Las Vegas Ragnar

Hi Friends,

I fell off the earth but now I am back! Ready to attack the blog world again and share my love of health and fitness with you all.

Starting with…another Ragnar! Yes, I ran another one and I can’t stay away!

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Ragnar Finish Line

After I completed my 1st Ragnar, I immediately signed up for the Vegas Ragnar. I didn’t have enough interest for a full team so I signed up for a 6 pack where you provide a team of 6 and Ragnar matches you with another team of 6 to make a full team of 12. This worked out really well for us and we lucked out with an awesome and laid back team!

I was ecstatic about this Ragnar because I knew what to expect and my favorite little bean from Harness Your Energy agreed to join our team.

We traveled to Vegas, stayed in a hotel, rented a car and traveled to the glorious mountains that Vegas provides. Really? Mountains in Vegas? This Washington girl was just as surprised.

The 1st 15 seconds of my 1st leg was great until I got passed by a girl. In Ragnar world, it is not okay to get passed. If you get passed you are considered someones road kill and visa versa. Everyone keeps a tally of their roadkills on their vans and I was not about to let her have me. I decided to pace with her in order to hopefully pass her at the exchange. This girl could RUN. I ran the fasted I have ever ran in my entire life and beat the girl and the exchange. I immediately paid for it with cramped legs, but it was well worth it 🙂

 

 

The remainder of my two legs were also great! I loved running in the heat of Vegas and participating in the camaraderie of the race. There is no other race with the same amount of energy, craziness and beer. There is no other place where you become insta-BFF’s with complete strangers and find it completely acceptable to give bear hugs and high fives. There is no other race that unites a van full of stinky, sweaty, sleep deprived and sore humans the way Ragnar does. My van LAUGHED, and I mean LAUGHED until we cried with real tears streaming down our faces. Well, mostly my little bean and I laughed which resulted in the rest of the van laughing at us.

Also, I should mention that the real reason why I wanted to complete the Vegas Ragnar specifically is because you can earn a double medal by completing 2 Ragnars in one year. For completing the Northwest Passage and the Las Vegas race in the same year, I earned the Dueces Wild and Las Vegas medal!

These are memories that I will always treasure and I feel so blessed to have my health and the opportunity to push myself beyond my limits while somehow managing to call it fun.

Next Ragnar? Northwest Passage 2014. Cannot wait!

Click here to read about my 1st Northwest Passage Ragnar.

 

Thats all for now friends!

Anahid

P.S. Remember to “Like” ChasingCake on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @chasingcakeblog- it will make me a happy happy girl!

 

I DID IT! I Don’t Like to Run so I Will Train for a 200 Mile Race- Part 4

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Hi Friends,

2 Days

1 Night

12 Friends

2 Vans

7 Blisters

3 Hours of Sleep

and

200 miles later

RAGNAR IS DONE!

Let’s rewind 4 months shall we?

This all started at a 7:30 am Awesome Abs class I was teaching. This silly group of runners had been trying very diligently to convince me to run this insane race. I would literally laugh at them every time they asked and reply with the most certain and positive “no” I could give. Without missing a beat in their attempt they asked/tricked/possibly drugged me that morning. As usual, I replied with my laugh and “yea right, no!” reply! Of course that drove them to keep asking/tricking/convincing! Then….the moment happened. Another student in the class who is just as competitive as I am said something. He was clearly still half asleep and delirious because he hates running JUST as much as I do. He said “if you do it, I will do it”. He challenged me! I had never turned down a challenged from this guy and wasn’t going to let this be the first! We made a deal that if for some reason one of us quit, the other person also got to quit. Being the competitive monsters that we are, we both knew that neither one of us was going to quit!

The game was on!

We trained our bums off for 4 months! We complained, laughed, sweated, foam rolled, iced, band-aided, blistered, topricined, and trained our way through 4 months of training.

My friends, it was worth every last second.

