Ragnar Relay Adirondacks Recap #1

IMG_1248Running on the east coast in the fall is incredible. It actually feels like fall: crisp, cold, colorful. Ragnar Relay Adirondacks was an amazing experience and I had a blast working as an ambassador for Ragnar the months prior to the race. I’m so grateful to my contacts with Ragnar, Leslie and Amy (whom I got to meet!).
IMG_1196We had some bumps in the road with people dropping out, but luckily found replacements. We still only had 11 runners, but most of us were eager to pick up legs, so it worked out.

We had a team dinner the Monday prior to Ragnar where we had a run, ate pizza, finalized details, and I gave them some goodies, like Ragnar bandanas, colorful sweatbands I ordered, Mr. Kate watercolor tattoos (really cute, and they stayed on for over 2 weeks!), and more. I would definitely recommend getting together right before the race so everyone is on the same page. We had weekly runs, but not everyone can make those, so having a mandatory meeting is crucial.

Van 1 went up Thursday and stayed in a hotel near Saratoga Springs to be rested for the start. Van 2, an amazing, strong group of women—Lisa, Erika, Natalie, Alyss, and Sarah. We met at my apartment early Friday morning so we could pack the SUV I rented. It was super spacious, even for 6 girls and all their crap (which is a LOT of crap!). By the end though, everything was thrown everywhere and we must have lost our phones each about 20 times! It was actually hilarious.

So we headed out (I was so proud to actually drive though the city for the first time. Was scary, but I did it!) and raced to check-in because our runner was coming in. We were in the middle of the safety meeting when she came in, but only had to wait about 5 minutes for us (woops!). To be fair though, they came in a little earlier, which is fab! Van 1 had amazing costumes on too! Our theme was to pick a color and pattern, so there was red sequins, and pink zebra and orange cow patterns. :) They did a great job, especially for running in the heat…which it WAS so hot!
IMG_1187
Sarah started off Van 2 with a 9.4-mile leg! It was her first Ragnar so I’m sure she was nervous but she literally rocked it! We stopped a few times to give her water, because again, it was SO hot and her leg was so long.
IMG_1188
We also had time to decorate the van, which was fun. Our mascot was: Man, Bear, Pig.
IMG_1195She then passed off to Lisa for a 6.1-mile leg. I had never seen this before, but for Lisa and Erika’s exchange, your team actually picked where to hand off. So we had to track what mileage Lisa was doing and pick a point. Luckily, there was a huge group of vans parked around where the exchange should have been so it worked out.
IMG_1190Erika started running her 4.8-mile leg and Natalie started prepping for hers. It was so much fun stopping around other vans and seeing them cheer people on. We saw a ton of Ultra teams (which I still would love to do one year).

Natalie started on her 4.7-mile leg and passed off to her sister Alyss, who went running along in her adorable tutu for her 6.3-mile leg. We tried cheering for her but she was too fast and already went past the spot we were at (plus we were occupied taking pictures with our Ragnar and water color tattoos!) so we booked it to our last exchange, my 5.4-mile leg.
IMG_1197
IMG_1198
It was so amazing guys! I felt so fantastic and strong! About 2 miles in, I came upon a guy who was running at a good pace (just under 8 min miles) so I asked if I could run with him, and we ended up just chatting the rest of the way to the end. He was from Philly and it was his first Ragnar, but he’s done plenty of swim races and triathlons! So nice to meet people like that.
IMG_1203My sweet van after our first legs were done. I mean, look at that view of Lake George!
IMG_1208Then, it was time for us to get some grub and rest and for Van 1 to take off into the night.

More recaps coming shortly… :)

PS:
6 Tips for How (and What) to Pack for a Ragnar Relay
4 Training Tips for Any Ragnar Relay

Posted in fitness, running | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Case of the Funks

giphy
Do you ever go through funks? Like such a funk that you don’t even want to wash your face at night, pack your lunch, or do anything remotely productive? Yea, me too!

Sometimes you just have days when everything goes wrong.

I try to remember all the things I need to be productive for and be grateful for: a sweet husband who thinks to buy me my favorite snacks at the store and loves to clean the apartment; my challenging, but awesome, new job; my health; my fun-loving friends; sweet notes and calls from far away family; trips and runs I’ve been physically and financially able to take.

