You Know You’re a Ragnarian If…

Mer and Cam here! Mer is a recent first time Ragnarian, while Cam is our seasoned pro with more than 10 Ragnars under her belt with her first back in 2012.

While Ragnar PA presented its own unique course and yes, set of challenges, we are both of the opinion that Ragnar is one crazy good time (emphasis on the crazy).  Besides the awkward post-race walk and the huge medal, there are a few telltale signs you’re now a Ragnarian.

You know you’re a Ragnarian if…

When you used to see white vans, you thought there were strangers that were going to lure you with candy and going to kidnap you.

Now you think that there are strange people that you may have just met who will give you candy… and drop you off in the middle of nowhere to run.

RagnarPA2You know you’re a Ragnarian if…

You spend the days leading up to Ragnar buying random props and costumes off the internet and practicing your stealthy ninja ways… and fighting off your children from playing with your props. They are NOT toys, people, they are props!

You know you’re a Ragnarian if…

If anyone says anything resembling a song lyric, there will automatically be a sing-along.

You know you’re a Ragnarian if…

When setting up a ninja star assembly line four hours before you’re supposed to get up to run 200ish miles becomes a priority.  Furthermore, when only sleeping four hours before running 200ish miles is the “good” plan.

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The early ninja gets the kill!

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It seemed like a good idea at the time…

You know you’re a Ragnarian…

When you start sharing toilet paper with your new friends. Also, when you’re moved to tears by the sight of indoor plumbing.

You know you’re a Ragnarian…

When you all of a sudden need not one, but two new Ragnar sweatshirts… in June.

You know you’re a Ragnarian…

When you develop the ability to sleep anywhere because even concrete has to be more comfortable the van.

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You know you’re a Ragnarian if…

You never see another hill again in your life, you would be a-okay with that.

At least you get an extra medal for running straight up a mountain! Poc-o-nooo he didn’t!

You know you’re a Ragnarian if…

Even though you hate them, you can still appreciate those hills because at least it gets you views like these:

You know you’re a Ragnarian if…

You can’t help but question your sanity but then you see this sign and it makes it all better.

You know you’re a Ragnarian if…

Even after all this, you start planning your next Ragnar because as soon as you’re apart, you miss your relay team.

And even when you’re still together but know you’re going to be apart.

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It’s so hard to say goodbye!

You know you’re a Ragnarian if…

You know that you can do anything because, after all, you’ve done a RAGNAR.

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Have you done a Ragnar Relay? If you have, what would you add to this list? If you haven’t, does this make you want to do one or have we scared you away? 😉

Cam Runs With Child

Two weeks ago, I ran SoCal Ragnar like I’ve never ran before…12 weeks pregnant. This pregnancy was the biggest surprise. It’s been almost a decade since my last pregnancy. After ten years of birth control, I found myself with a positive pregnancy test and half a dozen race bibs I’d already paid for, including two Ragnars and all three of the Disney Tinkerbell races.  I had not planned on being pregnant for any of them.

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Now, we all know how diligent I am about training (please note sarcasm).  However, I really needed to be prepared for this race.  I’m over 36 which makes me a “high risk” pregnancy.  Also, I’m overweight and was actually in the middle of a transform session when I found out I was pregnant. I also knew I wasn’t going to be able to run much.  I hadn’t really been running prior to the pregnancy but I had been strength training so I was pretty confident I could walk my little heart out.  So yeah, I walked an entire Ragnar.  It was surprisingly difficult to walk while everyone around me was running.  I did end up running a tiny bit when I just couldn’t take it anymore, but overall, I felt pretty proud of my 16 minute pace!

 

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Van 1 at the Start right after I headed out!

I’ve ran SoCal Ragnar many times, but not since they changed the course.  The course used to come inland through Temecula Wine Country, which made for a very warm race at the end of April.  The race now stays close to the coast, starting in Huntington Beach and ending on the Silver Strand in Coronado, starting on sand and ending in sand.  The course has a virtual exchange at Exchange 12 because of Camp Pendleton.  Van 2 ran into Dana Point and Van 1 ran out of Oceanside during this exchange.  Usually the hand-off between vans is a big exchange with a lot of celebration.  The virtual exchange kind of squashes that but luckily we had five more hand-offs to celebrate.

