Tough Mudder 2017

Yesterday, my husband and I, along with 6 other friends, completed the Tough Mudder. If you aren’t familiar with this event, it’s a 10+ mile muddy, wet, and very challenging obstacle course.¬†If you don’t like mud, getting dirty, getting wet, or having wet feet, this is NOT the event for you!

The event was held at the Wild Wings Gun Club in Hugo, MN. We were glad it was so close to our house. Parking at the event was $20, so everyone met here, and we took 2 vehicles to bring everyone there. Afterwards, our team came over for pulled pork, baked beans with bacon, and some good old-fashioned reliving the event we had just completed together.

In preparation for the event, I was working out at the gym, focusing on upper body, and core strength. On the playground at preschool, I had been practicing crossing the monkeybars. The first day of school, I couldn’t do any. Last week, I was able to cross five. I was feeling very encouraged by this! My legs have gotten quite strong over the past year, so I didn’t worry too much about those. I just added some weight to my squats (sometimes using kettlebells, sometimes using hand weights). A few weeks’ back, I messed up my back, so I had to take the most critical time of training to deal with that. ūüė¶ ¬†It was a good thing I took that time though, because it held up great through the entire event! I was really nervous it wouldn’t. Thank you to chiropractor, Dr. John Tomlinson for helping get it back on track!

Laura and I after Tough Mudder. We were the only two women on our team.

It was a super hot day. Temps were over 90, with very little cloud cover. There was no amount of training that I could have done or not done to prepare me for the heat. We were all sweating and stinky before we even started. At the first obstacle, they told us weather conditions were red, so they were recommending people not run, and drink plenty at the water stops.

After parking, we walked about a mile to the check-in location. Then, we dropped our bag in the bag drop area, and headed for the queue at the starting gate. Our assigned start time was 11:00. It was about 11:15 when they let the group for the Tough Mudder Half go. We probably got to head for the actual starting gate around 11:30. There, we waited more, and probably around 12, got to actually get started.

We jogged the first 1/2 – 3/4 mile, before some of us started to walk. We had well over 10 miles ahead of us, why expend all that energy early on? We always made sure at least one person stayed with the person at the back. Sometimes that was me, sometimes Dan, Tim, or Jason. No matter who it was, no one was left behind. My goal was not to get it done fast, just to finish it.

We had to carry this wood as a group. It was heavy! Due to a miscommunication at the end, it was even more difficult for the couple of teammates who carried it all the way to the end.

The first obstacle we came to was called Kiss of Mud 2.0 . You can’t see me in the video, but you can watch as my husband crawls through the mud, under barbed wire. Teammate Charlie caught this video. I was to the right of him, so you catch me periodically. It wasn’t too bad. On another obstacle that started out in a similar way, I did get poked in the butt by barbed wire near the end. I thought I was all the way at the end, but I wasn’t quite done yet. Oops.

Post-Mudder selfie.

As the event went on, there were walls to climb over, mud to crawl through, pipes to climb up, wood to carry, etc. Most of the terrain was hilly, and uneven. I was definitely not prepared for that. It made for some very sore muscles, even with us walking most of the course.

The easiest obstacles for me tended to be the climbing ones. I guess my years of rock climbing paid off (even if I’m not very strong any more). ¬†The hardest obstacle for me personally, was called Everest 2.0. This was a steep halfpipe, with a rounded top. Apparently, the trick is to use speed to run up as fast as you can. People at the top help each other, but they say not to aim for the hands. This obstacle was at the half way point for us. For whatever reason, I felt like I was completely out of gas. I struggled to muster up the energy to get enough speed to make it to the top. After 3 tries (plus one where I started to run, and started laughing at something someone said, so bailed), I was ready to admit defeat. I was frustrated and exhausted. I hadn’t eaten in several hours, and had long since burned through my breakfast. I decided to try one more time. This time, by a miracle, Chris, one of my teammates, caught my hand. Matt, another team mate jumped next to him to grab my other one. Charlie, our team captain, was trying to grab my leg. I didn’t have the strength to even swing it over… after hanging for what seemed like an eternity, I mustered the strength to swing it over, where he grabbed it, and they all pulled me over.

