Don't blink. Just run.

Where training meets fandom. And everything in between.

Thoughts On 2014 And 2015

 

With how low I’ve been feeling lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. People keep pointing out what an amazing year I’ve had, but it’s hard for me to feel accomplished when all I focus on are my failures. I decided to put it into writing so I can look back at it when I need a boost.

2014 was a year of firsts. In order of this year, I did: my first trail race, first 10K, first 10 Miler, first Tough Mudder, first (and second and third) Spartan Race, first half marathon and first GORUCK. This was among other road races and OCRs for a total of 20 races on the year (click tabs to the right to see all races).

Normally, at this time, I’d already be scheduling my 2015 events. I’d like to do less this year. My first two years of racing have seen me do 15 races in 2013 and 20 in 2014. It’s very busy and very costly and I think I need to cut down for both of those reasons. I need more focus. I can’t just register for every race I have the desire to run.

On my radar for this year is the Marine Corps Marathon. That’s it. There are a few others I would like to do, but I need to see how my weeks are going to line up. I’d like to do the Ragnar Trail Relay with my team, plus I have a free entry to Battlefrog OCR that I’d like to use. Other than that, I need to develop a take it or leave it attitude. I’ll be spending much more time supporting friends at races and events instead of running them. I’d like to keep rucking with Carry The Fallen, as well as become a shadow for GORUCK events that include my teammates and friends.

I have high hopes for 2015.

 

 

 

 

28 Comments »

Face The Music Friday #37

The only workouts this week? Tough Mudder last Saturday.

 

 

Lame. I just haven’t been feeling it this week and you know what? I’ve caught up on some good sleep, got a much needed haircut and just relaxed and let my body heal a little. I did actually have intentions to go out Wednesday for National Running Day, however my stomach had other ideas. For the last 3 days, I’ve had this random pain in the middle of my stomach that, at a couple of points Wednesday night, almost made me sick. It’s gotten better over the last couple of days and only comes back here and there, but I really wish it would disappear completely. Tara on the other hand got knocked flat this week by a nasty cold so I’m glad I didn’t have that. I had some horrible sinus headaches early on in the week from allergies I think, but luckily it didn’t turn into anything.

This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous – 80s both days and no rain. We want to get some hiking in and I have some yard work to do. I also can’t decide if I want to go to an “Outdoor Throwdown” that I was invited to by one of the Unleashed trainers. It’s free and open to the public and the best part of all – it’s right down the street from my house at the high school. I was also thinking about actually getting back to Unleashed for the morning class, but am hesitant because of my shoulder. That actually makes me hesitant for the Throwdown, too, but I don’t know what they actually do there so it might not be so bad for the ol’ wing. Unleashed is also holding free FMS screenings tomorrow, so that’s tempting as well (even though I had one when I started seeing my chiropractor).

I guess I’ll have to figure it out tonight because I’ll either have to get up early to get to the 6:30 class, or can sleep in to go to the Throwdown at 9:45. See that? A cliffhanger ending! What will Courtney do??

To make myself feel better about being a lame-o this week, I’m picking this song. It’s also one of my faves when it comes on my running playlist.

 

Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That – Robert Randolph & The Family Band

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tough Mudder Recap

First, I just want to thank Tara and Julie for being my biggest cheerleaders and hiking up and around the spectator route looking for me to cheer me on, keeping me fueled and keeping me calm. I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did without either of them (or Dan cheering me on from MA).

 

 

Now – I’m having trouble even figuring out where to begin, so I’ll just start with Friday’s drive up and our hotel. Tara ended up with the day off unexpectedly, so she got our last minute stuff packed that we hadn’t already gotten together. I left work at 1pm and we were hoping to beat the forecasted rain. We ended up driving through it, then sun again, then rain again, then sun again…you get the idea. I think we drove through rain maybe half a dozen times, but never for more than 5-10 minutes. The sky looked rather ominous at times.

 

 

As for the hotel, let’s just say, the outside was cute, the inside was ooooold and the key made me think we were entering the Overlook Hotel from The Shining.

