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Email TinaFab at: tina_garstad@hotmail.com

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

OMG! What to do for a Ragnar?

Ragnar races are a special breed of relays. I have been lucky to do 3 this year - with Tough Chik and 2 (eek - ultras) with Bondi Band! The ones I have done are point-to-point with 1 (if you are crazy and doing and ultra) or 2 vans. So much fun, but there is a little prep work involved.
 
How do you train?  

You need to prep for the mileage. In my first Ragnar, I had a fair bit of mileage - 18 miles planned. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t have a huge amount of time to prep for Ragnar SoCal in April – only 3 weeks, but I was in the throes of marathon training, so I thought, Oh I will be fiiiine. I was. I had been putting lots of miles on and running 4x a week. Heck, I even added on an extra leg at the end to help out a teammate.

But I did learn that running "doubles" is a good idea. Run two runs a day a few times before the race. And, once I knew I was going to do an Ultra - double the miles, double the fun - I did em on Saturday. As in: I ran Saturday morning, Saturday evening then Sunday morning again! Or any variation thereof. Weeee. Once my mileage got high (and I was running 10 miles plus 10k plus 10k or more) it got tiring, but I swear it is the best bloody training ESPECIALLY for an Ultra. (I was able to step in at the last minute and join an ultra team in September with virtually no issues). Your legs need that training, and so does your head, and the voice that says ‘but I am sooo tired”.

Some folks say get your runs in during the heat of the day, if you aren’t acclimatized to the heat. But I live in Canada, so I say run whenever you can.

And, eat well. ESPECIALLY for ultra teams. Trust me. You don’t want bathroom issues. No junk. No booze (for me) and drink ALL the water. Pamper your body. Get a massage. Keep in fine form. Besides the training part, you gotta roll and stretch (in training to keep away the niggles and ESPECIALLY during a Ragnar race! You are in a van with 6 others for a whole lotta hours! There can be cramping.

Lastly, read the Ragnar Bible. If you have never done a relay, it really does help you get a sense of how the event works. Basiclaly if you do any bigger relay, just read the rule. CRAZY thought, I know. But it  I amazing how many people do not know the rules. Just be prepared, I say.

Now onto Packing. WHAT the hell to pack?

THREE  running outfits (top, sports bra, shorts, socks, whatever YOU run in). Afterwards put the outfit into a gallon-size ziploc bags.  Best idea EVER to do this. I actually “pre-package each outfit into the bag. Saves space and makes grabbing the next clean, dry outfit easy.

A minimum of TWO pairs of shoes.  You have 3 or 6 (crazy ultra talk) legs in 36 hours. You’ll want dry shoes that are not pounded down by your feet from your last run 8 hours ago.
Comfy non-running Clothes to chill or sleep in.   
Recovery Shoes – flipflops/crocs/barefooters – for after the run
Recovery tools – a roller “ball” or stick to roll out and help recovery for your next leg. If you have room pack Mr. Foamie!
Compression – socks or sleeves – your calves will thank you. I wore mine the whole time for each of my races. I love my CEP Compression! And for fun, Bondi makes some great ones too. Though I did change em out to match outfits.

Hydration – a handheld, a belt or a vest. No matter how short a leg is, you NEED water. Especially if it is a long distance or warm out. Seriously.

Favourite Headgear – sunglasses, bondi band, hat/ visor, buff – keep the sun and sweat at bay. Jacket – Either a windbreaker to run in, a jacket for after runs or at night - you will need this.

Blanket – roll it up as a pillow or use for stretching out outside the van.
Accessories - iPod, headphones, sportswatch, race number belt/spi belt, etc
Reflective Gear - you gotta have a reflective vest, head lamp, flashing reflector light

Don't Forget: electronic device chargers, ice packs, KT tape, anti chafe crèmes, ibuprofen


What’s in the Van?

Water. You need a water plan. Your van needs to have enough for your team. My last team (6 of us on Ragnar ADK) consumed 100 bottles in 2 days!

