Sunday, April 27, 2014

Avocado Half Marathon 2014

Holy crap another hill Batman! This was by far one of the toughest half marathons I've ever ran. That's not easy to say as I've ran the hills in San Francisco, San Dieguito, & the La Jolla. 
Mac Cheesing before the race!
I picked up my bib on the Friday before the race, at the Temecula Running Center or could have waited for race day packet pick up. The bib had the timing chip. They passed out tiny safety pins. I used safety pins I had from a past race at home, had to created a different hole because the bib holes were wonky.
Coffee would be better!
  The race began on a Saturday. It was perfect weather, about 54 degrees, a slight breeze, & over cast for most of the race at Live Oak Park in Fallbrook. There is a park bathroom to use and no porta potties. There were 315 Half Marathoners and 264 5k runners. We all started at the same time at 0715. The race was on the same day at the Avocado Festival and boast "Run through Avocado Country". 
There were a few Ragnar runners here today!
Pfffftttt I didn't see any Avocado trees and we ran through Fallbrook. The Highway Patrol controlled traffic and there were no problems that I noticed. The course first takes runners onto Grid Rd towards Fallbrook Golf Club for 1.5 miles, turn around and head back towards Live Oak Park. Runners doing the 5k finish here and the rest head up a huge hill for 2.0 miles. This sequence continued on throughout the entire course. 
We match! Haha chatted with him & his friend prior to start!

We ran past Fallbrook High School were a guy had a large speaker playing music and shouted accolades to the passing runners. He was the shizzle! Thanks speaker dude! At mile 8, runners turned around again to head back the way we came to the finish line at Live Oak Park. 
Smaller hill!
Wow! That was crazy! At the finish line, I found myself looking for the crazy ass who thought this course was a good idea as I thanked the nice volunteer for putting the medal around my neck. I feel sorry for anyone who was running a half marathon for the first time because they are all not like this one!
Post race mac cheese!
 Afterwards, I went to board a school bus shuttle heading back to the high school where I parked my car. This took 45 minutes of waiting on the bus before the Highway Patrol gave permission for the bus to leave. I met a nice runner on the bus who swapped race stories to pass the time. 
The original date is still on medals!
Race Time 2:37:05 
Race time based on gun time; not chip time.
It's okay, it was a small race. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

So Cal Ragnar Relay 2014

So Cal Ragnar is a 194 mile relay race in a 2 day time frame from Huntington Beach to San Diego.
It's a medal & bottle opener!
The morning of April 4th, 2014, I met up with the Running Turdles, Van 2, over coffee & breakfast burritos. Our team captain was very well organized, upbeat, chatty, & always positive! The runners are all friendly & welcoming. They were all  Ragnar Veterans & shared their experiences. Being around people with the same interest is always fun!
Van 2 mac cheesing as we head to Irvine for our first legs!

Around 0930 we hit the road to meet Van 1 at Orange County Great Park.We all brought snacks of our choice.  Our team captain purchased water & Gatorade mix. Runners are ushered into marked areas to completed the I promise not to sue Ragnar form, safety talks, decorate the van, then waited to begin racing. This was 1 of 4 major exchanges where the Van 1 & 2 meet. It's a race type atmosphere but a lotta dress up! My goal is to have fun!
Cheering on our 6th finisher & seeing our 7th runner begin his 1st leg!

When I put myself out there on the So Cal Ragnar Facebook saying I was available to run Ragnar, afterwards, it hit me there may be a small chance I'd have to wear a costume. I don't mind wearing a costume...on Halloween,  but it's crazy to run in one! To my relief, no costume, but had bad ass t-shirts with a pooping turtle on the toilet instead! Maybe I'll wear it to church :)
Van 2 Art!
The Running Turdles had a total of 10 runners with 5 in each van. Some other teams were Ultra and most had 12 runners on their teams.  Our van had one guy & 4 girls. It wasn't a industrial van but a family rental van which made it more comfortable, easy in /out at exchanges, & easy to park. The Running Turdles are a wonderful group of laid back personalities. Most of the time was spent getting to & from the exchanges, running, sleeping, or eating. Freeze breeze couldn't mask our smelly bellies. Perfect two days!
It speaks for itself!