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Van 2 at the first major exchange.

For the first time ever, I got to start the race early Friday morning!  I was really nervous to race while pregnant, mostly because I hadn’t been training as well as I should. I ran for a little while along the boardwalk of Huntington Beach, then slowed to a fast walk and finished my 2.3 miles.  After this first leg, I felt confident I could finish the race.

My second leg ran along the San Luis Rey River Trail around sunset.  The trail was easy and flat but the bugs were out in full force.  I don’t know if they were attracted to my headlamp light or what, but by the end of my four miles, I was wiping them off my glasses.  During this leg, I got to run with the famous Ernie, the 93 year old Ragnarian who just ran Del Sol in March and finished his 6th Ragnar at SoCal.  Talk about inspiration! You can read more about Ernie on the Ragnar Blog.

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I finished up with 3 miles through a beach town in Encinitas that I didn’t even know existed, and I’ve lived in Southern California all my life.  Once again, Ragnar, you remind me while I love you so much.  It’s always to best way to see this country: from the pavement.  My legs were super sore, and not in ways that I was familiar with.  Walking this much and at this quick pace pulled at muscles and tendons I don’t normally strain.  This part of the course was on a main street that was covered in restaurants, shops, and bars that I wanted to explore, especially the donut shop!  I finished up my leg with a little jog and sighed with relief.  I had finished and thanked my body for putting up with my decision to spend 36 hours in a van, walk swiftly for 9 miles after sleeping less than 2 hours on zero caffeine, all while making a human.

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Baby’s First Ragnar

Sorry body, but we’re going to do it again, in Pennsylvania this time and at 20 weeks pregnant.  I’ll be walking my little heart out.

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Keeping Busy in the New Year


As with every new year, plans are made, goals are set, and we all strive to make this one be the best one yet!

This year has started off with me doing the Ragnar 30 Day Challenge. And starting Focus T25. And committing to another round of the Advocare 24 Day Challenge. (You’ll notice those last two are two competing companies. See me, caring not.)

Of course, I’m continuing my 2 times a week weight training session and running, too. Running in December sort of fell by the wayside but I need to start stepping it up again.

Because races.

There are SO MANY RACES that I have on my radar. I would love to do them all and I suppose eventually I will; however, these are the ones that have made the schedule for the first half of 2017. There are a couple of newbies along with a few tried and true. February and May are empty as of right now… but there’s always last minute additions (Broad Street?).

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There aren’t too many races to be found in my area in January, which is why I’m stoked for this one! Local race organizers, Good Day For A Run have two dates for this race, January 29th (I’ll be at that one) and February 11th. I’ve had this race on my radar for a couple of years now for several reasons.

  1. It’s right down the street from my house. (It was right down the street from my old house too!)
  2. It’s a 2 mile chipped event. I’ve never run a 2 mile race before! Have you? The quirky distance definitely has me intrigued.
  3. It starts and ends at one of my favorite restaurants. And after the race? There’s chili and beer!
  4. The swag is unique – a CHILI BOWL.
  5. My buddy, Rachel, is coming down to run with me!

I’ll keep you posted with how it goes!

march

In March is a tried and true race, the Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k. This event is hosted by our local South Jersey Running Company which fosters a great sense of community within our local runners. Minus last year, I’ve participated in this race since 2012. This is the only race that my husband looks forward to each year so it basically goes without saying in our house that we are going to register.

We always see a large group of friends at this race and the party that’s held at the Haddonfield Running Company after is a good time. This is one of the few 5ks that I’ve done that have finisher medals (and they’re awesome) as well as Brooks race shirts.

My PR from this race has been my 5k PR since the first year I participated. This year needs to be the year that I finally beat it on March 18th.

Here’s a couple of past race recaps, if you’re interested: 2012, 20142015

april

This is when things start ramping up!

April 1st (which just happens to be my 40th birthday, btw), I’ll be running the Hot Chocolate 15k in Philly for the very first time!

