Ragnar Northwest Passage 2015

Last weekend I ran Ragnar Northwest Passage! What a great adventure!

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A few months ago I said “yes, I’m going” to the race on Facebook and planned to find a team either through local running groups or on the FB event page where people often try to piece together teams. Within a few hours, my college roommate emailed me that her husband’s team of friends was traveling to the race (they live all over and last year did Cape Cod) and needed another member for the girls’ van. It made the whole thing super easy and everyone on the team was so great!

I wanted to do the race as a fun way to see my new state. The route starts at the Canada border in Blaine, goes down into Burlington, across Deception Pass and down to the south end of Whidbey Island ending in Langley. My first leg was six miles through Bellingham, which consisted of the cute downtown area, but also stoplights and then freeway overpasses, so it wasn’t my favorite, but that’s where the race photographer caught me, so of course I was all smiles. Also, I never run with a water bottle and thought with a few stops from the van for water, I’d be okay, but my teammates knew better and loaned me one of theirs for my longer runs. I’ll be stopping over at REI soon for my own!

Leg #1

My second leg was eight miles of rural roads in Mount Vernon run in the middle of the night, so you know Children of the Corn, kidnappers, urban legends, Hills Have Eyes type stuff. Again, my team was to the rescue stopping in front of a creepy-ass gas station so I didn’t even know I had run by it until they told me about it later. They kept their eyes on me for most of the first few miles, but I actually felt pretty comfortable and didn’t mind the solitude of the cool, dark miles. At the very end I saw a few runners far ahead of me (yay taillights) but yeah, otherwise, it was quite isolated. Finally, my last leg was four miles of rolling hills on my dead legs, but with gorgeous water and mountain views in Coupeville.

Last leg's view

Last leg’s view of Mount Baker

The team captain plotted out the runner numbers maybe about a month ago, so when I learned I had 18 miles, I stepped up my training a bit and felt really good leading up to the race. I also really think working out at Orangetheory helped so much. I am not good about doing strength or intervals or aggressive hill training  on my own and the race hills were A.GGRESS.IVE. but I could handle them because OTF makes me do those things even when I don’t feel like it!

I was not, however, prepared for the heat. The team (Chafing the Dream, LLC, btw) picked this Ragnar because the average temps should have been in the 60s, but Washington is in the middle of a long, warm, dry summer and during our day runs, it was high 70s (+ direct sun + those hills). When the boys’ van did their final runs, it was about 85. Eek. Part of what got me through it was thinking about how many people would have died if it had been run in Arizona in July. Comforting, right? Basically, I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to say it’s hot because my desert dwelling friends and fam are dealing with so much worse! Plus, it did get cool enough at night that our girls’ van yetis established themselves as the best idea ever.

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Yes, we wore them into a store. Ragnarians know no shame.

When our team decided who was running which leg we also got our start time. 11:30am. Hmmm. At first I thought that meant we were fast, but with a projected overall pace of 9:15, we were kind of decidedly average. We finished in about 31 hours and 22 minutes, which was a little slower than expected (thank you hills, heat, “food poisoning” aka a boy deciding to eat brisket in between legs). Put those things together and we were running the race pretty much on our own.

We started with a few of the actually fast teams and kept up for a bit, but I think I saw about 4 other runners on all of my legs. Total. At the major exchanges we saw a few more teams, but it was really lacking the Ragnar feel unfortunately. We definitely got good girl time and fun van time, so that was Ragnarish and overall it was a lot of fun!

Start line girls' van selfie

Start line girls’ van selfie

And I was right about it being a great way to explore! Washington is gorgeous and I loved seeing parts of it I may not have seen otherwise and also seeing other people see it and thinking, yep, that’s pretty much why I moved here…northwest is best!

Teammates at an exchange point

Teammates loving the view at an exchange point

Since we finished pretty late, there was a crazy line to get on the ferry to Mukilteo so we drove around, basically the route we had run and we got to cross Deception Pass at the very end of the sunset. The night before we had driven it in total darkness. It was so beautiful!

