Ask Me Anything?

I came home tonight with the intention of going to Zumba. Then I read our inspection report and my bubble was popped for the evening. Not that I refuse to work out when I’m in a bad mood, but I didn’t want to be away in case someone called.Right now this is not fun, right now I am so stressed I don’t care more one way or the other if we get this place. I see dollar signs floating everywhere and I’m freaking out.

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To calm myself I turned to Netflix which I haven’t done in a while since I decided to join ALL the book clubs and do ALL the reading this month. As I scrolled I came across “Ask me Anything” and a movie based on blogging is always of interest to me and I pressed play.

Outside of the blog aspect of things, I really enjoyed this movie. Maybe it was the way I could relate to young and bad choices of relationships. Maybe it was the way I could related to “sorta” abuse as a child. Maybe it was the therapy or the sex. Really if I’m going to be totally honest…it was the way she viewed her blog. At times it gave her great pride to have so many readers. At other times she was astonished at the cruel things people will say anonymously.

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I won’t give away any important plot twists or the ending…but I will say when she talks about the idea of walking away from her blog, it’s a narrative I have reviewed time and time again. What would it be like to live without wondering how it will write up? What would it be to live without a timeline of publication? Do young people simply want to be famous even if they aren’t good at anything? Am I no longer a young person?

Aside from the ending the other part that really struck a cord with me was when the main character explains why she writes under a fake name. She says it’s so no one in real life can find her and then she can tell the truth. After all what’s the point of having a blog if you aren’t going to tell the truth?

Two months from now I will celebrate the 6th anniversary of this blog. Pretty cool huh? I still remember how excited I was when I made it to 1 year. And how scared I was I wouldn’t make it to year two…because what could I possibly write about for a whole second YEAR?

I’m very excited to be moving forward with my life, but just like moving into a new physical domain, I need to change around my mental and emotional domains. I need to take stock of what I have available and decide what to keep and what to pitch or donate. Of the things I keep they may need a new purpose or a new location. Running isn’t just for therapy or weight loss, it’s for fun. OK. Reading has made a comeback…an escape from reality without as much drama as TV or movies. OK. I have friends and family willing to talk. OK. Blogging was another escape, blogging was a sense of self, blogging was an accountability tool. If I don’t need to escape, or build myself up or track a mission, then what is blogging?

Blogging is me.

Over the last week I made a joke about two different statements I think would make great life mottoes or titles of autobiographies.

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“Although we have an agenda, we will be all over the place”.  And “Almost there, just around the corner! Only to discover there’s another corner”.

I don’t want to be a broken record, but I don’t want to be fake either. This last week I went to Zumba twice, hiked 5 miles, biked 14 miles and biked a second time for 7 miles. The week before that I did Zumba once, and hiked 4 miles then 5 miles. Still doing Weight Watchers and I’ve lost .5 pounds. YAY!

Normally I’d talk about those in detail, but I didn’t take many pictures. So have a GREAT week everyone, I’ll be posting more information items this week and I’ll be back with real life stories before you know it!

AROO! Part TWO! Reebok SPARTAN Race is BACK in Ohio for 2015

Many of you will recall how I took on the challenge of the Spartan Super last October. In my blissful ignorance I thought “How hard could this be?” Well given my 2014 race report was about 3 weeks late, I think we know the answer to that question. Signing up for the event I thought I had years of trail and ULTRA running at my disposal to execute a flawless presentation. Little did I realize how much FULL BODY effort an obstacle course could involve. Walking away from SPARTA last year, I was muddy, tired, nearly froze, and completely in love. Which is why I HAPPILY agreed to promote the race again this year in exchange for 1 free entry.

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Parts where we walked or ran I felt super confident and in my own element. Parts where we had to carry logs, buckets of rocks, sandbags or giant heavy balls I wasn’t as sure of myself. Anything involving balance or wall climbing I was in the mud doing burpees.

One might think this would lead me to taking things more seriously, but with all the health issues I had it was a little hard to train. Now I’m doing the best and smartest training I know to prep for my first installment of SPARTAN fun and adventure NEXT MONTH!

