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Where training meets fandom. And everything in between.

Face The Music Friday #29

Fitness this week:

Saturday – 4 hours of raking the yard

Sunday – Jamestown Bridge 10K

Monday – rest/chiro appt

Tuesday – 1 hr Unleashed OCF class

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – rest


So this week didn’t go exactly as I had planned. I ended up switching schedules with someone Mon/Tues/Wed while they were on a trip so I worked different hours. I’m a creature of habit and when things aren’t part of my regular routine, I get thrown out of whack. I’ve had a lot of little extra things to do this week and, along with working those different hours, I just didn’t manage to get my workouts in that I wanted. For instance, instead of the run I planned on last night, I fought with a filing cabinet and my car for 1/2 hour. By the time I got home, I’d already said screw it.




This weekend will be the first time I run 7 miles as part of my training plan. I’m a little nervous, but it looks like we’ll have perfect weather this weekend so I’m looking forward to it. We also have a lot going on in terms of doing stuff around the house so we’ll be moving around plenty. I’ve got more yard work to do to prep the lawn after all that raking last weekend, plus we’re going to grab some paint because Tara will be home for April vacation and she plans on repainting the office. We’re finally going to hang up my race medals on the awesome hanger that I got for Christmas so I’m really excited they can be displayed because I’ve worked damn hard for them. I can do some during and after pics because she already started taking shelving down so it’s not technically a full before picture, but you’ll get the idea.

I’m gonna keep it short this week, so straight into the music we go. I’m a big fan of Broadway and musicals in general. I love music so much and seeing it acted out just makes me love it even more sometimes. Needless to say, I watch Glee. I loved the idea of it and when it started I liked how they mixed up or mashed up songs and sometimes even made them better. The story lines are pretty weak, but I still watch because of the music. I’ve actually discovered several songs I love through watching it that I didn’t previously know.

This past week’s episode “Bash” started with this haunting Stephen Sondheim song from Into The Woods. I thought it was hauntingly beautiful and it gave me goosebumps (even listening to it again as I found the YouTube video).

No One Is Alone – Glee Cast









Jamestown Bridge 10K Race Recap

Race #4 of my #14in2014 was the Jamestown Bridge 10K in Jamestown, RI on 4/6/14. I couldn’t have asked for better weather for this race. It was a bit on the chilly side, but bright, bright sunshine and only a slight breeze – perfect for running on a bridge! This race was also the polar opposite of what I had experienced the weekend before in the Run The Reservoir 5K.

The race start was at 9:00am, but we planned on getting there around 7:30 because the only parking available was along Route 1A on the street. We didn’t want to have to park a mile away and walk that far after running 6 miles – which I had never attempted before.

Luckily, Tara knew the area where we needed to go, so we got there no problem and got a really close parking spot. Once we determined we were far enough away as not to get towed or ticketed, we headed over to the Park & Ride where the tents and portapotties were set up. We just people watched for a bit and tried to stay warm. It ended up that I dressed perfectly for my run, but unfortunately I was cold the whole time leading up to the race! I really need to be better about wearing more layers I can shed, or else we need to wait in the car sometimes.





About 15 minutes out from the start, I started warming up and hit the portapotty line one more time. There was a 5K starting at the same time as us, but on the opposite side of the bridge. They had been bused over by shuttles prior to us lining up. While we were waiting to start, they didn’t make any announcements or anything so people started wondering what was going on. Then they said the 5K had started. OK, but what about us? We didn’t end up starting until almost 9:15 according to my phone. By then, I’d lost my signal on my Garmin and was having trouble getting it back. I literally got it back right as they told us to start going.



I started out feeling strong. I decided I would run as long as I felt I could (lately I’ve been doing 4 min run/2 min walk). The MC had warned us to save energy because the first mile was downhill, so don’t burn ourselves out. I took his advice to heart and just kept a slow steady pace. I didn’t stop to walk until after I’d reached a mile (about 10:30 I believe). This was where we hit the huge incline leading to the top of the bridge. I tried to jog up it a little, but I wanted to conserve my energy to run when I could on flatter ground (or downhill). Once I hit the peak, I did speed up a bit on the downhill, but still not by much because I knew I still had a ways to go.