I’ve had my eye on this race since Brandi did a guest post for us in 2015. The swag looks awesome: a medal, hoodie, chocolate mug and goodies at the finish… plus I’m getting a visor because I used the BibRave code: BRPhillyHC.

I’m running with honorary Chick, Christina. Christina is celebrating her 40th birthday just before mine so we’ve declared this a joint birthday celebration!

Side note: Christina will be representing Scoot a Doot at the Disney Marathon this coming weekend! If you want to follow along, swing by the Scoot a Doot Facebook page.

April 23rd marks the 6th time I’ll be running the April Fools Half Marathon. So what keeps me coming back to this race? It’s flat and usually a lot of fun. I do training runs in Atlantic City so it’s familiar territory and through the years they’ve added things like free race photos and an awesome finish line village, complete with free beer.

I’ve run this race since its inauguration and since it switched dates to later in the month, I’m able to do both the Hot Chocolate 15k and this race. Win all around!

Blast from the past?Here’s last year’s recap.

Rounding out April, I’ll be running another Good Day For A Run race, the Heritage Vineyards 5 Miler. I participated in this race last year for the first time and it was absolutely perfect, which is why I’m returning for a repeat! It’s just down the road from my house (in the other direction from the Chili Run) and it’s an easy race for me. Easy packet pickup, easy drinking wine, etc.

The swag isn’t shabby either: a race shirt, free photos (I love free race photos – it should be standard!), a wine tumbler and wine ticket. People bring snacks or buy them from the multitude of food trucks and make a day out of it! If the weather cooperates, that’s my plan!

june

Ah, Ragnar. I don’t want to say that this is the most important race but it’s definitely the one that has been on my bucket list the longest amount of time and also I’m quite sure will be the most physically challenging.

I’ve been talking about participating in a Ragnar since Cam first told me about it back in 2011. She’s blogged about Ragnar many times on Scoot a Doot and each time I sighed longingly because I wanted to run long distances and hang out with smelly people in a van, too!

When Ragnar announced that their Pennsylvania race would be returning in 2017, I knew this was it: the Ragnar that was meant for me! June 2nd-3rd I’ll be running with 11 teammates past horse-drawn buggies and into the Poconos (those are mountains for those who aren’t familiar with the regional).

That’s what on tap for me for the next six months, race wise! Everything from a 2 mile race to a relay with three legs of varying degrees of distances/difficulty. It will be fun, right?

What do you have on your agenda for the first half of 2017? Will I see you at any of these events?

Ninjas Spotted in the Aloha State

I suppose I should preface this post by acknowledging the obvious fact that there are easier ways to experience paradise than spending 38 hours with 12 teammates, running a 200 mile relay race through heat, humidity, wind, rain, lava rock, and hills.  I’m sure most people would rather spend that time lounging on the sand and sipping sweet drinks from a coconut.  Well, that’s not how ninjas take on the big island.  Not initially, anyway.

This is how we Ragnar!

Two weeks ago, my fella and I traveled to the big island with eleven other ninjas to run the inaugural Hawaii Ragnar.  Hawaii!!!  I had never been to Hawaii so as soon as this race was announced, I knew this was the way I wanted to see paradise: from the pavement!  This race had everything: sandy beaches, palm trees, and let us not forget the humidity!  Oh the humidity.  I should have trained in a sauna.  Let me rephrase that, I should have trained…period.  Ragnar Hawaii was one of the most difficult courses I’ve ever encountered.  So much so I feel my feelings can best be presented in a list entitled “Reasons Why Ragnar Hawaii Kicked My Ass.”

At the start in Hilo. It was still dark when our team headed out!

At the start in Hilo. It was still dark when our team headed out!

Please note: this list does not include any obvious reasons like lack of training or preparation or bug repellent.  I really should have done more research.

