I Can Finally Call Myself a Trail Runner #RagnarTrailRVA Recap

Monday: 7m interval (12 x 200s average pace 5:30)
Tuesday: Crossfit, 8.5m easy 7:47/pace
Wednesday: 6m easy 8:47/pace

If you don’t know what a Ragnar is, take a look at my blog or head over to their website and check it out. Basically it’s a 24ish hour relay running race. The one and only Ragnar Relay i completed was a point to point course starting in Cumberland, MD and finishing in DC last September. The Ragnar Trail events are different because you camp in one location and teammates go out one at a time and cover the same trail loops.

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Our Trail Ragnar was at Pocahontas State Park in Richmond, VA. The first of my three legs started at 10:00pm Friday night. For someone who isn’t an avid trail runner, who never runs at night, I was both nervous and excited. I had to survive the first leg to make it through the weekend. Don’t fall and break a bone or get bruised up or roll an ankle. With that in the back of my mind we set up our campsite and got a chance to look around at the merch tents, food trucks, samples of GU and sunscreen. It was so much fun (if you’re a runner!)


Team #85 Pace and Love (4 of these folks did Ragnar DC with me last Sept) Jeremy, Austin, Tommy, Reggie, Steve, me and Stacey

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The trail Ragnar series is cool because you can relax, rest and use a bathroom at the campsite. During the point-to-point course there’s a lot of waiting around, port-o-potties, smelly vans and no sleep happening. The camping added a very fun and relaxing element to the race.


photo cred: Stacey Hooker, one of our teammates

Do you guys see the signs for S’mores and coffee? We definitely ate smores, but I brought my own cold brew coffee. Take that as a professional tip the next time you camp: if the weather is 90+ humidity, bring cold brew in the cooler.

Time flew, and our first runner took off around 3:30pm Friday. I had so much down time and was antsy, but with walking around, a power nap and eating dinner, the sun went down and I headed to the finish line to wait at the exchange tent.


Finish chute & exchange tent in daylight (photo: Stacey H.)

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camp at night

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Reggie & Austin

When it was finally time to start, I kept repeating to myself to take my time, don’t do anything stupid on the first leg and to run with quick feet. I forgot how running at night heightens the senses. I felt lit up for those 5ish miles. There was so much to pay attention to on trails, let alone in the dark with only a headlamp giving way to several feet in front of you. Rocks, roots, ups, downs, wooden bridges, twisting and turning paths, trying not to miss the appropriate colored trail signage, it all was happening at once and it was entirely exhilarating. I felt alive, I felt renewed, I felt like the only thing that mattered was the run I was in, the next place my foot was landing and the breath I was taking.

You can’t put a price on that. That kind of running is everything.


tiki torches lit up the chute (photo: Stacey H.)

After my leg I stretched out in the REI area, they had foam rollers and rolling sticks for runners to use. Then i went back to camp to rehydrate, eat, sleep and get ready to do it all over again.

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“Runner” capris – 73 Threads! 


Our captain: Stacey @runtobefree10


Stacey & I are on Team Nuun, so you know we #stayhydrated right.

Saturday kinda flew by. I ran my 2nd leg around 6am and my 3rd at 2pm. I was happy with my trail running. I kept a 9:30/pace on all legs despite difficulty level, which made me happy the effort was there for the consecutive runs.

I had a funny moment happen on the 2nd leg when I was passing another female runner and saying “on your left” I caught a glimpse of her face and this happened:

Me: I know you but I don’t know your name, what’s your instagram handle?
Her: Gratitude and Grit! (@gratitude_grit)
Me: Yes! I follow you, i knew you looked familiar, i’m @Shesgoingforspeed !
G&G: Oh yeah!! I follow you too! Have a great run!
*Still don’t know real names haha

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Did i mention this was a hot hot hot race? Even though I ran at night, it was so hot and humid i poured buckets of sweat. Like I said, Nuun came in handy. The 3rd leg was about surviving the heat, I walked uphill as I needed but finished strong to handoff to our last runner, Steve. Once I was done, I rejoined our people and waited for him to finish so we could get medals.