I’m right not the white line in the front of that pack. In about 1 minute, all those people will pass me.


Once I reached the bottom of the bridge on the other side, we turned into the neighborhood portion of the run. It was really nice seeing people out on their lawns cheering us on. The volunteers did a great job with the water stops and pointing us in the right directions. This course was VERY well marked and I never had any instance where I thought I might get lost.

After a couple of miles through the town, we turned back on to the bridge for the second killer incline. I did the same thing as I did the first time – walked up to the peak, ran quickly downhill. The issue with this one was that nice downhill mile we had at the beginning was uphill for the last mile back! I ran as long and as often as I could, but I walked a substantial portion of the end of the race. I didn’t feel too bad though, because every single person in view in front of me was walking as well. It was a seriously killer ending to a very hilly race. I liked seeing Tara on the bridge overpass when I was coming in at the end. Lots of people were up there cheering either as spectators or walking back over to the food tent after finishing the race.



What I didn’t realize about this race, that Tara said she heard an announcement about before the start, was that it was a gun-timed race. I was kind of annoyed about this because I didn’t know. The bibs had timing chips on them. We also received numerous notifications that we could sign up for a website that would text real time updates about us to our friends or family. I had signed Tara up to receive texts by filling in my name and bib # and it said she was all set. I didn’t even notice when we started if there was a timing mat when we crossed, but I do remember one when we finished.

Unfortunately, I started towards the back of the pack because I’m slow and don’t want to get in the way, which means precious seconds were eaten up after the gun went off until I could start running. What sucks even more is I’m not 100% on my time because I forgot to stop BOTH my Garmin and Runkeeper app when I finished. So my “official” time is 1:20:16. I assume I probably could have been just under 1:20, but who knows. At least it’s an automatic PR since it’s my first 10K!



One last thing I have to point out is that they put out the biggest, most diverse food spread after the race. There was pizza, bagels, half a dozen different kind of little bags of chips, granola bars, cookies, peanuts and a bunch of other stuff I can’t even remember right now. I came in pretty close to the very last person and there was still TONS of food left and Tara said people were stuffing it in their coats, too. That’s pretty amazing. I’ve been to other races where I’m lucky if there is a banana left when I finish.

I would definitely recommend this race. They were highly organized, well marked and lots of super helpful volunteers directing us at every turn. I can’t say if I would do this race again because of those crazy hills, but I am a special type of crazy so I suppose I’d challenge myself to do it again just to beat my own time.






Run The Reservoir 5K Recap

Race #3 of my #14in2014 was the Run The Reservoir 5K in North Scituate, RI on 3/29/14. I didn’t have huge expectations of this race since I knew it would probably be the smallest I’ve ever run, but it was being put on by one of the members of the RIRR so I wanted to come out and support it.

I have to say, I was kind of disappointed. According to the t-shirt I received, this was the 7th annual race. I think I would have expected just a bit better organization.

The first thing was parking. I luckily knew exactly where to find the race because the Scituate Art Festival is held there every year and we’ve been selling my friend’s jewelry there for the last 3 years. This means I also knew there was plenty of parking across the street. Unfortunately, it wasn’t organized so people were just kind of parking wherever they felt like it. We were there early, so we didn’t have an issue but a friend of mine from RIRR almost missed the start of her 15K because she had no idea where to go.

Once you were parked, the next issue is that it wasn’t really clear where to get your stuff. It was kind of a “follow the leader” type scenario that led you into the small church. They were very organized once you were inside with plenty of signage so that was a plus. They also let people use the indoor restroom, as well as had 3 portapotties outside. For a race this size it was fine, the line never got very long.

The worst thing of all was the start of the race. There was a 15K starting at 9:00 and then the 5K would start at 9:05. Unfortunately, the only way to hear any announcements was if you were up at the front of the pack because they were just using a bullhorn and it wasn’t very loud. We had no idea what was going on since we were at the back for the 5K start. This was bad, too, because we heard after the fact that several 5K runners had taken off with the 15K – big mistake! The way they did it was that the 15K started then the few 5K-ers were left after that so we stood where the 15K-ers had started from. A minute later, we all started moving forward, so I thought maybe we were starting. Not the case. Apparently the 5K start line was about 50 yards up the street so we were just moving to “our” start line.

