Three 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!
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.
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!)
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.
Van #2- READY!
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”
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! 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!
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!
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! Perhaps it was her Saucony body suit!
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!
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!
“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 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 out to be a horrific leg!
Me and the vines. It was so hot the camera was even sweating!
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. Just poor planning as they forecast had not changed)
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!
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!
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!
Sad faces…All good things must come to an end. Van clean up!
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!
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!
Redemption has never felt so good! It was personal! I had nothing to prove to anyone but myself!
42.54 miles complete!
I did it!
Redemption Smiles & Bunny Ears!
CedarIsland40 was my ultra redemption race. This was my opportunity to learn from my previous defeat, push my mental and physical comfort zone, and succeed. To succeed, I had to put in the work. I was the only thing that was going to get me across the finish line and I had to be ready! I owned it!
I committed week one of 11 to nail all my training workouts and stick with my program. While, I did not make every single workout I am very happy with my efforts. I can honestly say in my 5 years of running, I have never taken training so seriously. It felt good, and gave me the confidence I needed race day I knew I had put in the work and that I would cross the finish line.
Race Shirt and Pre-race carb load…just one:)
Katherine (KMac- my awesome friend who accompanied me to the race) and I volunteered at packet pickup that was hosted in a private room at Sammy’s Seafood House and Oyster Bar. It was great to mingle, meet, and eat with some of the fellow participants. I was in awe of the ultra runners I would be sharing the course with. Participants ranged from ultra virgins to ultra legends. Everyone was super nice and very supportive.
KMac and I at the start! Little fuzzy but it was not even 5:00am yet
Big Thanks to Kmac who sealed my race strategy down for me. I knew I was going to do a run walk segment but had not given much thought to what that would be. Thankfully, KMac suggested 10 min run/2 min walk. I loved it and immediately programmed the interval into my Garmin. This was my saving grace! AWESOME!
Jason, Garrett, and I ready!
3:50 am wake up call came super early! We picked up two fellow runners Jason and Garrett, whom we met at packet pickup, and headed to the starting line. Jason and Garrett were very trusting individuals to rely on complete strangers to get them to the start of the race! We were happy to help! The minute the doors of the car closed they were no longer strangers but our newest friends. Jason was running his first ultra to celebrate his 40th birthday. Wow! The Irony of that was surreal since my first ultra attempt was for my buddy’s 40th birthday…and we all know how that turned out 🙂 Garrett, signed up two weeks before the race and decided to join his buddy! No training outside of a single 3 hours run. He does not even like to run! Now that is a good friend! Crazy but good!
5:00 am the race was started with a “ready, set, GO!” by my adorable niece Chloe. Headlights bobbing in the darkness we were headed from Morehead City, NC to the Cedar Island Ferry (42 miles)
Aid Station 1 Ashley and KMac. Ashley sporting her LUNA Sandals!
I had planned on running alone and was totally fine with that. As extroverted as I am, it is shocking to people that know me well that I am perfectly content running alone. Partnering up with Ashley was a race day bonus!
Cedar Island 40 route along coast of NC
The course while very remote ran through beautiful coastal tidelands and marsh. The views were absolutely beautiful. There was definitely more traffic than I anticipated and was unnerving at times but nothing we could not handle. We got a friendly honk from an 18 wheeler and a wagging finger from a grumpy old lady. One passerby was so curious as to what we were doing she slowed down to inquire. When we told her we were running 42 miles she flipped out! She screamed “You go girls!” and drove off.
We had been warned of a one lane, wooden plank bridge along the route. As we approached the bridge we contemplated what our strategy for crossing would be. We certainly did not want to get taken out by a car on the bridge. Before we could finalize our strategy, my brother-in-law Lee, whom was monitoring the course appeared and escorted us across the bridge. We felt like running royalty. Perfect timing!
We ran over several bridges and the views were always breath taking! It was also a great excuse to stop and take a “selfie”. This was the first of many!
“Color Run” drive by!
On course support was often and entertaining! We never felt abandoned as Amy and her volunteers did a great job of monitoring the course and keeping an eye on the participants. I almost fell over in laughter when Amy and my niece drove by spraying silly string and shouting Color Run! It was everywhere. It was a great pick me up!
“Color run” silly string
The coastal towns along NC 12 are very quaint. It was a nice change of scenery.
Too cute not to take a picture of.
Not everything was cute. While the natural beauty of the tidelands was pleasant, there comes a time when enough is enough!
My picture, while hazy, is a perfect representation of the steamy slog through a portion of the course called “Dire Straits”. Its long,winding, barren, asphalt that seems to go on forever. We survived!
Popsicle Delivery mile 27!
