My Life as a Dog

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fit to be Tied


You might have noticed that I really like bow ties. (See my previous post.) I appreciate that everyone else is getting on the band wagon. I love Express! So when I started seeing their advertisements showing bow ties I was excited. But upon further inspection I found out that they only sell pre-tied bow ties! Ugh! Really?!

This is my objection: What adult man would buy a pre-tied regular tie?! Those are only for little boys or for men who shouldn't be wearing ties anyway. Tying a bow tie is not a difficult thing. If you can learn to tie your shoes, you can learn to tie a bow tie. Watch the video at the bottom if you want to see how easy it is. Anyway I decided to give Express a little feedback on their Facebook page. They were quick to thank me for my feedback. It was nice to be heard. I doubt anything will change but you never know...


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Vegas Ragnar November 2012


Before too much time passes, I thought I would try to document my Vegas Ragnar 2012 experience. (My blogging lately has been less than exemplary.) Last year was my first Ragnar and it was in Vegas as well. This year was much different than last.

For starters last year, I was inadvertently the team captain and was anxious as to if we would have enough runners right up until the week of the race. This time I joined a team co-organized by my friend Ty. He works for Chase Bank. They had composed a team but needed a few more runners so Ty recruited myself and our friend Bryant.

They switched the course up since last year and I was hopeful that we would be staying overnight in a place better than "the gravel pit."

On Thursday, Ty, Bryant, Matt (our last minute replacement runner), and I drove down to Vegas where we picked up the other two runners for our van who had flown down instead. After checking out the Ragnar free pasta dinner and the huge crowd, we decided to have our own pasta dinner even if it wasn't free. We wandered over to The Bootlegger Bistro for a tasty dinner with the rest of our team. It didn't disappoint.

After dinner we all wanted to get the hotel and get as much sleep as possible. After all we were going to have to get up at 3:45am the next morning to make our starting time of 6:15am. We stayed at the Hampton Inn out on the north west side of Vegas.

The morning came early. We got ready and headed out expecting our travel time to take under an hour. When we got to our turn off road we found that it was actually closed for the race. Thanks for telling us that Ragnar people!!! So we back tracked and took a slower road to Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort on Mt Charleston to the north west of Las Vegas. We barely made it in time to get all signed in and through the safety training. It was freezing at the start. You can see from my photo below.




















The first 3 legs seemed to fly by super fast and before I knew it I was running my first leg: 5.9 miles with a slight downhill. But I what I wasn't prepared for was the wind! I was running head on into 40 mph winds. I started with a great pace of 8:30 minutes for the first mile but then I realized that I wasn't going to be able to keep up that pace for 6 miles in that wind. So I toned it down and in the end I ended up with an average of 10 minutes per mile. I was disappointed at my speed but given the wind I was pleased. I also had 20 kills (kill = a person passed) and only one super-fit guy that passed me.

When our van finished up our first legs we headed over to the next exchange where we would start running again. It was at the beautiful JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa where we were able to clean up in their bathrooms. Then it was time to stretch our sleeping bags out on their lawn and try to get a little shuteye.

Before long it was time to start running again. We gathered up our equipment and hit the road again. By the time our 2nd runner had finished the sun was setting and we were running at night. The temperature hadn't improved too much. So before my turn I was waiting in the truck as long as possible. After a while I decided to visit the port-a-potty so that I would be ready when Brittany showed up. On the way back to the truck I heard someone yelling "194!" I panicked. That was me! I ran back to the truck banged on the window and waved as I ran down to the exchange where Brittany was waiting for me. I didn't warm up or stretch or anything! In fact as I was running I had to turn my music on and get my iMapMyRun application working. BTW, I tried it on the first leg and somehow lost all my data. :( This 2nd leg was my favorite by far of the three legs. It was peaceful and not too windy as I ran down the road without another runner in sight. That is until I came close to the exchange. I decided to push it hard because I wanted a kill! I barely was able to pass the other team. Below you can see a video of my route if you have the Google Earth plugin or you can view my other data here. I finished this 5.84 mile leg in 50:50 with a 8:42 pace.