Once we got going, I settled into my groove. Unfortunately, that groove was post-sickness and I wasn’t at 100% so I did a fair amount of walking. I was OK with it though, because I knew going in I would be. I couldn’t fully breathe yet (still a bit congested) and my hip is still bothering me. As long as I go in knowing I’ll be doing some walking, it never seems to get me down very much.

It was a very pretty race to start with, being right on the reservoir, however that didn’t last long. I would say 75% of our run was on busy roads with semi trailers blasting by us. The roads had NO markings or cones for safety of the runners in any way (we were literally just running the shoulder of the road). There were a couple of volunteers at key turning points to show us where to go, which was good because other than that there weren’t any posters or anything with arrows showing us what to do. I was highly disappointed by this and a little nervous I would get lost or hit by a car. Not really stuff I want to worry about while I’m running a race.





We didn’t have any timing chips, so I think they just made note of our bibs as we crossed with the time on the clock. My official time was 40:18 which was OK with me considering the amount of walking I did. I forgot to stop my Runkeeper and Garmin right away, so my recorded times are slightly off.





I felt so bad when Tara was telling me about runners that did the wrong race, or wrong course. One woman was with the wrong group and her husband took off to find her after he finished and she hadn’t yet. She refused to cross the finish line with her bib because it took her 35 minutes (when she can normally finish in under 20 min). I don’t blame her – I’d be pretty pissed if I were racing to win like her.

I can say I definitely won’t be doing this race again. As nice as it is to support a fellow RIRR, I need organization and safety and those were 2 things I felt were sorely lacking that day.














I know I need to get my butt in gear and write a couple of race recaps, but I lack serious motivation. Right now, I’m still in the afterglow of finishing my first ever 10K yesterday (and my longest distance ever run to date).

For now, you get some fluff. I’d like to thank Talia at 52 Miles Per Month for a nomination for a Liebster Award and Bree at Running Breezy for a different blogger award (missed the name of it I think?). For Bree’s, I need to list 7 random facts and the remaining questions come from Talia.

In terms of rules, I’m throwing them out the window. Please just comment and answer anything you’d like. Or tell me a random fact. The floor is yours!

Random facts:

1. I love watching Matlock and Murder She Wrote reruns. I swear I’m 34. No, really.

2. I used to love eating peanut butter and cheese sandwiches. American cheese only. I’m not a weirdo or anything.

3. I used to have a VHS tape of recordings of Bob Ross’ Joy of Painting from PBS. I would turn it on and lay down to take a nap because his voice is ridiculously relaxing. I love happy little trees…and happy little squirrels… There are no mistakes, only happy accidents. OK – maybe I’ve seen too much.




4. One my cats (Delilah) and I have “tubby time” every day. She comes in the bathroom with me while I’m in the shower and she lays in the sink and let’s it drip on her and takes a bath. As soon as I open the shower curtain, she starts meowing at me until I pet her. That’s totally normal, right?

5. I’ve started a collection of coffee mugs, but I will only buy them if they are from somewhere on vacation or an adventure date with Tara.

6. I may have an unhealthy obsession with Yankee Candles. Just ask Tara, Julie or Dan about that trip to their factory store when the ADD squirrel came out in me.

7. I really like working out in the yard (yay Spring!!), but hate raking. Raking can go take a hike.


And now on to the questions as provided by Talia:

1. What inspires you on a day to day basis?!  Other people. I’m not going to be able, nor do I want to, single out any particular person. Everyone has their own personal struggles and one day person A may inspire me and the next day person B will give me the kick in the ass I need to get over myself.
2. Why do you write?  I write for accountability. For somewhere to put my feelings. I’m not a talker. I tend to bottle up and explode instead. I like looking back and seeing how far I’ve come (even if lately it’s nowhere).
3. How do you feel about exercise… Honestly?!  I absolutely hate traditional exercise. I’d rather go for a hike or something so the exercise is disguised. I do it because I always feel better after the fact, but I find it boring most of the time and just want it to be over.
4. If you could wake up anywhere in the world where would you wake up and why?  In one of those little huts on the water in Bora Bora. That’s where they are, right? Yeah. I want nothingness and relaxation.