Van #1 had a delayed start. It's not really clear what happened.  Both days had perfect weather to run in.  
Around 2:16pm, Van 1, 6th leg runner came into the chute & made the exchange. Our race began! I met Van 1 runners, chatted for a bit, then spent almost an hour getting out of the parking lot onto open road.
Looking for Van 1. Getting snacks & water for our 6th leg runner.

Quickly, you find out, with Ragnar racing, there are a lot of variables. Runners race on sidewalks and have to stop for traffic lights. It's all about the experience of running and meeting people. We ran 35.5 miles through Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Laguna Nigel, & Dana Point in 6hr14 mins. 
There were 3 people in our van that drove & navigated to the next exchanges. They worked really well together.  Ragnar has a list of rules to follow called the Ragnar Bible because the primary goal is safety.
My first leg coming into Dana Point. So so pretty here!

After our first legs were done, we exchanged again with Van 1 & headed to Oceanside for a hot meal on a Friday night!  We didn't want fast food & found the Hunter Steakhouse in Oceanside! Thank you for having us and the meal was delicious! After dinner we parked at the 2nd major exchange at Junior Seau Pier Amphitheater in Oceanside. We were able to use the beach restroom & change into our second set of clothes. I slept in the van where it was warm for about 4 hours. 12:00am was our wake up call to get our first runner ready.  At 1:40, our 1st runner took off for exchange 19. Thank you to the many churches & community centers that allowed Ragnar to use their parking lots. It's misting and sprinkling the morning of the 5th.  Again, good weather to run in. In a little over 5 hours we had completed 23.7 miles. 
Sweaty & hungry!

Having completed our 2nd leg, we drove a Starbucks in Torrey Pines, changed washed up a bit, changed into our 3rd set of clothing then made our way to Torrey Pine Gliderport, the 3rd major exchange. Here, Ragnar offered an all you can eat breakfast of pancakes, french toast, bacon, sausage, & eggs for $8.00. We all slept for about 2 to 3 hours before getting up to race again.
Good morning Torrey Pines! Feeling refreshed with 
new chonies on & brushed sweaters off my teeth!

 I ran leg 12. Each team has a Ragnar document recording the times they started.  Ragnar factors in the lights & leg offset adjusted times. Here's how it broke down for me:
Leg 12: 6.66 Ragnar Miles, 10:41 Ragnar Pace
            My Garmin without pausing: 6.73 Miles, 11:14 Pace
Leg 24: 4.89 Ragnar Miles, 10:38 Ragnar Pace
            My Garmin without pausing: 4.88 Miles, 10:55 Pace (fewer traffic lights & it was 3:30am)
Leg 36: 5.41 Ragnar Miles, 11: 29 Ragnar Pace (I got lost twice!)
             My Garmin without pausing: 5.5 Miles, 11:05 Pace
Running through areas I've never seen, made time fly. My first leg was really hilly through Laguna Nigel, the second was a large ass hill in Carlsbad, & my final was flat to the finish line along Harbor Dr in San Diego.
I reviewed my route each time I ran, but for the most part, the routes are marked. Thank you to the Ragnar runners who saw me running the wrong way, had pedestrians flag me down to turn me around!
Our team captain told me it's a tradition to take a picture of the last mile of the race. So who am I to monkey with tradition? Our final legs took us a little over 7hrs to complete 33.6 miles to the finish line.
Me in black cap like a horse to the barn!
Ragnar is what you make of it and a wonderful challenging race. Whether or not I'll do it again is still up in the air!
Thank you Running Turdles for a fantastic experience!