My Life as a Dog

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Vegas Ragnar 2013 Review

I had signed up for the Las Vegas Ragnar 2013 back in February of 2013. We had a committed van of 6. Well a lot can happen in 10 months. I ended up getting treated for a stress fracture in my left hip that required I not run for at least 2 months. In July I started back running but I tried to ramp up slowly so as to not end up with another stress fracture or something worse. For a few months I was just running for once a week and only 3 miles. By mid September I decided that if I was going to run a Ragnar in November I had better step up my game. I started running multiple times a week and worked my way up to running 5 miles at a time just a few times. So you can imagine that I wasn't super confident or overly prepared for this relay. Fortunately I was one of the runners with the shortest total distances. I was runner 3 in van 1. Here are the legs that I ran:

Leg 3 | 5.5 Miles | Moderate
My first leg went relatively well. I started around 11 AM and finished my first mile in 7 minutes. It helped that it was downhill and I had the adrenaline flowing. I passed several other runners and got passed a few times. Towards the the end I decided that it was time to finally pass this runner that I had kept playing leap-frog with. As I sped up and passed her I suddenly started feeling nauseous. This had never happened to me in a race and before I knew it was at the side of the road puking. I pulled myself together and finished my leg with what I considered to be a good time for me all considered. It took me 50:45 minutes to run 5.5 miles. That's almost an 9 minute mile. Oh and I did end up with a nice big blister on the pad of my left foot. You can see more details of my run on Nike+.

After our van completed legs 1-6, we decided to get something to eat for lunch. We went to Panera Bread since it was near the next exchange and we weren't going to have a ton of time. I ordered squash soup, half a turkey sandwich, an apple, and a cookie. As soon as I finished eating, I realized that I was not feeling well at all. I tried visiting the bathroom hoping that it would help. I also tried drinking more water to get hydrated. Finally I took some Advil. It kind of helped the headache but again I was feeling nauseous. We wondered around a few stores while waiting for our turn to run. I was still feeling sick when we moved on over to the actual exchange. By this time it was starting to get dark. I went with Cody, Kimi, and Kilee into REI next to the exchange. Again I tried the bathroom but this time when I finished I decided that I needed to throw up once again. This finally started to give the relief that I needed. I think that I must have had a touch of food poisoning. When we got back to the car, Braden, had gone and had his blisters treated at the first aid tent. I decided that I should do the same. Mine had not burst so the medic, put a little gel pack for cushion and some gauze on the pad of my foot and wrapped it loosely with tape. I'm so glad I did that because it totally save me from it getting bigger and bursting.

Leg 15 | 2.1 Miles | Easy
By the time my second leg was to begin it was pretty dark and cold. It was around 7 or 8 pm. This year I was prepared. The 2.1 mile run through this neighborhood went much better than I was expecting after eating lunch. The first hill felt much more uphill than I was expecting but now that I look at the map, I should have known. Maybe it was the fact that my first leg was very downhill that made this little climb feel bigger than it was. All in all I was glad I finished with an average of under 10 minute miles. That was my goal coming in to this. I ran 2.1 miles in 20:45 minutes. You can see more details of my run on Nike+.

Before we all had to run again, we went back to our super nice hotel on the strip for a shower and a little sleep. I think I got maybe 2 hours or so before it was time to get back up. But it was so worth it! Thanks to our friend Erik who hooked us up at Hilton Grand Vacations on The Strip. By 1:30 AM it was time to head out to the next exchange.

Leg 27 | 4.0 Miles | Moderate
By the time my third leg had come, I had lost all my adrenaline but I knew that this was it for me. I just had to finish this and then I was done! On my second leg, I think I had worn too many warm clothes. So on this leg I just wore my running tights, a t-shirt, and a long sleeve tech shirt but this time I added gloves. It was a good combo. Again I felt alright about my time. I ran 4.0 miles in 37:47 minutes with an average pace just under 10 minute miles. You can see more details of my run on Nike+.

When we handed off to the other van we headed back to the hotel again for showers and sleep. This time I actually got 3 or 4 hours sleep. This way we were able to show up to the finish line meeting the other half of our team looking all fresh and dewy for photos. Not too mention that we smelled a whole lot better. :)

I not only picked up my Las Vegas medal but I also earned a "Deuces Wild" medal because I had run another Ragnar (Del Sol) this year. Had I ran the Wasatch Back Ragnar as planned I would have picked up a third "Saints and Sinners" medal. :(

Our team placed 17th out of 338 in our division. We placed 36th out of 491 overall. Not too shabby!

Team: Yur Mom Runs Ragnar
Van 1: Bryant, Braden, Brian, Cody, Kilee, & Kimi
That night we had slept enough that we had energy to go out and have some fun. My buddy, Nate, and some friends were in Vegas for the night before they flew out to Oahu. We managed to get to hang out and see a show on The Strip thanks to Cody's connections.

Cody, Brian, Erin, Nate, & Lindsay


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Peru / Panama 2013 - Machu Picchu

Saturday, Sept 7

We got up nice and early this morning, hopped on our bus, and rode out of town a ways to where we caught the train heading towards Machu Picchu, the main draw of the trip. The train was way nicer than I was imagining. When I went to board the train the guy pictured above said to me, "You're hot." I was a little taken back before I realized that I was wearing a tank top and shorts while he was fully dressed and wearing an overcoat too. Ah ha! Yes, I'm hot. :)

The ride to Machu Picchu was quite spectacular! The canyon was deep with tall mountains on both sides. We also were able to catch glimpses of the snow-capped Andes mountain range and the Urubamba River which we followed. During the ride our car attendants served us meals since we on the train for about 4 hours. Once we reached the town at the bottom of the mountain by Machu Picchu we got out and hopped on a bus that then went through a bunch of switch backs up  dirt road until we reached Machu Picchu. What surprised me most was that at the top there was a hotel and two restaurants. Granted the hotel was not large but still it was surprising. Our guides took us on a tour the ruins pointing out lots of interesting facts. Then it was time to get some lunch. We opted for the cafe over the buffet. I bought a Machu Picchu burger combo for only $18 USD. The big fountain Diet Coke with ice was so worth it! After lunch we were on our own for a few hours to explore. Ty, Bryant, and I joined our new-found friends, Alan and Melissa for a hike around Machu Picchu to the Inka Bridge. It wasn't a very long hike but the drop off along the trail was crazy. There wasn't any railing or anything. We signed in on a book saying that we were going on the hike. We heard that if you weren't back in a certain time that they would come looking for you. We couldn't actually get to the real "bridge" because they block off the trail. You can see it in the photos below. The best time to there was after the place started to clear out. We were towards the first of the groups to get up there and towards the last to get out. It was much easier to get photos without people in it. What could have made this better? Just having time to do more hiking. I would have like to hike over to the Sun Gate or even better to hike up Huayna Picchu, the mountain across from Machu Picchu with more ruins on it.

Later in the afternoon had to hop on the bus back down the mountain where we had a little time for shopping before we boarded the train and headed back to Cusco. On the train ride back we were again fed and provided with a "fashion show" trying to sell us alpaca goods. The part of our group who did the 4 day hike of the Inka trail to Machu Picchu joined us. I kind of wished that I had known that option before we went but actually I'm glad that I didn't do the hike because I would have missed out on so much of the other sights. After the train we hopped back on our bus and headed back to the hotel. What a day! I do have to say that Machu Picchu is much more spectacular than you can get from photos. I kept on taking photos in an attempt to show you better what its like but I still think I missed capturing it all.