Don't blink. Just run.

Where training meets fandom. And everything in between.

Face The Music Friday #36

Saturday – Power washed for 3+ hours

Sunday – Put pool up/Took it down/Put up new one

Monday – 30 min elliptical

Tuesday – Chiro appt

Wednesday – 30 min elliptical

Thursday – packing

Friday – work/finish packing/driving

 

I didn’t do a whole lot this week and I’m alright with that. Between it being end of month at work, plus all the logistics going into getting ready for this weekend, I wasn’t going to go overboard trying to fit in workouts. I did them where I could.

Tomorrow is the big day. If you want to see my course that I’ll be facing, click here. And yes, I’ve been told there is still snow on the mountain (and seen a possible pic of it in the Mudder course preview?). I’m not thrilled about the snow, especially due to the fact that there is rain in the forecast and it’s only gonna be in the low 60s. That temp isn’t bad, at ground level, but I can only imagine what it will feel like when we’ve climbed 3300+ feet in elevation!

I’m as prepared as I can be. I’ve got all my race stuff laid out on the guest bed. Stuff I’ll be wearing, stuff I’ll be carrying in my Camelbak, stuff I’ll need after the race. Everything else is just secondary.

 

 

 

There’s not much else to say. I’m beyond nervous, excited, scared. Some people act like TM is no big deal compared to say, a Spartan Race (which I’ll be doing for the first time next month), but to me – this will be a huge accomplishment when I cross that finish line. I WILL cross it – even if it takes me 6 hours (sorry Tara and Julie).

To make me feel like I am, I picked an easy choice this week – Sara Bareilles’ “Brave”. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

 

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Memorial Day Weekend Recap

Saturday was my and Tara’s 10th anniversary together. What did we do that was so romantic? Power washed our house! In all seriousness, it was lots of fun and SUCH a huge change. It looks like a newly sided house now. Too bad it didn’t change the color from yellow to white or beige or something. Ah well!

 

Before

Gross!

 

We had originally planned to do the entire house plus the deck and shed (maybe), but after we did the entire house we were exhausted. We were going to keep going, but both of our neighbors were in their backyards with family over for BBQs and we didn’t want to get them wet or annoy them with more noise so we just called it quits. I think it took us around 3.5 hours or so. We had to take a break after the first side to go get more soap and gas so I lost track of time there. We cleaned the house up for our guests and then chilled out for the rest of the afternoon.

 

This is my “holy crap this thing is powerful” face

After – it’s like a brand new house!

 

Sunday morning, Julie and Dan  (He has a blog now. Go. Read it.) got to our house just before 10am with breakfast, so we all ate and then brainstormed how we were going to approach putting up the pool. There was rain in the forecast, so we hurried and changed to get out there and get it done before it came. I decided to be smart this year and put our tarp down before the grass starting growing back in because EVERY year we have to dig out so much grass and re-level the ground. When we pulled the tarp back, there was a little bit of regrowth, but a simple raking pulled most of it up. We opted not to do the whole leveling process this year based on how well the past couple of years have gone (plus it’s a TON of work) so after we raked and smoothed out a couple of spots we pulled the tarp back over and got to work.

With 4 of us helping, it never takes too long to put up the pool. We slide the metal poles together and through the liner, pop the ladder in, smooth out the wrinkles and start filling. It’s during the filling process that we try to work out most of the wrinkles as it fills with water. We realized after it filled about 3-4 inches that it was leaking in two separate spots (one near the release valve to drain the pool, the other possibly a seam near the outer edge). Once we realized this we immediately turned off the water and tried to drain it, but it just wasn’t working. We ended up dumping all that water all over my back lawn because there wasn’t enough pressure to get it down the house down the driveway. We also realized as we took it apart that one of the filter hoses was completely broken.

 

Screwing on one of the filter catches on the old pool before having to take it all down.

 

We headed over to Walmart (where I bought our original pool maybe 5 years ago) because I saw all the pools were out when we were there on Friday night. Well, they didn’t have any of the same brand in the same size and I didn’t want to mix and match pieces that we already had. From there, I called two Targets and we finally ended up finding one at Ocean State Job Lot. Phew! Of course, as we drove there, we ran straight into a rainstorm and tried to load the car while it was pouring on us, resulting in me and “Roger” pushing the pool straight into Tara’s arm and pinning her against the front seat in her car. Luckily she was OK, but it left a nice little red line on her arm for most of the day.