As temperatures rose ( into the upper 70’s) and we grew tired we would often wonder what we were seeing up ahead on the road. We saw plenty of mirages while we were anticipating the next aid stations. Fortunately, Heather’s Edy’s Lime Popsicle delivery was not a mirage! We deemed it Heaven on a stick! It was the best Popsicle I have ever had in my life!
Heaven on a stick! Note my FroggToggs Chilly Sport around my neck!
The Popsicle delivery was such a wonderful surprise and a much needed pick me up! Diligent with our 10/2 run/walk segments, we decided we would walk and enjoy our Popsicle! Ahhhhhhh! I have to mention my last minute decision to pack my daughters FroggTogg Chilly Sport towel was a true life saver! I had never used this towel or anything similar before but my gut told me to pack it and give it a try. AMAZING! Why have I never used this towel before? This is now part of my MUST HAVE gear list and will never leave home without it for warm runs. It really stayed wet and cool. I rolled up ice in it at one of the last aid stations for the super cooling effect.
Whoo hooo the end is near…kind of
Neither Ashley or I ever checked the mileage on our watches. We gauged our distance based on the aid stations having a general idea where they were. I figured we had a long distance to cover and we would get there when we get there. It was rather exciting, when the road side signs got close to single digits.
It was hot but we ran on. Both of us were feeling great and enjoying the run. We had great conversations but also spend a lot of time running in silence. We stuck to our 10min/2min run/walk segments and consistently fueled and took our Salt Sticks every hour. The sun was out in full force so we also applied sun screen every few hours. It was great having company and an accountability partner. After running hours, upon hours in the heat your brain function slows and you need a little help from your friend to stay safe. We laughed that Ashley was a running traffic cone in her BRIGHT yellow and orangeshirt. A perfect selection for the day. I kept my Amphipod Xinglet around my waist ( I wore it correctly before the sun came up). Its so light I did not even know it was there.
I had a complete brain slip and forgot to put my nuun in my Nathan vest. Luckily I did drop some tablets in my first 2 liters of water so I did have some early on. Just none for water refills The Salt Sticks did the trick! Thank God!
About an hour behind us were Jason & Garrett! We got updates from the course monitors that they were having a blast! Wondering what those two goof balls were doing pushed me to get to the finish line as I knew they would have some great stories! They had no worries about time they just wanted to have fun, enjoy each others company, take in the sights, and finish before the cut off.
Jason & Garrett….having a blast every mile! They texted pictures to Amy, Race Director, along the route.
Take note of Jason’s super cool camouflage shades! As the sun came up, Jason realized he forgot his sun glasses. He thought he would quickly remedy the situation by popping in one of the very few convenient stores along the route and buy a pair. Easy enough, all convenient stores at the coast have sunglasses right? Well, not this particular store. Oops onto Plan B! While most would simply do without, Jason was on a quest for survival. No glasses officially for sale the next best thing was to buy them off one of the customers. Yep, Jason purchased his glasses right off the face of a lady in the store for $20! Resourceful!
Garrett’s first marathon distance!
Sometime after mile 26.2,at one of the aid stations, Garrett realized he had officially run his first marathon! Pretty darn impressive for a guy who signed up for his first ultra two weeks prior and his training consisted of one three hour run! YOUTH! Way to go Baby G!
Because running 42+ miles is not enough, in an effort to break the monotony Garrett decided to throw in some push ups…or perhaps they were burpees! Either way just crazy!
Great form! Little aid station fun
Finally, we made it to the last manned aid station and knew we had 9 miles to go. Hitting the single digits felt great! It was HOT , we were tired, but still enjoying the run. We made good time and caught up with some fellow runners and had a surprise visit from KMac, whom dressed in running clothes, was there to run in the final 5 miles with us! Such an awesome surprise and a wonderful pick me up for both Ashley and I.
My favorite on course picture! All smiling with 5+ miles to go! ( Lee, top right was driving the course in air conditioning so of course he was smiling. The rest of us were running)
The final miles were long. Likely the longest and slowest 5 miles of my life. We were elated to make it to the last aid station! 3 miles to go!
The “lonely tree” final aid station and Jason!
Jason and Garrett, recognized the tree at the last aid station as the “lone” tree on the CedarIsland40 web page and took the opportunity to snap a photo. I had no recollection of the tree. I love that they captured this photo. Not sure how Jason was able to get up. If I laid down at that point in the day I would be staying until someone picked me up.
Ashley and I REALLY enjoyed Katherine’s company on our final miles to the finish line. The fact she surprised us made it even better. 8+ hours in, a fresh perspective was greatly welcomed. She encouraged us, filled us in on the runners who had finished, those who had not and generally everything that was going on. We took a brief pit stop to take our picture with a HUGE Crusty Crustacean whom had seen some hard times. At that point in the day I felt like I could totally relate to this poor fella.
