.

We then moved up to Lakeshore Drive for more production. The winds were not nearly as bad, so the temps were bearable.  At this time, I was wishing I had my longer pants to run in.

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Running (and shooting) on Lakeshore Drive

After the Lake Mead shoot, we made a stop to Sunset Park.  Devin and I felt that would be a great location for additional footage.

At Sunset Park we were taped as we trained together.  It was so unique to see our footage and see us running side by side – matching our stride step for step.  Okay, this will be the only time I will ever have the chance to run by Mr. Speedy, so I enjoyed having him next to me.

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(After Sunset Park was our much needed lunch break, as we were all getting tired and hungry)

Once we finished lunch, we were off to Red Rock Canyon.  We were chasing the sunshine. Trying to get some trail shots, before the sun went down behind the canyons.

Next – to the Strip, at night.  Of course we had to end where the race will be in a few short days.  The sidewalks were very open, so it was easy to get in some good shots.  I challenged my fears by running down a flight of stairs (I don’t like going down stairs, I get dizzy).

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Tired, sore and a little dazzled, at the end of the night,

11 hours later, it was a wrap! 

But, we were not done!  We had more footage to record on race night.  The Director/Producer, Emmanuel met me at the Start and the Finish.  It was sad to say good-bye to ESPN Run, but I am grateful for the opportunity and the chance to work with a talented production crew.

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ESPNFinish Line

The broadcast should be able online by Christmas.  I hope you get the chance to watch it and CGI/RnR is pleased with the end result.  Thank you CGI/RnR and ESPN(Run) for this incredible opportunity and experience!

It was a great start to my epic (and exhausting) week!

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
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RACE REPORT: LVTC Holiday Half | Memorial Race for My Friend Sheri

Hello FAB-O friends, I am so sorry about my absence during most of the month of December!

This blog post will explain a great deal to you.

Life throws us curve balls in personal, business and more.  This month, I have been hit with some whammies.  Some of the curve balls are deeply private and one was not.  I share my public grief with you, today.

On December 11th at approximately 5pm, I received a horrific phone call from my husband, “Sheri is dead”.

Sheri was and still is one of my dearest friends. She was the wife of my husband’s best friend, Brian, she is “Aunt Sheri” to my kids.  We have known them for almost as long as we have lived in Las Vegas.

Sheri was younger than me and so, my first thought was to want to know what happened, she was not ill.  I rushed to pick up my husband from work, so he could go to Brian’s house.  We later found out details, that she had a cardiac arrest and died in her home.

Minutes, hours and days became a blur.  How do you prepare to live without someone who has been a staple in your life?  How would I fulfill my promise to her (I made years ago) to take care of her son, in the event of her death.   I still have zero answers.

I had registered for the LVTC Holiday Half on 12/20, before Sheri passed away.  I wanted it to be my last half marathon of the year and it was local.  Within a day of her passing, I knew I had to dedicate my race to her.  Racing became my final gift when Ladybug passed, I could do it again.  I had to do it, again.  I opened the invitation to her husband, son, mother, adult daughter to come and spectate.  No pressure, but I wanted them to be there, if they could.

At Sheri’s memorial, Brian asked me to wear one of Sheri’s favorite cross necklaces.  Of course, I would.  I spent the next few days designing a shirt for Sheri.  Yes, it was a Holiday Half, but this was my time to give her and her family, one last gift.  The shirt was designed and printed at a local t shirt place in our mall.

Sheri loved crosses and skulls, so I had them printed on the back, along with her husband and two children’s names. The skull was too detailed to print on the front, I opted for the ribbon and a cross.  Both sides with her name, year of birth and year of death.  In addition to the shirt, I added a skull charm to my left shoe, it sits next to my ladybug charm. 

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Front

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Back side

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Shoe charms. The skull is for Sheri

 

Husband was able to take the day off from work so he could come to the race.  I was thrilled we all could be together at a race.  He took a picture of me at the start and I was ready to run my heart out of Sheri!  Waiting at the start, I met up with another racer and she described the course as a “real bitch”.  I gulped, if she said that, it was tough.  Little did I know how tough this course was going to be on me.

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Waiting for the start!

The race began and finished at the Equestrian Park in Henderson.  The gun goes off (and it was COLD – so much so, I am wearing capri’s & gloves).  The first 2 miles were a good incline and then rolling hills for the next few miles.  I kept a 7:30 pace all through the rolling hills.  Then….I see the first HILL.  I run up the hill and it goes on a sharp decline.  I am thinking, “I am going to have to run back up this decline, oh crap!”.

It happened 2 more times, 2 more hills.  In fact, these hills were so steep, one of the front runners (top 3) was WALKING on the way back.  We reached the turn around at the half way and I have a mountain staring in my face.  2 more hills, again.  By the time I reached Mile 9, my back was throbbing and cramping up.  I had to stop.  Not walk, but STOP.  I grabbed my left side and the thought occurred to me, “well, this is weird.  Sheri always had back pain”.

So, I pushed, I really tried.  I had to walk a portion of the last hill, I had nothing left to go up.  At the crest, I was sweating. It’s 40F degrees and I am sweating. I am looking at my Garmin and I am barely, barely on target for a sub2.  I wanted to give that family a good race, but this course was beating me up, badly.  That was when I dug deep – said, “okay, Ladybug – come on, it’s show time!”

I made it through the rolling hills and still on a sub2. I knew if I could get to Mile 11 the rest was downhill.  Mile 11, the legs relaxed and took off.  My last 2 miles splits were in the low 7:00’s.  I was still holding onto my sub2, but knowing the course could be long and measured incorrectly (not uncommon), I had to step on it to be that “1” by my name.

I chatted with Sheri along the way.  She had never seen me race, so I could imagine her saying to me “THIS is what you have been doing for the last 4 years – are you nuts?!?!?” 

I came through at 1:58:55 with my arms and eyes pointing to the heavens.  When I finished, I was told that typically, this course will add 10-15 minutes of the usual time. Considering my last half was at Avengers and 1:54 – I will gladly take the 1:58 on this monster and beast of a course.

A tribute to Sheri

I was greeted by my family and then, I saw Brian.  I walked over to him and said, “I think this belongs to you”.  I gave him my finisher medal as a surprise.  This race was fro Sheri and the family, it wasn’t my medal, it was his.  In my 4 years, I have never given up a medal and I cannot think of a better person to give one to.  I love Brian, he is our friend and our brother (although, not my legal brother).

After a few stretching moves, water, bananas and more.  Awards were handed out and I earned 1st in my AG.  I was glad that Brian’s family could be there, and yea, I kept my AG medal.

That was our morning to smile.  We smiled and laughed for Sheri.  Below is a picture of Brian with his and Sheri’s son, Jordan (our Godson) and Sheri’s adult daughter, Angela (who is also a runner).

 

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I think my Finisher Medal looks great on Brian!

Picture of me with Ladybug’s ball (post race) – why don’t I look as exhausted as I feel?

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Once again, running proved to be my therapy.  In the days after her death, I pounded the pavement.  In the days, post her memorial, it became my moments to be with her.  At this race, it was a chance to give her the only gift I could give her, at this time.

Thank you Brian, Jordan, Angela, Pat (Sheri’s mom) for allowing me to give this race to Sheri.  I love you all!

I love you Sheri, I miss you so much.  RIP, my friend.

 

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Sheri 1963-2014