Buckle UP! Yeti 100 Race Recap!

Yeti Ready…Lets Roll!

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Taylors Valley Aid Station mile 56…Keeping my eye on the PRIZE!

The instant I saw the Yeti 100 Endurance run pop up in my Facebook Feed, I knew the Yeti was going to be my first 100 miler.  I was elated, and felt the “running Gods” dropped it in my lap.  It was definitely meant to be. (backstory on how this went down)  Hosted by Yeti Trail Runners,  on the the Virginia Creeper Trail, one of my favorite places, it was the PERFECT setting.  If you are going to be physically  and mentally taxing yourself you might as well do it in a place you find enjoyable. The handmade Buckle…OMG!

I met Jason Green, RD and founder of Yeti Trail Runners, at Grayson Highlands Half/50K. What a genuine guy who greeted me with a bear hug and encouraging words for my first 100 miler!

I met Jason Green, RD and founder of Yeti Trail Runners, at Grayson Highlands Half/50K. April 2016. What a genuine guy who greeted me with a bear hug and encouraging words for my first 100 miler! This was my first of many hugs from this guy!  Awesome pod cast on how he started Yeti Trail Runners and his unique approach to the ultra running scene. Meet Jason Green, Ultra RunnerPodcast.com

I had 10 months to prepare, I was 100% committed to make it happen.  Those who know me, will attest, it’s all or nothing with me. Before I could get started, I had a couple of things I need to address.

100 Mile Preparation…these all contributed to successful Race Day!

Training plan– No brainer for me as I have relied on the information and plans in  Bryon Powell’s book- Relentless Forward Progress, A Guide to Running Ultramarathons since I ventured into the ultra running world.  I have worn this book out and highly recommend it for anyone considering ultras.  I love that fact the book, provides several options for plans and makes suggestions for adaptations.  I initially was going to do the 70 mile per week plan, but came to my senses that with a full time job, husband, and kids this was not going to work. I settled on the 50 mile, 26 week plan.  I ran 5 days a week, and cross trained with Cross fit and Yoga one day a week.  In previous training plans, I was able to successfully maintain 2-3 days of Cross fit.  It became obvious very quickly, that one day of Cross fit was all that I could manage.  I added yoga in the final two months and love it! I stayed consistent with my training plan. Some weeks were better than others.  I really focused on back to back runs and this proved very helpful. The best part about high mileage is building in races into your training.  Long training runs with support are awesome.  My highest weekly mileage was 55 miles.

Wheezing– My running buddy Kmac, who happens to be a Physicians Assistant, had been telling me for several years that I wheeze when I run.  I did not notice during my runs, only post run chest tightness and smoker type cough. It was so minor I did not make it a priority.  It wasn’t until my first run after a 6 week illness at the end of 2016 that I realized I could not breathe.  I had to bail my run.  Kmac was right.(she is always right :)…really she is).  My general practitioner diagnosed me with exercise induced asthma. She hooked me up with an inhaler and eventually a daily prescription for singular. Wow! what a difference it made!

Failed run Selfie with #internetfriends Anj and Todd!

Failed run Selfie with #internetfriends Anj and Todd!

Weight– I had not weighed myself in several years. Like most women, I hated the number I see and go by the way I feel.  I  knew I had put on some pounds after starting Cross fit but attributed that to muscle.  While much of it was muscle, a lot of it was not.  It really became evident to me when I saw my post 75 mile finish line pic.  Wow! I was healthy in more ways than one. I was eating healthy, but my portion control needing reigning in.  I joined a Macro Wellness challenge at Cross fit, tracked my food intake in My Fitness Pal app and dropped 18lbs.  I was feeling great, eating right, and running faster than ever! Amazing what dropping a few punds will do for your running.  It also helped I could breathe.

Pacing Umstead 100– I was so honored to be part of Jenica and Janet’s first 100 mile at Umstead.  Jenica and Janet, both from Portland, OR, crushed the Umstead with sub 24’s.  I was so honored to be part of their journey and it was so great for me to witness my first 100 mile race.  I paced Jenica for her final 25 miles.  She was happy as could be and it was so awesome getting to know her over our 6 hours together.  I learned from her to zip thru the aid stations, eat on the go, and to walk fast as hell.  I can honestly say this experience helped me greatly!  Love you girls!

Umstead 100! The happy finishers Jenica and Janet with Happy pacers, Myself and Carol!

Umstead 100! The happy finishers Jenica and Janet with Happy pacers, Myself and Carol!

Gear Adjustments– Outside of shoes, my only major gear purchases were the new Garmin 230 (I wanted the auto sync to my phone), Petzl Tikka RXP headlamp ( I had Lumen envy at my last 24 hour race) , and Ultra Vesta, Ultimate Direction hydration pack.  My Nathan vest had served me well but I really wanted more hydration options and storage.  The vest is made for women and has many adjustments. It was weird at first but I have come to love it.  The body bottles are the best!

Best feature of my new Garmin was the customization countdown face. Also note my All things are possible bracelet from my sweet friend Erin and my Mothers day bangle from the kids with my ultra progression distances on it

Best feature of my new Garmin was the customization countdown face. Also note my All things are possible bracelet from my sweet friend Erin and my Mothers day bangle from the kids with my ultra progression distances on it (42.6, 63.4, 75.7)

Love this headlamp, with rechargeable battery packs. But I cannot lie, I taxes my brain so I had to create a cheat sheet label inside the band.

Love this headlamp, with rechargeable battery packs. But I cannot lie, I taxes my brain so I had to create a cheat sheet label inside the band.

Running Nutrition– I had long given up on gels…NASTY! I relied on real food, Nuun, and S caps.  After reading up on benefits of Tailwind Nutrition, I gave it a try. It  worked great for me. So easy and fast to get our the door.  Like any hydration supplement, you do tire of it but it is worth avoiding “gut” issues.  My preference is for the naked,unflavored.

My tailwind hack- Making Tailwind ice cubs for my hydration pack prevented watered down nutrition. This proved to be very beneficial and easy to do!

My tailwind hack- Making Tailwind ice cubs for my hydration pack prevented watered down nutrition. This proved to be very beneficial and easy to do!

Feet– My sister, Amy, said to me after my first successful ultra, “If you are going to keep up running this distance, you have to do something about your feet”  She was right!  I will spare you the photos.  Trust me, when I say my feet/toes were slayed.  Hence, started my 3 year foot wellness journey with the help of John Vonhof’s book, now in the 6th edition, Fixing Your Feet!  I have ready every page of this book and continue to reference it regularly.  I am amazed at the number of people who ignore preventative foot care. Your feet have to be healthy to carry you the distance, why do people ignore them?  I guess my feet issues early on, set me down the right path. My friend Anj nicknamed me #BlisterSister the blister whisper.  It makes me laugh…I am happy to share my foot/blister care input with anyone.  My claim is…I read the foot book so nobody else has to!  I found the REAL blister sister at Blister Prevention.  Rebecca is all things foot care.  I reached out to her with some questions via email and she was quick to respond.  Check her out!

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Pre- foot care, out of my foot care container,  Yeti 100 Training run captured by @AnjWiley

Feet…My final Foot Plan– My foot care journey continued well into my training.  After three years, I felt like I had finally nailed it.  Feet issues were not going to stop me from crossing the finish line.  I am happy to report, post 100 miler, my feet were in the best shape of my running journey! Whoo hooo!  What worked for me:  injinji toe socks ( fresh pairs at miles 17.9, 48.9); Dirty Girl Gaiterstransition to Altra ( Olympus, Torin) from my previously coveted Hokas; Kinesio Tape ( taped my feet and toes night before); Superfeet Berry; and ENGO blister patches on my insoles and inside of my shoes.  I had one minor blister I felt within the first 17 miles, while wearing my Hoka Challengers(17.9 miles). I took a huge risk switching shoes two months prior to my race, but totally worth it!  I am now an Altra convert with a large collection of Hoka’s.

Altra Love on Raleigh Greenway!

Altra Love on Raleigh Greenway!

 Race day run plan– I procrastinated the shit out of pulling this together but in the end I am so glad that I did! Early on, running Friends Anj and Fred said they wanted to pace me!  I was blown away with their support  and willingness to take on this monumental task.  Of course my sister Amy was going to pace, but how far, was the question.  With pacers queued up, a plan for 4:2 run walk segments,  I built a very detailed google spreadsheet for my pacers and crew.(I had a relapse of OCD)  The spreadsheet had links to everything we needed for the weekend but most importantly my mile by mile plan, pace estimates, crew instructions, directions, etc. I am very happy to share for anyone who is interested.

Rolling aid station for my crew. Everything was labeled and in containers ( OCD relapse)

Rolling aid station for my crew. Everything was labeled and in containers ( OCD relapse)

I was fortunate to have covered over 88 miles of training runs on the creeper in preparation so I had some solid pace data to work with.

Yeti 50k Training run June 2016

Yeti 50k Training run June 2016.  Whitetop to Abingdon

Hubs, Dan, crewed me on my solo 50 mile training run that ended up being 55 miles. Thanksfully not 60, thanks to Randy Road Angel. Abingdon to Whitetop and back to Damascus. Aug 2016

Aug 2016 Hubs, Dan, crewed me on my solo 50 mile training run that ended up being 55 miles. Thankfully not 60, thanks to Randy Road Angel. Small navigation error during runner bliss!  Abingdon to Whitetop and back to Damascus.

