Monday, April 30, 2012

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results.

Happy birthday, Willie Nelson.

So, Ragnar's done, I guess, FOR REAL since the recap is over. Boo.

Things I did last week:
Monday: Rest, eat everything
Tuesday: 7 miles, easy pace (10:58)
Wednesday: Conditioning <--last class!!
Thursday: 8.5 miles, 20x400 (I KNOW), 200 RI*
Saturday: Crappy 20 miles, easy pace (11:33)**

*On schedule, 8 miles, and "as many 400's as you can fit in". Remember back in November, when I did a ridiculous number of 400's?? I added it up while I was running, and figured I'd be able to fit 16 400's into my 8 miles (1 mi warm up, 1 mi cool down). But if I'm doing 16.... why not re-do 20?

I don't know. It seemed like a reasonable plan at the time, but my brain doesn't work when I'm running. This is why I cannot be self-coached - I don't know what's happening, I can't make my own decisions on the fly. I need someone telling me what to do. I'm a faithful lemming.

I kept track of my splits on my phone...
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Goal pace 2:11 (8:44). Actual: 2:08, 2:10, 2:02, 2:03, 2:02, 2:06, 2:05, 2:09, 2:10, 2:09, 2:08, 2:07, 2:10, 2:08, 2:07, 2:07, 2:06, 2:08, 2:05, 1:57. It was hard, duh, but a BILLION times easier than the other time I did this.
**Of note, my last 20 miler was 12:08 pace. Interesting.

Plan for this week.... It's TAPER!!
Tuesday: 6 miles tempo (gross)
Wednesday: Yoga (no, REALLY this time)
Thursday: 4 miles, strides
Saturday: 1-2 miles shake out
Sunday: PCRF Half

I have big goals for PCRF. I'm a little terrified.

Random weekend things....

I don't know what happened, but I did not have the runger after my 20 miler. I'm obviously broken. I think this was the only real treat I had...
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Coconut cream tart. Delicious. I was super bummed, I love having a great excuse to eat all the things.

I had some friends over for dinner last night. While I was cooking, I remembered some previous crisis with our corkscrew, and that we had thrown it out awhile back. Luckily, The H is like Macgyver.
Screw, screwdriver, hammer, open bottle of wine. He is Great. 

And, tragically, my Princess Half coffee mug has seen the end of its existence.
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 The H broke it first, then glued it back together. Then it broke again, and I put it out of its misery.

Obviously, this says to me that I need to run 2013 for the 5th anniversary. Right?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ragnar SoCal Recap - Part The End

Exchange 18 was at the Lawrence Welk Resort somewhere. Honestly, this is where things are a little fuzzy - the exchange had bonfires, food, etc, and looked like a ton of fun, but it was sinking in that we'd been running for a jullion years, and our break was only going to be Van 2's super fast 22 miles.

That's not a ton of time.

We decided to stick our first and second runners, Shannon and Becka, in the back to get some rest while we drove to Exchange 24. Sandy drove, I navigated, and I think everyone else slept peacefully. I think Sandy and I got a few minutes of rest, then it was time to start all over again. Got Shannon up and out of the van to get ready for her leg.

Shannon came back, and we sent Becka off. Pretty sure Shannon said it was The Best Run Ever Ever Ever. or something. Fuzzy brain. I got a text that Ragnar was extending night hours, due to heavy fog, so I would have to keep my vest and headlamp on. Boo.

Theeeeeennnnn, I dragged myself out of the warm van, got in the line for the port-o-potties. I was worried. It was around 6am, and I hadn't eaten anything except In n' Out Friday morning, the protein box from Starbucks Friday evening. I had been working on a bagel for most of Becka's run, but honestly? I thought FOR SURE I was going to puke on the run. It was guaranteed.

Then runners started coming back in saying they got lost, needed maps, signs moved, and I freaked the hell out. I knew Becka would be there soon, but I NEEDED the map, the end. So I left the exchange area to grab it.