Still, there are days where I feel so petty and hard on myself about how I’ve been running, how I perform at my job, how my hair frizzes out to Mars, how I put on eyeliner, and continuously looking at Instagram, photo-stalking (or shall I say sulking) because I’m looking at a 23-year-old who seems to be more successful, prettier, more fit…happier? I love social media, don’t get me wrong-it’s my job after all. But, sometimes, it just pulls at my heart (and brain) strings, and I just can understand why I succumb to comparing myself to people.

I’m also just so homesick right now. I haven’t felt this way since we moved two years ago (tomorrow!). I don’t ever regret moving here, but I’m not sure if we’ll be able to get back home for the holidays so it’s a little disheartening.

Does anyone ever feel this way? Maybe it’s the changing of the seasons or my homesickness, but I really hope it goes away soon.

To top it all off, I’ve sprained my ankle. Just a little, nothing to write home about, but I took today off from running. Here is the schedule Erika and I came up with for our marathon. It’s nice to have a goal to look forward to and work towards.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 12.00.43 PMSo, depending on my ankle, here is my workout schedule this week:

M: B|X at BRICK New York
T: Rest
W: 5 miles
TH: 6 miles
F: 4 miles
S: 11 miles
SU: 3 miles & yoga at Church Ave Yoga & Body Center (Plus cheering on runners at NYC marathon!)

Cheers to a funk-free rest of the day. I need a good slap in the face. ;)

Happy Tuesday!

Posted in fitness, running | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

6 Tips for How (and What) to Pack for a Ragnar Relay

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset The first year that I did Ragnar Relay, I researched what to pack for the race and it helped SO much. Being prepared for an overnight race like Ragnar is crucial! You don’t want to forget a pair of socks, run out of water, or have a lack of band-aids if a blister comes along.

So, I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way.

1. Food {because let’s be real, it’s the most important.}
IMG_7101
To avoid people bringing the same thing, start a list with your van so people can sign up for certain items. Bananas, peanut butter, bagels, cream cheese, peanut butter-filled pretzels, salt & vinegar chips, and hummus and veggies are always on the list for my van. You want to think of healthy carbs and protein {for fuel and energy on your runs} and salty foods {to replenish electrolyte stores} to snack on, not to act as a meal substitute. Vans normally have time to stop for actual meals somewhere. I’ve stopped at Barro’s Pizza and Chipotle {twice} in the past.
IMG_7073 Also, each person in the van should bring two gallons of water. It makes it easy to refill reusable water bottles. {The gallons also help when trying to brush your teeth or wash your hands on the side of the road.} I also make sure to bring a few bottles of Zico Chocolate, Gatorade, and maybe a Rockstar or two. ;)
IMG_7087

When you get to the finish line, each team usually gets two boxes of pizza or some other food they provide, and you have your $1 beer tickets, for your choice of a Sierra Nevada beer. So, you get to end with a good amount of carbs. :)

2. Decorations & Props
fro-motion

{This is my fave van each year at Ragnar Del Sol: Fro-Motion}

Basically, it’s a runner’s version of “Pimp My Ride.” In the past, we’ve attached LED lights across the van roof, added boas or fun, bright ribbon, and written on windows with window-safe markers.
van-writing1
It’s really fun to tally how many “kills” {number of people you passed during your legs} on the van! Pretty much every van does it.
kills

We’ve also brought along props to fill our down time during rest stops. This could be hula hoops, a hacky sack, a boom box for dance parties, a football, frisbee, etc. The world is your oyster at Ragnar.

3. Yoga mat, foam roller, & Icy/Hot, etc.
yoga
I’d highly recommend packing a sleeping bag or yoga mat for sleeping arrangements and/or actual yoga practice {last year, my good friend Marette – a certified yoga instructor – gave us a lesson!}. It’s also great when you are in a parking lot and are itching for a solid foam roll. Just bust out the ole’ yoga mat! The foam roller works wonders for legs that are cramped and tight after being in a van for hours.
foam-roll
Icy/hot helps with aches and pains that may pop up on the fly, like shin splits or IT band. Other important things that are helpful are baby wipes {for a van shower}, band-aids, extra hair ties, Chapstick, Vaseline or BodyGlide, and a car charger.
IMG_7102

4. Pack each running outfit into ziploc bags
image
This is crucial. You’ll be in a van with up to 6 other people with all their bags and purses and food strewn about that you don’t want to lose anything when you’re up to run. Plus, you can put the dirty clothes back into the bag after you’re done running to prevent odors. {Your teammates will appreciate this!}

So, think about if it’s a short or long run, night or day run and build from there. Undies, shorts/capris/pants, tank, short sleeve/long sleeve, light jacket, sports bra, headband. Fold everything tightly into a bag and with a permanent marker, write which leg you’ll be using that gear. Easy peasy!

