Smelling Like a Non-Runner

You can avoid stinky running clothes by dressing like this guy, or just try WIN detergent!

You can avoid stinky running clothes by undressing like this guy, or try WIN detergent!

When I lead teams of runners through a Ragnar Relay, I get a lot of the same questions asked over and over:

  • How do I stretch my aching I.T. Bands?
  • Do you have Vitamin-I in your bag?
  • How fast *is* Brian??

and inevitably

  • How do I get the running funk smell out of my Ragnar gear?

You see, with a Ragnar you might run your first leg at 9am on Friday, and might not do your laundry until 9pm on Sunday. In the meantime, if you care about the other clothes in your bag staying clean while living out of a van, and the noses of those around you, you’ve probably taken the clothes you just ran your last leg in and balled them up in a plastic bag, which is now zipped up in a duffel bag in the trunk of your team’s van. Roughly 40 hours later, that bag will be opened over your washing machine while you hold your breath!

So although any running is sweaty, Ragnar running ferments the scent. Gross.

Here’s my typical answer to the question of “How do I get the smell of running funk out of my Ragnar gear?”

unstoppables161314_90x90I buy the cheapest laundry detergent I can find (like Xtra on sale at Walgreens with a coupon for $2) and add in Downy Unstoppables scent booster (with a coupon from Target) in whatever the aqua color scent is. I use just enough Unstoppables to fill the bottom of the cap for regular dirty laundry, and double that for Ragnar/camping gear/super gross smelling stuff.

winlaundryRecently I was introduced to a new laundry solution for those items that permanently smell like a high school locker room. I tried a free bottle of WIN Sports Detergent. The science behind WIN is made specifically for the technical fabrics of most workout clothes. It doesn’t just cover the scent or clean the clothes, as I understand it – WIN sports detergent goes beyond simple cleaning and breaks down the bond between your leftover deodorant and stench on the garment, eliminating the bacteria and yuck left behind. Bye bye oils and residue! Bye bye odor on synthetic fabrics! Hello fresh scent!

I’ve tried half the bottle – 5+ loads of laundry with WIN. I am happy with the performance of the product. I feel like I had a good system figured out, but this does the same thing in terms of making my clothes smell better with just one product instead of two.

I asked Brian what he thought of how WIN washed his running gear. He actually sniffed the crotch of his shorts that came out of the dryer and said, “This doesn’t just smell not gross, it actually smells pleasant. Without smelling flowery like a girl.”

The question is, will WIN help my athletic gear stay in better condition in the long run? Only time will tell. I kind of want to get a new race shirt and just wash it in WIN from day one and see if I notice a difference over time, rather than rewashing items I was already wearing and washing.

Do your own experiment! Try WIN for yourself on your sweaty, stinky gear! I’ll help you with a coupon code. Use this coupon code for $5 off a purchase of WIN: WIN-IAZQ-YXFZ and it’s not just a code for first time shoppers. You can use it over and over again!

If you don’t like online shopping, I know there are a handful of stores near me selling WIN. You can check their online store locator to see if someone near you is selling it too.

** BLOGGER BONUS **

For one lucky member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers I have one free bottle of WIN detergent!! (I don’t want to ship it, see.) Comment below and tell me which recent fitness activity left your clothes in their WORST state ever! Mud? Lake? Marathon? I’ll pick a random winner who bowls me over with their wit and stench by midnight Nov 5.

Ready – set – comment!

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Ragnar Tahoe Trail Relay 2013 recap

Although Brian and I have put together and led roughly 15 Ragnar Relay teams of strangers, the Ragnar in Tahoe help a lot of new adventure for us.

First: we brought 2 running buddies from home along with us
2nd: It was the first TRAIL relay we did, instead of a road relay
3rd: I hadn’t been to Lake Tahoe before. That’s not entirely true, I went when I was about 3 years old.

Flying to California from Florida can be grueling. We flew from Florida to TN, to CO, to Reno and then drove to the CA side of Tahoe about 75 mins away from the airport. But we had 2 friends from Florida on our flights, and HGTV to watch on Southwest Airlines. Lots of House Hunters was viewed while we were in the air!

