Just In Case You Forgot…

Hi everyone!  Since things have been super busy with the Her Tern Half for the past 13 weeks I realize that there are some things that may have been overlooked in my life.  Like this:

ragnar colorado in training

Just in case you forgot/somehow missed it, I’m running my very first Ragnar Relay NEXT WEEKEND in Colorado!  In fact, I’m leaving for Denver tomorrow morning!  I’ll be busy from Friday through Wednesday at a work conference, and then I’ll meet up with my teammates on Thursday before running 200ish miles on Friday and Saturday with 12 total strangers through crazy high elevation and awesome mountain views.  And then I get back to Anchorage at midnight on Sunday.  Here’s the FAQs on the situation:


Have I trained for this at all?  Um, not really.  No two-a-days or running at crazy hours of the night.  All I’m doing to prepare for this is banking on the fact that I ran 13.1 miles two weeks ago and hiked 16 miles last weekend.  I feel like I can handle any of my assigned legs after powering through those distances!

What exactly am I running?  I’m runner #2, which is honestly exciting because I go right after our captain and I don’t have to wait too long to get started.  The nervous pre-race feeling is the worst part!  And I’m not even running crazy distances or at any super weird times of the day so I got really lucky.  Here are my legs and projected start times, which are based on me running an adjusted 12:00/mile pace due to the heat and high elevation:

Leg 1:  6 hard miles at 8:27 am Friday
Leg 2:  3.8 easy miles at 8:43 pm  Friday
Leg 3:  5.1 moderate miles at 6:11 am Saturday (ugh that’s early)
Total:  14.9 miles in 23 hours!

Do I know anyone else on the team?  Nope!  When I found out I’d be in Denver a few days before this race I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity to run it.  So I found a group of girls on the Ragnar Facebook page who were looking for another runner, and I signed right up!  The only tough part is that they all live in Colorado and a few have met before, so I’m nervous that I’ll be the odd girl out since I don’t live there.  Plus I may be the only one who dies from altitude sickness which would be pretty lame.

What am I most nervous about?  Honestly, the elevation is terrifying.  I ran the Zion Half at around 4000ish miles above sea level and definitely felt the effects of it towards the end, but leg #1 of this race has me ending at around 9400 feet!  That’s the highest leg out of my three and also my longest, so I’m worried that I’ll get hit hard in the beginning and be a hot mess for the rest of the weekend.  I really appreciated the advice I found on this website, which really breaks down what I need to do as a sea-level runner/hiker to adjust and to stay safe.  It’s good that I’ll be in Denver for a week to give my body time to adjust, although Denver is still significantly lower than Copper Mountain.

What am I most excited about?  Crossing a new state off of my 50 states list, running in a gorgeous place, testing my limits with running, and meeting lots of new runners!  Also, I’ll be eating a lot of Chipotle next week.  Which has nothing to do with running, but I’m just really excited about it!

How am I preparing over the next week and a half?  I’m planning on doing a few 3-4 milers while in Denver with a longer run on the weekend – maybe 7 miles?  I’ve also been stalking free/cheap yoga classes near my hotel downtown so that I can keep stretching throughout my time there, and plan on getting some kind of portable foam roller I can stick in my suitcase to keep my legs feeling fresh.  Oh, and these should help too:


I’m so excited about my new shoes!  I realized last week after running an easy run that my feet, shins, and ankles were kind of feeling off.  It was that “Time for new shoes” feeling and the fact that I’d already run 300 miles in them this year made me realize that I needed new shoes before Colorado!  So I upgraded to the ASICS Gel-Kayano 21s.  When the saleswoman opened up the box I literally gasped – mint green is my favorite color!  They are so much prettier than my pink/orange/purple Kayano 20s and honestly I’m excited that for once in my life I found cute running shoes that actually work with my overpronating feet.  They fit perfectly and my test run in them last night was awesome!  No more pain at all, and I ran so fast that I caused a 6.2 earthquake!  (Just kidding.  Tectonic plates caused the earthquake, not me.  It was the biggest one I’ve ever felt and I had to take cover since things were falling off walls and shelves!  Oh, Alaska.)


Overall, I’m honestly pretty excited about my first Ragnar!  My priorities are to have fun, take it slow, and not die out there, and my teammates are feeling the same way.  Next week I’ll take a closer look at what I’m packing and what advice I’ve been using to plan for the race, so stay tuned for that!

Have you ever run a Ragnar relay?  do you have any advice for a first timer/someone who lives at sea level and has to run at high elevation?