Luckily, I found a second wind after that. I managed to make it through all the rest of the obstacles. There were 3 obstacles I did not complete…. two had to do with going through electric wires. I got zapped pretty bad in high school, and didn’t want to relive that experience, so I skipped those two. The third obstacle I did not complete, was called Kong. It was a Legionaires-only obstacle. That means that only people who had completed the Tough Mudder ¬†at least once could do that obstacle. Since it was my first time, I couldn’t try it. That was ok by me, because I knew I would fail. The obstacle before that one had monkey bars, etc. I was very disappointed in myself that I only made it across two monkey bars before I fell in the water. I was hoping to make it at least halfway across. Oh well, maybe next year.

Didn’t realize how banged up my knees were, until after my shower.

Four hours or so later, we finished the Tough Mudder. We were hot, sweaty, sore, and utterly exhausted! At the same time, it was thrilling to know that we had done it. We all had some battle wounds – cuts, bruises, scrapes, and lots of sunburn (despite putting plenty of sunblock on before hand). Some of us struggled with muscle cramps during the event, but it was all worth it!!

I now know how to train differently. I need to make sure I have a bigger breakfast that day, to make sure I pre-hydrate, and do some practice run/walks on hilly terrain. I will continue to work on being able to do things like pull ups, rings, monkey bars, and climbing walls. I will likely also go to a “Ninja Gym” to practice doing things like climbing ropes, and running up walls.¬†I will be better prepared to not only complete obstacles, but also to be a better teammate, more capable of helping others over the obstacles.

I loved that this was such a team-focused event. We all worked together, and we made it! I am looking forward to doing the Tough Mudder again in the future!

 

 

 

School Trip

My scrapbook page from our band trip to Chicago, Junior Year of high school. This was just after dinner at Ed Dbeviks.

Tomorrow, my daughter heads out to Chicago with her choir. I’m not sure who’s more excited, her, or me?

While in Chicago, they are going to have some really cool experiences! They are going to see a production of Chicago, going to see The Blue Man Group, and going to the Aquarium. They are also going to Millenium Park – because you can’t go to Chicago as a tourist, and not take pictures in front of the Bean! They are also going to Navy Pier, and a few other locations. Of course, they also are doing some singing while they are there. Instead of a dance master class, like Grace is used to, they are doing a choir master class with a college professor.

She is so excited for her 4 days in the Windy City with her friends, that I’m surprised she’s sleeping at all!

I am excited for her, because I remember my band trips from high school very fondly! Some of my very favorite high school memories were made on our trips to Chicago (Junior Year),  and Toronto (Senior Year). As an adult, I have had the pleasure of visiting Chicago a few times. I saw The Blue Man Group, the parks, etc. and enjoyed them all.

I can’t wait to hear all about her adventures when she gets back!

 

We Adopted Two Kittens!

Anyone who knew me growing up, knows I always had multiple dogs and cats. We showed Samoyeds, and usually had 2 or 3. We also had at least 2 cats most of the time. I could never imagine a house with no animals. For a good part of my adult life, I had no pets. It always seemed like there was something missing.

When Grace was 3 or 4, we got a cat, Snugglebug. Grace loved the cat, but was allergic. The cat also started peeing and pooping in the house when we weren’t home. We realized at that time, that we just weren’t home enough to give the cat the attention it needed and deserved. My mom helped us find another home for her.

About 7 years ago, I got Duke, a black lab mix. We have thoroughly enjoyed having him as part of our family.

