Friday’s Featured Female – Hippie Chick Granola

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Friday's Featured Female | 4 Comments

Friday's Featured Female, #FFF


Today’s Friday’s Featured Female isn’t a true person but it is the company, Hippie Chick Granola, that my blogger friend, Ilene@IleneEvans (aka The Fierce Diva Guide To Life) just launched.



Ilene and I have a mutual friend but through the blogging world (and a shared love of Duran Duran, yoga and running), we found one another.  Once I found Ilene, I found myself constantly checking her blog to see what she had written next.  There’s an honesty, sensitivity and strength that comes through when reading Ilene’s writing that made me feel like she was the high school best friend that I didn’t know I had.


To add to the admiration I have for this woman, this single mother of 3 recently decided to pick up and move herself and her three children from NJ to NC – as someone who has moved across the country, I understand how difficult it can be to shake up your world.  I’m in awe that Ilene decided to do it with 3 children in tow.


As someone who still really needs to get her butt in gear and focus on launching a private practice, I see Ilene and I’m inspired.  Today, I’m celebrating a pretty fabulous female (who will have her own feature post here once her business is up and running) and the ingenuity, strength, determination and entrepreneurial spirit.


Ilene Evans, Fierce Diva Guide To Life

Brazenly lifted from


To find out more about Ilene Evans/The Fierce Diva Guide To Life, check out, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.


To find out more about Hippie Chick Granola Co. and the four blends (Bernice: Peanut Brittle, Fiona: Cranberry Almond, Kimberly: Ginger with Pecans & Cherries and Tamara: Chocolate Pretzel) ranging from $6.99 to $7.99 for a 12 oz bag (shipping additional), go to and/or support this new business on FacebookTwitter and Google+.


Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post by any means.  This is just me supporting someone I admire – a risk taker with a lot of heart - doing something I admire.  Ilene has no idea that I’m writing this post.

BTW, I already ordered one of the blends above.   If you know me at all, you can likely guess which one it is.  Which one would you order?


The 6 Things You Need To Do A Ragnar Relay

Posted on by Melissa Burton in #14in2014, Fitness | 16 Comments

The So Cal Ragnar Relay is done and I know that I’ve shared just about everything I could about this race before it actually took place - from my intended music playlist, introducing all of my team members AND (if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter), you might have seen a few zillion pictures of gorgeous California scenery, many gorgeous sweaty runners and many obnoxious pictures of the So Cal Ragnar Medal but guess what?  I’m not done yet.

Ragnar Finisher, So Cal Ragnar Relay


The Ragnar Relay is a very special breed of running experience.  My teammate Gillian coined Ragnar the “Coachella For Runners” and she’s absolutely right.  When the topic came up at FitBloggin’ last year, I said yes but I was scared to death (I do have 4 half marathon DNS’s in the last 4 years due to injury) but after this fantastic experience, I’m already thinking about Ragnar #2.  I think every runner should think about doing a relay race so that’s why I’ve come up with:

6 Things Ragnar Relay

 (and why you’ll want to do another one as soon as you’re done with your first)

R – Runner Zen

You already know you’ll need to run 3 lengths of differing mileage at 3 different times of day or night but you won’t really know when or what your terrain will really be.    We were stuck for nearly an hour at our first exchange and our runner beat us to the exchange.

There are terrain differences, detours, unexpected weather changes, traffic jams, being woken up from your 45 minutes of sleep with a mini crash into your van (no one was hurt, annoyed but not hurt) but you keep going.  You want and you need to finish what you start.

So Cal Ragnar, Runner Zen

A zillion things could happen.  Hopefully nothing will be life threatening.  It’s good to look the Ragnar Relay as an ultra marathon or an IronMan (not that I’d know from experience) but you need more than just training, power, stamina, mental fortitude, hydration and fuel to reach the finish.

Finding Runner Zen and being able to adjust to change is key in a Ragnar.  If you’re high strung and change isn’t easy for you, count yourself lucky that you may have one of five other teammates that can help guide you.


A  - A List of Essentials

There are many lists of the things you’ll need for a Ragnar Race and a zillion things you think you need but actually don’t.   Here’s what you need:

  • An organized Captain that makes a Race Bible: Leg Maps with distances and designated runner, driving AND running directions, emergency contact information, social media information for all members of the team, details of the 3 major van exchange locations including restaurant information.
  • A backpack or easily accessible reasonably sized duffel bag - You do not have a ton of room in a van with 5 other people.