Intimately knowing the course proved to be a huge mental booster for me. While I know this is not always possible. I will certainly make this effort for future races.  I love every aspect of the Creeper Trail, I will never tire of it, and this went a long way on race day. Love where you run!

Orthopedic Visit/PT– Four weeks prior to race day my right knee started a sharp pain on the inside of my knee cap. WTF? I had come way too far to have my race de-railed with three weeks to go.  I took a week off, but the pain persisted.  The pain was manageable but the unknown of it stressed me the F*&^% out. Dr. Google was no help, so  I hesitantly made an ortho appointment. In my 7 years of running, this was my first trip to the Dr. for running related pain.  Long story short, he said you can run, back off, and lets do three weeks of PT. If you still have pain we will give you a cortisone shot.

First day of PT, I was diagnosed with tight quad muscle. I was elated to know the cause! I was given a series of daily stretching exercises and we taped my knee.  I felt relief immediately! It was not gone but got significantly better each run.  I got my final taping the day before the race.  Race day..I felt no pain! Wow! Or I mentally willed it away! Crisis avoided! I am now a firm believer in stretching and PT! Thank you Cary Orthopedic!

This Rock Tape made me happy! I love my PT picked it out for me:)

This Rock Tape made me happy! I love my PT picked it out for me:)

Finally…Race Day…I am certain time stood still 3 weeks prior. I was excited, anxious, and ready. It was the first time in my life I felt the taper crazies and second guessed all my training and if I was tapering correctly.

Hubs, Dan, and our Boxers Lucy and Potter, drove me to the 5:45am race shuttle.

Hubs, Dan, and our Boxers Lucy and Potter, drove me to the 5:45am race shuttle.

Familar faces at Whitetop! Clay and John!

Familiar faces at Whitetop! Clay and John!

7:00 am, Jason sent us off with “Go have a F$%^ing good time”.  I settled into my 4:2 segments right from the start.  The 17.9 miles of gradual downhill is a great way to start a race but will eventually slay if you  don’t hold back. I was relaxed, the weather was a perfect 50 degrees, and life was good!

Anderson, Dan, and the Boxers greeted me just outside of Damascus

Anderson,my son, Dan, and the Boxers greeted me just outside of Damascus.  litter blurry but we were moving 🙂

I was about 45 minutes ahead of my scheduled arrival in Damascus. I quickly hit the Damascus aid station for a sock and change out of my Hokas into my Altras. I had been feeling my right pinkie toe for about two hours and was really looking forward to a shoe change.

Only minor blister post 100 miles. This toe was taped!

Only minor blister post 100 miles. This toe was taped! Yes…my toes are not pretty.  No shame!

My “Crew” was very busy while I was running repairing for my arrival.

My DAD is coloring! OMG!

My DAD is coloring! OMG! My Mom must have been on Facebook 🙂

Laury, my sister, and Madeyn, my daughter.

Laury, my sister, and Madeyn, my daughter.

Chalk Art...I love this picture! It also captures the crazy outfit Laury had on that I pondered on my run. What the heck was she wearing? hehe

Chalk Art…I love this picture! It also captures the crazy outfit Laury had on that I pondered on my run. What the heck was she wearing? hehe

Mile 17.9, New Tailwind bladder, body bottle of water, Turkey Avocado Wrap, Perrier, and chips to go. Surprise addition to my Crew with the addition of my Aunt Sally who drove up from Boone.

Mile 17.9, New Tailwind bladder, body bottle of water, Turkey Avocado Wrap, Perrier, and chips to go. Surprise addition to my Crew with the addition of my Aunt Sally who drove up from Boone.

I was off and my next stop was end of the first lap in Abingdon, mile 33.4.I arrived 45 minutes ahead of schedule in Abingdon. I easily spotted my crew and had to yell from the trail to get their attention. My already large crew grew again with the addition of Cynthia, Fred,  and my Cousin Erin and her two kids.  I had never met my cousins kids and had not seen Erin in three years. I had no idea she was coming!  It was so nice of them to drive 3 hours to cheer me on.  Wow!  I was feeling great!  Seeing my family and friends just energized me more.

Surprise visit from my cousin Erin and her precious kids!

Surprise visit from my cousin Erin and her precious kids!

Fred, Pacer #2, Cynthia and Ang , Pacer #1.

Fred, Pacer #2, Cynthia and Ang , Pacer #1.

 

My Family! and Anj! Wow!

My Family! and Anj! Wow!  Anj and I met on twitter so we like to say this is Anj and her #internetfamily

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Hugs from RD, Jason!  Seriously…what is not to love about this guy!

Happy, Happy, Happy! I was having social hour as the poor Yeti volunteered refreshed my water bladder.

Happy, Happy, Happy! I was having social hour as the poor Yeti volunteered refreshed my water bladder.  It was crazy with all the cameras in my face.  Famous for a day!

The "J" shield. This was my favorite sign!

The “J” shield. This was my favorite sign! Oh and freshly manicured nails…certain they made me run faster:)

Lap 1 down…2 to go.  Next time I was in Abingdon, I would be crossing the finish line!  I refilled my bladder with tailwind and water, popped some motrin and was off!  The sun finally peaked out around 3:00.  We had been under cloud cover all day. The temps were still great and it was good to see the sun.

I came up on Brad and razzed him for walking and had him join me in my 4:2 segments.  It was nice to have company and he entertained me with all his crazy running adventures. Just when I thought he had told me the craziest thing I had ever heard he topped it. Thanks Brad for the entertainment!  I regret not getting a picture with Brad at the finish line. He finished 20+ min ahead of me.  At the finish, he thanked me and said I inspired him to finish the race. WOW!  After we parted ways, he programed the 4:2 segments into his phone and finished.  Seriously……knowing I helped him in such a small way is priceless. Ditto BRAD!

Running into Damascus with Brad! Thanks Brad for sharing some miles.

Running into Damascus with Brad! Thanks Brad for sharing some miles.  Cynthia and Fred, greeted us at the Damascus park.  They were waving and yelling.  I was in such a zone I did not realize it was for me until I practically ran them over.  In the zone!  

I arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule.  Still feeling great and was excited to pick up my first pacer Anj.  We had only texted the past few weeks so we had lots of catching up to do.  As Amy loaded in a new Tailwind bladder into my pack, I ate some twix bites and chugged a Perrier and coke.  I was growing tired of the naked Tailwind so the Perrier and coke tasted great.  I grabbed my turkey & avocado wrap, chips to go,  and we were off.

Mile 48.9, Pacer #1- BQ Anj!

Mile 48.9, Pacer #1- BQ Anj!

Before we headed uphill to Whitetop, I hit the aid station to .put on dry clothes and a final sock and shoe change.  I knew it was going to get cold and I wanted to make sure the majority of my clothes were dry.

My only time sitting was when I changed my shoes.

My only time sitting was when I changed my shoes.  I look like I am sleeping!

I was still warm so I put on dry clothes and stuffed my Yeti Wool shirt, gloves, and vest in my hydration pack. I am amazed at how much stuff I can cram in the back pocket and bungee.  I changed into my Altra Olympus..by far my favorite Altras.  They are really wide in the toe box and make my feet very happy.  My feet were holding up really well and I was thrilled.  We walked while I ate my turkey wrap then we hit the 4:2 segments up to Whitetop.

Photo opp in Taylors Valley

Photo opp in Taylors Valley

As the sun started going down, I started to get cold. I put on my yeti wood shirt and gloves.  It was so glad I had them.

It was about this time that Anj and I came upon the “Creeper Kids”.  Two “children of the trail” who were somewhere between 5-7 years old. They zoomed passed us on their bikes cutting us off.  I was paranoid they were going to plow me over.  They said the only people who could go fast on “their trail” were bikers.  With one eye covered, we cautiously watched their bike tricks. I went in total mom mode and advised one of the boys doing bike tricks in cowboy boots was probably not a good idea. I envisioned this kid was going to crack open his skull and we were going to have to take care of him.  That was not the reason I wanted to DNF.  They then proceeded to zoom past us beyond our sight and jump out of the woods to scare us.  OMG, we  were being terrorized by “children of trail”.

We thought we were living a scene from the Goonies with a few less kids!

We thought we were living a scene from the Goonies with a few less kids!

At this point it was really starting to get dark.  They were running beside us trying to find their fort.  Anj said, ” Can you go past this trestle?” Thinking perhaps they had limits.  They quickly responded they could do whatever they wanted and said “let them come look for us”.  How in the heck were we going to lose these kids who had no flashlights…only a pocket knife.  We were totally entertained and a little freaked out. We decided we had to lose them.  We took off at a faster pace, not looking back, and finally we lost them.  It was so freaking funny.  At this point it was pitch black.

We continued our 4:2 segments up to whitetop.  The incline, while not too bad, definitely slowed my roll with 50+ miles on my feet.  We were encouraged by the runners headed back down the mountain at how fast their pace was. That was something to look forward to.  We hit Whitetop, about 15 minutes ahead of Schedule around 10pm.  I was in need of Motrin ( I dropped my bag somewhere on the trail after sharing some with Brad) and food.  My crew was there and hooked me up with twix bites, Pierre, coke, and loaded my bladder with Caffeinated Tailwind.

I noticed someone sitting down and I asked if I could sit and Amy promptly responded NO! Dang…she looked so comfortable.  I thought she was a volunteer, but later found out she was a runner on the “struggle bus”  It was busy up there as my crew got me set and aided several other runners.  Fortunately, I had a very well stocked rolling aid station that they fed many runners in need.  Mile 66, and people around me were starting to fall apart.