5. Costumes:
money-decor
Yes, costumes. They aren’t just for Hallowen after all. I love me some themed parties and impromptu outfit nights. Just me?

We’ll, for Ragnar, you at least better have a bright colored outfit! At least. Teams go all out with themes. I’ve seen a whole disco van before with runners wearing bell bottoms, big tound sunglasses and afro hats for their legs. I’ve seen speedos, tutus, and banana suits, and more! It so much fun and pretty hilarious!

For me personally, it’s distracting to run in too many things, so I like to get running related outfits, like personalized shirts, colorful sweatbands, or fun headbands, and then save my costumes for down time.

This year, my team is picking a color and a pattern. I have neon yellow and feathers. I already have a few fun yellow things I got, so now I just need to add feathers on the mix. Shouldn’t be a problem since I adore feathers! I have big dreams to make a chief’s head piece!

6. Ragnar-required gear
safety-outfit
This is uber important because if you have one too few safety vests or headlamps, you’re not allowed to participate. Each runner is required to have a safety best, because even if you aren’t the one running, everyone participating in Ragnar is required to wear them during nighttime hours {about 5pm-7am}.

Each van also needs 2 headlamps and 2 tail lamps. We all just share them {yes, sweaty bands and all}.

That’s about the jist of everything you should pack and how you should pack it. Just a few more days until the big race!

PS. Ragnar Relay Del Sol 2012
PSS. Ragnar Relay Del Sol 2013
PSSS. I’m Officially a Ragnar Relay Ambassador
PSSSS. 4 Tips for Training for a Ragnar Relay
PSSSSS. I just realized I didn’t do a recap for my Ragnar Del Sol 2014 race! BUT, here’s a link to my Facebook photo gallery.

xx
Ashley

Posted in fitness, running | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Five Foodie Favorites

Thank everything that today is Friday. Yesterday was a very, very bad day. So many things went wrong and there were so many unwelcome surprises. But, when days like that happen, I have to remind myself to count my blessings and think about all the things and the people that I’m grateful for. And today is a new day, right? I can’t wait to celebrate a friend’s birthday this weekend, compete in the NYRR’s 5th Avenue Mile {I’m not even sure of the last time I did a timed mile!}, participate in the Wanderlust 108 Festival in Prospect Park, and head to Six Flags with my BFF’s. I’ll leave you with these five foodie favorites I’ve delighted upon recently.

IMG_0839{Egg whites, avocado, and grape tomatoes atop toasted rye bread}

IMG_0944{Veggie, pickle, and cheese platter}

IMG_1023{Sauteed zucchini, fresh veggies, pickles, cheese, and hot cherry peppers on top toasted multi-grain bread with roasted bell pepper spread}

IMG_0986{Brunch with the hubby at Buttermilk Channel—I drool over their biscuits!}

IMG_0881{SO many fresh, delicious veggies atop toasted rye bread with a roasted bell pepper spread}

Obviously I’m loving the whole “toast” trend! What do you like on your toast?

xx
Ash

Posted in food, fun | 1 Comment

Fit Fall Fashion

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 7.09.35 PMSome of you may be following New York Fashion Week right now, I know I’m certainly following some bloggers who are attending some really amazing shows.

Yesterday, Oiselle, a fitness clothing company for runners, had their runway show and I really just adored everything about it. They had actual athletes strutting the runway. Actual athletes. From run to runway! I don’t think a fitness fashion show would have worked any other way because athletes normally have a different build than runners. Kara Goucher, my favorite runner, looked so confident in her elite outfit. And exciting news: she just revealed this week that she will be competing in the TCS NYC Marathon and I’m so so excited to stand on the sidelines and cheer her on!
Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 7.09.14 PMThis was the second year Oiselle appeared on the runway with athletes and I love the transition from athlete to fashionista and vice versa.

