Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Now Official -

Welcome to my New Blog – 

I have been posting on Twitter and Facebook about my training progress to my goal:  to run and finish the Las Vegas Half Marathon on December 5th 

I decided a long time ago  - I would not start an official article writing blog until I finished that race.  Why?  What’s the point in writing an article?  

Afterall, my blog is not called “Charlene Trying to Run”

And you can follow me at Twitter:  @CRagsdale

As you probably know by now, I am a Novice.  Not just a Novice racer, but a Novice long distance runner.  Being a Sprinter most of my life – the concept of running even a mile, elluded me.

Through a challenge from my youngest son to run a mile this past May – I turned that challenge into a way of life for me.  I set my goal and sights on Running and Finishing the Las Vegas Half Marathon.

That Goal was accomplished in a big way
My estimated finish time was to be 2:55
I finished in 2:11 (2 hours and 11minutes)

This first blog post is a chronicle of the days leading up, pre-race and then post-race.
To some this will be a LONG blog article – for me, it gives me the one chance to narrate the event.

Friday, Dec 3rd – Expo Day. I hit an emotional wall that day.  Everything became reality.  I was going to run in a Half Marathon.  Doubts set in (even though I had trained hard and had done the miles).  I was wondering if this 49 year old body could REALLY pull of a race/event.   While getting ready that AM, the tears started.  I immediately picked up my cell phone and texted my support system of incredible individuals.  

That isn’t easy for me to do

Ask for help

Within minutes my text messages were flooded with honest, heartfelt comments that hit to the very core of my spirit and heart.  

I then pulled myself together, gathered my sons and headed to the Expo.  This was my first sight....... (see below) 

I was thrilled to finally meet one of my Twitter Pals, Brandi and her boyfriend Chris.  

As we are walking into the Expo area – I see the Finisher Medals on display.  I walked over and held that Finisher Medal in my hand.  Glad I did – at that moment, I realized I could do this.  I looked around and saw the thousands of people there – “if they can!  So can I!”

Off we went to the Merchandise store.  I bought a runners hat, visor, shot glass and photo frame. 
Then, touring all the foodie exhibitors.  Good grief.  It was like the motherload of samples.  My kids were beyond excited to get all these great treats.  Luckily, I had given them bags to take goodies home.

We went to lunch at Fashion Show Mall at Subway (our favorite, as of late) and then headed to a Tweetup with some others.   

Met Tim, Erin, Mike and Kimberly.  All huge inspirations.  Rock Legends and Super Six medal holders.  What valuable tips I have learned from them through Twitter.  It was so nice to be able to chat with them.  Runners are truly great people.

After that – I met my husband back at the Expo (he was working during the day).
Back at the Expo for another round…this time – hubby got lucky!  (take your mind out of the gutter) 

He won one of the plush Shoes at the Brooks booth (see below)

Here are my kids portraying their inner-Elvis:

  And me...pretending to WIN a race :D

My biggest excitement?  Finding the Calico Racing (Las Vegas) and Disney booths.  Both had displays of their races – which I will be doing in 2011.  Something about MEDALS that make it real for me.  I want lots of medals, and I am not ashamed to say it!  Bring on the Bling!  

Then, we went out to dinner for my Carb Load.

Went to Batista’s Hole in the Wall – a Vegas Legend, behind the Flamingo Hotel

I ate so much pasta, my stomach hurt -I had ate so much pasta all week – I was really feeling like a noodle-head

  • The next morning – little bit if pasta for breakfast
  • Lunch – little bit more
  • Dinner – light sandwich with meat only
  • Put my kids to bed around 7pm and I was in bed by 7:30pm
I had set my alarm to be up at 3:45am
My body woke me up at 2:20am

Oh yea
  • I got up and checked the weather
  • Tweeted the latest weather updates as the “Unofficial #RnRLV Weather girl”
  • I got dressed
  • Got the family ready
  • Ate my bit of food and drank my last water at 4:15am
  • Headed out the door at 5:30am – to ensure we could find parking and I had an idea where we were going
Wasn’t hard to find where to go – followed the herd of people

At 6am, I was stuck by the ODDITY of seeing a monsterous line at Starbucks – full of runners.  1 hour before race time?  In a coffee line?  Thank goodness they had porta-potties along the route

Found my Twitter Pal, Brandi and Chris, again

We ran around the parking lot a few times to limber up

At 6:45 – we headed out – Brandi and I were in Corral 5

I heard the Starting Gun go off and I realized my family was no where to be seen.  They were going to miss the Start.   Argh!  Unfortunately, they were on the other side and saw the Start – they just didn’t see me Start the race.

Corrals move closer and next thing I know I am told to start running.  As my foot HIT the Starting Line – my arms went up as I was starting my dream.  

Each mile I had dedicated to someone special…so, I started my journey and running and thinking about those individuals who had affected my life.

Immediately, I was struck by the mass number of people standing along side the street and the overpass sidewalks to watch us run.  I felt like an Athlete.  To think all these people came out to cheer us on, to volunteer – so WE could run a race.  Amazing, just amazing. 

I thank each and every one of you!

