Category Archives: Summer

The Cake is A Lie

the_cake_is_a_lie_515The cake is a lie. It isn’t even cake. It’s a vehicle to further solidify the truth I have created for myself right now, which is that I’m beyond saving. I’m too far gone. I’ve lost all of my motivation, slipped far from my health and fitness goals, and so now this is what I deserve. I deserve to eat a huge piece of cake, not because I’ll enjoy it but because the sugar will make me sluggish, and I’m not even that hungry, and it’s there so I might as well eat some, since that’s what I do.

And so I go to bed. Another day with too much sugar and not enough movement. Another night I’ve pushed myself to exhaustion before collapsing into bed to lie awake.

It’s become clear that my own well-being isn’t enough to motivate me out of this place. Not right now. And so instead, I’ll do it for her. Because I want to keep letting her spend one night a week in my bed, letting her believe it’s an indulgence for her when it’s just as much a treat for me. Because I want to feel alive and exhilarated and strong through every moment I get to spend with this fantastic kid. Because I want to have the energy to give her the attention she deserves in the precious few hours I get with her during the week. Because I want to keep up with her, challenge her, and teach her to own her own power.

20160523_174544For her, I’ll sleep more. I’ll hydrate more, move more, stretch more. I’ll do more yoga and meditation. I’ll stop mindlessly eating for punishment, for guilt, for boredom and sadness and stress and frustration and social ease. I’ll be mindful, purposeful, and honoring of this one body I have, that I get to share with the most amazing soul to ever walk this earth.

For her, I’ll recommit to my yoga practice, which does my heart and soul so much good.

For her, I’ll go back to Camp Gladiator in June, as planned. I’m scared to go back, terrified of the heat and the difficulty and returning after two months off. I’m worried I won’t be able to do it, that I’m so unfit that I won’t be able to finish the first workout, that the frustration will keep me from going back more than once, that I won’t go back at all. But I will. I promised her I’d go back, and so I’ll go. Because it makes me happier, healthier, better prepared to face the world with m very best.

It won’t be easy. I’m in such a rough spot that it’s going to take near-constant recommitting to my goals. I need to be prepared for gentleness, for patience, and for extra focus on being aware and in the moment as much as possible. But I have to remember I haven’t completely run out of sparks. I did do a half-marathon on an exercise bike to earn my first Hogwarts Running Club medal. (It’s awesome.)

It’s time. Summer is coming. My incredible kid is GRADUATING FROM FIRST GRADE. We’ve got a busy, fun summer ahead of us before starting a whole new school year. We’re looking at maybe moving, in the same area, but to somewhere a little closer to her school or a little closer to my office while still in the school district. My career is really shaping up beautifully, with a job I enjoy and work I am proud of. It’s time.

So help me out. Tell me how you climb out of a funk, what you do to get back on track, and how you handle setbacks in that process.

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FitBloggin15 Recap – Part 1

Another year gone, and now I’m settled back and home and trying to make sense of everything I did, everything I felt, and everyone I hugged. For now, a more functional recap will have to suffice.

 

What I Did

I ate wonderful food. I drank great local beers. I saw beautiful street art.

I did hours of yoga, walked 10 miles, did Zumba, did strength training.

I sat in sessions where I cried with pain or hope or joy. I felt proud and scared and inspired.

I hugged people who are painfully precious to me, even when I only see them once a year. I hugged people I didn’t know yet, people who I was only just beginning to make connections with, and who I’ll stay connected to as the year goes on.

I laughed so hard I cried, so hard my abs hurt. I cried so hard I hiccupped.

I WALKED IN A FASHION SHOW, as my tribe clapped and cheered. The generous sponsorship from Soybu meant I got to wear (and keep!) gorgeous, CRAZY comfortable clothes.

I had my butt slapped more than once, by several different people.

I had my picture taken in nothing but capris and my favorite ENELL bra, standing arm-in-arm with several other ambassadors, proud to represent the brand and our own spirits.