Nutrition. gels, chomps, chews, beans, energybits. Pick your poison and have em ready for EVERY leg. You never know when you might need them. I use Energybits to run with, but in the middle of the night, I take em for a wee bit of energy boost or mental clarity! Find what works for you.

Electrolytes. Yes water is great. but you also need some electrolytes. I love Nuun and Vega. Just make sure you carry it.

Wash Up with Baby Wipes or ShowerPill Athletic Body Wipes. Show your van mates (and yourself) some fresh clean love. trust me. You don’t want to be all nasty in your dried out sweat for 36 hours.

Food - Be prepared. You might not really be able to stop for lunch or dinner. And do you really want junk food? Have some good staples - PB, trail mix, Chocolate Milk, Almond Milk, Protein shake mix, Bread, etc - handy! My favs include anything -Vega - pre and post run rocks!

Snacks – salty, sweet -   I also find it’s a good idea to get a sense of what your team might buy, so you can bring anything else you personally want.  My faves include pretzels, beef jerky, dried fruit!

Van Decorations.  *do this Pre-race- obviously! Many teams decorate their vans — show your team spirit! Team Gear - shirts? skirts? matching gear? A team look is fun  - always good for recognition.

I really love a relay race - all the people, all the cheering!
 #allthefun

I have done several kinds. Point-to-Point, ones that all loop around to a central location, trail, road .... and every one was freaking awesome You suffer together and you laugh your asses off - and make some amazing friends along the way. You cheer other teams on, you find out that you do have what it takes to be a freaking rock star.

What Ragnars have you done?
Got a fav Relay?
Or do you think there could be nothing worse than being in a van with 6 other peeps?
(if so,  you should try it you'd love it)

Wordless Wednesday: Why Ragnar?



Monday, 3 November 2014

Ragnar Vegas - an Ultra Adventure

AGES ago BEFORE I  ran RagnarSoCal in April , I applied to run Ragnar Las Vegas .... (my application is here
Well hot damn. That time has finally come. I have been futzing around and running like a demon and looking for a job (and not writing much in prep for the big adventure)!

The time has finally come!

Tina Fab is HITTING the STRIP! 

 well FIRST we are running our arses off! 

I will be runner 1!! My first ragnar I was runner 12. And amazing experience to bring home the team. And in my last one - in New York- I was the 6th runner in the Ultra team, and finishing that was pretty sweet. In both those races I had decent mileage - 21 miles and then 28 miles.

In Vegas I get to START the party and have over 34 miles to log. My first two legs add up to 12 miles (ummm with a 3800 foot elevation drop)  - coming down Mt Charleston running through Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest. Who knew Vegas had a "mountain" and some snow?  My next set of legs add up to 12.5 miles - starting at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Passing through bonnie Springs Ranch. These 4 legs are not in town or anything. So I am expecting some fantastic scenery. I finish with my last two legs (10 miles) in and around Henderson and the River Mountain Loop Trail! Thinking this is some serious badassery! I have been training with a whole lotta miles and back to back to back runs. I hope I am ready for this...eek.

I have never run that many miles in a two day period. I have come close with my training, but think I am ready to tackle it and remain strong on all the legs. And not die. BONUS! And, it appears only have one leg with an appreciable incline. WHEW!!!

I should introduce you to the team...sponsored by Bondi Band
Inspired by Bond, James Bond. 

This fab design was created by Katie - our teams uber talented designer! 

We are all gonna be Miles Galore.
C'mon...take a Bond Girl ... make em a runner name now...you can do it! 
I am excited to meet (though I already know two of the team) and run with the other FAB members of my team - #BONDiGirls:
Amy (my Tough Chik sister) who can also be found on Twitter and IG
Cherie who blogs at Overactive Blogger and can also be found on Twitter and IG
Camille who blogs at Running with Scissors and can also be found on Twitter and IG
Angela who blogs at Cowgirl Runs and can also be found on Twitter and IG
Katie who can also be found on Twitter and IG and at Chase This Skirt!

