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Team “Nuunsense”: Running Ragnar Northwest Passage with Nuun Hydration–Part 1

Posted Jul 24 2013 9:52pm

You might remember that back in April I had applied for the Nuun Hydration Hood to Coast Relay Team —and didn’t make the team.  I was devastated!  I knew a good number of people in the applicant pool from social media or reading their blogs, so I knew it would be tough getting in, but despite that I still felt good about my application.  I felt like it depicted me pretty accurately and when I didn’t get in I will fully admit that I took it personally—that it was a judgment on me as an individual.  The week leading up to finding out if I had made the cut, we also found out that my husband’s job was about to be relocated to North Carolina and we needed to decide if we were moving or not.  My head was spinning from that news and I just really needed some good news to bring me back around.

I had been so excited about the possibility of meeting some of the women who had applied and running with an amazing corporate team.  I’ve followed Nuun’s past two teams of bloggers and it just seemed like an amazing experience—especially because I believe so strongly in the product.  I’ve been using Nuun as my electrolyte replacement almost since I started running.  I was running and training for distance for about 6-months when in the summer of 2010 I found I always felt sick when I was drinking the dye-laden sugary, sweet sports drinks from the grocery store.  I am a SUPER salty sweater so I knew I needed to replenish my electrolytes and water wasn’t going to cut it on its own, but neither was the sick and sloshy belly feeling from the sports drinks either.  I had read about this product, Nuun (pronounced noon), on a few blogs like Racing with Babes and Another Mother Runner , and decided to give it a try since it received rave reviews.

Strawberry Lemonade from

I bought my first tube (strawberry lemonade) at my local running store, Rhode Runner , and was immediately hooked.  It was flavorful, effervescent, and most importantly not sweet or heavy on my stomach.  From that moment on the Nuun tablets were my go-to electrolyte replacement beverage of choice.

If you’re unfamiliar with Nuun , they are kind of like Airborne or Alka-Seltzer tablets in that you drop them into water (1-tablet makes 16-ounces or for me, 2 fuel belt bottles worth) and allow them to dissolve.  They are sugar-free, which for me as a runner is great—there is nothing worse than running and trying to drink and spilling on yourself and then having a sticky nasty mess for the rest of your run (which happened a lot when I used sports drinks).  Another advantage Nuun has over the other sports drinks is its portability.  Nuun comes in small tubes that contain 12-tablets.  The tubes are easily packed in a gear bag or purse.  When I’m on a super long run in the summer I will pack an extra tablet in a little tiny zip-lock baggie so that if I run out of hydration along the way I can fill up at a water fountain and add my Nuun to the refill.  For that matter, Nuun sells pre-packaged individually wrapped tablets on their website! They have three different product lines—Nuun Active Hydration (which is what I use) and also “U Natural” vitamin enhanced tablets and Nuun All Day that can be used to replace your soda consumption if you’re addicted to it.  Nuun Active Hydration comes in 14-flavors; my favorites include Banana, Watermelon, Cherry-Limeade, and Kona Cola.

Ragnar Relay Series Logo:

I digress.  In the couple weeks after not being selected to the Nuun HTC team, I received a lot of “next year you’ll get in” comments and while I would smile and nod at the statements I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put myself through that again.  I felt like I put myself out there and if they didn’t select me then what could I say next year that would make me be selected.  Then the strangest thing happened—while I was away on vacation I received an email from Megan at Nuun HQ that essentially said, we know you were disappointed about not running HTC with us but there are other ways to get involved with Nuun.  She went on to ask me if I’d be interested in running as part of one of their Ragnar Relay teams—I think I actually screamed out loud!  They DO like me! I had the choice of three different races and after consulting my current race schedule I emailed her back and let her know that I’d love to be a part of the Ragnar Northwest Passage team in Washington state.

In May, Megan emailed everyone on the team for introductions.  Among the twelve of us were Nuun employees Colleen, Zoë (of ), Casey, Kim, Jenny, and Robert, as well as Friends of Nuun Sarah and Sara, and bloggers Nicole ( ), Leana ( ), and Tasha ( ).  From the emails that started back and forth about team themes and outfits, it seemed like a great crew and I was looking forward to meeting everyone in Seattle.