Recently, my husband started talking about getting a cat. I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. We talked, and decided we wanted a female kitten, preferably with short hair… I started looking around, and found out it’s harder to find kittens to adopt than you would expect. I looked online, and I went to several Petsmart stores, since a friend of mine said she saw kittens at one. I stopped at a local Humane Society, and found no kittens. On a website of a local shelter, they said they have adoption events at Petsmart locations on Saturdays from 11-2. After over a week of searching, we decided to take a chance, and see what they had for animals at the adoption event.

20161231_114216When we first got there, there were several crates lined up with young cats. They were all so cute! As we were looking at them, I jokingly said to my husband, “Can’t we just take them all home?” He looked at me, and said, “Do you want 2?” Again, I thought he was kidding. Again, he wasn’t. There was one female (with long hair), and one handsome male that really grabbed our attention. We ended up with both of them. We named them Luke and Leia, because we are that geeky!

The kittens are from different litters, but are only a day apart in age. They were fostered in the same home, so are siblings for all intents and purposes. The agency that we adopted from was St. Francis of Assissi Animal Rescue of Forest Lake. They are a foster-based shelter. The family that fostered these kittens was there to answer all our questions about them. The foster mom, Tia, obviously loved the kittens. She had had the girl kitten since birth, and got the male a short while later. We are very lucky that they were in such a great home for the first 3-4 months of their lives!

Luke and Leia seem very happy in their new home!

Luke and Leia seem very happy in their new home!

Both kittens are very cuddly, playful, and adapted very well to their new home. They haven’t been at all nervous or shy like the shelter thought they could be. They have explored the house, found favorite places to lay, and They are not afraid of the dog. We are taking our time introducing them, using only short “meet and greets” a few times a day for the next couple days. The female cat seems very interested in him. We’ll see how it goes as they get to spend more and more time together.

I am glad we got two kittens… they entertain each other, and us! With 2 adults, 5 kids (though one spends most of his time away at college), 1 dog, and 2¬†cats, our house now feels complete! ūüôā

12 Days of Fitness

Lifetime Fitness had a “12 Days of Fitness” challenge. If you completed all 12 workouts, you’d be entered into a chance for a Spa services. Since I could really use a massage, I went for it. In the 14 days of the challenge, I managed to complete 8 of the workouts. I also had a personal training session with Kevin, who showed me how to properly use kettlebells, and showed me some of the equipment listed on some of the workouts, so I would know what to do to complete them… I also attended a Kettlebell class as part of the 60 Day Challenge. That class kicked my butt, and I decided to let my body rest for the next 2 days (during which time, I completed all of my Christmas shopping, and baked most of my Christmas cookies).
Am I disappointed that I didn’t get all 12 workouts done? A little, but I still feel really good about what I accomplished during that time! I tried new things I previously wouldn’t have. I took pictures of some of the workouts that I enjoyed, so that I can do them again in the future.
I’m not going to lose a bunch of weight right now… I’m working towards a healthier me, I’m working to maintain where I am at, I am working towards building up my strength. Once the holidays are over, I will get back to focusing on what I’m eating again, while continuing to work out. I might not get skinny again (heck, when I was, people were offering me a sandwich everywhere I went, and that’s annoying). That said, I don’t ever want to get to the point where I am disgusted by what I see in the mirror – not ever again!!
The journey is what it’s about, and that journey is still going. ūüôā

The MyFitnessPal App

As part of my journey to get in shape, and be more¬†healthy,¬†I have been using is the MyFitnessPal app. It’s a free app in the Play Store. My husband uses the paid version, which just gives him a few more benefits. For me, the free version is good enough. Here’s how I use the app:

