Seattle’s Dirty Girl Mud Run!

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Team Mud Hens

I did it! Seattle’s Dirty Girl 5k Mud Run & Obstacle course! While it was called “Seattle’s” Dirty Girl Run, it was actually held in the city of Snohomish, about an hour outside of the city (and not even in the same county!). My friend, and our team captain, carpooled together since we live only a few minutes away from each other. It was nice to ride up together!

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gearing up for the first obstacle!

 

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I was on team Mud Hens with a friend and a bunch of her friends/co-workers. Our vibe was fun, chill and TOTALLY supportive, with all fitness levels represented! I loved that it was a female only event, and that it was un-timed. While some teams seemed, more…competitive…we were definitely all about having fun and completing the course as a team.

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trail running

 

The course was divided into 11  obstacles over a 5k stretch on the Green Meadows Farm. I was nervous ahead of time, because I didn’t do any research on the obstacles, but I found that I was able to complete each of them!

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on top of a muddy culvert

 

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net crawl…no way to not get dirty!

 

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Events included things like: slogging through mud pits, climbing up mud hills, crawling through troughs of water and mud, and climbing over walls. I knew I could do the fun mud pits, crawling through water troughs and sliding down the hilarious pink inflatable slide. What I didn’t think I could do so well were the walls and the climbing nets.

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dancing across the finish line!

 

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Probably the best part ever? Beer garden post-race, with 1 free beer for race participants! Woo! Now that’s a way to celebrate our accomplishment! While I only ran a few segments of the race, probably no more than 3/4 of a mile total, my body feels wrecked today. I think it was a combination of the rugged farm trails and all of the obstacles, utilizing muscles I haven’t used for awhile (like, since 3rd grade monkey bars! ha!).

Thinking about doing a mud run/obstacle course? Here are a few suggestions:

-find a fun team that will encourage you regardless of your fitness level!
-Costumes! Ours helped unify our team, though next year we’re talking about going even more ALL OUT! There were so many fun costumes there, including old prom dresses, one girl in a wedding dress, superheros, mardi gras masks, plenty of tutus and other hilarious nonsense.
– Do an early heat! Race started at 8, with waves every 15 minutes. We went at 9 and it was perfect. The course took longer than expected, and as we were finishing up, we could see the later heats really bottle-necked on certain events. Going early meant coming back early enough so we could take a sweet nap!
– Wear old rubber gloves! I loved this suggestion from fellow teammate, it really saved my hands during the rope challenges, and while they’re all squishy and icky feeling in the mud, it’s better than having no skin left on your hands 🙂
-Bring a garbage bag and extra change of clothes (plus towel AND underwear, cause that’ll be sloshy, too).
-Have fun! Because that’s what it’s all about 🙂

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The Color Run Seattle…or…Playing Holi 7 years later

celebrating Mother's Day with a colorful little 5k

celebrating Mother’s Day with a colorful little 5k

7 years ago I was living in Delhi during their festival of Holi. It’s basically a holiday where you throw colored dye powder on your friends/family/strangers and use water balloons or water guns to spray colorful painted water on passerbys. It’s like dying Easter eggs, except without the eggs (and it’s a lot messier!). Because I was a single white woman in the city, it was advised that I stay indoors during Holi, since some rif raff target tourists and throw rocks in balloons or other such nonsense. So I stayed indoors and watched kids playing Holi from my balcony. I felt like I was missing all the fun and wanted to someday get my chance at it!

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My good friend, and former (twice!) co-worker Tabbi and I (and her roomate) formed a Color Run team back in…I dunno…February (when I was still running consistently), becuase we thought it looked like a ton of fun. Who wouldn’t want to run through powdered dye and get all colorfully messy? Added that it was on Mother’s Day, I thought I’d GO FOR IT! As a celebration of spring and being a mother and taking some time for myself. Also, a good chance to redeem that Holi festival with a little bit…safer…of a celebration!

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We started off with a few clean pics (haha, pun intended!!) of us hanging out, jumping off things, you know…the usual. And then the 5k started. I was disappointed that we had to run about 1/2 a mile to get to the first color burst station, but once we got there it was so much fun! The order was yellow, orange, pink and then blue! Blue was by far my favorite, because by that time we had become Color Runegades and weren’t playing by the rules…we just grabbed a handful of powdered dye from the barrels (instead of letting the color attendants spray us) and doused ourselves. We weren’t dinking around anymore, we wanted there to be COLOR EVERYWHERE!

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My ankles are sore from jumping and running. I’m tired from getting up early, but am glad that I did it! While I’m not sure I would sign up again (is it a once in a lifetime event maybe?), I am really glad that I did it! It was a fun way to celebrate spring and Mother’s Day and fitness.

Hot Chocolate 5k-Seattle

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5am came quite quickly this morning, but I headed out to meet my friend Elizabeth to carpool to the Hot Chocolate 5k. I’m glad that we carpooled, otherwise you might have seen me curled up under a park bench at the closest Starbucks 🙂

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This was my first big race, and it was thrilling to be around all of the other participants. My goal for this race was to:

a) pace myself from the beginning
b) not die from bronchitis

On both counts, I succeeded! Tabbi and I were in the slowest corral, but we started off at a pretty reasonable pace, running the downhills and flat parts, but walking the uphills. Because MAN this course had some hills.

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I wish I could have taken (or chosen to take) some pictures along the course, because Seattle was BEAUTIFUL today. Our run through Pike’s Market was the killer, and why we walked…because I hadn’t realized that the hill would be so brutal! Our goal was to run the first mile, run the flats/downhills, and RUN THROUGH THE BATTERY STREET TUNNEL!!! Oh, and to run across the finish line, but that’s kind of a duh…right?

