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Face The Music Friday #40

Saturday – 5k Foam Fest

Sunday – rest

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 3 mi run

Wednesday – Off Road Conditioning w/ Unleashed

Thursday – spear throwing at Unleashed (AM and PM)

Friday – rest

 

I’ve already blathered enough about Foam Fest on Saturday, but want to update on how my scraped up hand from Tuff Scramblers held up. If you don’t want to see pics of it, scroll real fast! The first pic is a few days after it happened (Sunday 6/15) and the second pic is from Thursday morning (6/26). It’s coming along nicely, but I’ll probably wrap it up in New Skin and waterproof tape again just to be safe. It did really well through Foam Fest so I think that’ll be fine.

 

Right at the base of my hand where it meets my wrist, increasing the ouch factor every time I moved my hand!

 

 

Ironically, the only injury I received from Foam Fest happened *after* the race. We had stopped at a diner on our way home for a late breakfast. When we came back out to the car, I had my hand resting on the top of my rear passenger door. I didn’t realize the window was even open, but I accidentally got my finger closed in the window. I’ve had a bruise across the front and blood blister under my nail for the last week from it. It hurt so bad at first I couldn’t even rest the finger on the ice pack on the way home, but now the pressure is gone and it really only bothers me if I bump the nail against something. I also got the free race photos (YAY!) yesterday, so here are the only 2 I liked (out of the 6 I found of me).

 

 

 

I’ve sort of laid low this week. I didn’t want to do anything too overtaxing before my first ever Spartan Race on Saturday. I started half marathon training on Tuesday, which called for 3 miles. I had a decent run and the weather was great. I was supposed to run again Thursday, but decided I wanted to take it easy Thurs/Fri, so I opted to do the Off Road Conditioning class Wednesday night instead. That sort of turned into the class I almost quit.

We met up at the normal time and Bobby, one of the new trainers was filling in for Kevin. Bobby did a great job and has been really awesome in the few classes I’ve had with him so far. We changed up our workout a little and I was fine for maybe the first 15-20 minutes. I had noticed my calves immediately starting cramping during our warm-up jumping jacks, but just figured it was the new movement. The weather was very warm and super humid so I had a lot of trouble breathing, but just figured it was the humidity.

As we finished our warm-up lap around the lake, I started getting nauseous and then shortly after that, my entire arms (from both shoulders to fingertips) were cold and tingly, like pins and needles. I let Bobby know and told him I’d keep walking as long as I felt OK. We were on our way over to the trails, so I told him I would just walk up and down “The Spine”. Basically it’s a really steep hill in the middle of the woods where the trails are that we run. They went in and out and when they would come out I’d do the regrouping exercises with them (burpees, jumping jacks, squats, bear crawls) and then they’d go on the trails and I’d continue my trek up and down The Spine. I was pissed at myself more than anything because I’m fairly certain it was dehydration, especially coupled with the fact my calves and hamstrings kept cramping. I kept on keeping on though, and finished the whole class – even if I did have to walk.

The other owner of Unleashed, Janine, offered to help people with their spear throw technique Thursday morning so we wouldn’t have to do burpees on Saturday. We arranged to meet up before work and I also met up with a friend from class Thursday night to practice even more. I’ve finally gotten the form down and have found a sweet spot that I keep hitting. They don’t always stick, but they’re at least flying straight now. I think I just need to get them a little higher to make sure.

 

 

And here is video of me from last night. I’m getting them to stick in the hay, but I’ve really got to figure out how to get them to stick higher. Kevin said the hay “men” are about 4 ft off the ground so that doesn’t bode well for me.

 

 

 

I’ve got errands to do tonight with Tara and then Julie will be joining us tonight at some point since she will be coming to the Spartan Race, too. Dan wasn’t interested in coming so it’s going to be a girls weekend! Julie also wants to do a little gambling since the race is being held outside a nearby casino.

This week’s song isn’t really a typical song I’d have on a workout list, but it’s been stuck in my head for weeks. While I loved the song before, I recently saw it performed by the teachers at the dance recital we went to a couple of weeks ago and it’s just stuck with me even more. I particularly love the line “love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections”. This one is for my wife/sherpa/cheerleader/mud cleaner/awesome one, Tara.

 

John Legend – All Of Me

 

 

 

 

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Who else is racing?

 

 

 

 

18 Comments »

5K Foam Fest Race Recap

For some reason, I’m having a hard time writing this recap for the 5K Foam Fest I ran on Saturday. I remember how much I loved it in 2013, as only my second OCR race ever, and it’s disappointing to see how it turned out this year.

I feel the best way to do this might be a comparison to last year and then I’ll get into the obstacles themselves. I should mention, however, that this is the first OCR that I’ve completed every obstacle. Now some people might say it’s such a froo froo course that it’s not hard to do, but for me and my fear of heights, a couple were scary. Yes, some of the obstacles were silly and easy, but there were real ones in there and I’m proud of myself, regardless.

I don’t have a lot of pictures. Spectators could really only see/take pics of one obstacle and I don’t carry a camera with me during races. I’ve also been holding out writing this because I was hoping I’d have the pro photos by now, but no such luck.

 

2013: Parking on site – $10

2014: Parking in a lot in NH, shuttle bus ride was 15-20 minutes – $10. In addition to this, the street address given for parking got us lost while using the GPS on our phone. It took us to a dead end road with at least a dozen other people that were turning around in front of or behind us. I didn’t have any waits for the buses since I had an early heat (8:50), but others who ran later had waits of more than an hour each way for the buses.