 

 

This is apparently their idea of extra security in addition to the plain ol’ door lock

 

It had really good reviews online and, for the location as close as it was to Mount Snow, you couldn’t beat the price for the weekend! The bed sucked though, which was really bad for us Saturday night because neither of us could sleep well and I was already in a fair amount of pain from the day’s adventure. But I digress…

After we arrived in VT, Julie asked us to swing by her dad’s house to say hi since it was on our way to the hotel. We stopped in for a quick hello and she then followed us to the hotel so we could check in and unload the car. After that was all set we went up the road to West Dover Joe’s for dinner. It wasn’t bad, but the waitress wasn’t helpful at all. I ended up getting potato gnocchi with meat sauce, you know, to “carb load”, but I was nervous so I could only eat half of it. To be fair though, it was a really big portion.

Once we had dinner, we grabbed a couple of things at the 7-11 and headed back to the hotel for an early bedtime. I usually like to veg out to some TV before bed, but turns out the cable had been severed to our TV so we didn’t have a working set. I ended up just flipping through some stuff on my iPad and we went to bed around 9:30ish I think.

5:00 am came really early on race day, but I didn’t sleep that well because I was nervous (and again, the bed sucked). I got up and tried to eat, but could only manage a banana and some water. Once I showered, I got down half a bagel with some peanut butter on it. I put on my race clothes and made sure my pack was all stocked up with everything I felt I would need. I think I definitely overpacked though. I had a disposable waterproof camera, Shot Bloks, an epi pen (I’m allergic to bee stings), bandaids, wet ones, hot hands and (guys turn away at this point) some tampons. I was due for my TOM that very day, but hadn’t gotten it before we left. Sure enough, I got it halfway through – awesome. Tara thought it would be a good idea to get a pre-race jitters picture.

 

Nah, I’m not nervous…

 

Julie arrived around 6:45 and I think we left for Mount Snow around 7:05 or so. Parking was super easy and I was glad I paid for the premium pass. We were so close to everything that way and Julie and Tara could go to the car if they needed something during the race. I was VERY glad I bought it afterwards when I could barely walk.

 

 

I was running with my NE Spahtens team, none of whom I had met before. It was arranged on the Facebook page to meet up at 8:40 by the band stage for a team picture and then our wave was supposed to go off at 9:00.

 

Tara made these fun shirts for her and Julie to wear

 

We took our picture, and thought we got in the right line, but all of a sudden we heard them release the 9:00 wave and we realized we were standing in the 9:20 wave line. We tried to go around and run to catch up, but the MC saw us coming and said not to worry about wave times and catching up to teammates, just to stay and run in the next one. Not a great idea with the size of each wave going off, but whatever.

After we got released to go up to the start line, you are supposed to run up, climb a wall and then wait to be sent off after taking the TM pledge. We ran up, waited for a minute, then the team started weaving to the outside edge, so I followed them. I didn’t realize it, but we skipped the wall and ended up just making our own start time. I can’t say I was unhappy to not have to climb the wall (which I still can’t do on my own), but I still would have liked to have done the pledge and had the experience of the hype up by the MC.

 

That’s my “I have no idea what we’re doing” face

 

Once we weaved around the people waiting to climb the wall, hopped the barrier and went through the spectators, my team took off and I was all alone immediately. That sucked. As soon as they took off, I noticed this trio walking along and carrying with them a 60 lb sandbag. I made some comment to them about it and we ended up talking for a minute and turns out they were NE Spahtens, too! They were doing the race through an obstacle racing magazine and would be writing something about it so they were given media passes and didn’t really have a start time. I asked if they minded if I joined them for the race and they were really cool and said it wouldn’t be a problem at all. I was glad they had that sandbag because it meant just walking/hiking, not running it, which I was OK with. I could have run on some of the downhills (and I say some because not all of those were run-able) and straightaways, but the majority I would have been walking anyway. That mountain was no joke – VERY few people actually ran.

 

Our merry little band walking along to the first obstacle

 

The first obstacle we came across was Kiss Of Mud. This consisted of a VERY low barb wire crawl, uphill, through mud and rocks. When I say this thing was low, I mean looooow. If you click the link, it shows you the obstacle. Now see how those pictures make it look like there is some wiggle room above you? I can guarantee you there was NO wiggle room above me when I went through there. I know how to crawl under that sort of thing, and have trained to do so, but even just adjusting my hips to push myself upward would have my butt or lower shirt get snagged almost every other time. It was way more difficult than I expected and glad that we weren’t around any crowds going through it. Little did I know that this would be one of only a few obstacles I actually did.

