früsh

What is früsh?

früsh is a blend of real fruit and yogurt that offers 9 grams of protein per serving, plus fiber, calcium, and probiotics. Actually, one serving of früsh has 50% of your daily value of calcium. And all runners know how important is is to give your bones lots of calcium. No stress fractures for me, please!

This brand-new product is all-natural and is especially convenient for health conscious people on the go.

When I was approached to host a früsh Tasting Party, I jumped at the chance!

I knew my a cappella group, The Noctonals, would be great früsh taste testers  – we certainly never have trouble voicing our opinions!

A special thank you to the super-talented Patrick Carlson at The Carlson Chronicles for being my fabulous früsh photographer.

There are four flavors of früsh:

  • strawberry
  • strawberry banana
  • blueberry
  • peach

Everyone had a grand ‘ol time früsh sampling.

Cheers to Richard’s favorite flavor – peach!

Our tasting party began to get silly as the night progressed…

with Ali’s früsh mustache

and Jessica trying to get every last drop of her früsh from her cup.

What I really like about früsh is its texture. Some smoothie products are way too watery, and aren’t thick and full flavored, like früsh is. I like that früsh really fills you up like a fresh-made just-blended smoothie would.

Chris was concentrating very hard/seriously contemplating what his favorite flavor of früsh was.

We were split over our favorite flavors (mine was strawberry banana!) Each of the flavors had a few votes for being the favorite.

Also, we just liked saying früüüüüüsh. It’s fun to say.

früsh currently can be found across the East Coast, and is available in the dairy section. Click here to find some früsh near you!

Want an awesome coupon for früsh? Don’t mind if I do.

I was not monetarily compensated for this product review. All opinions are my own. 

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My Next Race

I’ve taken a bit of a break from running and working out since the Tough Mudder.

Actually, the last time I went to the gym was before Tough Mudder! Sorry, Crunch membership – I need to make you worth the 40 bucks a month. Perhaps I will utilize you more in October.

But I’m not too upset that I’ve been wasting away my gym membership. I really did need a break from running, just as much mentally as I did physically. When I was training for the Tough Mudder, working out was a priority. I felt like I had to go to the gym, which did have its pros and cons.

It was certainly nice to be more toned and fueled by daily endorphins! At the same time,  trying to squeeze in the gym was also stressful. I would feel guilty if I didn’t get the “right” workout in, and would often force myself to go to the gym on Friday afternoons (ughh).

I do want to get back into a routine though – no big training plan, just running regularly when I can. I definitely feel better when I run a few times a week.

How do I stay motivated when I don’t have an event or race to work towards?

I don’t.

That meant it was time to sign up for a race!

I decided that no, I didn’t need new work pants, I needed to run the Rockville 10K.

Since I’m working on building distance, and not speed, I figured I would give a 10K a shot.

Want to run it with me?

How long to you usually take to recover after races?

Do you need to have something to work towards to maintain your running routine? 

Grilled Chicken Kabobs

When my mom asked me if I wanted her George Foreman grill a few months ago, I said, “ummmm yes, please.” 

I like meat (my favorite food is filet mignon), but it can often be labor intensive to cook. Though I do eat a lot of protein rich food from non-meat sources, I do love me some chicken once in awhile – especially since getting enough protein is essential to the Eat Clean Diet.

For some reason, I always have a hard time baking chicken in the oven. I can never seem to get the timing right, and my meat always ends up being dry and chewy.

But with my new hand-me-down grill, cooking chicken is actually fun! Most importantly, it makes my chicken taste wayyyy better.

Now the only annoying part is grill clean-up….

Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Makes 2 servings (6 skewers)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • ground pepper
  • 1/4 large red onion
  • tzatziki sauce

Note: skewers are needed for this dish

Directions

Place chicken breast in a gallon sized ziplock bag. Add all of the ingredients except the onion into the bag, zip closed, and shake. Slip your marinated chicken in the fridge for a few.

I only marinated the chicken for about half an hour, but the longer you marinade it, the better! This will make it more flavorful.

Cut up the marinated chicken and the onion into pieces and skewer.

Spray the grill with non-stick cooking spray. Place the skewers on the grill for about 6 minutes, rotating occasionally.

Serve with tzatziki sauce and enjoy!

Thanks as always to Jenn for hosting What I Ate Wednesday! 

What’s your favorite way to cook meat?