Turns out, I didn't need it, but.... better safe than sorry?

Becka made it back before I got back to the exchange - another seamless transition.

So this run? I really, really was worried. Like I said, I felt gross. I knew I was going to puke. There was no question.

But then I ran, and it was foggy, and cool, and glorious, and.... I didn't puke. Hooray!

The first two miles were rolling hills, through Encinitas. The rest was flat through downtown, and along the ocean. If I were less foggy headed at this point, I would have brought my phone, so I could show you the pretty route I snagged.... But it looked like this.
Thanks, Google Maps
I know, right?

Anyway, it was beautiful, perfect conditions, and the best of my 3 runs. Not the fastest, but totally the best. 5.4 miles, 53:27, 0 vomit.

Back at the exchange, apparently I missed a very dramatic proposal - there were rose petals everywhere, and I thought it was weird, but I suppose in the correct context, it makes sense. Julie stole my bib....


 .....and ran. Then handed off to Sandy...
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Sandy handed over to Madison, and we headed over to Exchange 30 for our last exchange with Van 2!

The LMFAO team was THE BEST.

We killed some time handing out Smarties and Nerds, and finally realized that people thought we were... the Strangers with Candy team. Oops.

Madison KILLED her last leg running the evil Torrey Pines hill, and I think racked up 17 kills?? I can't remember, but that girl is a machine.

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Later, Ashley!
Handed off to Van 2, and we were.... done.

We wandered around the exchange a bit, being dumb.

Debated about what comes next (answer: Food, Target, Showers, Clean). And then did it.

Spent a bit of time trying to track down Van 2 so we knew when to meet up at the finish line, stopped at Lululemon in La Jolla (sorry, Sandy), and went to claim our beers.

Elisabeth came sprinting in (seriously, sprinting), and we ran through the finish line together, Team #SMCOL.

And I wish I had some more pictures, but I don't (yet, official pictures haven't been released), so here's one of Van 1.

This last leg sounds like remarkably less fun than the others, but that's 100% because I have super vague memories of what actually happened.

I do remember that we had fun, the entire time. There was zero conflict. We laughed a LOT. I would not have changed one single person in our van. We got super lucky.

It totally helps that we're all awesome.

So... yeah. That's that.


Eat. It's important.

Be prepared for The Addiction. Relaying is FUN. #2 is vaguely in the works.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Let's Take a Break......

It's pretty Ragnar heavy this week, right?

So, the other day, we had an earthquake. Monday. It was small, I think 3.9 or something. I didn't feel it at my office, and my kids didn't feel it at school - only The H and Gabby felt it.

I've lived in SoCal for 3 years, and have yet to really feel an earthquake. We've missed the two moderate quakes since we've been here, because we were out of town for both.

It's like Mother Nature is thwarting me.

Anyway. Gab felt it, her first earthquake! When I got home from work, I was grilling her on it a little bit.

Me: Did you feel it?!

Gab: IT SHOOK THE WHOLE HOUSE LIKE {wiggle wiggle wiggle} <--this was extra super cute

Me: Was it CRAZY?

Gab: No. It was weird.

Me: Did you go under the table like you are supposed to??

Gab: No. I wanted to FEEL IT. It FREAKED ME OUT. I went like this:

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ragnar SoCal Recap - Part 3 (exchange, Legs 13-18)

Part 1
Part 2

So, every point where a runner hands off to another runner is an exchange. There are the normal exchanges, where you hand off to a runner in your van, and then there are the major exchanges, where you hand over to your next van (at least, for the regular teams - ultras work a little differently) - these are really the only points during Ragnar that we saw our Van 2 runners.

Exchange 6 was our first major exchange. It was super, super crowded, compared to what we had been experiencing. Because we started SO early, there were not many vans on the course or at the exchanges yet. There were a LOT of vans at Exchange 6...

