The Starting Line

Today’s Writing 101 writing assignment:

We’re all drawn to certain places. If you had the power to get somewhere — anywhere — where would you go right now? For your twist, focus on building a setting description.


Two of my favorite places are the start and the finish of a run.  These two places can be very, very close to each other in space but they are really very, very far apart in every way that matters.

The starting line of my first mud run (which was also my first race of any kind) was a pretty terrifying and exhilarating place.  There was a group of perfect, could have been model girls off to the right all in matching running outfits all doing pushups and lunges and other warm up type stuff in unison that seemed pretty official and intimidating to someone who had never even run a 5K before.  Was I supposed to be warming up or something?

There were big, muscly guys also warming up and yelling encouragement to each other.  Um, I’m barely over 5 foot and way too little and un-muscled to be doing this.  What was I thinking?

The starting line was like a holding pen, lots of people standing close together, all of them kind of bouncing and moving in place somehow while waiting for the cannon to signal them to start running.  Looking past the starting line all I could see was dirt and mud.  No obstacles in sight, how far was I going to have to run before I could stop and climb something?

There was a couple standing next to me in t-shirts and work out pants like me.  I asked them how many of these they had done, none.   Yay, I wasn’t the only one!

Just like anywhere else I found that the more I talked to people the more people talked to me and come to find out there were a lot of first timers there.  I think you could literally feel the nervousness in the air.  But as we talked we started to feel like old friends pretty quick and to relax.

And the people who had done a mud run before all had the same thing to say.  You’re going to love it!  Just wait, you’ll want to sign up for another one as soon as you’re done, don’t worry people will help you if you need it, on and on not a negative word from anyone.

You could smell dirt, sweat, and tension in the air.  Don’t ask me what that smells like, but you’ll know it when you smell it.

Then the count down began.


Why did I sign up for this?


What was I thinking?


Didn’t they say there would be barb wire and electricity?


How cold is water with ice in it anyways?


I better move up to the front so I at least don’t start off last


Should I have worn shorts?


Should I have worn longer pants?


I can actually feel the excitement in the air like the electricity after a lightning strike


This is going to be awesome





Check out Spartan Race – From Home (and a giveaway!)

Have you run a Spartan Race yet?  If not are you trying to decide whether you’d like to?  Well, here’s your chance to see exactly what the races are like – from your own living room.  Kind of feels like cheating, but in this case it’ll work.

They’re televising races about once a month, leading up to the Spartan World Championship airing November 16th, which is being run is being run in Killington, VT. September 20th. That sounds like an excuse to have some friends over to get psyched up for running your own Spartan! (I don’t know if televising is really a word, but if turducken is in the dictionary then in my opinion anything goes)

Here’s the schedule of televised events:

Reebok Spartan Race Television Schedule: (All times ET)
DATE                            RACE LOCATION     NETWORK     TIME

Tues., August 19           Palmerton, Pa.            NBCSN         9 p.m.
Sat., September 13       Washougal, Wash.     NBCSN         2 p.m.
Tues., September 23     Amesbury, Mass.       NBCSN        10 p.m.
Sat., October 25            Wintergreen, Va.        NBCSN         12:30 p.m.
Sun., November 16        Killington, Vt.              NBC              3 p.m.

I’m not much of a TV person, I don’t even have cable, but I’d love to watch these races!

I have to say, there is a whole lot going on in the Spartan world right about now.  On top of televising races and the Spartan World Championship in Vermont they are putting together a Spartan Race Cruise in March.  Yes, I said cruise.  You go out and race on Saturday, and then Sunday they provide you with entertainment, food, drink and celebration. Talk about an after race party!

They’ve put together a giveaway for 2 for the Spartan Cruise including airfare and the cruise out of Miami (US residents only). Enter for a chance to win here, I did!

Has all of that got you ready to run a race yourself?  Well as luck has it I was given an entry to give to a reader for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any 2014 Spartan Race in the continental US., all you have to do to win is enter here: a Rafflecopter giveawayThe contest goes through Thursday morning, I’ll email the winner the code Friday, the 29th.

If you don’t win or if you need a ticket for a friend, use the code SPARTANBLOGGER for 10% off any race.

Disclosure: I have received a free race entry in exchange for posting a giveaway.

So here’s an interesting question for any experienced OCR fans out there. How do you prepare for things like climbing a rope or scaling a wall if you don’t have a rope hanging around anywhere or a wall to practice climbing? Somehow I don’t think burpees will prepare a person for such things…



Are Mud Runs a Crazy Trend?

With the year wrapping up everyone is creating lists of this and that to sum up 2013.  Top 10 this, worst 10 that, they’re everywhere and actually I have fun reading them.  But there are a couple in particular that really caught my attention.

I read 2 or 3 that were different lists of the ‘craziest workout trends’ of 2013.  I read about something called prancercise, which I’ve never heard of but people I asked about it have. I read about exercising wearing a gas mask to limit your oxygen while working out, I guess to mimic high altitude, I’m not really sure. There was also more common things like hot yoga, naked yoga (um, no), aerial yoga (I’d break my neck), and paddle-board yoga, which I would so try. I would fall a lot and it wouldn’t be all that peaceful,  but it would be so much fun who cares?