5. You have a choice- you can ride a bike or walk. The distance isn’t far. What so you choose?  I would walk. I hate riding bikes because the seats always hurt my butt/thighs.
6. What’s your go to beverage of choice?  I drink water 98% of the time. If I have a craving for soda, it’s generally Dr. Pepper.
7. Describe a challenging obstacle you have faced and how you dealt with it:  moving to RI to be with my love, without having a place to live or a job. We ended up paying some rent to her parents to live in their finished basement for 9 months and I managed to get a job within a month (ahh, the good ol’ days).
8. Describe a childhood memory that you believe shaped you.  Christmases with my family. It is, and probably always will be, my absolute favorite holiday because it was so fun to be with everyone and just spend time together.
9. When you were a kid what did you imagine for your life by this point?  I honestly have no idea. I guess I’ve never had dreams or goals for myself. When I was little, I wanted to be a veterinarian or physical therapist, but my math and science grades prevented me from thinking that would ever be possible. I also hated school, so there’s that. I did think I’d be married by this age, so there’s that.
10. What brings you the greatest joy in life?  My wife. She can make me laugh like nobody else on the planet and takes care of me in every way imaginable. And music. Always music.
11. How do you like to spend your Sunday?!  Doing absolutely nothing if at all possible.










Face The Music Friday #28

Fitness this week:

Saturday – Run the Reservoir 5K race + 1.5 hour trail running “class”




Sunday - Rest

Monday – Chiro appointment (more about that soon)

Tuesday – PT stretches and rest

Wednesday – Short run



Thursday – 1 hour Unleashed OCF class

Friday – PT stretches and rest


I’m a little bit crazy, as you can tell by Saturday. My hip has really been bothering me, so I’ve been limiting my running. I could totally tell when I ran on Saturday, too.  My endurance isn’t worth anything right now. I think I walked more of that race than I ran…but I did it and didn’t feel too bad afterwards. I’ll eventually have a race recap at some point. Tara caught the cold that I’ve finally gotten rid of and didn’t want to hang around (which I don’t blame her at all!) so we headed home. It was then I realized I could make the trail running class if I left right away, so I grabbed the address of the high school that we meet at, changed into my trail shoes and took off. Let me tell you, I felt like a joke.

The people in the class were all really fit people and even some elite racers, along with a second trainer. I COULD NOT keep up. I was so winded and kept ending up at the back of the pack the entire hour and a half class. Even if I was up to my fittest last year (in terms of running endurance), I couldn’t keep up with the pace they were running. We started at the high school to “warm up” by running through the woods, then up and down repeatedly through a ravine, then over next to the stadium where we went up and down a really steep hill for 5 minutes. Then we ran over to the bleachers where we proceeded to run up and down them the entire length of bleachers (on the bleachers, not steps). Some squats thrown in for good measure, then we took off behind the bleachers running down a hill into a clearing where we did some burpees. Then “sprinted” (yeah right) back up the hill we ran down a minute ago before we headed into the real woods where we’d be running.

Very steep terrain and not so much of a “trail” is what I recall after that. Up and down lots of hills (as you can see by all the squiggles on my Garmin picture). I was ready to quit about 15 minutes in, but I figured if I couldn’t keep up, I would just walk up and down the huge hill in the middle while they ran in and out of the woods. I was wheezing at that point, which I’ve never done and could have been cold-related. I did eventually suck it up and rejoin the group, but felt bad because anytime he stopped to regroup and do a head count, they would be doing push-ups or squats or burpees while they waited for me. I still had to do some, too, but they had to do a lot more because of the waiting so I felt really bad about that.

I ended up making it through, but I seriously overtaxed my hip and have been paying for it all week. It was feeling a little better mid-week, so I decided to do that short run on Wednesday to test it out because I have my first ever 10K on Sunday!! The run felt pretty good and the pain actually went mostly away while I was running. I’m nervous about Sunday due to the huge inclines, but I’m pretty sure even with a good amount of walking I can beat the time cut-off. I have one hour to get to the “last chance” point before I’ll have to get a ride back. I think it’s totally d0-able.

