Week 60: Fun in the Mud

Warrior DashA few weeks ago, I had the chance to play in the mud. I couldn’t pass that up! So, my roommate and I signed up for my new favorite race: the Warrior Dash.

Several of my friends had run the Warrior Dash before. They had told me it was a difficult 3-mile muddy run full of obstacles to climb over, like giant wooden walls and piles of cars, and that you had to jump over fire pits to cross the finish.

I thought they were exaggerating… I was wrong.

My friends and I got to the Warrior Dash after a very bumpy ride through a farm’s field, i.e. the parking lot. As we waited in line, we scoped out the people who had run in the waves before us; they came walking slowly from the finish line area, covered from torso to toe in mud, some laughing, some looking exhausted, some looking just plain weird (weird = the men in muddy pink tutus).

As we watched people walking around, we still weren’t sure what to expect. Then I heard someone say, “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done!” and wondered what I had gotten myself into this time.

We waited like cattle in the starting area, and after a sudden countdown from 10 to 1, we were off! It was a nice leisurely jog at first, along pretty woods and soft field dirt. I could get used to this, I thought; it’s a walk in the park!

Then we got to the first hill: a steep muddy incline that made it virtually impossible to stay on your feet. At the bottom, we had to cross a stream…then climb up the other side of the muddy bank with the throngs of fanatical racers.

As I got passed by a man dressed in a black suit and aviator goggles (really), I spied our next obstacle across the field: people were hurdling up the side of a 15-foot wooden wall and over the top to who knows what on the other side. As we approached, I wondered if my spindly arms could take on this beast of a wall. I decided that I better suck it up since I knew there were several more climbing obstacles coming my way. So, I grabbed the rope, mustered my little arm strength, and made it up and over!

With one wall mastered, I made my way through the 3-mile run, one obstacle at a time… Up and over more walls, through an army-style tire course, jumping from platform to platform above the ground, climbing over destroyed cars, scuttling over nets, and avoiding flying elbows and knees.

Then I saw it ahead: the two tiers of flaming dirt that I had to jump over. The “warrior roast,” they called it.

This obstacle was for real?!

I could see the finish line from there, and I was thirsting for my free malty beverage that lay just beyond the endpoint. I took a breath, ran as fast as I could, and took a leap. I tried to call back good form from my hurdling days in high school, hoping I wouldn’t fall this time. I must be a natural born fire-leaper, because I didn’t even feel the slightest lick of a flame on my ankles.

I was almost there—but one more obstacle lay in my way. Up to this point, I couldn’t understand why people who had finished the race before me were SO muddy. The warrior gods shone down on the answer: a giant 20-foot long mud pit glinted (er, gurgled) in the sun with barbed wire strung above it. You had to get down and dirty in almost two feet of mud to get under that wire without getting caught.

Luckily, I had no issues getting a little mud under my nails. I swam my way to the end, got my muddy butt up, and crossed the finish line with my roommate right next to me.

We’re warriors now!

(My once-pedicured toenails have the scars to prove it.)

Stay tough,
Amanda
@jockey_amanda

Week 54: What next?

In my last post, I told you that after finishing the half-marathon, I wondered, What next?

Well, I realized that I have several answers to that question already!

5K for a Cause.
Next weekend, I am visiting my older sister, who talked me into running a 5K. But it isn’t just any old 3.1-mile race, it’s a race sponsored by a great non-profit organization, Girls on the Run, that encourages young girls to develop healthy “physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.” My sister has run with the organization before, so she painted me a picture of what I’m getting myself into: Dressing up in goofy outfits and running along with a huge group of happy young girls, helping encourage them along a 5K race to the finish. I will have a “buddy” to run with the whole time—I just hope I can keep up with her!

The longest relay race ever.
Well, maybe not really the longest ever—but it might possibly be! Last year, I ran the MC200 relay race, which was advertised as 200 miles long but really was more like 206 miles. This year, it’s an official Ragnar Relay race, so I’m hoping that it’s a bit more organized and they have more water along the course. There are 10 people on my team, including two of my fabulous Jockey co-workers, plus a couple friends who ran last year and are crazy enough to come back and do it again, like me! This year, I’ll be running almost 20 miles split into 4 separate legs, over the course of a day and a half. Will I make it? You’ll have to check back to find out!

Dash like a warrior.
The week after the longest relay race ever, I decided to make myself seem even more insane and signed up for the Warrior Dash with a couple friends. We plan to run the 3.28-mile long obstacle/mud/craziness-filled race as a team, so we’ll just have a lot of fun and help each other along the way. Obstacles along the course include mud pits, cargo nets, running through a river, and of course, leaping over a fire pit. Will I survive THIS race, you wonder? You’ll have to check back near the end of June (and pray) to see if I do!

It’s been over a year since I started blogging about getting in shape and enjoying a healthier lifestyle, and if you can’t tell by this post, I’ve found the best way to stay motivated is to keep both short-term and long-term goals, and to make them fun. My advice: Get your friends and family involved! Having support and supporting others is always encouraging and motivating.

