Everything You Need to Know About the Warrior Dash

warrior dash

Today, is one week since the minor surgery I mentioned a few posts back, which means I got my stitches out and the okay to workout as normal. Just in time too…the Warrior Dash is this Saturday! OMG, I am SO pumped! Also, a little disappointed that I had to take a week off so close to the race, but it’s cool, I still have a few more days to get ready. Speaking of getting ready…I recently got to have a little question and answer session with one of the awesome Red Frog employees. I believe her official title is “adventurologist”. Hmmm, that sounds like a job for me…

Anyways, Red Frog Events is the company that created the Warrior Dash and several other just as cool events. They’re actually one of the best places to work. Their meetings take place in a tree house, they have foosball tables in the office, free soda, beer and snacks, a gym that is available to employees at any time, not to mention full coverage insurance, unlimited vacation days, one “work from home” day a week, paid parental leave and more, so much more! Forget being a stay-at-home Mom I’m moving to Chicago and working for Red Frog!

Okay, sorry, got a little off topic, but I couldn’t not share that info. That’s crazy, right?!  Anyways, back to the Warrior Dash. So, I chatted with Lauren, the “adventurlogist” (I’m so stealing that title) and she gave me the scoop on what to expect this weekend.

What’s the best way to train for a Warrior Dash?

Be prepared to run, duck, climb and crash through a course that will test every muscle in your body, but make sure you save enough energy to refuel with a massive turkey leg! Each course varies across the country, so we suggest Warriors are able to run or jog a 5K distance and prepare with basic strength and conditioning. Of course, participants who would like to walk the course are always welcome, as we encourage all fitness levels to participate in the event.

What are the most challenging/scary obstacles?

Goliath is our newest and most challenging obstacle. As the largest obstacle in its history, Goliath features balancing on a beam one-story above a water pit before climbing two stories to the top of a water slide. 

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Who can do the Warrior Dash?

Warrior Dash welcomes athletes of all abilities to challenge themselves on the course and become a Warrior. It is an event for everyone, a day where participants get to challenge themselves, be active and get muddy.

I recently ran a Mud Run that was very anticlimactic…no cheering at the finish, no party, no excitement. What can I expect at the end of the Warrior Dash?

You can expect to be cheered on through the finish by a roaring crowd of spectators, volunteers and staff as you conquer Goliath, jump over fire and crawl through the mud. After you receive your medal, the festival area awaits where you can celebrate with beer and a turkey leg.

Can friends and family watch and take photos?

Absolutely! We encourage Warriors to bring their family and friends, as anyone can enjoy the festivities for free.

What percentage of people do you think complete every obstacle?

The majority of our Warriors complete every obstacle. However, there is always an option to skip an obstacle, if you are not comfortable completing it.

What if I get hurt?

We take the safety of everyone on site at our events very seriously. Each of our race directors work with our operations team, local officials and a medical team for several months prior to each race in order to assess and determine on-site safety precautions and procedures. This includes if individuals get injured on the course. We always have a fully-staffed medical tent on-site and medical staff at each obstacle.

Do we get photos of the race?

Yes, free photos are available the week following the race for each runner. Registered runners will receive an email when they are posted.

About how long will it take to finish?

It takes an average of 25-35 minutes, depending on the difficulty level of the course.

Any tips for a newbie like myself?

Get ready for the craziest frickin day of your life!

Anyone else feeling super excited?! Oh, and good news, if you haven’t signed up for the Warrior Dash here in Nashville, well Pulaski,  there’s still time. Just click here. Then, tell me that you will be there and we high-five each other and cheers our beers after we cross the muddy finish line!

Can’t wait to share the photos this weekend!

Cheers!