By the time we got it home to unload it, the rain had stopped so we lucked out and were able to get it put up right away. The newer pool had a few little adjustments we weren’t used to during set-up, but they were easy enough to sort out. We put the hoses in again to fill it and this time we were good to go!

 

So…basically picture this, but newer

 

After we finished and got cleaned up, I threw our dinner on the grill. I made us some BBQ chicken, grilled zucchini and pineapple. It was all soooo good after such a rough day. We treated ourselves to the local ice cream place and then settled in for the night and watched some Sherlock and Tosh.0.

 

The Grillmaster at work

 

Monday morning was much more chill. We just had breakfast (Tara baked banana bread and blueberry muffins) and hung out for a bit.

 

Tara’s patriotic blueberry muffins

 

Julie and Dan took off I think sometime between 10 and 11 or so and then my plan for the day had been to go for a run. Well, it was drizzling a little bit so I tried to wait it out. Finally around 12:30 I got dressed and ready to go just run in the drizzle, but then it started pouring. I gave up at that point and went downstairs on my elliptical for 30 minutes instead. It wasn’t supposed to rain at all on Monday, but that ended up being the worst day of the weekend! Tara and I relaxed and caught up on the DVR a bit, then once the rain finally stopped I went out to mow the lawn and put the chemicals in the pool (which had finished filling right before I went on the elliptical). I’m so glad it’s over and done with, but now we’re dipping back into the 60s, which is definitely not swimming weather in an unheated pool!

I hope everyone else had a great weekend, too. Tell me what you did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26 Comments »

Face The Music Friday #35

Saturday – Abington Police 5K

Sunday – Traveled back from MA/mowed lawn/cleaned up the house

Monday – 35 min (mostly) walk

Tuesday – 10 min challenge* + 5 min yoga (until I decided I just wasn’t into it)

Wednesday – 1 hour off road conditioning class through Unleashed

Thursday – Rest

Friday – ?? Not sure yet

 

*For this week’s challenge, my reps were as follows (click here to see the challenge origin):
Lunges – 55
Push-ups – 40
KB swings – 72 (w/ 4K kettlebell)
Burpees – 17
Planks – 32 sec, 30 sec, 15 sec
 

All in all, it felt like a good, busy workout week. I set out for a run on Monday after work, but my stomach had other ideas and it just ended up being a walk. The class on Wednesday was AWESOME. Totally hard, but much more doable than the last (and only other) time I took that class. Kevin estimates we probably ran around 4+ miles through the trail. I was also gear testing some stuff for the Mudder to make sure they would work. I bought some Thorlo Experia socks so I wore those, plus I wore my Camelbak again to see how it would do including things other than just running (which is all I did the first time I wore it). Throughout the class, we’d pause to keep the group together and we’d do burpees, push-ups and squats as a break and it did pretty well. There was some movement for burpees with the jumping, but it stayed put for pretty much everything else.

Julie and Dan will be coming down this weekend to help us put up our pool. Saturday I’ll probably power wash the house/deck, etc and then they’ll be down for Sunday and Monday when the weather should be better. Rain is forecast for tomorrow, but with how things have gone lately, we’ll have to see how things unfold.

Being that this weekend is Memorial Day weekend, please take a moment out of your day to think about the reasons we’re free to have our BBQs and pool parties. Don’t just remember the men and women who have died, but also think about those that are still out there serving and especially about those who have come “home”, but may never feel like it again. If you have a moment, please take a look at these websites.

Wounded Warrior Project

Carry The Fallen

My song choice this week may be upsetting for some to watch or listen to (Tara), so please bear that in mind before you press play.

Rise Against – Hero Of War (not sure why the video won’t embed, but you can use link)

 
12 Comments »

SYTYCD: Memorable Performances

I want to share with you another of my fandoms.

I am not what you would call graceful. I have no rhythm. I can’t even handle the Electric Slide. I loooove So You Think You Can Dance. Maybe a little too much. There is just something about watching the way these contestants move that blows my mind. With the new season starting next week, I wanted to share some of my all-time favorite performances.

I had such a hard time picking just these and I had more, but they’re all of a sudden private so I can’t share them. It’s probably better for everyone.

Do you watch the show? Have any favorites??

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Comments »

Abington PD Community Partners 5K Race Recap

Yesterday was my 7th race of the year, for my #14in2014 – the Abington Police Community Partners 5K in my hometown of Abington, MA.