Is VEGAS READY for all the FABulous?? 
Is Ragnar?? Is the World??
Oh yes. This is gonna be FREAKING AWESOME!

Oh and remember Donnie - mascot of the #littlebloggybluebirds and Banff Ekiden relay fame?
He is also dreaming of Vegas! My fab pal Cori created this Donnie Masterpiece when she she heard that Ange had seen Donnie in Action at another one of my relays ...and requested he join the team! 
Watch for Donnie's adventures on my Instagram. #donniedoesvegas is gonna trend. 

I would not be doin this race without our amazing sponsors!
So indulge me while I give em a massive shout out:
  • The wonderful Bondi Band folks who have generously sponsored our team entry, hotel, van and some new awesome team gear! Find em also on Twitter and IG
aaaaaand also:
  • ENERGYbits: These little green spirulina pills have been keeping me on the go for a while. I am excited to share and introduce my teammates to being #poweredbybits! 
  • Chase This Skirt: The wonderful Katie has made us awesome skirts that will rock out our look! Find her on FB and Twitter, too! 
  • I am a lover and a regular user of Vega and so pumped they hooking us up with #vegasport and #vegaone products! #fuelyourbetter, indeed!!  Check em out on Twitter and IG.
  • Clif Bar Company have provided us with a whole lotta Bloks, Bars and Mojo for the race. We are totally gonna be able to #meetthemoment with Clif! Find em on Twitter and IG, too.
  • Krave Jerky: One of my fav snacks after a run! yum for protein. Hey, did you know Meb is a spokesperson? Check em out on Twitter or IG
  • Nuun Hydration: Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE me some nuun! So happy they are helping us hydrate. Show em some #nuunlove on Twitter or IG
  • I am a lover and a regular user of Vega and so pumped they are gonna hook us up with some #vegasport and #vegaone products! #fuelyourbetter, indeed!!  Check em out on Twitter and IG.
  • KT Tape is gonna wrap us up in some love, too! Check em out on Twitter and IG.
  • ShowerPill: we are sooo gonna need these awesome athletic body wipes during the 36 hours in the van - no showering and a whole lotta running! Shower em with love on IG or Twitter

  • Thank You SO MUCH to all our fab sponsors for the wonderful product we have been given! 
    We are gonna smell fantastic, be energized, hydrated, taped up if need be, and happily snacking in our van!! 
    Also random point here - in Ragnar Adirondacks I discovered using KT tape on my back to allievate some heat induce bra chafe. BEST idea everrrrr!


    Have you done a Ragnar? Run Vegas?
    Cheer us on! 
    #RagnarLV             #RagnarVegas
    #BONDiGirls           #teambondiband

    Monday, 15 September 2014

    Big News of the Ultra Variety...

    You all know about my love for Ragnar, having done SoCal in April 
    and my ultra plans for the Ragnar Las Vegas this November ..... 

    Weeeeeeellllll.....I have a wee announcement.

    I am off to New Yawk to go join Bondi Band for Ragnar Adirondacks 

    in 10 frigging sleeps

    There are 6 runners. Not the usual 12 -- Hot diggity Day-em!

    Running from Saratoga Springs to Lake Placid. This is some supa dupa exciting news that came about in rather breakneck speed.

    Pretty sweet deal...I was chatting with Bondi about Vegas and all of a sudden I have an invitation to run another Ragnar  - race entry, van rental and hotel all covered. AND some free gear and nutrition and hydration product from sponsors, In the words of Bondi "Just show up and be ready to run! C'mon it'll be fun!" (huh...Bondi my running enabler -- AWESOME!) How could I say no!

    And as luck would have it I happened upon a SUPER cheap flight to Albany, new York at the last minute. And, since I have being running back to back runs to prep for Vegas, so I am ready to ROCK. It is pretty exciting...I have never been to this part of the world. And I think its gonna be beautiful!