Apparently I Like to Run

I’ve created a monster.

running

 

We ran the Mud Run two weeks ago, which inspired us to sign up for a local 6k last weekend. Now, we are signed up for the Warrior Dash in a few weeks and already looking into holiday runs, more obstacle runs and even Disney Runs. (OMG, Did you know there is a Princess run???) Anyways, last Saturday was the Heroes in Recovery 6k (weird distance, right?) and it was the first run where I didn’t feel like death at the end. In fact, I enjoyed the run. I felt awesome at the finish!

start

This race had zero obstacles, yet it was a hell of a lot more fun than the Mud Run we recently ran. The cool, breezy slightly misty weather certainly made for a pleasant run, but the whole experience was so positive that I am certain we will be running it again next year. I’ve narrowed it down to 5 reasons why the Heroes in Recovery kicks the Mud Run’s butt.

1. Pre-race shenanigans. Before the race started we enjoyed walking around the tents set up nearby. There were local gyms, stores and groups advertising and giving away free passes, t-shirts and selling cute merchandise. We got some cute free tanks for warming up on some rowing machines. There was also music playing and a stage set up where a local jazzercise group taught a few routines. It was the perfect way to warm-up. Everyone was silly, dancing and just having a good time. Fruit, bagels, trail mix, coffee and water were also available for everyone for no extra cost. Everything was well-organized and geared towards pumping the crowd up to run/walk.

jazzercise

2. Scenic route. The race was held in Leiper’s Fork which is a gorgeous part of town. We ran up and down hills, through the woods, past farms and wide open fields and around cows, horses and llamas. The race was never boring.

horses view cows

3. Cheerleaders. Everyone working, volunteering, watching and running was so enthusiastic and supportive. Before we started everyone pumped each other up, warmed up together and lined up excitedly. During the race we cheered for the people passing us and encouraged the ones behind us, as did everyone else. Volunteers on the side handed out water and constantly told us “great job!” At the finish line we were completely bombarded with people screaming, cheering and telling us how fantastic we are. We were handed metals as our chips were taken (that’s right, we got chips in this race). We also got water, more snacks and lots of praise. All of the love and support made us feel like heroes. In fact, it was so fun and encouraging that after we finished we stuck around to the end to cheer on everyone else running/walking the race.

4. After party. Once the race was over, the party continued. We were not rushed away and immediately sent home. The tents remained opened, a band played music, people snapped photos and everyone continued celebrating their accomplishments.

5. A sense of community. Heroes in Recovery is a movement started by Foundations Recovery Network and the those who are in recovery from addiction and mental illness. They want to break the stigma that surrounds substance abuse and mental health disorders and keeps millions of people from seeking help. They put together events like this 6k to create a sense of community, and they did a perfect job. Everyone was working together, supporting one another and behaving like neighbors. We were all coming together for a good cause and doing something active and positive together.

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Besides these 5 reasons, the Heroes in Recovery 6k also offered free pics and free parking. We are definitely doing htis again next year. Aanndddd probably several other races in between. Any suggestions?

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Cheers!

The Original Mud Run: The Good, The Bad and The Dirty

For literally years now I have wanted to do a mud run. There are like gazillion mud runs around the country year-round (Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, etc) so there’s plenty to choose from; choosing is the easy part. The difficult part is finding friends to sign up with you. This year, I finally managed to get Husband and a close friend to be my daily workout buddies, and then convinced them both to start signing up for mud runs with me. The first one we chose to do was The Orignial Mud Run in Nashville.

start

We ran The Original Mud Run 10k this past Saturday. You read that right. 10k. We signed up for the 10k because we wanted to do every obstacle available and convinced ourselves we could easily prepare for a 10k. We planned to continue P90x3 while adding running a few days a week. However, summer vacations and illnesses threw us off schedule and September snuck up on us real fast. We stuck to our P90X3 workouts, but we only ran 3 times before the 10K. Again, you read that right…3 times. We thought it wouldn’t be so bad because the race would be broken up by obstacles. After all, we are in good shape.

running

I learned something very important after running that 10k Saturday… you can be in great shape and not be in good shape to run. Holy Cow, 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) is a long long way! It was VERY hot and mostly in direct sunlight, which is not at all like working out in a big air-conditioned room. We walked quite a bit more than I thought we would, but so did everyone else. With all that being said, we still kicked butt! I’m fairly certain we were third in our group to finish. (They don’t time the fun run so I can’t be sure.) We may not have been the best runners, but we have great stamina and we rocked the obstacles!