After our van was finished with leg 2 we were prepared to roll out our sleeping bags in the dirt and cold when one of our runners suggested we get a hotel. Everyone was quick to agree what a great idea that would be. I was totally in on that too. I would have not slept a wink and would have been super stiff and cold when it was time to start going again. We found a cheap room ($126) at the M Resort and Spa. Most of us went down to a restaurant and grabbed some food before heading back up to the room. Once there I showered and headed to bed. 4 of us on beds and two on the floor. I think we got 2.5 hours sleep before it was time to get up and go again. (Don't worry. We came back to the hotel after our 3rd leg!)

At this point its 1am or 2am. It's pretty cold. Hovering around 40 degrees. Everyone seems to be having good runs. Again I don't want to get out of the car until the last possible minute which is exactly what I do. As Brittany came running up the hill, I hopped out of the car and ran over to the gate. This was my shortest leg, 3.6 miles but also my coldest one by far. I got to mostly run along this nicely lit path through the city where the street lights would come on bright as you came up to each light. That was kind of fun (for a minute or two.) I was wearing shorts (because that's all I brought) and then I had a tank top on with a long sleeve tech t-shirt over that. I had decided from my previous leg that the sweatshirt was too much. Well on this leg even though it was freezing I quickly sweated through the tech t-shirt and began to chill. Ugh. This was a long 3.6 miles! I didn't see another runner until about the last mile. But when I did it gave me renewed energy. After all I knew this was going to be one more kill! You can once again see watch the video below if you have the plugin or you can see my other data here. I finished the 3.6 miles in 35:08 minutes which was about a 9:45 minute pace. Not great but I was spent!


After we finished the last leg it was time for some IHOP where we warmed up and pigged out. When done, we headed back to the M Resort to enjoy our room, beds, and shower for a few more hours. Around 1pm we met up with the other half of our team to run through the finish line, pick up our medal, and buy some merchandise.  It took our team 30 hours and 44 minutes to complete 197.6 miles! It felt good to be done. At least for this time. :)

The Medal

Matt, Brittany, Bryant, Ty, Brian
& Eric

The Whole Trail CHASErs Team

That evening we checked into our hotel, The Signature at MGM, and went dinner at Diego in the MGM. It was delicious if not pricey. $4.50 for a soda! Good things I got at least 4 refills. :) Later we met up with our buddy, Braden, and watched the new James Bond movie, Skyfall. And of course I slept through way too much of it. At least I'll get to see it twice for the first time! :)

Friday, November 02, 2012

Up Next: Vegas Ragnar 2012


Next weekend I will be running my 2nd Ragnar Relay Race in Las Vegas. (Click here for last year's Vegas Ragnar.) After the Big Cottonwood Half Marathon I took a bit of a break from running. Maybe too big a break. In the 6 weeks since that race I have run a total of 7 times! In my defense I was in Africa for over a week. (And no I haven't blogged about that yet!) Having just run a race where I ran 13.1 miles I thought Ragnar was going to be cake. After all my legs where relatively short. When I got from my Africa I decided that it was time to focus on Ragnar. So I went out to their website and checked out my assigned legs. I was surprised to find that they had changed! I now was going to have to run an additional 2.5 miles. Somehow that just seemed like a whole lot more. I buckled in and 5 of the 7 runs since  have been since the Africa trip. I'm feeling much better about the whole thing now since these last runs have been 5 miles long averaging 9 minute miles. I think I've got this! I'm runner 4 in  van 1 with my friends Ty and Bryant. Our team is called Trail CHASErs. (Most of the team is from Chase Bank.) Here are my legs:

Leg 4 - 5.8 Miles

Leg 16 - 5.6 Miles

Leg 28 - 3.5 Miles