As my day of departure approached we finalized our theme–”Nuunsense!”  (#nuunsense) That made for an easy “coordination” for everyone in terms of outfits–there was none!  Our main goal was to have fun and what could be more fun than pure silliness and nonsense?  We also learned who our vanmates would be based on our leg assignments.  Since I would be running legs 9, 21, and 33 , that meant I was in Van 2 with Kim, Zoë, Robert, Sara, and Tasha and a later start than Van 1.  Since I was coming from the east coast I was a little glad I had some extra time before needing to head north from Seattle and as it turns out that was definitely a blessing in disguise!  I needed to work a full day on Thursday so that meant a late flight out of Boston, which unfortunately also meant that I was missing the team dinner and van decorating.  :(

Flight to Seattle--DELAYED!

Flight to Seattle–DELAYED!

Last Thursday, after having dinner with work friends (and a glass of wine if I’m being 100% honest), I headed to Logan Airport in Boston for my flight only to find out when I arrived that my 8:40 flight which was supposed to get into Seattle at 11:47 pacific time, was not leaving Boston until 11 p.m. EAST COAST time for an arrival time of 2:30 a.m. pacific time….which by the time I arrived at the hotel (after a $50 cab ride!!!!!) and argued with the lady at the front desk that I needed a key to the room I was staying in with the Nuun girls, meant I was crawling into bed with Tasha—who I had yet to meet in person—by about 3:30 a.m.….thankfully I slept on the plane and my body was still on east coast time so really it was more like 6:30 a.m. for me!!

Cheapest seafood I've eve seen--even on the east coast!

Cheapest seafood I’ve eve seen–even on the east coast!

At 5:30 in the morning the girls of Van 1, Leana and Nicole, were up and getting ready to head out for the start line.  Both me and Tasha woke up to see them off and then we both headed back to sleep for another few hours before getting up for some breakfast and Seattle sightseeing.  We hit this great bakery and coffee place around the corner from our hotel and chatted about Crossfit on our way there, among other things, and I quickly felt as though I had a kindred spirit in Tasha.  For breakfast, I had a delicious coffee and breakfast sandwich (minus the English muffin) and then we headed down to Pike Place to see the famous market and the infamous fish throwing!  I nearly died when I saw the price of the Sockeye salmon per pound—at $11.99 per pound fresh caught within hours it was certainly much better priced than the sockeye that’s I’d get back home at $17-19.99 per pound!  Next time I go back to Seattle I am planning ahead and making sure that I have enough time on the back end of my trip to buy some fish and have it packed for the flight home!

Me and Tasha--aka Healthy Diva

Me and Tasha–aka Healthy Diva

We strolled round the market and I continued to be amazed at the crazy low prices of the beautiful produce and the gorgeous bouquets of flowers.  We made a pit stop at the original Starbucks (but didn’t wait in line for any of the drinks or merchandise), and then hit a gluten-free bakery where I bought the most amazing pumpkin cookie with maple syrup buttercream! I nearly died!

Seattle sightseeing

Seattle sightseeing

Tasha, who is from Spokane, humored me and let me play tourist a little more as we walked towards the water and saw the skyline.  She told me all about the Hot Chocolate 5k that she and Zoë ran and showed me the course and the hills (oh the hills!) that went along with the course.  After a few pictures together in front of the Pike Place neon sign we headed back to our hotel room to final pack and head down to meet Van 2 for 11:30.

Van #2 at one of our first pitstops

Van #2 at one of our first pitstops

As the van drove up, out walked Kim, van captain, who greeted us with a big hug and welcome.  Kim is by far one of the most amazing women I’ve met.  She was kind and welcoming, but also a wealth of information about running as she shared stories and showed us pictures of her running with both her boys when they were youngens.  Bruce, our Van driver, was just as welcoming!  There are really no words to describe Bruce other than maybe Van Dad, and I mean that with all the love and respect that the term dad implies.  Bruce, from the very beginning was intent on making sure that his runners were comfortable—whether it be temperature in the van, or having enough fuel and hydration during and after their runs.  It felt like I had known Bruce my whole life in just a short time.  Robert, Zoë, and Sara were also great and welcoming.  The thing I was most nervous about going into this adventure, was feeling comfortable with total strangers.  Sometimes it takes me a while to feel comfortable with people I’ve never met, but within a matter of minutes I felt as if we were all old friends that had just not seen each other for a period of time.  I was at ease and excited to spend the next 30-hours with these people who were quickly becoming my friends.

To be continued…..


Disclosure:  While Nuun did pay for my race entry into Ragnar, all opinions and experiences are entirely, 100% my own and I am in no way being compensated to say them.

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