 

On the bus ride there with our photobombing friend

We make good use of our bus time – on the ride back

 

2013: only 2 visible obstacles for spectators and one of them was deflated and unable to be used by the time I got there

2014: only 1 visible obstacle

 

2013: picnic tables scattered around for spectators to sit and chill

2014: no seats except for one small area with like 8 chairs

 

Julie chilling in the “spectator lounge”

 

2013: no food/drink allowed – bags were checked at entrance

2014: no food/drink allowed – no one was checking anything

 

2013: Registration line was seamless. I don’t remember waiting long at all.

2014: Registration was a nightmare. I waited in line no less than 30 minutes. The lines were arranged by alphabetical order, however there was nothing pointing you in the right direction. It wasn’t until I was in line for 10 minutes or so that I even realized this so I luckily got to move to a shorter line. You were supposed to have your ID ready to check your registration and also give you a band for your free after-race alcoholic beverage of choice. The girl never once looked at my ID, just highlighted my name in a big binder, gave me a bib, gave me a band and told us to only take 2 safety pins. Are you serious? You think a bib will stay on in a mud run with only TWO pins? And they were crappy pins at that.

 

Trying to figure out what to do with the 10 minutes I had left to warm-up before my heat started once I got through the awful registration line

 

2013: Finish line was spectacular. You finished on an obstacle (giant slip n slide), someone handed you your medal, you were funneled into a line to take a professional photo in front of a large banner then someone gave you your tshirt.

2014: This finish line was very anticlimactic. Instead of there being an obstacle right at the finish, the last obstacle was at least 100 yards from the finish line so you did the Death Drop and then just ran to the end. When you got there, nobody handed you anything except a protein bar. They had a tent with tables set up with medals and tshirts laid out, so everyone just took their own. There were no volunteers there when I went through, but at least I’m honest and only took 1 of each. From what I heard, later waves didn’t get medals. In addition, that “professional photo op” from the year prior? Well – that was in front of the changing tents. Not only do I find that disturbing because if you took it at the right angle you might see in the crack in the tent, but we also didn’t realize this and went to walk in to change and were scolded for trying to enter on the wrong side while they were taking pics.

 

Our sprint to the finish line

 

2013: They had lame ass hoses hooked through a PVC pipe with holes poked in it and called it a “shower” to rinse off. It wasn’t rinsing anything off, but luckily the Merrimack River was right behind the venue and came in handy when everyone just jumped in fully clothed to clean themselves off.

2014: Fully excited about using that river to clean off again, I was saddened to see that they blocked off the entrance we used last year to get to the river with portapotties. I thought maybe I could find another spot to get through, but I wouldn’t have been able to anywhere else. At least this year they had regular garden hoses that had at least some water pressure.

 

See that big beautiful river? Yeah…no access this year.

 

2013: Course map released on website inaccurate.

2014: This is the only thing the same as last year – inaccurate yet again.

 

2013: Only 1 obstacle technically not completed. I couldn’t do the walls by myself. The other that I didn’t do (Death Drop) was because it was deflated by someone wearing cleats or carrying keys. I was secretly happy because I didn’t want to do it. The nice thing was we got a $20 coupon code for 2014 registration due to this issue.

2014: The wall this year were more ladder-like, so I was easily able to scale it. Since I completed every obstacle, this meant I needed to do the Death Drop and it was just as horrifying as it sounds for me personally. It’s like 3 stories high and almost a vertical drop.

 

After the race, the same afternoon, I had sent them an email asking if they wouldn’t mind sending me the list of actual obstacles that they set up and the order they were in. I’m having trouble remembering everything since the foam ones are all so similar, but to date I’ve never received any sort of acknowledgement they received my email, so I’m just going to wing it.

Here is the list of obstacles, in the best order I can remember:

 

The start is always fun running through the cascading foam

 

Uphill run right at the start

 

Ladderish Wall Climb

“Chamber of Foam” – basically just a bouncy house filled with foam

Aqua Lily Pads – foam pads over a small pond that you had to run across without sinking in and falling into the water

Trip Wire – a bungee rope course to go over/under

Body Washer – another foam chamber with inflatable poles that move around as you walk across the bouncy platform

Electric mud – which wasn’t electrified. This was a good thing because the ropes were SO low to the ground you couldn’t help but hit every single one as you crawled under it in the mud.

Slip N Slide

E-lemon-ator – a Mike’s hard lemonade (race sponsor) obstacle. It was essentially just inflatable hanging lemons, but they didn’t swing or do anything on their own and there was no one there to swing them at you if that was their purpose.

A-frame cargo net climb

Over/Unders through a water-filled inflatable pool

Monkey Business – basically a sideways cargo net climb

Mud pit

Spider web forest – more bungees in between trees you had to climb through/over/under

Death Drop – probably about 3 stories high, giant inflatable slide that you end up in a pool of water at the bottom, if you make it to the end, which I didn’t. I had to walk the last 30 ft or so but that was OK. I didn’t really want to come shooting off the end anyway.

 

See that tiny person on that GIANT slide? That would be me.

 

SO happy that the Death Drop was over!

 

I may be missing an obstacle or two or five, and they’re most likely in the wrong order, but there you have it.

 

I’m 99.9% sure I will never do this race again.

