Half Marathon/Cross Training

Things have been crazy. I feel like I never know what I’m doing from one day to the next, which is mostly true in the fitness aspect of my life.

I’ve been working out at the gym nearly daily with crossfit workouts. Fitting run time in has been difficult because there isn’t much to do with the kids during a run. I recruited a neighborhood teen last week for one of my runs because I needed to burn off the crazy. My husband was out of town on business and my kids had reached that point in summer break where they can’t be in close proximity without someone getting hurt [physically or emotionally and often both].

I had been off of my depression meds for a couple of weeks and had a day from hell Monday. I was set off by a bad weigh in. I started crying the moment I got back into my car with the kids in tow. Each tried to ask me what was wrong, but they’d been fighting during the weigh in and I’d grown weary of asking them to stop. I cried many more times and for long periods that day. I talked to my husband and to my best friend. I got my emotions under control. I spent the rest of the week very stressed out, but not feeling like my emotions were getting the best of me. I used to be easily driven to tears, but it has been a long time since I openly cried about anything.

Daily, I went to the gym and planned to run independently. I would stay in my workout clothes all day as a reminder that I still had something to do. A run didn’t happen until Thursday. I finally asked a friend if her teen could help me out. I took an hour to go on a very hot afternoon run. It was amazing, honestly. I had a new playlist. I had one of my water bottles frozen for my fuel belt. It was hot outside, but I was finally running faster than I have been lately. I was able to keep up the speed and I probably could have gone further had I not wanted to get back to the kids. Funny how I needed nothing more than to get away from them, but wanted to get back to them.

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Those are optishokz sunglasses/earphones…

Friday, I knew my husband was coming home from his business trip. I cleaned house most of the day so he’d come home to the house looking perfect. I had time for the gym and I went knowing he’d be home around the same time my workout was complete. That workout nearly broke me. Conditioning was simple. Squat cleans and push ups in varying reps that reduced in each set. Except, I couldn’t do a squat clean correctly and I was supposed to try to challenge myself from the push ups I normally did. My first round of push ups, I couldn’t do more than 3 in a row and my eyes filled with tears by the time I hit 10. I could not be seen crying, so I put my head down and kept trying. I had to bring my leg forward to get my body up a few more times. When I went back to the bar for the squat cleans, I slammed the weighted bar into my shoulder. I started thinking I couldn’t finish the workout and planning to quietly give up. I set down the bar and I stripped weights off of it and continued. I wound up going back to the pushups I normally do [with the plyo box set up at its tallest]. I finished the workout, cleaned up, and went home to my husband finally being back from his trip. I burst into tears instantly. Everything had been so hard all week and I finally got to see him, but I was mad and stinky. He insisted that I wasn’t bad at everything I tried athletically because most people wouldn’t even try. We scheduled me a massage to try to help me relieve the stress. I was still kinda pissed that I bruised myself again right after the Warrior Dash bruises faded.

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I need to accept that I just have bruises all the time.

I skipped Saturday morning gym time in favor of a visit to my local farmer’s market. I got my massage and went to a local restaurant for an old fashioned and a brie appetizer. I feel much less stressed. I don’t feel doomed to live my life in a loop like I did. I am still aware of the repetitive and often frustrating nature of life. I’m glad to admit that I typically don’t let my mood determine my manners and most people were probably unaware of my feelings unless I said something. If anything, I was the amusing kind of damaged person with the dark sense of humor. That seems to be my prevailing personality anyway.

Tomorrow, I run. I’m shooting for 5 miles. I don’t actually need to hit that distance for 2 more weeks, but I want to do it. Wish me luck and good training vibes. I don’t think I can PR the half in Detroit, but I want to get closer to it than I’ve been since my 2016 injury. I want to believe I’ll be in PR shape by October 20th. I’m still considering Indy in November. Gotta get the “N” medal now that I have the “I” and the “Y” is the year I turn 40…

Thanks for reading! I hope you’re having a great summer! The hot part is kind of just beginning in the Midwestern US, but it’ll be gone before race day, hopefully.

I Dashed. Warrior Style.

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It is Monday and I am still excited from my Saturday adventure. I did the Warrior Dash in Joliet, Il. I have stories, bruises, and other souvenirs from that day.

My best friend, Liz made me do it. Well, she kept mentioning it to me until I signed up, so that makes it her fault. We traveled together, but didn’t do the course at the same time. She trains for obstacle course racing (OCR) and I stick to my crossfit and running. She went in a competitive wave at 8am and I chose to go at 9:45am when I registered.