And when we landed, we were treated to some gorgeous views!

viewOn the way from the Reno airport to the race resort, we stopped at Wal Mart for supplies and Subway for dinner. Much of our supplies came in huge duffles on the plane with us, but there are usually last minute purchases of water, sunscreen, fruit and granola bars – things that don’t fly well.

What does fly well are lawn games, which we purchased to make our campsite a little more fun, perhaps even drawing other teams around to hang out and play. We discovered that Dan L. calls “Ladder Golf” — wait for it — Grandpa’s Balls!

The race was held at the Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort. There were tall pines and ski lifts and lots of steep hills. About 2 weeks before the event, the resort received permission to blast an area of their property with dynamite. It was the area all of the teams were meant to camp on, so we were moved to camping on an asphalt parking lot. Sure, the was gravely and hard – but it kept the bugs out of our food and the bees and rattlesnakes were much further away! I see a definite plus in that! I think I came home with just ONE bug bite.

Teams for this relay consist of 8 people. There are 3 trails, and everyone runs all 3 trails. There is one exchange points that all teams use to pass off the team belt/number/bib, and while your runner is on course you can hang at the camp site, talk, eat, sleep, etc. We always inform our teammates that bringing earplugs and eyemasks are a good idea, because you never know when you’ll be able to catch a few ZZzzs.

Ragnar Tahoe Trail team shirtWe thought the concept of running and camping and hanging out was so desirable, we actually purchased 2 teams. We got 12 members easily, but had trouble after that. We named the teams TaHoes and TaBros. (T-shirt art above) 2 of the TaBros agreed to run double to make up for the missing team members.

The 3 trails were:
Green: 2.7 miles
Yellow: 6.7 miles with a LOT of steep uphill climb in high altitude
Red: a .5 mile run to a ski lift, up to the very top of the mountain, and 7+ miles down to the base.

So runner 1 runs green, runner 2 runs yellow, runner 3 runs red, then back to green again – but this time it’s runner 4… and so on until everyone does all 3 loops. It’s like 117 miles or something like that. Whatever it is, it’s shorter than the average 200 mile Ragnar Relay on roads.

Ragnar Relay Napa Valley reunion

Uncorked! reunion

We had friends at this Relay! Some of our Ragnar Napa team members were there: Laura, Wendy, Patrick and Chris. Michelle and Maria from that team were on our TaHoes & TaBros team, so we had a mini reunion. 2 of our Del Sol Ragstars team members were there: Shannon and Maia. Cheryl from our TN team was there with her husband in great Doc from Back to the Future shirts. Plus with Brian (and Maria) from that team on our TaHoes & TaBros team, and Dan C from our Shave the Whales Northwest Passage team, and Ben from TN – it was a little nutty with who knew who.

Our other TaHoes & TaBros may be seen here.

While we were picking up extras at Wal Mart, our first 2 team mates to arrive at the campsite, who drove up from their home in CA, texted us and warned us that it was thunderstorming. It was about 6pm. Luckily, by the time we drove up there it was 9:30pm, and the rain had stopped. The darkness didn’t make it easy to find 2 strangers with a tent in the dark, however, so I drove a minivan up and down the campsites saying, “Tahoes? Tabros? And Tahoes here?” Later Megan from Nuun said she heard me and it was cracking her up!

But we found our team, and unloaded our gear, and pitched our tents and inflated our air mattresses. Yes, if that makes us cheaters, than we cheated! We also strung colored LED lights (nondenominational holiday lights in primary colors), so the other van and Friday arrivers would be able to find us easily.

campsitenightN3357We hung out talking in our team shelter much too late, but it was great to get to know each other. Plus we had a 1pm start time and a 1:30pm start time, so we could have slept in. I almost did, but I had to get up to use the bathroom at one point. I found the port a potties, and realized the clear sky and huge moon shed so much light I didn’t even need my head lamp. That was cool!

Potable Water at Ragnar

how we got our water

9am was about the time people were awake for real, finding potable water, brushing teeth, and eventually heading down to the Ragnar “Village” where there were corporate sponsor booths, the Mess Hall tent for eating, the major exchange/start line/finish line, and people. Fit, sweaty people. The weather probably got up to about 80 degrees and down to about 54 degrees, so it was warm in terms of running weather the whole weekend.