 

 

 

 

24 Comments »

Face The Music Friday #39

Saturday – Gaspee Days 5K

Sunday – Unleashed at Tuff Scramblers

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 30 min run

Wednesday – Cleaned our pool and enjoyed the water on a ridiculously hot day

Thursday – 30 min walk & mowed lawn

Friday – Not sure yet – might get a walk in later, but had lots of errands this morning

 

Just a quick weekly update today. I can’t lose my Friday streak after all! I took today off work and Tara and I got a ton of errands done since I have a Foam Fest tomorrow. I’ll have a race recap either Sunday or Monday on that one.

My hand is still killing me and is a fairly open wound since Sunday. It’s healing, but slowly. I bought some New Skin this morning and gauze/waterproof tape to wrap it up good against the mud tomorrow. Hopefully it won’t get any worse and hopefully I can still function with that hand being so sore right now.

My song choice this week is one that has gotten stuck in my head for weeks now. I think it’ll be one of this year’s summer anthems. I’m calling that prediction right now. Have a great weekend everyone!

 

Magic! – Rude

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unleashed At Tuff Scramblers

 
*Before I begin, I would like to thank Kevin for the opportunity to review this awesome facility and Tuff Scramblers for not only allowing these classes, but also being gracious enough to let me use their photos in my post. *

 

On Sunday, I attended my first Unleashed training class at Tuff Scramblers in Rehoboth, MA. This is a permanent obstacle course that holds races twice a year, in May and October. While I missed out on this year’s races due to other race commitments, I’m hoping to actually run this race next year.

 

 

Unleashed recently made a deal with the owners of the property to hold training sessions and classes there every Sunday from 8am-2pm. There are two 3-hour sessions and two 1-hour sessions for more skills work. I opted to take the 11am-2pm training session with my trainer, Kevin Roy. I’ve been training mostly with just him since I started going to Unleashed in January, so I’m very comfortable taking classes with him that make me uncomfortable, like this one. I had nerves in my stomach like I do before a race. Let’s face it though, any time I have to do these things in front of people I get nerves so it’s basically every time I go to Unleashed!

I got up just before 8 to give myself plenty of time to hydrate and have breakfast and planned on leaving by 10 since it said it was about a 45 minute drive. I made sure I packed sunscreen and bug spray since we’d be running in and out of the woods, plus I wore my Camelbak so I could stay hydrated throughout the course. I threw a few Shot Bloks in there to get some calories somewhere since we would be going almost non-stop for 3 hours.

I was going to pack a change of clothes since it said there were outdoor showers, but I wasn’t sure what that consisted of, so I just brought some towels to sit on in the car on the way home and a bag to throw my wet shoes and socks in. They were actually pretty nice enclosed showers (plus hoses on the outside) so next time maybe I’ll bring clothes with me. They also had 1 portapotty on site, but I would imagine there are probably more on a race day.

Once I arrived, I applied the sunscreen and bug spray, hit the portapotty, readied my Camelbak and joined the group gathering over by the picnic table. We only had to wait a few minutes for Kevin to arrive and while we did, we watched another trainer, Rob, go up the salmon ladder they have there. It was so cool to see it done right in front of me. I watch American Ninja Warrior all the time, but it’s really awesome seeing it in person.

 

 

Now…hold on to your seats, kids. I’m about to take you on a muddy, wet, AWESOME trip of almost 4 miles in 3 hours. We did the actual race course, however we did loops of certain areas multiple times, so what is normally a 5K distance was extended.

We started our trek into the woods, to some very technical trails, by walking through what I like to refer to as the “NeverEnding Story mud”. If you’re around my age, chances are you’ve seen that movie. I still remember to this day how traumatizing it was to watch Atreyu’s horse, Artax, sink into the Swamp of Sadness. Yeah, so this mud pretty much felt like that. I went along the edge, but the muck still came up to my knees. And when I say this mud was shoe-sucking, I mean that in the most literal way. They almost came off my feet. I felt like I might never move again. OK, so maybe that’s an overstatement, but no – seriously.

 

Yep. Devastating.

 

After Kevin got us nice and muddy, we went through the trails. They’re really nicely groomed and very well marked. They’re way more technical than I’m used to, with lots of tree roots and rocks poking up, but I kept my eyes on the ground and took my time and was fine. Along the way we climbed some random boulders in the forest, as well as went through a couple of sections of barbed wire that we needed to go through the middle of (that were safe because they were wrapped in some sort of PVC-ish piping).

 

 

The first obstacle we would come to was the first of many dirt mounds. Very high dirt mounds. Did I mention I’m afraid of heights? Now, climbing up this first dirt mound I was totally fine. I dug my toes in and used my hands to climb up. What I didn’t know was waiting for me on the other side was a very smooth decline. Because it’s angled so steeply, and used so often, picture this dirt as if it’s snow that has been walked on to the point it’s packed down and icy. Yeah – like that. Kevin had us turn around to go down it backwards just as we had climbed up it, by digging our toes in and using our hands. I hate going down once I’m up because of the whole heights thing, but I was doing OK for a minute. Then I slid. I think I probably went down the remaining 2/3 of that hill on my stomach and scraped my hands up pretty good. This would be the first of two times I would cry like a moron on this course. It wasn’t so much that the wounds hurt (which they still do today, ouch!), but I was terrified and the tears just burst right out of my eyes. Yeah…super embarrassing when you can’t control that.