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And then I slept. Glorious sleep in my own bed and it was amazing.

Now I’m not sure what I’m training for, but I know I want to keep up my running and keep exploring my beautiful new home state! And/or other great places in another Ragnar!

Our awesome team captain, Julie, put together this recap video with footage from GoPros in both the vans. Watch til the end, I’m sure you’ll find it quite educational. I love watching it and reliving the fun weekend! (She’s a blogger too! Check out her blog, Diving Into the Gene Pool.)

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R4L (Ragnar For Life)

As I’ve said, my attitude going into Ragnar was not optimal, BUT I switched from “just doing it for the experience” to R4L so damn fast. As a van, we started making mental notes of what to do next time to make it even better. Here are my tips based on what we did that worked, what we saw other teams doing or what we think would work better for next time:

1. Pack less. I used less than half of what I packed. I gave into being dirty and comfy very quickly. You don’t really need many “in-between” clothes because your running clothes for your next leg are fine. Also, blankets are perfectly acceptable attire. Even if they are stinky. Our van was overflowing with STUFF and we could have made do with a lot less.

2. Have a dedicated van driver. Nicole’s husband Lance was invaluable. He drove the entire time, allowing us to just focus on running, sleeping if we could and laughing until we cried at stuff that probably was not all that funny. He knew exactly where we were and where we were going, calculated our paces and found us food. We talked about how things could have gone south very quickly if we had to worry about driving.

3. Pack a towel. Okay, I didn’t totally give into being dirty and I did donate $3 to shower at our halfway point. However, I didn’t have a towel and the Anthem Community Center is no Lifetime Fitness. I used my pillow case. Don’tjudgeme.

4. Tag other vans – with magnets, a decided upon logo, other vans’ decorations. It’s a thing.

5. Bring a camera. I charged my camera battery for the occasion and then left it still charging in my kitchen. I had my phone and was able to take a lot of pics and get them on social media quickly, but I would have loved to document with more and a real camera.

6. Keep a body count. Ragnar is fun, but being somewhat competitive and trying to pass other runners is fun too. I can get behind a race that encourages keeping a running tally.

Body Count

7. Text your mom after your legs so she knows you didn’t get eaten by coyotes and then she’ll make you cookies for the end.

8. As much as our team loves sweets, we didn’t eat many on the road. I think I had one Oreo the whole time. Stomachs are sensitive with the little amount of sleep you get, so sticking to real race fuel is probably the best option.

8. Train. Duh. I could have handled my legs a little bit better if I had worked in some hills and a few more two-a-days.

9. Plan to stick around at the finisher’s festival. You earned it. But after that, don’t plan on doing anything for two days after the race. Your brain and body won’t work.

10. Don’t have too many cooks in the kitchen. We had one amazing captain who planned everything. Nicole got us all organized and kept us informed of everything that was going on. Other people helped with shirts and vans and Ragnar Eve plans, but knowing we were in great hands, I stepped back and let everything be taken care of.

My Ragnar Confession

I have a confession to make. I was excited about Ragnar when we started making the plans (somewhere back in October?), but as it crept up, my excitement started to wane and I actually got a little anxious about the whole thing.

Priorities shifted, I ran more races than I have in past years, and this is about the point in running season where I feel a little burnt out anyway, an injury popped up and derailed my training further.

I was assigned to be runner #6 and my legs were all about 5 miles, which felt totally manageable, so I was never concerned about being able to complete them and do decently well. I was, however, a little concerned about some of the legs in terms of safety (Ragnar has had a few deaths, including an Arizona high schooler a few years ago).

I think my nerves mostly came up out of fear of the unknown.

You can read the race bible, you can read blog recaps, but you don’t know what Ragnar is until you do it. Before you do it,  you can only imagine the running, the lack of sleep, the cramped quarters might actually be awful.