Do you know any good recipes for tzatziki sauce? I cheated and used a store-bought kind.

The Odds Were In My Favor

Ali and I set off on our Survival Games adventure on Sunday morning after I promptly slept through my alarm, took my poison ivy prednisone, and  frantically twisted my hair into a Katniss braid.

But after a speedy drive down to the Shenandoah Valley, we arrived just in time for the day’s activities to start.

The whole day took place on a wooded estate in central Virginia, and the weather was the exact opposite of Tough Mudder Day: perfect. It was 65°F without a cloud in the sky. The gorgeous blue sky just barely peeked through the trees!

Once the Living Social folks checked us in, sat around a camp and listened to Tim from Advanced Survival Training give us the run-down on the basics of survival skills.

We learned some super cool stuff, like how human beings can survive up to four days without water (though I can survive only about an hour and a half without my camelbak) or up to three weeks without food! Tim told us that shelter is the number one priority to surviving out in the wild since you can die from your temperature dropping below or rising above 98.6°F.

After our introduction to Survival 101, we split up into groups while Tim and the LS guides taught us the best way to make a shelter in Appalachia.

Blurry shelter pic > no shelter pic.

We learned to use dead leaves for insulation all around our shelter, which we made from branches draped over a forked tree. Yes, that is someone’s purple sports bra as our emergency identifier (it wasn’t mine, I promise.)

Tim also gave us knowledge that I am going to begin using daily. Example: just like we insulated our shelter, you can insulate your clothing whenever you’re cold. Perhaps I shall start stuffing my cardigan at work with leaf debris until they finally decide to turn the air conditioning off in late November.

Our groups split off into rotating stations: knots and traps, fire making, and archery.

The knot tying kind of confused me. I’m left handed, so my excuse is that I had to do everything backwards, which really effed me up. But I loved the traps and snares! Look at our cool deadfall trap!

Even better than the traps – the snares!

The snares are actually kind of scary – they snap up really fast and surprise the crap out of you. No…I didn’t shriek and scare away our prey….

OK, I did squeal a bit. But our sweet snare still caught our opossum! Ha!

After lunch, we moved on to the next station: fire making. I was pretty excited for the fire making, because any idiot knows that I’ll need this skill when I’m actually on Survivor. If votes are in a deadlock at Tribal Council, the tie-breaker is always whoever can build a fire the fastest to burn a string wins. Duh.

We used the handheld bow method, using the friction of a bow on a drill grinding into a board to start a spark.

When Tim showed us how to make a fire, it took about a minute.

Then I tried. It took about 45 minutes. And I didn’t get fire.

I was the only one in our group that didn’t get a fire going! Ali even got fire twice. It was quite embarrassing because my team felt the need to cheer me on to grind the stupid bow on the fire board and watch as I failed repeatedly.

Not starting a fire was rough on my hands.

Lesson learned: I need to pick up Fire Making for Dummies before winning the ‘mil on Survivor. Or maybe I’ll just hide some waterproof matches in my socks.

After fire making made me cry pout, we took a break to learn some primitive cooking techniques. Look, primitive peoples eat clean!

Our last station was my favorite – archery!

James taught us how to use the bows, and Ali and I squeezed our way into the first group of archers.

I needed a little help from James to get my stance right.

I was relieved that I was a little better at archery than I was at fire making.

Ali and I were both pretty good at archery, actually! We got a few arrows on the target.

At the end of the afternoon, we all gathered together for the big event: the Survival Games.

We started off in teams with a shelter building competition. Of course all the teams “won” the shelter building, so we were all tied up to begin the Games.

The second event of the Games was an oldie but goodie: Tug of War, which was followed by an archery competition with a representative from our team.

After archery, our team was tied for first place!

The big deciding event was selecting reps. from our team to do fire making.

What, you don’t want me for the fire maker, team?

This guy was an ultra runner. Very cool – wish I had gotten to pick his brain a little!

We won! We were the first team to get a flame.

The team was about to turn inward on itself. The Games were now an individual competition.

Our team of 15 lined up and were instructed to tie a box knot. I tied a beautiful box knot and made it through to the next round.

The next knot was a double-latch-knot-or-something.

Booo, I forgot how to make the double-latch-knot-or-something.

Oh well. I probably would have lost in the next round anyway – survival trivia!

After the winner of the Survival Games was crowned, we lined up for a some amazing Blue Dog BBQ.

