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!

cargonet

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!

after

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

luna

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!

exercise

Cheers!

My Post-Traumatic Postpartum Life

wounds

Luna is about 5 1/2 months old now and it’s already hard to imagine life without her. What did I use to talk about? What does a full night of sleep feel like? Where did all the time go? It’s crazy how life can change so much, yet feel so complete and normal at the same time. I think it’s clear that I am really enjoying my life with Luna and everything she brings to the table. She has been perfect. I, on the other hand, have not fully healed. I’m almost 6 months postpartum, and I still feel like a stranger in my body.

Luna’s birth was not exactly ideal, the long road home was certainly no fun and now, the recovery, is much slower than I imagined. My physical body is good. Sure, I’ve got a few stretch marks and my belly button may be forever misshapen, but that’s nothing. I love my body and I’m proud of its abilities and strengths. It’s kind of amazing. It’s my mind and health that are still on the mend.

it's all about perspective
it’s all about perspective

Thanks to medication, my blood pressure is under control, but hopefully it will even out without meds soon…only time will tell. It sucks to be on medication and have to deal with ongoing doctor appointments, blood pressure monitoring, side effects, etc, but I know it could be worse. I am truly grateful to be where I am today and I can handle this challenge I’ve been given. It’s a lot more challenging than my new body, but I like challenges. They define us, right? Or, I guess the way we respond defines us, and I’m hoping to create a strong definition for myself. The biggest challenge, the one I don’t handle so well is the post-traumatic stress.

The first few weeks after Luna’s arrival were the toughest. Once, I stopped blacking out, gained some strength and realized I’d survive I began living life again. The worst was behind me, but I didn’t realize the tough road that lay ahead. I still have nightmares. I will dream that someone is taking my vitals in the middle of the night, I’m having heart attacks or something is keeping me from being with Luna and I wake up in a hot sweat and tears. Sometimes just getting to sleep is a struggle, which is odd considering it’s what I want most during the day. My mind races, as does my pulse and I get lost in “what if’s” that leave me wide awake and searching for anything to distract me from my negative thoughts.

Little things take me back. A hospital scene on a TV drama, a friend’s Facebook picture, the song that played during Luna’s birth or just passing my doctor’s office can send me right back to that dark hospital room. The flashbacks are as real and scary as the nightmares. They bring tears to my eyes and a lot of anxiety. I hate them. I hate that the memories of Luna’s birth bring so much anxiety and fear. I hate that our birth experience was so traumatic. I hate it for all of us.

It all feels so fresh. I get headaches from the tension I hold all day. I feel alone often, and when I forget how grateful I am I’ll let bitterness sneak in and make me question, “why me?” Why do I have to take so long to heal? Why can’t I pop out kids and hit the ground running like so many other women? Why do I have to deal with the not-fun-at-all side effects of blood pressure medicine at the age of 29? It’s dangerous to think this way.

It get’s a little easier at time goes on and I’m learning to talk about it more, which helps. I’m lucky and it could be worse, a lot worse, but that fact doesn’t take away the very real fears and anxieties I felt in that hospital. It doesn’t stop an anxiety attack when I lie in bed at night and flashback to the hospital bed where I thought I would never leave. It’s very real and if you have ever suffered from anxiety or panic attacks don’t feel guilty for your very real struggles. The more I heal the more I know it’s okay to cry, to let it all out and to break sometimes. It’s then that we see all the different pieces that make us whole. It takes time to put those pieces back together, but when you understand each piece and how it fits into the other, you understand what makes you whole and what makes you strong.

That’s where I am now. 5 1/2 months in and I’m putting myself back together again. Everyday I feel a little more whole and a lot stronger. I don’t know if or when these flashbacks and nightmares will end, but I’m facing them one day at a time. I hope you do the same.

Cheers

20 Weeks Postpartum Progress

shaun

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!

 

 

Postnatal Workout Progress

I want to apologize for lack of posting. We are having lots of Internet connection problems (that’s what happens when you move out of the city and into the middle of the woods), hopefully all will be fixed soon and I won’t have to depend on the local coffee joint for free wi-fi.

Okay, I have some bragging to do today. On Friday, we (Husband and I) finished the Beta round of Focus T25. We have endured 10 grueling weeks of some crazy intense workouts. I know what some of you are thinking…It’s only 25 minutes a day, how hard can that be?! Hard. Really effing hard. We have done Insanity, the Asylum and the Asylum Volume 2 and I can easily say T25 is just as hard as all of them if not harder. For real.

I am seeing very real results. I swear I look more toned than these progress photos show, but what’s more is that I feel awesome. I feel so strong! I can tell my endurance, agility, speed and strength have all improved through these workouts and I’m loving it! I am not trying to sound like a commercial or to sell you this workout. I really just want to encourage other people to exercise (any exercise) and to get fit.

progress
after I put all of these together I realized I should have taken them all in the same place in the same clothes, but oh well, too late now!

 

I am really proud of my hard work and my postpartum body. I have some stretch marks and some loose skin where skin used to be tighter, but I have NO shame. The one thing I want to work harder on is eating healthier. I am getting better about cutting out the junk, but there’s still room for improvement. We only get one body in this world, right? Might as well take good care of it!

front progress

As far as my overall health, I’m doing well. I have not got to lower my blood pressure medicine since my last “workout update” post, but it’s still staying normal and the doctor is really happy with my progress since having Luna. Mentally, I feel great. My anxiety keeps improving and I know getting in lots of cardio has helped tremendously. If either Luna or myself starts getting cranky, I have started putting her in the stroller and taking a walk. By the time I get hoe we are both much happier, and she is usually sleeping.

One tip I’d like to share with you this month is to find a workout partner. I cannot tell you how helpful it has been to have Husband workout with me. We hold each other accountable and push each other to do more and work harder. What’s more is we have a good friend who has joined us. The three of us do T25 together almost every morning. It’s so nice to get it done early and to do it with other people. It just makes the experience a lot more pleasant. So, do yourself a favor and find someone to workout with soon!

IMG_20140516_091222

Starting yesterday, we began the Gamma round of T25, and it is somehow even harder than Beta. In 4 weeks, I will be reporting back to you with my latest progress! CANNOT wait to see the results!

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:

sideshot

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!

The Last 9 Months

me and luna

I’m 3 weeks and one day postpartum and still feeling better every day. Yay me! I just went through some of my old photos from throughout my pregnancy and it’s amazing to see the transformation from then until now. I loved being pregnant! I had such a great pregnancy that I thought I’d be sad and miss it once it was over. I do miss parts of it already, but I’ve got to say having Luna here is far better!

Here’s a little TBT (throwback Thursday) for ya!

10 and 14 17 and 21 24 and 28 32 weeks 35 and 37

I think my hair changed just as much as my stomach. I’m so glad I took so many photos. It’s so easy to forget the changes each month and especially how my body looked at the very beginning.

collage

AANNDDDDD….3 weeks later!

3 weeks

Can’t wait to see what’s in store for our growing family!

Cheers!