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We met up with Van 2, and told them a little bit about the experience so far - Elisabeth was in their van, and ran Ragnar last year, and was a Ragnar ambassador this year, so they were in pretty good hands.
Madison handed off to Ashley....
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And Van 2 was off!

I'll be honest - Ashley said she was running without water, and I about died - it really freaked me out. It was already super duper hot, and she was facing an 8.8 mile leg in the heat. It seemed really, really risky. But she powered through, with the support of her van mates.

We headed over to pick up our box of donuts (HOLY DELICIOUS)
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...stopped at In n' Out for lunch, and straight to Lake Elsinore to wait for Van 2.

I kind of feel like Exchange 12 requires its very own post, but I'll sum this up as quickly as I can (edit - holy crap it was still long. Sorry). We went to the grocery store. We made friends with Cash 2 Gold guy...
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We guzzled iced coffee. We pretended we were going to see Titanic (apparently the giddiness started kicking in here. or the heat delirium?). We bought friends in the shade with popsicles.
All sporting our Run Pretty Far J'adore tanks - these were PHENOMENAL. Super light, super comfortable. LOVE them

We met a friendly volunteer who was nice, but pretty bummed that we weren't the Skinny Runner team.
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We found more iced coffee, and I was SUPER EXCITED to find they had caramel brulee....
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...then I was really sad because the coffee was not good. boo. I compressed in my ProCompression socks...
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despite the heat index being 115*
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We were the friendliest, funnest team there (I am not even biased), and handed out Nuun to everyone we saw...
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We practiced good personal grooming habits
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We had SO much fun at this exchange, meeting other teams, and getting to hang out together - most of us were internet strangers, or had met briefly, this was the first time we spent any time together.

Good thing we are all awesome and had a great time.

Van 2 showed up around 4:30, and we headed over to the exchange to watch for Elisabeth (I also ran into my friend Jordan's girlfriend at this exchange - random, and something that I really loved about the experience!).
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Elisabeth breezed in looking STRONG, and we sent Shannon off to run 10 miles on the surface of the sun.

You guys. It was really, really hot. We headed down the road a little bit to a Rite Aid, and bought some ice pops to hand out again - it was SO HOT, and there was no Ragnar support on this leg - it was all van support.
The only time we really hung out with Van 2!

We handed out ice pops to anyone that wanted one, and had a bottle of ice cold water ready for Shannon.

Drove down the street a bit more, handed out some more ice water to random runners, and... played Color Guard.
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So these orange flags - you are supposed to carry them every time you cross a road on the course, if you are not the active runner. We carry in style, I guess.

After Shannon ran by, we drove to grab something to eat, and then to Exchange 13 to get Becka ready. On the way there, we realized the signage was lacking - there was no sign to turn and we were paranoid that Shannon was going to miss it. Sandy dropped Becka and me off at the exchange, then headed back to the corner about a mile out to make sure Shannon was directed the right way.

There was some chaos, we forgot some of Becka's things in the van, Sandy had to come back, but we got everything worked out, and another seamless exchange...
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Things are a little fuzzy, but I THINK I managed to show up at this exchange on time?? Not sure.
Becka made it in, and I took off around 10 (??) for leg 15 - 8.3 miles.

This run? It sucked. It sucked a LOT. It was dark. It was on these weird roads that had no space - two lanes, no shoulder. There were stretches where there was NO one around, and I was honestly not sure I was even on course. A lot of it was on some random dirt (trail?), that was HARD to run on. For some whack reason, I totally couldn't catch my breath - it was as if I was running with Becka in Colorado again with no oxygen (really??). It sucked. For reals. 8.3 mi, 1:30:26 (lame). We ran through old town Temecula here, and that was pretty rad - a random bunch of people running through the area, random Temecula'ns at bars cheering us on... that was fun. But all the rest of it can suck it.

Never so excited to stop running ever

Handed off to Julie, and bummed around picking up food for Becka and navigating to the next exchange. Julie handed off to Sandy, who destroyed a ridiculous downhill 6 miles.

