Muddy Buddy (race review)

23 Jul

Saturday, WAY too early in the morning (we’re talking before 5 a.m.) Jas and I set off for the Muddy Buddy. We had coffee in hand, bike in tow, and Princess dresses on. Wait, what? Yup, you read that right, we went thru with the princess dress idea for the race!

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(That’s me in yellow and Jas in pink. The dragon is the one breathing fire!)

The costume contest was set for 6:30, as far as we knew, and I wanted to get my gear checked before we had to show off our matching dresses and dragon bike. Not to mention we still had to attach the head and tail to the bike! Parking was a breeze and well organized, and we got around to attaching decorations to the bike and laughing about how difficult it was going to be to ride it with a tail streaming behind us. I’m not saying it was the absolute best dragon bike ever created, but I am saying my kindergarten-teacher-of-a-mother would be proud of our arts and crafts skills! You don’t grow up kindergarten and not learn valuable skills like paper mache and how to use a hot glue gun. Some strong knots with twine/string/stuff and we were set!

This is probably a good time to mention that as we were attaching our dragon, most people around us were stretching or putting their bikes together… as in bikes that were probably competitive and we wondered what exactly we’d gotten into. Having never done this race before, we weren’t sure how difficult any of the obstacles would be or how much of a competition to expect. We dressed as princesses, after all.

The sad news: we didn’t win the costume contest. The even sadder news: we weren’t even finalists.

But, we’d paid to get these dresses muddy and that was the real goal, right? So we took our turns watching the dragon (Which we named “Cassie” though we constantly referred to it as “He”) and going to the bathroom, because really having to go to the bathroom with no option to do so in sight during the race is just plain obnoxious. Strangely enough, we lost track of each other once we’d split up. We each thought the other had lined up at the start because we hadn’t looked at wave info before and started getting worried that the other would take off without us! This meant a lot of asking strangers things like “Have you seen a girl in a dress exactly like mine around here” and “Did a princess come take the dragon?” Eventually a girl came up to me and said “Oh! Your friend was just here! She moved your bike!” To which, I replied that no, that had been me moving the bike. But Jas was nearby and overheard me say “She’s wearing a dress that looks like mine” and we were reunited!

By the time our heat was up, we were raring to go. I was biking for the first leg, Jas was running. I wish I’d have started further up in the pack of bikers because I got stuck behind a few more leisurely paced ones and couldn’t get any speed going. After a few elevation changes (biking thru the barn was pretty fun, hoping not to crash into anyone on the way down… not so much) and plenty of turns, the path widened and I could finally get around the people directly in front of me. And about that time we hit the first obstacle. Over the obstacle and off on foot.

I’d say the most surprisingly scary obstacle for me was the inflatable cargo slide. The slide in itself wasn’t bad. That steep of a drop in a fancy dress? I nearly flew off the end of it! I was laughing with a guy I’d been running with about how poorly designed dresses were for events like this.

The crawl thru the mud pond (they call it a pit, but it was so much water I say pond) was fun, and I was happy we got to do that part together. We crossed the finish line at 1:01:11.2 and I’m pretty darn proud of that.

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(Who says it isn’t lady-like to play in the mud?)

Race Review In Numbers: 

Organization: 3/5 The website offers little of the information I wanted and when Jas asked at packet pick-up the volunteers weren’t very well informed. However, once we got to the race everything went very smoothly and people were friendly and knowledgeable.

Race Support: 5/5 The volunteers along the course were lovely! They’d offer so many positive words and were all very taken by the dresses! I guess it is something you don’t see every day… 🙂

Obstacles: 3/5 They were somewhat varied. That is one of the most important things to me on an obstacle course. None of them were amazing but they were all fun. I would have liked less “Climb over this” type and more diversity, but for a race that they needed two sets of almost all the obstacles, they do a pretty darn good job.

Course: 4/5 It was very flat. There were a few steep inclines and declines but none of them were for very long. Rough terrain offered more challenge for the biking, but as I was running I caught myself thinking over and over that all I was going thru were sunny corn fields.

Difficulty: 3/5 The distance was more challenging than the obstacles in my mind. They were a nice change of pace as was alternating between biking and running, but nothing needed any amazing physical strength or prowess.

Overall Experience: 4/5 I didn’t go into this one expecting a huge physical challenge. I’d go to Spartan or Tough Mudder for that. This was very laid back and the way they divided the heats probably had a lot to do with that. We were in the middle group (I think) for females. Perfect! The atmosphere of the whole event was just to have good fun and do silly things. The fellow racers were up for some chatter along the course and everyone seemed to be all smiles.

Things I wish were different:
~If I were to do it again, I’d try to get a group of four. That way you always have a friend with you. Since that is in the name of the race, it was a bit of a bummer that along the course, we only got to see each other in passing moments.
~More diversity in the obstacles. Let me get dirtier earlier, or crawl under more, or balance on things, or cross monkey bars. Most of the obstacles were climbing over things. Also, leap fire. I always want to leap fire in obstacle races.
~More info on the website. I may be slow to find things in general on websites, but I had difficulty finding the forms to change my partner (original buddy had a job get in the way, so Jas jumped in). I even emailed them about it and sent them all the info they asked for and it was still never updated.