I wandered off-site for a yoga class and a sound healing session, both of which left me rejuvenated.

I went to bed early, stayed up late, got up early, and ate a lot of bacon.

I sang along to other people’s lip sync performances until I nearly lost my voice.

I danced so much that I was sore the next day.

What I Learned

I’m stronger than I give myself credit for.

By just being me and seeking my own joy, I’m helping other people to do the same.

I should spend more time on my blog, for my own sake and for the support and love of this awesome community.

I definitely deal with some very real anxiety issues, and need to be better aware of them so that I can ask for help.

The friendships I have forged (and continue to make) as I attend these conferences are life-changing, and stay with me even when I see these people only once a year.

Denver beer is amazing. Really amazing.

Yoga lights up my soul. It’s not a new lesson, but apparently one that needed reaffirming.

—–

The thing about FitBloggin? Somehow, every year, it meets me exactly where I need to be met. I talk to the people I need most, do the things that most need doing, learn the lessons that most need to be learned.

So if you’re on the same journey, looking for the ways and paths and people that can support your growth? Join us. You won’t regret it.

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transitions

hi. i’m not dead, i swear. although i feel a little like i am right now.

tons of changes going on, so i’ll try to catch everyone up.

struggle: i started feeling sick last monday. by thursday my throat was so sore i couldn’t swallow. the clinic says it’s just allergies, but even after four days of constant decongestants and nasal spray i’m still coughing horribly (and now productively… yay?) so i’m trying to decide at what point i need to go back in. i’m not sleeping well because i cough when i lay down, and then i wake up coughing at least once during the night.

smile: the illness has me super stuffy too, and between that and the coughing my appetite is severely diminished… which is good because it’s making it much easier for me to pay attention to what food actually makes me feel like and why i eat some of the things i do, so that’s been interesting.

struggle: aaron’s new job (he started this week) means he’s traveling a lot. that means i’m essentially on my own with the parenting, house running, life managing business for a good portion of every week.

smile: the travel means it’s just me and evi, which means I’m getting tons of awesome time with my incredible little girl. it also means we moved.

oh hey, we moved.

struggle: the new place is up three flights of stairs with no elevator, which made moving awful. we’re nowhere near unpacked, and it’s up to me and the kidlette to get that done.

smile: the new place is walkable to everything. we walk to school. i walk to the subway. we walk to the grocery store, the park, the vet, the dog park. i’m getting tons of steps in every day, to the point that yesterday’s 14,000+ steps seemed like a let down somehow since i’ve been averaging over 15,000 lately.

so we’re doing a lot of adjusting. we’re learning to live life by a new routine, and it’s sure to come with plenty of challenges. then again, it also means being a lot closer to a lot of our family, and evi getting to spend a lot more time with her uncle and her grandmother. i can’t be upset about that. i’m managing well so far, making weekly plans that include meal planning and daily activities so that i have a game plan for each week. i don’t care if we don’t stick to it, but it’s nice to have a plan.

now if i can just stop coughing sometime soon, i might just get through the week.

i’ve also been listening to christie & mara’s podcasts lately, and keeping notes about the things i think and feel while i’m listening. it’s making a big difference for me and i’ve come away with some pretty interesting insights into my own head and how i view self-care. i’m trying to put more effort into my own routine… not just health wise, but also in terms of beauty and hygiene. i want to take more time to do my hair, put on lotion, whatever little things i usually let slide, because they help me feel more taken care of. i need that right now.

evi is doing great with the move. she loves her room, her school, and being able to walk everywhere. other than a few bumps as she adjusts to a new routine, she’s a much happier kid… which i didn’t think was possible. she’s getting more sleep, and so am i, and we’re almost never fighting in the mornings anymore, which was a regular occurrence for a while.

oh! we also have a trader joe’s, an aldi, and a whole foods, and we’ll be getting a wegmans sometime really soon. we had none of those things at the old house, so i’m pretty thrilled.