  • Required Night Gear: Ragnar approved night vest, head lamp and attachable light (your entire van will need to show these before being issued bibs to begin the race).
  • Electronic Accessories:  Phones, iPod, camera, car chargers and plugs (for music accompaniment while running, navigation, social media updates and communication).
  • Cash/Credit Card:  You will see gear/jewelry at the first major exchange and finish line that you will want to buy to commemorate this event.  Don’t pass up the opportunity.
  • 3 separate running outfits in separate plastic bags: Weather and day/night time appropriate top (l/s, s/s, tank, fleece), bottom (capri/tights/shorts/skirt), bra, underwear and socks – the separate sealable plastic bags are key for trapping smells and efficiency.  I also printed out a copy of my leg map and put it in each outfit bag but never needed any printout.
  • In between/sleeping outfit: Comfortable pants, socks, bra, shirt/sweatshirt – also in a separate sealable bag.
  • Appropriate weather gear : Sunglasses, hat/visor/headband, sunscreen, rain jacket, gloves, fleece hat etc.
  • Go-To Running Accessories: Camelback/Fuel Belt/Spi-Belt/ArmBand, phone/iPod, earphones, electrolytes, portable supplement, anti-chafe remedy and/or tape/brace
  • Post-Run Remedies: rehydration (water, Gatorade, electrolyte drinks/powders  - we had some drinks in a cooler with ice), non-perishable refueling components (pretzels, bagels, crackers, nut butter), foam roller/tennis ball/stick, ice-pack/Icy-Hot/Proform, compression gear, slip on but not flip flops (too cold at night)
  • Food and a plan to get real food: Snacks and food components.  I brought along some SexyPop Popcorn since the company was kind enough to send me a huge haul (and since it wasn’t heavy to carry) and it certainly came in handy!  In Van 2, we  only got the chance to stop off for a real dinner and everything else was snack food that was in the van.
SexyPop Popcorn, So Cal Ragnar

Kat with some Sexy Pop Popcorn

  • Blanket/Sleeping bag/Pillow: I learned that a car gets very cold when you turn it off to grab sleep while you can (many people laid sleeping bags out on the ground but I was not one of them).  I used my backpack as a pillow.
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, hair ties (brush optional), pain reliever/anti-inflammatory medication, medications/vitamins you take daily or require in different environments (anti-nausea, allergy meds etc.), deodorant, sanitary products (ain’t nobody got time to go to the drugstore if you unexpectedly get your period) and for me, Action Wipes (I did receive these as a gift from the company but my entire team would agree that they were an absolute godsend!).  People say bring toilet paper (I did) but never needed it.
  • Optional: Window Paint (t0 decorate  your van), costumes, themed t-shirts, Duran Duran pin (oh that might be just me).


G – Gather a Good Group

If your only friend from the 12 person team is NOT in your van, you’ll be lucky to see your friend for about 30 minutes tops so it’s crucial you gather a good group of people for your van.  You will get to know the 5 other people in your group better in 36 hours than you ever thought you possible.  The 5 other people in your van will see you at your best (cheering for others and finishing your runs) and your worst (smelly, tired, cranky, underfed, nauseated etc).

So Cal Ragnar Relay

Debbie, Jamie, Jill, Carrie, Me and Kat – Van 2/Leg 1


I was exceptionally lucky with my van-mates.  I knew Carrie and Jill and had met Jamie but I didn’t know Kat or Debbie.  We were lucky that no one was too annoying, whiny, bitchy or high maintenance because as much as this experience is an amazing one, it’s trying on the nerves.  It’s amazing that we were all respectful of each other’s many needs which ranged from support to silence at any given time.

N- Navigation and Driving Skills

Your phone GPS isn’t going to cut it here.  In order to get through 200 miles, you need a competent driver and a true human navigator.  You will rely on your Race Bible directions and use your GPS but if you don’t have a good driver and navigator team who communicate well with one another and a team that supports the two (by making sure both have food, water and rest when they need), your team will be SOL.

