Thursday, August 31, 2017

Ragnar Relay Colorado Race Report (2017) aka Never Too Old!

It's 2:00 a.m and I once again ask myself, why the fuck do I do this?

I am 50 years old. I should be in my warm bed, not shivering in my sleeping bag in the middle of a baseball field in Somewhere, Colorado. I've run over 17 miles of mountains earlier and I'm not done yet.

But, see, that's the point! I (we) do these things because they take us out of our warm and safe beds and into the wildness of the world around us. That's exactly why I do all of these crazy races and adventures. It forces me to the side of discomfort, which means it forces me into growth. It prevents complacency and boredom. It rocks your little world - chews you up and spits you out and leaves you yearning for more (or, maybe it's just me?)

The Colorado Ragnar Relay on August 25/26 was my seventh relay. My first was accidental, back in 2009, before I even knew what a relay was. I won a contest and was rewarded (<that's subjective) with a spot on a fast-as-shit Hood to Coast Team, where I certainly did not belong in terms of running experience and skill. I was tentative to go it alone, so they also welcomed Ken onto the team.

Ken and I were by far the slowest. We never changed our clothes over the 21 hours. We smelled and looked disheveled. I cried a couple of times and we felt completely out of our element. And, it was awesome. You can read those race reports HERE and HERE (yes, I've been blogging that long).

We came in 8th in 21:47.
The infamous Mt. Hood

Fast forward to today. Over time, we've found a group of like minded friends who like to do this shit. If you really want to love or hate someone, spend 30 hours in a van with them. This group is like none other, and I adore them, sweaty balls and all.

From 2014 - Grand Tetons

In case you don't know how a running relay works - typically, you have 12 participants, 6 in each van. You take turns running and everyone has three different legs they run. Relays are usually about 200 miles long and take anywhere from 21 to 35 hours depending on the runners and the course.

We only had 10 runners instead of 12, so some of us took extra legs. I had four legs - my first one was at about 10 a.m. and was 10.4 miles. It was labeled as VERY HARD and I would agree with that given the distance, the elevation (10,000 feet) and the climbing (1,100 feet).

At mile 5 I almost crapped my pant and there was nowhere to hide. Somehow I controlled my colon and things stayed in tact. Thank you Jesus. After running up a mountain, I cruised along beautiful Lake Dillon and stopped to take some shots (pictures, not Fireball or tequila, although that would have been nice).

The run took me 1:40 - a 9:36 average pace.

After our van finished the first 6 legs, we drove to Edwards, CO, where we rested for about 5 hours until it was our turn to run again. By rested I mean drank a beer and took pictures of Ken and myself.

Don't be jealous of my pillow case. Or, my neck

Our van was on the move again at about 10 p.m, so we all ran in the dark with headlamps and safety vests. My run was 6 miles at 1:00 a.m. I forget how much I love to run in the dark with the cool air and peacefulness (except for all of those cars coming at me - could do without them).

We rested again in a baseball field from 2:00 a.m. until 4:00 a.m. when it was time to run again. These were some of the most beautiful runs of the race as they were on more remote roads and the sun began to rise.

I promise you that coffee NEVER tastes as good as it does during a relay
Right before Ken's run, we got this text. Always comforting.

My last run was two legs combined for a total of 7 miles. Basically I was running on (fart) fumes by this time and pretty exhausted. We all were. We then headed to Snowmass to wait for Van #2 at the finish line.

So, obviously we are a coed team and old-ish. Usually we will notice other masters teams (masters means all are 40+ years old) participating. But this year we were one of six masters teams. And we came in 1st in this category with a finish time of 31 hours. GO in shape, geriatric, menopausal, ED people!

Then the drinking and storytelling started - the best part of the whole thing, IMHO.

My advice to you - be sure doing a relay is on your bucket list. These days you can pretty much choose a destination (Napa, Rocky Mountains, Cape Cod, Hawaii, etc) and there is a relay waiting for you. You will hate moments of it, but you will love most of it, trust me.

Ever run a relay before? Which one? Love or hate?


Thursday, August 17, 2017

5 Nasty Ass Things Runners Do in Public

You may be asking yourself: "Self - why do runners do such odd, embarrassing and humiliating things in public?" I've been giving some thought to this because it is one of the wonders of the First World.

Think about it - as a runner you are often out in the middle of nowhere, dressed pretty scantily and in the process of utilizing many bodily functions because the pure movement of running riles up and excites the body. This is the perfect combination for unbelievable things to occur. Also, running can sometimes make us delirious in the same way that it can make us feel superhuman and invincible So, then we do epic shit. Or, take epic shits.

Here is just a mere sampling of some things that runners have been known to do in public (taken from real life stories - mine and others).

1. We let bodily functions fly. Although we may not try to do this in public, per se, sometimes there is an urgency that cannot be denied. In fact, I have a friend (who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are) who was once on a run in a very nice neighborhood. Suddenly, her intestines got the best of her and an emergency situation came about. If she could have found a bathroom, a large tree or even a ditch, she would have done so. But, none of these items were to be found, so she had to let loose in public. And, let loose she did. Right on somebody's lawn. In broad daylight.

I'm not positive, but I do believe that this is actually illegal. It probably falls under the category of indecent exposure with a mixture of  misdemeanor trespassing and a felony for grossness thrown in. But, what would you have done? Poop your pants and keep moving? Until you run in someone else's shoes, you really should not judge.

2. We get naked. Last year I did my first beer run.This was at the 6 day TransRockies Race. In case you aren't aware that is when you chug a beer ever quarter mile for a full mile. That is four beers. And, if you live in a state that loves its craft beers, you are probably chugging some hefty ale with 6% alcohol volume. In any case, I came in last (duh) but I did arrive in time to see the winner finish and spontaneously get naked. Like, all out naked. Here's the back view, but trust me the front view was even better.


