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RECAP: Ragnar SoCal 2014 – Team afterNUUN run

A few months ago I was invited to join team afterNUUN run, which was made up of San Francisco Marathon Ambassadors (an awesome writeup on each of team members can be found on Gametiime’s blog). Needless to say, I jumped at the chance!

Team afterNUUN run

We were split up into two vans (listed in runner leg order).

Van #1:  Keith, Kristina, Jordan, Me, Erin, Chris

Van #2: Matt, Paulette, Miriam, Meg, Bruce, Alisyn

To add the already awesomeness of the team we were fortunate to have many generous sponsors!

Nuun (NUUN, water bottles), The San Francisco Marathon (shirts, vans), Sketchers (shoes), Gametiime (shirts) , Zensah (compression sleeves), and FitSok (socks).

Here we go!

I arrived in Orange County on Thursday. Met up with other team members at the airport. We then went to the rental car facility to pick up another mini-van #2. We stopped at Yard House for some lunch and a beer before heading to the hotel to check-in. Lucky for us there was a Target across the street from the hotel. We picked up a bunch of snacks, water and items to decorate the vans.

Later that evening we decided to run to Downtown Disney for dinner. It was a nice evening and run! We ended up having some delicious pizza at Naples. A few decided to run back to the hotel. While the rest of us opted to take the shuttle back.

The next morning we loaded up the vans, said our goodbyes to Van #2 and took off for the beach.

We had to sit through a mandatory safety meeting before we received our bibs. Afterward we decorated our van and anxiously waited for Keith to start the race.

Van #1 is ready!

Van #1 is ready!

12:45pm – it was time for Keith to start the race for team afterNUUN run! Off he went and so did we to the next exchange.

Leg 4

It was Friday evening and time for me to finally run. I was ready. I studied the route map, applied sunscreen and stretched. Yeah, I’m ready…I think. I waited at the exchange for Jordan (runner 3). The volunteer yelled out our team number. There she was! She handed off the slap bracelet and I was off.

My leg was pretty short, 2.7 miles. There were only a couple turns. Pretty easy.

The scenery was cars and more cars. I saw Angel Stadium in the distance. I knew I wasn’t far from the next exchange. At the traffic light was the Ragnar sign “Left”. The light was red. I waited and waited and waited until it finally turned green. Off I ran…left.

My Garmin showed that I only had a little bit to go. But I didn’t see the exchange. Where is everyone?! Oh no, I ran the wrong way! Doh! I ran back the way I came, which ended up being a mile. Yes, I ran a mile out of my way. Oh, THERE is the exchange. Doh. And there is Erin! SLAP! And off she went.

I made it to Exchange 4!

So much for studying the route map. However I did run faster than expected. Only 5 minutes later than my expected time.

Leg 16

It was now about 2:00am on Saturday. It was time for my second leg and my only nighttime leg.

I asked Chris to pace me during this leg. I wanted a solid run and knew that he could help me do that.

I heard our team number called. I saw Jordan running up. Off I go…again! Less than a minute into the run I asked Chris what the pace was, because it felt comfortable. He said 7:30. Whoa. I don’t ever run this fast…but I was and it felt great!

The route was flat and short, 4.10 miles. Not much to look at except the random jackrabbit running across the trail. We only passed one runner along the way. Before I knew it, we were at the exchange.

Thanks to Chris, I ran my fastest 4 miler ever. 7:37 minute pace!

Leg 28

My last leg. We were almost done! I was looking forward to real food, a beer, a shower and a long sleep in a real bed.

I planned to enjoy this last leg, not worry about pace and take it all in. There were a lot more runners on this leg than my previous legs. It was actually nice to run with other runners. I stayed behind a couple of runners for the first couple of the miles. Their pace was just right. Plus it allowed me to take in the awesome ocean view!

My last leg!

My last leg! Psst! I’m the runner in the middle.

I knew there were a few hills on leg. They didn’t look too bad on paper. The first hill wasn’t that bad. But the second hill. The second hill was a beast! I started to run up the hill, but I just couldn’t. It was hot. I was tired and didn’t have it in me. So I walked/run to the top. On the way I started talking to two runners. We talked about where we were from and about Ragnar. Once we were within eyeshot of the exchange I said my goodbyes and passed off the slap bracelet to Erin.

And just like that. I was done.

To the beach!

Our last runner, Chris, made his way into the last exchange. Soon after we hightailed it to the beach! Van 1 was done! We waited for Van 2 to finish their legs and meet us at the beach to run to through the finish together. In the meantime we got lunch, hung out and relaxed.

A few hours later Van 2 arrived. We quickly made our way to the finishing chute and ran with our last runner Alisyn through to the finish line! 194 miles done!

afterNUUN run at the finish line!

afterNUUN run at the finish line!

