Monday, October 12, 2015

PSAs For The Day

It seems as though common sense is not so common these days, so I figured I'd put together a short list of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that may help folks out... These are just a few things I observed from today's run.

#1: "On Your Left"

When you hear someone say "On your left", this means "Hey there friend, I am coming up behind you and am on your left. I'd super appreciate it if you would please move over to your right so that I can pass by you safely. Thanks so much". It does NOT mean "Yo. Stop exactly where you are, turn around, and stare blankly at me."


I will always try my hardest to go around people and not force them to change what they are doing. There are times, though, where I am coming up from behind and cannot get around safely (whether that is because there is more than one person walking next to each other and taking up the whole walkway, someone is weaving back and forth and I'm not sure if they will zig when I go to zag, or someone is walking with a dog and I don't want to startle them or get wrapped up in the leash).

(I have tried clearing my throat, running loudly, saying "Excuse me", etc, but we always end up dancing around while trying to figure out which way the other is going. At least with "On your left" I am telling you where I am going {and hoping you go the opposite way}.)

#2: Stop The Catcalls

I don't know if EVER, like in the history of mankind, has someone heard a catcall being yelled at them from a car and that person thought "Wow. I MUST meet that person immediately and date them". Like, really, has anyone ever met someone by screaming at them?


People are not pieces of meat, property, or just something to be ogled. I am not out running for your viewing pleasure. And whether you think the things you are yelling are compliments or not, I don't need them - SO STOP!

#3: Don't Be A Creeper

This one sort of goes with the last one, but is a little more detailed. Do not look someone up and down. It doesn't matter if they are running, walking, laying on the beach, fully clothed, wearing something provocative or wearing nothing at all. People are not pieces of meat, property, or something to be ogled.


I don't know if the person doing the looking thinks the lookee should be flattered when it happens, but it is just plain creepy. And, golly gee, if you just can't control yourself and you are going to do it, at least make sure you are wearing sunglasses and do not move your head as you are doing it so it is not as noticeable.

And, now, back to your regularly scheduled program.

Have you run into any of these "issues" recently?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Workout Recap - Week 41

Sunday, October 4th – REST DAY, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Monday, October 5th Total Body Workout, 5 mile run, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Tuesday, October 6th –  5 mile run, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Wednesday, October 7th –  19.9 mile bike ride, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Thursday, October 8th – 8 mile run, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Friday, October 9th –  REST DAY, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Saturday, October 10th 15.8 mile run, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Another week that looks like I had two rest days... Well, I did, but that is because the one on Sunday was due to the fact that I hadn't taken a rest day the previous week, so I NEEDED it. Now, normally I would have taken my rest day on Saturday because I try to get my long runs in on Friday, but if you read my post from yesterday then you know why I swapped those two runs.

Let's just say I am not feeling 100% confident with my goal marathon less than a month away... Sure, there are always doubts, but this past week my legs have just felt sluggish and unable to move at the pace my brain wants them to go. I guess we can only hope that when taper time comes my legs will get the rest they need and they will be raring to go on race morning...

How were your workouts this past week? 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

REVEL Canyon City Preview Run

Let's be real... I am a creature of habit. I have my schedule(s) and I like need to stick to it.

I try to do my long runs Friday morning. I like that time because the roads aren't too crazy and I can get it done and out of the way before the weekend. I want to try and spend as much time with my hubby when he's not working as I can, so not having a 3-4 hour run when he is home is MUCH preferred.

With that being said, my training calendar had 12 miles for Friday. I was planning on knocking it out early Friday (seeing as yet ANOTHER triple digit weekend was in the forecast), but then I saw an event on the REVEL Canyon City Facebook page.

I have been slightly freaked out about the downhill of the course (running downhill sounds easy, till you remember your quads will be ON FIRE, especially after a 4,200 feet elevation loss within the first 13 miles), so when I saw this I knew I had to try to make it happen.


A 5:30am start means I would have to leave my place by 3:30/3:45, but I thought it would be worth it to have the opportunity to run the first 16 miles of the course and get a little more confident on what I would see/ feel on race day.