    Soooo. Yeh. The running part. I will be the 6th and final runner. I am pretty stoked to know I will run into Lake Placid. With 6 runners instead of 12, we do twice the miles. Essentially I am runner 11 and 12. I'll start with 11.7 miles. Then have an easier leg of a bit over 5 miles and finish with a bit over 10 miles!

    116.30 miles | Hard1.90 miles | Easy2.80 miles | Easy11 miles
    125.40 miles | Moderate2.70 miles | Easy7.50 miles | Hard15.6 miles
    LET THE BADASSERY COMMENCE!!

    I am excited to meet the other FAB members of my team - Bondi Bandits:
    Kimberly who can also be found on Twitter and IG
    Gail who can also be found on Twitter and IG
    Lisa who is found on Twitter and IG
    Jenny (my Tough Chik sister) who is also on Twitter and IG

    Jenny's hubs Adam ... who is also joining us as a runner.
    And Lisa's hubs is our driver.

    Are these men READY for the FABulous?? Is Ragnar?? Is the World??

    Oh yes. This is gonna be FREAKING AWESOME!

    Our Sponsors include:

    • The wonderful Bondi Band folks who have generously sponsored our team entry, hotel, van and some new awesome team gear! Find em also on Twitter and IG
    • Chase This Skirt: The wonderful Katie has made us awesome skirts that will rock out our look! Find her on FB and Twitter, too! 
    • Clif Bar Company have provided us with a whole lotta Bloks, Bars and Mojo for the race. We are totally gonna be able to #meetthemoment with Clif! Find em on Twitter and IG, too.
    • Krave Jerky: One of my fav snacks after a run! yum for protein. Hey, did you know Meb is a spokesperson? Check em out on Twitter or IG
    • ShowerPill: we are sooo gonna need these awesome athletic body wipes during the 36 hours in the van - no showering and a whole lotta running! Shower em with love on IG or Twitter
    • Nuun Hydration: Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE me some nuun! So happy they are helping us hydrate. Show em some #nuunlove on Twitter or IG
    • I am a lover and a regular user of Vega and so pumped they are gonna hook us up with some #vegasport and #vegaone products! #fuelyourbetter, indeed!!  Check em out on Twitter and IG.
    • KT Tape is gonna wrap us up in some love, too! Check em out on Twitter and IG.

    Have you done a Ragnar? Run Adirondacks?
    Cheer us on! 
    #RagnarADR
    #BondiBandits


    New York....its a state of mind innit?



    Sunday, 14 September 2014

    Terry Fox Run - 10Km

    Today was the Terry Fox Run in Calgary.

    I promised the fabulous Jenn I would come run with her - even though I was doing a halfmarathon on the trails the day before. We will do a nice easy run....we say. So while on the trails with Sue, I get her to come with too.

    So after a nice sleep in (til almost 9 am) we head down to Eau Claire to meet Jenn at 10ish!

    Wait...
    I should give you a little info on Terry Fox - in case you aren't so familiar with his story.
    Terry was a young guy who was diagnosed with Cancer. He had lost his leg ... and decided to run across Canada to raise awareness. He had a dream to stop cancer. 
    On April 12, 1980 he started his run in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Dipping his leg in the Atlantic Ocean. With the intention a few months later to finish at the Pacific Ocean. He ran close to 42 kilometres (26 miles) a day  - passing through Canada's Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario. I rremember running home from school and watching the TV for his updates on the news. I was 11 and in grade 6. He was a national hero. Such an an inspiring figure. He made the news EVERY night! We were riveted in joining his journey. 
    However, on September 1st, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles), Terry had to stop running. He was at Thunder Bay, Ontario. The cancer had appeared in his lungs. I remember it being the biggest story EVER that night. WE were all so stunned and saddened. But he would get beter right?? He would finish this and we were gonna see him run! But, less than 2 months later, on June 28, 1981 Terry passed away at the age 22. 
    I remember than very next September we did our first Terry Fox run at school. Thirty-four years later, is legacy still continues...
    Sue and I got to the race start and it was teeming with people. Several hundred came out to celebrate Terry's legacy. Sue signed one of the large memory walls - she was running for her mom, Louise.
    We met Jenn and got ready to hit the pathways! 
    As you can see...sue is the best photobomber EVER.