On another note, I have to admit I’ve been a really bad blogger friend. I’m so overwhelmed lately I haven’t been spending as much time online. I’m trying to reset myself basically. I’ve been working on my eating this week, which is going great. Next week I’ll be adding my strength training back in, possibly more running as well, too. I need to buckle down. I only have less than 2 months until Tough Mudder! So yeah…I haven’t been reading most blogs, definitely not commenting at all and not even bothering trying to write my own. If you’re still around to read, thanks for sticking with me.  :)


Since I’ll be doing a good amount of this on Sunday, I thought this song was fitting for this week.

Running Up That Hill – Placebo








Face The Music Friday #27

No fitness this week. Last weekend, I felt a scratchiness in my throat starting Friday night. We spent the weekend in MA for Julie’s birthday and it got progressively worse to where congestion starting creeping in. I kept it at bay while we were there, but then Sunday started the fever and chills and I knew I was done for. I went to work Monday morning, stayed until 1:00 and then needed to go home because I would have just been useless. I stayed home Tuesday for more rest and, ideally, could have used one more day at home, but went back to work on Wednesday. Today is the first day I’ve felt somewhat human since last Saturday, so that’s nice.


Classic SNL!



I thought I got lucky, but with SO many people sick in my department, workplace in general and families we know, I knew I couldn’t get through the whole winter! I also said something to someone in a comment on their blog about it last week and totally jinxed myself.



I’m concerned about my fitness level because of the last two weeks, but there is nothing I can do about it now. I have a 5K race tomorrow and am hoping that I’ll feel well enough in the morning to run it. The weather shows 70% rain (which will suck in March) but maybe it will skip just one hour in the morning so I don’t have to get soaked.

In other race news, I found out a couple of days ago via a random email that the Cox Rhode Races changed the date of the 5K race I was running. It was scheduled for 5/3, which is a Saturday. The email said “exciting changes” and when I read it, it said they moved it from Roger Williams Park to the “main” race area near India Point Park in Providence so we could be a part of the “festivities” and more a part of the main race. While I appreciate that, I signed up to run on Saturday, not Sunday. I was fine running on Saturday and then volunteering for the half and full marathons with my running club on Sunday, but I can’t do both at the same time. The racing company was kind enough to offer me a refund (among other options), which I think I will probably take so I can still volunteer with my group. I can use it for another race entry later this year when I need to sign up for more. I haven’t 100% decided, but that’s basically where I stand for now.

For my song choice this week, this is a newer favorite. I heard it for the first time a couple of weeks ago on the local alternative radio station I listen to and love it. I didn’t even realize, until I saw the video, that I was rocking out to an accordion! This will definitely be added to my running playlist.

Kongos – Come With Me Now









The Great Flood Of 2010

I briefly mentioned in my guest room makeover post that we had re-done our finished basement after the “Great Flood of 2010″. We’re coming up on the fourth anniversary of that awful chapter in our lives and I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a little nervous with the snow melt and rain every spring.

It was late March 2010 that it happened. We’d only been in our house, our very first, for about a year and a half. There was record rainfall and snow melt that year. While we’re not technically in a flood zone, that didn’t seem to matter. The next town over was under a warning that the dam might burst, which in turn would have knocked out our town dam.

When it finally happened, Tara had come home from work early and saw the water was up to our bottom step. She called me at work to let me know and, of course, I freaked out. I was home shortly after that and we started immediately going into “what do we do” mode.



Tara’s boss came up and brought his wet/dry vac. We then were able to borrow a sump pump and some PVC pipe from one of Tara’s friends to start getting the water out. Tara’s boss and the two of us started pumping right away and were at it until close to midnight. It was freezing cold water because A) it was March in New England and B) the furnace was out because of the water. The oil company wouldn’t come out to fix the furnace until the water was completely removed from the basement because it was a safety hazard. This meant wearing socks and water shoes to try to keep our feet warm while we were working.

We got up the next morning to get back to it (minus Tara’s boss) and were making some progress until we had a knock at the door. It was the National Guard going door to door telling us we needed to evacuate due to the issue with the dams. Tara’s bosses were SO generous, letting us stay with them and even bring our cat, Boomer, with us even though one of them was allergic to cats! We had to stay there for two days and were finally told we could go home.