We got a little ridiculous here, and I think... I'm pretty sure.... we met Sandy at the exchange, by telling her that we were picking up Maiden Bic Bands to bring her back to our Kingdom? I know. #Real.

OH! Also, I think this is also where the Arctic Zero team peed in the parking lot, when there was an actual, for REAL bathroom at this exchange. Lame.

After we sent Madison off, we headed to the next major exchange, Exchange 18, to hand it back over to Van 2....



Make friends with the other teams! We wandered Exchange 12 handing out Nerds and Smarties (because we're nerds, get it?), ice pops, Nuun, and just generally being friendly. We had a ton of fun.

Van 2 wrote their directions on their hands, and I wished I had done that for leg 15. I also wished I had brought my phone so I could double check my map if I needed to - I for REAL thought I was lost a few times.

Don't underestimate the importance of your headlamp. That shit was DARK, and even with the lamp, there were sections where we were directed to a trail, but I couldn't find it.

Eat when you can, and be smart about it. When we stopped for food during Becka's leg, I think everyone else picked up Subway, but I didn't want anything heavy - I knew I was going to run soon. I ended up with a protein box from Starbucks, and it was a good choice for me. At least, I didn't puke. So there's that.

Plan on finding locations to support your runner, especially if it's hot. One thing Van 2 did a LOT more of, was cheering on their runner - we did some, but I think we could have found time to do this more. Personally, I don't mind NOT being cheered on, I like the solitude, but it's fun, and something I'd change next time.

Don't stop hydrating just because it's dark out. Once the sun went down, and things cooled off, I wasn't hydrating as well as I had been, and I think that contributed to my overall shitty run.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ragnar SoCal Recap - part 2 (Legs 1-6)

Part 1 here

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So, Shannon (the super blurry one on the far right in the white skirt...) took off at 6am, the start time we decided fit our schedule better.

We meandered back to our van, taking some pictures along the way of our fantastic volunteer, Josh.
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We were in a little bit of a panic about a week out because we needed to recruit volunteers (each team needs 3 volunteers, or you can buy volunteers for $120 each), and Josh swooped in and helped save the day. Thanks, Josh! Pam's husband, his son, and her daughter also jumped in at the verrrrrry last second. THANK YOU, to all 6 of our volunteers!!

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Most of the course was marked like this. Later in the race, the course markers were less accurate, but I think through no fault of Ragnar.... just "modified" by delirious runners or drunk locals....
Shannon's leg was along the Santa Ana River trail (home of the infamous 6.7 mile 10K), so we headed up to a spot along the course to wait for her, load up on ice, and grab some breakfast.
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And this was our first lesson in Ragnar exchanges. 5 miles goes way faster than you anticipate, when you have to drive through side streets to get to the exchange. We headed straight to exchange 1, but Shannon beat us there, and was waiting for Becka. Oops. Rookie mistake!

Becka took off for her 5 miles on the trail.... the tiny speck at the end in BRIGHT PINK!

And we headed out to exchange 2 for my turn on leg 3!

My first leg was straight shot up the Santa Ana River trail - slight incline (I think like 100' elevation gain over the 5.6 miles). Honestly, it was not the best run ever - it always takes me awhile to warm up, it was getting warm, blah. But whatever. It was RAGNAR!

Leg 3: 5.6 miles, 54:13, 9:40 pace.
Blazing hot sun, 9 am.

Handed off to Julie for leg 4...

Even my back is sweaty. That's cute.

Headed up to the next exchange, and this was - for me - when it started getting REALLY fun. We saw other vans out and about doing the same thing...
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And that's when it hits - this is GIANT.

Arrived at exchange 5 and got Sandy ready for some running...
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Because we're nerds. Get it?
Julie handed off to Sandy, and Sandy gave us perhaps the best picture I've ever seen...


Sandy's leg, leg 5, was only 2 miles, but pretty much went up a giant hill most of the way. But Sandy's an amazing runner, and killed it.