 

One of the many dirt mounds

 

I pulled my shit together in a minute and carried on to the next dirt mound. At this point, I was super shaken up and what little confidence I had going in to the course went out the window, but I just wanted to try my best. I asked if the other side of this dirt mound looked the same as the one I just went down and opted to take a slightly safer route around the side, which I would proceed to do on almost all of the remaining slippery dirt mounds we would climb.

We went back into the woods for a bit and then back out to another dirt mound. At the bottom of this one, we went through a belly crawl mud pit with netting over us so there was no crawling on hands and knees. This is where I saw my first frog and named him Fernando.

 

 

Back onto the trails we went and then back out where we crossed a loose rock pile and a soft sand mound. I like the soft sand mound because once I got up that one I could just run down it, digging my heels in, so I felt more comfortable on that.

 

 

All the while, we’ve paused occasionally to regroup and would do burpees, squats or lunges. After this particular section, we did burpees on a pile of pebbles. That was definitely interesting and worked the stabilizers! From the pebble pile, we had sort of a mini break. We didn’t really, but slowed up a bit to tackle a challenging obstacle – the water barrel jump. This was essentially a water pit with what I believe were water barrels spaced (mostly) evenly across it on angles. You had to jump from one side of the pit to the other without falling off and into the water. I was pretty nervous about this one, but luckily the jumping from plyobox to plyobox in the gym had prepared me for this one. I made it almost all the way across. I had one more to go, however I got off balance on the second to last one and ended up jumping into the corner – but I still didn’t get wet so I’ll call that a victory!

 

 

We headed over to our next dirt mound from here, where we were met with a large iron repel wall and mud pit at the bottom. I did the dirt mound no problem but once my feet went through the mud pit, I couldn’t get any purchase with them on the iron wall. It felt like trying to ice skate. I also still don’t have the upper body strength, so even if my feet had been clean and dry, I probably couldn’t have done this one. We did a few loops of this as well as tried to convince one of the girls not to catch all the frogs. I call her The Frog Whisperer now.

 

Kevin and Stephanie just hanging around

 

We moved on to crawl over a large section of big boulders, then back into the woods. When we came back out again, we climbed another dirt mound, but this time we climbed carrying rocks up and down. We did a few loops of this one, then headed over to another mound that we climbed up with ropes and back into the trails again.

 

 

Here is where we went on to some manmade obstacles. When we came off the trail this time, we were face to face with a wall made up of PVC pipes, with some strapping hanging down from it to help you climb it. Everyone else was jamming their toes in between the pipes to get up it, but for some reason I couldn’t get my toe in the bottom row and the next one up was too high. I went around this after a couple of attempts and then climbed and hopped over the cement poles that I believe they call “The Ruins”. This was very similar to the water barrel hop, but a little scarier because it was higher and there was no water below us. The next part of this circuit was some piles of tree trunks that we had to hop over and on to a balance beam (aka PVC pipes in the dirt).

 

“The Ruins” behind Zak

 

Back into the trails we went after a couple of cycles and when we came out we had our next circuit before us. This consisted of some “bleachers” and a low crawl. The bleachers weren’t just to climb up and jump off of, that’s too easy. We had to go under the 2nd step down low, come up between the 2nd and 3rd bleacher, hop up onto the 2nd bleacher and then jump off the top (3rd) bleacher. This is where we then crawled under a frame with netting draped over it. There were 2 sets of each of these so we went through both and then took off running through the woods again.

Out into the open again, our next circuit awaited us. This one consisted of a pipe wall (shorter than the other, so no straps to help climb it), cement pylons we had to hop over, crawl through a tube into a mud pit and then over another pipe wall. Rinse, repeat.

 

 

 

It was after this one that we moved on to the granddaddy of all the obstacle circuits for the day. We needed to climb the 30’ cargo net and then back down, crawl up a vertical tube with a rope that had water pouring down it, climb over an A-frame made up of PVC tubes that had water flowing on them, through a mud pit, up and over the “marshmallow mountain” as it is affectionately referred to (wrapped up hay bales), through another mud pit and over the swinging monkey bars (there were stable ones as well) that had water flowing on them.

This circuit was the hardest for me personally. This would be where I cried the second time. That cargo net was hiiiiiiigh! I was OK until about halfway up. It had started out fairly angled, so I was comfortable because I had the ability to lean into the net climbing up. However, once we got up to top, it straightened out where it met the platform at the top. I sort of froze and didn’t know if my arms would handle holding me up or get me to the top. I hyperventilated myself into tears and just stood there. Bobby, one of the trainers, climbed back down and was awesome about keeping me calm and helping me maneuver my way up the couple of feet I had left to climb. Helene also helped me out a great deal from the top and grabbed my hand to help me reach the grab bar at the top. Once I got up there I couldn’t catch my breath for the life of me so I sat there for a few minutes trying to calm the hell down and stop being a baby.

 

 

Eventually, I was able to climb back down the other side. This side was much more angled for some reason, so I didn’t have the same fear I did on the way up. When I got down, I tried to do the vertical pipes, but I just couldn’t pull myself up more than a few feet. I don’t even think the water pouring down was the issue, it was just my weak upper body. I tried a couple of times but eventually gave up and moved on to the A frame. I didn’t seem to have any trouble with this one because they were nice thick, sturdy pipes. Even though they were wet, I was never that scared to go over that one.

