July 2015

1. You get to run a 200+ mile race without having to run all 200 miles. You and eleven other people assign yourselves three legs and each runner covers around 9-20 miles. The race consists of 36 exchange points where you pass your 80’s style slap-bracelet onto the next runner.


2. You’ll have eleven new best friends. I signed up for my first Ragnar after begging my parent’s neighbor to find a spot for me on her team. She came through and pretty soon I was part of a facebook group of strangers, planning out who was bringing diaper wipes and bananas for our Blaine to Langley trek. On Friday morning I met that group of strangers and we headed north. We were all friends by Bellingham.



Van 1

Ragnar team

3. Running at different times a day. You get to run at…





…middle of the night…

Night running

…and the blazing heat of mid-day.


4. Your team is responsible for you, and you them. There are (practically) no water stations so each van is responsible for keeping their runner hydrated and happy. This meant stopping every few miles and waiting for your runner so you can offer…







…and photography skills to take that picture at the top of the gnarly hill you just conquered.


5. You need a diverse skill set. It’s not enough to just be a good runner. A successful Ragnar team must have the skills to…

    • Decorate the vans.


    • Maneuver be-dazzled vans through crowded exchanges.


    • Be able to fix car glitches while on the run. When our driver was running we somehow turned all the dome lights on. Despite scouring the owner’s manual we couldn’t get them off. When we met up with him in the middle of his run he barely broke his stride as he reached through the window and turned off the lights, yelling “This is the opposite of support!” as he continued on.
    • Read maps (and owner’s manuals) and give directions. U-turns are your friends.
    • Analyze and update data. You are constantly calculating pace and mileage to figure out where your van needs to be when.


    •  Be a social media pro. Our data plans all felt a little shutter over the weekend. #RagnarPNW


6. You do get to sleep!




7. Side games: These include keeping track of kills (runners you pass) and tagging other cars with magnets featuring your team logo.


8. Running bonding moments


9. After you finish as a team, all your medals fit together. Awww…

Ragnar medals



It’s gorgeous here.

The view from cabin 108

The view from cabin 108

But the view comes at a cost. For $3,370 you can stare at this view ALLLL week long. My family (aka my parents) forked over the payment and met us at the lake as our Christmas present. It’s the same resort they took my brother and I as kids. As soon as I started having babies I was anxious to take them there as well.


And the weather was perfect, the lake was crystal clear, and we had a great time. But when it was time to re-book for next year I just shook my head at mom. The price is just too astronomical. It is the exact same price that my husband and I paid for out all-inclusive condo (food, drinks AND wedding included) in St. Lucia. For $3,370 I expect things to be perfect. There were a few imperfections:

The beach: We had our own little beach in front of our cabin, complete with a fire pit for roasting s’mores. It was about twenty steps away from our cabin, which was great. However, the staff doesn’t rake the beach regularly so our sand castles were full of little twigs and bottle caps. It wasn’t rare it find a broken piece of glass in the sand. But the main problem with the beach was the infestation of yellow jackets.


The bees. They were EVERYWHERE. After one stung our baby, my husband armed himself with a flip flop and went on a seek-and-destroy mission. He killed about twenty of them, barely making a dent. Hill’s Resort has bee traps every two feet surrounding their lodge and patio, but none on the beaches. They should put some out while raking the sand.

The cabins: On one hand, it was kinda sweet that the cabins were the same ones my family stayed in thirty years ago (GOD, I’M OLD), but maybe replacing the carpets wouldn’t be a terrible thing. Or fixing the drain in the shower, siding on the bathroom walls, replacing window screens…

This place is NOT all-inclusive. It’s simply a cabin rental. Huckleberry daiquiris are not free with the wave of a drink flag. You are lugging all your own food up, and doing all your own cooking and cleaning. There is no maid service. Naturally, I got around this as my parents did most of the cooking and cleaning and my brother mixed the drinks. But still. No maid service?


So will we be going to Priest Lake next year? Absolutely. But instead of paying $3,370 to fix our own burgers and sleep in sandy sheets, we’ll be staying next door at Luby Bay Campground.


I managed to sneak a few runs in last week while my husband, kids and I were visiting our extended family in Oklahoma. Because FAMILY > RUNNING, I was unwilling to sacrifice any family plans in favor of a run, but I still found a bit of time here and there. This was NOT the case last April when we had our wedding/honeymoon/family vacation in St. Lucia.

There are some definite drawbacks to running while on vacation with your family. Here are some perfect excuses to throw your training plan out the car window and take a nap in a hammock instead. In case you are feeling responsible, skip down toward the end.

Suitcase space is at a premium.

Only room for one set of stuff

Only room for one set of stuff

Nothing forces you to pack light like the knowledge that you’ll be toting children and their car seats through the airport along with your luggage. Southwest might allow two checked bags, but my arms strength doesn’t. When I was packing my one suitcase for St. Lucia, I decided that wedding favors, blue high heels and sequined white dress took precedence over bulky running shoes. So I made the executive decision that I would not be running, which was fine because of my next point:

It’s supposed to be a VACATION

A vacation from work, doing dishes, texting, and yes – running. Since St. Lucia was a very expensive vacation, I made up the rule that if you spend more than $300 a night on a hotel room you should not leave it unless you are doing something really, really fun like eating, drinking, making sandcastles, or saying “I do.” Soaking up every relaxing minute that I could wasn’t being lazy: it was being fiscally responsible.

St. James Morgan Bay

You won’t have a jogging stroller.

I typically try to assuage my I-should-be-parenting-instead-of-running guilt by throwing the kids in the jogging stroller and taking them along for the ride. This isn’t an option on vacation because if you can’t fit shoes in your luggage allotment, you surely can’t fit a jogging stroller. And pushing a double jogger through a busy airport does not seem like a good solution to this problem.


There will be family members around who are dying to babysit your kids.

Take advantage.

Grandpa time!

A shake-up of routine can be a good thing.

I never run in the mornings at home, but while we were visiting family, the best time of day was to get the run in during the morning before we headed out for the day’s activities. It turns out I love running the in morning! It was a quiet and cooler time of day, and I didn’t have to spend the rest of my day wondering when/if I could sneak a run in. Plus that satisfaction of completing a good workout stayed with me throughout the whole day. Maybe I’ll start running in the morning once I get back home too. Plus, running in a new location brings new challenges – whether it’s battling the heat in Oklahoma, the hills in Seattle, or the height in Denver.