I swapped my Friday 12-miler and my Saturday rest day for a Friday rest day and a Saturday 16-miler. My body has been craving rest (or at least it hasn't wanted to go fast while running so I think it might need a slight break), so laying by the pool for a few hours Friday morning was JUST what I needed!

Already in the high 80s before 10am...

Friday afternoon I made my way up to Long Beach. As part of my commitment of being a Los Angeles Marathon Ambassador, we are required to volunteer at some of the local races so we can spread the word about the LAM and get runners signed up. Friday from 4-7 was my shift so I hung out at the Long Beach Marathon Expo and chatted it up about running!

Let's just say the alarm came EARLY on Saturday morning (especially not getting home until close to 9pm from LB). 3am wake up calls (which I ended up getting out of bed by 2:58am - always up before the alarm rings) are never easy (especially when technically you are able to finish your workout in the time you will be driving to and from the run), but the experience and confidence gained was going to be WELL WORTH the few extra hours of sleep I was missing.

Up what felt like minutes after I went to bed, bright colors on, water bottle filled, PROBAR BASE bar for the car, and I was OFF! The traffic on the way up wasn't bad. I ended up leaving the house around 3:40am and got to Pioneer Park around 5:05am.

We met at a local park then caravanned (followed one another in our own cars) to mile marker 16 on the course and then carpooled (jumped in as few cars as possible) to get up to the top of the hill - Crystal Lake.

Waiting in the car for other runners to show up (and to
stay as cool as possible - it was already toasty out!)

Although we officially met at the park at 5:30am, we weren't actually up to the top until closer to 6:30 due to the car swaps and then stopping a couple times up the hill to drop water and fuel at the make-shift aid stations. Something to note - it was at least 20 degrees (if not more) cooler at the top than when we left the local park (you get ZERO cell reception once you start climbing the hills so I couldn't get an official reading on my weather app, but know that at the park we were almost sweating and at the top we were starting to shiver).

[PS The cell service issue reminds me - if you use a running app on your phone, whether it is to track to your run, listen to music, etc, IT WILL NOT WORK. It seemed like only our GPS watches work up there. Keep this in mind if you are running the race.]

I would HIGHLY recommend anyone running this race to dress in layers (and layers you are okay ditching at the aid stations on the way down). I heard that last year they actually gave out Mylar blankets and throw away gloves with packet pick-up because the temps were slated to be in the 30s at the start. Head to your local thrift store to pick up some easily removable layers NOW (especially if you are used to these HOT temps we have been having lately).

The run was hosted by My Coach Larry, who opened the event to anyone who wanted to join (how amazing is that?!). He is a SPEED DEMON and now coaches us other runners. Many of the runners on his team actually had longer than a 16 mile run, so were doing a few miles at the top of the hill before beginning the descent. Since I actually only had 12 miles on the calendar (don't worry - my second 20-miler of the training cycle is on Tuesday), I figured I use the potty and then hit the road (seeing as I had a rather far drive home afterwards).

Like I mentioned before, I was pretty worried about the downhills. The elevation chart makes it look like you are falling down a mountain. And, if that was in fact the case, I wasn't sure how my legs would hold up after all that pounding when we hit the flat or UPHILL areas (the second half has a net loss, but there are definitely rolling hills to be aware of along the way).

I decided I would try and reign in my pace a bit. I didn't want to go out too fast and trash my legs, but I also wanted to get a feel for the decline (not to mention, I wanted to be able to take in the surroundings in case on race day I am too focused to look around at the beauty beside me).

Here's a quick video of the sunrise (and you can see what the "course" is - just a two lane road down the mountain).

With the weaving down the mountain, none of the road is very flat. It is angled as you turn down the hill a bit. I never really felt like I was running off kilter in one direction too long (so at least in the end you still feel like you evenly wrecked both sides ;)), but something to keep in mind. Also, it isn't a freshly paved road by any means, so watch for pot holes, gravel, falling rocks, etc.

