Don't blink. Just run.

Where training meets fandom. And everything in between.

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







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.


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



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!











Race Recap: Resolution 5K Beach & Trail Race

Today I ran my first ever beach/trail race – the Resolution 5K Beach & Trail Race. To say it was a true test of my fitness would be an understatement. Not only have I not run regularly for probably 2 months due to injuries (outside of a couple of seasonal races), but I’ve never run in that type of environment. I’ve definitely lost a lot of my breathing fitness/endurance. It was an absolute ego check!



This was also the smallest 5K I’ve ever participated in. I don’t know how many runners there were this year, but I looked at the results from last year and there was somewhere around only 130 runners. It definitely felt that small, too.

It was a gorgeous, sunny winter day in Narragansett, RI. The race was to be held at Scarborough State Beach and then we ran through the trails around the Black Point Fishing Area. Let’s remember though, regardless of the sun, that it’s January in Rhode Island. It was a super windy, very chilly day. The wind shows 11mph, but I’m pretty sure there were gusts close to 20mph at times. I got pushed back a time or two when we were running into the wind.



The start time was 10am. I think we got there around 9:15am. I wanted to make sure I had enough time to register because this was literally a last minute decision for me. I didn’t pre-register (as I have for every other race I’ve ever run) but figured at $15 for on-site registration it wasn’t a bad price to pay to be able to decide the night before. Even as I was watching the Patriots destroy the Colts I wasn’t sure I still wanted to do it, but I packed all my stuff up the night before anyway.

We timed it perfectly because we got there just before the larger groups of people arrived and started lining up for their bibs. I was signed up, bibbed and on the way to the porta-pottie in 5 minutes. They seemed to be really organized for a smaller race. I told Tara after the race that it felt a bit like we were crashing a family reunion. Everyone there seemed to know everybody else and we didn’t know anybody!

I got my stretching done about 15 min prior to the start and then 10:00 came and I was curious why we weren’t even lining up on the beach yet. Then a man with a megaphone ended up telling us to follow him and we went down on the beach finally. We had to do a straight run down the beach to the rocks on one end, turn around and come back down the beach past the start, keep going up through the trail to the main road (maybe 100 yards of blessed pavement!!) and then back through the trail until we reached the end and ran back along the beach back to the start/finish.



It was a little difficult being at the back of the pack with not too many people around trying to figure out where to go. I had to pay careful attention to the little orange flags they had planted in the beach and trail. It was enough, though, that I didn’t get lost. Once we got to the trail, it was a muddy nightmare. It had poured here all day yesterday and had been rainy on and off on Friday as well. You could definitely tell it had rained recently because we had to run through ankle deep puddles that went the entire span across the trail in some areas. Who knew we had signed up for a mud run?!? Luckily, I had worn my brand spanking new trail shoes and they worked wonders on keeping me stable in the mud. No sliding around and great grip on these puppies!



Let me tell you, my feet were awfully cold and wet for about the last 1.5 miles. Not good times, but the shoes definitely helped. They didn’t seem to retain the water and make my feet really heavy which I appreciated, because my legs already felt like lead.

Trail running is definitely not easy as you have to be hyperaware of where you’re stepping. We had the same issue on the beach too, because it was littered with rocks throughout the majority of it.


This is only a small sampling of all the rocks!


I had to do a walk/run approach to the race, so it definitely took me longer to finish than normal road racing. I don’t know my “official” time (if there is one – no chips), but my Garmin came in at 44:23. Not terrible considering that I did a good amount of walking…more than I had wanted to unfortunately.



I’m proud of myself for going WAY out of my comfort zone. I did something I’ve never done, with a risk of coming in dead last due to the lack of people, and I did it in possibly one of the worst months to run a race in New England. Race 1 of my #14in2014 is on the books!