Is Your Race Day Bag a Black Hole? | Simple Solution

Since we are on the topic of traveling to a race day event, we cannot forget the importance of packing.  How many times have you forgotten your fueling, race clothes or even shoes? (me, raising hand).

I love organizational tips of any kind.  Work, home, racing, etc.  Some call them tips, some call them “hacks”.

After the Disneyland Dumbo Double weekend and having a big toiletry bag full of make-up, toiletries and more.  Every morning, I was digging through this blackhole of a bag looking for what I needed.  I had enough of that!  Countless traveling run-cations, I had to find an answer.

On my hotel nightstand was my roll-up for my charger cords.  It was very similar to a jewelry roll.  I thought, that’s what I need, but much better and more elastic bands.  My first thought was to ask a friend to create one for me, but I went to Amazon and found a nice sized one.  Elastic straps on one side and pockets on the other.  Only $19.99 (shipping is free with Prime).

The organizer arrived and I immediately fell in love!  I was able to find places for all my makeup and daily toiletries.  I labeled each spot so when I travel I won’t forget to bring my mascara or what not. Well, I thought it was for traveling, I was so wrong.  I am using it daily!  It keeps everything organized, I zip it up and put it away under my sink. Very tidy!

Fast forward to today…I am looking through my gear bag and I have a mess of little compartments, other little bags and who knows what else.  Another light bulb moment!  I ordered the same cord organizer bag I did for my makeup and toiletries (but a tad smaller to fit into my race day backpack and any other clear bag the race company requires us to use).

This was the before:

gear1

 

This is the after:

gear2 gear3

 

Poof!  All I need pre and post race is in one place and no wondering, “where is my BioFreeze?

 

Another organizational problem solved.  In addition, let’s say you are too tired or injured to dig into your bag and someone needs to get someone you need.  It’s easy – it’s all in one place, right?

How do you organize your gear or race day bag?  I would love to see your ideas.

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by RobKellerMD.com and KT Tape
*Ambassador for RunGum
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Evolution of Running and How It Affects Who We Are

It’s no secret, that when I began my running career in 2010/2011, I ran for finisher medal.  I would not run a race unless I knew I would receive a medal.  I wanted that feeling of self-accomplishment and that medal gave me that satisfaction.

Shortly after I began racing, I won AG and Overall awards.  The competitive nature of my youth had kicked in and I found myself competing against myself for each and every race.  Half way through that year, we lost Ladybug and running in her honor became my trademark to this day.

By the end of 2011, I was hammering out a bunch of PR’s in all distances and I had evolved from running races only with medals to any races. I ran some races with ribbons and races with absolutely nothing.  I quickly learned I could use races as gauges for my focus races.  Score!

You see, I also learned early on, that I have horrible training.  I swear I could not run a 30 minute 50k during training if my life depended on it.  Yet, I will streak by that time on any given race day.  Thus the reason I am so surprised when I finish with the times, that I do.

In my second year of racing, I had a heart to want to travel and be around more runner friends. The state of CA, because my monthly home.  At least once a month, I was on the road for the next big race.

 

running evolution

By Mid-2013, I was so done with traveling, I wanted to stay home.  I had seen enough and knew what races I wanted to repeat.  I had cultivated some incredible friendships and also sides of the running community I wish I never did.  The more you are exposed to a community, you will often see the dark side.  The running community is not immune to the thralls of life.  There are cheaters, gossips, thieves and very mean-spirited people.  Because we share the same sport, does not make us immune to human nature.  I also saw the best of humanity, total strangers helping total strangers.  The spirit of human ambition and goal setting.  It was that same year, I had my first serious runner’s injury (fractured leg).

In 2014, I no longer cared about the medals or even the awards.  After being injured and unable to run for the last part of 2013, I was grateful to be back on my legs and in the Start Corrals.  I set new PR’s that I had been chasing since 2012, I ran with more determination, freedom and peace.  I ran in memory of my best friend who died suddenly, weeks before Christmas.  I ran to celebrate the unity of my new found family.

So, where am I in 2015? Good question.  I have different running values.  I still and always will treasure all my medals, but that is not why I run.  My tastes have evolved.  I am a 53 year old Masters Runner, who is enjoying the process of being the best I can be.  I am grateful for my history, my stories and experiences since 2010, but I know that person and athlete no longer exists.  I have evolved.

The athlete I was in 2010 was not the ‘wrong’ type of athlete, that was exactly who I needed to be, at that time.  Next year, I will be a different athlete and I love the prospect of who we can become.

Running is like writing a book, chapter after chapter.  One day, I will write the ending of my current book and work on the sequel.

I look forward to seeing where the next evolution will take me!

Run Fab,

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

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

 

yawning

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

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

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

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

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

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


#FitnessHacks #FABHacks | Preventing the Short Mileage Runs

We have all been there, we set out on a run, let’s say a 3 mile run.  We reach 1.5 miles, turn around to come back home and we finish at 2.98.  Ugh!

