It’s the Monday after Ragnar Tennessee, and the #ragnover is in full effect! I’m reflecting on yet another amazing Ragnar weekend.
Going into this race, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Sure, I’ve done a ton of these now – but I only knew one person on the team, and the weather forecast was looking sketchy at best (t-storms).
The team was made up of Michiganders and former Michiganders (like me!). They drove the vans down from the Detroit area to the start in Chattanooga. I was assigned to van 1 (#van1forlife), but the ladies of van 2 were gracious enough to pick me up at the airport in Nashville and we made the 2 hour ride over to Chattanooga.
We had a 730am start time, and had a projected finish time of 6:30pm which is super late. More on that later.
Here was our Van 1 lineup:
Runner 1 - Stephie (Captain)
Runner 2 – Anne
Runner 3 – Shawn
Runner 4- Thad
Runner 5 – ME
Runner 6 - Mike
And here are the lovely ladies of van 2:
Ragnar has some of the prettiest start line locations! The start area was really cool, down at the Tennessee River in Chattanooga. It looked awesome at night and as the sun was coming up. I was runner #5, so it would still be a little bit until I got to run my first leg.
It was chilly at the start, but we were happy that the sun was out and there was no rain in sight. My first leg was 3.2 miles, and had over 200 ft of elevation gain. I was super tempted to stop and walk on the way up that darn hill, but I persisted and ended up with a great pace – 9:26 per mile. My leg started at the end of the Ragnar leg, which was a really pretty spot.
We wrapped up and handed off to van 2 and headed out to lunch. We found a cute old diner in the middle of nowhere. Then stopped at a waterfall nearby after.
Before we knew it, it was time to run again. It wasn’t dark out yet, and was only lightly misting. My 2nd leg was 4.3 miles. Luckily, it was somewhat in civilization and not totally in the boonies. I ran through some country neighborhoods, but felt safe. The temp was great, around 55 and still light mist. I was thankful it didn’t start pouring. I tend to run a little slower on the night leg because I’m more careful about where I’m stepping. Still ended with a decent pace – 9:40.
After a late night Mickey D drivethrough, we headed to the next major exchange and went inside to sleep in the gym. Unfortunately, I only brought a blanket, so that gym floor was hard as a rock. I was able to sleep in the van as we started back up at 4:20am. Miraculously, it was not raining, just overcast.
My 3rd leg would be my longest one – 6.7 miles. This one felt like it went on forever. It was more scenic, going past sprawling ranches. I knew my friend Carrie was going to meet me towards the end of this leg to cheer me on - this is what she looked like:
I knew she owned a dinosaur costume, but didn’t think she packed it with her from Arizona! I was so darn excited to be finished, I had 8 kills on this leg, which is pretty awesome for me. Another 338 ft of elevation gain and good pace – 9:33.
After we handed off to van 2 for the last time, we headed out for brunch near our hotel, got showered and even slept. Awesome. We were ahead of schedule this entire time, which was wonderful. We headed over to the finish area and waited for our runner, 2 hours early! Finish area was fun – whiskey tastings and local craft beer and good team bonding. Our final runner was injured but she did an amazing job. We went to dinner, all 12 of us in downtown Nashville. Good times!
I was glad for many things –
oh, and I earned a special bonus medal for doing 2 Ragnars so far in 2018! Looking forward to my next one in less than 2 weeks in So Cal!
"Disclaimer: I received an assortment of KT Tape products as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
I’m a believer in using all the tools you have in your toolkit to get you through your race training without causing any further injury. I’ve seen lots of people taped up in KT Tape at races before, but hadn’t really thought much of it for my own use.
Until I got injured.
After I had knee surgery for a torn meniscus, I saw a physical therapist for about a month afterwards. After one of the early sessions, he taped me up with KT Tape in an unusual burst pattern. It made no sense to me, but I knew he knew what he was doing. When I posted the picture of it, one of my fellow BibRave Pros immediately observed that I was taped to help with swelling. I was like how did she know that?
I’ve been pretty conservative (ish) with my running since then, cutting back from 6 days a week to 3 days a week. I added in body pump classes, which I love – but they are very rough on my knees with all the squats and lunges.
I received this variety pack of KT Tape for testing and immediately I thought I would try taping it for body pump. I watched a video on the ktape.com website that was specifically for “inner knee” issues. It was a super short video and I felt like maybe it wasn’t as intimidating as I thought.
