Thursday, April 17, 2014

Vacation Bound!

I know you're still hanging on for part 3 of Ragnar... I promise, it's coming. But for now... it's vacation time!

 My grandparents, uncle, parents, sister and I are all meeting up in Long Beach at the port to hop on the fabulous Carnival Imagination for a weekend ride down to Ensenada and back.

We depart this evening, are at sea all day tomorrow, Ensenada on Saturday, and back in Long Beach on Easter morning. I'm super excited - and a little nervous. I love my family and all, but you know when too much is too much! This is the first vacation (that I can recall) that all 7 of us will be going on together. Thankfully, cruise ships have enough entertainment for everyone and we can do our own thing when we please... and come back together when we please, too!

While in Ensenada, I think we're going to check out this:
It's called La Bufadora, or the blowhole. Because of the rocks and the way the water has formed sort of canyons and holes, it's a natural blowhole when the waves come up. I'm kind of stupidly excited about this! But there's also some wineries to check out so maybe I can convince some family to do that too... :)

Have a lovely, lovely weekend, and I promise part 3 is coming soon!

Have you ever been on a cruise? Where to?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ragnar So Cal: Part 2

Ragnar So Cal
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

As runner 1, I was excited to kick off the race for our team. While it was also a little nerve-wracking being that the race was a little behind schedule, but whatcha gonna do? There were a lot more teams than I was expecting that had the crack-of-dawn start time like we did, so I was excited that I also wouldn't be mostly alone. Also luckily was that I knew exactly where we were running on this 6-mile leg 1. Bring it on.

I chugged out of the gate, way too fast naturally (oh, hey .25 mile marker at a 7:55 pace! Whoops!) and finally settled in and slowed down about a mile in (mile 1: 8:28), and then finally found a groove at the mid-point. I befriended another runner, part of team Group Therapy (don't you love that?) and ran with her for almost two full miles before I needed to stop. 

The last bit of the leg went by super fast and before I knew it, I was done! Leg 1, check! Just one minute under projected (including the stop!), and 4 kills to get this Ragnar started! 

And then I got to chill for a bit and just cheer and yell and cowbell my heart out. Unlike DC, which was mostly countryside, the cool part about So Cal is that because we're along major roadways and streets the whole way, there are virtually always runners to cheer for. Love. 
Exchange after exchange passed and we were finally on our way to the first major exchange at the Great Orange Park in Irvine. Road construction and being near two freeway onramps didn't make this exchange the easiest to get in or out of, which made a lot of teams really irrate. We were a little hangry at this point, so beelined to the nearest Whole Foods and got ourselves some fantastic grub for lunch. Necessary, at that point, as it was about 2 in the afternoon by the time we got to Whole Foods and you'd think we'd been starved for days at that point. 

After WF deliciousness, we headed down to Doheny State Beach, the next major exchange, so we could nap, stretch, and hang out for a bit... and do other things... 

Because Ragnar tattoos are
vital, didn't you know? (Kim and Trista)
I have no idea what time we ended up at Doheny (as I was napping most of the way down there in prep for my night leg), but we had a few solid hours to kill. Time for beach playing, more napping, hanging out in the park. Seriously, Doheny has to be one of the prettiest exchanges ever. Oh right, I live here now!
We could only be so lucky. I got to spend some time stretching, hanging out with my co-worker Tom and his wife who got roped onto a team not too long ago. What a wonderful afternoon!

And then the nerves set in. I don't do night legs well - where some people get totally amped up about them (like Heather), they terrify me. Overactive imagination, you might say, but also that I'm terrified of tripping, falling, busting my knee and being hurt... stuck in the middle of nowhere. But I digress. My 11.9 mile leg was the longest leg of all of this course, but knowing that it was late in the evening (rather than 2 am), I was as prepped as I could be for it. We hung out at the exchange point for awhile waiting for Kase, and before I knew it, there she was!... go time!

Nighttime selfie. Duh.
My leg was also unsupported - which I think is the only part that made me really nervous. They said there was a water stop out on the course (turned out to be 3!), so I didn't take along anything to drink, just Shot Blox to get me through the long run. The course itself ran me down through downtown San Clemente, a super adorable beach city with some really cute looking areas (note to self: go back during daylight and check it out). I also then ran through some neighborhoods, ended up with at least a partial contact high, and down some residential roads that had literally zero lighting - all I could see through were the swinging blinky taillights in front of me and headlamps when I turned around occasionally. 

So that part kind of sucked, but I trucked on. I walked a lot during this leg, and wasn't happy with how I forged on, but made the most of it. The other super crappy part of this leg was the last two miles or so, coming into San Onofre State Beach. The road we were running on was a side road, and while we were on the shoulder, the shoulder was all of one foot wide at some points. Kind of terrifying, even though I knew cars could see me. It was also along here that I saw a ghost bike on display, and though I'm by no means tied to the cycling community, I stopped there for a minute as it really touched me. I've seen a few of them, but have never stopped to think about it - and here, it just made sense. My heart hurt for whoever that poor soul was. 
Not awesome. But done and done.
And then... it was finally over. All 11.9 unsupported miles - which, might I add, that at the last water stop (mile 9 or so), there were a ton of vans pulled over right at the water stop! Like it was no big deal! Apparently if you stopped on this leg, it was supposed to be an automatic disqualification, but that clearly was not an issue in the end. Womp.