    As we had run a trail half yesterday, we were taking it easy. And, Jenn, had come prepared to walk. But she gamely took us up on the offer to do a shakeout 10k!


    We had fun taking pics along the way. Sharing our Terry Fox memories. We chatted about Jenn's cancer journey, Sue's mom, Our memories of Terry. He is such a galvanizing figure in our history. Jenn was 4 when Terry came into our living rooms via the TV. I was 11 and Sue was 14. Loved our inspirational run today!
    Besides honouring Terry's memory, we got up and out and got some more miles in. 


      I was in Grade 7 for my first Terry Fox Run! 
    1981 might be a long time ago....feels like yesterday sometimes.

    5Peaks HalfMara

    Earlier this year I did Rundles Revenge - a 25km trail race, 20 out of 25km in the Grizzly Half Ultra...and countless other 5Peaks trail races (with distances varying from 6 to 16km).

    So doing a trail half would be NBD, right? Apparently not. Cause I like mind games. Clearly.

    I left my place at 645 to get Sue. Then we stopped at Starbucks for cawfee (and oatmeal). 
    The trip out to Canmore is always awesome. The views are so thrilling.
    No matter how many times you do it. Its gorgeous! 
    As we arrive it is clear it is super foggy. That's not uncommon this time of year. 
    It will lift, we proclaim. But it is still weird with the mountains hiding! 
    No matter. Sue, Deb, Michelle and I are ready to go.
     Bear spray is checked by the wildlife officers and we are off! 
    Eat Mountains For Breakfast
    The PERFECT shirt for this race!
     Basically the halfmara is a combo of the sport (7.5km) and enduro (14.5) courses of this race. 
    The enduro has about 775metres of elevation and the sport 175metres of elevation! 
    So yeh. #climbyourarseoff
    Since we quite the snow dump earlier this week, there was bound to be snow at the higher elevation.
    Yup. No disappointment there! But it was a lovely, cool 13+C (56F). I realize at this point hey I think this is my 28th half - actually it took a recount - it was my 29th half. But my first official trail half!
    We are now about 6 km into the race. This is the point where the first of the Enduro racers come blazing by us. (They started 30 minutes after us.) And the first 6 mena are on bloody fire. Then the first woman comes in nipping at their heels.This is a great competitive race. 

    And, surprizingly - at this point - it really lights a fire to push on and keep up. These first several miles have just been climbing...and then we hit a wicked downhill. Thank the lord it wasnt super skinny single track at that point. But fear not, there was lots of that too. Some muddy wipeouts and some cheering as runners raced by or stopped to help others who slipped. 

    The snow made it slick, there was lots of mud, the climbing was tough ...
    some single track, some double track ...
     But the views are FRIGGING AMAZING!!! 
     At this point with only 3km left in the Enduro course Sue called out and said we need a selfie!
     It was too awesome to pass up!!
    Spending 30+% longer out (compared to road race halfmara pace) is worth it with these views! 
    We finish the enduro part of the race ahead of where we thought we would be. Michelle and eb are a little behind us, but we know they are cruising along! We keep thinking they are gonna catch us any second. The last 7km of the race is hard. Legs buning, sweatdripping, heart singing kinda miles. A bit of hiking up a few short steep hills. And, along those slick slippy muddy single tracks. We have to stop to hydrate and eat a little gel and lara bar. But we finally know we have less than 2km. We pump up and get our strong back on to get to the finish area. 

    And i thought I called out to Sue lets go! But instead I burn by her a bit right in those last few metres. She still beat me by a second. She was one hellova awesome pacebunny to be sure.
     High 5s all round and we wait for Michelle and Deb! 
    As you can see - by the green grass - the finish area was a lot different than those higher elevations! It was still gorgeous and green. It's a great run for all of us! So much fun. 
    I was pretty chuffed with a 3rd place Athena class finish. Not speedy but steady. 
    And it proved to be a nice ego boost! I got a top three finish in all my 5Peaks races this year! yahoo!