I chose the chicken and zucchini bake with some sassafras tea on the side. It was delicious. Next up on the Pinterest receipe search – zucchini bake!

The entire day was a blast, thanks to the awesome guides we had from Living Social, and Tim, the informative instructor from Advanced Survival Training. If you’re looking for an adventure, this is definitely one you wouldn’t forget!

The Best Run

Yesterday I ran for the first time since Tough Mudder! Since I’ve been sick and itchy, I’ve taken it easy for a week and a half to fully recover.

Though I’m starting to miss my gym a little bit, I wanted to take advantage of the gorgeous fall weather we’ve been having lately and run on my favorite paved trail after work.

The last time I ran outside was heinous, and I was a little scared that I would be really out of shape, especially with taking a week or so off after Tough Mudder. I set out to do an easy 3 or 4 miles without my watch, just to get back in the running groove a bit.

The run was glorious.

Hi deer!

I missed running! Even though I basically cursed it’s existence throughout the Tough Mudder, it was refreshing to trot along an treat my body to a calm run.

It was the first time I ever ran outside with my Merrell sneaks! They felt amazing outside – light and free, almost like I was running in my socks! So far these shoes have been an awesome purchase.

Since I ran on the treadmill at Crunch all summer, I completely forgot how much better running is outside. It’s much more therapeutic and it was so nice to just be by myself for a little awhile and daydream while I ran. The crisp, clean air smelled like fresh cut grass. Mmmm.

The end of my little jaunt was the best.

Once I rounded the last corner, I bumped into the beautiful September sunset!

Sorry treadmill, I think I’m going to have to break up with you until winter.

Do you usually run outside or on the treadmill?

Have you ever seen deer or other animals on a run?

Survival Games

My Tough Mudder poison ivy is healing just in time to embark on another ballsy outdoor adventure.

This weekend I’m headed to…the Survival Games!

What is the Survival Games? It’s described online as, “an introductory survival skills course and competition on a private woodland estate in the Shenandoah Valley.” 

My friend Ali sent me the info awhile ago, and it looked fun – but a little pricey. Luckily for me, my dad came across this same event and knew it sounded right up my alley, so he purchased the voucher for me as a gift. (Thanks, Dad!)

Anyway, Ali and I sure are in for an adventure this weekend.

Apparently we’re going to learn “hands-on training in primitive archery, shelter-making, primitive cooking, primitive fire starting, knots and traps,” and round out the day with the Survival Games Competition.

“The competition will begin with all 50 competitors and progressively whittle down the field with a variety of survival competitions—including team shelter-building; tug-of-war; and a final head-to-head individual challenge to test our newly acquired primitive archery and fire starting skills—until the one person has been declared the victor” (source).

Ummm, helloo, dream come true.

I need to practice for my kick-ass Halloween costume. If only I can convince Tuna to be Peeta…

Have you ever been to an outdoor survival training activity?

Do you have any good ideas for Halloween costumes this year?

Pumpkin Protein Bars

You’ll have to forgive me for jumping on the pumpkin bandwagon with this one. But come on, jump on it with me.

These pumpkin bars are my absolute favorite clean eating snack. Not gonna lie, they’re one of the reasons I’m excited it’s getting chilly out. Wrap these up and bring ’em to work or to a fall gathering – they’d even be a healthy hit at Thanksgiving!

This recipe is adapted from Jamie Eason’s LiveFit recipe.

Ingredients:

  • ½ C brown sugar
  • 1 4oz jar of baby food applesauce
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 15oz can of raw pumpkin (sub for pumpkin pie mix for a dessert version)
  • 2 C oat flour
  • 2 scoops chocolate whey protein
  • ½ C almond milk
  • ½ C almond slivers

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • Spray a 9 X 13 pan (I used a Pyrex one) with non-stick spray.
  • Combine the first 11 ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  • Add the final ingredients, and mix until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the dish and spread evenly.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.

Makes 24 squares.

Because each square is only around 60 calories, I usually eat two for an afternoon or evening snack in place of a store bought protein bar or Larabar.

These savory bars are especially delicious as a late night snack with a few scoops of vanilla bean ice cream.

What is your favorite pumpkin dish?

Do you have a special baked good you like to make in the fall?

Thanks to Jenn for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

The Aftermath of Tough Mudder

Once we crossed the finish line of Tough Mudder, all I wanted was to immediately sit down.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sit down for about two hours after we finished.