It looked like it was going to be a washout, but we completely lucked out with the weather. Friday night after work, Tara and I packed our bags to stay with Julie and Dan for the weekend. Whenever I have a race up in MA, we try to make that one of our “friend weekends” and stay with them. We hadn’t seen them since Easter so it was nice to hang out. We didn’t get up there until about 8:30 Friday night and just had dinner and hung out for a bit before getting to bed around 10. You know, with a race the next morning and all. Normally, when the four of us get together, we stay up and talk about ridiculous things until who knows when. You wouldn’t realize we talk to each other literally almost every day.

Saturday morning, I got up around 5:30 to get race ready – coffee, breakfast, water, etc. It was pouring rain when I got up and I planned for the worst (having to run with my rain jacket on and no phone/music). The plan was to get Tara up at 6:00 and then Julie and Dan up at 7:00 and we managed to follow it and get out the door by 7:30 for the drive over.

I needed to be there before they closed the road around 8:00 and to pick up my packet since I couldn’t get to early packet pick-up in time. This wasn’t an issue at all and there were hardly any people there when we arrived. As we were driving there, it had been drizzling and by the time we arrived it had all but stopped raining completely. By the time the race started, there was no rain and the sun was even trying to peek through! It was super humid (around 96% humidity), but only around 62* so it was mostly comfortable until I started running and then I ended up getting soaked in sweat. Blech.

 

Tara and I pre-race

 

The course itself is really nice. No one has ever heard of Abington when I tell them where I’m from. It’s a small town with currently around 15-16,000 people (around 13,000 when I grew up there). The race starts right in front of the police station, goes up to one of the main roads, down behind the junior high, through the cemetery, back out to the police station which is about halfway (and where the water stop was), then around Island Grove which is our local lake or whatever you want to call it. We then finish right next to the police station in the parking lot. It’s a gun timed race with no chips, so they just write down your time when you cross the finish line. I hate that, so I’m going to use my Garmin time.

 

 

 

 

I was VERY pleased with my time (which was technically 35:52:54 on my watch itself, but uploaded as 35:53 above). It was only 54 seconds slower than my time last year. Considering this is the first race where I’ve almost run the entire thing again (dealing with all these stupid injuries), I was completely excited to get such a great time. It felt good to be able to feel a little bit of my endurance come back. I did still walk 3-4 times, but for shorter increments. I feel like when I do run, I’m faster than I used to be which is nice since I’m not training to be faster.

 

Oh you know, just checking my time while the blood works on leaving my face

 

I love having people there to cheer me on. Of course, my lovely bride is my biggest and best cheerleader, but I like having my friends there, too. That’s the nice thing about having races closer to them.

 

 

 

I’m definitely chalking this race up as a win. Now, I just need to keep myself healthy for my big goal #1 for 2014 – Tough Mudder. Less than two weeks now!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 Comments »

Face The Music Friday #34

Fitness this week:

Saturday – 5 mi (1:05) run + 3 hours yard work (mowed, spread fertilizer, weeded, planted flower beds)

Sunday – 1.5 hr hike (approx 3 miles)

Monday – Chiro appt
Tuesday – 30 min run + 10 min challenge*
Wednesday – Mowed lawn
Thursday – 1 hr Unleashed OCF class
Friday – rest
*For this week’s challenge, my reps were as follows (click here to see the challenge origin):
Lunges – 60
Push-ups – 35
KB swings – 71 (w/ 4K kettlebell)
Burpees – 15
Planks – 34 sec, 30 sec, 15 sec
 

Overall, a nice improvement on last week. I decided to do it before my run this time to see if that would be any different than doing it after my run like I did the first time. It definitely made a difference, but then made my run a bit tough. I think that makes the decision that much clearer that I can’t do the challenge on the same day as a run, period.

Monday night I had my chiropractor appointment as usual (I’m trying to go every other week now so I don’t use up all my visits before the end of the year). I asked her to take a look at my shoulder that’s been bothering me for well over a month now. At first I thought I just strained it on the monkey bars, but after trying the monkey bars again it still felt pretty bad. After BoldrDash, I could barely move my arm for the rest of the day and we didn’t even have any hanging type obstacles. This made me a little nervous because that is the same shoulder I had a SLAP tear in a few years back.