Reasons Why Ragnar Hawaii Kicked My Ass

#1 – Time Zones

Did you know that Hawaii is 3 hours behind California?  I didn’t until I got there.  At first I thought, awesome, it’s like I’ve gone back in time, I get three extra hours today.  Sure, it helped when I had to get up at 2:30 am to be at a start line by 5:30 am.  It felt just like any other day, but by 6:00 pm, I wanted to sleep.  This doesn’t fare well when you have thirty more hours of running ahead of you.  In past Ragnars, Van 2 (my van) usually starts by mid afternoon.  I didn’t start running until almost 5:00 pm!  This meant night gear for my very first leg of the race as it starts getting dark around 6:00 pm.  That’s technically 9:00 pm California time aka Cam’s bedtime.  So yeah, this threw me off my game a bit.  I was fighting sleepiness the whole race.  Luckily, my van threw a dance party every time we stopped to support our runners, who frequently sported unicorn heads and rainbow legwarmers.  This rave-like atmosphere put a little pep in my step, but time zones, you really know how to mess with a girl’s head.

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#2 – Weather

So I mentioned humidity earlier, but that’s pretty expected.  I also expected the 80-90 degree temperatures during the day.  I planned for this, brought my sunscreen and my tank tops.  I did not expected the temperatures to drop and the winds to howl.  Apparently the big island has two sides, the wet side of the island and the hot side of the island.  Well, this course took us from Hilo to Kona so we got to experience ALL of it.  Biting winds, warm rain, muggy heat…I almost didn’t even bring a jacket.  I had no idea this one island could be so diverse.  Hilo was a lush jungle with tall shady trees and green vines everywhere.  Kona was a lava field, black rock all the way to the ocean.  I really should have done more research.

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My SECOND sunrise in Hawaii!

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Fields of Lava Rock

#3 – Hills

Yeah, so about that research I should have done, specifically volcanoes and how to run near them.  It shouldn’t have been a surprise really, they put the course maps out months in advance, but still seeing those inclines on paper and then experiencing them in real life when you’re jet lagged and melting is a whole other beast.  I was lucky, my legs were relatively flat.  However it seems like every other runner had the worse hills ever!  Especially runner 5, who had to run uphill for 11.8 miles.  This run was so difficult, it warranted an extra medal, the Big Kahuna, just for this one leg of the race!

The best thing you'll ever see at Ragnar.

The best thing you’ll ever see at Ragnar.

#4 – It’s Effing Hawaii

We ran through so much beautiful scenery, it was hard to stay focused on the end game.  Hawaii is such a laid-back, relaxing atmosphere and I wanted to savor every minute of my surroundings, both during and after my runs.  I was awestruck by the geology of the place, how tufts of grass grew out of the hardened lava rock and how cliffs seem to just thrust up out of the sea.  I had to stop and take pictures of the sun rising over the fields of lava rock, while in the distance the ocean gleamed to life.  Even in the darkness of night, the island held a peaceful murmur that was hard not to be captivated by.  This is the reason I run Ragnar, so I get to experience this part, the part that’s far from the vacation.  The part I’d never see if I had just come to Hawaii with a bunch of friends.14708123_10207531452340122_548923884065681528_n
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#5 – I had to leave

The biggest regret of this whole experience is that I left right after the race.  I wish I would have set aside more time to explore this island.  The rest of the ninjas stayed and took in all the splendors Hawaii had to offer and I watched from Facebook in envy, wishing that I too had a sweet drink in a coconut.  My advice, take the time to make this one a real runcation.  Bring a jacket and bug spray.  Get there a day early and leave many days later.  And do some research.  Who knew they had snow in Hawaii?

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Ragnar is returning to PA

The scoot chicks love a good Ragnar Relay. You know we do.

Cam, our resident Ragnar expert has tackled numerous relay races around the country. The rest of us simply dreamed of the day we could manage a 12-person, 200-mile relay.

Meri was beyond jazzed to take on the challenge, but her plans and potential teams repeatedly fell through.

Me? I didn’t want to travel far for the race. When my dream Ragnar was discontinued a few years back, promptly ending my interest in participating in a relay….until today.

What changed, you ask? The return of the Pennsylvania Ragnar Relay in June 2017.

You see, this race begins in my hometown of Lancaster, PA. The first leg kicks off in front of my elementary school. It loops through downtown Lancaster, past my former employer and my childhood church, through the park where I attended day camp as a child and attended many an elementary school field trip.