This is a little something like how it all went down:

Thursday Night- 2:30 am wake up call:

I prepped all of my clothes, gear and supplies the day before and layed it all out making sure to not forget anything! I packed it all into the smallest bag I could fit it all into since space in our van was not on our side. I went to bed at 10:00pm, probably fell asleep around 12:00-ish and shot straight out of bed when my alarm went off! Very unusual behavior! I thought to myself that this is so freaking early that people are still up partying! The insanity was just beginning!

We had to meet at 3:15 am to pack the vans up. Everyone showed up on time, we packed the vans up and left for Blaine, WA by 3:45 am! The drive up was full of excitement and chatter!

We got to the starting line, signed our team in, decorated our van and got our first runner, my training buddy, to the starting line!

5-4-3-2-1 GO!

We jumped in our van and went to cheer him on. This is pretty much how the whole race was. You would drive up to your runner, cheer them on, give them water then drive about a mile or so ahead and repeat!

My 1st leg:

I was runner number two! I stood at the exchange super excited and ready to get this show on the road. My legs felt great, I was wide awake and full of awesome nervous energy! As I saw my buddy approaching my heart fluttered a little knowing that all this training lead up to this very point! This exchange! I cheered him on as he approached, he slapped the Ragnar orange slap bracelet onto my wrist and I was off! I had an awesome start! I was super calm, my breathing was on, my form felt great and my legs were moving. I kept on passing people and with each pass I felt a sense of achievement and success! This drove my whole first leg! I would see someone in the distance (we called them rabbits), gain speed on them and then pass them (they were then considered road kills). I started to count them! It turned into a fun game that helped keep my pace and mind off of running. At around 4 miles I saw my amazing team in the distance, this motivated me to run harder and faster. They were waiting for me, cheering me on, ringing our awesome cow bell, doing silly cheer jumps and offering me water! I loved it! So much encouragement!

With a little over 2.5 miles left I was still feeling awesome!! At around 6.5 miles I had 16 road kills and no one had passed me. I was determined to keep this going! AND THEN, I heard someone approaching me and approaching me fast. I didn’t look back, I just kept running harder and faster. I knew the end was so close and there was no way I was about to let him pass me at the very end. I turned the corner and saw my runner about 100 yards ahead. I started sprinting because I knew this runner behind me was trying to catch me, I was his rabbit! I looked back and he was about 4 feet behind me. I really started sprinting. He then yelled “ oh no no no! No you didn’t”. I thought in my head, “oh heck freaking yes I did”!! It was an all out sprint to the end with everyone cheering us on, I ran as hard as I possibly could! I sprinted my heart out! My friends, I slapped that bracelet onto my runner with the best sense of accomplishment ever!

The remaining 4 runners ran their legs and we cheered them on whole way. Stopping to give them water, shot blocks, chocolate and most importantly, encouragement!

1st Major Exchange:

As our 6th runner was finishing her run, she passed the slap bracelet onto our 7th runner! This meant that van 1 (my van) got a break while van 2 with runners 7-12 ran their legs. This was considered one of the major exchanges with lots of free goodies from various sporting vendors, hot showers and a place to sleep if we wanted. We all took a quick shower then went on a hunt for food! I ate WAY too much! This was my biggest mistake of the whole race. I was so hungry that I literally ate everything in sight. We then made our way over to the next major exchange to wait for runner number 12 in van 2 to finish.

Runner 12 approached, handed the slap bracelet back to runner number 1 (my training buddy) and the whole thing started over again!

My 2nd leg:

This run was terrible. Absolutely terrible! Nothing about this run went well.  It was marked as an “easy” 3.8 mile run with slight hills. There was nothing easy about this run. It started out as a giant hill and this massive hill literally did not end until 3.5 miles in when it turned into a giant downwards cliff. It was so hot outside, my belly was still stuffed, and I was SO miserable. My legs felt like mush and it felt like I was running through hot soup. My poor team probably thought I was going to die by the look on my face as they were cheering my on. I am sure I must have looked like my puppy just died.