Maybe the angles on the roads are what make the downhills not seem as steep...

Gotta say, I am STOKED that the course will be closed on race day. It was a little sketchy running it with little to zero shoulder along the road while bikes, vehicles and SKATEBOARDS were out there. Yes, while we were running down it, there were guys out there speed skating it. It was pretty amazing to watch (I would be pooping my pants going that fast).

There were even some guys laying on boards! It reminded me
of bobsledding! So awesome, but I would be FREAKED out!

Anyway, if you go out there for a training run, make sure to wear bright colors and always keep your eyes and ears open. Thankfully, since you are in a canyon, it is pretty easy to hear oncoming traffic in the distance, but there were many times where I would be coming up on a blind turn and say a quick prayer like "Lord, please let the driver be paying attention and see me". (And with the bikers climbing UP the hill, hit pause on your watch and give them as much room as possible so they don't have to go into the traffic. Remember, they will be grinding it out and will probably have their heads down, so if you see them, MOVE! But they all were super friendly, so say "Morning" if you can ;))

I am pleased to report that my legs feel great. Although the downhill is there, I didn't feel like it was as crazy drastic as the elevation chart makes it seem. Don't get me wrong, we still lost 4,800+ feet along the way (as well as gained 800+), but I didn't feel like I was toppling over or anything like that. And I know I'm weird, but I really like uphills. They make me feel strong (even if my time does slow). So, for me, I didn't really notice the elevation gain as much as I was expecting. (I remembered My Coach Larry mentioning the first time he did the 16 mile training run when he hit the uphill portions his legs were like jello, so maybe I just took the downhills slow enough, but they weren't as killer as I built them up to be in my head.)

Honestly, I was actually a little disappointed that the pull didn't feel stronger. I guess I was hoping I would be able to lift my feet and gravity would just pull me down the mountain, making the run effortless, but you definitely still had to work for the mileage.

Other than stopping at a few picture-ops (sunrise and then the one with an aid station sign), I chugged along the entire ~16 miles. I am super thankful that I was able to get out on the course this morning. It showed me that I need to continue to practice my downhills so I can increase my speed more.

Thankfully I still have a month before the race (holy crapoly - how is there only 4 weeks left before I race this one?!). The run itself was decent. I kept an average pace of just over 8:20/mile (which is great for a long run, not so great for a downhill run). I think the run was invaluable, even if it shook my confidence a bit when I looked at my pace. I now know what to expect when race day arrives.

With craptastic traffic on the way home, it took me about 3 hours to get back to Oceanside. At one point I thought it might be faster for me to just put my car in park and run the rest of the way, but with the temperatures already in the triple digits by 10am I stayed in my AC. (Here's to hoping the weather will be better on race day too...)

Have you ever run a portion of a race course to get ready for the big day?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Race Discount Codes

If you know me, you know I can't pass up a good deal OR a chance to run. So I figured, if any of you are similar to me, you would LOVE a way to save a few extra dollars on some AMAZING races.

(Just a heads up - I do not get anything for you using my codes, I just want to pass along the ability to save some extra money! I know there are plenty of codes floating around on the interwebs, so don't feel pressured to use mine - I just want to make sure that if you are planning on running any of these races that you can do it as cheaply as possible.)

Race Discount Codes

Los Angeles Marathon (February 14, 2016)

If you remember my ridiculous video I posted a while back, including a little song and choreographed dance, for my Los Angeles Marathon Ambassador application, then you probably remember I am HONORED to be on a KICK BUTT TEAM of ROCKSTAR AMBASSADORS for this AMAZING race! Who wouldn't want to run from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier and see the entire city throughout the course of the race?! Quite the way to see Los Angeles - whether you are a resident or a visitor! Come join me and 26,000+ other runners as we #UniteLA!

Use code "CARLEE16" to save $10 off your registration! The code is good until the race sells out (which will happen, so don't wait too long). And not only is the Los Angeles Marathon an event to remember, but with the Olympic Trials and the Grammys, Los Angeles will be THE place to be the second weekend of February.