We showed up early and parked in the first row (but still fairly far down). We went in to a table and initialed and signed away our lives on a waiver in order to claim our bibs. Once we had the bibs, we got our tee shirts and I stashed mine away to ensure no post race mud would touch it. We had to go back to get the hats they’d neglected to pass out. The setup was like a fair. There was a stage, a DJ, food tents, people giving samples of things, games with giveaways, a zipline, a kids area (with dirt to play in), a place to buy souvenirs, a beer tent, and all of the race related tents in one large area.

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I love the shirt!

I watched Liz start and tried to see if I could locate her anywhere on the course. With no luck or understanding of how they set up, I camped out under a tree until the first person approached the final 2 obstacles. After watching Liz finish, we took pictures and made our way to wait near the start for my wave. I was getting antsy and almost took off in an earlier wave to avoid waiting, but I went with the 9:45 wave.

Mrs. Muddington’s Mounds: The first obstacle set my mood for the course. It was mud puddles and mounds to climb. People were lined up to drop into a pool of muddy water. After entering, the mound to climb before me was higher than my hands could reach from the water. It was also higher than the person in front of me. When we got to the mound, I laced my fingers together and told her to step up. She asked me if I was sure and I said, “I’m already muddy. Yes.” I helped another and then they turned around at the top and pulled me while someone else pushed from behind. Upon reaching the top, I turned around and grabbed the next person and pulled with all of my might. I was so proud of myself for being able to pull another person toward me as I slid down the other side of the hill into more muddy water.  We repeated a similar task with the help of others and helping others up. It was energizing and I felt strong. The final muddy pool was just a short climb out. Upon returning to running, I thought about how incredible it was with people working together with strangers and being so kind to one another.

Fo Shizzle My Drizzle: The next obstacle was a soaked balance beam, or a wet wooden 4×4 interrupted by a wet ramp climb back onto the board to the end of the pit. The water turned off upon our approach. We didn’t get rinsed by the water, but the boards were still wet to walk upon. I walked gingerly across the board, but the climb wasn’t bad once I turned myself around to go down the other side.

Oscar the Ouch:  This obstacle was a slanted wall, climb down the other side and belly crawl over grass and under barbed wire. I was a little surprised at how high the barbed wire was from the ground and crawled on my knees through it. I had anticipated the need to crawl on my elbows for this one.

Devil’s Crack: This obstacle was bear crawling in covered muddy trenches for 20 feet, then through muddy water into another 20 feet of muddy trench and back out. I probably did it faster than some since I stayed up off of my knees and kept my hands on the trench sides. I hit my head on the 2×4’s that were across the entries and exits of each trench. I was slightly pissed off when I did it exiting because I’d put my hand on the board to prevent braining myself again and I still did it.

The Damn Dam: This is also known as a warped wall. There were people waiting in line to run up the center of the 40 foot tall vertical wall to grab the top and descend the other side. There were strategically placed boards on either side to climb on, so I asked people around me if they were going to go that way and if use of the side was cutting in line. After several people reassured me, I quickly ascended most of the wall. I reached the top board and I couldn’t pull myself up and my feet were sliding off of the other board that I needed to push with my feet. I wiped mud from the rig and my shoes, flung it to the ground, and tried in vain to get my foot to stay put while I pulled with my arms. I threw my body upward and slid back time and again. I joined hands with a girl who’d climbed past me. She held my arm until I slung my leg up to the top and pushed with all of my strength to get up there. I sat momentarily terrified of descending the other side. Once I turned my body, I went as fast as I could to get down to the ground. I hugged each board as I went down as if my feet were still sliding. This might sound “awful” or whatever, but this obstacle was something I remember fondly.

Upslide Down: Mud puddle, slides laid flat with rope netting over them. Lay on your back and pull  yourself backwards along the length of the slide. Liz’s tip for me was, “Keep your mouth closed or dried mud will fall in.”  I instantly understood this advice as dirt crumbled onto my face with each reach of my arms. This obstacle made me feel kind of badass because my arm strength in pulling myself along on the slide while reaching as far as I could with each pull so I could finish quickly.

Climb and Punishment: This was set the opposite way from the warped wall (Damn Dam) that I’d completed because I hadn’t run up the smooth side. The ascending side was 2×4’s set up similar to a ladder and the descending side was boards set into a wall. There was no more than a spot to turn around at the top of this one, though. I did my turn around by throwing my body over the top and dangling my legs to find the next foothold. It worked well and it was probably from Liz comparing it to bareback horses when talking to me about the course. While never having to have done that, her explanation was enough for me.

Splitsville: I honestly thought this was going to be where the 5k and 10k races broke off until I saw that it was an obstacle where 4×4 wood planks were secured to wobbling chains flanked by loose chain handrails with murky water below. I walked gingerly about halfway through until the board started to rotate beneath my feet and I needed to grab the chains on the sides and take huge steps to complete the obstacle. I was amazed at how quickly I’d done that one and heard someone behind me comment, “Wow, that went by faster than I expected.”