I could not sit....so I enjoyed my lean with my fig newton...that I eventually spit out.

Mile 66- I could not sit….so I enjoyed my lean with my fig newton…that I eventually spit out.

It was time to head down the mountain.  I was looking forward to the 17.9 miles of downhill with Pacer #2 Fast Fred!

Fast Fred! 17.9 miles of downhill bliss

Mile 66- Pacer #2 , Fast Fred! 17.9 miles of downhill bliss

We were off! I had not seen Fred for several weeks so we had a lot of catching up to do (Kate style- save the chatter for the run). Fred was militant about making sure I was sipping my tailwind on every walk segment. It was getting hard to do but I knew I needed to do it for hydration and calories.  The Motrin was kicking in and I was ready to roll.  The trickiest part of this downhill section was the pesky rocks on the trail.  You had to be very careful to pick up your feet.  Fred tripped several times and somehow managed to stay upright.  I think I only tripped once…that was a miracle. It was VERY dark, and we both were trying really hard to stay upright. Surprisingly, the only wildlife I encountered was a large brown spider hanging down on the trail that I literally ran into with my face.

Funny thing is I had no concept of how much I had slowed down. I felt like I was running fast.  I was later informed that was not the case.  Fred was kind enough to continue running although my pace had slowed to almost walking speed. But I was still running!  I was determined to run the entire race.  Amy,  after working aid at many Graveyard 100’s ,  was certain I would be walking towards the end of the race.  I took that as a challenge and was hard set to keep up my 4:2 segments.

Fred and I started to discuss the possibility of me finishing sub 24.  Fred cautiously, mentioned that there was a lot of time and miles left in the race and anything could happen. We started passing people and it confirmed we were steady and strong.  It was at that point I mentioned that while passing people was great, I did not get nearly the satisfaction of passing a man as I did when I passed a women.  I am not typically a competitive person, but when I heard I had moved up from 13th to 10th place  female, it was a little motivation to push a little harder.

While I was defiantly slowing down, we still made great time and arrived in Damascus about 20 min ahead of schedule. Fred and I were greeted by my crew. I was impressed they were outside at 2:45am.  Amy dropped in my final tailwind bladder, I grabbed a Perrier, a coke and took off for 11.5 miles with by brother-in-law Jon. 16 miles to go!

Mile 84.7,Pacer #3, Jon, my brother- in- law

Jon was fresh with great stories to keep me entertained.  I still laugh at his comment early on ” I have too much pride to let you out run me tonight”.  I was confident this was not going to be an issue.  I paced Jon in his first marathon in 2009 so it was great for him to return the favor and run with me in the wee hours of the morning.  My spirits were good, his new Garmin, hot out of the box, kept us on our 4:2 segments.  As I unintentionally slowed, Jon and I discussed the fact I could finish the race sub 24.  Wow! This really was never part of my verbalized plan. When I worked out my run plan my estimated finish was 23:50 but I never dreamed this was possible.  I just wanted to finish and get get my buckle. At this point, I knew I was going to finish and a sub 24 was in my reach. I was excited and eager to get to the finish line.  Jon was militant with his “tough love” and said if you want to finish this sub 24 you need to keep up your segments.  I was still moving but it was not very fast. He pushed me to catch up with people ahead of us and pass them.  If my memory serves my correctly, we passed two people.

I was feeling good.  I was surprised I was not ” seeing things” in the dark. At one point,  I decided to look over the side of one of the trestles.  Why?  I have no idea. Bad idea…the ground was moving up and down towards me. EEEK!  The only other issue was looking intentionally at the mist in my headlamp beam.  Jon mentioned it, I looked at thought I might fall out.

We finally came upon Watuga Trestle, where Jon would drop off and I would be paced to the finish by my sister Amy.  When I saw the lights from my crews led umbrella ( purchase so I could easily spot my crew), I was hit with a rush of emotions and the tears began to flow.  I quickly composed myself and fought back the tears.  I thought they went un noticed but apparently there was not fooling them.  I hit the porta potty, grabbed a Perrier and a bag of bugles and we were off.

Pacer #4- My sister Amy!

Pacer #4- My sister Amy! I included zip lock bags in my aid bag for easy transport of food to go.

4.5 miles to go!  It was surreal that I was so close to finishing.  Amy kept me distracted with great conversation.  I was still talking, happy, and weaving.  She ran alongside of me and often held onto my hydration pack.  She was so paranoid I was going to drift off the side of the trail.  I am sure I look like a drunk trying to run.  About two miles in, Amy said ” I have some notes I want to read you”.  Instantly I began to cry and said “You are going to make me cry”.  Her firm response was ” WE HAVE NO ENERGY FOR EMOTION“.  I replied “OK” and quickly snapped back to my happy weaving self. Bottom line best line ever that she pulled out of her ass! Way to go Amy!

Believe it or not, the miles passed quickly.  Again, I thought I was running fast, but I wasn’t.  In my mind I was so that was really all that mattered.  Amy kept me on the 4:2 segments. At one point, I just wanted to be done and kept running.  She quickly scolded me that I need to stay on my segments and my plan.  Reluctantly, I started to walk.  It was my only act of defiance/rebellion towards my pacers.  Given my feisty personality, this is even shocking to me.

Finally I saw a red light in the distance.  I said, “Amy do you see that red light?”  She said, ” There is no red light”.  I said “Yes there is…..see”. Finally she saw the light! In my mind we picked up the pace.  My brother in law Jon was at the head of the finish shoot and yelled to alert all we were there.  OMG!  I was hit with a rush of emotion and could hear my family and friends screaming.  I am not sure what I said.  I do remember someone dressed as a unicorn 🙂 and  Amy yelling ” WE HAVE NO ENERGY FOR EMOTION” over and over as we ran up the chute! I DID IT! I was done!  I finished far stronger than I ever imagined possible.  100 Miles!

23:52:47!

8th female, 1st age group 40-50,  26th overall!  ( all this took me by surprise)

My final and best HUG and BUCKLE from Jason!

My final and best HUG and BUCKLE from Jason!

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My first Buckle and it is SWEET! #earnedthatshit

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Handmade buckle….I am partial but this is the coolest buckle I have ever seen!

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looking like an old lady! Post race epson salt soak

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When you run 100 miles, Beer is acceptable at 8am! Thanks Anj for my Yeti beer 🙂

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My sisters coordinated gathering letters of support for me from all circles of my life. There was even a letter from my preschool teacher. I laughed, cried, rested and read some more. I was blown away with the kind words and support from family and friends. They wanted 100 notes but had close to 70! it took a long time to read them. I will cherish them always!

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Everyone needs a 100 sash!

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Post race margaritas at Hey Joes

The Yeti 100, hands down, was the most rewarding physical and mental challenge I have ever accomplished.  All miles beyond 75 were uncharted territory for me.  When I finished my 75 milies at Croatan 24, I could not even fathom running another 25.  Honestly, it scared the crap out of me.

I attribute my Yeti 100 success to my race preparation ( which started months in advance), run plan, along with my physical and mental preparation.  I was on my mental game.  I never dreaded what was ahead of me and approached it with sheer excitement from the day I registered.  I knew it was going to be tough, and there was a strong possibility that I would face some some race day woes, including failure.  Deep down, I was doing what I loved, running in a beautiful place with like minded crazy people.  I was determined to enjoy every single mile.  While there were times I was not sure if a burp would actually be a retch, I mentally willed away things that would steal my joy. Oddly, I never felt my nagging knee, perhaps it was there but I was having not part of feeling it. I was a happy, slightly emotional ( towards the end) runner for all 100 miles.

My Crew! My family and #internetfriends! My family joined me for my 13.1, 26.2, skipped the 42, 62, and 75 miles. Rejoined for 100 miles! My local running friends, no longer able to keep up with my running craziness, encouraged me to expand my running network to give them a break! Hence, came Anj and Fred. Long time social media contacts and now friends!

My Crew! My family and #internetfriends! My family joined me for my 13.1, 26.2, skipped the 42, 62, and 75 miles. Rejoined for 100 miles!
My local running friends, no longer able to keep up with my running craziness, encouraged me to expand my running network to give them a break! Hence, came Anj and Fred. Long time social media contacts and now friends!

I was so fortunate to have the support of my family and friends as crew.  As I reflect back, would my experience have been different without them?  100%!  Seeing them out on the course was a true mental boost and I looked forward to it. My Pacers were an absolute game changer. They were excellent! So fresh and committed to getting me to the finish line. Those dark hours would have been so different without them. They all kept me chatting and laughing.  I am certain, everyone heard us coming.  Perhaps this is what scared away the wildlife.

Two weeks post Yeti, I am still giddy with excitement with what I accomplished.  I am thrilled to have  such a strong 100 mile finish behind me. I know in the ultra running world, I have a lot of challenges ahead of me and certainly some DNF’s.  It’s all part of the lure that keeps me coming back.  If it was easy, everyone would do it.  I am motivated by the sheer fact that failure is a strong possibility.

Will I do another 100?  Absolutely!

When…..I don’t know.

Whats next? Gosh……I am struggling with that questions right now.

For now…I was bask in the glory of my shinny kick ass buckle!

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Here are some misc pictures:)  The course is BEAUTIFUL, since I had run the course twice before, I made the conscience decision race day not to slow my roll with pictures.  I was taking it old school and searing the images in my mind!