As I was running up the massive hill, I got caught. Yup, I was someone’s rabbit and then his road kill. I was sad but there was no way I could catch him. He was way too fast! As I was running down this hill/cliff I was just praying that I had enough energy in my legs to keep me from tumbling down the hill. This is where things got really bad. I literally could not control my breathing. It felt like someone had put a blanket over my face and a hot heater in front of it and told me to breathe! Not happening. I started wheezing a little  bit and this freaked me out. This had never happened to me before. I knew I had to keep pushing. I started running faster because all I wanted to do was finish! I finally saw the beautiful site of the next exchange and saw my runner! I slapped that bracelet on him, found the closest piece of shade I could and literally collapsed to the ground. My amazing team was circled around me, cheering me on and helping me out.

This was what the race was all about. Pushing myself to my absolute maximum and testing out my own strength. Although I felt like absolute crud, I was so proud of my strength and so encouraged by my supportive team!

2nd Major Exchange:

Once our 6th runner was done with her 2nd leg she passed the slap bracelet onto the 7th runner from the 2nd van! Time for van 1 to take a break! This was around 9 pm….I think? Time was beyond me at this point. We got to take showers, uh hum, prison style showers that were a little bit less than awesome, but at this point this was the least of our worries! Let’s just say I got to know my team on a whole new level. We then took time to eat some food then drove to the next major exchange so we could sleep for a couple of hours. This was a whole other experience. We had 5 Star sleeping arrangements compliments of a high school gym. Woop woop! We “fell asleep” in there with literally NO ONE around us and woke up to people HOVERING over us waiting to take our sleeping spots. How long were those people watching me sleep? I don’t even want to know. After the “soundest” hour of sleep van 2 called us around 2:30 to let us know that their 12th runner would approach the exchange in a half hour. We rolled up our sleeping bags and made our way to the exchange. The 12th runner from van 2 passed the slap bracelet to our 1st runner around 3:00 am and we were off again for round three!

My 3rd Leg:

This leg was awesome! Who runs at 3:30 am? This girl does! It was a 3 mile hilly stretch. It was obviously pitch black out and not a person or car in sight. Kind of freaked me out a bit but that was incentive to run faster! There was a point where I literally laughed out loud at what I was actually doing…running a 200 mile relay race at 3:30 am in the middle of no where. I surprisingly felt awesome during this run! Although it was super hilly, I knew it was the end so I pushed myself as hard as I could. I wanted to finish strong and leave every bit of my energy with that run! I think I sprinted the last half mile and it felt awesome! As I approached the exchange I was mixed with emotions. I was excited to be done, so proud of what I had just accomplished but also a little sad that my portion was over. I slapped that bracelet onto the next runners arm and just like that 4 months of hard work and training was over. Mission accomplished!

The remaining runners all ran their legs and did awesome! We all ran under a 9:00 minute pace the whole way and probably averaged an 8:30 pace.

3rd Major Exchange:

We met up with the 2nd van at the last major exchange somewhere around 5:30 am. We took showers…pause…sort of regular ones. Minus the fact that the water was squirting so high above my head at a force that would have probably torn my skin off…the showers had curtains! We then headed to the finish line in Langley WA. We ate breakfast…the best meal of my life. Orange juice never tasted so good! We had some time to kill while we waited for van 2 to finish all of their legs.

Finish Line:

As the 12th runner from the 2nd van was approaching the finish line, we all met up as a team and cheer him on. This is so amazing and powerful! Once he was about 100 yards from the finish line we all joined him and crossed the finish line as a team! They announced our team name, cheered for us and boy was it awesome! I tried to really remember it all in my delirious state of mind. We rang our cowbell and cheered, hugged and congratulated each other for such an awesome accomplishment!

Final Thoughts:

Do I like to run? Let’s just say it is complicated. I don’t think I actually like to run but I will say for certain that I am addicted to it now. I love the rush I feel once I am done, the sense of accomplishment, the mental clarity it brings, the physical benefits and the healthy competition! I love that I signed up for something that I really did not think I could or wanted to do. With persistent hard work, training and mental/physical strength, I finished what I started and proved myself wrong. I loved every minute of this race. Even the miserable 2nd leg! I love an awesome challenge and this was just that! My team was so awesome and supportive and I had the two best training buddies I could ask for! I am so thankful for that delirious 7:30 am morning conversation.