Our next obstacle would be Glory Blades. These are inverted walls that you have to climb up the angled side. I opted out of this one due to my shoulder. They were much higher than I expected and, even with help, I would have had to use it quite a bit to get up and over. I was OK with this at the time, but knowing what would happen later I wish I had at least tried a bit.

 

 

After the Blades, I decided I wanted to help out with the sandbag to give them a break since they were awesome enough to let me join them. Plus, I felt like I should be doing something extra for skipping obstacles. The first time I carried it, I probably took it 500+ feet or so, plus up a smallish start of a hill. That thing was crazy! Nele is training for a Go Ruck Selection and will be carrying even more than that, and doing the challenge for 48 hours. She’s also competed in 3 Death Races and even won one of them! She’s a complete badass and couldn’t be any nicer of a person.

 

Not gonna lie – I felt pretty badass walking with this thing

 

Next up was the Funky Monkey. This one was one of the obstacles I opted out of in advance because of the shoulder at my chiro’s recommendation. I took everyone’s bags and just watched over them while Patrick, Ben and Nele went across. All 3 of them made it and did awesome.

 

I think this was right after Funky Monkey, at one of the spectator points for Julie and Tara

See that? Yep, that’s snow. We had to climb over 3 different snow banks and separate points on the mountain.

 

Next up – the one that scared me most at the time – Arctic Enema. I have to say, this was not nearly as bad as I expected. Sure it was freezing cold, but it was such a quick in and out I was OK. Now, the problem was when I put my hand down to jump into the water, I ended up wrenching my injured shoulder. Badly. Like, so badly I started crying in the portapotty. When I came out, I didn’t want the others to see me crying because I didn’t want to be the whiny girl or the big baby in the group so I grabbed my shirt from Tara and just talked to her and Julie for a minute while everybody got their clothes back on and situated to start hiking up again.

 

Talking strategy before getting into Arctic Enema

 

NOT a flattering picture of me, but it was definitely a wise choice taking off the tshirt to have it be warm and dry when I got out of the Enema. See that Rocktape on my shoulder? Not helpful after I tweaked it.

 

I believe Quagmire was next (no link on TM website) and it was basically just going through a mud pit. The whole mountain was mud so this wasn’t that dramatic.

 

 

I believe Walk The Plank was next and this was another one I knew I wasn’t doing in advance because I’m a chicken shit and didn’t want to jump off into the water. The water didn’t bother me, the jumping did.

 

Not a great pic but it was about a 15 foot jump. Ben is the only one who did this obstacle.

 

From this point on, my memory isn’t the greatest. I can’t use the map to jog my memory because the obstacles weren’t in order like the map showed. I think the next one was Devil’s Beard. There is no link for it online, but basically it was a huge, long cargo net (maybe 25 feet?) that you had to crawl under. No one actually crawled though. Everyone going under was just using teamwork to hold it up and walk through. Once we got out from under the cargo net, we then had to crawl through probably 25 ft tubes that were actually part of Balls To The Wall. I took off my pack and pushed it ahead of me while crawling on my hands and knees, so it wasn’t too tight of a tube that I had to belly crawl.

After that, it shows “Muddersection” as the next obstacle. I don’t know where or what the hell this was, but like I said, there was so much mud on that mountain it was like the whole thing was one big “Muddersection”.

I think some confusion comes in here because I believe Balls To The Wall was next, which was basically a tall rope climb wall. This was supposedly on the map just after mile 3, but I know its as much later than that. Once again I skipped out due to not being able to pull myself up with my shoulder, so I babysat the bags again. But not Joe the Sandbag – he was going up and over! They were SO impressive getting that thing through. Nele and Ben climbed at the same time next to each other while Pat handed the sandbag up to them. They then hoisted it up and over the wall to the other side and the three of them then went over themselves. It was amazing to watch them work.

 

 

Once they climbed Balls To The Wall, I finished out the rest of the obstacle with them which went through a water pit (with very little water left in it when we got there) and then over the tubes we previously crawled through (5 or 6 I think). We did a small loop up and down and then came to Berlin Walls. After waiting in line for probably 1/2 hour at Balls, we all just bypassed these walls and kept going. From there, it was up, up and up some more to the highest point of the Mudder where we faced Lumberjacked. I opted out again and at this point resigned myself to the fact that my biggest obstacle was the mountain.