Packet Pick up. Wolf Hills Brewing, Abingdon

Packet Pick up. Wolf Hills Brewing, Abingdon

Everyone needs a little Jesus! I spotted Jesus on the training run beside the trail at an auction house. Jesus Take The Trail #JTTT

Everyone needs a little Jesus! I spotted Jesus on the training run beside the trail at an auction house. Jesus Take The Trail #JTTT

#JTTT

#JTTT

 

Very sweet text message I received from a long time church friend who thinks I am crazy. It touched me so much, I wrote it on the back of my race plan and stuffed it in my pack. I ready it and recited it very often.

Very sweet text message I received from a long time church friend who thinks I am crazy. It touched me so much, I wrote it on the back of my race plan and stuffed it in my pack. I ready it and recited it very often.

Prep- Run Plan booklet for my crew. Yes, I put it in a project folder and labeled it. I labeled everything.

Prep- Run Plan booklet for my crew. Yes, I put it in a project folder and labeled it. I labeled everything.

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Pre- race love from Kmac!

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Pre Race love from virtual #BRF and fellow #BAMR Kim. I pick up money while I run and put it in a special cup so hence the pennies.  I found a quarter on the Creeper Trail during my solo run and I had it in my pack along with the Penny Agj found during the Yeti Training run.  It was good Karma!

Anj found a penny on our Yeti training run. She gifted it to me:) I ran right over it!

Anj found a penny on our Yeti training run. She gifted it to me:) I ran right over it!

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From my sweet virtual #BRF and fellow Portland, OR #BAMR – Mel! Early in the race, I was ping ponging with a group doing segments. One of the guys yelled out “You Do You” it was great! This is my banter with Mel! Fat M&M’s is a reference to my friend Smitha, virtial #BRF, whom had never seen Peanut M&M’s. She called them “Fat M&M’s” it stuck!

 

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Seriously Kate! Over the top! She made me into my favorite candy! Like an M&M…I am hard on the outside but soft on the inside.

Kate! Stella & Dot, yeti 100 bar necklace. Sure glad I finished!

Kate! Stella & Dot, yeti 100 bar necklace. Sure glad I finished!

My ridiculous family during the dysfunctional crew meeting. We should have recorded it. It is permanently sealed in my mind! It was a riot!

My ridiculous family during the dysfunctional crew meeting. We should have recorded it. It is permanently sealed in my mind! It was a riot!  My favorite comment was from my Dad, after I lost my composure with a brief emotional moment ( my feet were  taped with my blue Kinesio tape) ” I think you should be concerned that your feet are turning blue”

 

Post Yeti celebration in Raleigh during Hurricane Matthew.

Post Yeti celebration in Raleigh during Hurricane Matthew. These are the brave ones who ventured out.  We all should have been home!

Beautiful shot of the Damascus sky! Until next time..........

Beautiful shot of the Damascus sky! Until next time……….

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BoxerRunner100 going for Triple digits!

Its happening! 111 days from now I will be running The Yeti 100 Endurance Run on the Virgina Creeper Trail.  

At the finish line of  my 75.7 miles at Croatan24, my running buddy Jeremy approached me and asked if I had another 25 miles/6 hours in me.  I don’t believe my response is “pg” rated.  However it was a valid question since the conversations of me potentially running my 1st hundred miler started a few weeks earlier while volunteering at the Mother Earth Brewing Iron Clad Half Marathon.  Jennifer and my sister Amy are 100% responsible for getting this conversation started.

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Jeremy and me post 100 mile discussion.  He ran 13.1 and I earned my beer volunteering.  Just realized he has on his Yeti hat…we did not know at the time we would both be running Yeti100! (just another sign…..)

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The 100 mile instigators….Jennifer and my sister Amy! ( pic prior to my Ultra Redemption Run)

The “100 mile” seed was planted but no firm plans of when it might happen.  Little did I know the plans were being made for me.  Monday morning, as I lay in bed, post Croatan24, I called Amy ( after all she is 100% responsible for my running addiction) we were causally chatting about Croatan24 and she said “well I guess you are running a 100 miler. ”  I said “What are you talking about?”  She said, “Read your email”.  I immediately, went to my email and saw a confirmation as a participant in the Graveyard100!  OMG! I thought I would vomit! I had been “signed up” a form of “race bullying” at its best by  friend and Race Director Brandon Wilson.  What a tremendous vote of confidence.  Brandon is tough! A first class heckler and taunter but deep down inside he is a very sincere supporter and has been a part of all my ultra quest.  Thanks Brandon!

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Highfive from RD, Brandon Wilson after my 75.7 miles at Croatan24.  Great 24hour event, now Tideland24! (I am living proof you can run up to  50 miles a week and gain weight! OMG…at my heaviest and had no idea! )

Fast forward a few weeks, and due to personal issues Brandon was not going to be Rd’ing Graveyard100.  I was crushed.  I did not want to attempt this 100 miler if he was not RD.  My excitement waned and I was silently on a quest for another 100.  That week I had been talking to my husband about riding the Virgina Creeper Trail again in the summer. We had two prior visits and we loved it.  I really wanted to go back.

BOOM…the running Gods dropped the Yeti100 Endurance Run on the Virgina Creeper into my Facebook feed.  I don’t lie…it literally happened just like that.  Wow, this was meant to be! Dan (my hubby) and I discussed the idea of me running my first 100 miler.  We don’t often discuss my running, while he is very supportive, I am a very independent person who does not often seek input of others.  This was a big deal and I wanted his input and support.  He agreed it was meant to be and I should do it.

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My running widower Dan! He is awesome! Thanks Dan! Post my fist ULTRA FAIL! Pine Moutain 40!

Registration opened day after Thanksgiving and I registered myself and Jeremy.  Poor Jeremy lost his debit card so I fronted him the cash and got him registered.  After all I was not going at this alone.  I needed him there!

Training is in full swing! I am feeling great and absolutely appreciate the support  and encouragement from my family and friends.  The confidence my family and friends have in me give me that extra push.  I want this, and I am determined to make this happen!

“Proceed as if Success is inevitable” ~ unknown

Pics from  Grayson Highlands Half /50l April 2016 & #yeti100 Endurance Run Training 22 miler June 4th.

 

All friendships have limits, and my “tried and true” running friends threw up their hands in surrender as I ventured down my ultra running path.  While absolutely supportive, they asked that I call in reinforcements.  Hence, my friendship with Anj and Fred, previously limited to twitter and Instagram blossomed! Huge thanks to Anj and Fred for joining me on the training run last weekend.  It was so much fun!

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Running friends “Tried and True”..Kate, Kmac, me, Becky at Grayson Highlands half/50k! Runbumtours.com

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It was an honor to meet Jason Green, founder of Yeti Trail Runners and RD for Yeti100 at Grayson Highlands.  He was so encouraging of my quest. What an authentic guy!

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Yeti100 Endurance Run..33 mile training run with my #internetfriends #newfriends Anj and Fred!

 

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Yeti friends!

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along the creeper

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I found Jesus on the Creeper! This will be comforting as I pass three times!

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Friends helping friends….the second half of run got hot!

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Officially my #foundchange nemesis  Our past two trail runs she found $

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This selfie does not do this rolling hills farm justice. It was beautiful!

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Done 33 miles….trestle #1` of 141 on the Virgina Creeper!  Beautiful run. I cannot wait until September!

 

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Elevation…Yeti!00….Thankfully only one trip back up!  Planning on running than in July.

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Until then…Cheers to friends old and new and many more miles!

Croatan24 Race Recap 2015! ( Now Tideland24 )

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(This race is now Tideland24 Great 24 hour race!)

During my New Years Day solo run, I decided my running goal for 2015 would be to run 75miles at Croatan24. I had checked off 4 out of 5 of my running goals so it was time to check off #1!

November 7th, finally arrived.  I was excited to have recruited #BRF’s Katherine and MaryAnne. Katherine completed her first 50k with me earlier in the year and set her sites on 50 miles. Mary Anne skipped right over the marathon and set her goal at 50 miles as well. I have to say I am most proud of the fact just a few years prior Mary Anne said to me ” I don’t run races”  I gifted her first “race” to her and she was hooked.  My plan worked!

5 days out the weather forecast was horrific with 90% chance of rain.  One thing was certain it was going to be wet. I learned early one, don’t stress about the things you cannot control.  Adapt and make a plan.image

I have to say my packing strategy worked out really well.  I decided on my son’s sterilite camp truck we picked up this summer at Walmart for $20.  It was perfect to store all my gear and keep it dry.  I bought three additional clip boxes for foot care/medical, clothes, electronic misc. It was great!  Definitely a repeat for rain or no rain.

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I took it to another level and labeled my boxes. Overkill? I don’t think so!

We arrived at the Cedar Point Tideland trail head about an hour before the start.  We had set up our tent/canopy the night before so we just needed to set up our chairs and gear.

READY!

READY! Hoka & Dirty Girl Gaiter LOVE!

Photo Credit- Susan Scott , SOS Photography

Photo Credit- Susan Scott , SOS Photography

8:00 am, 72 degrees,  we were off!!  Following the lead of current and former military personnel.  I cannot think of a better way to start a day of running. It was a honor to run among so many military personnel.

The race beneficiary  was the MARSOC foundation,  which provides benevolent support for the families of active duty and medically retired Marines.  