After she did my ART on my hip/leg and adjusted my back, she took a look at said it was definitely off within about 3 seconds of feeling my shoulder. She told me it’s likely an impingement (which I had to Google afterwards) and I should definitely take it easy on overhead stuff like monkey bars. The last two times I’ve gone to OCF class at Unleashed, I just told Kevin that I wouldn’t be doing them and took myself a little walk over to the TRX, where I did some rows and push-ups. I told the chiro this and she said that was perfect and what she would have suggested I do anyway. I don’t plan on doing monkey bars anytime soon, at least until I feel no pain in my shoulder and my lats/biceps are stronger to hold my weight like that. I’ve already put myself into the mindset that when I do Tough Mudder in 2 short weeks that I won’t be doing any obstacles that are strictly body weight hanging from something. If I know it going in, I will get less frustrated. Trust me, it’s better for everyone.

Substitute the monkey bars for the weight and shoulder for back LOL

 
 

Tomorrow, I’m going to my hometown to run the Abington Police Community Partners 5K. It’s supposed to be pouring rain, which I’m not a fan of, but it’s a nice little race. I ran it for the first time last year (since I’m a newbie runner) but it’s been around for a few years now. I know I won’t be beating my time from last year since my endurance is for shit right now, but I’ll just go and enjoy seeing the familiar sights.

I leave you this week with my song choice. Whenever this song comes on my playlist, I can’t help but feel happy. I think it’s the music itself or something, but it always makes me smile and sing it out loud.

Noah And The Whale – L.I.F.E. G.O.E.S. O.N.

17 Comments »

Weekend Recap

The weather here this weekend was so close to perfect, it will be hard to top for the rest of the spring/summer. Originally, when I looked earlier in the week, it showed rain Fri/Sat/Sun. It is the last “free” weekend Tara and I would have in May, so we wanted to do some fun stuff. I was kind of bummed with that forecast. As the week went on, the forecast slowly changed to show only rain on Saturday. I could handle a half nice weekend so I was OK with that. What it ended up being was mostly awesome!

Saturday, we woke up to cloudy skies, but no rain. It was VERY muggy out though. We kind of just lounged around for a bit, had some breakfast, checked our emails and I noticed the forecast didn’t show rain up until 3pm. I decided I would get my longish run out of the way for the weekend instead of trying to do it Sunday. I headed out around 11 and planned on an hour run (which turned into an hour + 5 minutes so that I could reach 5 miles LOL). While I was out, it was super humid, but never rained. The sun even tried to poke through a few times. There were a lot of people out and about on the bike path and almost every single one of them said hi back to me when I said hello, which doesn’t always happen.

 

Who wouldn’t say hi to this smiley face?

 

By the time I got back to the house, I was drenched in sweat and couldn’t wait to take my new Camelbak off to let my back breathe a bit more. It was just after noon at this point and Tara had lunch ready to go when I got home because she had been following my eCrumb on the RoadID app.

Since we were keeping up our lucky streak with the rain, we decided to run to Home Depot to pick up our flowers for the front and back flower beds. This year, instead of just getting annuals, we decided to throw some perennials and bulbs into the mix. I can’t remember everything, but we got some lilies, gladiolas, marigolds, salvia and dusty miller. We also grabbed a few herbs that Tara is going to try growing in some containers.

 

Our fuzzy supervisors

 

It was darkening up a bit so when we got back from HD I rushed to grab the lawn mower and get that done while Tara started on her placement of the flowers/bulbs for planting (she’s the artist). I finished up the lawn and was spreading fertilizer when one of our neighbors came over for a quick chat. After she left, I helped Tara plant the rest of the flowers and weeded the back flower bed in advance of her switching to plant what was left back there. We ended up finishing before any rain and I even had time to grill us up some burgers and cover the grill back up before we ever heard any raindrops. And then what happens (after I hoped it would rain to water the new flowers)? It barely drizzled for like 10 minutes and that was it! HA!

Sunday was the most perfect weather day we’ve seen in a long time. We had planned a hike over the weekend and knew this would be the day for it. We lounged a bit, having breakfast and whatnot, then we packed up a few things, got dressed for a hike and headed out to the Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge. I got to break in my new hiking shoes that I finally settled on. I ended up returning those Merrells I had gotten before and got a pair of Salomons instead (since I fell in love with the trail running shoe I have from them). The Merrells (as much as I love them) are just too wide for my feet now.