Phoenix Marathon (February 27, 2016)

The Phoenix Marathon. What a special place this is! It is my current full marathon PR (personal record), but not only that, the weekend was ALL ABOUT the running community. We all had such a blast that the We Run Social crew was born from the #ItsGoingDownAtPHX idea. I mean, legit, it was the social event of the year! [Feel free to read my recaps (YES, MULTIPLE BECAUSE IT WAS THAT FANTASTIC!): Pre-Race / Race / Post Race]

I have to be 100% honest, I am not currently signed up for this race in 2016. The only thing that is holding me back is that I will be running the Los Angeles Marathon 2 weeks prior and I am not sure I will be able to run the race I would want, but I am still seriously pondering it... With that being said, even if I don't run it, you do NOT want to miss this one! The course is fast and the people are AMAZING!

Use code "MCDOT10" to save 10% on your registration. It can be used for ANY of the distances - whether 10K, Half or Full Marathon.

Do you have any discount codes for races near you? Share them in the comments and let's help our fellow runners save some green while running #AllTheRaces!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Vulcan Tailgating Cooler & Propane Gas Grill Set GIVEAWAY!

If you know me, you know I LOVE my sports! Detroit and Michigan teams are my JAM (even if, at times, it is hard to root for them, you can never stop believin'...)! Not only did I grow up with sports on the TV 95% of the time (I mean, my dad will even watch bowling!), I went to one of the best colleges like EVER and tailgating was a HUGE part of life. Legit, Saturdays are FOOTBALL and there is NO QUESTION ABOUT IT

So although I don't partake in meat (#vegetarian), I knew I had to share this AWESOMESAUCE giveaway for a Cooler/ Grill Set because it is PERFECT for things like camping, picnics, and more importantly TAILGATING! So make sure to throw your name in the hat and then invite me over to your rockin' party when you win!

This is a sponsored post by Golden Island Jerky, Inc.

Fall is a time for endless outdoor activities, including camping, rock climbing, hiking, picnics and more – not to mention football parties with family and friends. Whether to help fuel up on a hike, pack in the car for camping or enjoy with a craft beer at a tailgate, jerky can be a delicious, portable snack.


Golden Island, makers of handcrafted, small-batch beef and pork jerky takes jerky to the next level with punched up flavors inspired by its Asian heritage including Korean Barbeque, Sriracha, Grilled Barbequeand Kung Pao.


Made in small batches and with proprietary processes to maximize its deep, savory flavors and moist texture, each piece of Golden Island Jerky is individually marinated and fire-grilled or kettle cooked for a unique flavor and texture. *All Golden Island Jerky is all natural, gluten-free, made with no artificial ingredients and no added nitrates or nitrites of any kind. **Golden Island Jerky is up to 49 percent lower in sodium than mainstream jerkies. *Except those naturally occurring in sea salt (Sriracha Pork only) **Less than the USDA data for Beef Jerky


In honor of the season, Golden Island is offering an all-in-one set perfect for tailgating, camping or a simple picnic at the park including a fully-removable waterproof insulated cooler, gas grill and a three-piece BBQ tool set. Make sure to enter below!  

“This is a sponsored post written by Golden Island Jerky and facilitated by ConservaMom” 

This giveaway is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network.  Open to US residents only. Must be 18+. Confirmed Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Golden Island Jerky will be responsible for product fulfillment to winner(s) of the giveaway. For questions on this giveaway or to see your product featured in an Event you can contact Elia At Conservamom

Raspberry Isopure® Amino Muffins Recipe

Remember when I posted a review of Isopure® Aminos last week? If you don't, make sure to check it out here.

You can add this supplement to an existing protein powder regimen (if that is something that you already have in your routine), because the aminos and tart cherry in the Isopure® Aminos are meant to help alleviate soreness and rebuild muscles during your recovery (SIGN ME UP, especially with this fall's racing schedule!).