We played some games and shared some food. I chatted with the DJ like I always do. I even found a quiet spot on the trail before any of the teams started to do some Yoga.

Raffi trail yogaThe poor DJ had to repeat the same safety briefing almost every half hour from 11am-2pm on Friday until every start time heard it. Usually volunteers do that, but since everything was more compact and he had a microphone, it kind of made sense. Most of his schpiel explained the signs on the roads and reminded us to “Leave only footprints, take only pictures” – pick up your trash people!

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ragnar safety briefing

Listening to the Safety Briefing

Dan at start Ragnar TahoeDan L. was our first runner out (above). We cheered on our starters, and as people hung out near the exchange point, there was almost always someone coming by to cheer for. Different runners have different paces, and all the teams had staggered start times, so at any moment you could grab a cowbell and go high five someone finishing their leg.

I found a team called “Bros and Tahoes” and got my photo with one of their shirts.

otherbros130726_133932Our first downer was when one of our runner came in from the steep, uphill yellow leg and was totally out of breath. We took her to the medical tent, and after firing a lot of questions they basically told her she should eat more, drink more, actually drink the water she carried on the trail with her, and slow down a bit because of the altitude. Everyone was saying the yellow leg was tactical and sadistic, but I think everyone but her would do it again.

Friday evening rolled around, and I overheard a staff member say they didn’t have people to bus tables as the dinner rush started. (Free pasta dinner for everyone!) I told him I would volunteer for 2 hours if he gave me plastic gloves. So for 2 hours I reminded everyone at dinner that the dishes could all go in the compost bin, and I cleared plates for those who looked like they should be post-race sitting. I guess it was mid-race sitting. The food was pretty good. The salad probably should have had the dressing on the side and the pasta could have been whole wheat, since they knew this was a generally healthy crowd, but oh well. I was a good girl and skipped the cookies, I have 3 pounds to lose from my May vacation.

smores tableAround 10pm I helped out again, this time at the s’mores table. There were 3 firepits, and TONS of marshmallows (including vegan), graham crackers (including organic) and Hershey bars. TONS. I hung out there for about an hour helping, and came back from 5am-8am to do it again because no one else was. I could have slept in, but I decided talking to people would be more fun, I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

Ragnar Smores

Craziness at the s’mores table

One by one our runners took on all 3 trails. At one point Michelle and I were going to walk the yellow trail with a Ragnar staff member – Michelle so she could fulfill her yellow trail leg, and the other 2 of us to get photos and pick up trash, but Michelle wasn’t right by the exchange when the runner before her came in, and Brian was afraid we’d get in trouble, so he went on the yellow course again for her! Meanwhile, Ragnar decided it was a better time to pick up the staff pizza lunch instead of taking trail photos, so I helped pick up pizzas instead. For a moment there, we had the best smelling van in the city! And they even let me have a slice 🙂

As Saturday wore on and the yellow trail took its toll, Ragnar allowed teams who were dropping behind to double and TRIPLE up their runners on the course. They extended the finish from 4pm to 6pm.

By 4pm Saturday, we had one runner left on the course. Some teams had left, others were organizing dinner and camping another night. We started packing everything up at our camp site so after our finish line photos we could drive on to a hotel for showers and a hot meal.

finish0727_172931After our fun photos, we drove back into Reno and had rooms booked at the Casino Fandango. Brian found this place online and told us it would be kitschy fun. And it WAS! Hot pink lighting, and band on a stage 15 feet off the ground, carpet covered with a pattern of rainforest leaves, and a volcano room of nickle slots around a fake mountain! It was right next to our Marriott hotel, so we all took and hour to clean up and then met at the casino.

the lights were much more bubblegum pink than this

the lights were much more bubblegum pink than this

There was a steakhouse in the back, and most of the team wanted to eat there. We practically had the place to ourselves! The food was excellent. I had creamy mushroom risotto and asparagus, and a few bites of Brian’s chocolate ganache cake. Most people ordered the filet mignon.