What are your summer plans and goals?

Thanks for coming along with me over these past 54 weeks—they have been the best yet!

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 149 pounds
This week: 149 pounds
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Embrace the madness,
Amanda
@jockey_amanda

Week 36: Top 11 lessons of 2011. (So far.)

Alternate post title: “The run that almost wasn’t—that was—that probably shouldn’t have been—but I’m glad was.”

Does that make any sense? No? Well, that’s why I made it the alternate title.

The run I’m talking about that “almost wasn’t,” is the run I went on yesterday afternoon. While I ran, a lot of random thoughts went through my head (like usual) and turned into the premise for this post: Over these first two weeks of 2011, I have had a few lessons in weight loss and working out. This week, I want to impart a few tidbits of wisdom, in the hopes that you won’t have to learn these lessons the hard way, like I may have.

#1. s-NO-w problem. A little snow never hurt anyone. Watch your step, or get special spikes for your shoes for better traction, and you’ll be fine taking your workout outside. But, BE careful! During my run yesterday, it started to snow, so the sidewalks became slick. I ended up falling flat on my butt. I didn’t get hurt—but I will most definitely be more careful from now on. (And that is one reason my run probably “should not have been.”)

#2. Wear enough gear for the outdoors. Like I just said: It’s snowing, it’s cold, but you can still walk or run outside. Just make sure you wear the right gear, even if that means doubling up everything you put on. Running tights, sweatpants, a long-sleeved shirt, t-shirt, running jacket, ear warmers, a hat, and mittens have been my running attire during my last several runs. (I like to think that the extra five pounds of clothes I’m wearing means that I’m burning more calories.)

#3. But don’t wear the wrong gear. Yesterday, I tried wearing a scarf so my face wouldn’t be so cold during my run. All I could find was my scratchy wool scarf. Wrong choice. During the entire run all I could smell was a flock of dirty sheep.

#4. Laugh at the insanity of it all. During a snowstorm the other night, I was running on the back roads near my apartment so I could avoid traffic. I did not, however, avoid the incredulous gazes of everyone who was out shoveling their driveways or sidewalks. I just smiled and waved and continued on my way.

#5. When you’re the least motivated, be prepared to have your best workout. I had NO energy or ambition to run last night. I finally decided to suck it up and get outside. I ended up feeling great when I got going and ran 4.5 miles. So, next time you’re unmotivated, just get moving—you’ll surprise yourself.

#6. Slow & steady wins the weight loss race. I may have only lost half a pound this week, but, I have also not deprived myself of a crazy chocolatey brownie on Sunday, tacos, a nice dinner out with a friend, and a couple birthday drinks this week. By not depriving myself, but still eating smart 90% of the time, I have been able to continue my slow, steady weight loss—and will continue to keep it off.

#7. Eat a workout for lunch. Have you ever had things pop up that make it impossible to do your normal fitness routine after work? Tonight, for instance, I’m heading into the city with my roommate to celebrate our birthday. In order to fit in today’s workout, I came into work extra-early and then took a long lunch so I could run & shower, and then still leave work at my normal time. Squeezing in the workout during lunch allowed me to get in my scheduled run without ruining my plans for later.

#8. Love your sleep. Okay, it’s not hard to love sleep—but most of you probably don’t get enough. I used to stay up late at night and suffer when getting up early in the morning. Now that I work out every day, I make myself go to bed early. (There is no drawback—I just watch less bad reality television.) Being more active means your body needs more sleep, or else you’ll become run down or injured. Embrace your longer sleeping hours & know they’re giving your body time to recover.

#9. Make sure you check your serving sizes. Keeping track of calories and nutrients is important when you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight and diet. I tried some new frozen ravioli last week, and I was stoked that they were so low in calories for so much food, especially pasta… It wasn’t ‘til after I ate them that I realized I had actually eaten two servings instead of one. Watch those labels!

#10. Keep an eye on your goals. I have a calendar where I chart the workouts that I want to do every week for my training, and then I write under those workouts what I actually did. As the calendar fills up, it keeps me motivated to complete my next day’s workout. It also motivates me to see how far I’ve come over the last weeks or months.

#11. Never give up! Cliché, but true. I already told you how I fell on my butt yesterday during my run. There was definitely a car in the driveway next to where I fell, with people inside. They probably thought I was (1) crazy for running in the snow, (2) laughed when I fell down, and (3) thought I was even crazier when I got up, brushed the snow off my butt, and took off running again. But, I’m proud that I just got up and kept going, instead of turning around and walking back home (which I thought about doing for a split second). Whether you fall down literally, or let your diet fall into an unhealthy state, you always have the choice to get back up again.

What have you learned so far in 2011?

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 147 pounds
This week: 146.5 pounds (Only 1.5 pounds away – WOW!)
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Happy birthday to me! :)
Amanda
@jockey_amanda