We finally got the water out and then the work really began – we needed to knock out the bottom half of the walls where it could have gotten moldy. If you ever want to learn how to fix your house, there is nothing like an emergency to make you quite knowledgable! We were so lucky that Tara’s boss is such a handy guy because he helped us do all the work ourselves.



Once we had gotten all the water out and were working on tearing the walls down, we finally had the oil company come out to repair the furnace. Of course, this didn’t fall under our plan that covered repairs because it was an act of nature. This meant we were out $1100 for them to repair it and get us heat and hot water again! That was a rude awakening. We were lucky though – we were able to get funds from FEMA and a little bit from our insurance to help cover repairs. If we hadn’t done the work ourselves, it wouldn’t have covered it all, but like I said, we got lucky in many ways.



Those rolls were the flooring we decided to install. The basement previously had awful blue carpeting (that was NOT fun to rip out, btw) to go with those half painted red walls. We knew we definitely didn’t want carpeting in case we ever flooded again. Where I worked, we sold athletic equipment and this included rubber gym flooring. I used my awesome discount, we measured out the basement and there we had it. It was definitely a good choice because we get water every so often now.



Here are some other pics and articles about it:






Face The Music Friday #26

Fitness this week:

Saturday – Special class at Unleashed

Sunday – 4.5 mile/1 hour Run

Rest of the week: Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

I’ve taken a lot of ibuprofen over the last week and, other than my chiro-advised stretching and rolling, I’ve just completely rested. It wasn’t until about Wednesday that I was even able to move without moaning (whether actually out loud or not). My hip is still fairly sore, but much, much better than early in the week.





I’m going to attempt my run on Sunday and see how it feels. From there, I plan on bringing back the strength training at least and going to my weekly class at Unleashed on Thursday night. I can’t even begin to describe the frustration level I’m at right now. I know it’s affecting my mood and my depression is rearing it’s ugly head more often than I’d like.

This weekend, I’m hoping to enjoy myself and have lots of fun. We’re heading up to MA tonight to spend the weekend with Julie and Dan for an early birthday celebration for Julie. April 1st is the actual day, but we won’t be able to see them next weekend. I think we’re going to head in to the aquarium in Boston, but other than that we don’t really have tangible plans. We generally wing it when we get together. I’m hoping it helps take my mind off this training B.S.

Before I get to this week’s song, I wanted to share a fun article Tara wrote on her blog: You *might* be married to a runner if…

And now for my song of the week – a nice angry selection to match my mood right now – Bodies by Drowning Pool.












Spahtens Unleashed

As you now know, last Saturday was New England Spahtens day at Unleashed. They put on a special 3-hour session for members of the group, and even opened it to the public. You know I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity to meet members of the group I had recently joined, so I made sure I was prepped and ready to go. I was a little anxious about meeting new people, but Tara gave me an awesome card that made me feel a little better.



It was scheduled from 1:30-4:30, so I planned on getting there early to take some pics before it crowded. I ended up getting there just after 1:00 and there was already a line out the door of people signing in! I think close to 60 people showed up and the place was packed. The first 2 hours of the session were going to be like a regular OCF class and then an hour of “play” time to practice any obstacles we wanted. Before it kicked off, Kevin was busy setting up each station, so they opened up the swap table for people to grab any items people had brought in that they didn’t want/need or to donate some items that they don’t use anymore. There was a good amount of stuff donated, but nothing I was really interested in that day.



Prior to getting the class going, Kevin gathered us all up to explain the stations he had set up and told us to split into teams of 3 people. I joined up with the two that happened to be standing next to me while he was going over instructions, Sylvia and Scott. I got really lucky, too. I couldn’t have asked for better teammates.



Closer to 2:00, we started our warm-up. Kevin yelled out to follow him and out the door we went! It was a decent day weather-wise (highs in the low 50s I think) so it was the first time I’d ventured outside as part of his class. We ran down and out of the gym parking lot to a small park around the corner, over some walls and a picnic table and then down to a small basketball court where we did 1 minute of burpees. After that, we climbed back up the wall/rocks and ran back to the gym.

We lined up at the door and were assigned stations by team. I have no idea what some of the obstacles are “officially” called, so I’ll give you a basic description of the horror. I also might not go in the exact order we did them, but basically it’s as close as I can remember of an order. I also didn’t start taking pictures until almost halfway through.