It’s not. Well, okay, it probably still could be (in fact, my van talked about all the ways things could have gone horribly wrong), but my experience was not the awful I was worried about and now I think it’s funny how apprehensive I was about it.

In the week before, we lost three runners due to illness or injury, but it worked out for the best. We threw in last-minute replacements and our team was fantastic just the way it ended up being.

Part of my anxiety came from just being a socially anxious person in general. I like my alone time and I’m shy around new people and the thought of relying on mostly strangers, having them rely on me and being stuck in a van with them did not sound like a good time.

I kept telling myself (and any non-runners who could not comprehend the race in general) that I was just doing it for the experience, to see what it’s like and to bucket list it.

That changed so fast.

Ragnar is like Burning Man meets a marathon meets one of those Disneyland turnaround trips you do when you’re in high school. So, in a word, awesome.

The running part, as I said, was never a huge concern anyway. I got my legs done and everyone on the team just wanted to do their best and have their teammates do the same. It is a little strange to be the one running because in that moment, you think you’re the sole reason everyone’s out in the desert anyway. You’re not.

Everyone’s having a great time cheering you on or sleeping or laughing until they cry. Yeah, there’s running, but it’s not so serious. At least on our team, it wasn’t, and maybe that’s why we worked. To the boys high school team who kicked our butt and won the whole thing, yeah, maybe they were a little more hardcore about it.

My routes were all straight shots, so I didn’t have to worry about getting lost (there seemed to be an awful lot of info about that at the meetings). The routes felt safer than I was imagining and for the most part, you’re in sight of your van or another team’s and someone is looking out for you. Once I posted my runner’s view picture to Facebook, my mom, who was maybe more nervous than I was, said she felt better about the whole thing. The vans were hyperaware and the non-vans were probably hyperaware once they saw all the vans and runners. Safety gear does wonders too.

Runner with and without safety gear from 150 feet.

Runner with and without safety gear from 150 feet.

I LOVE sleep and I hate being tired. On a normal night, by 8:30 my eyes are HEAVY and I’m done. That was not going to fly during Ragnar, but it was okay. I slept four hours on Thursday night before we left, a few cat naps in the van and a little bit at the longer exchanges, but I wasn’t as tired as I thought I’d be. The group energy keeps you going. In the grand scheme, 40ish hours isn’t all that bad to be mostly awake.

Yes, it was cramped. We had a mini van and seven people in it, so unless someone was out running, that’s one seat per butt. And then our stuff! It was everywhere, it got stepped on and dug through by people who a day ago were practically strangers, it started to smell. It was all okay.

As for my stranger danger apprehension, I got over it. We had the best group in our van and this is really what made the race. We may not have all known everyone’s names (haha), but that was irrelevant. We talked, we laughed, we cheered. I was able to be myself and it was FUN.

That would be snow on our spring training fields two days before Ragnar.

That would be snow on our spring training fields two days before Ragnar.

If there had to be a WORST part of the experience, I guess I’d say it was the cold. Phoenix got SNOW two days before the race and it had started warming up, but was still chilly and windy at a lot of the overnight and early morning exchanges. I hate being cold, but really it was only for a few minutes while switching runners and my legs were not all that cold, so it’s really the best worst there could be.

Making an effort to just curb my anxieties and expectations and just experience it probably helped immensely. After last weekend, it’s not just a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it’s something I plan to do again and again!

#ragnarproblems

When you explain what Ragnar is, you get blank stares.

In the hour after your first leg, you go from “never again” to “when’s the next one?”

Your six new best friends > sleep.

Your Instagram feed BLOWS UP.

You can’t decide if you like your van’s running time or downtime more.

You start to think Port-A-Potties aren’t a bad option and assume they’re all decent and well-stocked.

Yelling to your runner that “everyone else looks like shit too” is the welcomed encouragement she needs.

Sleeping in fields, on a basketball court and scrunched in a van are fantastic ideas.