      We finished the race with a lovely lunch, then....CUPCAKES! 
     Best Treat Ever (thanks to Sue for that)

     Then before leaving Canmore, stopped for one last look at Policeman's Creek. Beauty. Fun
     And, we are totally coming back next week for a training run for the Grizzly Ultra 50k Relay!

    Do you trailrace? 
    If not, you should!! 
    We have bears on our trails on occasion - black, brown, grizz.
    What you got on your trails?

    For another great viewpoint of this race check out THIS vid 
    from Get Out There Magazine


    Sunday, 7 September 2014

    Dinos and Princesses

    The first Saturday of September I thought I would do a couple 10k runs...fun PLUS good training. I just underestimated the heat a bit!

    Saturday was a great start...where I ran into the most awesome Martin Parnell and Susan and her hubs (who likes to avoid all photo ops). Check out Sue's amazing race report here!

    The race itself didn't go bad. I went outta the gate too soon. Doing first two k's at a 6 minute pace might NOT have been the brightest plan! So I slowed right down. I was kicked my own ass for thinking nah I don't need to carry water. It was WAY too warm to have no water. DumASSmove for sure. but I just keep trucking along. I slow my pace to a comfortable run...not a push til ya puke pace. I figure Have fun...chill out. Does it always have to be about time, and then being sad cause i am not yet hitting a sub hour 10k? Can't I just STFU and enjoy the weather, run, wind in my hair? Done. Let 'er go and just chill.

    I think it is the halfway point where I see Susan stopped. Waiting for me. ANd i think WHAT? ARE? YOU? DOING?? She is cursing as I approach with pretty much a #fuckitalltobits moment happening. I think I say, "Slum it with me, I am slow but its not so bad". And, we get into a rhythm. Normally it is me who never shuts up. I talk Susan's ear off at work or at teatime. But she is waaaay more talky than me. She keeps piping up with pithy remarks. Asking am I pissing you off. Actually no not at all. I like her saying, "We are doing good". AN she yells out the kilometre markers. HA! Its awesome. It is also funny that  I sometimes do NOT talk. Who knew? We have some burny legs, but we speed up for the last 2 km.

    We come down the stretch wehre we run to the last bit before we hit the track...less than a Km to go. Sue yesll out there's Kev...get your Patsy ON!!! yes...Patsy and Eddie (ABFAB the best Brit show EVER) are channelled. and we rock it...
    And once we hit the finish...it is clear WE WON!!! WE bloody WON!!! 
    Then it was time for refreshment and relaxation after such a massive effort! 
    And time to hang out with Trev, my amazing pal who won the bloody race! 
    Doing this in 69 mins is FAR from a Personal Best. But sometimes its about having a laff. At yourself, and with others. Proud to be getting out there! Good Times indeed! 

    Then Sunday came...time to get the Princess on!! 
    This race was to benefit Children's Wish Foundation. There were a WHOLE lotta princesses around. 

    Especially cute ones like this! 
    My frined Jen and her mom Gabrielle had a lotta fun hanging out and visiting before the race. THe race starts and off we go. I wear a water belt (lesson learned) and just keep a steady pace. I pass a whole lotta princesses along the last few km...as there are many walking the 5k. They are all so sweet. I wish i would have snapped more pics!
    I finish in jsut over 70 minutes.And hang out and wait for Jen and her mom. 
    And try to not eat the treats. But seriously. Macarons. You HAVE to eat them, dammit. 
    It's for the kids. So shove em in yer gob!!! oh yes....they were DELISH I will have you know! 


    We had a GREAT time...and looked FAB doing it. 

    After the run... I felt a little guilty at home...thinking I still should have run a few more miles...
    So I swigged back my yummy David's Tea (they filled my water bottle with their fab Pink Lemonade flavour) and got my arse outside. Swigged back some water and energy bits and went out for 40 more minutes.



    A great weekend of back to back training indeed!!