Warden’s Wall:  Completely vertical cargo nets. Two on either side of a single shorter one. I decided to do the shorter one and I climbed up to the top, grabbed the spot to pull myself over, and had a bad gut feeling. I didn’t go over. I descended on the ascending side and walked around this setup. I turned my head to look back and saw someone fall. I heard this unforgettable sound and I thought I saw blood trickle from his forehead. Then, I saw people surround him and I bolted for the next aid tent and asked them if paramedics had been called. They said they had, so I went to another tent and repeated my message to the other. I convinced myself to go on so I could see a familiar face and let Liz know I was okay. I hope he was okay and an ambulance did arrive shortly after the incident.

Warrior Roast: This was FIRE! Jump over a fire. It wasn’t too difficult, but probably looked cool in the photo that they took while I jumped. It was over quickly and I didn’t feel much heat from the fire on my muddy legs.

El Capitan: Tall obstacle. Ladder type climb up to cargo net for more upward climbing ending on a platform with a huge slide. My poor ass and that sun heated slide. I made the cute picture face as long as I could, but then squealed with displeasure at my hot butt. This is where the crowds gather toward the finish line.

Muddy Mayhem: Mud pit with barbed wire over the top. There was a man eating lunch and he announced that the barbed wire was real and the mud would swallow your shoes, so he would advise we just swim through. I hopped in, put my arms down and pulled myself through while my rear end floated at water level. I heard people behind me yelling about a lost shoe. I found a foot hold at the end and pulled myself out still feeling pretty pleased with my new found strength to pull my weight. I looked like a mud monster.

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The mud monster. That one is me.

Finished!  I got my medal as soon as I crossed the finish. My race bib was covered and hanging by 2 pins and one was because I’d reattached when I saw it was only dangling from one pin. I got a protein shake placed in my hand and Liz came to the finish and twisted the cap off for me right before I took the whole thing down in one chug.

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Washed it. This bib has seen things…

So. Much. Fun.

She took me to rinse off at the hoses and it did a lot, but nobody would ever be able to tell that I’d rinsed off. I changed clothes in a communal changing tent and tried to get as much mud off as possible, but I was just less covered.

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Left is before/Right is after rinsing off

I got my free beer and had a meal before driving a couple hours home and taking a real shower and a real nap. I discovered so many bruises from this adventure and I consider them badges of honor. I totally show them to everyone I encounter because I want to tell them about how awesome my race was. We should mention that I bruise easily and none of them actually hurt as bad as they look. I didn’t feel any of them when they happened and I thank God for helping me get through this.

 

 

Thanks for reading! I had so much fun! I’m going to link the obstacles here so you can look if you want. Also, this race has the opportunity to raise money for St. Jude, so you should do it if you’re on the fence about it. Warrior Dash Obstacles

Now I have to start half marathon training…

 

 

Purple Slime…all in my rug

I can’t even with this summer break stuff. There is purple slime embedded in the carpet in the playroom. At least the rest of the room is clean?

This week is going to be crazy and I’m prepared. We had a death in the family and will be driving a few hours away to spend time with family in addition to attending the services for my husband’s late Grandma. I’ve teared up each time I’ve talked about her since her passing. She will be missed.

We already had plans for the weekend involving a trip to St. Louis for my husband and younger kids to go to a party. I’m signed up to do a Warrior Dash on Saturday with my closest friend, Liz. She’s going to be my ride back home from St. Louis since my family is staying behind and it’s her fault I’m doing this crazy race.

Today, I woke up at 5 am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got out of bed. I’d already set out clothes to work out in, so I put those on and went to the gym for a 6 am class. Last week, the kids were with me for all of my gym visits. Solo gym visit was nice. The next two days, I actually have to attend class at that time. Then, I’ll miss the next 4 days. When I go back, it’ll be in a new building closer to home (YAY).

I’m not finished weaning from meds (prozac), but it hasn’t impacted my weight. Nothing I’m trying has affected my weight. I honestly thought it would at least change my appetite. I’m not energetic like when I first lowered my dose, but I don’t feel worse from a psychological standpoint. I’m physically stronger. I wish my body showed strength instead of a belly that sticks out when I look at my reflection. I’ll keep doing my thing, though. I enjoy my workouts and I’m about to start training for my fall half marathon.

The heat and humidity has started up in full force and I’m getting tempered to it. While I’m not having any luck losing weight, I see progress in myself and I like it. Don’t forget to look for the things changing that encourage you. I know I sometimes forget.

Thanks for reading! I’ll have to come back to talk about my Warrior Dash.

Photo is after my 4th of July run that was around noon. I think Alexa trolls me with this song.

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