You’re impressed that the satellite station your van is listening to hasn’t repeated a song yet. And then it does.

You look damn good in a safety vest.

That moment when you figure out how long it’s been since your last real meal and you realize what you’ve been subsisting on in that time.

Safety flags = active release therapy.

Your drive home is lonely and you keep looking for runners and vans.

They don’t allow you to drink during the race, but you swear you feel hungover for the next two days.

Ragnar del Sol 2013

I’m mostly caught up on sleep and ready to discuss Ragnar. What a weekend! Ragnar is a 200-mile relay race run by teams of 12 runners (or 6, known as ultra teams…or fewer, known as crazy assholes) over two days.

Start Team

Our team – Run to the desert?! We thought you said dessert! or Team Dessert for short – started with our fearless leader, Nicole, taking the first leg at 5:30am (ALL of her legs were dark and cold…she’s a rockstar and looks good in that safety gear)! Both vans went to the start line to cheer her on and then figure it out from there. Van #1 (my van) had two runners that had done relays before, including del Sol last year, so that helped immensely and Nicole and her husband/our van driver, Lance, were all sorts of organized and prepared, so things actually went smoothly from the beginning.

Start

We leapfrogged our way south from Wickenburg. I was the last runner in van #1 (the ice cream van) and my leg was going to take us almost into Tonopah, the southwestern most point before van #2 (the cupcake van) headed back north to Surprise.

My leg #1/race leg #6 – 4.6 miles | Moderate

By this point, I had watched everyone in my van take their turn and after all the hurry up and wait, I was ready to go. I knew how the beginning exchange would go, I told my team my support request (a mid-point water stop please), and I knew how the end exchange would go, so I just wanted to GO!

Because of that, I might have started with too much enthusiasm (8:34 first mile) and I got a stitch in my side that did not want to play nice, so I walked a little bit to try to ease it (10:06 second mile, 10:21 third mile), tried to breathe into it and then just sucked it up and ran since it was a short leg (9:49 fourth mile). The route was a pretty dusty road, but it was mostly flat. As I looked around, I couldn’t think of any other place I’d rather be, but I did recognize how nuts spending a weekend like this might seem to non-runners!

Leg #1

My only real turn was onto Indian School (soooo far from the Indian School that I know) and at that point, the other teams’ runners #7 were coming back out from the exchange. It was the first exchange where both vans were going to be there and after I finished, we’d be done and able to eat and rest…if that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is!

I knew she was coming right back out toward me, but I just about ran into her thinking she was going to move in the same direction!

I knew she was coming right back out toward me, but I just about ran into her thinking she was going to move in the same direction!

The Downtime

Having successfully handed the slap bracelet off to Betty, the ice cream van was free to do what we wanted (except drink, cross the road without the flag or sleep on the ground in the exchange parking lots), so we made our way up toward our next exchange and had lunch at Macayo’s before posting up at the high school.

This happened to be where our awesome volunteers, Emily and Robin, were. Every team has to provide three volunteers to participate in the race and they were assigned to this major exchange, but unfortunately, the stop was overflowing with volunteers, but the runners weren’t coming in for a while, so there wasn’t much for them to do, but it was good to see them and be able to chat for a bit.

Rest AreaKarla was lucky runner #9 in the cupcake van and had the longest leg in Ragnar history during this break for the ice cream van. She ran OVER the distance of a half-marathon! The other runners had decent distances during their first shot as well, so we had a lot of time at the high school. There was sleeping in a field – it was windy, but the sun felt amazing and it was great – I got some work done, read a little bit and then for some reason with a few hours still left, we all just sat in the van in the parking lot. We had seven people in a minivan, so when everyone and all their stuff was in the van, we were packed to the brim. I think it’s safe to say we liked each other.

Finally we got word then Jenn was starting her short first leg. If I thought the hurry up and wait of being runner #6 was bad, I can’t imagine being runner #12 and not actually running until over 12 hours into the race, but yay, we were going to see the cupcake runners again and we were going to run again!