So I followed the video and attempted to replicate the technique. I used the KT pro. It made my knee felt tight (in a good way) and supported. Knee felt good for the class and the 5 mile run afterwards. I kept the tape on until after my run the next day. It stayed on in the shower, never peeled off. Once it did come time to remove it, it gently peeled off so easily without any discomfort.
If you’re not familiar with kinesiology tape, it is an elastic sports tape that can help support tissues and help with drainage and inflammation. It can help provide relief from everything from plantar fasciitis to ankle, knee, shoulder and wrist pain.
From the kttape.com website:"When an area of the body is injured through impact or over-use, the lymphatic fluid builds up causing inflammation and swelling. This accumulation of lymphatic fluids may cause increased pressure on muscles and tissue which can cause significant discomfort or pain. It is believed that when applied correctly, KT Tape lifts the skin, decompressing the layers of fascia, allowing for greater movement of lymphatic fluid which transports white blood cells throughout the body and removes waste products, cellular debris, and bacteria."
I used the Extreme pro version for my half marathon. I figured with the longer distance I really wanted to make extra sure that the tape stayed in place. It did! It felt just a touch stiffer and stickier than the regular pro version. I also used it for body pump class.
I brought the KT Tape with me to Ragnar Tennessee. For my particular knee application, I cut one of the pre-cut strips in half to make the “X” over my meniscus area and then one full strip over that from shin to thigh. It was easy to apply on the fly in the van.
I also received both gentle and wide kt tape. The wide strips are good for larger affected areas – like lower back. I haven’t had a need for the gentle version yet. It was developed specifically for those who have skin more sensitive skin to take the tape off easier. If someone is having a hard time getting the Gentle tape to stick after doing all those preparation tips, I would recommend using PRO or even PRO Extreme.
When I first posted about trying out KT Tape, I had such a big response from my runner friends. It seems that pretty much everyone loves KT Tape, and if they don’t, it’s only because they haven’t tried it yet! Well, now is your chance - right you you can save 30% with “BIBRAVE30”!!!!
Every so often you come across a product that becomes a staple in your routine (like my Epsom salt baths, knuckle lights – and now this!) I’m so glad I gave it a try and that it wasn’t as intimidating to apply as I thought. There are tons of videos online on how to apply, so jump in and try it for yourself!
"Disclaimer: I received a pair of Skins DNAmic compression tights and Speed Crop to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
I’m a big fan of compression tights, for both running and recovery. This is my second time trying a SKINS product, and I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.
DNAmic women's compression comes in shorts, capris or full length. I chose capris since that is the most versatile for Arizona weather. However, they were sold out of the floral capris, so I ended up with black full length, which goes with everything. I also received a sports bra, which looked super cool. There were 9 colors/patterns to choose from!
There are 2 kinds of compression tights, in my opinion. Comfortable compression, and super tight -squeeze the life out of you- compression. Luckily, these tights were beyond comfortable, not too tight at all. I received a size M (I normally wear a size 6-8 fyi.)
The first time I wore them, I took a one hour body pump class with tons of squats and lunges, followed by a 1 hour run. I didn’t want to take these off! They are so comfortable, it's hard to believe they are actually compression tights. There are sheer spots down along the calf, but otherwise the coverage is great. I really like the style of the sports bra, but unfortunately it ran very small. I received a size M and wear a 36C. It was VERY tight. Hopefully when I finally lose that 20 pounds it will fit perfectly!
Technology behind DNAmic compression:
Dynamic Gradient Compression (from SKINS)
I went for a few runs in my tights – they were light enough that I didn’t get hot - even in Arizona! The tights really do move with you, they don’t feel constrictive or restrictive. These tights are designed to help reduce muscle fatigue, and I can say that my longest run wearing them was 9 miles, and my legs never got tired.
To keep their shape and integrity, I washed them on gentle cycle and let them air dry.
If you want to treat yourself to a pair, the SKINS DNAmic Women's Compression Long Tights are $99.99 and the DNAmic Speed Sports Bra is $49.99 plus FREE SHIPPING on every order above $100. Take 20% off your SKINS order by using code "20BIBRAVE" on all non-reduced items at www.skins.net.
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!