Sandy handed off to Madison for leg 6...

And we headed out to our first major exchange, to hand the reigns over to Van 2. Van 2 was SUPER DUPER pumped to start running.

Part 3 HERE


There is not nearly as much time as you think between legs. Navigating city streets is a challenge - there's traffic (this was all taking place during rush hour in Orange County, in giant vans none of us were seasoned pros at driving) (unless you're Shannon, who is an expert at driving anything), and getting in and out of the exchanges takes time, especially as more teams arrive. 45 minutes seems like plenty of time to drive 5 miles down the street, but factor in time to get out of the exchange, get to the exchange, park, get the next runner ready, etc... and you gotta hustle.

It was already getting HOT when we started running, and we were meeting our runners at the handoffs with cold water - this was the BEST THING EVER. I loved that it was a group effort getting runners ready, making sure they had what they needed, and taking care of them when they got in.

Have a GPS or phone with mapping capabilities to map your next exchange point. Ragnar provided a Ragmag with detailed directions, but a map on your phone or GPS is way better.

Before Ragnar, Sarah gave me a spreadsheet (that I think she got from Chacha?) that let you enter the pace information for the last runner, and provided you with an eta for your next runner - Ragnar has a pace calculator as well, but it's not adjustable on the fly. This worked BRILLIANTLY for the first 2/3 of the race. After that, we just kind of got delirious and it stopped being used.

Take note of when your runner leaves, and try to ask if they have an estimated pace, so you can try to calculate how much time you have. Next time, I'll probably bring a notebook to note these things in. It would have been better than trying to guess, especially as we got later into the race.

Also helpful? Noting what your runner is wearing. Wearing the most obnoxious colors you can, obviously, is what I suggest.

Ragnar uses a slap bracelet as their "baton" - you have to take it off and hand it to the next runner before they can leave. It took me 2 exchanges to get this part down, i don't know why it befuddled me, but it did. The trick is - brace yourself, this is ground breaking - take it off when you're running up to the exchange, so you're ready to slap it on your next runner. I know, you're welcome.

When you're running in, make sure your bib is visible - they station a volunteer close to the exchange point, and they will radio over the runner number. Then, a volunteer at the exchange will announce the team number, so you know to be ready.

If I blog it, does that mean it's over?

I don't even know what to say. This was - no exaggeration - the MOST FUN EVER. Princess was fun. Disneyland was fun. Tink was Stupid Fun. THIS was like ALL of that fun, maintained, for 48 hours.

This is going to be the longest recap you can imagine, so I'm breaking it into a few parts. Part 1 - vans, getting ready, kicking our first runner off. Also, at the end of each, I'm making some notes regarding suggestions, stuff that worked, stuff that didn't, stuff to remember, etc. For you, sure, but also for me. You know. For next time. (Napa what?)

Packing - I managed to pack everything I needed for myself in a backpack. 3 running outfits, packed individually in a gallon ziploc bag, toiletries in a separate ziploc bag, reflective/night gear in another ziploc bag.

Van supplies - we organized each van to host their own supplies. I provided a generic packing list of items that could be community van items (ibuprofen, muscle rub, first aid kit, water, baby wipes, etc), and everyone kind of signed up for what they wanted to bring, and added their own items to the list. It worked pretty well, I think, and each van had a checklist of required items (reflective gear), so everyone was well prepared.

So. I guess start at Thursday evening, picking up two GIANT vans. 
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We decorated with all the window paint we could find, packed up as much as we could, headed out to dinner at Veggie Grill, and then home, to sleep, since we had the earliest start time in the universe (5:45am) (foreshadowing!).
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I know. It's really hard to even imagine how early this is, but then Becka and I remembered it's about 36 minutes later than we got up for Princess Half. Madness. Disney and Ragnar, we must love you.

Left at 3:42 to pick up Madison, and then met the rest of our vanmates to head down to the start line.