  • Mile 1 completed in 9:20 – good pace, I knew I could pick it up, midway

  • Around Mile 2 – I swerved to the right to throw my scarf and I lost my running partner, Brandi

I now was running alone.  Which is more the normal for me…I train and run alone, but I still would of liked running with Brandi the entire route. 

  • Passed the Run-Through Wedding at the Venetian – so cute!
Heading towards Sahara and still looking to hit my stride.  I knew I was distracted, as I was still looking for Brandi and trying to keep myself from running into others.

At this point, I was right behind the 1:52 pacer.  I was WAY ahead of what I thought, and not having any problems…

Then....I felt it – something odd was happening in my sides.  I had never felt it before.  Then, the tummy started to hurt.  THAT never happened during any run, before.

I was completely baffled as to what was going on.  

So, I made the decision to slow my speed as my goal was to finish – not for a specific time.  All I needed to do is finish. 

  • I held back
  • I held back some more
  • I prayed a lot!
  • I put hard candy in my mouth (that slowed me up – having to fiddle with that)
  • My belt was not cooperating with me (another distraction and something that was slowing me down)
  • Etc etc
By the time I had reached Mile 8 – I just wasn’t feeling good.  I stopped looking at my watch, I didn’t care about the time – Lord, just get me to the finish line

From that point, it truly was a blur.  I remember focusing on Cesar’s Palace – as that was Mile 11 and I knew I would text my husband at that point – I was on my way in.  Get me to Caesar’s Palace, please.

  • Mile 12 – I wanted to quit. I just wanted to walk the rest of the way…my butt was numb…and let’s not forget the stomach!  Somehow I managed to pose a "thumbs up" to the course photographer. 
  • From Mile 12-13 was the LONGEST mile in that whole race to me…but, I was determined to fulfill my original goal:  finish the race with a SMILE on my face!

Then, I could see the runners ahead of me turn into Mandalay Bay parking lot – my heart sunk…I feared my husband and kids were not going to be there to watch me run in.  We ALL had sacrificed so much for me to be there – they needed this time as much as I did.  

I knew they held in their hands big red, foam fingers (so I could spot them in the crowd) – 

and then…

I saw my husband hold up the foam finger!  I wanted to jump the barricade and hug them!  I ran by with my arm in the air doing the “I Love You” sign with my hand.

Here is a pic of me as I ran past my family (black shirt, red jacket around my waist, black hat with arm raised)

I then ran across the Finish Line....I was now an Athlete

I held that Finisher Medal in my hand and I started to cry and cry and cry. 

I did it.  I had done the impossible. 

49 years old – running my first ever – long distance race. I was a Half Marathoner and I have the bling to prove it!

After wading through the sea of food, water, mylar blankets – I met up with my family

More tears, more hugs, MORE smiles…and lots of pictures.

We estimated my actual finish time to be 2:15 (about 40 minutes faster than I had predicted).  I was thrilled with 2:15 – considering all the stops and PAINS, I knew I had beat my pre-race estimated finish time.  I was very happy!

Watched the Bret Michaels concert.  Kids and hubby loved it.  I waited for my medal to be engraved.  And for the first time, I saw my Official Chip Time – 2:11:54

Family and I cried, once again

To think I once ran/WALKED a 25minute mile – 6 months later, I ran at a 10 minute pace, overall.

Why was my stomach hurting?  I took Imodium that morning! – and NOW, I realize I shouldn’t of.  It won’t be happening again, that is for sure.  

Even as I sit here, I am full of tears in my eyes at what I accomplished that day.  49 years old, this should not be happening.  But it did, and it isn’t a dream.

How am I feeling?  I feel great.  The next day – hardly any soreness or fatigue.  I can’t wait to hit the pavement again!

>>I would like to thank Rock n Roll/Competitor Racing for making this race an incredible experience.  I may race many more, but nothing will ever replace the experience of my first race.

>>To my husband and sons.  Seeing you at the Finish Line was worth it all to me.  Thank you for all you did to help me get there.  My Medal is yours, too

>>To all my Twitter Pals – too many to list! 

>>To my Prayer Warriors – your prayers were answered and then some…thank you!

I am so proud to say….I am an official Half Marathoner…

Live and Run Strong,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Half-Marathoner, Business Blogger, Public Speaker & Host of IMPACT Radio Channel
~My Facebook Fan Page ~Follow Me on Twitter


  1. That was SO MOVING! Welcome to the blogosphere!! You are a kick ass runner!

  2. Congrats on your first half marathon finish! And thanks for those weather reports in the days leading up to the race. This Wisconsin girl appreciated them! @BadgerJen2002

  3. Congratulations on your first Half Marathon finish!! You are a marathoner, a racer! Though, I believe you were an athlete before you crossed the finish line. All of you hard work and time put into training, is what REALLY made you an athlete. And way to blow your predicted finish time. I was in corral 5 btw. Very crowded but I did find some other racing friends. =) What was your original corral assignment?

  4. Hi Larrisa - My original Corral was 27 (2:55) - I knew my time would increase signficiantly - I was shooting for 1:50 - and I do believe I could of easily broken 2:00 if I didn't have so many slow downs and issues along the way. However, it was my first race - and the experience I gleened was invaluable.


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