The standard application for this supplement is to add a single scoop to 10-12 ounces of water in a blender bottle, shake and drink. That is all well and fine (and what I am doing with 95% of the container I have), but I thought it might be fun to play around with the supplement and create something outside of the norm. I decided to make a variation of a recipe that I have made in the past.


**WARNING: I am NOT a food blogger, just a blogger who likes food, so with that being said, my pictures aren't professional, but at least it will give you an idea of the ingredients and process.**


½ cup margarine or butter (at room temp)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
½ cups fresh raspberries
2 scoops of Isopure® Aminos


Heat over to 375°.
Grease 18 regular-size muffin cups (or 12 large size muffins).
In bowl, mix butter until creamy.
Add sugar and beat until pale and fluffy.
Add one egg at a time, beating after each.
Beat in vanilla, baking powder, salt and Isopure® Aminos.

Fold in half of the flour and then half of the milk; repeat.
Fold in raspberries.

Spoon into muffin cups.

Bake 17 to 20 minutes (should still be springy to touch).

**Just a couple notes: I used Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk and the Cranberry Grape flavored Isopure® Aminos. I know that with baking you should follow the directions TO THE T or you risk disaster, but food is all about working with your tastes, dietary restrictions and what you have in the cupboard. Feel free to experiment and make your food YOUR OWN! If you wanna make them blueberry muffins, add oats, make some sort of topping - GO FOT IT!**

We really liked the taste of the muffins (they are actually all gone and I made them on Sunday ;) ). You could definitely taste the cranberry grape flavor, yet it wasn't too overpowering. Now, obviously, these aren't going to be recovery muffins in the sense that you are getting the same amount of the supplement as you would in a drink (unless you plan on eating half of the batch at a time), but I still appreciate getting some of the benefits and using the Isopure® Aminos in a new way.

Have you ever added a supplement into a recipe before? 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ragnar Trail Vail Lake Race Recap

A few days after the Disneyland Half, I got a text from Elise. She said something along the lines of "I know you have a super full fall racing schedule, but what do you think about adding a Ragnar Trail race? It'd be a co-ed regular team, just out to have fun".

My first thought was "HECK TO THE NO! I don't 'do' trails. And even if I did, it is way too close to my goal race to be out on the mountains at night and potentially twist an ankle or fall off a cliff." But if you know me, you know I have a hard time turning down races ;) I told her I'd think about it and get back to her.

A couple days later she sent me a follow up text to see where I was at in my decision making process. To be honest, trails are very outside of my comfort zone. Sure, I can run on dirt, but uneven ground, rocky terrain, critters, etc - it tends to scare me. I was about to tell her "Thanks, but no thanks", when I thought to myself, "RUNNING IS ABOUT ADDING LIFE TO YOUR DAYS! It's about having fun and pushing yourself to limits you never thought you could reach." So although my goal marathon is less than 5 weeks away, I told her "SIGN ME UP!". 

I knew that I would be disappointed with myself if I looked back and passed up awesome chances due to a race that may or may not pan out perfectly. I know I have put a lot of blood, sweat and sparkle {hehe, that was our team name} into this training, but at the same time, it's not the end-all-be-all for me. And I sure as heck can't and WON'T let fear hold me back from amazing opportunities! 

Ragnar Trail is a bit different from the "standard" Ragnar Series, in that there are NO VANS and everyone runs the same distances (oh yeah, and it's on trails and not road). You camp (as you can see, I refrained from using the term "sleep", but more on that later) in-between and just party on down!
So, Friday morning came and I packed up for the next 24 hours. Since there are three loops on the course and they are color coded, I figured I would color code my outfits to match the loops. I had a pair of Pro Compression socks, a Run With Perseverance tank, Handful sports bra, and Road ID in red, yellow and green (obviously each outfit packed in their own individual Ziploc bag). Add to that my Garmin, some We Run Social gear, shoes, snacks, sleeping bag, camp chair, pillow, yoga mat, sunscreen, band aids, reusable bottles (the race is cup-less meaning they will provide water, but you need to provide reusable containers), headlamp, baby wipes, Gatorade, and a few other necessities and I was golden!