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I did this particular race (and signed up for others in the near future) because I want to experience the different runs, review them and share the results with you. That being said, I am going to be very honest because I want you to know exactly what you are signing up for/purchasing/getting yourself into when you read my reviews. I had a lot of fun during the Mud Run, but was very disappointed at the same time.

log wall

We arrived to race site an hour early to pick up numbers and shirts, as suggested. It took about 30 seconds to park, get our stuff and be in place for the race. It was nice to get everything done so quickly, but then we were stuck in the hot sun with way too much time to stretch and nothing else to do. There were a few tents set up selling gear, but no tents for shade. No refreshments or snacks and really nothing to do, but wait. There was a shady area under some nearby trees, which seemed like the best place to stand. When we got close we warned not to go any further because there were two dogs tied up in the shade that were not friendly. Boo. Our race also started 15 minutes late, which was especially frustrating because it was an abnormally hot September day and only getting hotter. (I HIGHLY recommend singing up for these runs in cooler weather.) After what seemed like hours, the race finally began.

rolling logs

The website advertised 30+ obstacles for the 10k and I was told there were 32 obstacles set up. The first obstacle is said to be about a mile after the start to give everyone time to spread out. After doing some quick math I figured the other obstacles have to be about a tenth of a mile apart, right? Wrong. They were much further apart, and many of them could barely be considered obstacles. If there were actually 32 obstacles then some must have been crawling under one tree trunk or over one tire. The website also states that most obstacles contain mud and water. It would be generous to say that half do. Don’t get me wrong there were some really fun, challenging and muddy obstacles, bbuuutttt certainly not 32. In fact, not even close to 32.

creek

There are water stations set up every mile along the course, which should be awesome because it’s not only desperately needed, but it gives you an idea of how far you’ve run and how much further you have to go. When we got to the first water station we had just finished running up 2 very steep hills in direct sun and water never looked so good. I ran to the table, grabbed a cup filled to the brim and took a nice big gulp of hot water. Yes, hot. Not even luke warm, but hot water. The volunteers at the water stations had poured numerous cups of water in advance, but by the time we got to the water stations the water had been heated up by the sun and was not exactly refreshing. Talk about disappointment. It was better than nothing, but I don’t think it would have been difficult to supply us with cold water.

gorilla ropes

One mis-advertised obstacle turned out to be pretty humorous. Before the race began, the announcer guy told us that no water on the course would be over 3 feet deep. About halfway through the race we came to two giant mud puddles separated by a mound of mud. The volunteer stopped us and said, “The first puddle is shallow, the second is a little deeper.” Husband went first. He splashed to his ankles in the first puddle, went over the mound in the middle and jumped into the second puddle, which very surprisingly went up to his shoulders. After recovering from laughter, Bella jumped in and the water came completely over her head! I was lucky enough to go last and was totally prepared to swim. This actually happened twice on the course, and we were actually happy the water was much deeper than they said. It made it a little more exciting. However, they advertise that lifeguards will be on duty if it’s over 4 feet… not true.

mudpit

My Dad-in-law came to watch us run and take photos. The website says that family can “hang out at the spectator’s corral and other designated areas along the course”, which in reality was non-existent. He ended up just walking from obstacle to obstacle wherever possible, which was fine, but also inconvenient. They also said they would have vendors on site for food and drink which was nowhere to be found, and odd considering we were not allowed to bring our own food.

