Runner’s #1 Addiction | It is not Finisher Medals

While we all love to cross the Finish Line and receive the medal, to signify our accomplishment.  Better yet, to receive an Overall or AG award sweetens the pot.

Yet, runner’s have an addiction, and we are not ashamed to show the world.  Our shoes!  A runner can often be identified by the type of shoes.  Each brand appears to have their own culture and style of runners.  Advertising works, huh?

After Meb won the Boston Marathon 2014, I know many runners chose to switch to Skechers.  After the recent USATF World Championship controversy, many opted to not run in Nike’s.

Yet, the is the not the addiction. The addiction is we don’t want to let go of our shoes, right?  I am a self-proclaimed organizing and de-clutter freak.  I keep what I need and want is truly sentimental.  One would never call me a hoarder or pack rat.  Yet, the day I realized my first pair of Brook’s were done, I remember looking at them and gazing. These were the shoes I ran my first endurance race in 2010. These were the shoes that brought me my first Overall awards.  So many memories, but I still parted with them and donated them to charity.

In 2014, 4 years after running with Brooks, I was asked to test out the Altra Running shoes.  You may remember my experience from the Runner’s World Half Marathon in Bethlehem, PA.  Click Here.

After that experience, I knew it was time to say goodbye to Brooks.  It was like saying goodbye to an old friend.  Yet, Altra had the design I was looking for, a foot-shaped shoe, less cushion and zero drop.

My feet have not run in anything since October 2014.  In fact, I have 4 pairs, but I do not run in all of them.

AltraRunningShoes.FABRunning

Pair 1, purple – was my first pair of Altra’s.  (One 2’s) – they are now my errand or house cleaning shoes

Pair 2, purple – my recently retired racing and running shoes

Pair 3 (middle pair) – my Intuitions. I wear them on my easy run days

Pair 4 – my new One 2.5’s. (color:  sprite)  I wear them on my speed, long runs and racing days.

 

One may wonder if I am connected with the company and is this a paid endorsement?  Nope.  While I did receive a complimentary pair at Runner’s World – the remaining pairs are paid for and by my choice.  I am not a Sponsored Athlete nor an Ambassador of Altra Running.

 

Ironically, when people find out I wear Altra’s.  I am asked “you run trails”  or “you run ultra distances?”  While I have run some trails, I am not a trail runner.  I love the road.  Ultra marathons are not something I am looking to run, any time soon.  It’s a shame that more road racers do not wear Altra’s, they are missing out.  My entire family wears them, including my speedo brother.

I am a road racer and runner and wearing Altra’s have given me a chance to improve my form and speed.  I was able to PR by 19 minutes on my marathon in January.  A PR I have been chasing for 3 years.

I have zero plans or desire to move away from Altra shoes.  If you have not looked into Altra’s, I recommend you do.  www.AltraRunning.com

Run Fab,

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
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My Nemesis: Water Retention

Hi FAB-O Friends!  How are you holding up in the Summer heat?  This year, our temps are not as brutal as last years.  Thank goodness, but still in the triple digits.  I am still getting up around 4am on some days to get a run in, before the heat kicks in.

I don’t know about you, but my body loves to retain water when I get warm.  It’s plagued me since childhood and Doctors have also found that my core temperate raises danerously high I am outside in the heat.  I can handle it, when it is dark, but once the sun appears, I am toast.  Literally.

A few weeks ago, I noticed my water retention was worse than normal.  Not alarming, but sure was annoying.  You know the type, the puffiness in your hands and feet.

On August 1st, I ran a 5k race in town and my Brother and I had our typical post race pictures.  I immediately noticed my face looked puffy.  That was on a Saturday, by the following Monday, my water retention was at it’s worse.  It hurt to type on my laptop and it hurt to wear shoes.  Not uncomfortable, but it physically hurt.  My stomach was bloated and I felt like I was 5 months pregnant.

I went into immediate action to reduce the water retention and puffiness.  I upped my water intake.  I already drink 8 bottles of water a day.  I drank 10 on Monday and included one dose of apple cider vinegar.  (Be sure to goggle to see why I chose acv.)

