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Where training meets fandom. And everything in between.

Spahtens Unleashed

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



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



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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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


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

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

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



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



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



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



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



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

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



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



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



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



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



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








Face The Music Friday #12

My weight this week is:


Beginning:  240
Last week:  188.1
This week: +2.1 lb
Total loss:  49.8 lb

I feel like my body is rebelling against me in some way. For the last 2 months I’ve consistently gained slowly to the point that since the beginning of October (2 months) I’ve gained 8 lb overall. I don’t understand it. I haven’t done anything differently in that time, other than change my diet (for the better, eating different and more veggies) and increasing my caloric intake from 1200 daily to 1600 daily (which was recommended because of all the working out I’m doing).

I’ve been doing more strength training, but not NEARLY enough to cause that kind of weight gain. I still have cheat meals, but I’ve always had those throughout this entire weight loss journey. It’s the only way I can maintain the healthier lifestyle I adopted. If I NEVER had any junk food there’s no way I’d stick with it. And I haven’t eaten enough that I could possibly be gaining as much as I am each week.

I’m very frustrated, very sad and really angry. This doesn’t bode well for someone like me.




I was much better with my workouts this week after the Thanksgiving holiday and went every day Mon-Thurs like regular again. Today is my scheduled rest day and then I’ll be ready to start another week tomorrow.

Fitness this week:

Saturday – Unscheduled rest day – extended holiday

Sunday – Unscheduled rest day – extended holiday

Monday – Elliptical – 45 minutes

Tuesday – Chest, Triceps, Core (all sets of 4, 8 reps per set):
Bench Press – 20 lb each side, Fly – 80 lb, Cable uppercut – 10 lb each side, Push-ups to failure – 5 (no knees), 20, 15 (last two on knees)
Tricep Dips – (Assisted w/ 90 lb), Rope pull-down – 30 lb, Kickbacks – 12.5 lb
Ab Crunch – 75 lb, Torso rotation w/ cable – 22.5 lb, Knee Raise – 10 x 4, Plank – 45 sec x 4

Wednesday – Elliptical – 45 minutes

Thursday – Back, Biceps (all sets of 4, 8 reps per set):
Row – 35 lb, Back Extension – 95 lb, Pull-up (Assisted w/ 120 lb)
Regular Bicep curl – 17.5 lb, Hammer Curl – 17.5 lb, Reverse Curl – 17.5 lb)

Friday – rest


I’m gonna pep the music back up and pick another one off my running list. This one always gives me a little extra quickness when I hear it come on. Excuse the fact that I couldn’t find a decent video I liked.

Too Shy To Scream – AFI


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Weekend Shenanigans Part 2

(You can catch up on Part 1 here)

Sunday morning we got up so I could go on my 5 mile run. Zach had the great idea to drop me off at Oak Ledge Park and I would finish just before the dog park that they like to bring their boys to play. It was the most gorgeous run I’ve ever had. It started out right by the edge of Lake Champlain, meandered through some parts of downtown and through a lot of wooded areas. It was a gorgeous day out, but the humidity was a killer!



Once I finished my run and stretching, we all packed back into the car to go home and get ready to head to the Champlain Valley Fair.



We had such a great time checking out all the farm animals and shows that were going on. We even got to feed some mini horses!







After busting my butt kayaking on Saturday and with my longest run to date Sunday morning, I felt I deserved some fair food. I had some cheese fries, shared a cider clush (amazing!) and a root beer float, a shaved ice and my first ever fried twinkie (which was heaven on a stick).




We had such a great time, even though our faces were melting off. I think one of the highlights was watching pigs race and swim. They were adorable!





After a few hours, we called it a day and headed home to relax. We decided to chill at home that night and we ate dinner while watching Sherlock Holmes on Netflix. I could barely keep my eyes open to watch it, but thought it was a pretty good movie.

More shenanigans to come…


Buffalo Thursday

2 mile run

thursday run 8:29:13      weather 8:29:13


Every Thursday in our cafeteria at work they serve several things, but amongst those things is guaranteed to be Buffalo chicken fingers and fries. I like to call it “Buffalo Thursday”. This day makes me sad, because it smells glorious, but with me dieting I seldom indulge (usually we have cheats on the weekend).

It makes me jealous when I read all sorts of running blogs that are 90% super fit, hard-core marathoning speed racers. They seem to eat whatever they want whenever they want. I know I’m physically in a much better position than I was 54 pounds ago, but I feel like it’s taking forever and some days are just harder than others, like Buffalo Thursday.

Switching gears, I had an awesome run tonight. Mostly. About 75% awesome, 25% tough. The weather was perfection. Thick cloud cover to keep the setting sun out of my eyes and a super nice cool breeze and equally cool temps to match. My perfect running weather. Tonight was two miles on my schedule and I surprisingly went even faster than my two mile run last week. So much so, in fact, that I was able to maintain an average pace UNDER 11 minutes for the whole two miles!! Not sure if it was a fluke or if I’m actually seeing some progress.