3.We puke. Well, I don't, but you might. Ever been at the finish line of a race? It can be a vomit fest. I try to avoid finish lines for this reason as I have emetophobia (fear of vomit). Why does this happen, you may ask? When we run, our digestive systems can somewhat shut down as our blood goes to support our lungs and heart, not our digestion. Dehydration can also cause you to heave. Lastly, if you stop too quickly (such as at the finish of a race) your stomach might not be able to handle the sudden change in exertion and you blow chunks. Unfortunately, when it's coming up, it's happening whether you like it or not.

4. We fondle ourselves. The main reason that this happens, is we are ready to run and realize we've forgotten to apply lube to prevent chafing. A reader pointed out a scene she once witnessed, "I watched an 80+ year old man standing behind his car, which was parked near where everyone was gathering pre-race, pull his running shorts out by the waist band and proceed to lube up the dangly bits with Vaseline. Everyone within eye site had a lovely view of his family jewels."

5. We bleed. Nipple chafing (like Andy from the office). Periods (always showing up unwanted and at inappropriate times). Bloody knees (ever been part of at trail run? You'll see lots of these). 

Image result for nipple chafing images

All this to say - when you humiliate yourself in public, it's not just you. Many people have come before you and have survived. So, go forward and shit, pee, bleed and vomit with pride!

What's the most humiliating thing you've done while running? Tell me a story in the comments.


Friday, August 4, 2017

5 Favorites From the Week

I just came in from mowing the lawn. Does anyone else mow their lawn? I had to mow the lawn as a kid. We had a HUGE yard and if you could have seen me as a 10 year old girl pushing the mower in 95 degree Maryland humidity, you probably would have thought I was a bad ass. Or, thought you should call social services because...well, child labor.

Some of my favorite posts from other bloggers are about stuff they are finding/trying/noticing, because it gives me ideas. I get stuck in my ruts and love it when I can find my way out to experience something new. So, in case you like these posts too, here are some of my recent favorite things/experiences/thoughts of mine.

1. Books. I love to read. But, my job requires me to pretty much read and write all day, so I don't do as much "fun" reading as I would like. Instead I can often be found watching The Bachelorette and feeling bad about myself (Lee is a snake and a racist).  I did, however,  just finish a couple of books.

This was a fluffy beach read (any book with "beach" in the title means probably not going to be the most serious piece of literature, especially when the cover includes bare legs and loungers and drinks).

Same Beach, Next Year: A Novel by [Frank, Dorothea Benton]

I've got to say, I love books set in the South (one of my favorite authors was Pat Conroy - RIP). This one takes place in and around Charleston. There is also a part where the main character spends time in Corfu, Greece. As you know because I bring it up all the time, I lived in Greece for four years during high school, so I love EVERYTHING related to Greece, Greek food, etc.(this book made me want to go cook up some Mousaka and tzatziki - or just to go Greece and have someone cook it for me). If you're looking for a light read, pick this one up.

On a more serious note. I found this one on Amazon Kindle while looking for cheap Kindle books. This is the kind of book I love (basically a memoir about a ridiculously dysfunctional family). I think it's the social worker in me. Highly disturbing, but I dare you to try to put it down.

Spilled Milk: Based On A True Story by [Randis, K.L]

2. Races

I have raced a lot this summer. A few 5ks and 10ks and two half marathons. But, I still have some fun stuff coming up.

Colorado Ragnar Relay at the end of the month. This one starts in Copper Mountain, Colorado and goes to Snowmass (Aspen).

That is not me
It's 200 miles. You are supposed to have teams of 12, but we only have 9 (wanna come along? I'm serious. As long as you don't mind a co-ed team of 45 to 55 year olds - email me). So, with nine of us, we each will run about 22 miles.

Ken and I also signed up for the Black Squirrel Half Trail Marathon on September 9. A fair amount of climbing (2,200 feet - all in the first 4 miles), lots of single track and great views. I felt like I couldn't pass up one more race before it gets cold because September is my most favorite month of the year in Colorado.

3. Movies/Shows

The best movie that I watched this summer was Lion. I know many of you have seen it. I thought was very well done and well cast. Go watch it if you haven't. It's on Netflix now.
Ken and I just finished the one and only season of Friends from College (also on Netflix). There are only 8 episodes. It is hilarious and really inappropriate (my favorite kind of show). There may even be some frontal nudity.

Image result

4. Gear

I don't usually run with a handheld bottle. I prefer my Orange Mud Hydra Quiver or my Orange Mud hydration vest. But...this has been such a hot summer, so even on shorter runs I like to have a bottle with me. I also have been carrying my phone for safety but also for Spotify. And I LOVE this handheld because the pocket is large enough for my iPhone (7). I can't take a picture with my phone in it, because I have to use my phone for the picture (First World Probs), but here it is. The phone fits in the pocket and sticks out the top, but the foldover part fits over the phone, if that makes sense.

Orange Handheld - Orange Mud - Running Water Bottle comes with a 21 ounce bottle.

5. Recipes!

I am always and forever trying new recipes. We had my parents over the other night and I wanted to try a shrimp boil. I used a recipe based on Old Bay seasoning (yes I am a Maryland girl) and it turned out fantastic. Basically, you cook up corn on the cob, red potatoes, andouille sausage and shrimp then dump it all out on newspaper in the middle of the table and everyone goes to town. If you like to add a twist, then be sure the newspaper is the obituary page. Recipe HERE.

That's all I've got for now. But...your turn.

Tell me one favorite from the week.

Best book you're read recently?

Best new recipe?

Best show/movie you've watched?

Softest toilet paper? Charmin FTW

Favorite place you've pooped (but a bathroom or porta potty doesn't count) In a hollowed out tree.