Got my pint glass, miles done. And then the cluster of an exchange. The next exchange was just three miles down the road -- apparently the same road. So the maps gave you the same directions, to the same exit off the 5 freeway, but didn't tell you that the 3 miles were down the same parking lot road. While I was texting Ragnar central control, we were high-tailing it down the 5, trying to find where the eff we were supposed to be going. We were supposed to have received a mass text from Ragnar - which never happened. Luckily, this was the exchange where we picked up our runner, drove through Camp Pendleton, and then dropped the next runner, so the few extra minutes came off our "drive time." Whew!

After all that chaos, it was finally sleep time. I was exhausted - mostly adrenaline, mostly sheer exhaustion from the longest run I'd been on since Phoenix. Oops? Somewhere around 2:30 am, I passed out for good. Aaaaah, sleep.

What was your experience at Exchange 13/14? A total cluster like ours?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ragnar So Cal: Part 1

Ragnar So Cal
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

It's a little unreal to think that exactly one week ago, we were already four hours into our Ragnar So Cal adventure. We had an ungodly 5:15 am (which really turned into 5:30 am) start time, and a 3 am alarm clock to go with that. One week has gone by way too fast -- it may or may not help that I just unpacked the rest of my stuff last night (have no fear, laundry went in on Monday night). But I digress.

Last Wednesday/Thursday were a blur. Wednesday night, HP flew into LAX, so I got to pick her up and then I went back to work for a meeting with student government. On Thursday, inbetween her needing to get some work done, we grocery shopped, cut tulle, made our tutus, I ran some last errands to make sure things were set for the weekend, made another tutu, went to Girls on the Run practice, got dinner supplies, picked up Trista, picked up the vans, picked up Bryana, and then headed home.

Ragnarians assemble! HP, Trista, and me.
I was so excited to meet all my teammates - for the most part, women who I've only communicated with via Facebook, sometimes text, but didn't actually know who they were. Here's our rundown:

So needless to say, the anticipation of bringing everyone together (and fitting all 12 of us in my apartment) was both nerve-wracking and so freaking exciting! I couldn't wait to see how everyone came together, and all willing, we'd click and Van 1 would be a happy unit and Van 2 would be a happy unit and we'd all be in a happy place for the weekend. Let's be real, it can really try your patience with people (whether you know them or not) by being stuffed into a van with them for 36+ hours, amiright?

Thursday night was a huge shuffle of last tutu making, dinner for those of us that hadn't eaten, chatting, gabbing, and of course... van decorating! The fun stuff has begun - Adventures in Runderland is upon us and we are ready to rollllll...

And then... cue bed. We all pretty much passed out shortly thereafter, after getting the vans beautified and food supplies loaded, we all crashed hard for a few (re: four?) hours' sleep.Van 1 was departing at 3:30 am to get to the start line by 4:15 am for our scheduled 5:15 am start. We got there at 4:15, and thankfully got there as early as we did, as the start was a sort of cluster. SO many teams were starting that early, so Ragnar seemed a little behind in getting everything sorted, organized, and ready for team pick up.

I was runner #1 - nerves and excitement abound, as I got to kick off this whole thing! And in the dark, no less. Per our pace calculator, all three of my runs were scheduled during nighttime hours, so I'd never run without a vest. Lame. (Foreshadowing: I got one run without one). Also luckily, I knew everything about where my first leg was, as it was on the beach path of the last 5-6 miles of Surf City. Win.

And just like that... 5:15 passed us. They didn't start the 5 am teams until 5:15, so luckily we were ready to go, team photo and all, for the 5:30 am start.

Team Adventures in Runderland.
And then we were off! San Diego or bust...

Did your team start on time? Do you think it affected you?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ragnar So Cal: It's Here!


I can’t believe that after six long months of trying to put together a team, having so much interest, people finally committing, and losing one runner and finding another, over details and team names and colors and decorations… Ragnar So Cal is upon us!

 Team shenanigans begin tonight when Heather finds her way down to LA. All the rest come in at various points. I'm really excited to pull this team together and see and MEET everyone for the first time! 

Curious how we all came together? Check it:

  • Me - I mean, duh.
  • Heather - also a duh, if you pay attention to this blog at all (Bay Area)
  • Kasey - sorority sister (Phoenix)
  • Trista - sorority sister (Phoenix)
  • Katie - sorority sister (Los Angeles)
  • Beth - we found via the Facebook event page! (Bakersfield)
  • Jackie - friend of Kasey's (Phoenix)
  • Vanessa - Facebook event page (San Diego)
  • Bryana - Facebook event page (Las Vegas)
  • Lindsey - Kasey's friend (Phoenix)
  • Kim - student affairs runners Facebook group (Los Angeles)
  • Jill - Kim's colleague (Los Angeles)
So we literally have quite the assortment, but via Facebook, email, text communication, we have an amazing team put together and I could not be more excited! Sure, sometimes it's fun to know everyone you're doing such shenanigans with (especially in close-knit van quarters for 36 hours), but I'm genuinely excited to pull together people from all kinds of places.

Packing is in full-force, but thankfully I have a few days to get that together still! As captain-ish, and sharing duties with HP but my apartment is sort of serving as headquarters, so there's not only MY stuff everywhere, but the starting of our team food supply, decorations, other supplies and van necessities. The dog's bed is now my supply storage center... sorry pup.

 We're Team #470, Adventures in Runderland - feel free to follow us on Instagram/Twitter at #RagnarRunderland. And otherwise, we hope to see you out somewhere between HB and SD!

Will I see you out at Ragnar So Cal?!