If you've ever run a Ragnar before, perhaps this is normal. But it was CHAOS, even at the earliest time ever. I'm guessing we didn't really help, since we were REALLY, REALLY hyped, and probably only half-way listening to directions. Oops.

Collected our orange flags (more on these later), attended the safety briefing, picked up our race packets - these contained our shirts, timing chip (for the first and last runner), slap bracelet (foreshadowing), bibs - and.... wandered aimlessly finding coffee, eating pastries, shopping. We probably could have used our time a bit more wisely, and, you know.... gotten our runner ready, maybe? Around 5:42, it occurs to us that Shannon doesn't have bibs, they were in the van, and we don't have her slap bracelet, it wasn't in our packet... No need to panic. We start at our leisure. 6am start, no worries!
********************************************************************************** Notes

The ziplocs were GENIUS. I'm not taking credit for this, it's everywhere on the internet machine, anywhere people discuss relay packing. But it's brilliant. Do it.

I forgot to pack an extra set of clothes for AFTER. Because I was in van 1, we finished first, so we had down time after our last runner handed off to van 2. Note: bring ONE extra outfit.

If you're planning on dressing in some sort of theme (we had a vague Nerd theme), save it for your last leg if you're in van 2, or your finish line outfit if you're in van 1.

We brought WAY MORE FOOD than we ever could have eaten. As you'll see later in the recaps, there's just not that much down time, and for ME, fueling was kind of an issue. We definitely went overboard on the consumables.

If you can, pack up your van the night before. We didn't do this Thursday night, and ended up throwing almost everything in the back of the van, then spent a bunch of time at our first major exchange reorganizing. That was time that could have been better spent having fun.

 Get your runners ready before you play around. It's no fun to have a stressed out runner cutting things too close. I promise the coffee will be there when she takes off.

Part 2, HERE

Sunday, April 22, 2012

203.5 miles? Check.

Recap to come. I will warn you now, there is nothing, nothing at all, that I could possibly write, that will do the Ragnar experience justice. Real? Not real? Can't tell. My brain is expired right now.

Be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ridic HTC Jealousy + 18 Internet Strangers + 200ish miles...


Freaking FINALLY!!

Ragnar supplies have taken over a corner of my dining room.

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I'm sorry in advance, #SMCOL, for bringing this on board.
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I'm still doing laundry. I haven't packed. I have to work tomorrow, then meet up the rest of the 12-chick team for van decorating. It's chaos.

It's just the way I like it.

Team So Much Cooler Online will be...

Outfitted by:

BIC Bands

Run Pretty Far

Hydrated by:

Compressed by:
Aspaeris Pivot Shorts

Pro Compression Socks

And fueled by:

You guys. 200+ miles.



There have been some last minute changes to our lineup (um, hello, Rose is going to INDIA).

Our line up (with our Twitter handles for your following pleasure)

Van 1
Runner 1: Shannon@hungrygazelle
Runner 2: Becka @squirrelgirl44
Runner 3: ME! @hmgiraffy
Runner 4: Julie @julie16750
Runner 5: Sandy @bicbands
Runner 6: Madison @Borntorun77

Van 2
Runner 7: Ashley @prettyfittie
Runner 8: Linzay @brokerunner
Runner 9: Danica @GTR_Danica
Runner 10: Erica @cajun_runner
Runner 11: Sharon
Runner 12: Elisabeth @ewallerscott

We'll be tweeting up a storm, giving away Nuun at exchanges, and generally being... awesome.

I'm super stoked, in case the obnoxious giant fonts didn't tip you off.


In less exciting news, I saw a new PT today regarding the lumpy shin, and I'm hopeful she'll get it unlumped. She's a runner, and gave me the green light to run Ragnar and PCRF in 2 weeks (omg 2 weeks), and then, probably take a week or so down time to actually fix the weirdness.


Running news: 6 miles easy yesterday, 10:53 pace. Boring, I know.


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