Goals this Race:
1. Win Costume Contest. status: not achieved
2. Not walk. status: achieved!

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Interested in doing it yourself? Check out www.muddybuddy.com

~Megan

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Why Workout? Why fitness?

17 Jul

Everyone has their own reasons for hitting the gym, or pavement, or water, or eating healthier, or whatever it is you’re focusing on. For me it is fairly simply: to have fun. I love the high after a good workout, or the pride I feel when I look at finisher medals from races. Even more than that, I love seeing medals on my friends’ walls and remembering how we did that race together.

Jas and I are running the Muddy Buddy this Saturday and decided to get some training in. Because training is a good idea, right? Right. So we started by looking at the route to figure out elevation shifts and make note of when we’d be biking uphill vs downhill, what obstacles lay ahead of us. You know, the logical stuff. Then we started reading the website. There is a costume contest.

Suddenly our “training” derailed into shopping for parts to turn her bike into a dragon and find dresses and tiaras for us to race in. There are a few pictures in a phone somewhere of us making the tiaras (the Dollar Store is fantastic) and I’m sure they, along with race photos, will surface after Saturday’s fun.

Fitness is hard. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes you have to push yourself to get out the door. I live for the times it is ridiculous and you can’t stop laughing. I mean, laughing is an ab workout too, right?

Why do you get out there and do what you do?

~Megan

Food Journals

7 Jul

I finally started watching “Weight of the Nation” (streaming free on HBO.com). This video will put the fear of god right into you. The first episode is all about the dangers of obesity and being overweight, the second all about how to lose and keep the weight off. Two women who have successfully lost 100lbs a piece discuss the journey of weight loss. The narrator (in text form, rather than in voice) discloses how rigorous these women must be in their calculating and tracking of calories- as if it were in some way a miracle of hard work and magic.

I’m here to say- It is not. Don’t be frightened of calorie trackers or food journals. Write down every item of food or drink that passes between your perfect lips. I suppose it can seem on the outset as if this takes focus, will power, determination, but all it takes is a decision and possibly thirty seconds to a minute of time looking up nutritional information and writing it down. If you don’t think you have thirty extra seconds to punch “calories in a banana” into Google, then truly I say to you: Don’t Be Ridiculous.

If you’ve lost some weight, you know what I’m talking about. I don’t mean to deprive you of any sense of immense self control and work. Weight loss does take self control and work. Weight loss does require focus an effort. But this focus and effort has surfaced within you in so many other parts of your life. Take a second and think about what you are proud of. Do you have a job you love? How about an apartment or home? How about long-distance friendships or a piece of art work or anything, really, that gives you joy and pride. These things did not come to you overnight with no effort. You did not wake up one day and have all that you currently have sitting in front of you. You already HAVE focus and willpower and intelligence enough to work towards weight loss. Just apply it. You can do it, you already have. Start with a food journal.

On my part, I track my food every day. All food, every day of the year. Sometimes I slip up and go over my calories (how many calories do you need a day?) but I know when that is happening because I keep track. Knowledge is power, and all that.  Look, weight loss is not easy. But neither was that degree you earned, or that job you love, or anything worth having. I’ll keep at it and I’ll find challenges and successes. You and I can only fail if we give up, so we won’t.

Now, I need to go find a workout for this afternoon. Any suggestions?

–Ariel

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Crazy, right? Not really.

3 Jul

When you live through a weight loss experience, so much happens on the way that the amazing “before and after” feeling reveals itself slowly. I still haven’t woken up, looked in the mirror and thought “HOLY COW I AM SO THIN AND HEALTHY!”. But when I finish a race, or up my milage or get through those thirty damn burpees, I know the satisfaction of sweat earned.

Sweat earned, calories burned. Yes, it is for life and it will be a process for the rest of my life. It is a process that requires strategy and planning. That’s why the overnight revelation doesn’t exist, and why it doesn’t seem so crazy.  Weight loss takes planning and focus. But I did it, and I can keep doing it. And so can everyone else. –ArielImage

Hello world! Megan here…

24 Jun

What better way to kick off a blog about getting out there and working out, than with a big ol run? Jas, Michael and I went for a 6 miler today that was a mix of running and walking (Way too hot out to run the whole time). I don’t think any of us had it easy today but we certainly had the door lady laughing as we pushed it all the way to the front door!

Post run was filled with hydration and chatter. I love the high after running. My knees were less than happy about being worked today but in that moment, I was so proud of all of us for battling heat, listening to our bodies and just getting out there and doing it.

Lesson of the day: My arms are rubbish. We stopped to try pull ups on a playground swing… couldn’t even do one. This will change.