 

 

On the way down, we went by Pole Dancer. All shoulders – not happening for Courtney. I was impressed yet again as they managed to work together to get the sandbag across it. After that was Pyramid Scheme. There was a huge mud trench in front of the wall and lines of people, so no one was able to just run and try to get up it by themselves. There was no way someone was yanking me up this thing, so I watched the bags again as the trio plus the sandbag went up the wall.

Back up the mountain we went after Pyramid until we came across Pitfall. I’m not sure what this was meant to be, but it was kind of a maze of muddy water. I guess some were deeper than others, but you didn’t know which ones? I have no idea what the point of that one was, but I went through it. From there, we went to Warrior Carry. Patrick had gone ahead with the sandbag which meant there were only 3 of us. Ben ended up just piggybacking Nele the whole way while I carried his bag. I would have attempted to piggy back someone, but wasn’t going to worry about it at this point so close to the end.

Down the mountain we went to the point where we had to split up. Being part of the media group, the trio got to do the Legionnaire’s Loop. This is reserved only for people who have done 1 or more Mudders already. Since this was my first, I had to continue on alone until the rally point where I would meet up with them again before the last obstacle. I walked down the hill and was able to see them complete their extra obstacles which was fun.

The last obstacle was Electroshock Therapy, which also scared the hell out of me. I was told to cover my face, keep my head down and just haul ass through it. I did end up getting zapped on the arm, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected.

 

See those little dangly things surrounding me? Yeah, full of electricity.

 

And Tara even got it in live action! Watch me across the top of the screen (purple pack, black pants, navy shirt).

 

Now, you have to understand, I thought after this obstacle we were literally done. No. That’s too kind. We had to go UPhill again and back down a small loop before crossing the actual finish line.

 

Crossing as a team holding Joe the Sandbag

 

Once we crossed that line, there was nothing sweeter than having that orange headband put on me.

 

 

Am I upset I couldn’t/didn’t do more obstacles? Yes. Terribly? No. I found that mountain to be the most difficult thing I’ve ever tackled in my life. I could barely move my right leg from the hip and knee pain by the end and was pretty much dragging it behind me to the car and for the rest of the night. My shoulder was screaming in pain until Sunday afternoon and is just now starting to ease up. Would I ever do it again? Maybe.

Nele, Ben and Patrick were the ultimate teammates and I couldn’t have asked to meet better people at just the right time when I needed a team. I will always be thankful they let me tag along with them.

 

Even Joe got a headband

 

Here are some fun post race pics from the parking lot and the hotel “De-Mudder” station they set up (a hose outside LOL).

 

 

Goal race #1 for the year – done! Goal race #2 training starts June 24! Half marathon – I’m coming for you!

 

 

 

 

 

45 Comments »

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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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 #17

Fitness this week:

Saturday – Shoulder/Leg – all 3 sets of 12-15 plus 30 min Yoga
Machine Shoulder Press – 15 lb, Barbell Incline Shoulder Raise – 20 lb, Dumbbell Shoulder Shrug – 25 lb, Barbell Squat – 65 lb, Barbell Standing Calf Raise – 65 lb, Farmer’s Walk (50 steps) – 40 lb, Abductor – 150 lb, Adductor – 150 lb, Plank – 3 x 45 seconds

Sunday – Resolution 5K race & PT stretches

Monday – Chest/Tricep – all 3 sets of 12-15
Dumbbell bench press – 15lb, Machine Fly – 65 lb, Dumbbell decline bench press – 15lb, Push-ups – 8, 7, 5 (no knees), Cable rope pushdown – 25 lb, “The Monster” – 20 lb, Machine assisted dip – 100 lb

Tuesday – Unscheduled rest day – not feeling well

Wednesday – Back/Bicep – all 3 sets of 12-15 plus 15 min Yoga
Machine assisted pull-up – 140 lb, “Good Mornings” – 30 lb, Cable seated row – 45 lb, Flexed Bicep Curl – 20 lb, Dumbbell Incline Bench Curl – 17.5 lb, Cable Standing One Arm Bicep Curl – 10 lb

Thursday – 35 min run/walk, 1 hr Obstacle Class @ Unleashed

Friday – rest

 

Or a blog in this case…

 

I call that a decent week! Kept up with my walk/run plan and it has moved up to 2 min run/2 min walk and I believe it will change again on Saturday. My plan for that day is to combine Saturday and Sunday’s workouts so that I can get in some #megsmiles on Saturday since that’s not a current normal running day on my schedule right now. I’ll then take Sunday as an extra rest day and just enjoy watching my Patriots play and maybe get some stuff done around the house.