The rest of the team was meeting up in Orange and carpooling down, but since Temecula is closer to me that Orange, I decided I would just meet everyone at Vail Lake. The drive over was easy - only took about 45 minutes. Once I arrived I drove to where everyone was setting up their camp sites, unloaded my gear on a patch of grass, and then parked my car in the lot. I waited for the rest of the crew to show up so we could get this show on the road.

Just a portion of the MANY, MANY tents throughout the village

Our start time was one of the last (I believe they had teams starting as early as 9am, but we didn't start until 3pm due to our estimated finish time) so by the time we got there, most of the spots were gobbled up (you could actually even arrive on Thursday and camp the night before the race if you wanted). We just happened to luck out and get the PERFECT site. It was right near the transition area and along the trail where all three loops converged together - meaning we would see every person pass on their way to finish. Apparently, in the past, the area was reserved for Ultra teams (those having 4 runners instead of the standard 8), but this year they opened up to the masses. 


We set up our little camp. We had a 10 person tent that we would use for resting/ sleeping, a 4 person dome tent that would hold our gear and we'd use to change in, and then a pop-up where we would hang out while we weren't running. Even though none of us had done a Ragnar Trail event before, it was sort of like we were pretty professional at it. 

Our site before the sun started to set

And just like that, we were set to start!

Ragnar Trail Vail Lake Race Recap

Source: @EliseWallace's Instagram Feed

Brenna started us off strong!

Like I mentioned, with Ragnar Trails, everyone runs the same three loops, just not necessarily in the same order. The order overall goes Green, Yellow, Red, but since there are 8 runners in the rotation, you cycle through the loops differently. 


Elise originally asked me if I had a preference of which runner I wanted to be. I told her I didn't, but would prefer not to run the hardest loop (i.e. RED) in the dark - just since I am not comfortable with trails and probably should have more than a headlamp to light my way on the most technical course.


When she was figuring out our team order, she put me as 6th Runner (thinking that my first leg would be in the daylight - but not realizing that we had a late start time, so it would actually already be dark by the time I started). AIN'T NO THANG! (I actually think it worked out better this way! But more on that in a minute...) 

You KNOW I had to rock my #WeRunSocial hat all weekend!

Resting up my legs, waiting for my first run of the race!

It seemed to be taking us around 45-55 to finish each loop, so by the time I was set to run my first leg it was already after 7pm. The sun set around 6:30, so it was time to bust out the headlamp and DO THIS THANG! (PS I have had some folks ask me about my headlamp. I believe it is just an Energizer one... We had them for camping, so that's what I use... Maybe if I do more dark running I will look into a legit running one)

The sun starting to set behind the hills

Vail Lake as the sun starts setting behind the far off hills

Now, let's be honest. I have NO IDEA how to run trails. Knowing and talking to other trail runners and recently reading Pavement Runner's recap of the Golden Ultra reminded me that you don't have to run the whole thing full out (I guess trail running is something I have to get used to - it seems so much more chill than road running). "Run when you can, walk when you have to" - okay, I guess I can do that. I decided I would try and keep my pace as similar to Carrie's (even though she is a killer trail runner), since I didn't really have any other idea how to pace myself and she was running the same order of the loops as I was.

Red Loop

Per the course info, this is the hardest loop. It is 4.5 miles long (which doesn't seem long, but I'm telling you it is TOUGH) with the most elevation change. This is what the website had to say about the loop:


Let's just say, when there are "DANGER" signs on the downhills, you should heed their warning. The ground was very loose (and even felt powdery in places), so when you are trying to make up time on the downhills and opening up your speed you can lose control and take a tumble. Yep, I know from experience... Thankfully I didn't get hurt, and it was more of a slide than anything, but I quickly learned that the signs are there for a reason and make sure to follow their warnings!

See the "white powder"? That is the dusty dirt I slid down a
small portion of the hill on... Oops!