 

 

On to the marshmallows of doom. I really tried – from different angles, using different methods. They were just high enough that I couldn’t muscle up to get on to them. My body was toasted at this point and I didn’t have any more tries in me, so I stomped through the mud, under the fence and back around to the vertical pipes. I wasn’t going to attempt the monkey bars because of my shoulder impingement (which might slightly be improving, I think) so I figured I’d go give that stupid pipe another try since we were supposed to be doing multiple rounds of this circuit. It just wasn’t happening, but Kevin was pretty much done in this area, so he gathered us up and had us go back to the main gate of the farm.

 

 

We lined up and he told us to sprint as fast as we could all the way down to the pebble pile and back. Now, you may not know this, but I really only have one speed. Once I’m warmed up at the end of the race, I can usually sprint across the finish line for maybe 100 feet. He was asking us to run a decent distance. I did start out running as fast as I could, but there was no way that was happening the whole way so I eventually just turned it into a jog down and back, where we then did a few burpees.

Before “sprinting” down and back, he told us he’d have a surprise for us when we got back. Of course, when Kevin says he has a surprise and he has an impish grin on his face, you know you’re in trouble. Right next to our assembly area was a spring-fed pond. He had us line up and proceeded to tell us to sprint across as fast as we could from one side to the other, then back again – that’s 1 loop. He had us do four loops. The water wasn’t super deep, up to my neck at its deepest point that we ran across, but it was still challenging. It felt great though! I could have stayed in that pond the rest of the day. Once we all completed 4 loops, we treaded water without using our hands for 2-3 minutes and then we were done.

 

 

A little light stretching, lots of chugging of water and a couple of group pictures and then everybody rinsed off and went their separates ways. I got a little bonus lesson from Kevin on cleaning my Salomons while we were all rinsing off our shoes, so the learning just never stops!

 

 

All that being said, I would highly recommend this class. It is HARD, no doubt, but it’s fantastic practice for the actual OCRs that you could be running. As frustrating as it is for me to not be able to complete an obstacle, I will never quit a race – and I didn’t quit the class. I’m all about the finish for now, but someday, maybe, I’ll be able to finish all the obstacles.

 

 

 

 

18 Comments »

Volunteering With Zombies

On Saturday, after I ran Gaspee, I changed in a portapotty (gross) to meet up with my friend Stephanie from Unleashed. She was running the Zombie Charge OCR in North Stonington, CT. Unleashed was representing with a tent so I volunteered to help with some other ambassadors while Stephanie ran the race, so we carpooled.

We ended up leaving RI somewhere around 11:30 and got there close to 12:15 I think. It wasn’t a bad ride at all and not too far from the highway even though it was held on a farm. Stephanie’s heat was at 1:00 so we had plenty of time to grab our stuff and head to the tent before she had to run.

 

 

I didn’t run the race, so most of my observations will either be second-hand from people who ran it (some multiple times) or just stuff I saw around the grounds while manning the tent. Right from the start, they totally immerse you in the experience. We were the only ones coming in that late at the time, so as we drive in and pay and start to pull forward, we see a guy that was kind of shuffling along. We both commented that he looked like he should be one of the zombies and lo and behold, he was! All along the road leading up to the event were zombies. One dude held a gas nozzle in his hand and pretended to pump gas in our car, another one washed the windshield and the nurse…oh, the nurse! She was the scariest of all because she just STARED at you. Like, into your soul. She did nothing else – just came RIGHT up next to my passenger window and stared straight at me. I determined right then and there that I would not survive the zombie apocalypse!

 

 

A lot of people commented how much fun the race was, but those same people were also commenting how some of the zombies just wouldn’t give up on chasing them. From what I was told, they weren’t allowed to touch you at the obstacles, but any other time you were running you were fair game for them to grab your flags. I guess a few people had this issue with someone sprinting after them for a really long period of time, and one person even said that they, themselves, were grabbed. The “zombies” were only supposed to grab the flags, not you, so that was not cool. Around 12:30, some of the NE Spahtens and others performed a Thriller flash mob, complete with zombie Michael Jackson. It was pretty fun to watch!

 

 

The course itself got pretty positive reviews, even with those slight grievances. Pretty much everyone loved the soap slide at the end. Stephanie loved it so much, she even went back and did just the slide two more times when all the heats were done running at 2:30.

Working the tent went well. There was lots of people watching to do, and zombie watching of course. Some of them had REALLY good make-up, while others just looked like they dumped some fake blood over their heads. They may not have been volunteer zombies though. Some people just came dressed up like zombies themselves so it was hard to tell.

 

 

The beginning of each heat was pretty cool. They would set off a colored smoke bomb while releasing the zombies from their cage, playing My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark and then everyone would take off running while being chased right from the start.

One of our Unleashed Elite team members, Corrine, took first place female for the event which was awesome. There were also a lot of Spahten members representing and they set up a mini camp behind the Unleashed tent so I got to meet a few more of them in person, which was nice.

 

This was my favorite zombie. Her make-up and costume were outstanding!

 

We broke down the tent after we were sure people had stopped browsing around and most people were leaving. We got several people interested in coming by and it was fun chatting it up with them. I think we were on the road somewhere just before 3:30 and I got home with just enough time to change once more and head to a dance recital for the girls that Tara used to nanny for.

 

The clown had safety pins in his face!

 

This definitely sounds like an OCR I want to add to my list for next year!