Last night I had my third obstacle class at Unleashed and it was a doozy! I worked up a huge sweat and loved every minute of it. I love that each time I’ve done the class it’s a little different. The first time I think we had 11 obstacles, then last Thursday was 12 and last night was 13! And our warm-up was just running laps around the gym this time – no burpees! Yay!!

 

 

I think I did pretty well last night, at least with the wall. This time, I got high enough to see over it, but still can’t quite get my leg up over the top. I don’t have enough confidence or strength for that yet. At least it felt good to notice that progress as before I was just staring at the wood. I also climbed a bit higher on the rope ladder and cargo net, but until my grip strengthens some more I’m not comfortable going higher without a pad beneath me (and neither of those things has one under it).

As good as that felt, my left shoulder is definitely NOT feeling well today. It stiffened up a bit last night before bed, but I took some ibuprofen and figured rest might help but it feels worse this morning. I tried reaching higher to climb instead of closer to my body and I think I tweaked something by doing that, especially since it’s my left   shoulder that hurts which is my weaker side.

Last night, this is how the obstacles went (from where I started in the rotation): Rope wall climb (this is a 12 ft wall), the monkey rope (as I call it), Muscle up on Rings (go to around 6:30 in video), Kettlebell hoist, Cargo net climb, Rope ladder climb, Pull-ups (or in my case, hang from the bar for like 5 seconds at a time), Sandbag carry over plyoboxes, Sled push, Weight bag drag and pull, Sled pull and then my nemesis, the 6 ft wall. There is also an 8 ft wall that is part of that rotation with the 6 ft wall that if you get over one, you do the next, but please…I’m still working on the 6 ft wall.

Before we get to my musical selection for this week, here’s a quick registered race update for my #14in2014:

Race 1 done – Resolution 5K
Race 2 – Old Fashioned 5K – 2/16
Race 3 – St. Pat’s 5K – 3/8
Race 4 – Cox Rhode Races – 5/3
Race 5 – Goal race #1 – Tough Mudder – 5/31
Race 6 – Goal race #2 – Surftown Half Marathon – 9/14

This week I’m sharing a song that gets me pumped up whenever I hear it…even if I’m not working out.

Radioactive – Imagine Dragons

 

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It’s Really Happening

It’s official! I’m terrified but excited. My stomach did cartwheels for about 20 minutes after I finally registered yesterday. We are Team Mixed Nuts.

Wish me luck in surviving it!  😀

 

 

 

 

19 Comments »

Unleashed Review

This morning I went to my first obstacle class at Unleashed. One of my coworkers that is doing the Tough Mudder with me wanted to come along to check it out for ourselves before we all come as a team. I was terrified to go on my own, so I was glad to have her along, especially since most everyone there already seemed to know each other.

I have to say, right off the bat, the owners (Kevin and Janine) are incredibly welcoming. When I first walked in and told them it was my first class, Janine immediately helped me get my paperwork in order (waiver and sign-in sheet) and then filled me in a little on what to expect. The 3 trainers that were there (Kevin, Janine and, I believe, Suzanne?) all came right over and introduced themselves before getting set up.

 

 

After a few more people came in, we got started with a warm-up. I think there were maybe 6 of us in the class, which made me feel good that it was smaller and part of the reason I opted to get up for a 6:30am class on a Saturday! For a warm-up, we ran laps around the perimeter of the gym about 8 times, then proceeded to grab a weight plate (either 25 or 35 lb) and walk 2 laps around with our arms straight up over our heads holding the plates. I made it almost the whole time with the plate over my head. I opted for the 25 lb since I didn’t know what to expect. After that, we did 3 minutes of burpees, as many as possible. That was a killer because when I do burpees, I don’t do a push-up or touch my chest to the ground. I typically will go into almost an upright plank position once I kick my feet back so that was a tough one for me to get used to and I honestly have no idea how many I did because I never even counted.