mud crawl

For me, the most disappointing part of the experience was the end. They lead you to believe that the end of the race is a big wet and wild celebration. There were supposed to be people cheering, a fire truck hosing us off, a free beer and lots of people having fun together. After our last obstacle there was a horse trailer with a sprinkler system set up to run through and clean ourselves off.  I was pretty sad that they weren’t able to get a fire truck on site, but what was worse was that the finish line was after the sprinklers. So as we crossed the finish line (which had kids and parents from the kids race walking through), we were clean. The two people who came to watch us took pictures of us which looked like we just went for a swim. Everyone was wondering where the mud was. Not only were we clean, but we were basically ignored. There was one lady handing out water bottles at the finish line and that was it. No music. No people cheering. No celebrators. No beer. (The beer turned out to be in a tent about 200 yards away from the finish.) The average finishing time is said to be 2 hours. We finished in an hour and 45 minutes, which makes me really happy.

water

After we finished, we walked to our cars, awkwardly changed under towels and left. It was incredibly anticlimactic. In fact, the workers were already taking stuff down, cleaning up and getting ready to go and it’s not like we finished last.  It cost $75 a person to do the race, which is very expensive compared to other similar races, and in my opinion you do not get what you pay for. It also costs $10 to park in a big empty field. It costs everyone $10, runners and spectators, which just seemed like money gouging.

finish line

 

Overall, we had fun. We felt accomplished and strong and dirty, but if I’m spending $85 I expect  a lot more effort and enthusiasm to be put into the event.

afterwards

The Warrior Dash is coming up in a few weeks, so hopefully I’ll have a much better review for you then. AND, hopefully, we will stick to our running schedule this month!

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Has anyone else done any mud runs that you would/wouldn’t recommend?

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Cheers!

My Final T25 Results

fitness

Yes! I did it! (Or nailed it! as my fellow Shaun T fans would say.) After four months I have completed the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Gamma Hybrid rounds of Focus T25. I am now 6 months postpartum and feeling very fit. Husband and I have now done Insanity twice, the Asylum twice and completed T25…do we get some sort of medal for that? I mean, it’s a serious accomplishment.

6 weeks postpartum vs. 6 months postpartum
6 weeks postpartum vs. 6 months postpartum

I love my results from T25. I am stronger , my muscles are more defined, my endurance is way better and I feel good. After a couple of months of T25 we added an extra 5 minutes to our workouts. Shaun T posts an extra 5 minutes to his Facebook everyday and being the loyal followers we are, we do them diligently. I’m also still getting at least 10,000 steps a day (thanks Fitbit!). The more I do, the better I feel and the better I feel the more I want to do. Getting back in to shape has encouraged me to eat healthier, be more active and definitely helps keep my anxiety at bay.

before and after Focus T25!
before and after Focus T25!

Event though I am happy with how I look and love my new muscles, getting back into shape has become so much more than improving my appearance. Being fit involves the health of my body, my mind and my soul. When I began T25 I was 6 weeks postpartum and far from healthy. My blood pressure and hormones have been WAY out of whack since giving birth. I was still suffering with anxiety and panic attacks. Even though I exercised through my entire pregnancy, I had managed to become very weak and lost lots of muscle mass during my hospital stay and recovery. Starting T25 was very difficult. I mostly stuck to the modifications. I felt sick some days. I had trouble catching my breath. I was disappointed in my abilities and knew I had a long road ahead of me.

moments

Throughout the 4 month program I watched myself grow stronger each week. After a couple of weeks I didn’t need the modifications any longer. After the first month I could complete every move and cardio sequence. Every week got better, and I became happier and more confident as each month passed. Now, I look forward to my workouts. I love being pushed to my limits. I love my body, stretch marks and all, because I love how strong it is. I have been healing my mind, body and soul all along.

Go me!
Go me!

Next on our list? P90X3. We start today and I am excited, but a little apprehensive. I’ve been with Shaun T for sooo long, not sure how I’m going to handle Tony from P90x… stay tuned for my review and results!

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Cheers!