Kmac and I with Mr. Crustacean..missing some appendages clearly needed some love and attention.
Ashely and I giving Mr. Crustacean kisses! I had some serious Guy Fieri hair going on!
We were so close! Ashley alerted us that if we pushed through and ran the next 1.5 miles without walk segments we could potentially come in under 10 hours. Secretly, 10 hours was my goal/desire second to JUST FINISHING. We agreed to push through and run it in.
Amy( Race Director & my sister) with Ashley and I at the finish!
I was so excited to almost be finished. My accomplishment of ULTRA REDEMPTION was so close I could literally taste it. Where the hell is the finish line? I was running slower than ever and thought the finish would never been in sight. Kmac informed me we would take a right just ahead. The right hand turn finally came, I saw the FINISH LINE! My emotions immediately swelled, on the verge of hyperventilation, I declared I could not breath. Ashley assured me I could breath. It was at that point, I decided we were going to sprint it in! Ashley, whom all day, was trying to decide who was crazier me or my sister(Amy) yelled “YOU are crazier than your sister” and she sprinted with me across the finish line!
10:01:21! Redemption Achieved! Amy immediately hugged me after I crossed. I had no words only BIG, UGLY, SOBS, and TEARS! It was an ugly cry like no other but I did not care… I was finally a legit ULTRA MARATHONER! Amy asked if I needed anything and I simply replied ” Just hold me”. 🙂
My handmade finisher pottery and Mother Earth Brewery Beer!
The finish line was awesome with lots of food ( unfortunately I was not up for eating), cold beverages and live music. It was a beautiful day! I iced my horrific feet then decided to take a rest in the grass and wait for Jason and Garrett to finish.
Horrific blisters! Both pinky toes had weigh bearing blisters that popped miles 30-35. When they popped( not simultaneously) my balance was thrown off each time. It hurt like HELL but I ran through it. Ashley thought I had a cramp as I immediately had to grab her to keep from falling over.
Amy and I with Kirk Cameron! Amy stated she was hoping to talk smack to me as I ran this ultra in an attempt to get back to me for putting peanut butter on her fav Kirk Cameron poster when we were kids. Unfortunately for her, I trained too well. No smack talking opportunities. Thanks to Google, I found the poster imagine printed it out and surprised her by putting it on her bedroom door the night prior to the race. Many laughs! At one point during the race…she drove by holding the poster ( we could not see her face) and she said Kirk says keep it up! I almost fell over in laughter!
They did it…with 24 minutes to spare! Congrats Garrett and Jason!
Post race pic with a photo bomb by Jason’s little cutie! Bummed we could not not hang out to share some more laughs but totally enjoyed our short time with these two! Such a great part of the experience!
Never give up on what you want! Don’t let your failures derail you! Learn from your missed achievements and simply do better the next time! The satisfaction is priceless!
Coach Chennelle, Raleigh Cross Fit, for overseeing my training plan and weekly motivation. She helped me safely integrate Crossfit into my training plan and kept me accountable for my weekly training more than she will ever know!
Ashley, for covering the miles with me! You were a lifesaver I did not even know I needed!
KMac, for insisting on traveling with me to support and volunteer!
Amy for giving me the ultimatum to either volunteer or sign up for her race! Sisterly motivation at its best! You did an awesome job at your first Race Director gig! So proud of you.
RaceENC, Brandon, Heather, & Amy for hosting a spectacular race. The organization, amenities, communications, and course were top notch! Job well done. I cannot say enough good things about CedarIsland40 and your successful execution of it!
Last but not least my Husband(Dan), family & friends for never doubting my ability and encouraging me!
I have fallen in love with the ultra…just as Amy said I would. Dimity McDowell sums up my new found love and quest so nicely “Going big isn’t really about the distance. It’s about taking on something that isn’t necessarily a gimme” Well Said Dimity! Next quest(it makes my stomach hurt to type it)…100k (62miles) at Croatan24, November 8th, 2014!
Feet Prep Supplies for next Ultra – RunGoo, Fixing Your Feet Book, Injinji toe socks, Arbonne foot creme!