So Cal Ragnar Relay

Kat, our main driver and Carrie, our navigator

We were lucky that our main driver knew the area well and drove our van like a champ, our back-up driver also drove a truck so she was exceptionally comfortable behind the wheel.  Our main navigator was exceptionally adept and rarely took a break.  As a relatively new driver, I would never have been comfortable driving so I was very grateful I didn’t have the job.

A – A Sense Of Humor

You will be in a van for 36  hours, if you can’t find a way to laugh this experience is NOT for you.  Ragnarians have a great sense of humor – from team names, running in costumes and even the van decorations are hilarious.  While at exchanges you might notice that your van gets tagged with window paint or magnets.  It’s all in fun.  You laugh or you’ll realize just how tired you are.

Ragnar Relay So Cal

In our van, we could only listen to the radio so when the same 4 or 5 songs came on the radio (which included yesterday’s Tunes For Tuesday Two-Fer picks), we all wound up finding it funny and making a joke of it.  When you’re punchy, you can either get annoyed or laugh.  I’m very happy my group chose to laugh.

R – Resolve

Finding a group of 12 people that have the firm determination to cover 200 miles in 2 vans over a 2 day period is a little crazy and yet incredibly inspiring.  Even though you are not in the presence of your entire team during the relay, you communicate and try your best to support your entire team (social media certainly helps with this too).

The So Cal Ragnar Relay was comprised of over 700 teams of 12 and no matter where you were during the 200 miles of travel, there was always a sense of community – whether it was honking/cheering for a runner (yours or someone else’s), seeing the bay of decorated vans, passing or being passed by a runner (this is called a “kill” and tallied on vans) or even watching an exchange of the slap bracelet between any two teammates.  As “kumbaya” as it may sound, there’s a buzz of positive energy throughout Ragnar that you can feel throughout the course but the you can’t really feel the true power potential until you’ve had a chance to let it all soak in.  I’m a few days post-Ragnar and only now while preparing for this recap, do I realize how much strength, determination and resolve was present along those 200 miles.

So Cal Ragnar Relay 2014

The entire Dirrty Dozen team at the finish

It’s no secret that I’m exceptionally inspired by stories of strength of spirit, determination and resolve (it’s the heart and soul of why I even have a blog) and being a part of the So Cal Ragnar Relay made me feel all sorts of fabulous but even my medal paled in comparison to this:


So Cal Ragnar, You Are Awesome

My post race drink and message of love from my special boy.

All I can say is that I’m hooked and I’m hoping that my team wants to do another Ragnar Relay sometime very soon.  

My other teammates have some great recaps of this amazing experience.  Please check out:

- Gillian@thatsG:

- Jillienne@ChasingRaspberries:

- Jamie@FitApproach:

- Debbie@LiveFromLaQuinta AND

Have you ever done a relay?  If so, which one would you recommend I try next?

Tunes For Tuesday – A Dirrty Dozen Two-Fer

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Music | 9 Comments

Welcome to Tunes For Tuesday!

Music, Tunes For Tuesday

Image: Daisy

This past Friday and Saturday I was a little busy running the So Cal Ragnar Relay (which I will recap soon) but in honor of my Dirrty Dozen team, I’m featuring 2 songs today – one for each “r” in our team name.  These two songs were the most often heard songs on the radio while we were in our van.  It’s not that I love (or even like these songs) but I know that they will now remind me of a most fabulous time with the ladies of Van 2 of the Dirrty Dozen team.  Thanks Jamie, Kat, Carrie, Jill and Debbie!

Hope  you enjoy:

Song 1: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Personally, I can’t stand this song and I think we must have heard it about 8,000 times.  Being new to LA this video is fun because I recognize some of the areas.




Song 2: “Talk Dirty To Me” by Jason Derulo

First, I have no idea who Jason Derulo even is (except for the fact that he’s dating former American Idol contestant Jordin Sparks) so that makes me feel old.  Second, am I the only one who recognizes the sample of “No Diggity” by Blackstreet in this song (that we also heard 3 million times over a 36 hour period)?




What song is really irritating you right now?

Fridays Featured FemaleS – The Dirrty Dozen Ragnar Team

Posted on by Melissa Burton in #14in2014, Fitness, Friday's Featured Female | 15 Comments

Welcome to Friday’s Featured FemaleS!