The 1.33 mile loop trail was very pretty.  A great improvement over the alternate location where we ran the 2014 Croatan24.  I now know why so many runners were grumbling last year. My plan, like 2014, was to run 6 mins and walk 2 from the very start.image

The hard packed trail was easy to navigate with very few roots.  There were several bridges through the marshlands.

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Some runners found the bridges to be challenging but since I train on hills they did not bother me. I welcomed the slight elevation change to engage different muscle groups.  Whoever said running “flat” was easy is dead wrong in my mind.  The mix of flat, bridges, and one slight hill was just great!

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The sun peaked out early and the temperatures began to rise.  Temps peaked at 83 degrees. It was HOT!  There was a slight breeze around the water that was very welcomed.  There is no doubt the warm weather slowed me down.  Thankfully, I trained all summer in the heat but it still takes a toll on you.

Mile 14, sock and shoe change.

Mile 14, sock and shoe change. My plan was to change shoes and socks every 14 miles.

Notorious for feet issues, I taped my feet early on.  Thank goodness for the tent that provided awesome shade and later shelter from the RAIN.  The day was gradually getting hotter and we dialed in an ICE SOS to Mary Anne’s husband Steve who was headed over to the race to hang out. Ice is a must have race essential for me!

Trail Happy! 4:00pm, 8 hours in!

Trail Happy! 4:00pm, 8 hours in! Mary Anne does not even look like she has been running! Fresh as a daisy!

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Our support Crew! Cooler of ice and red coke! Yummy!

Our support Crew ! Cooler of ice and red coke! Yummy! Eli was the water runner. Willingly filling up our water whenever needed.  Gosh they were so helpful!

Race Crew- Clive!

Race Crew- Clive!

We pushed through the heat sticking to the 6/2 interval.

3:00pm I was drenched! in an effort to stay cool

3:00pm I was drenched! in an effort to stay cool

We welcomed the nightfall anticipating a much needed temperature drop.  The dust views of the trail were fabulous.

5:00pm, 9 hours in and still smiling!

5:00pm, 9 hours, STILL HOT and still smiling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo -Susan Scott/SOS photography

Photo -Susan Scott/SOS photography

Headlamps on, we were off into the dark. After Hood to Coast, I swore I was going to buy a better headlamp.  While my headlamp works just fine, I really want a brighter light. NOTE TO SELF- buy a 200+ lumen headlamp before next night run. Katherine had an extra headlamp so I ended up wearing two!

Nightfall!

Nightfall!

I had been grazing on food all day! The girls could not believe all that I ate.  Clearly, I have a stomach of steal.  When the final race brief email arrived I opened the menu first! Big girl has to eat!

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The food tent is like the water cooler at work…you never know what you will hear! Great job Suzanne on all the grub!

Steve grilled some burgers and I happily devoured  along with a coke! Something I would never drink normally.  Gosh, it was so good!

Burger on a plate! Thanks Steve!

Burger on a plate! Thanks Steve! 2nd Burger of the day!

 

 

 

42 ish miles in!

42 ish miles in! Feet were feeling good!

The rain finally settled in around 9:00 and did not stop for the next 6 hours! BUCKETS of rain and wind! Flash back to Hood to Coast! So much rain, the trails flooded ankle deep in many spots.  FINALLY, the rain brought cooler temps.   As I was running in the thunder and lightning, I was questioning my sanity. Thankfully, it was minimal! My next 20 miles were completely rain soaked.  There was not a dry spot on my body. It was a great re-fresh from the heat of the day and enjoyed it.  When your completely wet you have no excuse but to run straight thru all the puddles!  There were snake sightings but fortunately I did not see any!

50 miles DONE!

50 miles DONE! Omg…that face Kmac! That is what 50 miles will do to you!

MA and Kmac were done! I was so excited for them! BUT, I had 25 more miles to go so I had to keep rolling! I continued on for another 10 miles and  planned a shoe/clothes change at mile 60.  1:48am, I finally put on dry clothes.  I took me forever to peel off the wet clothes in the cold.  I dried my feet and added additional tape.  Amazingly, the Kinesio tape was holding strong!  Good stuff!  Race essential for me!

I decided to take an extended rest.  I set my alarm just in-case I fell asleep. No sleep to be had.  I was freezing.  Literally, shaking in my dry clothes under a blanket.  Around 3:15am, I set off to finish my final 15 miles!

I decided to put my trail shoes back on.  I noticed a weird pressure point on the outside of my toe when I put them on.  I even took off the shoe to see if there was something in them. Nothing! Duh! it was a blister but I had no idea and it never crossed my mind.

Headed out for final 15!

Headed out for final 15!

It was hard getting started.  For the first and only time, I broke my 6/2 interval and walked the entire 46th lap.  At the end of the lap, I did some quick math with Brandon, RD, to figure out how many laps I needed to reach my 75 mile goal.  It was at that point, I realized that I needed to stay consistent on my remaining 9 laps in order to reach my goal.

The remaining nine laps were long! I started seeing things. I swore I saw bears on the trail (it was the bridge), my next sighting was a dinosaur( it was a large fern)and finally a marsh rat ( it was nothing).  I laughed at myself and ran on.

I was determined to meet my goal! I laid it down, picked up the pace and nailed a consistent pace for the final 10k! I was tired, determined, and running strong! Lap 53, with two more laps to go I was hit with a wave of emotion.  I fought it hard, but ultimately let some tears fly. I worked hard to contain myself.  Hyperventilating does not go well with running!  It was refreshing and fueled me thru the final 2 laps!

Sheer Elation and gratitude as I came up the chute on my final lap to the cheers of all my fellow racers!

55 laps!

75.7 MILES, 4th Overall Female!

I DID IT!

75.7 MILES DONE! GOAL ACHIEVED!

GOAL ACHIEVED!

Highive from RD, Brandon Wilson. Thanks Wendy for this pic!

Highive from RD, Brandon Wilson. Thanks Wendy for this pic!

8+ minutes to spare!

8+ minutes to spare!

My ultra pal Jermey! (Picture from Kinston Mother Earth Brewing Half Marathon) Minutes after my finished asked me if I could imagine another 6 hours and completing 100 miles! I did not say NO!

My ultra pal Jermey! (Picture from Kinston Mother Earth Brewing Half Marathon) Minutes after my finished asked me if I could imagine another 6 hours and completing 100 miles! I did not say NO! He swore point to point races were better! This is a guy who is running Tarheel Ultra! 8 day race down the entire coastline of NC! (my kind of crazy!) Go Wendy and Jeremy!

YUCK! Horrific!

YUCK! Horrific! No wonder my shoe felt weird.

We watch the award ceremony and a special presentation for Brandon!

A RacENC buckle! He earned it!

A RacENC buckle! He earned it!

8:15 am we hit the road for Raleigh.  I have to admit, that was probably the most uncomfortable car ride I have had in a long time. I was so looking forward to a warm Epsom salt bath at home!

After a 6 hour nap, Kate and Kayla doctored up my feet so we could head out for a celebratory dinner!

After a 6 hour nap, Kate and Kayla doctored up my feet so we could head out for a celebratory dinner! They also brought me a bowl of twix bars and balloons! AWESOME friends!

Bad Daddy's here I come!

Bad Daddy’s here I come!

Thanks Kmac for my AWESOME Koozie!

Thanks Kmac for my AWESOME Koozie!

Monday, I treated myself to a pair of OOFOS! They are not pretty but man are they comfortable! A post race essential for me!

ahhhhhhhh!

ahhhhhhhh! Swollen piggies and Cankles.  My only complaint was sore toes!

What a great run! I ran so strong! I persevered! I never considered calling it quits! I had FUN! Ultimately, that is what it is all about! 75.7 miles won’t be easy to top but I will have to make that happen in 2016!

Bucket-list Hood to Coast Relay 2015

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Ironically, I started my blog three + years ago with the hopes of one day being selected for a sponsored  Hood to Coast Team.  Living on the East Coast, I felt my chances of rallying a team and running the epic Mother of all Relays was merely a pipe dream.  Little did I know that my blog would assisted me in being selected for the AnotherMotherRunner.com 2014 SanFran to Napa Ragnar Relay Team.  This epic adventure ultimately lead me, via #BRF Melissa,  to my 2015 Hood to Coast Team!  Many thanks to Melissa for extending me an invitation to join her team.  There was not a moment of hesitation upon the invite.  It was am immediate YES, HELL YES! BUCKET-LIST Baby!  I was ecstatic!

Arrival to Portland! Pittock Mansion. Hazy skies from the wild fires

Arrival to Portland! Pittock Mansion. Hazy skies from the wild fires

No trip to Portland would be complete without a visit with fellow BAMR, Sarah Bowen Shea!  After all, she and Dimity are the only reason Melissa and I know each other.

Sarah, Jennifer, Melissa!

Sarah, Jennifer, Melissa! Rooftop Eastlund Hotel…ok this pic is in the bathroom:)

Weeks leading up to the relay there were significant concerns the wild fires might have a negative impact on the race.  Fortunately, they winds shifted  days before the start and the fires were not going to be an issue.  The next issue was rain, which Oregon desperately needed.  Rain or no Rain, nothing was going to dampen my spirits.

Van #2 We like our "Middle Leg" Hard (horrible name:) but GREAT Team!

Van #2 We like our “Middle Leg” Hard (horrible name:) but GREAT Team!

Ready to go! Warm but not rain! We headed off to the first major exchange Sandy, OR.

Mt. Hood in the distance. I was giddy with excitement each time caught a glimpse.