Last weekend I participated in my first running relay! What an adventure living in a van for 37hours with 5 fellow runners. The Blue Ridge Relay relay starts in Grayson Highlands State Park,VA (near the base of Mount Rogers- VA hightest peak) and ends 212 miles later in Asheville, NC! (the mileage varies year to year due to course adjustments)
I joined the 12 persons Designated Drinkers Team, an established relay team who have run the BRR year after year. Last year, The Legend of the Space Goat was formed. The history of the Space Goat is cloudy at best…the only thing we know for sure is the name morphed out of the description of two of the hardest running legs that are famously deemed “Mountain Goat Hard“. In 2012 we kept the legend alive with our “alter ego” The Space Goats. Like Superman, the Space Goats appear out of nowhere perform good deeds, BAAAA, and usually leave without a trace. Most never knew they encountered The Space Goats….while others only knew by the “Space Goat Tag” on their van.
Meet the Space Goats of Van 2
Here is my pictorial recap of an awesome running adventure
Sara (van 1) kicked off the relay for us at 10am Friday at Grayson Highlands State Park in VA. Sara also earned accolades for assisting fellow space goats with various aliments. Melinda’s GI stress and Dave’s two dog bite attack. Thanks Sara for keeping Melinda and Dave in the mix. (update…the wonderful BRR Directors were able to locate the dogs and confirm they were current on their rabies shots. No Rabies shots for Dave!)
Sara kick’in off the 1st leg for Designated Drinkers!
As Van 1 ran the first 6 legs of our relay we (Van 2) headed to exchange area 6 Bald Mountain Baptist Church, West Jefferson , NC. On the way TheSpace Goats were called to action when fellow runners of TEAM 621 Ninga were in need. The Ninga’s van was stuck in the culvert along a winding mountain dirt road. While our goat strength was not enough to free the van, luckily they were assisted by a very kind local resident ( ” people of the woods encounter 1″) who attempted to pull them out. Unfortunately, they had to go to plan C and call a tow truck. The Space Goats, transported Team 621 Ninga’s next two runners to the next exchange. Apparently, this was most helpful since Team 621 Ninga came in 9th out of 141 teams! Way to go Ninga’s.
SAVED! 2 runners from TEAM 621 Ninga- Columbia, SC being transported Space Goat style. I am sure they will never forget….
11:00am with one save under our belt and time to kill we took the opportunity to find some food. Our Male van mates ensured we never missed an eating opportunity, THANKS. We enjoyed some really yummy pizza in Jefferson, NC at Pizza Plus the home of .30 cent Pizza! Not only was the pizza good but we were thoroughly entertained by “People of the woods encounter 2” Tommy and Chelsea. They were the nicest, simplest people who were very excited to share the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with a bunch of running city slickers! Tommy talked our ears off. We found a fast friend in Tommy and a “moonshine” hook-up. While we passed on the moonshine, we were sure glad to have Tommy on our side.
John Loaf”in with Tommy & Chelsea
Pizza Plus, in true Space Goat fashion, offered a much needed electrical outlet, for our very own lactating BAD ASS MOTHER RUNNER Melissa “MAAA MAAA Goat”. Deamed Bad Ass for just signing up to live in a van, run while lactating, a sheer 7 months after giving birth to her second child. Simply Amazing! Did I mention she forgot her battery pack for her breast-pump and remained completely calm (hence the need for the electrical outlet). Luckily, a fellow space goat from the Ultra Team- Where the Hell is Van 2, continuing the Space Goat saves theme, just happened to have an extra ac/dc adapter so now she could pump while we rolled down the road. No pumping and dumping here! She was able to store the ‘liquid gold” in our cooler. Had Lance Armstrong been with us I am sure he might have partook (cheap shot…but I hear he ate breast milk ice cream as part of his performance enhancing rituals) Melissa was my 1st recruit to the Another Mother Run club!
Maaa Maaaa Goat happily models her breast pump!
When we finally arrived at exchange area 6, with hours to kill, we tagged a few vans,
got tagged, “doubled it down”, and played a mind expanding time killer game we learned from Laura “Most Talkative Goat” called F*#k, Save, Kill. (did I mention we were in a parking lot of a Baptist Church)
In deep thought…Laura introduces us to our “mind expanding” game
Laura claims its a well know bar game, but none of us had heard of it. It was very entertaining and we certainly entertained the teams around us.
Finally it was time for Van 2 to Run! Mark Cox, our amazing Team Captain, ran it in
Mark Cox..passing the band to Van 2
and passed along the BRR arm band to Van 2 runner # 7 Melissa “Maaaa Maaaa Goat”.
The early afternoon brought temperatures in the 80’s along with the famous humidity of NC. While temps in the 80’s were not ideal we were fortunate it was not as hot as it had been the week prior with temps in the 90’s. The Space Goats were prepared with lots of cold water, gatoraide, Nuun tablets, Rusty’s stash, and ice cold disposable towels. In true Space Goat fashion we shared our water and towels with fellow runners struggling along the course. All were appreciative and we are confident we got one struggling girl, in tears, safely to the next exchange.