But what was the one thing in common on all the lists I read?  Mud runs!  I so protest!  I can’t argue that they aren’t a phase, because I can’t see the future and they may very well be. I hope not, but who knows. But I can say that I don’t go to a mud run to get a work out, I work out to be able to do mud runs!

My first mud run was Mud Crusade.  I had so much fun that as soon as we finished I wanted to go back and do it again. It was the perfect first run because it wasn’t overly easy but it wasn’t wicked hard either, I was able to do everything though some of it was a struggle.  Perfect.


I actually ran it on accident.  I had toyed with the idea of doing a mud run but I knew I wasn’t really tough enough for something like that.  I saw the advertisement for Mud Crusade and told my boyfriend it was too bad that I wasn’t ready yet because that one was right up the road from me. He misheard me and said sure, he’d do it with me.  Um, what?   He doesn’t even run.  So we both signed up and have been hooked since.  And to this day we both argue that our first run was the other person’s idea.  Take my word for it, it was his.

I am absolutely positive that doing mud runs is what finally got me hooked on and loving running.  Not that running isn’t great and all, but if I get to run through a playground, well, you can’t beat that!  I will say that I haven’t done any of the runs that have a ton of electricity you have to run through (though I did crawl under slightly electric wire once or twice) or jump from roof height or anything like that.  It’s just not for me but more power to those that do.

But I’m curious.  Are mud runs ‘crazy workouts’ or just a phase?  What do you think? And either way, is there anyone out there that has done one and didn’t want to immediately go back and do another?

I think not.

Dirty Girl Mud Run Tampa

I ran the Dirty Girl mud run in Tampa Saturday at 8am. That meant I had to be somewhere an hour from my house around 7am, translate to I had to get up really early on a weekend and it was my own idea.  Geez, sometimes even I wonder about me. I don’t think I’ve ever signed up for a run before 10 am because well, it would be before 10am. But check out the payoff.  It was beautiful and foggy when we got there.  Sadly the fog lifted quickly but Little Everglades Ranch is always beautiful.

100_3054It seems that Tampa is a saner place than it’s reputation, the early run wasn’t very crowded. Even if it had been it wouldn’t have mattered because they had the sign in process and everything set up really well. This is the first mud run I’ve ever done where I didn’t have to wait to spray the mud off AND there was actually enough water pressure to rinse off.  Nice!

I had originally planned on running this one by myself but I ended up running with a couple of fellow Tampa Bay Bloggers members.  This isn’t one of those races where the obstacles are so difficult you need to run with a team so everyone can help each other, but I had way more fun than I would have running by myself!

I was excited about this race because it is the first obstacle run I’ve done barefoot.  I stashed some running shoes in my backpack in case it wasn’t allowed but the few comments I got were all positive.  I knew Little Everglades Ranch would be a good place to try it though the run did start with a gravel road, I ran beside it in the grass.

Also, this pond is full of pointy rocks on the bottom, that was fun.

rocky pondThe only part I was really worried about was the rope net – I was afraid it would hurt and it did.  Of course I had to pause for a picture at the top just to prove that I had actually done it.

I realized I’m starting to like the walls that you can climb (without a rope), I think because going over the top used to be so scary and now it doesn’t bother me. Any and all progress makes me happy!  Oh, and yes it seems there was a bit of muddy water on my camera lens and also the waterproof camera bag I had it in slipped to the side so several of my pics had a lovely black ring on one side or the other. Someday I’ll have to invest in an actual waterproof camera, but today is not that day.

100_3081TheWallA fun thing about these mud runs that aren’t crazy hard is you seem to get much, much muddier.  There was a mud pit where you had to crawl under a net to get through, there was just no other way and also some long tubes to crawl through full of nice, dark coffee colored water to go through. I can’t pretend I wasn’t thinking of water moccasins crawling through there. You can’t tell in the pictures because I was wearing black but my clothes  were soaked in thick muddy water. It required quite a bit of scrubbing to get clean afterwards!  There IS a reason they call it the Dirty Girl mud run.

AfterRaceI can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this run.  The parking was close, the organization was stellar and the run itself was a lot of fun.  I would have liked more obstacles but I think that about every run, I love the obstacles!  There was even the mandatory complimentary ice cold beer afterwards (yes, I know it wasn’t even 10 am yet.  don’t judge). I was a little bummed they gave out necklaces instead of the usual medal, but this is a lot more wearable and it IS a women’s run so it fits.  And on that note, my also mandatory showing off of the bling.

DirtyGirlSwagAfter the run I did a couple errands and then headed out to Riverview to visit some friends.  They took us to Sakura for saki and sushi.  I like sushi OK but there are usually maybe 2 vegetarian choices so it’s not my favorite.  I had the AAC roll (asparagus, avocado and cucumber) which was the same ingredients as usual but honestly better than I’d had before and also sweet potato rolls.  These were outstanding!  I also had a seafood salad that was pretty good, it was oddly florescent though which made me wonder why. I also tried saki for the first time. I can’t say it was my favorite. It wasn’t horrible or wonderful, it just was.  I know there are lots of different kinds so I’ll have to try it again.

All in all a pretty great day; Sunday I did as little as possible and enjoyed that as well!