 

 

 

 

 

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Gaspee Days 5K Race Recap

Saturday, June 14th was the 49th annual Gaspee Days 5K in Cranston, RI. From the website: “In June of 1772 brave colonists from Rhode Island burned the British revenue schooner, HMS Gaspee, during what has become recognized as the first bloodshed of the American Revolution.” Each year, there are several events of the weekend including the race, parade and fireworks.

All week long, a co-worker and I were watching the weather to see how it would be (she is on the Gaspee Days Committee). The 2013 race was held on a drizzly, grey morning so we were hoping we’d have better weather this year. At the beginning of the week it looked like we were in the clear, but then on Thursday the forecast shifted and showed a 50% chance of rain. On Friday, we had *scary* rain – like, so bad I would have rather driven in a snowstorm. Every street on my way to work was flooded in an instant and I could barely see even with my windshield wipers on the fastest setting! The whole day was dreary and wet and it looked like the race would be, too. They moved the fireworks from Friday night to Saturday night when the weather was going to be nicer.

When I got up on Saturday morning, luckily the forecast shifted and it was just cloudy and foggy. I was glad it wasn’t raining, but the humidity was 92%! I actually had a discussion with Tara after the race about how it would be better if it was a cool drizzle instead of that humidity with the 70 degree temps.

The race starts at 9:45, so we left the house right around 8:30. Bib pick-up was fast and easy and we got really nice long sleeved tech shirts as swag. Once I grabbed my bib, I made my first stop to the portapotty line and then we walked to the start (maybe a tenth of a mile down the road?). I started stretching and then my over hydrating in the morning kicked in so I used the opportunity to jog back to the portapotty line one more time and jog back as part of my warm-up.

What I thought was strange about this race was that they didn’t do the National Anthem. I always line up towards the mid-back of the pack and I was standing there with one ear bud out so I could hear when they did it and then all of a sudden I hear the gunshot go off for the start! Well OK then, we’re off! I remembered that the race was chip timed, but what I didn’t think of until afterwards was how they did it. We didn’t cross over a timing mat at the start, only at the finish. I was told by someone else after that they saw a transmitter hanging halfway down a telephone pole – pretty cool! I imagine it’s because traffic needed to keep coming in and out even though the streets were closed (buses and stuff for the parade).

 

I’m in orange shirt, black shorts

 

I felt OK at the start but was instantly sweating buckets. The temp was fine for me, but that humidity made it SO hard to breathe. I felt like I was running through soup. I felt like I could have run more if not for that, so I was kind of bummed. I took a couple more walking breaks than I would have liked but still got the job done.

 

Official time was 36:17, but what was interesting is that it wasn’t 3.1 miles

 

This is one of my absolute favorite races because of the spectators. They line both sides of the street, for the entire route, in anticipation of the parade and most of them will stand there and cheer the whole time the race is going on. At the very top, you can see where we loop through a small neighborhood for the turn around point of the course. There is a person there that sets up their own “extra” water station, including hanging their garden hose from the tree over the street so people can run under it to cool off!

 

 

Official time: 36:17 (but course distance came up short by my Garmin)

Finished: 1194/1439 overall, 170/215 F 30-39

After the race, they have a lot of different options for post race food and drinks including Dunkin Donuts, some bagged chips, water, local Narragansett beer, Del’s Lemonade and Munroe Dairy (though I don’t know what they were offering). I don’t know if there was any fruit because I didn’t have time to stick around and check stuff out.

I’m excited about next year because it will be the 50th annual race, so I bet they’ll have some awesome stuff planned. I would highly recommend this race to anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Big Announcement

Friday morning I referred to an announcement that I was excited to share, but wasn’t official yet. Later that morning, it was made public so I’m now here to tell you…

I was chosen to be an Unleashed Ambassador!

 

I'm up in the top right flipping the giant tire

I’m up in the top right flipping the giant tire

 

I pretty much already talk about my love for this obstacle gym constantly, but now I’ll just be doing it in a more official capacity. I’m so excited to help represent them at races and such and be a member of such a fantastic team. I guess around 100 people or so applied so I’m happy to have made the cut. I can’t wait to continue telling you guys about my progress there.

 

 

 

 

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Face The Music Friday #38

Fitness this week:

Saturday – 1 hr OCF class @ Unleashed, yard work, 1 mile hike

Sunday – Rest and rolled from Saturday. Felt like I was hit by a truck!

Monday – 27 min run

Tuesday – 30 min elliptical + 10 min challenge* + random stuff at work between calls (10 lunges, 20 desk push-ups, 30 squats)

Wednesday – Mowed lawn, Off Road Conditioning class

Thursday – 35 min walk with Tara

Friday – rest

*For this week’s challenge, my reps were as follows (click here to see the challenge origin):
Lunges – 50
Push-ups – 40
KB swings – 71 (w/ 4K kettlebell)
Burpees – 16
Planks – 36 sec, 20 sec

 

I had a much better week this time around. I felt like my body was ready to go after recovering from the Tough Mudder. I pushed it a little hard on Saturday and paid for it Sunday, but then was OK the rest of the week.

Tomorrow I have a race – the Gaspee Days 5K. This race is also where I hold my current 5K PR of 34:26. I VERY sincerely doubt I’ll be getting a new one there since I’m really just getting up to speed again with my running, but it’s a great race. There is a parade afterwards so the streets are jam packed with people waiting for it. It starts 15 minutes after the race. It’s a nice easy out and back and if I remember correctly it’s uphill going out, downhill coming back. Who doesn’t love a downhill finish?