32 thoughts on “Just In Case You Forgot…

    1. Thanks! I don’t have 11 other running buddies so it just made sense for me to join a random group. I’m sure it will be lots of fun!

  1. Love those mint green shoes! Very pretty! Good luck with the elevation changes. I’m planning a race next year at 7000+ feet and I have no idea what to expect. I need to take a look at the website you linked.

    1. I honestly have no clue what to expect either because I know it affects everyone differently and I have no idea what my own body will do. I’m just hoping I get through it feeling okay!

    1. We should do one someday! There are a ton on the east coast and I’m so tempted to fly home for Ragnar DC.

  2. Good luck! I ran Hood to Coast in Oregon with a team of strangers and had an amazing time! Also, the Cherry Creek trail is a good place to run in downtown Denver, if you need recommendations for your short runs. Conveniently, it leads right to the city’s insane REI.

    1. Ahhh I want to run Hood to Coast someday! It sounds awesome! And thanks for the running trail tip, I’ll definitely try that out!

  3. Wow! That sounds like it will be an incredible experience. Nothing beats Colorado beauty, and a Ragnar relay will be a great way to cross off another state from your list. It looks like you’re taking all of the right steps to handle that altitude the best way you can 🙂 You’ll be great!

    1. Thanks! I’m so excited to finally visit Colorado – I’ve always heard it’s pretty and I’m wondering how it compares to Alaska!

  4. So excited for you! I did my first Ragnar race (Reach the Beach in New Hampshire) last year and will be doing it again this year – best race experience EVER! I did the same training “plan” as you and did totally fine….your adrenaline will be pumping so hard you’ll get through it with flying colors! You also will have 11 new best friends by the end 🙂 Only word to the wise….look at the actual course map to determine your “easy”, “moderate”, “hard”….Ragnar seems to just base that on distance versus actual difficultly of the leg. GOOD LUCK!!!!!

    1. Thanks so much for all the tips! I did notice that the “hard” one doesn’t honestly look too bad (long gradual uphill, nothing too scary)…and then I saw the elevation and figured that’s why they classified it that way! I feel like I can tackle anything for 6 miles so I should hopefully survive this!

  5. Good luck and have fun! I hope your team is cool… and if not, enjoy the views, the experience, and Chipotle. I love those shoes. My Saucony support shoes are always so white and boring!

    1. Thanks for the tips! And I hear you on the shoes. You should try ASICS, I seriously have never seen a plain-colored pair of ASICS shoes. They are always crazy bright and ridiculous!

  6. Oh my goodness, you will have so much fun! I had a blast during my Ragnar. My biggest advice? Roll with the punches. Sh*t happens. Deal. And make sure that you take extra baggies for anything that might need to be sealed up!

    1. I loved your Ragnar recap, it was so helpful! Thanks for the tips. I have tons of baggies, packed light, and I work with middle schoolers so I have a surprising amount of patience dealing with annoying/tired/hungry people 🙂 And I’m just so excited to finally be doing one that I think I’ll be able to push through all of my frustration for the weekend. We have a hot tub at the finish line so my eye will be on that prize.

    1. Thanks! I don’t know enough people to make a whole team, so I figured this was the next best thing! That way if I’m grumpy and smelly I’ll never see them again 🙂

  7. First off, awesome shoes! Love the mint green color 🙂

    Second, best of luck at your first Ragnar Relay! I’ve never done Ragnar but have a few friends that have just raved about their experiences doing the race. Colorado will be such a fun place to run your first one. I definitely wouldn’t worry about being the odd girl out – runners are so welcoming and friendly that I’m sure you will end the relay with a bunch of new BFFs!

  8. I’m so excited for you! I wouldn’t worry too much about being the odd one out on your team – getting to know runners is pretty easy, especially in a race setting 🙂
    I interested to see how the altitude affects you since I have my race up Pike’s Peak next month, and I’ve never run at altitude. Hopefully it just slows us down a bit, but doesn’t affect us much besides that.
    Also, love the shoes! I wish companies would let you request your color combo – it seems like every couple years I’ll get a pair I just love, but aside from that, they are just…running shoes, lol.

  9. Ahhh, you are going to have so much fun with Ragnar! And you really did luck out, those are great times to run at! My advice to you would be to bring a good variety of layers to run in – some of the early morning runs/late night runs get pretty cool so it’s nice to be able to pull a long-sleeve shirt or jacket on. I’m sure you and your teammates will become fast friends – there’s nothing like running and eating with a group of sweaty runners to bring you together! 🙂 Have a blast, I can’t wait to read about your experience!

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