We were ushered over to a side table where we grabbed space blankets which saved my life and I kept on forever! Even though the rain had stopped right around the Funky Monkey obstacle, all of the girls on our team were freezing afterward. The boys were just fine – weird.

The MC crowned us with our orange Tough Mudder sweatbands and I grabbed another banana to nosh on. (I definitely need a banana break for awhile!)

We got our well deserved “free” beer – though I could only take about two sips of it before handing it over to a teammate to finish. I was too thirsty for water to drink anything alcoholic.

Once the beers were downed we headed off for the hike back to the car, waiting for a few teammates to shower off. There was no way in hell I was going to rinse off in the cold hosewater when I was finally warming up a little.

Since we parked so far away in the cornfields where we weren’t supposed to, we had our work cut out for us to get back to the car. Just how we hiked about a mile or so on our way in, we had to hoof it a mile or so back.

Not to mention we were all hobbling along at approximately 2 mph. We looked like we had just been thrown into a rodeo and kicked around. I really think it took us about an hour to get back to the car. It was quite miserable.

******

I woke up the next morning to some battle scars.

I have more pics of cuts and bruises but I didn’t want to gross you out too much!

Damn Mud Kisses! At least the cuts were pretty shallow, so I hardcore neosporined them up and they were mostly better in a few days. I might have some scars though – we’ll see. I also discovered many a bruise.

Is it bad that I kind of liked trying to figure out which bruise came from which obstacle?

It was finally time to go through the dreaded trash bag of muddy attire.

My cheap-ass self wanted to save whatever I could. Workout clothes are expensive! I threw everything except the shoes into the tub with some laundry detergent.

And I let everything soak for a few hours. Nothing really happened until I started moving the clothes around with the detachable stick from the vacuum cleaner like I was washing clothes in olden times. Ridic.

Ew.

I kept draining and refilling the tub until the clothes started looking like their normal colors again – and then I tossed them in the washing machine – twice (and cleaned my tub really well!) My shirt, sports bra, and shorts turned out OK! But I had to throw out the underwear and socks.

I decided the shoes couldn’t be saved.

When I showered on Monday morning I found two new discoveries:

1. I still had mud in my ears

2. Poison ivy on my legs

Noooooooo! When I saw the poison ivy, I knew I was doomed.

I am super allergic to poison ivy. I’ve gotten it 10+ times in my life: on a cruise (WTF?), a ridiculous time at pole vault camp where I continued to pole vault with my entire body mummified in pink pre-wrap, and once I was hospitalized because it got so bad!

Mal actually got a bit of poison ivy too. My theory is that we got it when we were being smart and running high up on the path through the brush of the trees  to try and run on the firmer mud when it was pouring and really muddy. Or we might have gotten it from the hike home?

Plus, on Monday my throat started hurting along with a runny nose and a cough. The Tough Mudder effed me up, man.

By Wednesday I couldn’t take the itching anymore and headed to the doctor, where he prescribed me steroid cream and prednisone. I tried to hold off on taking the prednisone, but once the poison ivy spread to my back I was all for it.

Please excuse my under-eye circles, I was quite ill.

I had an interesting time explaining my cold, cuts, bruises, and rash to the doctor!

A week later I’m feeling better – I’m still getting over the cold and my poison ivy is slowly healing.

Though my body sure took a beating from the Tough Mudder, I’m still in awe at how much our bodies can take and still function while physically and mentally battling obstacles and the elements.  I found that our bodies are capable of much more than I ever thought possible, and realized how important it is to take care of them.

The Tough Mudder inspired me to treat my body like it deserves to be treated – so that’s what I’m going to do.

Tough Mudder: The Epic Recap

The Tough Mudder was undoubtedly one of the hardest physical (and mental) challenges I’ve ever completed.

As soon as we bolted out of the staggered entrance gate, our team took off in a relaxed jog, but at a pretty steady and swift pace too. It was hard not to feed off of all the surrounding adrenaline, and we started off running a bit faster than I wanted to, probably around a 9 minute mile pace.

I was definitely the slowest runner on our team, as I like to shuffle along at 11 minute mile pace. A few of my teammates regularly run sub 8 minute mile long runs! I knew from the beginning I would really have to pace myself if I wanted to finish.

I think we ran about 3/4 of a mile or so before we arrived at the Arctic Enema. This was the obstacle I was weirdly the most nervous about!

Note: please disregard the numbers in these pictures. They were from the preview of the course.

Click here to see a the official video of the Arctic Enema.

We previously decided that our team plan would be to hop in and out of the Arctic Enema and then start running to the next obstacle as soon as we each got out, and meet up at the next obstacle if we got separated. Mal heard that was the trick to not cramping up from having your muscles numbed from the icy water. We had to get moving to warm our bodies back up!

We ended up all sticking together anyway since there were two tubs and several entries into each of them. I was the first in and out of our group – I wanted to get out of there fast. The water felt like a thousand little pinpricks in your skin, and though it didn’t hurt, it kind of scared me because it was hard to move! Once I got out, I immediately stumbled along into a jog, but it felt so weird. It was almost as if my legs were asleep and weren’t listening to my brain.

The guys on the team didn’t like their wet t-shirts after emerging from the Arctic Enema and debated ditching them along the way. Only one of the guys ended up doing it – which I think he later regretted from his many rash burns he got throughout the course. It was pretty warm and sunny out at this point, so our shirts did quickly dry a bit.

After the Arctic Enema, we slammed into the next obstacle around the corner: Dirty Ballerina/Trench Warfare (not sure what it was actually called!)

This was one of my favorite obstacles! It was basically a small field of sturdy mud trenches with mud moats in between them that you had to jump across. But the muddy water was just long/wide enough that you really had to stretch your legs so you would make it over in one running leap. The first trench I tried to cross I fell into! But I made it the rest of the way by lengthening out my stride. I also liked it because it was the first obstacle where you needed your team in order to complete it.

You kind of had to jump into each others arms or risk sliding off each plateau. It was quite hilarious though – my teammate B-man face planted on one of the trenches and his face was literally covered in mud for the rest of the event.

We ran another mile or mile and a half before the next obstacle. I was already getting tired and we had only made it barely 2.5 miles!

Though I knew I could physically run 8 miles since I’d done it before, I didn’t realize just how difficult it would be to run the Tough Mudder, because I hadn’t factored in that you use a lot of energy on the obstacles. Not to mention running on the course itself was extremely difficult with it’s mud, hills, and fields that I wasn’t used to by training almost solely on the treadmill. If I could go back and redo my training, I would definitely ditch the treadmill and have done outdoor runs, with an emphasis on trail runs.

It didn’t help that a lot of the signs stated things like: “If you’re hurting now, just wait…” Thanks, for the encouragement guys.

The next obstacle was one of my least favorites: Kiss of Mud.

We actually did this same obstacle again about halfway through the event too. It was fun at first and not incredibly difficult. But it HURT! I don’t think it would have been as bad with long pants on, but my knees got ridiculously scraped up and bloodied from the rocks in the mud on this obstacle.

There were hundreds of those damn little rocks. I don’t think I army crawled under barbwire correctly either. After I got tired of getting scraped up in my shorty shorts, I rolled a bit on my side and just shoved myself down the rest of the way. I remember Mal laughing at me during it (I bet I looked ridiculous). My abs definitely got a workout though!

The first set of Berlin Walls turned up around mile 3.5. This was the first time we really started using the help of other Mudders who knew what they were doing. Even though there were little half inch ledges on the walls about a foot up from the ground, we all needed help getting over the walls with a boost from two of our teammates.

There was lots of booty shovin’ as well. I needed some help getting my bum up and over! This was the obstacle I was very glad to have my weight lifting gloves for – otherwise I think pulling yourself over the thin ledges would have been painful. It was also pretty high up when you’re straddling the top. Each set of the Berlin Walls contained 2 walls to get up and over.

The first time I jumped straight down, and even though I landed in a squat position, it still sent a shock through my ankles. The next wall (and for the second set of walls) I wised up and hugged the edge of the wall to dangle down and have a shorter drop.

By now my strength was already spent! We were only at mile 4 and 50 minutes into the course, but it felt like we had been out there forever.

At this point, I would hope and pray I would see an obstacle station around the corner, since my trot was already turning into a hobble.

I was so glad when we approached Hold your Wood because it meant we got to walk for a bit!

I had no shame in grabbing a small-ass piece of wood, and happily walked along next to Chutes and Collie. When we were walking back in our lumberjack route, we all looked up at the clouds in the distance and gasped.

It basically looked like Armageddon mixed with a tornado and some darkness on the side. We were screwed. And we weren’t even halfway done.