Friday's Featured Female, #FFF

This week’s feature doesn’t just highlight one woman but it highlights a #DirrtyDozen of them.  Today I want to give a huge shout out the members of my So Cal Ragnar Team (technically, I’m not highlighting myself but 11 sounded ridiculous).

Ragnar Relay Series, runchat

Get to know these 11 amazing women that will be covering 200 miles with me (from Huntington Beach to San Diego).  Not all of these ladies are bloggers (and many aren’t even active in social media) but they are all amazing women and athletes.  The list below is in runner order with their leg mileages and terrain difficulty noted:


Van 1:


Elizabeth B. –  Elizabeth isn’t a blogger but she is most definitely a runner!  She kicks off our relay.

  • Distance/Terrain per leg: 5.90 (hard),  11.90 (hard) and 8.10 (very hard) = 25.9 miles Kia is a yoga instructor, a parent and she flew in from Colorado to be a part of this team.

  • Distance/Terrain per leg: 7.0 (hard), 3.0 (easy) and 2.9 (easy) = 13.1 miles
Kia, Bodhi Bear, runner, yoga instructor

Kia crossing a finish line with her son –


Jenica:  I don’t know Jenica personally but anyone who wants signs up for this madness is ok in my book!

  • Distance/Terrain per leg: 6.7 (hard), 3.7 (easy) and 3.5 (easy) = 13.9 miles


Amy@It’sAllAboutTheJourney:  The lady that put it all together deserves a great round of applause!  You rock!

  • Distance/Terrain per leg: 2.7 (easy), 4.0 (easy) and 6.2 (very hard) = 13.0 miles
Amy, dancer, runner, It's All About The Journey

With a medal, it’s Amy: It’s All About The Journey


Jillienne@ChasingRaspberries:  Fresh off the LA Marathon and in training for a tri, I’m sad not to be in a van with this inspirational lady!

  • Distance/Terrain per leg: 6.4 (hard), 6.3 (moderate) and 3.7 (easy) = 16.4 miles
Chasing Raspberries, marathoner, triathlete

How cute is Jillienne of Chasing


Gillian@That’sG: Like her sound-alike name predecessor above, Gillian is also fresh off the LA Marathon.  This law student and spin teacher is sweet, strong and damn fast!

  • Distance/Terrain per leg: 8.7 (very hard), 2.7 (easy) and 4.2 (moderate) = 15.6 miles
Gillian, law student, spin instructor, runner

Getting Ready for LA –



Van 2:

Jamie@FitApproach: She’s the CEO of an online fitness community, a yoga instructor and oh yeah, she runs ultra marathons.  There’s a reason she’s running this particular leg.  (Jamie, please don’t be creeped out that I used a photo from your personal FB page)

  • Distance/Terrain per leg: 9.8 (very hard), 5.9 (hard) and 7.0 (very hard) = 22.7 miles
Jamie Walker, sweat pink, fit approach, ultra marathoner

Jamie winning 2nd place in a 50K


Me: Yup, I’ve got the least total distance to cover. See, people are nice to the elderly.

  • Distance/Terrain per leg: 4.1 (hard), 3.5 (hard) and 2.8 (easy) = 10.4 miles

Awesome 80's run, running, 5K, music


Kathleen:  Another person I don’t know but her Facebook page says, “If you have to ask if it’s too early to drink wine, you’re an amateur and we can’t be friends.”  I like her already.

  • Distance/Terrain per leg: 5.3 (hard), 3.2 (easy) and 3.5 (easy) = 12 miles  I can’t say enough good things about this woman.  We clicked at first run and I’m thrilled to be seeing her twice in two weeks for two different runs.  She is going to rock this relay!

  • Distance/Terrain per leg: 6.7 (moderate), 2.0 (easy) and 7.1 (hard) = 16.3 miles
Carrie - Family Fitness Food

Carrie from


Jill@TreeFitness:  My fitness roommate for two conferences and counting!  There are few people on this earth that are as gorgeous, smart, sensitive and athletic as this lady is.  She’s flying in from Utah to do her 4th Ragnar!

  • Distance/Terrain per leg: 2.9 (easy), 4.2 (hard) and 7.4 (hard) = 14.5 miles

Jill Griffiths,, CPT


Debbie@LiveFromLaQuinta:  Another lady I haven’t met but if she’s a friend of Melissa@MelissaRunningIt (who is one fabulous chick), then I know I’ll like her.  Look at the distance she’s covering too!