Click here for the video of us crossing the finish line as a team!

Anahid

P.S. Remember to “Like” ChasingCake on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @chasingcakeblog- it will make me a happy happy girl!

1 Million Steps

Hi Friends,

I hope you are swell! If you woke up this morning looking for an awesome new challenge to start on Memorial Day, then today is your lucky day!

Are you ready put a little hop in your step and challenge yourself with something you already do every single day? Ready for it? I challenge you to walk!

Yup! That is it! Just a little walking!

I’m participating in a fun summer challenge to take 1 million steps between Memorial Day and Labor Day (that’s an average of 10,101 steps for 99 days) with a very cool company called ONVO.  They are all about wholebody health made simple and founded by Dr. Mark Adams. 
 
This challenge can be done by anyone, anywhere—and there are a lot of bonus things (like bragging rights, t-shirt, prizes, ice cream social, and food & fitness workshops).  You can read all the details at Summer of 1 Million Steps.
 
If you sign up with me, you can get $5 off the registration price ($60 for individuals/$90 for families/teams). I have no other ties with it this other than I believe in how they approach health and life. 
 
Sign-up is an easy “1, 2, 3” process:
  1. Go to Summer of 1 Million Steps
  2. Choose “Individual” or “Family/Team of 2” for your payment option
  3. Make payment and enter the discount code “Anahid” when prompted to receive your discount
It would be so fun to do this together!  Feel free to share this with anyone else that comes to mind too.  Will you join me?
 
Onvo
Anahid

P.S. Remember to “Like” ChasingCake on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @chasingcakeblog- it will make me a happy happy girl!

Nike+ Fuel Band- What I Love About It

Hi Friends,

I got a surprise toy on Friday and am in love with it so far and must tell you all about it.

I got the Nike+ Fuel band!

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What I love most about this band is that it encourages me to move more. It doesn’t tell me to spend a certain number of hours in the gym, count my calories or to drink a crazy protein powder concoction. It simply encourages me to move!

What it tracks:

  • Your daily activity/movement which is converted into “Fuel”
  • Steps taken
  • Calories burned
  • It also tells the time

How is works:

  • Set a goal! Decide how active you want to be throughout the day. Adjust your Nike Fuel goal on your band accordingly. They give suggestions when you set up your band to direct you to a proper goal based off of your current level of movement.
  • Move! Shake it! Run! Garden! Dance!
  • Check your nifty band display throughout the day to check up on your progress. If you aren’t close to your goal you know you need to move!
  • You can also track your progress on your iPhone. There is a Nike+ Fuel App you can download to track your daily/weekly/monthly progress. You can even find friends who have the band and app and compete with them or hold them accountable. Love this part!

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What I love most about it:

  • I have annoyingly tiny tiny wrists. This means that it is very rare if a bracelet fits me. Friends, this band comes in different sizes and within each size there are removable links   for a perfect fit.
  • Its super cute, slim and comfortable!
  • It doesn’t stick to my wrist when I sweat!
  • I can adjust my goal every single day!
  • I can track my progress simply by pressing a button on the band.
  • It tells time! I don’t have to wear a separate watch!
  • I can keep track of my friend’s progress who have the band
  • The battery lasts around three days!

What I wish it had:

  • A heart rate monitor. I know this would increase the price and eat up the battery so I am not that sad about it. I have a GPS watch that I wear running that has a heart rate monitor so I don’t really NEED it…just a wish.

Overall, I really like this little band. I have gone on several extra evening walks that I wouldn’t normally have gone on JUST to make my goal. It is making me move more and is bringing awareness to my movement throughout my day! I love how it is completely custom to each persons current fitness level and success is in reach!

Walk

Last night I went on a walk at 10:30pm with my Lulu Pup and mom to meet my goal!