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Changes

I originally wrote this post in Italian during the breaks in my management seminar…

Big changes are coming. In fact, they are already here. Everything is moving so quickly, and I’m as scared as I am excited.  Many positive things are coming, but the negatives are frightening. What happens if I can’t do this? I’m afraid to be alone, to lose patience with Evi.

Commute time, so drastically reduced, is going to be incredibly liberating and will go a long way to reduce daily stress … but on the other hand, being a single parent for most of the week, I am worried about my parenting skills. I’m also worried that I will miss my husband too much, that we won’t be able to replace those countless small, seemingly insignificant moments that we share.

I know that am I strong, and I have to believe that I will make the best choices for my daughter, my family, and myself. I have to work more to be in the moment. I have to push for better focus and immediate connection so I am doing my best work in each of my roles. I have to fight to maintain my inner peace. I need to embrace my incredible strength, and place value on my own needs as much as others. I can’t always put myself last, but instead must remember that taking the time to balance myself means I’m better prepared for everything else I am responsible for. I promise to continue on this beautiful path to self-love and self-acceptance, cultivate the love and light that can only expand to everything I touch.

I promise to reach out, to ask for help, to find new solutions, and (especially) to be gentle with myself. I promise to celebrate the little things in life, experience all the little moments, and appreciate every moment as it happens. I will recognize the love and strength within myself and all around me, stay mindful of the incredible positives in my life, hold close all the love in my marriage, and never stop learning and growing. I will make every decision on the basis of radical self-love, eradicating negative self-talk, and honoring my personal brand of brilliance and shine.

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The World Peace Effect

I shared this on FB this morning:

I am often critical without intending to be. While paying attention lately I’ve noticed during my commute I have an internal monologue that spends most of it’s time criticizing others – their hair, fashion choices, grooming habits, etc. It’s all appearance based. This morning, as an experiment in LOVE as a life habit, I instead pushed myself to choose one good (honest) thing I could say about each person. A few times I had to reign in my inner critic, but overall it was an absolutely joyous experience and changed the entire vibe of my morning.

As will surprised no one, it made me easier on myself as well. I’m finding more and more lately (often with help from Jen) that once I begin to allow real self-love into my life, it’s spreading like wildfire. Suddenly I’m open to loving others, to seeing the beauty in the neighborhood I love to hate, to spreading kindness (however silent) for everyone I see. Today I feel lighter and brighter.

The ever incredible Karen responded thusly:

worldpeaceIt’s a FASCINATING effect, and really true. Everything about my morning has been more positive thanks to that tiny shift in outlook. It’s going to take practice to maintain, but it’s well worth the work.

And speaking of work, I’m finding my personal (and sometimes unaware of it) team of self-love gurus is growing. As I seek it out, I’m drawn to more and more helpful souls who are sharing some real magic. I know I shared some of my “team” a few weeks ago, but it’s time to give them some more love.

  • Emmie, who is inspiring in her giving spirit and makes me envious of her incredible fashion sense.
  • Katie (Fat Girl PhD), who helps me remember that the scale is stupid.
  • Heather, who inspired my daily mantra: “My body is not a tool or an object. It is a messenger of love.”
  • Jes, who taught me to love my body RIGHT NOW.
  • Karen, who keeps me grounded in the important basics of self-love.
  • Christie, who is getting me closer and closer to peace with food.
  • Deb, who makes me stronger every day (and whose name I secretly say as all one word. She’s Debroby, not Deb.)
  • Erin, whose yoga sessions this month are helping quiet my busy head.
  • Mara, who always knows just what I need to hear and helped me name my inner critic.
  • Mel, who has me up and moving every day with her #walkwithmel challenge.
  • Cassie, who’s got me going strong on the #SuperSummer challenge.
  • Danielle, whose TruthBomb emails are as powerful as they are simple.
  • The Brave Girls Club, who sends me love notes at all the right times.
  • Notes From the Universe, which reminds me I’m small.

I’m SURE I’m forgetting people, but as it turns out the list is growing every day. There are just so many messengers of LOVE out there. Reach out, open up to the possibility of them, and BOOM! They’ll come at you from all sides, like a whirlwind of long needed hugs.

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A Whole New Week

Maddie the Coonhound - maddieonthings.comHey, did you know it’s JUNE? Cause whoa… it’s June. I’m trying to sort through all sorts of things about that, including what to call this month. Mindful March and Metamorphosis May set me up for wanting month names. I’ll have to think about that one, and I’m open for suggestions.

I’m also super scattered right now, so we get a bullet list.

  • Emmie sent this newsletter out today, and it was awesome. I’m definitely dealing with trying to redefine myself, both online and off, right now. I’m not actively losing weight right now either, although I’d like to. My focus is shifting to happiness and overall health, versus a number on a scale. It’s a nice, long overdue change, but it makes blogging feel… weird. I think I just need to settle into a new spot with blogging.
  • Katie (Fat Girl PhD) posted about the problem with scales. After that leading to a weird binge reading of everything she’s ever written and then stalking all of her social media accounts, I sat with it a bit. And, as should be no surprise by now, she’s so right. The scale is full of crap. Right now I feel better than ever, and I nearly derailed that feeling by stepping on the scale to see a gain. Well yeah. I’m eating food. I’m lifting more. I’m happy. Screw the scale.
  • Enter Heather Waxman with The Spiritual Diet. Wait, no. Start with The Healing Detox. I really did follow the post advice. I honest-to-god set myself a calendar appointment so that every day my phone reminds me that “My body is not a tool or object, it is a messenger of love.” I try to remember to make choice with LOVE in mind, and so far it’s making me very happy.
  • And then Jes. Jes, who taught me to love my body RIGHT NOW. Who promptly inspired my craziest Instagram post ever.

So how am I doing? I’m doing Pilates or yoga or strength training (plus at least a mile of walking for #walkwithmel) every day. I feel awesome. The physical activities I’m choosing make me sweaty. They make my body happy. They also fill my heart and soul. That’s BIG. Thanks to my incredible Pilates instructor, I spend every Sunday morning feeling amazing (if in some serious (good) pain) and getting gentle, much needed reminders that I AM ALLOWED TO TAKE UP SPACE. In fact, I need to.

I’ve joined up with Cassie’s #SuperSummer Challenge, which is helping me stay focused on ME. I spend a lot of time hashing out my issues and celebratory moments with my virtual bestie. Things are good. This is shaping up to be an awesome summer.

Joyful June? Joyous… jubilant… just… jump… juice… okay, now that’s just getting silly.

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Sat-ARRRR-day

Two really cool things happened today, and I’m still trying to figure out which one is cooler. One involves a positive body image moment, and the other was an awesome parenting moment (and a good smoothie recipe)!

Me 8.11.12

Body Image

I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror at the library, and I liked what I saw. It’s a big deal for me, especially on a day when I didn’t make any particular effort to dress flatteringly. I was spending several hours at the library with Evi (something we’re trying to do every Saturday morning now since she loves books so much), so I just put on my comfy jeans and favorite tee. It was just nice to look up and realize I liked the way I looked.

I may not be perfect, I may never be perfect, and there are certainly a lot of changes I’d still like to see, but it’s good to know I’m in an accepting place.

Pirate Smoothie for DinnerParenting

Tonight for dinner, the kidlet asked for a monster smoothie. Yes, she knows it has spinach in it (which, for the record, she hates in any other form). She wanted “veggies & sweet” so she asked for a monster smoothie and picked out her own ingredients, then dubbed it the pirate smoothie.

Evi’s Pirate Smoothie

– half a frozen banana
– 1c frozen spinach
– half a green apple
– 1/4c mango passion juice
– 1T wild flower honey

We blended it up and she proceeded to happily drink up the entire thing. She loved it, and so did I! I was so proud of her for choosing something healthy and listening to what her body wanted, and the smoothie turned out surprisingly delicious. She celebrated her “pirate smoothie” with her best pirate sneer.

Evi's Pirate Smoothie Sneer

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Taste the rainbow…

Taste the rainbow summer dinnerIt’s hot and muggy out, and the last thing I wanted to do after a heavy lunch out was cook or eat anything heavy.

Enter the “Taste the Rainbow” summer dinner…

1 low carb whole wheat tortilla (Trader Joe’s)
1Tbsp ranch yogurt (I mixed a packet of ranch dip mix into a 16oz container of plain fat free Chobani)
1 baby carrot
half of a small/medium summer squash
a small handful of spinach

I spread the ranch yogurt on the tortilla, then used a vegetable peeler to cut up the carrot & squash. I hand tore the spinach on top then dropped on just a little bit more ranch.

Add a side of sweet red cherries, and it made the perfect summer dinner…. good enough to make a reappearance in tomorrow’s lunch.

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Check In

Fit for the gamesI’m almost a week in and still going strong on the new, reduced cal plan. I’ve also made some workout changes in light of this article, which talks about shifting away from certain weight machines in favor of free/body weight workouts.

FOOD: I’m still no hungrier than I have been, and still not seeing any physical issues like headaches, dizziness, weakness, or over-tired. I’m having an increasingly easy time making better and better food choices, since limiting my calories means choosing the most filling, satisfying foods to make up those calories. As such, I’m seeing a HUGE decline in my cravings fro sweets and alcohol. I had a beer the other night and it was awesome, but did not automatically spark the wanting of another one as it had done before this cut back. I had a serving of dark chocolate at lunch today and again, no immediate craving for more. I followed it up with spicy black bean soup too, which helped a lot in terms of resetting my palate. I’m definitely eating a lot more vegetables, fewer carbs, and more protein. I know it’s something I could do without limiting my calories, but at least right now it’s too easy for me to fill up a larger calorie goal with the wrong foods. When I know I have a very limited amount, it’s much easier to choose the foods I know will keep me going.

EXERCISE: I’ve stopped doing the leg press in favor of squats. They don’t feel as effective overall, so I may up the reps there. I’ve switched away from most of the arm machines too, and while on paper it looks like I’m not working as hard since I’m using MUCH lower weights, I’m feeling it a lot more. I’ve also mostly gotten rid of a seriously pesky soreness in my left shoulder that was really bothering me. It took me weeks to figure out that it happened after I used the chest incline press machine. Tossing a medicine ball, which I combine with squats, is working much better without making it feel like my shoulder is broken somehow. Also, despite doing the same number of sets/reps, it’s taking me less time… so I’m able to fit 15-20 minutes of cardio in at the end. To help me stay on track with free weights and the like, I ordered The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Sexier, Healthier YOU!, suggested by a fellow early-morning gymrat.

Speaking of which, I’m doing intervals of 3.5mph and 6mph. I’m only able to do about 15 minutes most mornings, so I’m doing a little over a mile in that time, which is the best consistent speed I’ve ever had. I’m wondering if I could maintain those intervals for a longer time, and I’m considering attempting my first ever treadmill based 5K this weekend.

I’ll get back on the scale and take new measurements on Friday, so we’ll see if this new plan is showing fast results. Even if it’s not, I like the way it’s making me feel, so I’m sticking with it for a while.

What works for you? What makes you feel your best?

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I AM A WARRIOR

Warrior Dash 2012: Conquered… mostly.

First, some off topic notes.
1. Today’s Green Monster smoothie – 2 bananas, 1/4 cup 0% vanilla Chobani, 1tbsp hot fudge ice cream topping, 3 cups baby spinach. Awesome.
2. The Activia experiment went awry. Unless I had a smoothie, which doesn’t happen every day, I would forget to eat the yogurt. I do think it was helping, but I didn’t love the taste and hated having to eat a certain food every day. I’ve switched now, per the advice of a pharmacist, to Phillips Colon Health. I leave the bottle next to my bed and take one every night before I sleep. It’s been almost a week now, and I am seeing a small but significant improvement. So… yay? I’m giving the pills a month to make a difference, and if I don’t see big changes in that time, I’ll start elimination diets to see if I have a food trigger.

Now… on to much more important things.

On our way...We left my house at 8am on Saturday morning to make the one hour drive to the event site, since we’d been instructed to get there at least an hour and a half before our 10:30 wave time. We’d also heard that you could start in earlier or later waves if you wanted, so we figured we’d just get there, pick up our packets, pee, and get into the first wave we could.

The drive was quick and easy, and we didn’t actually hit traffic until we were a few car lengths away from the parking lot. We got in easily, parked quickly, and made the walk down to get our packets. The atmosphere was already crazy and awesome, and we could see the crowd around the huge tanker trucks where the morning’s first waves were already getting hosed down with the COLDEST WATER ON EARTH. Music was loud, muddy people were everywhere, and the whole place was downright festive. Everyone looked happy. A surprising number of people had already started on beers, which was weird for me since it was 9am. All the same, everyone was super happy.

We stood for a while watching the finishers leap over fire. Interestingly enough, from where we stood we couldn’t see the final mud pit, so we started out pretty confused as to how the fire jumpers looked reasonably clean but people all over the place were totally covered in mud. We figured it out soon enough though…

Fuzzy Hats!We picked up our packets, pinned on our race bibs, and donned our super awesome furry warrior hats. I was still super excited at this point, and ready to conquer the whole thing. There were a lot of people around us in the parking lot, and everyone was pretty amped up and ready to go. I was pleased to see that although there were a TON of super fit people, not everyone looked like an Olympian. People of all shapes and sizes were there to be warriors. It was super inspiring, and made me feel like the whole thing was slightly (just slightly) less insane for me to be attempting.

Once we felt reasonably settled, we jumped into the corral and waited. My excitement was quickly switching to MAJOR nerves. Man, I was getting SO nervous. There was an MC who was trying to get us engaged, but everyone was so focused on the starting line that it wasn’t working very well. He launched a beach ball into the crowd, and it promptly fell down over and over again before being totally abandoned. As we stood there, I looked around and noticed we were completely surrounded by super fit looking people, which got my nerves going again. The clock finally counted down, and we passed over the start line and under huge towers of fire. Man, they gave off a ton of heat. I remember thinking as I passed under them that maybe I should be afraid of the fire at the end, which was scaring my race partner but hadn’t been an issue for me, just because of the heat.

So… first off was a trail run. I’m not used to trails and I was wearing terrible shoes for running, so I was slipping a lot. There was a TON of mud and several (probably intentional) huge puddles in the middle of the track. It was very narrow for how many people started in our wave, but it thinned out soon enough as fast people took off. It felt like everyone was passing us, which was making me feel a little bad about myself…. but I was trying. I probably could have run all of the distances between obstacles, but we’d made a pact to stick together so we walked a far amount. I ended up charging right through the mud puddles instead of trying to skirt the edges. I figured the faster I got dirty, the easier it would be. Plus, the edges were super crowded and people kept falling.

And then came the obstacles. I’m going to try to talk about them in order, but I don’t really have a clear memory of what happened when, so I’m sure they’ll end up jumbled.

Barricade Breakdown – this was a section of alternating barricade and barbed wire, so you had to go up and over, then down and under. It was pretty easy for me and made me feel good about moving forward. I’m short, so I had to really work to get my leg up over the walls, so my goal for next year is more upper body strength so I can just lift myself up instead of climbing. The barbed wire bits were super easy, but super dirty.

Cargo Climb – Oh man. Have I mentioned my fear of heights? Well, apparently it’s worse than I thought. I got all the way to the top of the cargo net, then froze and was completely unable to move. At this point we were surrounded by the serious racers with time on their minds, so people were getting pissed. I finally just crawled back down the way I came up, shaking and in tears. I was pretty embarrassed at this point and seriously considered bailing… but my race buddy was going strong so I kept moving.

Giant Cliffhanger – This was HUGELY challenging for me, since it meant pulling myself up a considerable incline on a knotted rope in slippery shoes. Note for next year: grippy shoes. I made it up, but barely. Then I promptly froze at the top again when it was time to transition over and down the other side. Thankfully this time I was surrounded by helpful, supportive warriors who helped me up and over. I came down, shaking and relieved to be back on the ground. Being the second climbing obstacle, at this point I was super thankful for the gardening gloves I’d tucked into my waistband. For next year? Don’t forget gloves.

Deadman’s Drop – in which I sustain my first injury… this one involved climbing up a lower wall then dropping down the other side. I made it up and over, terrified but managing (I think this one was much lower), then managed to successfully snag my shirt on the wood of the drop wall and drag my bare stomach along the wall all the way down. It hurt. It still hurts.  I covered it in Neosporin and now instead of looking like the plague, I just look like I was attacked by a particularly stomach-favoring horde of large, angry mosquitoes. I wore my gloves on this one too.

Warrior Wall – Another one I didn’t finish. I just didn’t have the upper arm strength, and there weren’t enough people around to offer help. This one was straight up with a rope, and straight down the other side. I sweated and pulled and tugged and just couldn’t do it. I think my approach might have been wrong, but again… need more upper body strength.

Hell’s Hill – Meh. Big hill. Go up. Go down. Was it tough? Sure, but cardio is my sweet spot. Bring it on.

Storming Normandy – Okay, this part was straight fun. Army crawling under lengths of barbed wire. Awesome.

Petrifying Plunge – Dude, this was a huge water slide. AWESOME. The water was unimaginably cold. About halfway down I was going so fast that for a moment I felt a touch of fear. Then I hit the huge, freezing pool at the bottom and scrambled up, laughing like a drenched hyena, to hop out of the way of oncoming warriors. That part rocked. Lesson for next year: wear fitted, non-cotton clothing since the cotton stuff I had on got so bogged down with water that I felt like I gained twenty pounds.

Trenches – logs were laid across long trenches. Everyone in front of us was just hopping over the logs, so we did the same. It was super easy. As we were going through though, one guy dove down and went through the trenches. Maybe that was what you were meant to do? It certainly looked fun and probably wouldn’t have been harder, though it was significantly dirtier!

Teetering Traverse – this was a zig zag path (side view –> /\_/\_/\) over creaky, shaky boards. I froze in a crouch at the top of the first peak. There was a staff worker on that one (most had been empty of staff) who held my hand to get me across. Thank God for him.

Weirdly Spaced Out Up&Over – not the actual name of this one, but I couldn’t find it on the site. Climb up (freeze at top, get help/support from beefy guys of awesomeness), climb over, climb down. Scared, but done. Glad for the gloves again.

Chaotic Crossover – cargo nets stretched over wooden frames. I wore the gloves again. I moved slow, putting hands and knees on the knots for stability. I was nervous, but got over just fine, if quite slowly. My knees, however, are a mess. Both are one giant bruise now. Battle scars, right? Note for next year: try bear crawling instead.

Like a boss...We went down one final crazy steep hill, which was best conquered by just running as fast as we could, before we could see the end in site!