Mike, Austin, Reggie, Stacey, Stacey (yes we had 2) and Jeremy


Team Pace & Love finish photo



The amazing medal multi-tool!


And last but not least, I jumped in a car and headed to St. Mary’s, MD to run a half the next morning. Like I said, this weekend was about endurance survival, not a PR. And to salute that idea I had to wear this shirt all morning:

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If I thought the shady, breezy trails were hot and humid, I didn’t know what was coming on the black asphalt with the sun beating down on me. Another hot run done and lots of weekend miles. Not much to say about the historic St. Mary’s 1/2 other than I’m happy my calves warmed up (at mile 8) and i’m glad my head is in the right place for distance training. One foot in front of the other was the challenge for this 2+ hour run. You read that right. 2:10:53 was how long my beaten up legs took to cross the finish line. But I did it, i’m proud of doing 28.6 miles in 36 hours (especially the trail miles) and ready to start picking more races to …well… race! Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 7.51.54 AM

Did I mention I’m doing the DC Ragnar again this September? hehehehe. I love it!

Last Week

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: legs- front squats 3 x 5 @ 135#, 4m run 9:50/pace
Wednesday: 6m easy 9:45/pace
Thursday: 1 hour Corepower Yoga, 5m run 8:22/pace, Crossfit
Friday: 7m easy 8:50/pace
Saturday: 1 hour upper body (push presses + SA DB Snatches + weighted planks + TRX)
Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 22 

Do you ever double up races in the same weekend?

Who has a fall half or full marathon on the horizon? Help me pick one!


Happy Trails <3

Monday: 8m easy 8:57/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 5m easy 9:00/pace

Wednesday: 5 rounds of 25cal row, hang snatches 3 @ 65#, handstand against wall + 5m easy run 8:47/pace after workout.

Thursday: Crossfit

My last post was an ode to coffee, and i didn’t realize until after I posted that I didn’t even mention how coffee is a big part of my pre-race rituals! What kind of terrible running blog is this?! I’ll have to do a “part 2” regarding all the fitness/nutritional benefits! Now we can just talk about another love of mine…

Elise. Seriously, if you have a moment, follow Elise on Instagram, she’s a photographer, a runner and an amazing cupcake baker. Since i’m in the cupcake mecca of DC you know I know a good cupcake. Especially those with homemade fresh marshmallows on top…

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I’m obsessed with marshmallows so of course she sends me fresh homemade ones through the mail…File_000 (542)

and I of course the first thing I do is this..

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I call this masterpiece Fluffernutter Bites. And they were glorious. Elise forever ruined Kraft marshmallows for me, i simply cannot go back after having these. I’m having way too much much fun trying them with everything. Speaking of Whey too much #slapsknee #dadhumor

1 scoop vanilla bean A Better Whey Protein, 1 large marshmallow, 1 banana, 1 cup almond milk, cinnamon & ice. This marshmallowy goodness was a staple last week.

File_000 (549) I’ve put the marshmallows in coffee, hot chocolate, ate them by themselves and last but not least a smores’. User tip: spread peanut butter on the graham cracker for an even better experience. You’re. Freaking. Welcome.

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Okay, so if that doesn’t make you hungry or marshmallows aren’t your thing, I went to happy hour at Society (downtown Silver Spring) with my Crossfit girls, Andrea & Yomery. We had some tasty sliders, sweet potato fries and great conversation. And of course margaritas. 😉 What can i say, it’s rooftop season. Time for long sweaty runs and post recovery burgers and beer!

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And last but not least, but kinda last (minute that is) I jumped on a Ragnar Trail team for this weekend in Richmond, VA! Super stoked that i have a running event on the calendar and they’re providing SMORES!

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Last Week

Monday: 6m easy 8:53/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 5m 9:10/pace

Wednesday: 4m easy 9:40/pace

Thursday: 13.4m easy 8:40/pace

Friday: 5m easy 9:00/pace, 5 rounds of 6 x 135# back squat, SA DB snatches 30#, 8 pushups

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 1hr upper body

Total Miles: 33.4

Anyone running VA Ragnar this weekend?

Have you had homemade marshmallows?