Nicole started us off for our second set and we pretty much ran through the night, through the desert (Melissa saw coyotes!) and quite a few unsupported legs, but that’s what runners do, right?! There was some sleeping, but not nearly enough. There was also some snacking. It would have been easy to get into a “road trip” mindset and eat junk, but I was trying to stay smart and remember I was fueling a run. I stuck to peanut butter and bagels, Shot Blocks and Starbucks Double Shots a few runners before my turn and lots of water, trying to avoid any more cramps on my legs.

My leg #2/race leg #18 – 5.7 miles | Hard

My second leg was a dark cloud looming over me ever since we were assigned our positions. It would be in the middle of the night (I started about 1 a.m.) and van support was not allowed for the last four miles. I imagined I would be too cold to move out of the way of a swerving drunk driver and when he left me on the side of the road, the coyotes would come in and finish me off. Power of positive thinking, right?

Perhaps it was because of my low expectations that it was absolutely my favorite leg. I was feeling it.

My foot felt cramped on my first run, but when I stopped I realized what it actually was…a very familiar feeling that came on after my IronGirl 10-miler that was diagnosed as peroneal tendonitis, but this time it was the other foot! Grr. And this time, the feeling actually hung around even when I wasn’t on it, but wasn’t as debilitating as it had been in my left foot and it didn’t hurt me too much on this leg.

I ran the entire thing, keeping an average of 9:40 pace and blew by my van support at the two mile mark, partially because it was so damn dark I couldn’t tell if it was actually Lance on the side of the road and partially because I was good to keep going.

My plan was to run as fast as I could so I could get back in the van and I pretty much did. The run was with traffic along the frontage road to a major highway either on the small road shoulder or on the rocky, muddy and uneven ground, so it still did feel a little unsafe. I took out my street side earbud and just kept on trucking.

I passed the most people on this leg – 11 in total, including two right at the very end who were trying to hold me off, and then said a dirty word when I buzzed past them just before the exchange. That’s fun. Because it was dark and because they had announced us in a different order than we actually came in at, my next runner actually grabbed the other woman’s bracelet! We got it straightened out and the rest of the cupcake van was there to greet me…we don’t need to discuss where I had seen my van while I was out running and why they were a little delayed getting to my finish line coughjackintheboxcough. The cupcake van took off to get to their next exchange and my van got to rest and clean up at the Anthem Community Center.

The Downtime

I liked that this stop was right after my run and I donated $3 to take a shower at the center. It definitely helped me feel like I hadn’t been awake for 24 hours driving in a van and running. I put on some comfy clothes, grabbed my pillow, my book and a Rockin’ Refuel (the only mistake I made the entire trip, my tummy paid for that one). My teammates were half sleeping in the van and half on the gym floor, but I didn’t have a sleeping bag (okay, perhaps another mistake) and my stinky-ass blanket had been commandeered in the van (which, I didn’t really mind considering it was so rank), but I had my pillow and was able to find a spot on a couch.

This downtime was a little shorter, so before long, I was wandering around the gym looking for my teammates and we took off about 4 a.m. to get to our next exchange in Cave Creek.

The last legs for our van were pretty tough to begin with and then adding in the lack of sleep and amount of running we’d already done, they were extra hard. By this point, we were getting a little punchy, everything was hilarious, particularly YouTube videos and Grumpy Cat.

Grumpy Cat

Your legs hurt? Good.

The end of each runner’s leg was a celebration because they were DONE and we were one runner closer to being DONE (and DONE = rest, eat, party). Finally, it was my turn again and time to wrap it up for the ice cream van.