20 Weeks Postpartum Progress

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Guess who finished the Gamma round of Focus T25 yesterday?!? That’s right. Husband, our friend Bella and myself all completed the third month of  T25 and I am still loving it. We have just one month left and then I think I will actually be sad to leave Shaun T and start a new workout program, but I can talk more about that in a month. I’m proud of my progress over the last 4 weeks, and I think a few little changes (plus the ridiculously intense workouts) may have done the trick.

This month has been a little different because we have added 5 extra minutes 5 days a week. Shaun T has been posting 5 minutes of workouts to do in addition to your regular workout on his Facebook page. They are freakin’ nuts. How does one come up with workout moves like the “single arm plank crunches” or the “double heisman to taps”? Most days we workout at 6:30am and do the 5 extra minutes as soon as the T25 workout of the day is over. I’ve got to say it is the greatest way to start your day, although Husband would disagree.

There is something so rewarding in getting your workout done so early. I feel very productive by 7am and ready for the day. For some reason, if we wait until the afternoon to workout, I feel like I can’t get started. I am not, and have never been, a morning person, so if I don’t workout when I get up I take FOREVER to start anything. I tend to do nothing, but feed Luna and drink coffee. At some point I’ll realize The View is on and remember the importance of getting off my butt and doing things. BUT when I workout in the morning I am ready. I drink my coffee while getting ready and manage to do a day’s worth of chores and errands before most people are up in the morning.

Another new thing I’m trying this month is a Fitbit. If you don’t know what a Fitbit is you are seriously missing out! It’s really just a super fancy pedometer, but it connects with an app on your phone and charts how far you walk, how many calories you burn, how many steps you take and how many very active minutes you have during the day. You can also log your sleep and create a food plan. I assumed two things when I got my Fitbit, 1) I was already getting at least 10,000 steps a day and 2) it wouldn’t make a difference if I wore a bracelet telling me how far I walk. I was very very wrong.

It is a lot harder to get 10,000 steps in a day than I thought, especially since I spend a lot of time sitting and feeding Luna. Also, being the competitive person that I am, it makes a HUGE difference to see all of my activity documented everyday. Not to mention, Bella and Husband also have one so now we all compete for “most steps”. It’s very addicting. I can’t tell you how often we march in place while talking on the phone, brushing our teeth or watching TV. It has definitely encouraged us to get up and move much more often.

So with T25, an extra 5 minutes and lots of steps, these are the results I’ve seen.

front progress2progress2I’m very happy with my transformation over the last 20 weeks. Only 4 weeks left of T25!

Any suggestions on what workout I should try next?

Cheers!

 

 

Fat Free

As a teenager and young adult I was pretty typical in the sense that I thought I was fat and tried a million different unhealthy strategies to stay skinny. I exercised non-stop, tried a million yo-yo diets, stopped eating altogether at one point and of course, survived on a myriad of “fat-free”, “low-fat” and “sugar-free” products. From what I remember, many teens at that time dieted on these supposedly healthy options. If we only knew what we know now we could have saved ourselves a lot of health problems, money and wasted time.

sugar

In high school, I remember my physics teacher getting really upset about someone eating a fat-free yogurt. She said something to the extent of “None of you should be eating these fat-free foods! They’re terrible for you!” I remember thinking she must be concerned with eating disorders or something. I don’t know why she didn’t take the time to explain herself. In college, I became more and more involved with my health and began actually researching ways to remain thin and healthy. I was shocked when I discovered that things like fake-sugar can not only cause terrible diseases like cancer, but that they have proven to have no effect on weight loss!