Once we were sufficiently warmed up (aka I can’t breathe!!), he had each of us go to one of the 11 stations that were set up for the class. I don’t know what each one was specifically called, but here is what we were dealing with: overhead sled pull, box jumps, sled push, wall climb, rope wall climb, tire flip, kettlebell hoist, cargo climb, rope ladder climb, regular rope climb and upside down like a monkey rope climb. Did you get all that? Ropes. And climbing. My hands are very, very angry.

Kevin had me start off with the overhead sled pull. Basically I laid down on a yoga mat and pulled a sled towards me with a rope over my head. Holy tricep workout! I don’t know how much was loaded on that sled, but that was a killer way to start! After that was my nemesis: the wooden wall.

 

 

I faced this once before in my Foam Fest 5K last summer, but couldn’t do it. I was helped over the first wall by some other racers and then just skipped the second wall. I’m determined to be able to do this some day, but today was not that day. Kevin could see I obviously was having trouble so he gave me some pointers to start out with. He had me just use my grip to hold the top and try to walk up a couple of steps, then down a couple of steps. When we had about a minute or so left he came back over and told me try it now with a running start and try to boost myself up and swing my leg over. Ummm…no. As many tips and tricks as he gave me, my body just isn’t ready to be doing that yet. In due time…

From there, I then went to the “ginormo wall” as I like to call it. I think the first two walls are 8 and 12 footers. The third wall had to have been at least 15 ft? All I know is it was damn high. This one had a rope thrown over it that we were to use to pull ourselves up the wall. This was even worse then the other wall, which I didn’t think was possible. Kevin recommended I start with just putting both feet up and leaning back to fatigue my gripping muscles, step down, shake it off and then switch hands and do it again. Well…I couldn’t even put both feet up for some reason. I felt like such a reject. All you could hear was my shoes squeaking as I repeatedly slipped back down the wall for 3 minutes or however long I kept attempting it until we switched. Pathetic.

From there, I went to the tire flip. Finally! Something I could do with my legs! This felt like a cake walk. Squat, lift, drop, repeat. Boom. Done. Could have done it all day – felt good. Moving on, I did the kettlebell hoist next. This was basically a rope slung over the main climbing apparatus with a kettlebell (of 3 varying weights) tied to the other end. I think I used the 40 lb bell, which was the smallest. Basically you squat down and pull the bell up until you reach the top, let it back down, rinse repeat. This one was OK for me too because it wasn’t solely based on my grip.

Moving on was more grip disappointment. Cargo net climb – couldn’t get more than 3 steps up because of how unsteady it was – it made me nervous at that height. Same with the rope ladder climb. I didn’t go more than 1 step up on that one. Until my grip is better, I’m just not confident to go up higher than that. After that should have been the rope climb, but I think by then Kevin figured it just wasn’t happening (thank you for that!!) and didn’t even have me try it on the main rope. He showed me another rope under the apparatus and had me lean back and walk myself down the rope, then pull myself back upright. I also just did some walking along the upside down rope thing because once I got both my feet up and was hanging there, I couldn’t take one hand off to start moving.  Definitely felt it in my forearms after all that stuff!

Next was the box jumps. By far my favorite of the day! They had 3 equidistant plyoboxes set up at around my waist height or so. The object was just get up and over them however you could. There was one guy (plus Kevin) that made it look easy and just jumped up it like it was nothing, but I had to kind of run at it and then jump up and throw my knee up on there, crawl across it and jump down. It was really fun though and I had no trouble doing it the entire round.

After that, my final challenge was the push sled which was loaded up with 225 lb worth of plates (plus whatever the sled weighs). We pushed it down low in one direction, then up high in the other direction. Holy leg and shoulder workout! I loved every minute of that one! When we were done, we did 1 more minute of burpees and then a little bit of light stretching.

Great workout, super friendly staff, awesome new facility! I love this place and definitely see myself going back often. If you’re in my area (it’s located near the Warwick Mall in Warwick, RI), let me know if you ever want to check it out.