The tough part of the run was a side stitch that started about 1 mile in and lasted the rest of the run. I tried adjusting my breathing but didn’t want to slow down. I couldn’t fix it so I just pushed through it by telling myself it was just a nice short run. Just a nice short run.

I’m actually starting to be able to think of myself as a “real” runner.


Too much awesomeness

3 mile run

30 min strength – legs


tuesday run 8:27:13                            weather 8:27:13



Boy, the humidity felt much worse than my weather app shows! I was sucking wind in a major way tonight. I have to say, I’m really not psyched with this whole sore knee around mile 1 thing that’s started in the last couple of weeks. It usually passes within a day to day and a half at most but still annoying. And don’t even talk to me about the hip injury from last year. That’s a pretty much daily pain. Very frustrating.

The best positive of the day was my run (as difficult as it was). After an awful day at work (like awful with a capital A), it felt really good to get out and just do my thang. OK, I promise never to say “thang” again.

The best thing of the last few days that I must share is we started using Facetime to talk to Julie and Dan. The four of us always email daily, but now we can haunt each other in real time! HAHAHA! We totally love it and are going to completely abuse it.





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Attack of The Blerch

45 min strength – arms

Today, I couldn’t have had any less motivation to work out in any way. Typically, following my program I’m using, should be stretch and strength (arms). I do 1/2 hour yoga and then my arm workout. All afternoon at work I’ve been dreading doing anything when I got home. I felt like The Blerch was following me. Click on the link for a hilarious read and to find out what The Blerch is.

I sucked it up and decided I would just do it. Well, at least half of it. I skipped doing the yoga and just did my strength workout. I find it so much easier to go out for a run, even when feeling unmotivated, than I do on my non-running days. I don’t know why, I guess I just hate “working out” that much. Running seems easy. I lace up my sneakers, throw on my gear, fill up my water bottle and I’m out the door, jamming out to my fantastic playlist. It’s really awesome. Be jealous.

I guess I did OK, considering I was super close to doing nothing. I’ll take a little pride in that.


Sunday Runday

4.5 mile run

sunday morning run 8:25:13 weather 8:25:13

Today had PERFECT weather all day. It was just one of those days you want to clone to use whenever you want. What was not so enjoyable – running in direct sunlight for almost an hour. I like a sunny day as much as anyone, but when you’re running around in circles and there is no shade anywhere, it gets old fast.


What I do love is when I have friends that are there to cheer me on, run with me or simply give me a high five as I run by. These 2 Sundays in a row that we’ve been able to do it have been awesome.

We had a great weekend up in MA visiting with friends and family. I always hate when it’s Sunday and it’s time to go home. I wish we could just snap our fingers and be home already. I keep working on my teleport machine, but I’m not making much progress! Maybe weekends wouldn’t seem so short if I actually could go to a workplace that I enjoyed…

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2 mile run

45 min – Arms

Thursday run 8:22:13

Tonight was a good run. I felt tired towards the end, but ended up running faster than I expected over the entire 2 miles. I probably couldn’t have kept that pace up for a full 5k, but I felt like I was flying tonight!



I saw an amusing thing somewhere today about things that make you know you’re a runner. One of them was taking shoe selfies. I decided to officially join the club.


shoe selfie 8:22:13


I’m very excited to explore another new hiking trail tomorrow. And even more excited because it’ll only be FRIDAY – meaning I have a long weekend mofos! So excited!!



Walk…like an Egyptian

2 mile walk

Had a nice walk tonight with Tara and one of our neighbors. She is our go-to “kitty sitter”, so Tara asked if she wouldn’t mind checking on the kitties from time to time when we go away. While they were chatting, she made a comment about how we’re looking good and how she wished her son would go out walking with her on the bike paths so she doesn’t have to go alone and be nervous. Tara invited her out with us and it was a nice time just strolling around and chatting. There were LOTS of people out on the bike path tonight – perfect night for it. After an infuriating day dealing with oil companies, it was just the thing I needed.

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Bring in da noise, bring in da funk

30 min – Yoga Studio app

45 min – Weight training – arms

Just started week 5 of my 10K training. After having kind of a crappy, sore week last week, I’m hoping that this week will bring in da noise, bring in da funk. Sometimes I need those kind of “down” weeks to boost myself back up to keep going. I skipped a couple of strength workouts, but never missed my three runs for the week.

If you couldn’t tell by my titles, I’m slightly music obsessed. Music pumps me up and helps me get through those crappy workouts, when all I want to do is quit from the minute I lace up my sneakers. I listen to a hyped up playlist on my runs and will throw on the Classic Alternative station on cable when I’m in the basement with the weights. I sing along and focus on the lyrics instead of how tired/sore/lazy I’m feeling.

I feel pretty good after yoga and weights tonight and am looking forward to my run tomorrow night. I love the solitude and letting the misery of work roll off my shoulders with every step!



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