  1. First, I entered my goals, and it calculated how many calories/day I should eat.
  2. I enter my food and exercise every day, and it keeps track of how many calories I have left, or went over for the day. What’s nice, is that it adds calories to what I can eat, based on the amount of exercise I do. For someone like me, who loves to eat, that’s great motivation to work out!
  3. screenshot_20160911-222452The app¬†breaks down what I’ve eaten into percentages of protein, carbs, and fats. It tells me what I should aim for, which is very helpful. What I’ve found, is that I don’t eat enough protein.¬†Using the macros on the app has gotten me to pay attention to balancing out the foods I’m eating, so that I get enough protein, or watch my¬†carb consumption in the next meal when I’ve had way too many already that day.
  4. It also tells me how I’m doing on getting enough vitamins/nutrients. I’ve discovered, that even though I’m eating a banana every day, I’m not getting enough potassium. That is one that’s hard to find decent supplements for, but I’m now taking multivitamins, as well as some other supplements (such as flax seed oil – which I will be switching to fish oil when these are out). I said in a previous post that I didn’t want to rely on supplements to feel better, and that’s still true. I am, however, trying to make sure I get enough nutrients to keep my body able to work hard. So far, it’s paying off.¬†
  5. Finally, by entering food into my food diary, I am also educating myself about my food intake. For example, when I go to Caribou¬†Coffee¬†and get a piece of cinnamon coffee cake, and a Campfire Mocha with skim, I am consuming about¬†1/3 the number of calories I should be having in an entire day. That is generally what I would have 3 or more days per week as a snack for much of last year. No wonder I gained so much weight! This does not mean I am going to quit going to Caribou (it’s my favorite), it simply means I will pay attention to how often I am going there. I will most likely save it for a day I have worked out, or am planning on eating a lot of protein (to balance out the carbs and fat in the mocha).

As a bonus, MyFitnessPal syncs with my fitbit. When I walk a lot of steps, but haven’t necessarily “exercised”, it gives me a¬†calorie¬†credit¬†based on the number of steps I have walked. Not only that, but my water consumption, weight loss or gain, etc. updates in both apps as I enter them (regardless of which app I initially enter it into).

Similar to much of social media, you can connect with your friends on the app. The only one I am “friends” with right now, is my husband, Jason. We can “like” or leave comments on each other’s progress with exercise, weight loss, etc. A feature that I have taken advantage of, is that I can see Jason’s diary each day. If we both ate the same meal, and he entered his first, I can just copy it right over to my own food diary. This comes in especially handy when it’s a custom meal that he entered the recipe for.

The final feature that comes to mind that I use often are the health and nutrition articles that are available on the app. When I first open the app, and let it know that I want to track my food, exercise, water consumption, etc, it opens my “newsfeed”. This shows me not only my notifications/progress, but Jason’s as well. Interspersed, are useful articles. None of them are too long, and most that I have read, have great information.

I would recommend this app to anyone trying to get a handle on their eating, or just trying to improve their weight or fitness level.

A Scary Evening at Children’s Hospital.

This was written on Monday of this last week. I didn’t realize I never published¬†it:

“Tonight was a scary night.

When I got out of the class I was taking at the gym, I checked my phone, and saw 5 missed calls from the adult that was at a community pool with Michael and his friends. She left a message, but I didn’t check it, I just called her right back. The first thing she said is, “He’s in the ambulance, but the bleeding’s mostly stopped.” I asked what happened, and she told me that she had just recently seen him do a flip into the pool, and she asked him not to do it again. He did, and hit his head on the side of the pool. He had gashed his head pretty good. They wanted me to come right away. You can imagine how panicked I was!

I left the gym, and headed to the pool right away. While I was on my way, my daughter called me, frantic, because a Sheriff had come to the house to see if I was there. They were concerned that they couldn’t get a hold of me. Apparently, the sheriff got to our house right before I got a hold of the mom that¬†was with Michael. I went to the one I thought they were going to, but they were actually at a different pool. When I got to the right one, I saw an ambulance, two sheriff cars, Renee, the mom Michael was there with, and another friend of hers that I knew from the dance studio.

Despite the annoying collar on his neck, Michael was in great spirits.

Despite the annoying collar on his neck, Michael was in great spirits.