“MAAA MAA Goat” rocked her run!
I am pretty sure I looked like MAAA MAAAA goat 7 months after I gave birth (My Space Goat Dream)
Melissa despite the heat had a great run and passed off the BRR band to runner #8 Laura “Most Talkative Goat”. Laura in an Olympic frame of mind smoked her run and blamed her faster than planned pace on “getting caught up in the Gold or Silver moment”
Laura our Talking and Caring Space Goat!
Humble “Quiet Killer Goat” kicked major ass on the road!
Next up was runner #9! Melinda “Quiet Killer Goat” survived 37 hours with her VERY obnoxious and loud van mates, fought off stomach issues, and quietly slayed all of her runs. One of which was Mountain Goat Hard! She was our secret weapon…quiet yet deadly. She even claimed a kill (no animals were harmed) on her last leg and adorned a feather as her prize! Melinda, Bad Ass Mother Runner, and my second recruit to the Another Mother Runner Club!
“Quiet Killer Goats” prize from her run
Testosterone time, as runner #10 John “Life Saving Goat” finally hit the street. We are so proud of our fellow Space Goat John who assisted a fellow runner who collapsed from heat related issues a mile from the next exchange. John quickly came to his aid, flagged down passerby for help ( who happened to have ice in their car), iced his wrist, neck and elevated his feet. John stayed with the unresponsive runner until medical assistance arrived. John you are amazing! We are so proud of you! “Space Goats Save Lives”
Eagle Scout and “Life Saving Space Goat”
Patiently waiting at exchange 11, we got word from a fellow runner that John was delayed due to assisting a runner. Next up was Runner #11 (me) Jenn “2nd Most Talkative Goat”.
6.2 miles, Hard, but Beautiful!
I was setting off for the first official leg on the beautiful, historic Blue Ridge Parkway. Fortunately for me, temperatures dropped rapidly and cooled off nicely….I was set up for an awesome run!
Holy Hills& Mountains, I did it! with Laura and Melinda upon my finish
Runner #11, Rusty “Beer Goat” , whose favorite carbs come from a can, was fired up and donned in his run kilt ready for action! Not only do Space Goats save lives but we ” never sacrifice fashion”
“Beer Goat” always planning his liquid carb loading “I don’t run for another 7-8 hours”
Rusty finished strong and transitioned us into and extended break where we gassed up the van and grabbed some FOOD. Next on the agenda was SLEEP! I am unsure if anyone slept but we did get 2 hours of REST at Newland, NC Post Office exchange. 1:00 am arrived faster than we desired but the Space Goats were ready for our night runs!
Jenn and Melissa!
John and Laura with her famous $6 headlamp. We are unsure if we could really call it a headlamp.
2:00am ish illuminated Space Goats Rusty and Melinda
Our night runs were peaceful and quiet. Continuing the supportive nature of being a Space Goat we voluntarily accompanied our night runners so nobody had to run alone. “MAA MAA goat” ran 3 accompanying night legs displaying true Space Goat Spirt and badassness (ok it is not a word but you get it). Our goat calls “BAAAAAAAAA” were most helpful at night to identify our runners approaching exchange zones. Near dawn John “Life Saving Goat” had a not so pleasant “people of the woods encounter 3”. This poor resident was not very happy with the noise the relay participants that had kept her up during the night. John, a gracious southern gentleman, apologized on behalf of the participants of the Blue Ridge Relay. Courteous Space Goats!
7:00am ish- Night legs done we headed to the final team exhange zone at a Baptist
Church in Barnardsville, NC. These church members rolled out the red carpet and welcomed runners with a hot pancake breakfast, real bathrooms, tent for sleeping, or better yet a padded church pew for sleeping. These people were simply amazing and hospitable! THANK YOU! We fueled up, and got some rest. Some got sleep, I got 2 hrs of REST. Most Space Goats chose the padded church pew, one lone goat, skipped the food and went straight to the tent for sleep. She had the tent all to herself. Clearly, the quietest she had been in 24 hrs.
Laura “Most Talkative Goat” in her private sleeping quarters
Space Goats, Rested, fueled, ready to run it home to Asheville!
Saturday morning brought drizzle, sporadic down pours, and cooler temps. Awesome running weather. Van 1, had endured much excitement during the night assisting the Ultra Team- Where the Hell is Van 2? with locked keys in their van, and Dave’s dog attack. Two dogs attacked and bite Dave. Fueled with Space Goat awesomeness…..he outran them. Way to go Dave! Feeling giddy, our van mates pranked incoming runner and Team Captain, Mark Cox, by lifting the hood of the van faking a breakdown. If only I had captured, Marks expression as he ran by. 🙂
Van 2 was off, as Melissa ran the hardest leg of all a Mountain Goat hard 6.5 mile climb! Delirious The Space Goats cheered and entertained all runners on the mountain goat leg. We were thrilled to have fellow Ultra Team runner Hazel to cheer! Things got a little crazy as we entertained! We are sure that we made a difference for all the runners out there. We certainly had fun doing it. Scenes from Mountain Goat leg….