There was actually a part on the red loop where it was so steep uphill that you could see CLAW MARKS in the dirt where people were trying to find any security they could and help pull themselves up the mountains. Like I said, this loop was NO JOKE!

See that part where my pace dropped... I was trying
to figure out how to get UP the hill without dying...
And waiting for the freaked out runners in front of
me to scurry up the hill as well!

And remember when I said I would have rather run the more technical trails during the daylight?! WRONG! I am pretty sure it would have freaked me out even more! At least in the dark you couldn't see the danger around you (steep cliffs, how high the next climb was, etc), so it was more of an ignorance is bliss - not to mention the temperatures definitely cooled off (because we were frying during the day).

Although this loop ended up being my slowest average pace, I think I am the most proud of it. I faced a fear (or maybe three or four) of running trails and survived to tell the tale! And not only did I survive, I had 32 KILLS (meaning I passed 32 people on the course)!

Obviously night running doesn't lend itself too well for photos, but I had to
at least capture a couple Garmin shots, right?!

I realize the numbers don't look impressive, but with 800+ feet
of elevation gain, I'm pretty stoked I held my own out there!

I ended up finishing around 8:15pm, so I made my way over to the 'mess hall' to grab our provided dinner (some oily noodles and salad). Everyone else had eaten already, but I didn't want to get an upset tummy while running, so figured I'd wait till afterwards. I scarfed down a few bites and then made it back to base camp. Some of the team tried to lay down for a rest, but I knew that wasn't really going to happen for me. I actually did go in the tent for about 35 minutes or so, but it was more to get cozy in my sleeping bag than anything else. With the runners all passing by our tent, cheering, clapping, and lights constantly filling the tent there wasn't much sleep to be had.

Yellow Loop

It's strange, although this loop was ranked in the middle (I would assume because it was shortest in distance), many of us thought it was the most technical and difficult. By the time I was getting ready to run it, it was already about 2:30am and in the 50s (but I could actually see my breath when I was running! It was crazy to actually feel a bit of a chill when I started running since we have been dealing with such HOT HOT HEAT these past 4 or 5 months).

As the course description states, there is a lot of climbing and a decent amount of ridge running.


As with the red loop, I am pretty glad I didn't run this one in the daylight. From the sounds of it, if I could have seen to the right or left of the trail I might have thought I was seeing absolute death... You are literally running the ridges like a coyote. It was really fun, but probably pretty dangerous if you veered off course at all.

Remember when I mentioned that I had slid a bit during the red loop after I saw one of the first DANGER signs on a downhill? Well, that was fresh in my mind, so downhills the rest of the race freaked me out. I took them extremely cautiously (which I am sure my body was grateful for, but my clock time was less than stoked about). There was actually a pretty long and steep descent towards the end of this loop that had me scrambling a bit, but I stayed on my feet and kept putting one foot in front of the other.

The dip at the end was the downhill I took
VERY cautiously...

Running in the dark is so peaceful, but can also be a bit sketchy. I ended up getting 26 kills during this leg (I was passed by one guy and one girl, but they were KILLING those downhills!) and even kept a little faster pace than the red loop.

The only loop I didn't fall on - SUCCESS!

I know the times don't look amazing, but keep in mind the HILLS!

After I finished my second leg, I got some water, took another baby wipe "bath", changed into my green loop gear and got ready for a nap. I knew I probably wouldn't be able to sleep once the sun came up, so I was shooting for a good 2 hours between 4 and 6am. According to my Garmin data, it looks like I got just under that. (Obviously it was not all deep sleep, but something is better than nothing and at least it was a little rest.)

Laying down felt oh so great!

I grabbed my sleeping bag and went out to cheer on the runners who were still chugging through the darkness. The sunrise was pretty spectacular, especially with the fog that was rolling in over the lake. A friend of mine commented on one of my pictures with something to the effect of "That is worth waking up to", to which I joked "That is worth NOT GOING TO BED for".