Mt. Hood in the distance. I was giddy with excitement each time I caught a glimpse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roadside Cheering  and cowbell for Manda

Roadside Cheering and cowbell for Manda

Leg 9, 5.38 Moderate, was me! While it was a warm 81 degrees it was nothing like NC 81 degrees.  It felt great and I laid down the best pace I had run in months!

Boaring, OR...Ready for my first leg with teammates Amy and Melissa.

Boaring, OR…Ready for my first leg with teammates Amy and Melissa. Small world as Amy  use to live in Raleigh and was the cross country coach at my daughters high school and her husband and I worked for the same company.

Leg 9- Springwater Trail

Leg 9- Springwater Trail

Each run got us closer to Portland.  Oddly enough exactly where we started earlier in the day.  Amy ran leg 12 into the next major exchange on the waterfront downtown Portland.  What a treat to see the city at night.

Hawthorne Bridge, Portland, OR

Hawthorne Bridge, Willamette River, Portland, OR.

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Keep Portland WEIRD!  Runners certainly did their share.  This was too good not to capture. He was rock’in those booty VEGAN shorts! I sure hope he was fast.

Benson Bubblers! Historic bronze bubblers in downtown Portland!

Benson Bubblers! Historic bronze bubblers in downtown Portland!  Note relay fashion- Injinji toe socks and Chacos…nice! Anything goes!

Van 1 was off again and we ( Van #2) had our first break. Oddly enough, we were back where we started in Portland.  The perk of running with native Portlanders is we were able to rest at team mates Jenny and Melissa’s houses.  Conveniently, they are neighbors!  It really could not have gotten any easier.  Melissa’s husband ( Sean) had a fabulous meal and beverages ready for us!

The late night spread!

The late night spread! Homemade Spaghetti Sauce he cooked all day!

YUMMY!

YUMMY!

 

Sean...West Coast Hubs!

Sean…West Coast Hubs!

This was posh relay running! Real food, hot shower, and a bed for a few hours.  I almost felt like I was cheating.  It was fabulous!  Certainly a “treat” I did not experience on my previous two relays.  I embraced it! 12:45am we were off to St. Helens, OR to meet up with Van 1 for our next big exhange.

RAIN, RAIN, RAIN!

RAIN, RAIN, RAIN!

The weather took a drastic turn. Rain, high winds, and hail.

Paul's awesome idea for exchanges was an umbrella with lights!

Paul’s awesome idea for exchanges was an umbrella with lights!

Ready for night leg!

Ready for night leg!

3:30am, I was off on my 2nd leg 21, 5.06 Moderate.  The sky absolutely opened up.  It rained so hard I had a hard time seeing in front of me.  The thunder and lightning absolutely freaked me out.  All I could think about was that I had on Melissa’s bib with her emergency contact.  I was going to be dead from a lightning strike and they were going to call her hubs ( Sean) instead of mine.  I prayed and ran as fast as I possibly could in the pitch black.  Despite being slightly rattled, the run was great and I enjoyed it.  I lived to tell! I was completely drenched head to toe when I was done.

Last major exchange Astoria, OR at dawm

Last major exchange Astoria, OR at dawn

Chilly and breezy, the rain ceased and the skys started to clear.  We headed to our next exchange so we could get some sleep.

SUN!

SUN!

Downed trees, limbs, leaves. The roads showed the aftermath of the wind and rain.

Downed trees, limbs, leaves. The roads showed the aftermath of the wind and rain.

The van lots were a muddy mess so we moved to plan b and slept in the van.  While not ideal we all caught some z’s.  We got another round of wind and rain.  I was so scared a tree was going to fall on our van as we slept.  It was insane!  It was so windy the “Honey Buckets” aka Porta Potties on the east coast BLEW OVER!

Blown over Honey Buckets! Melissa anchored down the one on the far right. She felt it rocking! Lucky girl!

Blown over Honey Buckets! Melissa anchored down the one on the far right. She felt it rocking! Lucky girl!

We all caught some zzz's. I slept in the drivers seat!

We all caught some zzz’s. I slept in the drivers seat!

Blue skies!

Blue skies!

We had gotten word that the finish line had to be moved off the beach in Seaside due to gail force winds.  We were just happy the we were able to still run given the crazy hurricane like weather.

Van mates! Manda was running!

Van mates! Manda was running!

We were off on our final legs and our journey to Seaside.  The sun came out and temps rose into the low 60’s.  Perfect running temps! WINDY!

 

Ready for leg 33!

Cold weather clothes shed…..Ready for leg 33!

My last leg 33, 7.72 hard, was beautiful.  I enjoyed every minute of it and just took in the beautiful Oregon country side. image

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My wonderful team mates, who for the first time were able to support me during my leg.  I could hear them way  before I saw them!  They were so great!

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Loved the bicycle fence.

Loved the bicycle fence.

So excited when the Dead Jocks in a Box, featured in the Hood to Coast Documentary, passed me.

So excited when the Dead Jocks in a Box, featured in the Hood to Coast Documentary, passed me.

 

 

I was obsessed with the birch trees. Melissa, collected me some birch twigs while I ran! hehe

I was obsessed with the birch trees. Melissa, collected me some birch twigs while I ran! hehe Post run, cool temps were back!

Exchange 35-36, we found food and set Amy off on the final leg into Seaside, OR.

YUMMY!

YUMMY! Burger and Craft Beer!

Chilly and so happy to be almost done!

Chilly and so happy to be almost done!

Melissa's Vuvuzela performance made the H2C news coverage!

Melissa’s Vuvuzela performance made the H2C news coverage! Beer, Cowbell, and vuvuzela…this girl has talent!

 

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4:00pm ish Seaside here we come!  The finish line was moved to the boardwalk. The beach finish line area looked like a war zone.  The wind was still whipping.

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waiting for AMY!

DONE!

DONE!

Cheers!

Cheers!

Van 2 Celebration!

Van 2 Celebration! Phones in hand!

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Hood 2 Coast Relay DONE! Bucket list checkoff! You don’t do it for the medal!

Sunday am storm aftermath.

Sunday am storm aftermath. I can honestly say I experienced all weather that Oregon has to offer!

H2C did not disappoint.  I had an absolute blast!  Fabulous experience!  Thanks Melissa for making this happen!  I cannot wait for round 2!

Despite the finish line being closed on Saturday we got our official picture on Sunday am!

Despite the finish line being closed on Saturday we got our official picture on Sunday am!

 

 

Meet our foster Baxter! Looking for his FURever home

Baxter...what is not to love

Baxter…what is not to love

My name is Baxter! I am a 2 year old puppy. I came to BRBR via owner surrender.  I was surrendered because the people who had me had too many pets.  I was neutered and very skinny.  I was not on monthly heart worm medicine so I am heart worm positive.  It really does not slow me down at all.  I am starting treatment in March.

too skinny, upon intake

too skinny, upon intake. Why are people so cruel

I am currently living with my foster family in Raleigh, NC.  They are really nice people.  I share my house with two skin kids ( pre-teen and teen) and two boxers Potter and Lucy. We all get along great and I love them all very much. They would keep me but they really need to keep a spot open in their house to foster dogs like me. My foster parents cannot believe how well behaved I am for only being 2 years  old. I love to play with my FURsiblings but I am also content laying on the bed beside my Foster mom and dad as they work.  I am crate trained and typically sleep in there at night time.  I also like to sleep in my skin sisters  room.  I need to see one of my people.

cozy on the bed!

cozy on the bed!

I am a really handsome fella.  The humans always comment on how good looking I am.  I am tall and lean.  My insides are full of springs. I can bound up really high when I get excited but I know not to jump on my people.  I just tall enough my nose can smell all the good stuff on the kitchen counters.  My people put stuff up there to tease me.  I like to steal stuff every once in a while.  I learned it from my fursister Lucy. She is always in trouble.  I also love toys and balls.

Snow...lets play!

Snow…lets play!

My people don’t allow me on the furniture and I am only allowed on the bed if you invite me.  I am good at following the rules.  I am a great dog!  I would love to meet you!

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I am good on a leash and like walks

I come running when I hear ice going into a cup.  My mom gives me a cube every time

100% potty trained, I have not learned to lift my leg yet

I am doggie door trained

I am not a fence darter…

I love my people invite me on the bed.  When they want me off I box them…I am a boxer J

Our neighbors have chickens…I ignore them

I love all people and get excited when they come to visit

I love being with my FURsiblings…they teach me how to act and keep me straight

I love running, chasing, and chewing on my FURsiblings.  They put up with me!

I am adorable! Please consider if you have a FUREVER home for me.  Much love Baxter!

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I am available via Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue.  Adoptable in NC, SC, VA.

Do You Want to Run a Ragnar?

Great Relay Recap from my fellow vanmate Jodi!

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By Princess Jodi

Do you want to run a Ragnar? Doesn’t have to be a Ragnar…

It could be any multi-day relay adventure involving teams, vans, sleeping in fields, navigating new places and, of course, running. Lots of running.

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When I was chosen to run the Ragnar Relay Napa Valley with the Another Mother Runner team last Fall, I had no idea what to expect. I had never done a relay. I had never met my team mates (save for brief runDisney encounters with the captains, Sarah and Dimity). I was a total relay rookie, figuring it out as I went.