GPS

After a few frustrating runs that ended up being short, despite my perfect planning, I decided to try something new. When I reach the turn around point, I keep running for another 2 minutes, then I turn around and head back.

I no longer have shorted out and back runs.  You see, 3.97 is not 4 miles and that last .03 can make a difference between a podium finish and a PR.  I am going to run and train for every mile I can, not going to cheat myself, not even for .03 miles.

 

Until next time – keep running, FAB!

 

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


*CHAR SHARES* Pick Your Purpose vs Popularity |Stay True to You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

PurposePopularity

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

 

 


FAB-O Give Time | Over $800 Worth of Prizes To One Winner!

What a great time to offer a giveaway! 

For the next week, I will be collecting entries for ONE big, FAB-O prize giveaway.  ONE FAB-O friend will receive the prize package – will it be YOU?

You may keep them for yourself, give as gifts or whatever you please.

To repeat – ONE winner receives ALL the prizes listed below!  The more you enter the better your chances to win.

So, let’s get to it – the list of the prizes and their suggested retail value!

  • altra-runningAltra Shoes (your choice of shoe, up to $120).  yes, THE shoes I have been raving about for the past few months and many of you love, love, love! Their trademark, foot-shaped shoe will not do you wrong.
  • iFitiFit Active Band – Okay, gizmo friends. This is the band for you! Tracking, calories, a buzzer to remind you to get out of your chair and more ($129.99) Winner receives one band.
  • A yoga and recovery package ($100) pictures below:
Yoga Mat

LOTUS Yoga bag

Block

LOTUS Yoga Grip Block

Resistance Band

Gold’s Gym Multi Faceted Resistance Band

Massage Stick

Gold’s Gym Massage Stick

Foam Roller

Gold’s Gym Foam Roller

Alignment Mat

LOTUS Alignment Yoga Mat

  • AIDRobKellerMD.com Immune Defense.  This will boost up your immunity and help you fight off those nasty bugs.  I have had 2 head colds in 5 years.  ($29.95)
  • AlliedAllied Medal Hanger “Always Earned, Never Given” medal rack. This is the only medal rack that myself and my brother will have.  Quality and classy. ($50.00)
  • Island BoostIsland Boost 30 pack.  The winner will receive an assortment of my premium fueling of choice.  ($69.00).
  • KT TapeKT Tape.  We all have seen it and most likely have tried it.  Here is your chance to have a container of black KT Tape. ($19.95)
  • Running SkirtsRunning Skirts Gift Card – ($75).  While I don’t wear skirts, they are my favorite brand of shirts and compression socks.
  • HHMHollywood Half Marathon.  How would you like to run down the famous Hollywood Blvd onto a red carpet finish.  Pictured:  previous years finisher medals.  Winner receives a free Half Marathon entry ($95).
  • dESERT dASHDesert Dash Trail Runs Gift Card.  You love trails?  Have you experienced what Las Vegas has to offer?  Run a Desert Dash event, and you will be hooked! ($50)

PRIZE PACKAGE Value:  OVER $800…and one winner receives ALL the prizes!  You enter through the Rafflecopter widget below.  The prize package is available to any US resident, only.  Must be 18 years or older to enter. Void where prohibited. 

Winner will be selected on Tuesday, December 13th at 9am PST.  The winner will be notified via email and has 48 hours to reply to the email.  Failure to reply with your name & current mailing address will result in forfeiture of the prize package and another name will be drawn. 

Many, many thanks to the generosity of all of the companies who are offering prizes for this giveaway.  Be sure to click on their link to check out their websites!

Good luck to all the FAB-O friends, I cannot wait to see who is the BIG winner! Giveaway period ends on Friday, December 12, 2014 at 12midnight, PST.

ENTER HERE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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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~Blog Disclaimer – Click Here


RACE REPORT: 6 Tunnels Turkey Trot | It Was a Family Affair

Last year, I was on the sidelines watching my friends & family run this race.  I am glad I was healed and well enough to participate.  It is my favorite course, so any chance I get to race in 6 Tunnels, I want to be there.

Earlier in the week, I battled a fierce head cold, so I came to the race with some stuffiness and very low expectations.  You may recall, my last 5k was in PA, when I felt wonderful and failed miserably at my 5k, for no apparent reason.

Arriving at 6 Tunnels, bro and I met up with mom and his Canadian friends, Andy and Rachel. We know it’s Thanksgiving when Andy arrives, for his yearly trek.  This year, he brought his sweet girlfriend to experience Las Vegas.

Bro was scheduled to race the 12k, but a glute issue was keeping him from racing his best, so he decided to drop down to the 5k and run with me.  Since I suffer from Exercise Induced Asthma (EIA) and I had chest congestion, this was not prime conditions.  I didn’t care, I was out there to push as hard as I could and enjoy being at 6 Tunnels with my friends and family.