  • Distance/Terrain per leg: 6.7 (very hard), 4.8 (moderate) and 5.4 (moderate) = 16.9 miles
Debbie, runner

Debbie from


I’m thrilled to be given the chance to do this unique race with all of these ladies.  I’m looking forward to telling you all about the experience after I recover!


Do you have a dream race (not that this was mine)?  If so, which one?

A Ragnar Relay Playlist

Posted on by Melissa Burton in #14in2014, Fitness, Music | 6 Comments

It’s almost time for the So Cal Ragnar Relay race!


Ragnar Relay Series, runchat

12 Friends, 2 Vans, 2 Days, 1 Night 200 miles (from Huntington Beach to San Diego)!  


This is my first relay.  Even though I’m covering the least amount of mileage (10 miles in total), it’s longer than I’ve run in a very long time and I’m excited and nervous about it.  I definitely haven’t trained like I planned and I have friends in town for the entire week leading up to race day (I’m actually cutting out on them early to meet my van) but with a motto like this one, how could you NOT be excited?

Ragnar Relay, shirt, So Cal, Run, Eat, Sleep? Do It Again

Image: Ragnar


I need music to run and to get through 3 runs (a late morning/early afternoon, a middle of the night and a next day early morning) so I’m sharing the dozen (for my team name, the #DirrtyDozen) not-so-typical songs that I’m adding to my Ragnar playlist:

***Leg 1***


#1 – Nelly

The first leg needs to start off with a powerful attitude – and hey, there’s Joe Perry from Aerosmith on guitar (that one’s for you CB) 

Nelly, #1, Joe Perry, running

Weather With You – Crowded House

I seem to have lousy weather luck when it comes to San Diego but this song is so great – “and there’s a slowboat made of china…”

Crowded House, Neil Finn, Weather With You, Running

Coming Of Age – Foster The People

This is my JAM right now, “Pumped Up Kicks” is also on my regular playlist.  Love FTP!

Foster The People, Coming Of Age, Ragnar Playlist


One Small Day – Ultravox

It’s epic, it’s Midge Ure and has great motivational lyrics.  This will not be a small day though.

Ultravox, Midge Ure, One Small Day, Ragnar Playlist

***Leg 2***


Roll With The Changes – REO Speedwagon

I hear “keep on running” even though it’s “keep on rolling”.  I’ll need to hear this in the middle of the night.

REO Speedwagon, running song


New Shoes – Paolo Nutini

I will not be running in new shoes (big no-no on race day) but I’ll pretend I have fresh, happy feet.

Paolo Nutini, New Shoes, Ragnar Playlist


Blue Highway – Billy Idol

Because in the middle of the night, the highway will be blue and Billy (plus that guitar riff) will get me moving.

 Billy Idol, Blue Highway, Ragnar Playlist

My Ever Changing Moods – The Style Council

I function well on little sleep but I’ve never done it with 3 legs of running.  This is a reminder to be nice to my van-mates.

Style Council, Ever Changing Moods, Ragnar Playlist

***Leg 3***

Don’t Tell Me – Madonna

 People always think of the cowboy video with this song but it always paces me well and insists “Don’t tell me to stop…”

 Madonna, Don't Tell Me, Cowboy song, Ragnar Playlist


Just Another Day – Oingo Boingo

Although it won’t be “just another day”, a little Danny Elfman will delude me into a regular run on an ordinary day.

 Oingo Boingo, Just Another Day, Danny Elfman, Ragnar Playlist

Can’t Hardly Wait – The Replacements

As much fun as this experience will be, I know I’ll be waiting for the finish line.  I know I’ll appreciate Paul Westerberg’s musical empathy.

 The Replacements, Can't Hardly Wait, Ragnar Playlist

(Reach Up For The) Sunrise – Duran Duran

You knew there had to be a Duran song, right?  I thought about “Faster Than Light” but since that would absolutely be a lie, I went with this anthem.  I won’t be running at sunrise but I almost wish I could with this song as my background.

Duran Duran, Reach Up For The Sunrise

What unconventional song(s) motivate you when working out?

All images from Spotify screen captures.

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