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Then there was some gambling… Brian C and Monica stayed the latest and bet the highest, mostly at the Blackjack tables. My husband and I played video poker and video blackjack and came up $44 ahead in the end!

And then we slept. and slept. and woke up to ANOTHER hot shower. Because hot showers rock. And as I checked my Facebook on my phone, I saw that a teammate posted that she was walking across the street to IHOP, and a bunch of us ended up there. Then we returned the rental cars and went off to the airport. Where Brian realized he couldn’t find his phone and ran back to the rental car area. Where they had already turned in our cars. So 2 teammates who didn’t have flights for 5 hours went to fill out a report while we went through security. And then to the bathroom, which is where it dawned on me to CALL Brian’s phone. And it was in his backpack all along! Mini drama at the airport.

Our flight home was Reno to Chicago and Chicago to Tampa, arriving at 12:20 Midnightish Florida time. In Chicago we wolfed down a quick meal (turkey burger with swiss and an orange) and on the 2nd flight I sat next to someone leaving Blogher who is putting together a site of blogging experts to give advice to bloggers on the business end of blogging. We talked about web the whole flight home while Brian watched more House Hunters next to me.

14 runners, countless smores, 3 nights, over 117 miles, a zillion stars and 8 little bags of peanuts later I came HOME! Where I was promptly greeted by a Wendy hug!! and then I slept for a long, long time!

 

 

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Nearly Wordless – Summer Vacay #1

The beginning of June was full of family travels. We went to Chicago to see family and tour Columbia College, we led a team through Chicago Ragnar Relay, and we took a week in Michigan to cool down in nice weather – just the 4 of us.

Here are some Chicago highlights:

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After we made it from the airport to my cousin’s condo on the train with a ton of luggage, we went to Uncle Julio’s Mexican Restaurant – where they treated us to warm sopaipillas with honey to dip them in.

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The 2nd day in Chicago, we started with brunch at Bongo Room – just the 4 of us.

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Alice’s pancakes were lemony with blueberries on top and ricotta cheese with lemon zest and powdered sugar.

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After a day at Navy Pier and getting lost in the mirror maze, we had a snack at The Signature Lounge at the 96th, on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center. People told us it would be pricey but cheaper than playing for the observatory room with the same view. It was, and it was. It was the day before my birthday, and I ordered the white and dark chocolate mousse cake. They kinda pissed me off though, by putting pineapple on top.

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The ladies room on the 95th floor has a great view, but also fun vintage artwork, like this enlarged photo.

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Across the street was the American Girl store.

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These American Girl dolls were ready for Ragnar, headlamps and all!

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The next day we took the girls to tour Columbia College. Alice looked cute and ready for the journalism program in aqua. Although Wendy isn’t pictured, she really liked what they had to offer! (And their dorms were huge!)

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That night we met my cousins and friend Julie for my birthday dinner at Quartino, an Italian tapas-style restaurant. Their Limoncello Martini was awesome! Housemade Limoncello, Absolut Citron & Fresh Squeezed Lemonade got me giggly.

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We had dessert at Ghirardelli. The cashier was also celebrating her birthday! I took a photo since we were “birthday twins”.

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Brian and I shared a peanut butter hot fudge sundae!

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Then we went to Ragnar Chicago… that post is already written. But here we are enjoying a brief moment of togetherness despite living out of van with strangers for 32 hours.Yes, I am dressed like a COW.

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Meanwhile, my cousins took my “Dr. Who” fan daughters to Who-prov (Second City Dr. Who themed improv.)

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Our last moment in Chicago…

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Kaboodles drove us to Michigan in his perpetual motion machine.

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I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.

Last week Digital Running led their 14th Ragnar Relay. This was a 195 mile race from Madison, WI to Chicago, IL. We had 12 runners on our team + me as staff = 13, in 2 vans, and finished in roughly 31.5 hours. Here’s the scoop:IMG_20130607_071659

Because this was my 14th Ragnar, I kind of have packing down to an art, even for different temps. The packing for this race was a little different because we had a few days of vacation both before and after the race to pack for. Luckily, I was able to leave an extra suitcase at my cousin’s condo in Chicago, because there really isn’t room for a full sized suitcase in a 12-passenger van with 6-7 people living out of it.