Beautiful running man!
Sleep deprivation causes odd behavior or was this a modeling post for Athleta Sportswear
The finish of Mountain Goat
Melissa “MAA MAA Goat” slayed her run and passed 4 runners! Amazing! Way to go to MAA MAAA! Next we sent Laura “Most Talkative Goat” off on her dream run…9 miles down hill where she maintained a 7:30 pace! Melinda “Quite Killer Goat” ran strong on the 2nd Mountain Goat leg and finished strong with a super huge smile of accomplishment and a prize!
Thrilled to be DONE!
John was off and endured torrential rain and cold temps. Luckily it was his shortest run of the relay and he was able to burn it out!
I was off for my last leg once again on the Blue Ridge Parkway, only 4.2 miles but the first 2 were all uphill! I endured, with the finsh line on my mind and burned it out and passed the BRR band to Rusty for the 6.6 mile Glory leg!
We quickly made out way to the finish line to greet Rusty! Rusty brought us in strong in the pouring rain and cold! Designated Drinkers a.k.a Space Goats finished Saturday 5:56pm with the official time of 31hours and 56 minutes! Average pace per mile 9:05, 95th of 141 teams!
Running in the Glory Leg with Rusty! Where are our fellow Designated Drinkers Team mates…..Mellow Mushroom bar?
While we did not capture an official title, we are ALL WINNERS for SURVIVING!
Space Goats (minus Melinda) at the finish. Poor Melinda was seeking sanity was searching for her family!
Our Men and family welcomed us at the Finish!
My 1st Relay experience was over the top! As my 9 year old would say “Epic”. I had a blast! My team was awesome and most importantly my van mates made the experience memorable and highly entertaining! I gained 4 new nutty running friends! ( I knew Laura and Rusty prior to our adventure)
While the hours were long, the miles hard, the comradery shared among fellow runners was priceless! Thanks to all for an amazing relay!
The Asheville night life was not spared from the Legend of the Space Goat. Great job MAA MAA!
Now as Tommy would say……time for some much deserved “loaf’in” BAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
My runs were dedicated to a dear friend Graham Edward Beacham, whom was called home after a tragic car accident Wednesday prior to the relay. An avid outdoors man, I know Graham would appreciate the beautiful scenery and quiet of the mountains just as I did. I cannot think of a better way to reflect and pay respects. I know I made him proud! Love and miss you dear friend!
So here is goes….join in the fun and share your running response! Tag another running blogger in your post:) This is much funner than forward your favorite recipe and you will receive 10 etc.
1. Best run ever: My first 26.2. It has nothing to do with my finishing time and all to do with how much I enjoyed the run. I enjoyed every mile, some more than others. Around mile 20 I told myself ” This is fun, I cannot wait to do another.” Its a good thing it was a positive experience since I had signed up for my second marathon prior to completing my first. Adding to the awesomeness, my immediate family was there to support my efforts! It was amazing! OBX,(Outer banks Marathon, NC)
2. Three words that describe my running: calming, freeing, NEEDED
3. My go-to running outfit is: Any Athleta run skirt with Under Armour compression shorts ( extra chub rub protection) Any shirt will do…my drawers are overflowing with race tech tees. I have to have my Enell sports jacket..I mean bra a.k.a The Terminator. Its not pretty but it contains “the girls.”
4. Quirky habit while running: I will not under any circumstances press stop on my Garmin unless I am at the target number I set out to run. i.e. 10 mile run and I am back to my car at 9.88 miles……guess what…….laps around the parking lot until the garmin registers 10:00 miles.
5. Morning, midday, evening: Always the morning!
6. I won’t run outside when it’s: I live in NC where it is really hot and humid…so 78-80 degrees before the sun is up sends me to the dreadmill everytime.
7. Worst injury—and how I got over it: IT Band issues. ICE, ICE, Baby! Foam roller.
8. I felt most like a badass mother runner when: Oh this is easy! My Accidental Barefoot debut! It earned me a feature on Another Mother Runner.com…What would a mother runner do.
10. Potential running goal for 2013: Slow down the quantity. 5 marathons in 2012…INSANITY! Registered for Big Sur and cannot wait.