Within a few short hours, I was peeing, like I was a farm animal.  I knew I had gained a significant amount of water weight, but I didn’t want to hop on the scale, just yet.

By Wednesday (2 days later) I was feeling relief.  I finally could type on my laptop without pain in my fingers and I could wear shoes without discomfort.  I weighed myself to see how much water I would lose the rest of the week.  Ugh!

I kept up this routine through the remainder of the week.  By Friday, my son made the comment my face no longer looked puffy.  By Saturday, I no longer felt 5 months pregnant and I could wear my running shorts.  Another weigh in, and I had lost 6 lbs of water in 2 days.

Below is a picture of the Saturday, when I could see the puffiness in my face (jawline and cheeks) and a comparison of a week later.  One could say I lost weight, not water retention.  I don’t think so.  I didn’t change my nutrition, my running, my workouts – I did not lose fat weight, it was purely water.

For now, I am keeping the higher intake of water, though the Summer.  My mileage is higher and my body just need more fluids.  This is an experience I don’t want to repeat!

WaterRetention

Run Fab,

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
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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
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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
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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
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Disneyland/Dumbo Double Dare Race Medals Are Revealed | Diamond Celebration

Yesterday, the long awaited 10th Anniversary Half Marathon and Dumbo Double Dare medals were revealed.

Medals

The 10k theme is the Evil Queen (I think this medal is much nicer than last year’s Stitch medal).  It appears the Kids 5k Medal is the Fairy Godmother’s from Sleeping Beauty and the 5k is the Classic Disney characters.

Of course, the Double Dumbo follows the same design as previous years.

As far as the Half Marathon medal, I will admit when I saw it, I was “eh“.  I have seen the Diamond Celebration (60th anniversary) merchandise and it is over the top and I didn’t feel it was the same “oomph” as other 60th anniversary items.  I miss the (big) Classic D medal, that is classic Disneyland to me.

However, I am not saying I hate it, I was initially underwhelmed. 

Another picture revealed the back side and it is a spinner.  That’s a nice touch, of course!  It is Disneyland’s 60th anniversary, so I understand the Diamond shape.  I really do. 

Half Spinner

The medal is growing on me, but in the end – I could care less if I receive a medal.  (Do I hear a gasp from the community?).   When I first started racing, I would not go near a race, even a 5k if I did not receive a medal.  I understand the importance of a medal, I really do.   Years later, I race for the experience and to reach my goals.  When I raced my first race, the most emotional moment was when I received my medal.  To this day – it is my most prized medal in my collection. 

This will be my 4th year to race Disneyland and I am sure I will value my medals, as I do my others.

Here is a photo of my office and I am sure my DL medals will have a special place, as always.

Medal wall

See you at Disneyland in September!

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
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#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
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*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
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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
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Introducing the FAB-O PRIZE package winner!

My thanks the THOUSANDS of entries for the $800 prize package I offered on my blog in December.  The winner was selected, randomly by Rafflcopter.

 

The winner is……

Paula Varble in car

*Paula Varble of Indiana!*

Twitter:  @pvarble1

 

As we await the shipment of all the exciting products to her door step, she has given me permission to share her story with you. 

“Probably the thing I love to share the most is I’m a past dog hater turned absolutely in love with my ten pound little Morkie (Maltese/Yorkie mix) whom we adopted three years ago.We have been married 4 1/2 years and he is our only “baby”.

 

Paula Varble

I have one brother who is 13 months older than me but since he was held back in first grade people always thought we were twins.

I love fitness and nutrition and at the age of 40 I finally found my passion last year. I just completed my nutrition course and will be testing soon to become a certified professional nutrition coach. After ten years of being an Administrative Assistant for a local college, I’d love to one day turn my passion of nutrition into a full-time job.

My facebook page, Get Fierce!Fitness, is www.facebook.com/getfiercepv and my website is www.getfiercepv.wix.com/getfierce.

Jesus is my anchor, so in it all and through it all, He gets me through the tough times in life.” – Paula

 

Congratulations Paula,I cannot wait to hear you have received all your goodies!

 

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com and KT Tape
*Team Super Hero Master’s Elite 2013-15
*Founder, Running Troops
Certified Running Coach & Public Speaker
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