On Thursday we went to Midway airport in Chicago to pick up the 2 vans, which were reserved months ago and confirmed 2 days in advance. They only had one. They dicked us around, and called other locations, and we called other rental companies, and eventually they found us another 12-passenger van at O’Hare. So the team climbed into van 1 and we all drove to O’Hare to get van 2. There were lots of references to the Seinfeld episode about not fulfilling a reservation. Stupid BUDGET car rental and their stupid giving away of vans after a phone confirmation 2 days before pickup!! (and, yes, the video clip below is worth the 32 seconds of giggles.)

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Anyway, we made it to O’Hare through the horrible Chicago traffic and only lost about 45 mins. Then we checked into the hotel, found out who our roommates were, and got ready for our pre-race team dinner. My husband and I were obviously sharing a bed, but in the other bed in our room was someone on the team we had never met before. We’ll call her Shirley. Shirley entered the room with a threesome joke. Literally, as she was putting in the electronic key to open the door, she was making a threesome joke to total strangers, and then proceeded to tell us about her upstairs neighbors who hit on her, and are now awkward to see in the hall. And she demonstrated how the guy massaged her neck on my neck. Now, I am pretty open and easy going, so although this could have been a red flag, it wasn’t.

We washed up a bit, I put on a cuter top, and we went to dinner at an Irish pub that was close to the hotel, and had a big-box store nearby so that after dinner we could pick up van necessities.

photo from http://www.janeausten.co.uk

At dinner I was introduced to Scotch Eggs for the first time. A Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs and baked or fried. I was surprised that anyone about to run a relay would want to eat this, but to each their own… I ordered cottage pie, a wanna-be-Irish meal similar to Shepherds pie but made with chicken in place of ground beef.

At the big box store I got a dark chocolate bar for the van – they had my favorite brand, Endangered Species! We also got granola bars and bananas and a fuji apple. We stocked up the van coolers with bottled water, and would fill them with ice the next morning from the hotel ice machine.

Then we went to bed. Brian showered while our roommate Shirley slept immediately and I watched a few minutes of college track and field finals (on mute) before falling asleep myself. I left the TV on as a nightlight for Brian, and he came to bed at around 11:00PM. Later he said he didn’t sleep well – tossing and turning all night. I remember waking around 3am because I thought a light went on, but it was Shirley texting, and I fell back asleep. Our alarm went off at 5am.

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Team “How Now Spotted Cow” shirts

Brian hopped out of bed and started filling the coolers with ice down the hall at the ice machine. I did my bathroom stuff and got dressed, and went down to the lobby continental breakfast to find teammates to hand out our matching team shirts and headbands. I had a little bit of oatmeal with walnuts and raisins on top, and took 2 hard boiled eggs for later. Little by little the team trickled into the lobby, the shirts were all handed out, and we left.

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Denise

I was in van 2. We had a great group of people. There was me and Brian, 2 runners we’ve had on our team before – Terie, a former smoker who got healthy and lost weight 3 years ago and runs like a machine, and Justin (whose wife was volunteering at the finish line) – and 3 new friends: Whitney who was upbeat and youthful, Bob who knew a fun fact about every city anyone mentioned, and Denise who kept her head about her well and kept our eye on the prize. We jived and blended well.

We met up with van 1 at the start for a team photo. Shirley said, “Why do I need pictures with you, I’ll never see you again after tomorrow.” (red flag #2) As usual, I found the DJ and gave him some prizes to hand out on behalf of Digital Running. Unfortunately, we were there before the 8am city allowance of music, so the start line was rather quite. Runner 1 started at 7:30am in Madison, WI.

We took some more photos with Van 1 and with another team also dressed in a cow theme (below) and van 1 headed off to the course while we headed off to breakfast.

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Veggie Skillet with swiss cheese

After a yummy veggie skillet surrounded by neighboring plates of french toast (because everyone but me thought they should carb load, remember I wasn’t running, and I don’t carb load with white bread anyway), we went out to the parking lot to decorate our van. It’s always fun to write each other names, cute sayings, and blast our team out there using window markers on the van. We tally up “roadkill” – other runners we’ve passed – and everyone can check off their 3 legs of the race as they run them.