My leg #3/race leg #30 – 5.5 miles | Moderate

This leg took our team from Rio Verde down into Fountain Hills and because of that location, was all short rolling hills. I ran most of them, but did walk a little. About a mile in, I could really have laid down right there and taken a nap, but we were so close, I had to keep going. I made the walking productive by texting my van to ask for Shot Blocks at my water point because I realized I had forgotten to have some before I started and figured my muscles could use a little fuel. Then I realized Nicole’s phone wasn’t getting great reception, but she got the message and they met me at mile 3 with both water and the Blocks. Fantastic!

Water

Driver Lance had skill as a waterboy as well.

It was all downhill mileage-wise from there. Hill-wise, it was actually all downhill and uphill and downhill and uphill from there, but I started to feel better and came in right about a 10-minute pace.

The Downtime

Our vans split from the exchange again pretty quickly, Cupcake had to go get their runner and Ice Cream was headed to round up our cars and get some lunch at Pita Jungle before going to the finish line at Tempe Beach Park (gosh, I’ve certainly been there an awful lot lately). We all changed into our awesome team shirts, ready to cross the line together.

The decision to sit down to wait was not taken lightly. There was much consideration as to whether we'd actually be able to get up - three runs in a day and a half will make you a little sore!

The decision to sit down to wait was not taken lightly. There was much consideration as to whether we’d actually be able to get up – three runs in a day and a half will make you a little sore!

The Finish Line

We got word that Jenn had started her leg and the other van was on their way. Our van’s plan was to jump in front of Ms. Speedy so we could keep up in our sore state, but she had her eyes on the prize and we finished in 34 HOURS 53 minutes and 57 seconds. Damn, that’s pretty badass.

Team End

Nicole, Lara, Betty, Karla, Jenn, Jamie
Jenna, Me, Stacey, Melissa, Tara, Chris

We were a rag tag group of sore, tired and stinky ladies, but for me at least, the finish gave me a little boost of energy to keep me going for a little bit longer. Nicole and I got our dollar beers and Robin and Emily came down too! We shopped a bit and then when the sun went down pretty quickly, we decided to call it a well-earned night.

Beer

I picked up my pup from his Grandma’s and went home to crash by about 8 p.m. Glorious.

The next day, after Rigo’s 5k, I had an appointment to show a client some homes that got pushed back because he was “hungover.” I really wanted to say, “Hey dude, that’s cool, we all make stupid decisions. I ran a 35-hour relay race over the past two days and have a total Ragnar hangover.” And I did…I was tired, my whole body hurt, including my hair and I knew I wouldn’t be fully functioning for a few more days, but it was so worth it!

Moving to Seattle, kthanksbye!

PinnacleWe had a rainy Pacific Northwest-type weekend here in the Valley of the Sun and it was pretty spectacular! I got in an overcast hike at Pinnacle Peak on Thursday and was supposed to hike again with a long-lost friend on Friday evening, but she got called in to work an extra night shift, so when I got off work at 3:00, I ran six miles – two and a half with the wonder dog then three and a half on my own – before the rain started, so I suppose the canceled hike was for the best anyway!

On Saturday, I went to my regular yoga class, but it was my first time there since it got switched from Vinyasa Flow to Slow Burn, which focuses on slowing down the traditional vinyasa flow in an unheated room. I enjoyed the format and it just flew by!

TKMy planned open house was canceled because of the rain, so on the way home from the gym, I stopped at Target to get a Blu Ray player for my Netflix account.  Holy life-changing. That’s sad, right? Oh well, I stand by it. I got very cozy with Blair, Serena, Chuck, Nate and Lonely Boy this weekend. Don’t worry, I still got a lot of work done too and I even had some fun with real friends!

sleevesOn Sunday the rain eased up so I took off for a morning run, two miles with Rigo (he’s a monster), then three on my own. I got to wear my new running sleeves – a stocking stuffer from my now-a-runner Momma (she gets it). They were pretty great. Like being all cuddled up in bed with your foot sticking out. Ahhh.

