cross training

Get To Know Team We Run This – Ragnar 2014 – Rachel

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WRT Front 1

Hey look it’s finally MY turn to do one of these! Please check out the rest of team We Run This:

Jennifer M, Barb, Jennifer H, and Taylor

Rachel G, 30, Milwaukee, WI    Founder – We Run This


Rachel after her first 50K
Rachel after her first 50K










1) How long have you been running? What got you started?

I have been running 5 ½ years and started on a bet. More on that here
2) Why Ragnar Ultra?

After crossing the finish line on a regular team in 2012 I KNEW I wanted to captain/run an ultra team because managing 11 people was rough for me and I LOVE pushing myself in running. Ultra is a different animal. There is less “down” time but my favorite part of Ragnar is spending 30+ hours engulfed in the running community!

Ragnar 2013
Ragnar Chicago 2013

3) Where do you typically run?
I run outside as much as possible. This winter in WI REALLY pushed my limits and I relied on the Pettit and my Y membership more than I EVER have. I prefer trails but admit to be a bit of a wuss when it comes to being in the woods alone for too long. That and having small kids it is usually most convenient to road run.
4) Do you cross train? How?
I TRY to get to the gym once a week for strength training/ incline training. I use THIS ab workout and do free weights. For Incline training I spend time on the stair machine and run/walk on the treadmills that go to 25% incline. In conjunction with Ragnar training I’m training for Dances With Dirt – Devil’s Lake – a 50K with A LOT of hills. I also bike to work when weather/schedule permits. I’m a nervous road biker though and haven’t food a GREAT way to work yet so I chicken out and run instead sometimes.


5) Must have running gear?
For longer distances a hydration system that works/fits. For an average day run something to keep my hair out of my face, usually a hat.
6) While running Music/ No music?
No music. I use to not be able to stand running sans music now it makes my head hurt. I will use it sometimes inside but even then it makes me tune out my body and changes my running experience.

Ragnar Chicago 2012
Ragnar Chicago 2012



7) What are you most excited about for Ragnar this year?
My KICK ASS TEAM!! We have a great group of athletes who are just different enough to keep things interesting. It can be nerve wracking as a captain to stick 5 people plus yourself together because you never know what you will get, personality wise. This year I don’t have that fear!
Also pushing myself by having just over a ½ marathon my last leg!



8) What are you most scared of about Ragnar this year?
Logistics. ALWAYS logistics. Will we be to the exchange on time? What if someone gets hurt? Who can go unsupported so we can sleep? Is anyone mad? Did ______ eat? As a captain Ragnar is a different experience, you have to run but also make sure you get those other 5 people to the finish and on team We Run This we aim to do that while having THE MOST FUN possible. I trust my team so that helps!

9) If one thing could be waiting for you in Chicago at the Ragnar finish line what would it be?
I think the FREE ice cold Sierra Nevada (Ragnar Sponsor) will do!!!

10) Anything else you would like to share?
Thanks to everyone who has followed the series of Get To Know Team We Run This! Follow us leading up to the race and during on Twitter at @WeRunThisDotOrg or #teamWRT or on Facebook or #teamWRT

Let us know if YOU on running Ragnar Chicago 2014!

Tighten Those Laces! LETS RUN!



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I had a pretty good weekend of runs (a friend joined me on my long run and blogged about it here) and for the first time in my training cycle actually had sore quads on Monday! I don’t buy into the idea that if you are not sore you didn’t work hard enough, just an observation. After not a lot of rest Sunday or Monday night (thanks Oscars and Breaking Bad) I was not too happy with my alarm at 5:15am this morning. This was not helped by the fact that it had snowed last night.

I am trying REALLY hard to make as many planned workouts as possible so I got ready and headed to the Y for my 4 miles + strength. I’ve heard a million times that 98% of the time you just need to take that first step or you will ALWAYS feel better after a workout. TODAY was NOT one of those days. I’m truly apathetic about going. I went, did my workout, was STILL not in a good mood and still tired. MAYBE I should have just slept! I am dragging today!!!