It winds through rural Lancaster County, past Amish farms and through rolling hills of my hometown before heading north, ultimately ending in Mt. Pocono, PA, not far from Hickory Run State Park, one of my favorite PA state parks.

If ever there was a Ragnar made for me, this is it. Sure, I’ll need to figure out what to do with my infant son, how to fund my entry fee and how to coordinate to make this happen, but I know one thing for sure. I will be there as part of team Scootadoot. Who is with me?

Have you run a Ragnar? Which ones and what advice would you offer to a novice like me?

Cam’s Costume Corner

I was a huge theater geek in high school.  Big surprise, I know.   When I get the chance to put on fancy clothes and be some other persona for the day, I take advantage.  Even if it means I’ll be stepping into character for 13.1 miles.

The key is to create a versatile and functional illusion of what you’re trying to convey.  This is the most challenging aspect for me.  I always forget that the costume doesn’t have to be perfect.  It doesn’t need a blind hem or actual button holes.  It’s for show.  You will wear that costume one time, it doesn’t need to be a work of art.  It does, however, need to stay together for awhile.  I’ve put together a few tips, just to get your creative juices flowing.

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Doesn’t everyone bring their sewing machine and serger on their runcations?

Tip #1: Sequins are pretty, but they chafe like a mother.

Choosing the right fabric is vital.  I generally want my costumes to be soft yet supportive.  I also run hot so I need material that will breathe well.  I generally choose cotton spandex blends. However, I will absolutely embellish with some fanciful trims.  For example, our Ring Master costumes consisted of a plain white tank top with the sparkly vest sewn right onto it.  The vest was a heavier material with the gold trim sewn to look like closures.  A coat with tails would have been awesome, but who wants to run in that?  I used the tulle to create a no-sew bustle instead. That way we could give the illusion of a fancy coat without an actual coat.

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Tip #2 Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize

Sometimes the best costumes aren’t even about the actual clothes.  Accessories can take your typical runwear and turn you into a roller derby diva.  For these costumes we used black shorts and shirts silk-screened with a logo.  Everything else was in the accessories: bandaids, temporary tattoos, handkerchiefs, knee pads and elbow pads, fishnets, even black Halloween make-up for creating bruises and missing teeth.

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Tip #3 No Zippers Necessary

When I made these three Good Fairy costumes for the Tink half, I wasn’t going to have a chance to fit the dress to the girls.  So instead of making the dresses with zippers, I used a t-shirt as the bodice and sewed the skirt onto the bottom of the shirt.  That way I knew the dresses would fit.  The shirts were also comfy and stretchy, perfect for running 13.1 miles in wings and a hat.

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Tip #4 Fake It till you Make It.

Sometimes you have to just fake it. For this Rainbow Brite costume, I didn’t have a chance to finish the sleeves.  So I just paired the dress with a shirt and gloves.  This costume won me $100!

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Tip #5 Work It

When it comes down to it, attitude has a lot to do with whether or not the costume works.  You have to embody the persona you’re trying to represent.  For instances, when I’m dressed like a ninja, I’m completely undetectable.  I hide behind trees and jump and kick and I truly become the ninja.  Same with our signature poses last weekend at the Disney 10k.  We worked those sailor dresses!

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That Time I Ran Ragnar Northwest Passage

Last weekend I traveled to the great Northwest to run 196 miles with 11 awesome old and new friends.  I had some really hard runs but felt very satisfied with how I performed.  I brought along my Skoras and my ninja sword and thoroughly enjoyed running in misty weather.  Here are the highlights from our adventure!

That Time We Unleashed Our Ninja Skillz at the Start Line

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That Time the Girls Were Photo Bombed by One of Our Own

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That Time We Encouraged Random People with a Smack on the Behind

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That Time We Took All the Selfies

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That Time We Recreated Things That Happened at Previous Ragnars

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That Time Ian Got All the Sleep

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That Time I Tried to Draw on All the Faces

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That Time We All Jumped

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That Time We All Wanted to be Like Robert

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The Original

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That Time We Ran 196 Miles in 30 Hours

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