I’ve recently noticed how runners—and fitness enthusiasts in general—have become increasingly more fashionable. Something that both makes me happy and stresses me out. I mean, now I have to carefully pick out my workout outfit too?!

But, when I think about it, I’m always choosing the fun-colored shoes, sparkly headbands, and bright neon tops anyways, so I’ve already got a step in the game.

Fitness companies like Nike, Under Armour, Reebok, and more are straying away from the typical black, blue, and white workout gear, and adding patterns, color, and pizzaz! {Yes, pizzaz!}

I’ve recently fallen in love with Kate Hudson’s new line, Fabletics. Their clothing is super soft and flexible, but still supportive, and they have the coolest designs. And the best part? When you sign up for a membership you get your first outfit for only $25. That’s a sports bra, top, and bottom of your choice. Can’t beat that deal! And the following months after your sign-up, you’re emailed personalized picks to choose from and can receive the outfit for $49.95, which is still saving a ton on 3 items. If you don’t like anything that month, you can opt out. Easy peasy!

What are some of your favorite fitness fashion trends? Here are a few I can’t wait to sweat in this fall!

underarmour-pants{Love the color of these Under Armour capris}

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 5.03.30 PM{Nike sports bras fit me so well and are super snug.}

lululemon{I love the fun stripes on this long sleeve Lululemon shirt.}

i-will-want{Love the grittiness and inspiration of this Under Armour shirt.}

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 6.45.25 AM
{Love this motivation from these Forever 21 socks.}

{Disclosure: the link for Fabletics above is for my personal referrals to gain points for new gear.}

xx
Ashley

Posted in fashion, fitness, running | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marathon Monday

MarathonSliderv3I’m excited {and nervous} to share that I’ve started marathon training for the Disney World Marathon on January 11. What?!

I’m not actually sure I would be doing another marathon had I not already signed up before my first one, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Country Music Marathon in Nashville. But, I’m $180 in the bag now for the Disney one, so I’m going at it full force. Plus, I mean, it’s Disney. I haven’t been to Disney World yet, and the last time I went to Disneyland was over 10 years ago {the horror!}, so I’m ready for this adventure!

During my last marathon training I ran too many long runs consecutively and added miles too fast, and my both knees and hips {specifically my Iliotibial band} hurt really badly. My doctor prescribed me some anti-inflammatories and also a strong cream. I’m also going to be taking more glucosamine, really watching my training program and mileage, add lower body strength workouts to my schedue, and focus on yoga moves that stretch the IT Band. Plus, foam roll, foam roll, foam roll.

foam-roller
And speaking of foam roll, I need a new one desperately. Does anyone have any good suggestions on a brand or type? I’m curious about the ones with curves and ridges or even the stick rollers, but I know the traditional ones work well too.

I still have one more week until my hardcore 16-week training plan starts, so I’ve just been adding a few miles here and there, plus adding more cross-training methods to help build muscle. {I’m loving CKO Kickboxing, yoga classes, and HIIT classes, and CYC Fitness lately.}

P.S. Only 18 more days until Ragnar Relay Adirondacks!! I’m SO SO excited. :)

Also, to my Arizona family and friends, please stay safe during this epic flood today. Stay home if you can!

xx
Ashley

Posted in fitness, running, travel | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Foodie Favorites

Ah, three-day weekend. Here in New York, it’s already starting to feel like fall. The leaves are falling from the trees, people are walking around with cardigans, and I bought my first pair of boots to start the season off right. I don’t have any plans this weekend aside from a little work and a long run, so I’m hoping to head to the beach for one last sun-soak sesh before summer is officially over. I’d love to hear your plans!

image_2{A fun way to differentiate hard boiled eggs from raw eggs.}

image_3{Breakfast date with the BFF’s at Tom’s Restaurant in Prospect Heights. They give you orange slices and coffee while you wait in line!}

image_1{Greek Stuffed Bell Peppers.}

image{The most delicious grilled corn pops at Mad Dog & Beans in Carroll Gardens.}

image_4{Sauteed kale and mushrooms with a basted egg and Arizona Gunslinger.}

xx
Ashley

Posted in food, fun | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment