I Conquered Everest! (The race, not the mountain)

As you may have heard, we went to Disney World a couple of weeks ago and IT WAS AWESOME! We have been dying to go to Disney since having Luna, and we found the perfect excuse to plan a trip: a race. Several months ago, we signed up for the Expedition Everest Challenge. So, not only did we get to spend 4 magical days at our home away from home, but we also got to experience a magical run and after party. I think Disney runs might be my new obsession!

run disney

The Expedition Everest Challenge is a 5k through Animal Kingdom at night with obstacles and a scavenger hunt! I’ve got your interest, right? It was an extra special race because it was the 8th and final challenge. Why? I’m not sure, but I believe it has something to do with the Animal Kingdom expansion… Anyways, to prepare for the run we picked out Winnie the Pooh themed costumes. I was Pooh, Bella was Piglet and Husband was Christopher Robin. (BTW, I don’t know if Husband will ever allow me to dress him in costume for a race again… apparently Christopher Robin isn’t super cool. Whatevs. It could’ve been worse, my original plan was the three kittens from Aristocats.) We also prepared by doing Insanity Max 30 and running almost never. It’s so hard to stick to a running schedule, am I right?!

kittens
You’ve got to admit, it’s a cute idea!
Here's what we went with instead...
Here’s what we went with instead…

our group

Even without running we totally kicked butt! We ran our fastest 5k ever at 22 minutes and 51 seconds! Husband placed 15th out of individual men, Bella placed 7th and I placed 8th out of individual women. I am super proud of us, and impressed with Insanity Max 30 for keeping us in good shape. It was very intimidating to start the race in the first heat. We were surround by individuals and teams who have placed or won the challenge in previous years. Some had run every single year. We were shaking in our tutu’s, but we managed to keep up with the pack and it was a blast!

Before the race began
Before the race began

We ran through the parking lot, through the park, through three (albeit mediocre) obstacles and across the finish line. At the finish line we were handed the usual bottle of water, a cool towel and a clue! That’s right, the challenge was only halfway over. We were to solve the first clue, run to the second, give the correct answer, receive the second clue and so forth. It was not easy to keep running, but we pushed through it and took a few breaks to solve some serious clues. There were a total of 6 clues and at the second finish line we had to hold up the “hidden Yeti” with our 6 solved clues in order to cross and receive our medals. It was exhilarating and so much fun!

We did it!
We did it!

Then, the after party. We celebrated at the post-race private after party in the park. The Dinoland and Asia sections were open for us to enjoy. There were characters, open food and drink stands and rides! Yay, for rides with no lines! We rode Expedition Everest, Dinosaur and Kali River Rapids. It may have been a mistake to get soaking wet on the rapids considering it was chilly out and night time, but it was still worth it to be in Animal Kingdom at night during our own private party.

We conquered Everest!
We conquered Everest!

We didn’t get back until almost 2am. (Wild night for us lame parents.) After spending the entire day at Magic Kingdom and running all night we were EXHAUSTED! It was definitely a night to remember. In fact, it was such a good time that we are already planning our next Disney Run: The Disney Princess Half Marathon!!! (And, by “we” I mean me and Bella. Husband is thrilled to be the babysitter.) Who’s with me???

There were characters all along the course cheering us on and Mickey and Minnie were at the after party.
There were characters all along the course cheering us on and Mickey and Minnie were at the after party.

Also, who has advice? I am SO not prepared. Good thing I’ve got 9 months to whip myself into running shape!

Cheers!

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Who Do You Run For?

She was so happy....just hours before all hell broke lose. Boo.
She was so happy….just hours before all hell broke lose. Boo.

Forgive the rushed review and many typos ahead. I am writing this from the living room floor after a looonnggg day and a half of baby stomach flu, Husband stomach flu and a washer that decided to break and flood the laundry room floor while in the middle of cleaning puked on blankets. PLEASE DO NOT LET ME BE NEXT. 

free to breathe

Do you run or workout in any form? Who are you doing that hard work for? Yourself? Your spouse? Your kids? A friend? All of the above? I think the last would be my answer. Mostly, I run/workout for my health and sanity, which is definitely good for every one. However, on Saturday, I ran for those who have been affected by lung cancer… and myself, my baby, my Husband, my Aunt and my friends (my workout team).

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Saturday, we ran the Free to Breath 5k in Nashville to raise money for lung cancer. I ran in honor of my Uncle John, who passed away from lunch cancer when I was in high school, and 2 survivors, my cousin and my friend.

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We had a new member to our racing team this time too. Our Aunt Amy ran her very first 5k with us and she was incredible! I know how hard it is to force yourself to get up and run and train, so I am always so impressed when anyone starts a new workout plan. Aunt Amy began “couch to 5k” training a couple of months ago and her hard work is inspiring. I hope she signs up to run with us next month!

Look who crossed the finish line for the first time!
Look who crossed the finish line for the first time!

This the first annual Free to Breathe 5k to be held in Nashville. Overall, they did a good job. The volunteers were some of the most enthusiastic cheerleaders and kept us motivated throughout the entire course. There was a DJ that managed to get the entire crowd doing line dances and hip-hop moves before 9am, and the treats and coffee they provided were great. They could, however, stand to improve their organizational skills and may want to consider timing the race and offering awards to the top finishers next time.

Post-race dance party!
Post-race dance party!

It wasn’t perfect, but it was a beautiful run through Shelby Bottoms and we will consider doing this race again next time around.

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Cheers!

Running for a Cause

small things

I may have mentioned one or twenty times that we (“team workout buddies!”), have been running 5k’s every month in order to not only mix up our workouts, but to stay motivated when it comes to running. Well, we decided to skip the month of March because we have all just been too busy to even think about going for a run, plus winter just won’t go away. However, while searching for a race to do in April, I came across the “Free to Breath” 5k happening in Nashville on March 21st.

The Free to Breathe is a non-profit raising funds for lung cancer research. This hits close to home for me. I lost an Uncle to lung cancer when I was 17. I have a cousin who is a lung cancer survivor, and a friend who is also a survivor. Cancer sucks. Cancer sucks, and I want to do my part help fund research in order to find a cure. Sooo, looks like we are doing a race this month!

Our team of 5 will run in honor of our loved ones next weekend and there are a couple of ways that you can help support us and our cause, if you so choose.

  • Join our team! If you are in the area, then sign up here, join our team and run the 5k with us! Go Team Workout Buddies! (Yeah, I know, we need a better name… suggestions?)
  • You can click here and make a donation with just a click of the mouse. Any amount is greatly appreciated.

act of kindness

It’s been raining all week, so hopefully the sun comes out soon and I can squeeze in some runs before the race. Either way, I’ll cross the finish line feeling proud and hopeful that I made a difference.

Thanks so much for all your support!

Cheers!

A Week in the Life

Ready for more excuses? I have been gone all day everyday this week, and now that I am finally home and sitting at the computer I am finding it very difficult to let my creative juices and photoshop skills flow. Luna, however, has had a very busy week! I’ve gone a bit crazy with one of my photo editing apps during our nursing sessions, so why not share the photos and a peek into what it’s like to be a Luna baby!

In preparation for our December 5,k that was actually this morning, we finally began running this week. Look how happy this munchkin is to get up and run in freezing temps at 6:30am. Her smile is real…mine is forced. I still do not love running, but man does it feel good to get it done! Oh and BTW, she is wearing a pink and purple floral dress in this photo and 3 PEOPLE called her a boy that day. I mean, I know she’s bald, but come on, does the child have to have an enormous bow on her head? If so, I’m totally okay with that.

see what I mean? I got a little excited while playing on my PicsArt app.
see what I mean? I got a little excited while playing on my PicsArt app.

Last year, we went to this adorable tree farm to pick out and chop down our very own Christmas tree! I was 100% sure it was going to be our new tradition and each and every year we would take a photo in front of our tree before chopping it down. Fast forward to now and uhhh, well, do we really have to make the hour drive to get a tree? Does Luna actually care? Could we maybe save a bit of money by getting our tree at Costco? Because, that’s exactly what we did. Picking our wrapped up tree out of the back of a semi didn’t exactly create an adorable kodak moment, but we saved at least $50 and 2 hours of driving. Maybe next year…

oh Christmas tree... Oh Christmas tree...
oh Christmas tree… Oh Christmas tree…

Luna and I got to volunteer at the Children’s Hospital and for NeedLink by packing tons of food for Holiday Food Deliveries. We may have gotten slightly distracted by the cutest little potato packer you ever did see!

I hope no one finds a nibble on potato in their sack.
I hope no one finds a nibble on potato in their sack.

Luna also had a really fun playdate this week with six other babies. I love watching her interact with other kids. They don’t exactly play together, they usually just take toys from each other and hit one another in the head, but it’s still so darn cute. They even made these precious little hand and footprint ornaments!

Baby's first Christmas!
Baby’s first Christmas!

Our attempt at taking a photo with all seven babies.

just like herding cats...
just like herding cats…

We shopped and shopped and shopped and shopped and shopped and shopped. Yay Christmas time!

cuz all the cool kids, they seem to fit in
cuz all the cool kids, they seem to fit in

And, we may have sneakily taken a first photo with Santa while Husband was not with us. Woops!

you have got to be kidding me
you have got to be kidding me

This morning we had our monthly race! This month we signed up for the Music City Christmas Run. Clearly, we sign up for these run because we are now obsessed with coordinating themed outfits, so this race we were snowflakes, and we rocked it. My goal was to have so much glitter that I would blind the other runners. I think it worked because I had my best time yet.

Go Team Snowflakes!
Go Team Snowflakes!

Under Luna’s layers she sported her own snowflake jumper and wrapped her stroller in snowflake lights.

ready, ready, ready, ready, ready to run
ready, ready, ready, ready, ready to run

I got 33rd overall, but the winner’s podium was left empty and unguarded sooooo…

We can always pretend to win!
We can always pretend to win!

After the race Luna was cranky, but Christmas carols were playing and I did the one trick that never fails…danced. Luna loves dancing with me! You have no idea how happy this makes me!

She can't help but smile. :)
She can’t help but smile. 🙂

Another monthly tradition is having breakfast and Starbucks after each race. We always go in full costume. We might the attention it draws, and we perhaps enjoy explaining to everyone that we just ran a race. We also maybe had a little too much fun with Luna and our costumes today…

oooooooh I can't wait to show you these one day
oooooooh I can’t wait to show you these one day
My little snowflake
My little snowflake

Thank God tomorrow is Sunday and we have ZERO plans. Wonder what next week will hold?

Cheers!

I’m a Warrior!

Before and After!
Before and After!

Saturday morning, I did the Warrior Dash! It was a blast and I’ve got to warn you that there are A LOT of photos in this post. In fact, I could just let the photos speak for themselves, but I like to talk, so I won’t. Remember the Mud Run I did about a month ago? Well, the Warrior Dash totally kicks that run’s muddy little butt. We had the best time!

We put on some Warrior tattoos from Tattify to look the part.
We put on some Warrior tattoos from Tattify to look the part.

tattify

First of all, the are like 5 million people (give or take a few) at the race. Everyone is pumped up on adrenaline, caffeine, beer and turkey legs. Before the race, we picked up our tees, viking hats and numbers. We roamed around the many tents and admired the many people in costumes. There was an intense band playing, not my style, but whatever. It was also pretty chilly, but I knew we’d warm up once we started running, so I wasn’t too concerned. There was so much energy and excitement that it was impossible to not be totally pumped up for the run.

Our pre-race faces
Our pre-race faces

The race began with the biggest flippin’ hill… “moderately hilly” my ass. There were quite a few hills at the beginning, but it spread everyone out which was nice. We made our way to the front and managed to stay there throughout the race. I guess all that P90X and running is paying off!

fire

I SWEAR this hill was so much steeper than it looks.
I SWEAR this hill was so much steeper than it looks.

There were 12 obstacles in this race, 12 real obstacles. They were much better than the obstacles in the Mud Run, but not super challenging. I’d still like to do a race with more intense obstacles, but these were fun and doable. I think anyone could do this race. Sure, not everyone can run the entire time or easily get through the obstacles, but they can do it. There were people of every shape, size and fitness level participating which is kind of amazing. For some, it was a test of their abilities, for others it was the start of a new lifestyle. For everyone, it was a muddy day of craziness.

trenches shocktop unfiltered

 

One very cool quality I noticed in the race was the “teamwork” attitude everyone had while running. Several people got scared and even stuck at the top of various obstacles. Everyone around that person would do whatever they could do help. Some would offer an encouraging work, others would lend a hand and everyone else would cheer them on until they completed the obstacle. It was such a positive and friendly atmosphere. There were a few obstacles that required waiting in line because there were so many people trying to complete it, but it wasn’t annoying. We were having too much fun to be upset about waiting a few minutes.

roast mayhem

 

warrior peak

 

The craziest obstacle was definitely Goliath. This involved several cargo nets, climbing, crawling, a very long wet slide and a drop into a deep muddy pool. Straight up craziness.

goliath crawl slide

that face...
that face…
we look like soaked puppes
we look like soaked puppies

One hour later, the race was over. I’m guessing it would have taken 45 minutes if there was no waiting in lines. We got metals, water and felt pretty dang proud.

finish

The festival atmosphere remained for hours after we finished the race, but it was so hard for me to enjoy any of it because it was FREEZING. We tried to shower in the sprinkler system they had set up, but the wind was blowing so hard that it was near impossible to clean off. We ended up stripping behind towels and putting dry clean clothes over our muddy bodies. Warrior Dash Team, if you’re listening, I suggest setting up two tents (one for each sex) for people to change in after the race.

trying to shower
trying to shower
SO COLD
SO COLD

I would totally do the race again. If you haven’t done the Warrior Dash yet, then do yourself a favor and sign up! (Just click here!)

all done

Cheers!

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.

us

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!