The temperature started to drop as we got to the second Kiss of Mud. I reluctantly flung myself under the barbed wire, knowing my poor knees were going to take another pounding. No sooner than I started saying, “ow, oww oww,” did the cold rain begin to pelt us in the eyes, catapulting the mud under our faces into my contacts.

It was at this point that I realized this was miserable and we were fucking crazy. After we wiggled out from the mud/rock pit of hell came the one moment I severely doubted I could finish the thing.

I started being a stubborn brat and grumpily walking behind my team a few paces after seeing mile marker 5. Instead of being encouraged that I was halfway done, I was pissed that we still had half of the stupid thing to finish.

If there were carts with someone driving quitters back to the spectator station, I most definitely would have taken a seat to dryness and warmth. Too bad there was only one way out – to keep going.

We rounded a small lake and tried to make out what soaking wet Mudders were saying to each other about the next obstacle. It was one that a few of my teammates were apprehensive about: Walk the Plank.

The thunder and slits of lighting had begun a few moments earlier, and we quickly figured out that some of the obstacles were being closed, including Walk the Plank. Just like a kid at the pool, we were told we could wait 20 minutes after the last lighting and thunder if we wanted to walk the plank.

I don’t even think we looked at each other through the pouring rain to see if we wanted to skip it, we just kept running.

We ran right into big ole’ logs on sticks as high as our heads.

This obstacle was OK – not my favorite, but not the worst. It was just kind of awkward because you had to wrap your whole body around these wet logs and swivel around to plop down on the other side. It hurt my boobs.

I kept pouting along at the tail of our team with the encouragement of my prodding (in a good way) teammates.

We got to the second and higher King of the Mountain.

I liked climbing over the hay bales because it meant I didn’t have to run for a few seconds.

Same thing with the second set of Berlin Walls.

These emerged after we had to hike up a very steep, very muddy hill. I was glad to catch my breath for a moment before being hoisted over these babies.

It was still raining steadily, and since sun was no longer around to dry the mud and rain from our clothes, it was starting to get pretty chilly.

The path was no longer a dirt path – it was a mud path. We were at mile 7.5 with 3 more miles to literally slip and gingerly slide through to the finish.

We originally thought the course was 12 miles, but luckily the Tough Mudder gods took pity on me and had  originally shortened the course to 10.5 miles without my knowledge. What a pleasant surprise.

Next on the To-Do List was the Mud Mile.

I was surprised at HOW MUCH MUD there was. This obstacle was kind of like Dirty Ballerina/Trench Warfare except the nice plateaus that were at the beginning of the course were now five foot high sopping piles of goopy mud.

Grisly guys from other teams took pity on us here and literally dragged me up the hills on my stomach by my arms. It was like we were swimming in a pool of mud. No joke.

Once we got over the last hill we all looked kind of like deranged swamp people in pain.

I limped behind my team to the next torture event, the Boa Constrictor, my least favorite obstacle.

Sliding down into the water was slightly pleasant because we got a bath of sorts. We had to make sure not to stand up too tall in the pool of muddy water for fear our heads would get ripped off by more barbed wire. As I stood up, I tried to remember when my last tetanus shot was. Don’t worry, I got one last year.

The bad part came when you had to crawl up the ribbed plastic tunnels on your knees with nothing to grasp on to. Maybe it wouldn’t have been extremely painful if your knees weren’t ripped to shreds and bruised from the damn Mud Kisses, like mine were. I shoved my ponytail against the top of the tunnel and grimaced in pain, trying to wiggle my way up the tunnel. If Collie hadn’t stuck her leg down into the pipe to pull me out, I probably would have chilled in there for the rest of the day.

We came to the last water station and shoved some bananas down our throats before arriving at Funky Monkey at mile 10.

A girl on the team that went before me promptly dropped into the water and pulled out a toad. She cheered and carried it to the other side.

It was nice of her to get the toad out of there for me.

I was so fatigued by the time we got to Funky Monkey that I held on for dear life to the first monkey bar before losing my grip and dropping into the muddy water. Props to Chutes, our only teammate who successfully completed the monkey bars!

We were finally at the spectator station, where several obstacles were clumped together at the end of the course.

I could see the end! I was going to make it through alive!

If I could just get over Everest.

This picture does not do Everest justice. Everest was HUGE.