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Whitney labels the cow on our van “Udderly Amoosing”

At exchange 6 we met up with the other van. Their 6th runner handed off the baton to our first runner. Our first runner was runner #7 for the team. Runner 6 was Shirley, our roommate. She had a HOT 10 miles. I’m sure it was brutal. I could not have done it. But she came in strong, handed the baton to Terie, and I took a few photos. As I put my camera away I saw her yelling at Brian. Brian walked away, and she came to me, grabbed my arm and said, “I need to talk to you.” We walked about 20 feet away from the crowd and I suggested we find some shade, since she just had a long, hard, hot run. “Did something happen?” I asked, thinking maybe she fell on the course or had an encounter with another runner… but no… Here is where the drama starts…

“Did you and Brian have sex in our room last night?” Shirley asked me.

What?!?!? In a hotel room, while away on business (for me, this is business…) with a total stranger in the bed next to us, who was up texting at 3am??? UM NO!!!

But she said she knew I “wouldn’t admit it”, and had apparently discussed this with all of van 1 already, who had been texting our van 2 – and everyone was gossiping about this but me and Brian!

Ewwww…..

So then I had a decision to make: Do I let her continue to lie about me, bring down the morale of the van, and run the race she paid for; or do I ask her to leave the team, 200 miles from home while hot and sweaty from a ten mile run? The decision was almost hers, when she said, “I have friends who live near by and I might just have them come pick me up because I am so uncomfortable right now.”

I decided to gather my pride and let her keep it between her and her van mates. In the meantime, we had to get to the next exchange because we had a runner from our van on the course! Great timing Shirley, you couldn’t have gone paranoid cuckoobird while we were still in a quite hotel room at 5:30am?

So I talked to her van mates, said she was making some things up and might need some time (they had about 5 hours to kill after all since our van was the course) and went to find my van. I wasn’t angry, but I was a bit flabbergasted and mentally thrown off course.

And then drama #2 hit. The other van texted us that there was just an announcement made at exchange six for all Runner #7’s. A bridge was out, the course was altered, 3.8 miles was added, and Terie who was ALREADY ON COURSE would now be running over 11 miles. Plus, she was running on a trail, so we couldn’t just pull over and tell her, and her cell phone was in the van, so we couldn’t text her.

Instead, we drove to the end of her leg, and went backwards through the last few miles of her leg looking for her. Meanwhile Justin texted Ragnar for permission to put another runner on the course for the final 3.5 miles. This would keep Terie’s leg to under 8 miles, and our next runner – Denise – only had a 2.8 mile leg, so it would bump her up closer to 6 miles. Ragnar OK’ed the runner switcheroo via text. We found Terie. We gave her water. She said she wanted to “finish what I started”, so Denise stayed in the van while Terie unexpectedly ran 11 miles during the hottest part of the day.

Luckily, it wasn’t 105 degrees like Ragnar Chicago last year, it was more like 84 degrees.

There is always one point during a Ragnar when someone becomes the team hero. This was that moment. Terie would be that runner. I smiled to myself. Then I texted the other van with an update, and asked how morale was over there. I heard back “good”. So I decided to let sleeping dogs lie. If I kept denying Shirley’s accusations, I might look MORE guilty. If I shut up and let her prove herself to be a drama queen, people would side against her.

That’s pretty  much what happened. She added plenty of fuel to the fire when she turned out to be a total nutso – arguing over what people should write on the side of the van, slamming the race guide down and yelling that everyone better be there to support her at the end of each of her legs, and insisting she’d be an awesome navigator, but refusing to hold the GPS or give directions. I figured I didn’t need to worry about anyone believing her lies, but I felt bad for her vanmates who had to placate her.

Like I said, this was Digital Running’s 14th Ragnar. We build teams of mostly strangers who meet online. People always ask if it ever has worked out poorly, and we have never had a good story to tell. Until now. Total nutso Shirley. I hope she isn’t reading this and won’t eat my children in her made-from-candy house Shirley. Luckily, she asked to switch with runner #5, so she could stay in the van whenever our van was around, so I never saw her again.