OK, so…what is it? According to the makers:

Spartan Race™ 

World’s Best Obstacle Race. Period.

Born in the scenic hills of Vermont, Spartan Race was created to bring the excitement of obstacle racing to spectators and athletes alike. That means you.

Spartan Race is a true adventure that anyone can do, and everyone should try. With course lengths of 3+miles (Sprint), 8+miles, (Super) and 12+miles (Beast) each course is filled with mud, water, and signature obstacles designed to help you discover your inner Spartan. Athletes of all fitness levels will enjoy participating in a Spartan Race and the feeling of accomplishment that comes at the finish line.

Spartan Race even has events for kids. We believe that fitness and adventure should involve the whole family. Come out and watch your kids run, jump, and climb like children were meant to do all in their ownSpartan Kids race.

For those that want a more team based experience Spartan Race has theHurricane Heat and for the truly adventurous the Hurricane Heat 12 Hour. The Hurricane Heat takes you out of the individual role and has you work with a group of complete strangers to complete tasks designed to bring you together as a team. Those that have done the Hurricane Heat have often done multiple across the country, making friends for life along the way.

Not sure you are ready to run a Spartan Race? It’s ok we have everything you need to get you ready: Spartan SGX training, workouts-of-the-day, nutrition tips to help you eat better, and free workouts held in cities all over the country. Spartan Race is not only the worlds best obstacle race (period), but can be a complete lifestyle overhaul.

So even if you’ve tried a trail race, mud run, obstacle race, or adventure race it’s time to try a Spartan Race. Unlike other obstacle races we offer something for everyone. So sign-up, gear-up and find out why we say…

You’ll know at the finish line.

From what I heard at the event and later read in various online groups, several people complained about the Ohio course last year. Not so much the terrain, but the weather. We had snow, rain and hail. It hurt. There were also some “complaints” about the miles, but given the SUPER (which I did) was advertised as “8+ miles” the fact we finished near 10 or 11 shouldn’t be an area for too much complaining. I think the bigger issue was the next level is BEAST and it includes 12+ miles depending on the course so some people thought SUPER should have stayed closer to 8 or 9 miles. I THINK there were also issues with people wanting to do all three distances and not being able to coordinate properly. Why do I mention this? Because I want you to know I am being honest with my promotions and reviews.

This year many of those issues seem to have been solved. The race has been moved to June, but remains at The Wilds safari park & conservation center in Cumberland Ohio. Saturday May 30th is the BEAST option (12+ miles and 25+ obstacles), Sunday May 31st is the SPRINT option (3+ miles and 15 obstacles). There is not an option for SUPER this year, meaning if you’re local you’ll need to seek out another location for your middle green piece of the TRIFECTA puzzle. My crew and I are  nervous and excited to be trying our first BEAST in Ohio and will be headed to PA in July for the SPRINT and SUPER races.

I’m super excited to earn my TRIFECTA this year and even more excited to do so with my younger sister!

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BEAST pricing for Ohio ranges from $130 to $190, while SPRINT ranges from $60 to $100 currently. Plus parking and any upgrades you might select. However if you use the code SPARTANBLOGGER you will save 10%.  Your money ears you:

Badass Finishers Medal (personalize it with our partner site, iTab)
A trifecta medal wedge piece
Free beer courtesy of Shock Top
Finisher t-shirt (your other one should be pretty dirty)
Free Professional Photos (to frame and flaunt)
Bananas at the finish line
Clif Builder’s protein bar
Bragging rights

To register for a SPARTAN near you visit Spartan.com and take a look at the map below:

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Looking for more than just a race experience? Make sure you hang around the website for a bit. Last year I noticed the fitness test, a workout plan and various food/recipe ideas. I don’t always read what comes across my email, but there have been more than a few times I’ve appreciated a certain workout of holiday recipe idea over the last several months. Scrolling through I really felt like the organizers want people to have a great experience with their event, from the day they sign up, to the day they show up on the field and even once you’re done (but come back the next year too haha). Of course if you’re more into virtual connections they have a presence on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest! Plus they’ve recently launched a podcast!