This doesn’t mean I won’t get up and run tomorrow or the next day or that I don’t still love running. It just means we all have bad days. It’s not their existence that will derail your aspirations it is how you deal with them that will. Much like on a long run when bad/dark times happen I am choosing to acknowledge it and do my best to move forward!

Tighten Those Laces, LETS RUN!


Support (time to get personal)

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If you are a runner you have probably been asked what got you started. Every time I am asked the answer is the same – a bet. This answer is true but it is not the whole story. I would have never been fit enough or even probably made the bet without my membership to the YMCA of Central Waukesha County. Before belonging the Y I had never had a gym membership. 

Having a gym membership was not on my list of things I ever wanted to do and to be honest getting fit was not my top priority 6 years ago. It became my priority only after I got my Y membership. Most people get their motivation at this point because they are paying for the membership so they better use it. Mine came out of the courage it took for me to get the membership, not my courage, my wife’s. 

I don’t talk much about my personal life here because it’s not relative. You probably know I have kids and MAYBE that they are adopted but unless you’ve been to a group run, we are friends on Facebook or you done some online stalking (don’t tell me about that one) you likely haven’t heard about my wife. It’s not a huge deal to me (besides that she is the most amazingly supportive person about my running). Honestly at this point in my life being a runner and craft beer lover are stronger parts of my identity then being a women married (no not legally) to another women. Maybe that comes with being with the same person for almost 9 years or maybe it comes with finding new kick ass communities to be a part of. 

My wife is a pretty private person when it comes to professional settings. It’s not that she was not “out” at work 6 years ago it’s just she didn’t see it as relative information to complete her job and it is not. At the Y full time employees and their families get complementary memberships. Though in order for me to get said membership they Y had to know who I was and how I was connected there so essentially my wife had to “come out” to various people. I don’t remember if I asked about getting a membership or she did it on her own but I was excited to be getting one. After I became a member and went and got my (terrible) picture taken I thought I BETTER use this thing so it was worth it and I did. I starting using the weight machines (which I no longer touch), riding the bikes and using the elliptical. THEN I got on a treadmill THEN I ran a 5K THEN I fell in love with running BECAUSE of the love of my wife who has a great job at a great place. So the REAL reason I started running was because of the YMCA of Centeral Waukesha County! 

Not only did they get me running The YMCA of Central Waukesha County has become an important part of my family! I workout there, my kids have grown up there, go to school there and take classes. Employees know me by name and always greet me with smiles. It is pretty much my family’s second home. So it is time to give back. 

On February 22nd the Y is hosting their annual “Ride Around The Clock”. I will be riding on team “Spoke ‘N Hot” at least 2 hours but probably more and probably in the middle of the night. The ride and the funds raised go to the Ys Annual Support Campaign. From the Y: There’s no place quite like the Y. We’re a vital part of Waukesha; a welcoming place to learn new skills, connect with others and access support in times of need. Our unique combination of services enriches the well-being of people of all ages and walks of life. As a nonprofit organization, we never turn away anyone who needs us. We need your financial support to continue to keep that promise. 

Please consider donating to MY support team in honor of YOUR support team by clicking here: 

***NOTE: I AM NOT a blogger who has been compensated for blogging about the YMCA. That marketing program is through the Metro Milwaukee YMCA. My YMCA is NOT affiliated with the Metro Milwaukee YMCA and did not compensate me in any way for this post! 

It’s all coming back… sort of…

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I’ve been on the sidelines pool running, strength training and biking (more on that here) for about 4 weeks now. I have been trying to keep a positive outlook and develop a “plan B” in the worst case scenario that I can not complete my running goals this year.  A received a free sports injury evaluation at Aurora Sports Medicine (a service they provide to anyone that qualifies) and was told I can do anything but run for 2 more weeks (I had been resting 2 weeks already) DONE! I did all the above stuff instead to stay in a shape rather than out of and probably spent more time working out then if I would have just run the miles my plan told me to.