Our official finish time was 26:40:57. We finished 8th in Mixed Open category and 24th overall. Not bad!

It was an amazing experience with a bunch of awesome runners. I would definitely run another relay with this group!


Ragnar SoCal. Let’s do it!

I’m happy to announce I’ve been invited to be on the San Francisco Ambassador Ragnar SoCal team. The official name of the team is AfterNUUN Run.

Team afterNUUN run

We will be sponsored by NuunThe San Francisco MarathonSketchersGametiimeZensah, and FitSok.

This will be my first Ragnar. A Ragnar relay has been on my wish list for awhile. I’m excited to finally get to run one!



Hood To Coast 2014

It’s only two months after Hood to Coast 2013 and I’m already writing about Hood To Coast 2014!

Unfortunately the team I was on this year (Pure Michigan) did not get selected in the lottery for 2014.

Hood to Coast 2014!

Fortunately I was lucky enough to have a friend who needed runners on their team. I will be running Hood To Coast in 2014 on team Need4Speed!

RECAP: Hood To Coast 2013 – Team Pure Michigan

This journey to Hood To Coast all started here.

Quick intro about the team – The team name is Pure Michigan, because all the members of the team (except for Chris and I) have ties to Michigan.

I flew into Portland early Thursday morning the day before Hood To Coast. I was to meet my teammates for the very first time in person. The only person I have met prior was fellow San Francisco Marathon Ambassador, Chris. I met a few of my teammates then it was off to pickup the rental van.

We piled into the van and we’re off to Mount Hood! We made a quick pit stop at Safeway for some food and snacks for the next few days.

We stopped off at a condo in Government Camp (6 miles from Mount Hood) where other teammates were staying. It was nice to meet more  teammates! We were only there for about 10 minutes before we were off to the Timberline Lodge where the rest of the team was staying, including me.

Me (with sun in my eyes) at the start line of Hood To Coast.

Me (with sun in my eyes) at the start line of Hood To Coast.

That night all the  team met up for a late dinner and team meeting. It was decided that we all meet at 10:30am the next morning to decorate the vans.

On Friday morning I woke up at 7:30am, visited the start line to watch teams start and bought a Hood To Coast hoodie. I never buy any merchandise from a race unless the race is really special to me. This was definitely one of those races!

At 10:30am we met in front of the Timbeline Lodge to decorate the vans.  After the vans were looking pretty awesome we headed to start line to wait for our start.

Decorating Vans #1 and #2

Decorating Vans #1 and #2

The first runner took off at 1:15pm. Hood To Coast started for Pure Michigan! We hopped into van #2 and drove to the first major exchange which was the parking lot at a Safeway. Everyone bought some lunch and waited a few hours for runner 6  to arrive.

Our first runner took off at 6pm. We drove to the next exchange and waited for the runner. While we waited I finally met another fellow San Francisco Marathon Ambassador, Holly. Nice to finally meet her! We exchanged runners, drove to next exchange.

I  couldn’t believe this was really finally happening! And I couldn’t stop saying that out loud.

I was a bit skeptical about how my legs would perform during HTC. My IT band wasn’t 100% and my calves were pretty sore the week prior.

Leg 10

It was finally time to start my first leg – 5.12 miles! I was really nervous, but excited to run. It was pretty dark at this point, so I was wearing a headlamp and a reflective with LEDs. Both were required. I stood at the exchange with the rest of the team anxiously awaiting runner 9. I heard the volunteer yell out our team number. I saw our runner get closer. He handed off the slap bracelet. I was off and running! So much emotion happening at this point. THIS was finally happening, I was running Hood To Coast!

My first leg was very interesting. For awhile it was just me, the darkness, and the weird creature noises coming from the bushes. No other runners anywhere to be seen. FINALLY I heard a runner coming up quickly from behind. He started to pass and exclaimed “What a great night for a run! Have a great run!”. Now I really didn’t think the runners would be very talkative. Boy I was wrong! From there on out I pretty much talked to every runner that I ran by. Even if they ran past me, which they usually did, I  said “Nice pace!”. I always thanked the volunteers and spectators when I ran by them. Even gave one of the volunteers a high five! One of the spectators yelled “You’re second!”. I yelled back, “Yeah! Second to last!”. I could hear them laughing as I ran away.

About halfway through my run I heard something on my right. I looked and saw two green eyes. Holy *&^%! I had no idea what it was, but I ran FASTER! I  heard gun shots, which I think was from a gun range and also heard some guys arguing in a backyard.

I really took everything in. I had to keep telling myself “This isn’t a race. Enjoy yourself and surroundings!”.

Overall it was an AMAZING run. Probably the best night run I have ever ran. As I approached the end of my run I could see the exchange. I yelled my number out to the volunteer and they yelled it out to the exchange. I handed off the slap bracelet to runner 11. I felt AWESOME!