Our first obstacle was going to be the tall wall w/ rope. It’s a 10 ft high wooden wall with a rope draped over it that you use to climb up to the top and over. No big deal, right? My progress has gotten better on this particular obstacle. When I first started, I couldn’t put both feet up on the wall so I modified and basically hung there as long as I could to increase my grip strength. Now I can get both feet up for a few seconds before I slip back down.

Next up, one of my personal faves was the tire flip. Pretty self explanatory. Since they had 3 tires of varying sizes, we all swapped here and there. Oddly enough, I thought the biggest tire was slightly lighter than the smaller one, but that could be my imagination. I absolutely love doing the flips and wish we did them in our regular class more.



After my beloved tire was the kettlebell hoist. Basically all the hoist is a battle rope tied around a kettlebell handle that we lift up to the top of the monkey bar cage and then lower it back down. I can do the smallest and middle size now, but still can’t lift the big boy (which I think is 70 lb). One of the guys there was telling us that the big boy is the weight the ladies lift at a Spartan Race, but it’s easier because at the race it’s on a pulley. Hopefully this is true, otherwise I’ll be doing some punishment burpees!

Next up, muscle ups on the rings. This, for me, is a joke. I can’t even get up and stay in a muscle up position. I get up on the padded mat (which even gives me a height advantage) and give a slight jump to boost myself up, but then my arms/chest can’t handle the weight and I can’t stay up. I tried not jumping, too, because they suggested it might be easier, but couldn’t do it at all that way. Definitely something I need to work on much, much more. This would probably help with my wall climbing once I get it down.

Back to my “monkey ropes”. I don’t know what these are technically called, maybe traverse ropes. If you know, feel free to comment! Basically, you hang upside down from them and work your way from one side to the other. I made a little progress on this obstacle as well. I usually just hang because I don’t have the grip to move one hand over the other, but this time I think I actually moved a couple of feet!


I found this pic online – this is what I’m talking about


From this we moved right into monkey bars, where I made the slightest progress as well. Instead of doing a one arm, one rung strategy, one of the spotters suggested that I move one bar, two hands at a time. So basically, grab a rung and then move my second hand to that same rung and reset before reaching for the next bar. This was much easier and I can see myself getting better at this now that I know this technique works better. Then maybe I won’t throw my shoulder out anymore!

On to the rope climb, which I still can’t do, so I did my modification which is just to lower myself down as flat as possible and then pull myself back up, over and over. Boring. Someday I will own that rope. They will have to rename it the Courtney Rope because I will dominate it.

Another difficult one for me was up after that, which is the ladder climb. They recently just replaced the ladder with a thinner, more stable rope as opposed to the yellow rope ladder they used to have hanging there. Either way, they swing too much for my liking and it scares me. I usually go up 1-2 steps, hang there and come back down. I just don’t feel safe on that sucker.



From there was a new obstacle I was VERY excited to try out that they just built the week before – the traverse wall! It was SO much fun. I wasn’t very good at it, but I liked doing it. Apparently I cheated though, because they said in a race you’re not allowed to grab the top of the wall to help yourself along, which I did probably half a dozen times. I think I’ll like playing on that one next time.



Another new item was up next, also built last week – the wall climb. There were 3 variations, but I only did the straight up version which was basically 2×4’s bolted to the wall. They also had one that reminded me of American Ninja Warrior where you use pegs to climb and then the third was basically using a sideways pinch grip, which even Kevin had trouble with and he’s part monkey!



A new fresh hell was introduced after this – the outdoor sled. This is basically the same idea as the indoor sleds, except we were pushing it on the asphalt parking lot and it had no slide to it. Soooo much harder than on the turf inside. To give you a comparison, inside on the turf, I can push the sled loaded with 4 x 45 lb plates for a total of somewhere around 250 lb (when you include sled weight). The outside sled only had 2 x 35 lb plates on it and we couldn’t budge it! We had to take 1 plate off and it was still really tough!



From there, we came back inside for another new to me obstacle – the “barbed wire” course. Kevin basically took all the kickboxing bags, lined them up in rows of two and strung rope around the bottoms. We then had to crawl under, or in my case I rolled under, the length of the ropes (maybe 20 feet or so).