Unleashed doesn’t charge a membership fee, so you just pay a “drop in” fee of $15 per class/workout. They also have a list of personal trainers available and tons of different types of classes (not just obstacles). They also have deals from time to time, like the one I got. I paid $100 for 10 classes, coming out to only $10/class instead of $15. You can also regularly get discounted rates by buying packages of classes which I think is a good idea if you find that you like it. Check this place out – you won’t regret it!

 

See all those ropes? Yeah. Not my friends.

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2014, I’m Coming For YOU!

Happy New Year’s Eve…hope everyone has a great 2014…party responsibly…blah blah blah.

 

 

OK, now let’s move on. I have goals – actual, written (typed) goals. Want to know what they are? Well…I’ll tell you!

1. Complete a Tough Mudder – This is the ultimate goal for this year. Period. End of sentence. BOOM. Registration prices go up in 2 weeks, so I will be registering before then. I’m going to be on a team with 2 of my coworkers and some of their friends and family. It’s a bummer that no one I personally know outside of work is into it, but that’s OK. I think there are around 8-10 of us so far and we plan on getting together in a few weeks to all meet each other and get to know our teammates. Makes me anxious, but better than meeting them on race day! Like I mentioned before, I got the discounted classes for that obstacle gym and I may go for the first time this Saturday morning, either just me or with just one of my coworkers. We’ll see how that pans out. I’m excited. I’m so nervous I could throw up, but I’m excited.

 

Me after my very first obstacle race – Down & Dirty Mud Run

 

2. Complete a half marathon – If it means crawling across the finish line, this is going to happen. I don’t have a set one in mind as my first, but I’ve officially registered for the Surftown Half in September. I ran the 5K last year while injured and ended up walking most of it in tears. It was an awful experience, but an absolutely stunning course, so I’ve decided I need to conquer it.

 

Me right before Surftown 5K – September 2013

 

3. Complete 1 unassisted pull-up – I’m not sure this can ever happen. I have the upper arm strength of an infant, always have. I’m working on it, slowly but surely, but it’s damn tough. I decided it would be a good goal to have to keep me working towards something outside of running. Plus it can only help me in Tough Mudder training, which, let’s face it, I need plenty of!

4. Complete 10 push-ups – I can already bang out 20 on my knees. This goal, though, is for 10 in perfect form, perfectly horizontal, touching my chest to the floor like real push-up. I’ve gotten as high as 7, but not even close to actually hitting the floor (and I have ridiculous boobs, so it should be easier LOL), horizontal push-ups. This one may be a bit more attainable than the pull-up, but no less difficult for me.

5. Complete the #14in2014 that I signed up for – I joined a group committed to running 14 races in 2014. Since I did 15 in 2013, my first year of running, I don’t think this is unattainable. I just need to stick with it like I did this year and not burn out. I think I have them more evenly spread since I’ll be starting earlier in the year so I think it might be better this time around. I’ve already signed up for the half (above) and another 5K in May. I was also going to sign up for my St. Patrick’s day race until I remembered that my company always sponsors that one, so I’m waiting to register for that until they give out the password for free registration. Why spend the money if I don’t have to, right?  😉

There you have it. Courtney’s crazy goals. I like the sound of that.

 

 

 

 

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2014: A Look Ahead

I only have 2 goals (as of right now) for 2014: finish a half marathon and a Tough Mudder.

I’m trying to finalize my list of races I’d love to do in 2014. I went a little crazy in 2013 because it was my first year of running and I wanted to RUN ALL THE RACES!  I ended up doing 15 5K races, 2 of them being obstacle courses. I’m trying to be a little more controlled about what I do this year and paying more attention to dates and scheduling. Last year, I ended up having 5 races in 5 weeks and it was definitely overload, for myself and for Tara.

I’ve got my main list, but I also have months where I’m unsure of the dates of certain races because they haven’t been announced yet. I’ve got to decide in certain months what races I really “must” do and what can wait until next year. Some races I wanted to re-run, I may just need to skip doing them again, but we’ll see.

Here’s a breakdown by month:

January 1 – Frosty 5K – Seekonk, MA – I haven’t decided on this one yet because of how cold it will probably be. I’d like to do it, but I’m also not sure what our plans will be on New Year’s Eve and not sure I’ll want to get up early for a race on a holiday off. Tara’s not keen on the idea of that either, so that may be a deal breaker.