More grisly guys (I think I saw the Hulk and the Terminator, too) from other teams parked themselves at the top of Everest and leaned over to grab the brave attempts of the measly human beings throwing themselves at them.

We saw a few people go before us that reached out only to smack down hard onto the pipe and slide back down into the mud.

The tricky part was getting enough speed without slipping in the mud in order to make it up high enough so the Hulk and co. could grab you and lift you to safety. I was too tired to care that I was putting my life in the hands of the Hulk. I just wanted to get up and over the thing.

Without thinking, I ran as fast I could without face planting and leaped high enough to latch on to the grislies!

I think they wanted me to pull myself up, but I was too exhausted for that shit. Instead, I flung my right leg up as high as I could and kicked the Terminator in the face. Luckily, he blinked for a split second before grabbing my leg and dragging me to safety.

We were almost there – it was still raining and I was absolutely freezing. The only thing that sounded better than not running anymore was getting warm. We only had one more obstacle to get through: Electroshock Therapy.

I shrieked and ran through the wires with my hands over my chest, and was jolted with a shock at my core! It didn’t hurt, but just felt like a sharp surprising tickle. But I had a smile on my face because…we did it.

We were done. We finished. I finished!

My aching smirk/smile says it all: relief.

And…never again.

Well, that’s what I thought that Saturday afternoon.

The next day, I was too proud of myself to remember how much it sucked.

A few days later, I was looking up entries to the Warrior Dash.

Pre Tough Mudder: WTF

After my breakfast on Saturday, I stretched a bit and read some of Eat and Run to pump me up.

I could feel that my whole body was super tense from anticipation, so I tried to channel Scott’s running zen. It didn’t quite work.

My team came to pick me up at 8:40am. Frederick is about an hour away from my apartment, so we figured with our start time being at 10:40am, we wouldn’t need much more than an hour at registration, bag drop, etc before the event.

We were wrong.

As we got closer to our exit, traffic abruptly came to a stop. We were bumper to bumper with other cars (many holding Tough Mudder alums wearing their orange headbands proudly!) and I started to slightly freak out. My OCD self went into panic mode. WTF happens if we miss our start time?

Luckily, TM texted us before I could hyperventilate.

After that, I wasn’t stressed anymore – just annoyed. And I started to really have to pee. As Tuna calls it, I was reaching _____ % critical mass.

My BFF teammate Chutes reached 100% critical mass before I did and shot out the car, acted like he was warming up, and promptly stopped on the side of the road to pee in front of everyone. Pointing at him.

I actually have a glorious picture of this event but unluckily for you, I had to force myself to refrain from posting a picture of him doing something illegal on the internet.

Finally, we reached the exit we were supposed to get off at – and it was blocked by cops. WTF, cops?

Thank goodness there were other Mudders in cars around us to frantically shout at to figure out where we needed to go.

Alas, once we arrived, we were greeted by a line of cars waiting to get into the designated parking areas that lasted as far as the eye could see.

Look how gorgeous of a morning it was! Can’t believe what happened later…

We ended up defying authority and parking about a half mile down the road next to a cornfield. Fo’ free! I was a tiny bit worried we would get towed, but fortunately we didn’t.

Once we parked, we wandered off in the direction of the event pretending like we knew where we were going. Because we didn’t enter near the designated parking area where we were supposed to, we took a “short cut” with many other Mudders trying to find their way to registration.

As we kept walking, I was horrified how far we were going (through the course, in mud, over streams) to the starting area. We walked for at least twenty minutes in the heat! It was exciting to get a preview of the event and some of the obstacles, but I started to freak that I was wasting my energy!

Once we hiked strolled over to the starting area, everything went much smoother. Registration was a breeze, the bag check was perfect, and we had our bib numbers sharpied on our foreheads and arms.

I ran over to the restrooms to make one more bathroom stop before the start in a nearby porta-potty. There weren’t any lines which was nice, but there wasn’t any toilet paper left! WTF: no TP.

Our team was finally ready to start the Tough Mudder! Just two hours after our assigned start time…

On Sunday, Tough Mudder released a statement of apology on their website regarding the traffic problems and other event issues.

(source)

I forgave them. Well, I forgave them for the traffic – not for the ridiculous obstacles and pain that I endured during and after the Tough Mudder.

But oh yeah, I voluntarily paid for it. WTF is wrong with me? I have decided that Tough Mudders are crazy people.

Have you ever been late to a race?

What do you do on the mornings before a race?