Speaking of racing, a fellow blogger (and fellow Spahten!) that I’ve been following since last year wrote an amazing article about what it’s like to be a fast runner, but finish a race at the back of the pack. I love the way she writes and the fact that she documented what so many of us go through is awesome. The comments are amazing also, so you should give them a read, too.

On Wednesday, we had some drama with my little bitsy squish, Delilah. On Tuesday night, Tara had noticed blood in her urine in the litter box. She left a voicemail for our vet and we were able to get an appt for Wednesday morning. Tara took her in since her schedule is more flexible as a nanny. They weren’t able to get a sample from her there, so they gave her fluid under the skin to hydrate her, plus an anti inflammatory and antibiotic. They said she had a slight fever, but that could be anxiety related from having to come to the vet.

 

bitsy

 

They sent us home with this kit for collecting a sample. Basically, it was this sort of teflon like sand that doesn’t absorb the urine, it pools off it. Then we use a little bulb syringe and suck it up, put it in a vial, then a baggie and bring it to the vet. Tara could only stay until around 2:00, so I left work early to take the afternoon shift with her. Luckily, she went about an hour before the vet closed so we could let her out of isolation in the bathroom. The cats were breaking our hearts being separated. Tara said when she came home to take her to the vet that Flynn had pressed himself against the outside of the bathroom door and both of them had their paws underneath the door!

Our vet is so awesome, they did the testing in house and called me just over an hour later with the results. They saw the blood, plus she had crystals AND bacteria in the urine. Hopefully, they said, the antibiotic shot they gave her would clear that up, but if not we’ll need to look into changing her diet. Poor baby girl!

In slightly happier news, I have a really fun announcement coming soon hopefully, so stay tuned. I can’t wait until I’m able to share it. Are you on the edge of your seat now? Good. Don’t fall off.

 

 

This week’s song is a newer one for me. I totally need to add it to my running playlist. I can see myself moving faster if I were to hear it at the right time.

 

Sleeper Agent – Waves

 

 

 

 

 

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Off Road Conditioning

Last night, I went to the Off Road Conditioning class offered by Unleashed. On Wednesday nights, it starts at 7:00 and goes for about an hour and 15 min, pretty much right until sundown. Last night was a gorgeous night for it – a little bit cloudy, light humidity, a slight breeze here and there and I think it was in the 60s or low 70s.

This class is no joke. Sure, I’ve trained and can run along the road for over 2 hours now (like my 10 miler) but running in these woods gives me Tough Mudder flashbacks of the never ending mountain. We cover some pretty serious hills, some with not the most firm footing, and at one point even climbed up a rock face covered in moss that I literally had to put my hands down to maneuver up.

I’ve done this class a few times now and it’s HARD. Yes, the all caps is required for this one. Maybe some other people might think it easier, like pretty much everyone else who barrels through the woods in that class, but for me personally it’s always a challenge. Kevin is always telling us we need to get our lungs open and keep the heart pumping, but I’m pretty sure my lungs are waging war in my chest every time.

For this particular class, we started at the usual end of the high school, ran up a hill, through the woods down, then uphill, stopped to do some burpees, went over to his favorite “torture hill” (or what others might just call “a hill”) where he has us just run up and down it for several minutes. After that, we went over to the bleachers and snaked them up and down, did some dips (I did push-ups due to my shoulder), sprinted up the hill next to the bleachers and then down the hill to our first burpees.

Now, this is where the actual “off road” comes into play. After this warm-up, we run across the street into the woods/trails. He does a great job at keeping us together so that all abilities can take part. We’ll do small loops of trails at a time and he’ll wait at the end for everyone to catch up before having us move in. He’ll typically throw in burpees, squats and push-ups here and there for a “breather”.

 

 

The last two classes I’ve done, we’ve been lucky enough to reach a high point right around sunset. It actually overlooks the “295 canyon”, which is where Route 295 passes through. This is also where Kevin like to have us do push-ups on his “Push-up Rock”. It’s actually kind of terrifying to use this one particular rock because you’re staring straight down onto the highway! I love it up there, though. It’s so pretty!

 

I’m in the orange

 

If you’re ever in the area, you should absolutely come to this class. It will kick your ass AND take your name. I’d be happy to come along and make you look good. I’m officially the class caboose.

 

 

 

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A S’more On A Grill Is Still A S’more

Friday was SO slow at work I thought the day would never end. Once it finally did, we did our typical errands for the week and decided on a whim to grill up some burgers and eat outside since it was gorgeous out. We lit the patio candles and brought out the umbrella light and it was perfect ambiance. The bugs aren’t out in full force yet, but we also lit some citronella candles just in case and were OK for most of the night.

 

This is what happens when you get home from work and your wife tells you that you look nice and wants to take your picture but you really just want to get your errands done.

I am the Grill MASTER!

 

After the burgers, we made some s’mores over the side burner on the grill. High class here, people. We don’t have a fire pit so it will have to do. It still got the job done and they were delish. I didn’t want to stay up too late though, so we cut our porch time short. I think we ended up getting to bed just after 10:00.

