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.}
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. ;)

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

{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.
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.

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.
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.
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.

4. Pack each running outfit into ziploc bags
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:
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
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.


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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?


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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.}


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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.

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!


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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.}


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Five Foodie Favorites

Happy Friday! Any fun plans this weekend? I have to work a lot this weekend, but plan to take my hubby for dinner tonight, and make time for a long run with my Ragnar team Sunday evening. With my busy work schedule, I haven’t been doing any major recipe creating, BUT, I have been mixing things up and have tried a few new local spots in New York. Cheers to the weekend!

image{Crisp, sour pickles from The Pickle Guys}

image_3{Greek tilapia with brown rice and an arugula salad}

image_2{Fresh ceviche from Bungalow Bar & Restaurant in the Rockaways}

image_4{Oats with blueberries, almonds, and cinnamon}

image_1{Kale, fresh mozzarella, mushrooms, red onions and rye bread panini}


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4 Training Tips for Any Ragnar Relay

Ragnar Relay Adirondacks is a little over a month away, and if you’re participating, training should be well under way.

BUT, if you’re behind, don’t fret! You still have time to get conditioned. The nice thing is, you get breaks in between each leg to rest, fuel, and possibly have some impromptu dance parties.

Doing another upcoming Ragnar race? Perfect! These four training tips will help you prepare for any Ragnar Relay race:

Team Bonding:
IMG_9805Ragnar Relay is all about meeting new running buddings, so pick a set day and time that works best for your team for training runs. Not everyone has to run the same distance or pace, but just getting together {and sometimes putting faces to names if you haven’t met team members yet} can boost excitement, motivation, and team bonding.

It’s fun to hashtash your team name or #ragnartraining during training runs and look back at all the progress you made.

Night, Morning, Night Combo:
During the relay, you’ll be running three legs of about 4-9 miles each with about 6 hours to rest in between each one. There’s nothing that can really prepare you for that experience until you actually do it, but I found that doing a night, morning, and then night running combination can help! So, once you have been assigned your three legs, carve out a night to run the first leg, then run the second leg the following morning, and your third leg that night.

Cross Train:
If you just run, run, run, you’ll end up running yourself into the ground. It’s good to let some of your other supporting muscles build up too. I like to do cycle classes, which are good for cardio and building lean leg muscle. If you are particularly tight or have any aches or pains, I would also suggest yoga. There’s always a stretch I can find to help my IT Band, hamstring muscles, or feet. And, you should also do some kind of strength training class at least once a week, to build up thigh and hamstring muscles, abs, and arms. I’ve been liking HIIT classes or you could do body pump or straight up weights.

Test out your costumes:
IMG_7048If you plan to wear a costume or fun accessesories during your run {totally normally for Ragnar, and quite frankly, frowned upon if you don’t}, I would suggest doing a run with them on. It’ll help you determine if anything chaffs or is uncomfortable {bobbing up and down like this necklace above}. I see guys wearing big fro wigs every year and think they are crazy, but it really depends on what works for you!

The biggest thing I can say is to not stress too much. It’s not so much about competing {although getting kills are so much fun!}, it’s about challenging your body, having fun, meeting new friends, and experiencing running through a new environment. {Plus, the snacks are pretty great too!}

Happy training!


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