Since finishing Ragnar Napa, I have had questions from friends and contacts on social media about what a relay is really like, and what you should know going into a race. I am definitely no expert, but my 38 hours on the road with the Badass Mother Runners (BAMRs) has…

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Ragnar Napa Valley: Recaps from my fellow BadASS Mother Runners

imageThree plus months have passed and I have yet to recap my Ragnar Napa experience. Perhaps, the delay is due to the fact I did not want to acknowledge the experience, with five months of great anticipation, had come and gone.  What I have come to know, in the months proceeding our 205 mile journey from San Francisco to Calistoga, CA,  is that our Ragnar experience was just a kickstart to a wonderful relationship with 11 fellow mother runners.

Despite being separated by many miles and numerous state lines, we continue to engage in daily dialog with each other via our private Facebook group, emails,text, skype, and even an occasional conference call.  Technology is great!

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It was a tremendous honor to be selected as a participant on this team! I will forever cherish the memories or our CA weekend and look forward to creating more memories.  In less that 5 months, almost 1 year to the day we found out we were selected for the team,   8 of us will be gathering in Pittsburgh, PA for the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend. While we will certainly miss SBS, Dimiity, Kelly, and Lisa.  They will not be forgotten and will certainly be there in spirit.

I thought the best way to recap the weekend was through sharing the official AnotherMotherRunner.com Ragnar Napa Valley recaps.  While this was a team effort, each of us had our very own unique personal experience. We covered the gamut with racing highs and racing woe’s. Enjoy the race recaps from my fellow team mates.

AMR Blog Post– Ragnar Napa Valley: The Mother Runner Recap

AMR Pod Cast#129:Napa Valley Ragnar Relay

My pictorial recap!

Van #1-Erin, Dimity, Jen, Kelly, Kim, Lisa.  Kicked up off bright and early Friday morning!

Van #1-Erin, Dimity, Jen, Kelly, Kim, Lisa. Kicked up off bright and early Friday morning! We stayed at the lovely Marina Motel, San Francisco.  The gardens were beautiful and the staff was so accommodating to our needs and our over sized vans!

Van #2- Sarah, Me, Mel, Laura, Jodi, Smitha.  We got to sleep in and start running early afternoon ( In the HEAT!)

Van #2- Sarah, Me, Mel, Laura, Jodi, Smitha. We got to sleep in and start running early afternoon ( In the HEAT!)

The "Mother of all things Relay" We were so fortunate to have Mel, whom has numerous relays under her belt, in our van.  Seriously, thinking she brought everything we could possibly need!

The “Mother of all things Relay” We were so fortunate to have Mel, whom has numerous relays under her belt, in our van. Seriously, think she brought everything we could possibly need except a portable air conditioner.

Crossing the Golden Gate  Bridge on the way to our first exchange

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on the way to our first exchange.

Van #2- READY!

Van #2- READY!

Team shot minus Mel.  Perhaps one picture too many! But hey life was good and we were happy!

Team shot minus Mel with one of our numerous sponsors NUUN. Perhaps one picture too many! But hey life was good and we were happy!

After heading in the wrong direction from the exchange, as a result of my poor navigation skills, we finally got back on track to met Mel at exchange #8.  To make matters worse due to road construction  Ragnar decided to make the transition area “floating”.  Basically meaning you would meet your runner along a unmarked half mile area.  CONFUSING FOR ALL! We waited, and waited with no signs of Mel.  Whom decided because it was only three miles not to take her phone, garmin, or water.  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, due to the unmarked transition and no team in sight Mel kept running.  Cannot say I blame her I would have done the same thing.  After much waiting and contemplating, we decided we would set Laura off on her leg (we did not want her to miss her miles) and we would head to the next transition and hope Mel was there.

As we were waiting SBS found a penny! She was so excited! She also instructed Laura on her first "pop a squat"

As we were waiting SBS found a penny! She was so excited! She also instructed Laura on her first “pop a squat”

RE-UNITED! We found our Mel.  Hot, frazzeled, and worn out we found our girl at the next exchange! Such Relief! We did contact Ragnar Race Command  to seek assistance of a lost runner and they were ZERO help!

RE-UNITED! We found our Mel!  Hot, frazzled, and worn out we found our girl at the next exchange! Such a Relief! We did contact Ragnar Race Command to seek assistance of a lost runner and they were ZERO help!

Smitha and I waiting for Laura after her first run!

Smitha and I waiting for Laura after her first run! It was HOT!

Finally off on my first 9 miles leg.  So HOT!  the spectators with the water sprayers were the BEST! The second time I saw one of the groups I had the m snap this photo!

Finally off on my first 9 miles leg. So HOT! the spectators with the water sprayers were the BEST! The second time I saw one of the groups I had the m snap this photo!

Before he handed me back my phone he snuck in a quick selfie! So great! They made my day!

Before he handed me back my phone he snuck in a quick selfie! So great! They made my day!

Re-united with Van 1 at exchange!

Re-united with Van 1 at exchange!

Aaron at the community center saved me by having batteries for my headlamp!  ( Next time I will keep batteries out of lamp for travel, and bring extra)

Aaron at the community center saved me by having batteries for my headlamp! ( Next time I will keep batteries out of lamp for travel, and bring extra)

Laura and I attempting sleep in the field of the community center.  I am pretty sure SBS was snoring! That woman can sleep anywhere!

Laura and I attempting sleep in the field of the community center. I am pretty sure SBS was snoring! That woman can sleep anywhere! Perhaps it was her Saucony body suit!

Ready for our second legs in the very very early morning!

Ready for our second legs in the very very early morning!

 

Great 9 mile run.  Super treat was watching the sun come up and finishing in the vineyards!  Or is it a "Wine Yard" as Smitha called it lol!

Great 9 mile run. Super treat was watching the sun come up and finishing in the vineyards! Or is it a “Wine Yard” as Smitha called it lol!

Laura eventually got some sleep!

Laura eventually got some sleep!

After 30 hours of awake time, I took "Personality rest time" My eyes were open but my mouth was shut!  Powering up for our last legs of the relay!

After 30 hours of awake time, I took “Personality rest time” My eyes were open but my mouth was shut! Powering up for our last legs of the relay!

"Smitha would you like some?" "No Thanks what is that Fat M&M's?".....I proceeded to almost pee myself in laughter.  My sweet little Indian Princess had never seen a Peanut M&M!  Life altering moment!  We had hours of laughter at her expense! Forever referred to as FAT M&M's!

“Smitha would you like some?” “No Thanks what is that Fat M&M’s?”…..I proceeded to almost pee myself in laughter. My sweet little Indian Princess had never seen a Peanut M&M! Life altering moment! We had hours of laughter at her expense! Forever referred to as FAT M&M’s!

Wasting time at possible the worst exchange ever.  A dusty field, no shade, and a bunch of honey buckets ( Port-0- Potties)  We passed time by bartering Fat M&M's for whatever we could get!

Wasting time at  the worst exchange ever.   A dusty field, no shade, and a bunch of honey buckets ( Port-0- Potties) We passed time by bartering Fat M&M’s  out for whatever we could get!

The day was getting hotter by the hour! Quick group shot before sending Jodi off on what turned our to be a horrific leg!

The day was getting hotter by the hour! Quick group shot before sending Jodi off on what turned out to be a horrific leg!

Me and the vines.  It was so hot the camera was even sweating!

Me and the vines. It was so hot the camera was even sweating!

Killing time in Calistoga! What a cute little town  We did not stick out a bit in our tutus

Killing time in Yountville! What a cute little town We did not stick out a bit in our tutus

After Jodi's horrific hot run and reports of Ragnar rationing water at the aid stations  The Mother of all Relays (Mel) declared WAR!  She stormed the local grocery for water, ice , and ziplock baggies.  If Ragnar was not going to take care of the runners we were!  The runners were all so appreciative! ( We did call Ragnar race command and they did respond saying they would get more water on the course)

After Jodi’s horrific hot run and reports of Ragnar rationing water at the aid stations The Mother of all Relays (Mel) declared WAR! She stormed the local grocery for water, ice , and ziplock baggies. If Ragnar was not going to take care of the runners we were! The runners were all so appreciative! ( We did call Ragnar race command and they did respond saying they would get more water on the course.  Just poor planning as they forecast had not changed)

 

Finally, we set our sights on Jodi! We were so relieved to see her!

Finally, we set our sights on Jodi! We were so relieved to see her!

 

SBS looking BadASS after her 11 miler! We were all so  Proud of her!

SBS looking BadASS after her 11 miler! We were all so Proud of her!

After SBS Beasted her 11 miles in the Sauna, due to temps and time Ragnar gave us the option to skip to the next exchange.  We took the option!  Smitha and I ran the final leg together!  Warrior paint and all ( not whiskers) were were ready!

After SBS Beasted her 11 miles in the Sauna, due to temps and time Ragnar gave us the option to skip to the next exchange. We took the option! Smitha and I ran the final leg together! Warrior paint and all ( not whiskers) were were ready!

Probably the most entertaining 5.3 miles of my life. Singing, dance running and entertaining the cars stuck in traffic!  We finally made it! Smitha , sandbagging, most of the run finally "Let it Go" and we sprinted to the finish!

Probably the most entertaining 5.3 miles of my life. Singing, dance running and entertaining the cars stuck in traffic! We finally made it! Smitha , sandbagging, most of the run finally “Let it Go” and we sprinted to the finish!

DONE! 205 miles!

DONE! 205 miles!

Delayed several hours due to the heat, and Ragnar running out of finisher  medals…it was not the finish any of us had envisioned.  But we were done! We did it together and had a blast!  Unfortunately, we had to cancel our dinner plans and head straight for our hotel 2 hours away.  We would have to wait to toast our finish at another time! ( all the more reason for a reunion)

Glowing from her finish! Mel popped our tops in our fab accommodations! I seriously considered sleeping in the van! Instead we toasted to our wonderful journey with Smitha, Lisa, and Laura!

Glowing from her finish! Mel popped our tops in our fab accommodations! I seriously considered sleeping in the van! Instead we toasted to our wonderful journey with Smitha, Lisa, and Laura!

All good things must come to an end.  Van clean up!

Sad faces…All good things must come to an end. Van clean up!

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Quck stop in San Fran to pick up our luggage at SBS's friend Amy who let us store our luggage in her apartments.  So helpful! We said our good byes to the those headed to the airport!

Quck stop in San Fran to pick up our luggage at SBS’s friend Kate who let us store our luggage in her apartments. So helpful! We said our good byes to the those headed to the airport!

Sharing my Hoka love with Smitha!

Sharing my Hoka love with Smitha!

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Rounded out the trip by spending the afternoon and evening  with my Van 1 peeps!

Rounded out the trip by spending the afternoon and evening with my Van 1 peeps!

Tremendous thanks to Sarah and Dimity, AnotherMotherRunner.com, for pulling together this amazing team of 11 mother runners.  This trip will forever hold a special place in my heart not only for the experience but most of all the friendships it kickstarted! Love to all my BAMRS! Cannot wait to see you in May!

Check out recaps from fellow blogging team mates:

Project Lovely Laura A four part mini series recap! 

The Faux Runner- More Fat M&M’s and Wine Yards!

Two Princesses on the run- The one and only Princess of Ragnar 🙂

Destination Races Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon

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In May, I descended upon Leesburg,VA with 7 of my running buddies for the Virgina Wine Country Half Marathon put on by DestinationRaces.com.  My second of three “wine” themed running events.  (Wine Glass Marathon 2012, & AnotherMotherRunner.com RagnarRelay Team – SanFran to Napa ..in 5 days!)

While I have professed, not to be a fan of “corporate” races much preferring small regional races.  I was pleasantly surprised by the phenomenal race, with a very regional feel,  put on by DestinationRaces.com.

Its really hard to believe that only 47 miles from our Nations Capital is the heart of Virgina’s wine country.  Loudoun County has to be one of America’s best kept secrets.  It was quaint, and absolutely beautiful.  Rolling hills, numerous wineries, horse farms, and lots of open green space.  It reminded me of Napa Valley, CA.  Perfect setting for a 13.1 mile run!

We were fortunate to rent a condo in downtown Leesburg walking distance from cute shopping and dinning. Staying in a condo vs. a hotel was a huge perk to the weekend.  We arrived Thursday night from Raleigh to a full refrigerator and a gourmet spread of food! Rebecca, arriving from Nashville, got in early enough to take care of all the shopping and prepare dinner.  Rebecca, our resident planner and foodie ROCKs!

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After an awesome dinner, KMac presented us all with customized hand crafted crowns.  There were many laughs, as we each tried to guess our individual crown theme.  Our weekend was off to a great start!

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Pretty impressive group photo with iphone photo timer

Friday, we ventured to the expo to pick up our bibs.  The expo, very small, was easy to find and navigate. We were able to get our arm bands for the post race wine tastings.  This eliminated the need to carry our id on race day.( one less thing to forget)With race bibs in hand, we were off to visit some local wineries.

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Dry Mill Vinyards

Vinyard #2...wine not as good but the vinyards were beautiful.  The grapes were just coming out.

Vineyard #2…wine not as good but the vineyards were beautiful. The grapes were just coming out.

We had a great afternoon!  Our day was not over yet as we had a dinner invite from our buddy Leigh’s college roomate who lived in Leesburg.  What a brave sole inviting over 7 complete strangers, who have been tasting wine all afternoon,  for dinner.  She completely rolled out the red carpet for us.  We had a wonderful time and were so grateful for her hospitality. I am so sad we left without a picture with her.

my fav pic!

my fav pic!

Pre-race dinner

Pre-race dinner

Perhaps its time for water , nuun, and bed!

Perhaps its time for water , nuun, and bed! Beautiful Flowers!

Race day! The race started and finished at Doukenie Winery.  There was plenty of field parking only a short distance from the starting line.  Porta potties and wash stands galore so the lines were minimal.  Always a plus! Navigating to the start line was super easy!

Pre 13.1! Doukenie Winery

Pre 13.1! Doukenie Winery

Starting line

Starting line… tree lined drive into the winery.  Beautiful setting for a race.  Sure beats the typical asphalt and buildings

After some brief announcements and tribute to local mother runner whom had recently passed away we were off!  The course was very well marked  and staffed along the  two lane country roads.  I was very impressed that the course was monitored by State Motorcycle Police. In several places along the route, the opposite lane was not closed to traffic.  Any oncoming cars were given a police escort to pass the runners.  In all my races, I have never seen this done.  I certainly appreciated that and hope I will see that in future races.

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The course was rolling hills through, farms, ranches, estates, wineries.  Majority of the course was on asphalt with a small piece on dirt road.  Very peaceful.  I really enjoyed the course.

Ashleys PR! Ashley, and avid tennis player, got talked into  joining us 5 days before the race.  Her first 13.1 and come to find out her first distance over 3 miles! She initially told us 4 miles but later admitted it was only 3!  Crazy girl!

Ashleys first of many PR’s for the day! Ashley, and avid tennis player, got talked into joining us 5 days before the race. Her first 13.1 and come to find out her first distance over 3 miles! She initially told us 4 miles but later admitted it was only 3! Crazy girl!

Hiddencroft Vinyards wine shots

Hiddencroft Vinyards wine shots

Midpoint on the course around mile 6-7, we ran through Hiddencroft Vinyards who had  wine, water, band, and porta potties.  Wine is definitely not what I want to drink 6 miles into half marathon but it was just a little taste and really we had nothing to lose ( at least we hoped not).  It was all part of the experience!

imageThe course was wonderful!  I cannot say enough good things about it.  Definitely a race you want to run, enjoy, and take it all in.  It was the perfect race, despite our varied paces, to stick together and enjoy as a group.  Rebecca and Becky wanted to race so we told them to take off and enjoy.  We would be pulling up the rear and getting Ashley across the finish line of her first half.

13.1 Done! Ashley is a Half Marathoner!

13.1 Done! Ashley is a Half Marathoner!

After crossing the finish line, we pick up our wine glasses and headed to the tasting party.  Admission to the tastings was an additional purchase which included a commemorative Riedel stemless wine glass.  Fellow runners who have done this before came prepared with picnic foods, blankets and chairs.  Great idea if we do this again.  We enjoyed our first pour but all agreed none of us were feeling drinking wine that early and  after running.  We would have much preferred a beer.  We were disappointed that the brewery that was supposed to be part of the tasting was nowhere to be found.  My only negative comment about the entire event.  We did not linger too long at the tasting before we decided to take our celebration back to the condo. Plus, we did not want to worry with a  designated driver.  I believe the race offered shuttles from the local hotels but we did not utilize them.

Riedel Glass

Riedel Glass

 

Cute metal with a removable wine charm

Cute metal with a removable wine charm

Great race!  I was very impressed with DestinationRaces.com. I would definitely consider another one of their races.  This race was fantastic. It was the perfect setting for a relaxing, laughter filled weekend with my crazy friends.  Thanks for the great time ladies!  I cannot wait until our next adventure.

 

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Inaugural race in injinji toe socks. While cozy, and helpful I still developed a blister. Clearly, only a minor piece to blister free running. I love the socks….my new go to!

 

JMart 4 Ragnar 2014!

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JMart 4 Ragnar 2014! 197 miles in 24+ hours…No problem!  A proven BAMR, guaranteed to provide endless hours of laughter, positive energy, and relentless motivation to all! No sleep till Napa!

Self-Proclaimed, Another Mother Runner, “Super Fan” since 2010

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Need to stay awake?…proudly deemed the 2nd Most Talkative relay team member!  BRRTeam

Known provider of roadside sleep deprivation entertainment!

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Fearful of twilight relay legs? No FEAR! Whats a few extra miles… Jmart will accompany you!

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AMR CONNECTION Maker!  A chance meeting at Another Mother Runner expo booth resulted in pre- race dinner invite, on course support, an inclusion in  post-race celebration!  What started as a connection quickly transitioned to AMR BOND! Love my AMR St. Paul friends!

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Mid race spills, two right shoes …no problem! Crazy things are bound to happen, you have to embrace your inner BAMR and push through!

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Relentless motivation and support!  My greatest running achievements are not captured on my Garmin or hanging on the wall…its the sheer joy of motivating and pushing a fellow runner (or soon to be runner out of their comfort zone)…achieving things they never thought were possible! Sometimes that is a finish line or simply an unbroken mile.  Every step taken, no matter the distance is an accomplishment!

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 The connection of runners, especially mother runners, is something very special. Its hard to put to words It’s an experience!  

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You won’t go wrong with JMart! Please read comments to this post from JMart 4 Ragnar supporters.  They are not actors, nor paid endorsers (maybe I promised some wine from Napa?), they are the REAL deal BRF’s of JMart!  They know me like no other…they speak the truth.  JMart 4 Ragner 2014! 

🙂  Jennifer a.k.a JMart!