Nothing planned in February or March, although I may want to do the Tour de Patrick, which is 3 local St. Patrick’s Day races on two back to back weekends. Last year, I did the St. Patrick’s race in Providence only. It was sponsored by my work and was my first 5K ever. I wasn’t running yet at that point, so Tara and I walked it together. I thought it was a nice race and think it would be cool if I’m able to complete the “tour”.

 

St. Patrick’s 5K – March 2013

 

April 19 – BAA 5K (part of their Distance Medley) – Boston, MA – This distance medley for the BAA races is one of my must do things this year. I think it would be awesome if my first half marathon would be part of this distance medley. I grew up on the South Shore in MA, about 20 minutes south of Boston and would love to do something of this magnitude near my hometown. They haven’t announced the dates for the 10K or half yet, but those are in the summer and fall I believe.

April 27 – Newport 10 Miler – Newport, RI – This might be good practice for me to reach my half marathon goals, plus it’s in Newport and you can’t really go wrong there in terms of scenery.

May 3 – Cox Rhode Races – Providence, RI – I did the 5K last year and enjoyed it. This series also has a half marathon, so I don’t know if this should be my first half marathon goal or not. I don’t know if that’s enough time to train (with my miserable, injury-prone body) or not. If it’s not, the 5K could be a time I just try to beat from last year. I also don’t know if it would be pushing it if I did the half and then did the Tough Mudder at the end of the same month.

 

Cox Rhode Races/National Grid 5K – May 2013

 

May 31st – Tough Mudder – Mt. Snow, Vermont – I WILL do this. If it takes me 6 hours, I will FINISH a Tough Mudder. I’m working on getting people together to do it with me. So far, a couple of girls in my department were interested in doing it, but not sure if they’d actually follow through with it or not. I feel like one of them might and the other…well, I don’t have high hopes for her. I feel like it would be great to have some guys on the team to hoist me up over walls I can’t get over, but overall I’d like to be able to do everything myself. Whether or not that can happen, I’m not sure, but I’m going to do everything possible to see that it does.

 

Down & Dirty Mud Run – June 2013

Foam Fest 5K – July 2013

June – not much going on here. I’d like to do the Gaspee Days 5K in Warwick, RI again and see if I can beat my best ever 5K time. I don’t know when that race will be yet. The only other thing I noted was the Warrior Dash on 6/28 in Barre, MA. I fell in love with obstacle racing this year and would love to do more than just the Tough Mudder, but this one may be a wait and see.

July – I would LOVE to do the Finish At The 50 at Gillette Stadium on July 3rd, but unfortunately it starts prior to me being able to get there since it’s a night race and I work until 6pm, about 45 minutes away from the stadium. It will be difficult to get the time off, but I might see if I can anyway and if I do, then I’ll register.

August 9 – Spartan Race – Amesbury, MA – I’d love to do this and I feel like it’s got plenty of time in between Tough Mudder so I wouldn’t be all banged up too close together (LOL)!

August 17 – Falmouth Road Race – Falmouth, MA – I think this would be an awesome run with the history behind it and all the people that run it every year.

Two other possibilities in August could be the Bobby Doyle Races or the Pawsox race. I really want to do the race at Fenway, but it requires fundraising goals that I don’t believe I’d ever meet (based on past experience). The Pawsox race would still be running onto the diamond, just on a smaller scale.

September was my crazy month in 2013, but could also happen again in 2014. I would LOVE to do a repeat of 3 races I’ve already done (NK5K, Surftown 5K (or maybe half this year) and CVS 5K), but also want to add in the Zooma Cape Cod 10K or half. No dates on any of those yet so it’ll be played by ear.

October 5 – Ocean Road 10K – Narragansett, RI

Some other October things I’m considering are re-running the Halloween Monster Dash in Providence, the Wicked Half Marathon in Salem, MA (which may be in September) and/or the Run Wild Zoo Run at either the Stone Zoo or Franklin Park Zoo in MA.

 

Halloween Monster Dash – October 2013

 

The only November races I’m considering right now are doing the Turkey Trot again and/or the Pell Bridge Run. And December, I’m only considering the Jingle 5K again. I enjoyed doing the trifecta of Run Rhody holiday races and would probably do all 3 again…but we’ll see.

 

Downtown Jingle 5K – December 2013

 

I feel like I have the mentality that I can conquer my goals. Now, I just need my body to follow through.

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