Sunrise and the fog rolling in

Here's a little video I took of the lake (and village) around sunrise. I didn't want anyone getting dizzy, so I slowly spun around in a circle so you could get the full effect of the area. You can still see folks coming into the transition area and hear cowbells and cheers for the early morning runners.

And before heading out on my final loop, you know things got a little crazy ;) I mean, it's trail running for goodness sake ;)

What do you mean you've never seen a cheering unicorn?!

Need some extra horse power?! WE GOT YOU COVERED!

Green Loop

My first and only leg in the sun and boy was it already a warm one! It was around 9am but already in the 80s. Thankfully I had a little extra love and support from the AMAZING Suzanne when I stopped by the Pro Compression booth before heading out.

Source: @SuzanneEllard's Instagram Feed

Let's be real, the green loop is supposed to be the easiest. Sure, it has the longest distance, but it is fairly flat and consistent (there was still a few climbs, but nothing near the elevation change felt over the previous runs). That is, until you look at the fact that I ran a 20-miler on Thursday morning and then conquered two DIFFICULT (at least for me, Ms. NON-Trail Runner Carlee) legs before this one... To say I was TOAST (and maybe a little delirious from the lack of sleep) would be an understatement.

I decided, that since this was the only leg in the sun, I would stop and snap a couple pictures along the way. I didn't stop my watch at all for any of my pit stops, so it does effect my time a bit, but you can definitely tell that this last leg was not a normal pace for an "easy 6-miler".

A view of the village and the hills we climbed from across Vail Lake

And about a mile and a half in, it happened... A rock jumped out of no where and tripped me... Okay, I guess I will blame it on the fact that I was tired and probably not picking up my feet completely... But I really ate it. Thankfully I am pretty good at "falling with style" (as Woody would say), so as I was falling I was able to spin a bit and land more on my shoulder in a pricker bush than right on my face... I was able to bounce up fairly quickly and keep on running (and, more for my pride than anything else, I was pleased that I was alone on the trail for this portion).

Just a little dirt... Tis a meer flesh wound...

Like I mentioned, I stopped to snap a couple pictures along this leg, as well as played a few mental games like "If you can run to that next directional sign, you can walk up the next hill". I would have loved to say that this leg was smooth sailing, but after everything I had done the previous couple days, my legs felt like led and I was just trying to do anything to keep them moving forward.

I think this is every one's favorite sign who runs Ragnar, right?!

A view of the village from about .2 mile out (where the timing mat was)

You can see the slight dip around the 15:00
mark... That's where I ATE IT!

I finished! It was nothing stellar, but it was OVER! I was even able to pass 23 people throughout the 6 miles. And besides the two minor boo-boos I acquired along the way, I would say it was a definite success for my first trail adventure!

And just like that, my running portion was OVER!

That's what you call POSITIVE SPLITS... And tired legs!

Then it was time to take my third and final baby wipe "bath", change, and wait for our last runner to come back in!

If you didn't notice, we were playing up the whole Talladega Nights theme and our finish line plan was nothing short of amazing... Here is a little preview of what we were going for... Yes, Skyler ran his whole last leg in just a pair of tighty-whitey's... He handed the helmet back to us once he passed by our cheer squad on the way out and then grabbed it again at our camp before we all ran in together... IT WAS AMAZING!

We are still waiting for the official results to come in, but if you've seen the movie, then you know "If you're not first, you're last" and we are pretty sure we WON THE THING (even if by "winning" we mean had a TON of fun :)).

Ricky Bobby's PIT CREW!


How we kept track of when our runners finished and how many kills we had

And check out this MEDAL! I mean, it is definitely NOT TSA approved... I think MacGyver would be proud though!

Like legit, there is a saw, a blade, a bottle opener, wrenches, and lots of holes

With our calculations, we finished right around 21 hours and 2 minutes. I believe they will be releasing the preliminary results sometime today and the official results by the end of the week, but we will just consider TEAM BLOOD SWEAT AND SPARKLE (aka Team Shake and Bake) the WINNERS!

Do you 'do' trails? What about relay races?