Warrior Roast – My run buddy conquered her fear of the fire like a boss! I jumped right over. I could feel the heat, but it was super fun. I know there were pro cameras at this point (also at the top of one of the many, many hills and near the chaotic crossover) but I was too thrilled about being so close to done to care. I’m sure the pro pics, which should be out in a few days, are going to look straight up ridiculous. I’m also sure I don’t care and will post them everywhere.

Muddy Mayhem – I saw my race buddy hesitate at this one. It’s the final stretch, just before the finish line, and you have no choice but to go belly down under barbed wire into a DEEP pit of wet, slimy, stinky mud. Everyone was positive it was manure. Trust me (I went to high school in a cowfield, people) it was not poop. It was just silty, mineral laden mud laced with a fair amount of decomposing plant matter. Gross? Not really. It was tough to move though. It was so deep that it was super hard to get a hand/foothold to propel yourself forward. One guy was back-stroking through it like a pool. No idea how he managed that. I pushed and pushed and pushed, mostly using my feet, and made it through. My race buddy was struggling pretty hard, so I stopped to wait for her. Several minutes passed before I remembered that I hadn’t crossed the chip mat yet, so I hopped over it and waited for her on the other side.

I used my hands to push off as much of the mud as I could, then several cups of water to try and clean my hands. Pointless. We had left our cameras/phones in the car, so I stopped a random stranger and asked if she’d use her iPhone to take our picture then email it to me. Thankfully, she was more than willing.

Epic

EPIC

Mud everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I felt like such a total superhero. It was incredible. My race bud was pretty worn out though, so we headed off to get hosed down. The water was insanely, paralyzingly cold and people were crowding in big time. We spent about twenty minutes fighting for time under the hoses before giving up. Here’s what a difference it made:

After the hose...We look so clean, right? Heh. Note for next year? Be a St. Jude’s Warrior, which means access to private showers along with the chance to support an awesome cause.

That awesome pic was taken by the cool people from Bear Naked Granola, who were handing out free packets of granola along with the pictures. I chose the vanilla almond Fit granola, which was sadly not-so-good. Race friend got the maple pecan, which was absolutely delicious. Lesson learned: choose the granola that sounds good, not the one that sounds healthy.

We picked up our free beers, but race buddy didn’t want hers, so I drank them both. Somewhere, there’s another stranger with an iPhone pic of me holding two beers… but his never showed up in my email, so I may never see the glory of that pic. We were headed out when we figured out we weren’t allowed to leave with the beers, so I chugged 32oz of Miller Lite in like ten minutes while we waited in line to donate our grotesque shoes. Lesson for next year: plan to spend more time post-race. I would have liked to browse the merch tents and vendors too.

We headed back to the car, stripped to our underwear in full view of everyone in the parking lot, laughed about how much mud fell out of our sports bras, toweled off the best we could, and changed in to dry (but now no longer clean) clothes.

Fuzzy hat FTW!I donned my fuzzy hat again (hey, I earned it!) and we headed home. I was pleasantly relaxed (thanks, beer!) and snacked on my sub-par granola for the rest of the ride home. At least the granola was free, came with an awesome photo op, gave me another free tiny caribiner, and had a cool bag, right?

Energy for motherhood...We made it home without issue and headed straight to the showers, then took the kids (and Aaron, of course) out for a nice lunch to celebrate our victory. We ran into two other people wearing their Warrior shirts, which was pretty cool.

The shirts they gave us were super nice. I am totally wearing mine under my cardigan at work today. I’m sore. I’m proud. My only regret/frustration? I honestly believe that my biggest obstacle bar-none was mental. I think I could have done everything on that course if I could have beaten my fear of heights.

Here’s where I need your help! How do I conquer a crippling fear of heights?

In the meantime, I’m already making plans and trying to form a team for next year. I WILL do this again, and I will improve every year. Evi’s already talking about doing it with me and is super pissed that she’s not allowed until she’s 14. I can’t wait to be a Warrior family. Her Future Warrior tee shirt is already on its way.

CONQUERED!

CONQUERED!

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