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I would love to find more friends who have this lovely gem! Let me know if you have one and what you think about it! My username is AnahidGazi.

Anahid

P.S. Remember to “Like” ChasingCake on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @chasingcakeblog- it will make me a happy happy girl!

Part 2- I Dont Like To Run So I WIll Train For a 200 Mile Race

Click here for part 1 

Hi Friends, 

I wish I was writing this post to tell you all about my magical transformation and new love affair with running.

I wish I was here to tell you all that I have found a new passion and that my life has been forever changed.

And I wish I could tell you that I run like the rest of the gazelles on my team.

But… In all reality, every run is still a mental battle.

The wind still makes me ears freeze and I have to wear something called an ear bag to prevent the worst frozen ear headache

We have to make nose-blowing stops for yours truly- thanks to my allergies

Bugs fly into my eyeballs

My arms run into the garbage cans every Monday (trash day).

And with every run I secretly try to find a way out

…but…

Instead, I have chosen to call myself a gazelle in training.

I choose to put my best acting skills on and pretend to like running. You see my friends, I have made a decision and have committed to training for this crazy new adventure. Let’s be honest, I have also announced my new goal to the whole world and there is no way out.

All complaints aside, there are two things that are keeping me going:

  1. I am making progress! I can run further than I could two months ago and I can tackle hills better than I could two months ago! Also, I am ahead of my training schedule. I am now running around 4 miles three times a week. This gives me encouragement and make me proud of myself! Woohoo!
  2. I have the best running buddies ever! Really! I do! We have a no excuses rule and we hold each other to it! No matter what, we have to run at least three days a week with each other. We have also promised to not leave each other behind on our runs. We start every run together and we finish together. One of us is always feeling better than the other and we use this as a push and as encouragement. We laugh, complain, tell stories, question our sanity and we celebrate every run as an accomplishment!

Also, we ran in the pouring down rain with metro buses splashing dirty road water on us. Does this qualify us as real runners? What I think I look like when run. What I actually look like when I run

Teehee!

Anahid

P.S. Remember to “Like” ChasingCake on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @chasingcakeblog- it will make me a happy happy girl!

The Texting Workout

Hi Friends,

Before we get started, lets clarify that texting with your thumbs is not exercise.

I am SO excited to share this awesome and genius idea with you all. My super busy neighbor, momma of 4 (almost 5) is a rockstar and super fit. She surely does not have hours to spend in the gym and still manages to stay active throughout the day.

She told me about how she works movement into her day. You see, her sister and friends are also busy mommas who want to stay awesome and fit. How do they do this?

They hold each other accountable.

Everyday they text each other a list of exercises that they have to complete before the day is over. When they finish the list they simply text each other “Done!” They can do all of the exercise at once or break them up throughout the course of the day. The key is to choose exercise that can be done anywhere.

Example Text:

-20 Jumping Jacks

-10 Pushups

-20 Crunches

-10 Burpees

-20 alternating lunges

-Jog in place for 2 minutes

Do you get the idea? This doesn’t necessarily replace all forms of exercise but it is an awesome way to build in movement on those busy days when you don’t have a chunk of time to set aside for a full on workout. It can also be a fun way to kick your friends booty! Mad at them? Send them a longer list. Teehee!

Your homework: Find someone who will be your texting workout buddy. Your mom, sister, BFF, hubby, neighbor, boss, pharmacist, dog walker, whoever it is, make sure they are accountable! Get creative and commit to this for at least seven days.

*Bonus: If you “Like” ChasingCake on Facebook and subscribe to my blog, I will e-mail you a workout everyday for 7 days! Ready, Set, Like and Subscribe!

**Click the Facebook icon below to “Like” ChasingCake on Facebook and enter your e-mail address at the bottom of my blog to become a subscriber.  Once you do this e-mail me at info@chasingcake.com with the e-mail address you want your workouts to go to.  You will receive a “text” workout for seven days.

iPhone ChasingCake-2

P.S. I finally joined the iPhone world. Yay!

Happy texting!

Anahid