If you survived the “barbed wire”, you moved on to a special hell called sand bags. We had to alternate between lifting/flipping/squatting them and lifting/flipping/overhead pressing them. Tons o’ fun.

One of my other favorites awaited me next which is the plyoboxes. You basically just have to run and jump over them however you can. This is where I think I got this fresh scrape on my shin. That tends to happen when I lift my left leg (which is my follow leg) up after jumping up because I think I scrape it along the velcro that holds the various size plyoboxes together. No matter though because I have so much fun crawling over them.



My punishment for enjoying the plyoboxes too much was that my next obstacle was the TRX. OK, so maybe it was just next in the rotation, but it felt like punishment. At this point of the rotation, I was hurting. For this item, we had to rotate around 4 exercises for the entire time we were at this location: hop squats, alternating jump lunges, rows and push-ups.



Moving on, we had one sled we had to pull with the battle rope, then pull it back to the start by the “dog bone”. After that, we dragged the body bags down forwards one way and backwards on the way back. And lastly on the turf was the other sled, where we had to push it with high bars in one direction and back in the other direction by the low bars.



And lastly, my nemesis – the wooden wall. We had to try to get over both the 6ft and 8ft walls. I still can’t get over the 6ft, so I would try and then roll under it as instructed. I’m getting slightly higher, but not enough yet that I can swing my leg up.



After we finished our circuit, it was “play” time. Some people started practicing other obstacles, but I was toasted after 2 straight hours of amazingness. I chatted with Scott and Sylvia for a few and then looked outside and forgot all about the new spear throwing station they just got! I hopped on over to watch and then jumped in a few times to try my hand at throwing the spear. I think I threw 3 times, and never once reached the hay bales, but I blame the wind. I will say, not a lot of people made it to the hay bales and I think I only saw one person actually stick the spear.



All in all I think they put on a FANTASTIC class for everybody and I loved meeting so many new people. Unleashed is like the ultimate adult playground!








Sunday Runday

After my 2 hours of hell at Unleashed on Saturday (full post to come on that soon), I wasn’t sure I would live, never mind get my long(ish) run in on Sunday. I didn’t get out of bed until almost 11 am on Sunday and even then didn’t really want to get up.

Tara surprised me with a lovely little depression-era cake for breakfast with a little heart of powdered sugar that she served to me in the bath that she ran me. Yes, I’m a little spoiled. OK, a LOT spoiled.




I started to feel a little more human after that. Tara had asked me if I would put her through what I go through working out, to which I replied that we have no obstacles, but she really meant more of a general workout, like we use to warm-up at obstacle class. Since I didn’t want to kill my wife, I decided to just give her a general warm-up, then have her do the Nerd Fitness beginner bodyweight routine that I’ve used in the past and then some light stretching to cool down. She did well, but I don’t think she’ll ever ask me to do that to her again!

After that, we sat for a bit catching up on a couple of shows on the DVR and checking email. I told her if I felt well enough, I wanted to go out for my run. We ended up getting ready and headed out the door around 2pm. My training schedule called for 1 hour so I set my Garmin for 4/2 intervals and ended up finishing 4.5 miles in that time. I only just found out that my Garmin could do that earlier in the week by reading someone else’s blog post – very exciting stuff!



Tara walked the track (with a few runs thrown in!) almost the entire time I did and it was nice to have company. I also experimented with Shot Bloks that I had bought on sale on our trip to REI a few weeks ago. I think they helped, considering I hadn’t had lunch before we left. I’d jaunt off the track to the bleachers during a walk break, grab some water and one of those puppies and off I went.



I think I did OK, but my body is paying for it even more today. I didn’t treat it very well this weekend and my hip is killing me. My chiro advised me tonight she thinks I need to take a break. She said they’re basically “managing my pain” instead of getting my body to the level of the workouts I’m doing. It was very disheartening to hear and I really have to think about it. I think I’ll not put in my two short runs this week and rest until my long(ish) run on Sunday again and I’ll make sure I do my stretches EVERY day, not just every other, even if I’m tired. My body just needs to really catch up with my heart.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Unleashed review that’s coming. You’ll definitely want to see this mofo in action!








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