Join in the fun! Respond via your blog and tag a fellow blogger. Kristen, Jill, Robin, Erin! I met these awesome ladies face to face in January at the WDW Marathon after we shared many tweets about the upcoming weekend. Also check out fellow Run Disney lover Melinda.
This ultra, with 14 local runners, organized by the local run club was an effort to enjoy a long distance run in their own back yard. Probably better described as in their “back forty” given the fact their route was a rural, flat, route through eastern North Carolina farm land.
Amy and Ashley…..Smiling and mile 15
They did it simply for their love or running. My hat is off to all of them! I honestly could not get excited about running 42 flat, asphalt miles, in August with NC heat and humidity. If that is not challenging enough, they started at 5pm Saturday and ran into the early Sunday hours. Not only was it hot but it was dark! Impressive! Way to go K-town runners!
Amy, is my inspiration! I have her to thank for inspiring me to push beyond my two mile treadmill runs. She almost killed me on our first summer run in 2008. A very HOT, flat, asphalt run with no water or distance plans (classic newbie mistakes). Neither of us know how far we ran that day we just know we did it! She pushed me through to the finish! That was the start!
We planed to train for our first half marathon February 2009! Living 1.5 hours apart, we shared our training via phone and facebook! 1/2 Marathon day arrived and unfortunately Amy was sidelined with an injury. Not letting injury get her down, Amy rallied the family to support me on race day! Amy was on every corner with one of her crazy signs. She organized the family and had them strategically placed along the course. It was wonderful and a memory I will cherish forever!
Family Supporting my 1st 13.1!
That November, Amy and my kids ran me across the finish of my my first Marathon(OBX) 2009.
Earlier that day Amy concurred the OBX half marathon! Once again she rallied the family to travel to support our efforts. (Those who know her will agree….when Amy speaks…People Listen)
Amy continued to support and encourage me as I finished another two marathons. Finally, we planned to run the WDW Marathon, her first, January 2011. Keeping with tradition, it was to be a family affair, however this time we would be joined by additional family members (sister Laury, Mom, and brother-in-laws Lee and Jon). They were tired of the sidelines and wanted part of the action.
Ready for Disney Marathon Weekend
Unfortunately, I was unable to make the marathon due to a HORRIBLE upper respiratory infection. I was so bummed not to cross the finish line with Amy in her first marathon. I was forced to track her via internet from home. I could hardly contain my excitement for her! I was so proud of her and her accomplishment!
Fresh off her marathon high, we planned to run the Tobacco Road Marathon in March. FAIL! She got super sick and was unable to run! Was this some type of omen? To date, we have yet to run a race together.
Amy & daughter Chole WDW Marathon Finisher!
Amy’s Ultra finish is a great reminder that you can accomplish anything you put your passion and energy into! I am excited to join Amy in her “UltraGreatness” as I tackle my first 40 miler in December (Pine Mountain 40) Perhaps, our race calendars will collide and she will join me ( hint..hint) 🙂
Although our race calendars have taken us on different paths and distances, one thing remains the same… I can always count on Amy to raise the bar and push me beyond my limits! I am forever grateful for your support. Without your push, I would have never discovered my love and passion for running. Thank You AMY!
My daily inspiration…..given to me by Amy!
“Its that bond for female runners that makes me want to be a better runner- to push me a little harder” ~ unknown
Lets re-enact this photo with Pine Mountain, GA in the background!
I cannot think of a better way to kick off an awesome weekend than attending a Another Mother Runner Mother House Party! In case you did not know I am a HUGE fan of the wonderfully talented, insightful, witty, and vertically blessed ladies behind the AnotherMotherRunner.com community -Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell. I potentially could be considered a “stalker” but I much prefer to refer to myself as a “Super Fan”.
I came to adore these ladies after picking up their first book Run Like a Mother How to Get Moving and Not lose Your Family, job, or Sanity. Naturally, that title spoke to this full time working mother of two. I loved the book so much, I read it very slowly in bits and pieces cause I did not want it to end. I would laugh myself silly on a nightly basis, while at the same time gain tremendous insight into my new found passion of running.
I was honored and star struck to meet Sarah and Dimity at the Country Music Marathon- Nashville, TN in May 2011. (Rebecca, Dimity is holding your signed book!). They were the highlight of my trip since the Nashville Marathon remains as my #1 personal worst finish ( so bad I thought my marathoning days were over) Back to the book….. I finally finished it, and was thrilled to continued my Run Like a Mother (RLAM) daily fix on the Run Like a Mother, facebook community, AnotherMotherRunner.com and twitter. Take it from a true “Super Fan” if you are not following you are missing out! No kids needed you just need to have ovulated at some point in your life. These ladies cover topics you are sure not to find in-between the covers of any running magazine. 🙂
How is it possible these BRF’s have un-revealed skeletons 🙂
So…..Friday night I loaded up the Honda Odyssey Mini Van, with some gal pals, and we headed to Chapel Hill for the House Party! My gosh we laughed all the way there and back. The perplexing thing about our evening is how on earth have I logged hundreds upon hundreds of miles with two of these ladies, yet only that night were some of their deepest , darkest secrets revealed. How can this happen? Running partners know EVERYTHING! Let me tell you……they are good ones too! We had a great time! I “Super Fan” was star struck by meeting Sarah and Dimity again. The picture is really bad, I swear it looks like I have hives.