 

 

The sun was shining all day, with just a slight breeze and perfect humidity. There were a few other people out on the trails, but other than that we barely saw anything or anyone. There were a few funky birds (one had a mohawk) but we didn’t see any other animals. The water was a little higher than I remembered from our only other trip there last summer, but we were still able to cross any streams without issue. It was nice, too, because the last time we were there we were eaten alive by mosquitoes, but I think it’s too early in the season so there weren’t many out yet.

 

 

Mr. Grumpy Rock from last year now has a cigar in his “mouth”

I thought this tree “arch” was cool, like we were royalty walking under it

 

This trail is a nice easy loop, but can be shortened if needed. There is a 1.3 mile loop around Carr’s Pond. You can also extend the CP loop to the Hammit Hill loop and it ends up being just under 3 miles total. It’s nice to have the options in case you can’t walk for too long. With stops for pictures and water breaks, it ended up taking about 1.5 hours for us to do the 3 mile trail.

 

 

 

When we got home, we took out our patio chairs and umbrella and got those cleaned off and set up for the summer and then we ate lunch outside. I grilled up some chicken later for dinner and we enjoyed that out there as well. It was far too nice to eat inside.

 

Flynn getting some outside time, sunning his belly

 

Today is another gorgeous day, but unfortunately I was stuck inside at work while Tara had the day off. I was tempted to call out, but I’m glad I didn’t because the person who would cover for me called out instead. I even made a bet with Tara she would probably do so because it was nice out and she calls out a lot. Oh well! Hopefully we’ll have many more nice weekends to come!

 

 

 

 

21 Comments »

Camelbak Octane LR Review

I mentioned before that I’d been researching packs to wear for the Tough Mudder I have in less than 3 weeks (OMG!!!). My trainer at Unleashed suggested the Camelbak XCT LR. When an Elite racer suggests something for you, you listen. Well, no matter how much I Googled around, I couldn’t find the XCT with the “LR” version. The LR stands for Lumbar Reservoir – basically instead of going up and down your spine, the water bladder stretches across your lower back, making you more stabilized through obstacles. This feature was probably the most important to me.

I ended up finding a pack at REI that I thought was like what he said – the Charge 10 LR. It was a smaller profile Camelbak and it had the LR. It was on clearance for $81 (from $110) so I grabbed it and brought it with me to my next class after that. He told me that it was bigger than the one he was talking about, plus it didn’t have drainage holes. I still couldn’t find the exact one he was looking for, but then I found the Octane LR. It was smaller and had drainage holes and was even cheaper than the other one at $49 – SCORE!! I sent him the link and he said it looked close enough so I jumped on it and returned the other one to REI.

I needed to do a longish run this weekend, so yesterday was the perfect opportunity. I planned on 5 miles and figured that would be a good first test. We had some rain in the forecast, so I also wanted to test out the dry bags I bought at REI. I got these for the race to keep my snacks/salt packets dry when submerged in any obstacles (which I know I will be). They were the smallest ones sold and, once wrapped up, fit perfectly in the side pockets of the Camelbak.

 

2 L dry bag

 

This pack is incredibly light and when empty you wouldn’t even notice it on your back. The bladder sits across the lower back and into the sides of the waist. There are pockets on each side for storing a phone or snacks. I ended up putting my phone in one of them and some Shot Bloks in the other side. There is room above the bladder to store other things as well, if needed.

 

The grey mesh-y looking areas on the side of the waist are the “drainage holes” he was talking about.

 

One of the arms has a small pocket you could put a couple of gummies in and the opposite arm has a safety whistle on it. They’re very comfortable when worn and didn’t cause any issues while running. Of course, I run in t-shirts at all times, so I’m not sure how you would fare if you wear a sleeveless shirt of any kind.

 

Little red thing on the arm is the safety whistle

 

The LR was easy to fill and insert into the pack. There is a hook on the top of it that slides in to a yellow rope to keep it steady, plus a small “pocket” at the bottom. One thing I did learn is that the way I had the tube should have actually been the opposite and that is something I will test out the next time. I had it come up and over my shoulder so it was facing down, but next time I will have it come up the arm band so it’s facing up and easier to use.

 

Lumbar Reservoir

 

One other feature, that I purchased separately for $6, was a valve cover. If I’m going to be submerged in who knows what and mud and gunk, I want my water valve clean. I think it was totally worth the extra few bucks.

 

Valve cover

 

Here you can see the way that I positioned the tube, over my shoulder (which I never noticed while running which was probably lucky). Next time, I will have it come up the arm with the valve facing up.