The run was perfection, which is why I’m moving to Seattle. Obviously my running mojo comes from clouds and cool weather. Whenever it rains, my music of choice is chill singer-songwriter type stuff, so I switched on Matt White Pandora, which I thought would be too slow, but it was pretty perfect and just allowed me to zone out and go. It was my fastest run in a long time – just over 46 minutes and a 9:13 pace!

The clear day was perfect for a second attempt at an open house and it was a success! Desert dwellers don’t do well with rain, so everyone who felt cooped up on Saturday came out to play on Sunday! I actually stayed an hour longer than I expected because the traffic was just so consistent!

When I wrapped up and ran around picking up my signs – maybe my least favorite part of the job! – I gave myself a half hour and a few Shot Blocks before heading out for…RUN #2. Can you believe it?! I barely can.

I’ve heard that mimicking the Ragnar schedule with two-a-days, even followed by a morning run the next day, is very important to help you prepare. With the race less than a month away now, it’s time to get serious! I was about 60% feeling it, but I’m sure it will be a lot easier with 11 awesome women cheering me on. I planned for another five miles, but with a slightly tweaked ankle, some knotty knees and ominous dark skies, I opted for three and they felt great too! By the time I showered and dressed, it was pouring again!

I’m so glad it cleared up for a great Sunday and then that the rain came back for a lazy Sunday night of more Gossip Girl with a break for Downton Abbey —-> OMG.

How did you sweat this weekend? What’s your ideal running weather? Do you change your music mood based on the weather?

January (10th) Joiner

Sometimes I do loads of laundry that are just workout clothes, but for the most part, I just throw them in with everything else (regardless of color even, shh, don’t tell my mom). Then, when I fold, at least 1/3 of the load gets put in my workout drawer. Yesterday, though? There was one outfit (minus socks) and the shirt, actually, is a super soft Crossfit tee I got as a gift that I wore to bed instead of actually to Crossfit.

I think I’m doing 2013 wrong.

I got in some yoga and swimming and spinning last week, but for the most part, I was busy and then I got a touch of death on Saturday. Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but I never get sick and I got sick and even took my first sick day on Tuesday. Fortunately since then, I’ve been sleeping though the night and can mostly breathe out of my nose again!

I’m certain having a generally healthy lifestyle not only helped me not get sick for most of the season, but it helped me get better faster!

I’m itching to get back to training, so this morning  I packed up my lonely, little, clean workout outfit and headed to the gym after work to spend a little time with the treadmill to sweat out the rest of the death.

Confession: Before today, I hadn’t run since IronGirl. I’ve been keeping this on the DL because the only 2013 race on my calendar is RAGNAR! I am so excited about joining a team with fellow Arizona bloggers and getting to experience the race. We’re in it to finish and have fun, so I wasn’t scared to admit if I was just being lazy, but I wasn’t just being lazy.

I stopped running because after IronGirl, my foot (pinky toe side, middle, underneath) HURT! So much so that I didn’t want to run on it, so much so that it interfered with my everyday life, which is my signal to get it checked out.

So, I went to Dr. Dean at the Arizona Sports Medicine Center (he’s a runner, he gets it) and he suggested it was either tendonitis or…dun dun dun…a stress fracture, which was my big concern. It was still too early to tell from x-rays, so I was told to do everything under the sun that wasn’t running and come back in two weeks.

After a week, it actually started to feel better, only flaring up once after too much shopping (can you imagine such a thing?) and once after playing with my pup.

The second x-rays looked the same as the first, so Dr. Dean diagnosed peroneal tendonitis, likely caused from the slope of the road in Fountain Hills and said that I could go to physical therapy or just amp up my running and see how it goes. Since it was already feeling better, I opted for just going for it. Then the touch of death thing happened and that brings us again to today.

I ran two miles and the sweat was definitely a sweating out the death sweat, but I felt good and kept a good stride and my Taylor Swift dance party Pandora station lasted on just 10% battery. My foot? Currently being iced, so we’ll see how it goes. My mental block from the intimidation of not running for so long? Gone.

And now I’m ready to do 2013 right.