Exchange 12

Runner 11 ran, finish her run and passed off to runner 12. After runner 12 finished we decided that we needed food before we fell asleep at the next major exchange. We drove all over St. Helens, Oregon looking for some food. EVERYTHING was closed! We finally found a 24 hour Mexican restaurant (Muchas Gracias) thanks to a billboard. I can honestly say that I don’t remember how the food tasted. At this point I just wanted to fall asleep. Everyone ate, hopped back into the minivan and made our way to the next major exchange.

We arrived around 1am at the exchange. Me and two other teammates found a nice spot in the field with other fellow runner zombies. I initially fell asleep, but kept waking up every 15mins or so. I had to use the restroom really bad. I didn’t want to leave my comfy sleeping bag. Plus I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find my way back. Around 2am (I think) it started to rain! I covered my head with the sleeping bag and kept on sleeping. I woke up around 3:40am, rolled up the sleeping bag and made my way to the minivan. All of my teammates were standing there ready  to send off the next runner. I decided to finally use the Honey Bucket. I was in a groggy daze at this point. It still seemed like a dream!

We did more of the same that morning: Drive to the exchange, drop off runner, pick up runner. Repeat!

Leg 22

Is it my turn to run again?! Out of the three legs this is the leg that I was not looking forward to running. It was about 1.75 miles uphill and 5.06 miles all downhill for a total of 6.81 miles. I wasn’t sure how my IT band would handle the uphill.

We drove up the exchange and the first thing we all noticed was this steep hill all the runners were running up. Do I have to run up that?! Wasn’t expecting that! I quickly hopped out of the van, because I had to use the Honey Bucket and runner 9 was going to be at the exchange very soon! I used the restroom and waited for the runner. Before I knew it, there he was! I was almost caught off guard. I grabbed the slap bracket and made my way up the steep hill from hell.

The steep hill wasn’t too bad. I was glad that was the only steep part of this run. I made it to the top of the hill, which was about 1.50 – 2 miles of uphill to climb. My IT band was screaming at me the entire way up. It seemed like it took forever. I was so excited to be at the top of the hill. It really took a lot out of me. I knew from here it was all downhill. I FLEW down the 5 miles of hill. I talked to every runner that I ran by on the way down. Everyone I talked to was in good spirits. My team drove by and yelled. I was so happy to see them! Luckily they caught me on the way down the hill and not on the way up. I looked pretty terrible on the way up!

I handed off the slap bracelet to runner 11 at the exchange. The leg that I wasn’t looking forward to actually was a pretty good run!

Exchange 30

We decided just to head straight to the exchange to eat and rest up. We arrived at exchange about 3-4 hours early. A teammate and I immediately headed to the food stand to order some burgers. I’m pretty sure we ate those burgers in under 3 mins.

Exchange 30 traffic jam.

Exchange 30 traffic jam.

As I walked back to the food area to buy some waters I noticed Lonnie’s (who I know from twitter) team van! It was great to finally meet him!

Everyone pretty much lounged around until it was time for runner 7 to run again.

Leg 34

My last leg and shortest of my legs at 3.36 miles. It looked like an entirely flat leg. Right!  I waited at the exchange for runner 9. He was flying along his leg. I knew he was going to be there very soon. Before I knew it, there he was. SLAP! And off I go!

My leg started off pretty flat. Then some hills appeared. What the? Flat course? Nope! I really wasn’t mentally prepared for the hills. I was prepared for a nice flat leg! I was pretty fatigued and hot, but I powered through the hills. I talked to the runners along the way. They also were wondering where this flat course was!

I was about 2 miles in when I noticed two girls on the side of the road. They had a wheelchair with a bin on top filled with water and apples. One of the girls asked if I wanted to cool off. I splashed my face with  the water. I had no idea what other grimy hands or faces had used the water previously. I was so hot that I really didn’t care!

I could see the exchange! I was almost there! I used the last of my energy the last .36 miles. I handed off the slap bracelet to runner 11. I WAS DONE! Words can’t even describe how I felt as this point. I just ran Hood To Coast!

Seaside here we come!

It was finally time for our runner 12 to run the home stretch to the finish line at Seaside! The entire team waited in the holding chute at the finish line waiting for our last running. There she was! As soon as we saw here running toward us the entire team cheered! We all walked through the start line, which was pretty congested. We got our medals and took the official finish line team picture.

We celebrated with beers on the beach! Some even dipped themselves and their medals into the Pacific.

Needless to say, I had an AMAZING time during Hood To Coast. It was the most challenging and fun races that I have ever ran. I was lucky enough to have the nicest, most amazing teammates a runner could ever have!

Hood To Coast BIB and Medal

Hood To Coast BIB and Medal

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