Jill (the newest addition to the Another Mother Runner club) , who jokes all my running will kill me one day, finally agreed to joined me on one of my endorphin journeys. She signed up for her first triathlon and major event. I was soooooooo excited. Finally, I got her talked into to doing something with me! Saturday night, I emailed Jill her detailed packing list and instructions to pack her bag, put her bike in the car, lay out her clothes, go to bed, and be at my house at 5:30am. She follows and takes instructions well (still working on my kids)
Sunday…arrived way too early with a 4:30am wake up! Jill and I headed up to North Raleigh for the Rambling Rose Women’s Triathlon. The day was finally here and we were both ready……………or so I thought. We arrived with plenty of time to spare. Bikes racked, bodies marked, we were ready! The outdoor swim was chilly. I was thrilled to shave some major time off my March swim. The 10 mile bike was hilly, but really very beautiful through a residential neighborhood. I was thrilled to complete the ride without any major bike malfunctions. (2010- I rode in on the swag wag when my headset came loose…. and as a newbie had no tools). I saw Jill in transition and gave her my hoot and hollering support while I quickly attempted to transition from my bike shoes to my running shoes……….
Failed attempt! Two rights and no left. Duh! Nice!
Well, there was only one thing to do since DNF in not in my vocabulary ………..Barefoot! Off I took, with my tender pedicured skin on the pavement. Thanks! Mr. red shirt volunteer who yelled “less heel, get on the balls of your feet.” Much appreciated, advice for this virgin Bare-footer. I heard a range of comments from “Where are your shoes?” “Look Mom that lady does not have on shoes.” “Go Barefoot Lady!” to “Barefoot…….NICE!”. I felt like some renegade showboating my barefoot skills at a beginner friendly event. SO NOT the case! Who cares what anyone thinks? Not me! I embraced my situation and PROUDLY funneled my inner Bad-Ass and enjoyed every minute and mile of my barefoot debut. I proved there is a little Kenyon in this white girl from eastern North Carolina. Interesting fact- I ran faster barefoot than I did in my tri in March.
As promised,I jumped back in the race and ran the last mile with Jill!
I am beyond proud of my buddy Jill for:
#1-signing up after my subliminal hints
#2- enduring my training and crazed enthusiasm
She lived….(despite her prior advice to me) to tell the world she is a Triathlete! Yea Jill! Oh and a shout out to Jennifer, Mary, and Sarah for their amazing finishes!
For me personally, I am proud,of overcoming a race day obstacle and making the best of it. Luckily, for me the barefoot thing worked and was not too uncomfortable. I only it knew that because I tried!
Race day obstacles seems to be a 2012 pattern .
I left more than my mini mouse dots on the pavement
In January, at Walt Disney World Goofy’s Race (half marathon & full marathon in the same weekend) I busted my a$% on a street reflector in mile 11 of the half marathon with 2.1 miles to go…not to mention the 26.2 I had in less than 24 hours. I knocked myself silly, but was swiftly picked up by some faceless knight and shining armor behind me. I can still hear the ” awwww’s” and “oh craps” of my fellow runners as they watched me drop, skid, and roll on the concrete.(BRF Laura applauded me on how quickly I put my mini mouse ears back on)
Luckily, it was just road rash and not whiplash or knocked out teeth. After a little clean up, I endured and finished both races with battle wounds! ( Laura will tell you…as gross and painful as they were.. I was sickly proud of them)
So what does this pattern of race day mishaps mean for the remainder of my 2012 events? I am not sure ….Just bring it! I will tackle it! One event at a time!
I have come to know, my drive and motivation comes from the accomplishment of pushing through mental and physical barriers. It’s these challenges and accomplishments that keep me logging the miles!
Here’s to all the Mother Runners….Funnel your inner Bad-Ass…you just never know what you might accomplish!
a.k.a Bad Ass Mother Runner
Another Mother Runner Crew! Sarah, Jennifer, Jill, Dimity
All relaxed pre-race no idea I have two RIGHT running shoes
Now who is the crazy Mother Runner? Love this shot!