Andy (Bro’s friend) was scheduled to run the 12k and Rachel (the friend’s, girlfriend) was participating in the 1 mile.

  • 12k started at 8:00am
  • 5k started at 8:05am

That was the first problem.  With the size of this race (over 1000), the 5k’ers were bottle necked at mile 1/2, since we had reached the 12ker’s walkers.  I have finally come to the decision, that walkers will not move over.  I respect they also paid for this race, but please move over when others are trying to run around you.  They really should start the 5k at 8:00am or even 8:30am.  The first half of this race was nothing more than weaving and running into other people.  That can be completely avoided with a different start time.  I have been to plenty of races where there is at least 30 minutes between each distance start.

Coming into the first tunnel, the dust was the worst and I have run this course a lot.  I even had to put my hand over my mouth to keep from breathing the dust through my mouth.

Out of the first tunnel, I tried to surge a bit, but I was at the 8:23 mile mark.  That is my half marathon pace, not my 5k pace, even on that trail/dirt course.  Then, into the second tunnel and that was dust was even worse.  Ugh.

Turn around and back through the tunnels, at least I was mentally prepared for the dust.  Coming out of the second tunnel, I went into my surge…well, I tried.  Once we hit the 1 mile turn around – we were met with 4 and 5 people across (walking) and blocking the course.  Bro tried to plow a way but people were not listening to us “runners coming through, please move aside”.

I felt good and I felt strong, but I knew a PR was out of my reach, I was held up way too long on bottlenecks and moving around others.  I was NOT that far back, I was in the top group and these crowds made us feel like we were in the middle or back of the pack.

Came in a 25:20.  Respectable on a trail course and missed my course PR by a few seconds.  I was very pleased and much happier than my race in PA, that was for sure.

Once I crossed the finish line, the sneezing and wheezing started.  Oh mercy, that kept coming for at least 10 minutes.  Rachel met up with Kirk and I.  Next, we had to wait for mom on her 5k and then Andy on his 12k.

While I was in my sneezing attack, Kirk ran out to find mom.  I was quite concerned she was on this dirt/gravel course. I didn’t want her to do it, as he is so prone to tripping and falling.

Mom and Bro come in and sure enough, she fell.  Allegedly, someone tripped her on the course.  Oh, Mom. 

We checked results and I was 2nd in my AG (again).  This is a pattern, I always get 2nd in my AG at the Turkey Trot and this was my 3rd 2nd place AG for this Turkey Trot. I finished 88th overall (including men) out of 723 racers.  No complaints from me!  

Here I am with my AG award and Ladybug’s ball (the course, where Ladybug’s ball tradition began in 2011)

20141127_095359

Mama got 2nd in her AG.  And even though Kirk was tagging along with me, he got 3rd in his AG. We both giggled, at this one!

PhotoGrid_1417129360378

 

Andy came in strong on his 12k finish and we had a great time chatting about the race. Here is our group photo with medals and AG awards.

 

20141127_094729

 

I am so happy I could run this race, again. I missed it!  Once again, beautiful day and great temps.  This course never, ever disappoints me.  The only disappointment was the overt crowding and bottle necks.  That can be completely avoided, hope the RD makes those changes for next year. 

My race gear:

Shoes:  Altra One2’s (purple)

Socks:  DryMax

Headband:  (Black) Bondi Band

Shorts: Brooks

Shirt:  TSH singlet with a black tech shirt underneath

 

Another Turkey Trot is done and I am so glad I went.

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and Island Boost
*Team Super Hero Master’s Elite 2013-14
*Founder, Running Troops
Certified Running Coach, Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
~My Facebook Fan Page ~Follow Me on Twitter
~Blog Disclaimer – Click Here

 


Organizing Your Race Shirts #FABHacks #FitnessHacks

Back in 2011, I posted a tip to roll (and rubberband) your race shirts.  Here is the original link.

It remains one of my most viewed blog posts, thank you!

 

I love to evolve and always believe there are ways to improve upon anything in life, including organizing, don’t you?

 

A few weeks ago, I was browsing Pinterest and found this neat tip for shirts.  I was happy with my rolling & rubber band method, but I felt I wanted it to be better and more organized.

 

Shirts

For an hour, I sorted through my shirts (again).  Created my donation pile and kept the ones I really wanted for training.

 

At the end of my hour, this was the final result, sorted by colors (3 drawers).  (I keep a separate plastic drawer unit in my closet, just for my racing shirts.)

20141101_153425

My drawers still look the same, weeks later.  So, this is a winner!  I find this even better than my rolled, rubber band method. I can find specific shirts, much easier.

 

How do you organize your shirts?  Do you hang them or put them in a drawer?

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
~My Facebook Fan Page ~Follow Me on Twitter
~Blog Disclaimer – Click Here