 

 

It’s so low profile, I hardly noticed it on my back, even with the bladder filled. The only issue I had was that it was VERY muggy out when I ran and around mid-70s so my back got pretty sweaty, but it’s not a deal breaker.

 

Will definitely be adjusting the position of that tube. I didn’t even realize it stuck out that much while I was running! LOL

 

After only one run so far, I’m definitely in love with this pack and will continue testing it out in the weeks leading up to the Mudder. I would definitely recommend it though!

 

 

 

 

13 Comments »

Face The Music Friday #33

Fitness this week:

Saturday – BoldrDash

Sunday – Volunteered at water stop at Cox Marathon (lots of fun and can’t wait to volunteer again!)

Monday – 30 min run + 10 min challenge*

Tuesday – Mowed lawn/weedwhacked

Wednesday – 30 min run

Thursday – 1 hr Unleashed OCF class

Friday – Rest

To elaborate a bit on this 10 minute challenge I created for myself, I decided I wanted some record of some sort of my  progress. I picked 5 exercises, trying to incorporate most of my body, and aimed to do them for 2 minutes each (with about a minute of rest between). However many I do, I write them down and try to improve on those numbers. The exercises are: Lunges (alternating), push-ups (on knees for now), kettlebell swings, burpees and planks (forearm). For the planks, I just held as long as I could throughout the two minutes. My numbers were as follows for the first time:

Lunges – 42
Push-ups – 30
KB swings – 50 (w/ 4K kettlebell)
Burpees – 5
Planks – 2 x 28 seconds

Things I’ve learned from doing this – don’t do it after you just ran for half an hour. I was gassed from my run so my legs weren’t fresh and I had no lungs left in me. For future challenges, I plan on doing them either before any other exercise, or on their own day. I wanted to do them more than once this week, but it just wasn’t in the cards. Now that I know what I know about it, I can plan more accordingly. Then maybe I won’t have such a pitiful showing on the burpees! As a frame of reference, we did burpees in class last night – one minute, as many as we could do. I lost count, but I’m 99.9% sure I almost made 15, so I know I can do more.

The craziness is still going on at work of course, but I feel like I had a better handle on it this week. I got back into a groove with my eating and my workouts and am slowly trying to get back to where I was in terms of my willpower. We had a breakfast meeting at work one day this week and LITERALLY every person in the department asked me why I wasn’t having any bacon. Not anything else, just the bacon. They know how much I love bacon. Then there were a few days with sweet treats left over from other meetings and all week long I said no. I’m through indulging myself so much. I just can’t do it anymore. I love bacon. Just putting that out there again on how hard that was.

 

 

The weather over the next couple of days isn’t looking great, which is a bummer. The rest of our May weekends are booked solid so we were looking forward to getting some hiking in this weekend with temps supposed to reach the 70s. Today and tomorrow look packed solid with rain though, so we’ll see. Maybe some house stuff Saturday and then hiking Sunday if there’s no washout.

I also need to try to fit in a longish run with my new Camelbak to get used to wearing it for Tough Mudder. I ended up returning the one I got at REI after I showed it to my trainer at Unleashed and he recommended a smaller one. I found pretty close to the one he was talking about, plus it has drainage in the pockets so the water can run out. I also got a couple of small dry bags at REI to put my snacks, etc in so when I get submerged they’ll still be fine and I got a cover for the valve so that even if it gets coated with mud, the valve will remain clean for drinking. This pack has a lumbar reservoir which evenly distributes the water across your lower back instead of up and down your spine. It’s so light, I can’t wait to test it out!

I’m going old school with my song choice this week. I’ve been hearing it a lot lately and every time I hear it, it makes me think of Supernatural now. I liked the song before, but oh, the feels I get from it now!

 

 

I thought it would be a nice touch to throw in something from another of my fandoms, which apparently I don’t talk about very much. So much for a blog “theme”. Anyway, if you watch the show, and even if you don’t, enjoy the song!

Kansas – Carry On Wayward Son

 

 

 

 

 

18 Comments »

BoldrDash Beach Race Recap

I’m sure I’m going to miss some pros and cons, but here is a quick list and then we’ll get into the meat and potatoes of the review.