Sunday was set to be the We Run This Trail run and with low registration I wasn’t sure if anyone would show…. and they did not! It was a stretch to hold it on a Sunday morning but it was the only day I could find in August that worked for my family! I bet you all REALLY want to come to our NEXT run with Three Cellars beer and wine lounge though?!?!?!

Since no one showed for the run I decided to go explore new trails and see how my leg would hold up. My friend Troy (@Midwestphoto) had told me there were some trails by my house in Whitnall park so I went that way. Found the trails but ALSO found the Wisconsin Trail Run series as well. I had seen this race was going on a while back but completely forgot about it. I stayed off the course as much as possible and also looped back to my car every 1.5 miles or so in case my leg gave out.


trail sign<

I was having a good time just exploring. Cheering people on and having the occasional runner or volunteer tell me I was going the wrong way. Elevation gains aside (550ft) I could tell I have been out of running but it doesn't feel impossible to get back to where I was. I'm looking forward to doing more training and seeing more of the park in the coming months.

Things got really crowded when the mountain bike races started so I got outta there after 7.6 miles (OK not the smartest come back run but my leg didn’t give me ANY trouble) I did 2 more miles on the road and called it a day.
This morning I did 4 “shake out” miles and got SMOKED by a lady wearing a Madison Mini shirt, which was only Saturday. I walked another .75 and got heckled my some ladies I’m pretty sure had been sitting on their porch drinking all night.
Today I feel like I ran a 1/2 at PR pace, I’m hungry, tired and my glutes and quads KILL!! EVERY second was worth it. Did/does it have the possibility of derailing my recovery…yes. Did I WANT this run for my sainity…yes. It felt good to earn my beer and I celebrated with a Surly Coffee Bender smuggled into WI by my BRF.

In other news I applied to be a Ragnar Relay ambassador last week and had a great time coming up with THIS VIDEO to include as a unique, look at me, I REALLY want to do this element. Do you think it worked?!?! We find out Friday!

Tighten those laces, LETS RUN!!!

Pool Running or attempting to…

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As I’ve both alluded too as well as flat-out said there is no way around it I am INJURED! I have been having a sharp, centralized pain in my lower leg for just about 2 weeks. I have pretty awesome high cost small non-profit insurance so I really can not afford to go to the doctor and get a bunch of tests done. Though I am getting a FREE injury eval tomorrow. I talked to a lot of people about my situation who deal with lower leg injuries and done my fair share of internet searches (I recommend NEITHER as a REAL solution but it’s what I have) and have been told/convinced to boot the thing, rest, ice, compress, blah blah blah. I have also been convinced pool running would be a great way to stay in shape for some races I have coming up…. Like the MARATHON I’m suppose to run in, ohhh 2 MONTHS! and the 50K 20 days after!

So pool running, strength training, yoga and biking it is!

After some research and youtube video tutorials I was all set to get in the pool and possibly make a fool of myself. The Y by my house has “aqua jogging” belts anyone can use so after work yesterday I braved the waters and did 2o minutes of pool running (I had 2 miles on my plan). As I strapped on my belt (feeling like I should be going to water aerobics) I desperately searched for a lane that wasn’t marked “class” by a cone or too busy. I spotted one with just one person slowly moving in it so I picked that lane and the women proceeded to leave as I entered (SCORE! LANE TO MYSELF). The orignal plan was to stay in place but that quickly went out the window as I worked on my form. Stay upright they say, high knees they say, go through the FULL running motion (not just marching) they say. Turns out doing ALL that at once is actually really HARD! I spent most of the 20 minutes saying out loud “right, left, right, left” because I noticed if I didn’t I was favoring my right side. I probably gave the teenage lifeguards a good show! I will be back tomorrow for 40 minutes if anyone needs a good laugh! Finished up with 10 mins of laps and realized the pool is NASTY DIRTY! Would bother me more if possible open water swims are in my future.