The rest of the race pretty much went as planned. We ran, we ate, we slept from 4:45am-7:00am in a tent by a school football field. We took funny photos, tried not to fart in the van, and brushed our teeth with bottled water outdoors. And we all ate peanut butter, I’m pretty sure.

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Van 1 lost some time in the middle of the night, and Terie had an extra 3.8 miles as noted above, so our 30 hour finish ETA became 31.5 hours. Shirley skipped the finish line and cabbed home, so we gave her medal to Justin’s wife Heather, who was volunteering at the finish line and also runs Ragnars.

It was fun seeing teams we were tweeting with on the course! (below)

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Mustache and Ride

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Don’t stop till you get enough

That night, the hotel room had JUST us with our kids, and another room with Justin, Heather and Whitney. We all went out for deep dish pizza and fell asleep by 10:30pm. At 9am, we walked around Chicago a bit for breakfast and packed up.

New friends, old friends, new stories to tell, and more photos for the albums. Ragnar #14 is in the books!

And in 2 weeks, we’ll be off to Ragnar Wasatch Back, the first-ever Ragnar celebrating its 10th anniversary with LOTS of hills and fresh mountain air. A HUGE After Party is expected! This was my first of 5 Ragnars this summer. Maybe I’ll have more stories to share next month! If you are ever interested in joining one of our teams, click here.

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Upcoming races & coupons for YOU!

I don’t keep a race calendar, but it looks like I’m going to have to start.

bondiband1028In Feb. my blogger friends are running the Dirty Girl Mud Run in Tampa, and I will be trying to keep up as their official race photographer on the course. The next day my daughter will run her first HM, the St Pete Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, and I’m sure I’ll be a cheerleader near the Pier that day. Last year I handed out water in gloves and a coat. I hope this year is warmer!

Then later in Feb. I’ll be team mom at the Ragnar Relay del Sol for our team of 12 crazy runners shining brightly through the night, the RagStars!

RagnarDS-frontoutlinedIn March I just might sleep. But then comes April. Right away, my daughter’s Relay For Life team will kick off the month with a 9am-midnight walkathon to raise money for American Cancer Society. Because she is a team Captain, and only 14 years old, I end up on my feet giving out directions and taking photos all day and night.

The next April event will be the Iron Girl in Clearwater on April 14. Here again I’ll be joining my blogger friends as some of us tackle the 5k and others take on the Half Marathon.

Iron Girl’s main mission is to empower women toward a healthy lifestyle. That’s often my mission as a mother and friend.

My friend Denise at Denise is RunDMT said, “Since I began my running journey in 2007, I have truly felt the empowering effects of this sport with each training run and race. As runners, we constantly set goals for ourselves. We have some setbacks, but those small hurdles only make us stronger and essentially empower us.”  Isn’t that just life?!

To encourage you to join us in the Iron Girl journey, all Running Betty readers get 10% off an entry with coupon code TBBLOGGERS13.
Hurry! The code expires 2/28/13.

Learn more about Iron Girl and register for an Iron Girl event near you here.
Like Iron Girl on Facebook and follow Iron Girl on Twitter @IronGirl hashtag #IronGirlTBB.
Want to train for Iron Girl as a first race, or to PR from your last race? Ask me about Digital Running Training plans.

If the Iron Girl is too clean and tidy for you, check out the Badass Bash, designed to replicate obstacles encountered by members of our military, police and firefighters. It also benefits them! You can read my interview with the founder here, and you can save $10 on your bash entry with code BADASSDIGITALRUNNING.

That’s just the START of my race season! May is Ragnar Cape Cod, June is Ragnar Chicago and Wasatch Back, July is Ragnar Northwest Passage, August is Ragnar Great River… and I’m sure there will be other in between that I have forgotten!

If you’ll be at any of those races, let me know. We’ll take a photo, or share a hug and some words of encouragement. Or maybe you’ll pick me up as I crawl across the finish line 🙂

(and just to follow up with my lack of reading with my kids last weekend… we made up for it today. Lots and lots of pages of The Odyssey! But I never read it in high school, so I am happy to be making the time for it now, especially when it means watching how my daughter’s brain works as we dissect it. The problem I have is NOT picturing Disney characters while reading.)

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