Pros:

Ample free parking right next to the venue

Diverse course

Great location

Nice t-shirt and medal

Comfortable ankle timing band

Wristbands identifying correct waves to prevent wave jumping

 

Cons:

Lack of signage to direct people to registration

Lack of barriers preventing people from entering the actual race course

Lack of direction in certain areas, especially during the Elite wave

Vendors all packed up and gone before last wave was done

Lack of trash receptacles

Extra fees for t-shirt if registered after 4/11

Needed to go to 4 different areas to take care of registration, transfer, sharpie and t-shirt

 

Let me just state that while it may seem there were a lot of cons, I would still probably give this race another try in the future.

I mentioned before how I was sort of a “last minute” registration for this race. Originally I had another race already registered months ago, but they changed the date only about a month out from the race and I couldn’t run on the new date because I was volunteering that day. This left 5/3 now open for me and when BoldrDash came to Unleashed I decided that was what I wanted to do. When I signed up, the race director never said anything about the t-shirt date, but apparently if you didn’t sign up prior to 4/11 you had to pay an extra $5 for the same t-shirt everyone else was getting for free. They hadn’t come to Unleashed until 4/19, so I ended up paying the extra $5 on race day. The race director that signed me up that day did hook me up with an awesome last minute discount, and then I just needed to pay $15 for a guaranteed transfer into the Unleashed heat at noon so I could run with my team, which I thought was fair since that wave had been sold out and I did get that awesome discount.

Saturday morning arrived and I was a bundle of nerves since it’s been almost a year since I’ve run an OCR and I’d only done two of them last year. I also ran those alone and didn’t have any other people I knew who did these sort of races (or run in general). This year, I had my friends from Unleashed plus I saw quite a few of the New England Spahtens there as well, including one that became my course mate on his second lap (yes, SECOND lap of the day).

 

 

My wave was at noon, but I wanted to see my friends run in the Elite heat at 9am (first heat) so we ended up getting there about 8:45. The beach parking lot is easy to get to, but once you were parked there was nothing showing you where to go for registration. We could see lots of obstacles, plus the finish line, but didn’t know where the start line was located. We finally figured it out by walking around a bit, but then we didn’t understand which way the course was going to go. I asked two separate volunteers and neither one of them knew either. This was only the start of the directional problems.

Since we didn’t know where they’d be heading off to start, we opted to go down the beach a bit to around the 2/3 mark of the race to await their return. The course was great in that you could see 80% of it, which Tara loved because she got to see me do a lot more which isn’t typical of any races I’ve done. Shortly after we picked a spot, we saw them swarming the beach. They ran past us, down to the fishing cove area where there are some trails. From that point, we had to wait for them to run back for us to see them do anything.

 

My trainer Kevin in the front

 

We saw the lead two men come back, but they skipped at least 4 obstacles (that we could see just from our vantage point) plus I’ve heard from others that they skipped probably ½ mile through the trails by taking a wrong turn. This led to them winning with more than a 5 minute lead (at least!). They were all really tight prior to this so I knew something was up. The volunteers had no idea where to send them, or if they did, they didn’t tell them as they passed by. It was a mess and I felt really bad watching them struggle with where to go and what to do. This problem seemed to ease up throughout the morning, but it was a VERY rough start. We were even helping direct at one point as people came off the beach onto the grass obstacle area because of the lack of course markings and poor volunteer placement.

Once I watched the Elites and got some pics of them, we then met up with the mother of the family that Tara used to nanny for, who we didn’t even know was running it until she commented on my Facebook status about it. We took our position again to watch her run through and then, once we saw her head down the beach, we went over to registration. I got in the line for my bib # and told them I had the email from the race director to guarantee my transfer, however that was another line I had to get in next table over. I waited a moment in that line to get my wrist band changed to the right color for my transferred wave and was then told the tshirts were in another line around the corner of the same building. We then went over to that line, got my shirt and I opened up my packet to put my ankle timing band on. It was until later when we asked somebody where the “sharpie station” was that had been advertised in the race email. It was really just a couple of girls standing off to the side to write people’s numbers on their arms and/or legs. Like I said, highly disorganized.

 

 

Had it not been such a gorgeous day (bright sunshine, warm temps, little wind) these issues might have bothered me a little more but I just tried to grin and bear it. After I knew I was all set to run, we just kind of meandered around a bit. I grabbed a temporary Unleashed tattoo from the booth they had set up so I could look like a part of the team since I didn’t have a team race shirt and this would prove to be a very interesting sunburn later that night. See, it helps to bring sunscreen with you, but it helps even more if you remember to APPLY the sunscreen.