I’ll let you know what the deal is after the sports injury assessment. Injury aside the FREE Trail Fun Run is ON for NEXT SUNDAY morning sign up now:

Tighten those laces, lets YOU run!

Feels like the first time

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A couple of days ago I came across this article about a subscription based streaming workout video website started by Milwaukee native BJ Gaddour called StreamFIT. Knowing I will not reach my new running goals (Ragnar Chicago Ultra and my first 50k) in the kind of shape I want to be by just running alone I have committed to doing more strength/cross training in 2013. I started small and since early December I have been doing 30-45 minute routines I find online or using the Nike Training Club app 2-3 times a week. I do not think it’s a coincidence that I PRed at my last 1/2 by 14 minutes without focusing too much on running. This just added fuel to the fire and StreamFIT came to my attention at the right time. To top it all off they offer a month long free trail with NO obligation. FOR REAL you don’t even have to give them a credit card number or promise of your first born if you forget to cancel.

I joined this morning and searched through some videos. After customizing what content I wanted to search by whole body and equipment free I decided I wanted to do the 30 minute Beginner Bootcamp Workout B and a 30 minute core session called The Core Training Classic. Once the kids were finally down for nap is was GO time.

To prove to you they are serious about needing NO equipment here is where I worked out:ImageThe guest room at my in-law’s house.

Though I had to modify a couple of exercises because they were shown using a step I still feel like I got a really good work out! I don’t remember sweating so much when not running in a long time. Both sessions were split into 3 sections of 6 activities which were performed for 1 minute, rest 20 seconds then after all activities were completed rest 1 minute. The first section would be “easy” then then next 2 would modify each activity for a harder workout. A great strategy to help beginners yet challenge more advanced athletes. Some of the activities I could do the full “hard” modifications and other areas I am REALLY going to have to work on.

BJ was the “trainer” on both the videos and though I found his comments, at times, to be off colored and the pelvis in the camera move to be a bit frat-boy for my taste. He remained encouraging and I really liked what seems to be his tagline of “be better now” or sometimes “be stronger now”. All in all I would and have already recommended StreamFIT to friends, family and now you. Try it for free HERE and let me know what you think. I think that thanks to the accessibility of this site combined with the running plans I have mapped out 2013 will be the year I get into the BEST shape of my life!

Tighten those laces, lets RUN!


Where I’ve Been

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I’ve been having a hard time figuring out what to write. After my last post about my possible injury (READ HERE) I saw my doctor and she was optimistic and gave me the go to still do my next race. She recommended an Advil treatment (one in the AM one in the PM) for swelling and Physical Therapy to start in 2013. Well Shortly after that my insurance at work changed and I found out it would cost me $70 PER SESSION to participate in PT if I went with my clinic. I could find an outside clinic and pay right then and there and likely pay less but in a family of 4 where both adults work in non-profit money isn’t always right then and there. If ANYONE has any suggestions PLEASE leave them in the comments!

So I decided to slowly get back into training vs. casual running and it is going alright. I haven’t run more than 11 miles, I have been focusing on strength training at least 2x per week and icing. So far the pain in my leg seems at bay, for the most part. I have been running more with friends and having a lot of fun. I also feel like I am getting faster!!! Along with all of this I am dealing with a different medical issue with has left me with some GI issues and fatigue so that’s fun!! I will be getting some tests for this Thursday so any well wishes are welcomed!

I am running the Icebreaker 1/2 Marathon in 2 weeks and I have never felt so unprepared in my life! It’s a brand new experience 48 laps around a 2 lane track with 249 of my new closest friends. I feel so under-trained. I’m most worried about not starting too fast or feeling the need to “race” everyone. We will see how it goes.

Along with all of this we have now entered my family’s busiest time of year traveling/ leaving me to parent alone almost every weekend so runs will need to be crafted and possibly start on Monday mornings before work again.

I just wanted to let you know where I’ve been and let you know I will be posting more frequently now that I’ve cleared my head a bit and I feel more back on track.

Tighten Those Laces – LET’S RUN,