Michael was in the back of the ambulance with a collar on his neck, a heart rate monitor on his finger, and a huge gash on the top of his head. The paramedics told me he was going to need staples or stitches at the very least. They didn’t think he had a neck injury, but they had to put a collar on him as a precaution. The paramedic told me Michael didn’t have a headache or nausea. He could remember everything that happened, my phone number, and our address. That was a good sign. One of the paramedics told me that Michael¬†was a riot. He said he’d love to have him in his ambulance all night!

They asked me if I wanted to take him to the hospital, or if they should. I asked them what would be the safest for Michael. We all agreed the ambulance would be the safest, just in case anything were to happen. They asked what hospital I preferred, I asked what they thought. They said they’d recommend Children’s Hospital, but ultimately, it was my choice. I’m so glad I listed to them!

I was shortly behind the ambulance, as I had to meet my husband to switch vehicles. I was driving a loaner that had to be brought back to the shop, and his vehicle had to be picked up tonight. When I got to the hospital, I walked the halls between the ramp, and Children’s Hospital. That part was very confusing, since there are two hospitals that share the hallways, and I had no idea where I was. One nice nurse not only told me the way, but came with me, all the way to the emergency desk!

I got to Michael’s room, and he was happily watching Tomorrowland. Several different people came in to talk to Michael (and me). All of them introduced themselves, told us what their role was, why they were there, and exactly what they were going to do. Every step of the way, we knew what to expect. The “doctor teacher” that came in to explain to Michael the procedure of getting stitches was amazing! She showed him all of the equipment that was going to be used, and how it would be used. When he said the word “stitches”, she asked if he was comfortable using that word, and then did so herself. She used very child-friendly terms, and made him feel ok about it (even though he was a bit nervous). Before long, the two of them were talking about super heroes, both Marvel and DC, as well as the Suicide Squad, and what makes them cool.

The Dr. was pretty fantastic too. She was very interactive with Michael – they all were. She explained why she wanted to get an x-ray before she took his collar off. He really didn’t like that thing. He’s too active a kid to be restrained like that.

Sasha, the technician who actually did his stitches was very confident, and didn’t even waver despite how much worse the injury looked¬†once it was cleaned up, and ready to stitch. It was much worse (deeper and longer) than we originally thought. I looked at it before she stitched it, and she asked if I really wanted to see it. It was pretty gross. I don’t know how people do that job! By this time, Michael had switched to Big Hero 6, and she was talking with him about it while she was applying 3 layers of stitches to the top of his head.

When we finally left, he had gotten a popsicle, which he was pretty excited about. As we were trying to find our way back to the ramp I parked in, we happened to cross paths with that same nurse that had walked me to the ER in the first place. She walked us all the way to the door, and told us how to find our ramp. Twice in one night, she went out of her way to be helpful!

Everyone we met at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, MN was wonderful! Not that I ever want to have to go there again, but if we did have the need, I wouldn’t hesitate. Thank you to the doctors, nurses, x-ray tech, and everyone else we dealt with. You helped this Mama, and more importantly, her son, through¬†a stressful and scary¬†night!”

This was taken the day after Michael got his stitches.

This was taken the day after Michael got his stitches.

Now that a few days have passed, his head wound appears to be healing up pretty well. His stitches are looking good, and he’s back to his old self.

Not Feeling It

So, I went to zumba for the 4th day in a row. I’m not sure if it was the instructor, if I was too tired, or what the deal was, but I just wasn’t feeling it… I think part of it, was that she did a lot of 3 count moves that didn’t seem to make sense with the music. I am used to moves that go in 4 or 8 counts, and hit the beat of the music… ah well, I’ll try again tomorrow… gotta get as much in as I can before we head to DC.

 

I started this post on August 1st. I did go back to zumba the next day, and had a great class… must just been an “off” day for me. Some days are like that. I find that to be true with workouts, dance class, my job, and even being home with my kids. Sometimes, you feel like a superstar. Other days, it seems like staying in bed is a better idea… one day, one hour, one step at a time.

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