The epitome of grit, Joe Desena, founder & CEO of Spartan Race and NY Times best-selling author, travels the globe seeking answers from experts like Sir Richard Branson, Steve Pressfield, Barbell Shrugged, and many more. Joe’s interviews with authors, academics, athletes, adventurers, CEOs and thought leaders will shift your thinking, make you laugh and and give you the tools you need. He’s on a mission to find the secrets to success in all aspects of life. Not only does Joe interview epic people, he has brought together an amazing panel to break down and analyze every aspect of these interviews. We give you the ultimate blueprint and action steps to assimilating these powerful conversations into your own life.

If you’re not intrigued or signed up by now, I don’t know what else I can say. From a person standpoint OCR (Obstacle course racing) changed my life. It lit my flame for outdoor fun back up when I burned myself out. It made me reconsider how to exercise and take care of ALL parts of my body. It taught me to work as a team instead of against others. Most importantly, it gave me to confidence to reach out to a fellow OCR newbie on a dating site, who is most certainly my soul mate and I doubt we would have ever crossed paths otherwise. Now, I can’t promise you any of these same results, but I can tell you it is a very unique experience.

Throwback and Step Forward

I love #TBT posts. It’s so interesting to look back on where we’ve been in life. Sometimes it’s a blur how long ago something happened, other times it’s a shock so much time has passed. Personally I like to be reminded of ways I’ve changed and ways I’ve stayed the same to evaluate my progression of goals. Posts talking about college humble me to the fact I’m still very new in my profession. Posts talking about being scared for a 5K remind me to be kind to others and not to complain constantly when I didn’t accomplish 26 versus 25 miles.

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The above image is hands down one of my top 3 (if not #1) pictures from my racing career. The Eco Run 5 miler. My first ever race. I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I had NO IDEA 5m wasn’t the same as 5k or what any of it meant. Nothing will ever feel like that first race. The excitement, the fear, the uncertainty, the pride. The girl in the old t-shirt, Sketchers shoes and bib plastered to her chest would go on to complete 2 marathons, 5 50Ks, over 25 half marathons and countless other distances. She would wear the ambassador uniform for MARATHON BARS, Aquaphor, and Gore-Tex. She will “come back” from heart surgery, torn hamstrings, gallbladder removal, kidney stones and multiple struggles with depression, anxiety and PTSD.

It’s easy to see (I think) why this latest round of “character building struggles” is annoying to me. Easy to see why I don’t want to deal with it anymore. I’ve accomplished a lot, I’ve experienced a lot, and in the back of my head I’m still shouting “WHEN WILL IT END”. When is my time to simply live and be comfortable? When is it my time for things to just flow and everything is rainbows and kittens?

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My boyfriend posted this image on FB a few weeks ago. It seemed really silly to me at the time. When I came out over surgery last week he held my hand and said “Babe. You’re a lion”. It was another silly moment at the time, but I keep thinking about it. Maybe he is right? Eh of course he is right!

Sure I could be a sloth. It’s relaxing and comfy. Staying in the trees, eating leaves, growing some algae or something. People would acknowledge me, and Kristen Bell would lose her shiz over me, but is it really what I want? Being a lion is amazing. People look forward to seeing you, people are mesmerized by you. Not just because of the sleekness of your body, or the glorious nature of your mane if you’re a male, but for what you represent. Lions respect all levels of life (according to Disney) lions have power, but don’t abuse it (still according to Disney). Lions have easy fun days down by the watering hole, and days where they have to hunt. Lions work together to survive.

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I don’t want to be a sloth, I want to be a lion. I want to lean on those in my pack when I am weak and I want to step up when it’s my turn to be a leader. Just because we’re all in the desert doesn’t mean we’re on the same mission. Just because we look and act alike, doesn’t mean we’re on the same mission.

Working on my lion skills is a priority right now. Getting back on my feet to be a strong member of my pride and to find those who belong in it as well. I’ve done some really interesting things since I started running in 2007, and I’m not done yet. Who knows what’s next, but I know this isn’t the end.