 

Someone was getting a little punchy

 

I set my alarm for 5 am so that I could hit up the OCF class at Unleashed at 6:30. I think I left the house just after 6 am and had a few minutes to foam roll when I got there before we started. It was a KILLER class. I don’t know if I can remember everything, or the specific order we went in exactly, but basically it was sort of as follows: warm-up consisted of running 1 lap around the building, 5 burpees, another lap around the building. I think then we went inside, grabbed a 50 lb Wreck Bag, tossed it over our shoulders and ran around the building again, did 10 squats and went inside? I’m sure I’m messing the order up, but still all the same stuff was done. After we went in, with the bags still on our shoulders, we went over all the plyoboxes (6 boxes total maybe?) 3 times. We did left foot stepping up over all, then right foot up over all, then I think the last round was whatever we wanted, which I think I did left. At some point during all this, we did a couple of minutes of burpees as well.

After the “warm-up”, we broke into groups of 3 to start obstacles. The first set of obstacles was the 3 walls (6’ wall, 8’ wall and 12’ rope wall), the traverse ropes and vertical ropes. Our group was group 1, so we had walls first. I still can’t get over them, so I attempt the first one, then just end up rolling under all 3 of them. Next up – the traverse rope. I did REALLY well with it that morning, the farthest I’ve ever gone! If you don’t know what this is, you’re basically hanging upside down from a rope and need to alternate moving your hands and feet to climb across (and sort of up because they are tied to the top). Lastly was vertical ropes, which I still don’t have the hang of (get it? haha) so I use the practice rope and just do “climbs” up and down it lowering and raising my body weight to build grip strength.

After this set, I think we ran a few more laps outside, with burpees thrown in between each lap. When we came back in, we got back into groups and this time was the kettlebell hoist, cargo net/ladder climb and the traverse wall. I managed the kettlebell hoist no problem, but it sort of tweaked my shoulder a little. I tried the cargo climb after this, but my shoulder decided it was all done playing around so I just stepped aside and did burpees. I was fine with this because the cargo net and ladder climb make me too scared because they’re super wobbly and if I’m gonna be climbing, I want stability! Moving over to the traverse wall, I have trouble with this because of my grip, so I ended up using the wood slats built next to it and just basically shimmying side to side on it to work on my grip and foot placement. It was good practice at least!

After class, Unleashed was offering free FMS screenings so of course I wanted in on that. I had a screening when I first started seeing my sports chiro a few months ago, but I feel like it wasn’t the entire screening because this one on Saturday seemed more thorough. I continue to amaze people with how inflexible I am. The guy that did my screening was cool, though, and went over my results in detail and will be emailing me some exercises (which will be helpful since I can’t see the exercise specialist at the chiro anymore).

After the FMS screening, I chatted with some of the ladies for a few and then headed home to do yard work. I weed whacked, mowed, fertilized and watered but just didn’t have the energy to do the weeding so I left that for another time, probably this weekend.

Tara and I had talked about a hike since it was a gorgeous weekend, so we looked through a book we bought at REI recently and found a few nearby places. Tara still wasn’t feeling 100% yet, so we wanted a short hike, relatively close to home so we didn’t need to bring packs or anything. We found a few and ended up deciding on one that was about 20 or so minutes away called Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge.

The directions were really clear and it was easy to get to, however once we got to the road that we needed to take, it was SUPER sketchy. The road leading into the area was really narrow and windy, but this road was 10x worse. First of all, it was just a dirt road. No big deal, done it before, however it was littered with big rocks and huge holes. The sign at the very beginning when you turn on to the road stated “pass at own risk”, which is not a good start. Once we got about 100 feet in, the road took a STEEP decline and there was no way with that angle, plus the rocks and holes, that my little Hyundai was going in there. No way, Jose!

We had passed 2 small dirt parking lots on our way into the area that had some people at each one, so we decided to stop at the larger one and check it out. It wasn’t in our book, but Tara Googled it really quick and found out there was about 4.5 miles of trail in the woods as part of the Big River Management Area. There were 3 or 4 trail heads so we just picked one and decided I would watch my Garmin and see when we reach ½ mile, then we’d turn around and come back out since we didn’t know the trail and didn’t want to walk too far. It ended up being just over a mile since my GPS wouldn’t kick in until we’d already gone into the woods a little ways. It was a really pretty hike so we’ll definitely go back down there some time with our packs and make a day of it.

 

We saw tons of lady slippers!

 

After our hike, we decided we were close enough to keep driving south and go to The Umbrella Factory. Basically, it’s a hodgepodge of things. There are local artisans, a huge bamboo forest, a farm café and animals on the property (emus, goats, chickens and some other stuff I’m not 100% on). It was a really cute, very artsy place and it was all free to walk around.

 

Do you like my bamboo teepee?

Emus and goats!

 

We realized we hadn’t really eaten since breakfast, so we used Yelp to see what was in the area and ended up at K&S Pizza. It was a “seed to fork” pizza place and the menu sounded really good. It was a very cute place and I really love how everything is locally sourced. Tara got a Farmers Harvest pizza (basically a veggie pizza) and I made up for her and got a Meat Lovers pizza. It was so delicious!

 

 

When we got home, we were beat and wanted to start binge watching the second season of Orange Is The New Black. Well, it ended up that Tara wanted to work on her blog a bit, so she wanted me to watch something else so she could focus on her writing and not the TV. I decided that would be a good time to start watching Game Of Thrones. What ended up happening is that we are now BOTH addicted to it and we watched the whole first season, plus 7 episodes of the second season over the course of the rest of the weekend! I can’t wait to catch up to real time to talk to other people about it. Right now I’m just trying to avoid hearing too much about it that I haven’t seen yet.

 

 

Who else is hooked on either of these shows? Or what are you all hooked on?

 

 

 

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