Wednesday, January 9, 2013


aka the hashtag I desperately tried to spread during Ragnar. 

The whole event consists of preparing to run, worrying about running, running and talking about said running. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a moment they are proud of and want to share. 

So many braggable - Bragnar - moments! 

Starting with getting a glitter tattoo of the Ragnar symbol on my back - courtesy of Shellack Nails

It was a last minute, impulsive decision. Found out from a friend in town about the salon doing it for a teammate of hers. Obviously I had to do it too! I can't relate to you how giddy I was about this tattoo. Probably annoyed the bejesus out of my teammates, many of whom I'd only met the night before or that morning. Oh well. I guess I'd rather them know the real me. 

I can't believe we ran that far!! 

Showing more of my true personality at the hotel in Miami. 
This is why we can't stay nice places. 

Van One at the start line! Clean, excited and naive about what we'd gotten ourselves into. 

The boys initiating the first slap of Ragnar! 

Normally I NEVER walk around without my shirt on, but I was too excited about my back tattoo. Had to show it off. 

Both vans at exchange one. 

Ready to run my first leg. 2.7 miles. 9 nervous pees. 3 stop lights. 23 minutes. Not too shabby! 

Hamming it up waiting for my slap bracelet. Had already befriended a few other races and been nicknamed "Sparkles," they knew me too well! 

Receiving my first slap. 


Turns out I was way better at receiving the slaps than delivering them. After this picture was taken, the slap bracelet promptly ricocheted off Will's arm. Ragnar party foul. 

When I wasn't running I was hamming it up and cheering for our other runners. I can't help it. I'm out of control. 

I told you. 

Even in the middle of the night. I know there were some pictures taken of me when I finished my night leg... I just haven't gotten them from anyone yet. I swear we were up all night. 

Ready for my last run! 4.1 miles after no dinner, little breakfast and a measly three hours of sleep. At least I snuck a shower in there! 

Honestly most of Ragnar looked like this. Behind the wheel. Cheering, laughing and generally speaking loving life. 

What's not to love when there are cool vans like this one zipping by you? Even better when the people in the van are cool to chat and commiserate with! 

Getting to Key West was the best. 

Made it with beers to boot. 

And one quite large, obnoxious beer. 

Luckily I knew just the guy to give it to. 

I ran into so many friends. It feels good to have such a large community after having only lived here 4 months. Sometimes I still wish I had closer relationships, but, as with everything else, my mantra is to stay patient. 

In the meantime, might as well get fancified with the friends I am with! 

Reppin the RFB at the bars. Duval St here I come!

As much fun as Ragnar was, the after party was hands down the best. Obviously I had to run around tatting everyone up that was without RFB schwag! 

 Ragnar symbol out of FREE drinks. Yes, too many free drinks. We ran our little hearts out only to turn around and ravage our poor livers. Whoops. 

To be honest before the party I was really stressed out, I'd barely eaten. I was tired, grumpy and generally not a lot of fun. I was even a bit teary. So glad I took the initiative to turn my mood around and join these awesome people in an unforgettable night out. 

Plus I had to show off my tattoo one more time. 
To everyone, duh. 

Brunch the next day was awesome. 

Cheese, onion, pepper and crab meat omelet with whole wheat toast, potatoes and fresh fruit. YUM. 

Key West is beautiful and I was so bummed I couldn't stay an extra day. But Monday, and the real world, beckoned. 

So excited about this Southernly point thingy. Still don't know what it's proper name is. I guess I don't really care!

 A little mimosa action, with the sun, surf and sand in the background didn't hurt. 

Here are some blogs I suggest reading. They led me in the right direction packing wise. 

I'm sorry this isn't the most informative post ever. School has started at a grueling pace and I just don't have the time to describe Ragnar as throughly as I might like. Maybe in the future I can sit down and document more clearly my suggestions. Ultimately I think it is important to pack light, have a communication plan and to not take Ragnar too seriously. I'm not sure I was best at the latter. I wasn't worried about the competition, but the responsibility of driving brought out a side of me I haven't seen in awhile. Those of you readers who rowed with me in college know who I am talking about - the girl you all affectionately  called "Sofia Number 1." She worries a bit too much and gets stressed out very easily. I wanted to make sure everyone was taken care of and I really worried about messing up driving. At one point, it led to a pretty big melt down around 11pm. To be fair I was tired and hungry, but the melt down was embarrassing nonetheless. I'm still worried about how my teammates view me based on that moment in time. 

In the past years I've become so much better at handling my stress. I've found activities I love and a field I am passionate about. I am happier and more calm and relaxed than I have ever been. Ragnar was a big eye opener. I might be happier, but that other girl is still a part of me and my personality. Just because I haven't seen her in awhile doesn't mean I need to be complacent. I still need to watch myself for signs of stress and anxiety. I can't let myself get so wound up that I overreact. 

All that being said Ragnar was one of the best things I've ever done. I ran 7.8 miles starting at 11:55 in the  night and ran faster than I've ever run that distance in my life. My pace stayed consistently fast through my third leg. I am stronger than I thought. Since I was the last runner in my van, when we got to rest sites I was rarely as tired as my van mates. I had so much fun walking around, talking to friends, making new friends and generally hamming it up. I got more connected with the tri circuit in Tampa and got some good information about training groups.

I would love to do another Ragnar in the future. I have big ideas for getting support from sponsors, as well as better ways to organize drivers, belongings, lodging etc. It was all of our first times. We showed up and gave it our all and for the most part had a friggen blast. Almost all of us ran faster than we had ever ran before. The adrenaline was out of control. If you ever have the opportunity to join a Ragnar team - TAKE IT. I cannot wait until my next turn. 

I promise if you end up on a team with me that I will be calm as a cucumber. However I will want to cheer - a lot. And stop to hand out water to our runner and give them a pick-me up. We didn't do that nearly enough in our van. So if you are with me next time, get ready to have fun! And to get a bit out of control - in the best way possible. 

Again I apologize for not having more to say about the runs specifically. I also can't tell you how to train. None of us had any trouble and we didn't train specifically for the event. I saw a lot of triathletes and noticed that we (yes, I'm now calling myself a triathlete), suffered the least the next day. I was more sore than I usually am post running, but come Tuesday hit the road on my bike and then ran and swam today. Probably a little slower and stiffer than usual, but nothing too terrible. 

Now it's time to focus on the relay that brought me to Tampa in the first place: graduate school. It has been three days, two classes and three meetins and I can already tell this term is going to be way harder than the last. Clearly my training load is also ramping up the most. Great. I hope to be better about blogging about things as they happen, otherwise you all end up with rambling posts like this one that have no real useful information! Sorry!!! 

xoxo Sweat&Sparkle

Have or would you ever Ragnar? What do you do when you feel yourself losing your cool due to fatigue, hunger, etc? Which is harder school or training? 

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