I was shocked and appalled that all these food companies had been lying to me for so many years. This just inspired me to dig deeper and learn a lot more about what I’m putting into my body. Thanks to the Internet and the ability to gather and share critical information so easily, I have learned much more about the various disgusting things that most of us eat: fake sugar, fake food colors, preservatives and a ridiculous amount of chemicals. These chemicals are wreaking havoc to our bodies, but it’s so hard, like really hard, to cut them out.

aspartame

I’m a mostly healthy eater, but even I have to admit that I love some pretty crappy foods… hot fries, reese’s cups, taco bell, fast food fries and sour gummy worms are all some of my favorite treats. Over the last year, especially since having Luna, I have put in an extra effort to cut out processed fake foods, but damn, it’s hard! Honestly, cutting out fake sugar has been mostly easy. I’d much rather a real sugar product over a fake sugar, or diet, one. The only problem is, fake sugar sneaks into so much stuff.

shit

I learned the hard way that basically anything that claims to be “sugar-free”, “lite”, “diet”, “fat-free”, “low-fat”, “less sugar” or “zero calories” actually means “full of fake sugar and chemicals to make the product taste better”. I hate that I have to read virtually every food label now, but it’s often the only way to be sure that I’m eating real food and not a bunch of chemically engineered crap. What’s worse is that many food companies do not even have to put all of their ingredients on their labels. They are actually allowed to sneak that shit into their products and not tell us.vodka

Anyways, I’ll step off my soap box for a minute to get to my point. As of lately, I am eating way less processed and frozen foods. I haven’t managed to cut them completely out because come on? Who seriously has the time and money to always eat fresh food? Not me. Since eating more fresh, real, organic food and drinking tons more water I am feeling unbelievably better! I look better, my skin is clearer, my hair is healthier and I am rarely bloated.

marketing

I don’t deprive myself of stuff I crave either. Instead, if cutting carbs, snacks and desserts out of my diet completely, I just find healthier versions. I still eat carbs and chocolate and other things I crave (moderately, of course) and I am not gaining weight….at all. However, weight is not a priority anymore either. I want to be fit and healthy and I want to create healthy habits for my daughter. I think I’m on the right track and I hope to stay on this path for the rest of my very long life!

Cheers!

Postnatal Workout Update

Alright, we did it. We completed the first 5 weeks of Focus T25, the “alpha” round, as it’s called. I have eaten healthier, not exactly healthy all the time, but healthier. In fact, didn’t eat any chips, except while we were in Texas. But, how can anyone go to the land of Tex-Mex and not eat chips and salsa?! They couldn’t and wouldn’t. Actually, we did a great job sticking to our “get healthy” postnatal workout plan except the time spent in Texas. We were on vacation and visiting family so we may have splurged a little when it came to food aannndd we may have missed a couple of workouts. Woops.

Even after having an entire “cheat week” I am still seeing results and feeling stronger. This T25 business is for real. It is an intense workout with zero breaks and I am still sore almost daily, especially after double days! Speaking of double days I’d like to point out this isn’t exactly a 25 minute workout.. Monday through Thursday is a 25 minute workout with a 2 -3 minute cool down. I guess you could skip the cool down if you are really set on only doing 25 minutes. Then, Fridays are “double days”, meaning you do not one, but two of the 25 minute workouts plus both cool downs. So, Fridays are basically an hour. Again, you could just skip the 2nd workout, but it seems silly to do the program, but not do it full out.

t25

Since we have a newborn there have been some challenges added to our daily workout regimen. Sometimes I squeeze in a workout while Luna naps, sometimes she’s happy to watch us from her oscillating chair and sometimes I have to stop halfway through to tend to her and finish the second half later. We often even hold her during the cool-down or while doing some modifications. “Whatever it takes” and “no excuses” are our mottos lately.

My health is better too. I am down from 16 blood pressure pills after having Luna to only 2 a day, and I will hopefully be down to zero in the next month. Yay me! I also feel 90% back to normal.

We still have about 2 months left (the beta and the gamma rounds), but here’s my progress so far:

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1month
First picture is 6 weeks postpartum and second picture is 11 weeks postpartum.

I’m 11 weeks postpartum and I’m proud of my progress and hard-work. I’d like to see my abs tone up, but I think that won’t happen until I really cut out the crap in my diet. Can’t wait to see how strong I am at the end of this program. I hope to be 100% feeling normal, off all my blood pressure medicine, happy and healthy!

Cheers!