 

 

We picked out the spot that Tara would wait for me so she could get pictures of me on the most obstacles and then she decided to wait there for me and I went back to warm up and get ready to run. At the last minute we were taking some team pics and one of the owners realized I didn’t have a shirt so she ended up finding one for me. I was frantically taking my bib off my other shirt and putting it on the new one as we walked over to the starting corral and I ended up running in two shirts, but it wasn’t entirely uncomfortable.

For the start of the race, we had to grab a “boulder” from just outside the corral. I picked what I thought was a smallish rock, but unfortunately for me it didn’t feel small while I was running with it! We had to run down about 200 yards (?), around an orange cone and then come back to the start where we left our rocks. From here, we ran down one of the paths that leads down to the beach and ran for a bit until we reached the first obstacle – Wreck Bag carry. These are bags loaded with sand that you had to carry with someone else.

 

From Unleashed’s Facebook page

 

Just before I reached this obstacle, one of the NE Spahtens was trudging along pretty close to me. I struck up a conversation with him since he was going about my pace and learned he was on his second lap and was wearing a 45 lb weight vest. He had just finished his first lap when our noon heat started so he came with us right away instead of getting to rest at all! We would end up sticking together through the entire race and I am eternally grateful for his help calming me down going over the taller obstacles.

 

One of my other trainers, Janine, running in the Elite wave. Here is a shot of the Wreck Bags I was talking about.

 

So now we reached the Wreck Bags and four of us ended up grabbing one and walking it down the beach together. After that was the potato sack hop, which I thought was funny. We just had to hop down a bit, around a cone and back – easy enough, but tougher on sand. From there, we ran further down the beach where we had to do a water carry. We all had to grab buckets (which there was a shortage of), run down to the ocean, fill them up and carry them back up. What I didn’t realize is that we were supposed to do this twice. I ended up doing it only once, so I waited and walked back with M who was already coming back with his second bucket.

 

 

From here, it was all just a run on the beach until we reached the trails. We then had to walk over what I estimate to be probably ½ a mile of rocks. Just rocks. As far as the eye could see. Rocks. Just when you would round a corner and think you were done, more rocks. When we finally got to the end of all of these stupid rocks, there was a really steep rock wall we had to climb. And when I say steep, I’m not exaggerating in the least. I’m talking like rock climbers climb, you know, using cracks as hand and footholds. Crazy! I was really scared of doing it because if my sandy shoes slipped or something I’d probably crack my skull on the rocks below, but M coached me through and I got up to the top virtually unscathed.

After running through more trail to get back to the beach, we came across our next obstacles. I don’t remember exactly what order they were in, but we had to jump across some tires that were set up in stacks with a wood plank across the top. It was basically like hopping across columns, but very, very wobbly columns. Then there was a suspension balance beam. We had to climb over a board onto the balance beam, which was hanging from chains to make it wobble. I ended up climbing through since I couldn’t get over and then we paired up with two girls that had been sticking near us throughout the first half of the race. We each paired off with one of them and held hands and moved at the same time and it kept us steady so we never had to step off or fall off. Good technique to remember! We also at some point climbed through a tire, under some netting, through a tube and out.

 

 

From this point on, all I can remember is a LOT of walls. We had to climb a ladder like wall (straight up and down), a chain wall, an inverted wall (which I opted not to even try and did 10 jumping jacks), over/under walls where we had to carry a weighted (35 lb I heard) buoy with us the entire time, a small wall, a tall wall and then it was off the beach and up on to the grassy area.

 

Chain wall

First over/under wall

Looooots of over/under walls

Stupid sand kept getting in my eyes

We had to shimmy sideways across this whole wall on that little board

 

And yes, to more walls! First up was a tire wall, then we ran over to an A-frame wall, on to a cargo net climb (which I would almost say was the most difficult obstacle of the day for me), a slosh pipe balance beam (the pipe contained water that sloshed back and forth while you were trying to walk up the balance beam) and finally a rope tire swing that you were supposed to go from tire to tire but I couldn’t do it. Just a sprint to the finish after that and it was over.

 

 

I finished in 1:23:01, 834/1032 overall , 400/556 in my age group (although it looks like there were only 2 age groups – over or under 19). I would say, of the 3 OCRs I’ve done so far in my life, this was by far the most difficult due to the amount of walls plus running in beach sand. I can only imagine what’s coming my way when I do my Tough Mudder in a few weeks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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