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It was so nice to have a running buddy to keep me company, and the lessons from the last 5k (like listening to talk radio rather than music), and my thought-process was much more clear and full of positive thoughts, rather than “I suck and should never have done this” thoughts like last time. I can see why people get hooked on these races!

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My finishing time (according to my cell-phone) was 48 minutes, which wasn’t quite up to the 15 minute mile “requirement,” but overall I feel very proud of myself. And I enjoyed the dichotomy of the BIG race vs. the small, local race I did last time.

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And, who doesn’t want to eat some chocolate at the finish line?!

On Running my 1st 5k: Reflections & Lessons Learned

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Today I finished my first 5k! It’s what I’ve been training for since Christmas, and now that I am home, sitting on my couch getting ready to hang out with some friends, I feel awesome about my accomplishment. But, I must admit, I learned some things along the way that were surprising (and some just re-confirmed some things I already knew about myself but had forgotten).

Run how you train.

I got caught up in the magical excitement of the race that I got a little carried away with myself. Because this was a first annual 5k it wasn’t organized into groups based on how many minutes it takes you to run a mile. Instead it was broken down into two groups: runners & walkers. Because I am seeing myself as a runner, I ran with the runners.

That was a mistake.

The runners started off fast. I “kept up” for the first 1/8-1/4 of a mile (out of the starting gate and down the road) out of pride. It was the beginning, and there were people on the sideline cheering, and I didn’t want to look like Ms. Slow-poke right from the get-go. So I ran fast. And spent the rest of the time trying to recover from my basic sprint at the beginning.

Boof said, later, that I probably would have felt better if I had run faster than the walkers, instead of spending my time trying to ‘catch up’ to the runners. He was right.

Another aspect of running how you train, is remembering pacing. I normally train without listening to music. I’ve been focusing on my breath and my footfall, and the sound of the gravel under my foot. A few days ago  I ran to a local talk-radio podcast, and found that was a good distraction without getting me out of my groove.

Today, though, with all of the hype and music blaring through the loudspeakers I decided to listen to some upbeat music to help keep me motivated. Sadly, as a former band-nerd, I can’t really run/walk to a different beat than music. This made portions of my race faster than I would have liked, and made me more tired than normal. I didn’t get into the zen-like place that I’ve been getting to lately. I was running, but I had lost my connection to myself in the process.

Self-talk
A little less than half-way into my run was when I noticed the self-talk going crazy. It was like during transition in labor, when my mind raced and I couldn’t “get it together.” I just noticed myself spinning out of control, saying things like “I am never doing this again. This is stupid,” and “even that girl in jeans and running with a purse is faster than me, I suck.” When I pushed through the middle third of the race I was fine, but it was that part that made me feel like I was breaking and like I should just quit.

Know the course

I had heard, from family members who ran cross-country in high school, that part of the 5k course was hilly and hard. But I hadn’t really looked at my route before this morning, and so I found myself running blindly, with little ability to pace myself. They had written, in chalk, at the 1 mile and 2 mile mark, but there wasn’t anything in between that. I found myself having a difficult time knowing how much time had passed, especially since the sound of music was drowning my own sense of time, and I think if I had run the route before I would have known to save energy for certain parts and where I could expend a little more energy.

Have an incentive

Boof was at the finish line, camera in-hand. When I saw the ticker-time board running, and realized that I was 45 seconds from completing the race in my goal-time (45 minutes, because the next 5k I run it’s MANDATORY…dum dum dum), I gained this new found speed and stamina that pushed me through to the end. And this afternoon I am taking a sweet trip on the light-rail downtown with some friends and their 2 boys, and we’re going to drink beer and eat burgers and have a fun time. A hard workout rewarded with some playful fun.

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I’m really glad I did it. I’m really glad that I chose THIS run as my first one. It was low-key, all about community support, and was inexpensive and super-local. I may do more races, but it’s nice to have this one close to home be where I started out. Even if I don’t keep running extensively, I can see myself running this race annually to support my neighboring city!

I finished 97 of 103 women, with a time of 44:47. I ran for more than 2 of the 3 miles, and my goal had originally been to run 1.5 miles. And, the sun came out. What more can we Seattlelites ask for?

“The Tortoise & The Hare was WRONG!” or “Why I like exercising by myself.”

 

In December when I decided that year 30 meant doing some running, I signed up for a 5k in February. It’s a super local 5k benefiting a youth organization and the cost is only $25. I figured I would run it and see how I liked it before I branched out into more “races.” I joined the Couch-5k movement and started in on my path toward becoming a person who runs (which I like better than ‘runner’ because that seems so…set in stone…)

But then, a former (twice) colleague and friend Tabbi signed up for the delicious-sounding Hot Chocolate 5k in March and I figured what the heck, it’s only a few more weeks after my first 5k, I might as well do it. It’s a gigantic 5k, with 10,000 people, and the sign-up process was daunting…I had to pick a time group and the rules state that if you fall below that time then they shuttle you up to be with the rest of your group.

GULP.

So naturally I signed up for the absolute slowest I could go (15 minute miles) because I KNOW that that is do-able, even with some brisk walking. But my anxiety has kicked in and so of course I check out my good friend Tabbi’s facebook page and see that she ran a 5k in 42 minutes this week. GULP, since I signed up to run with her, I figured we should at least run together once to see how it worked out. I mean, worst case scenario is we high 5 at the finish line.

Boy am I glad that we did a practice run. The weather was AMAZING as we ran around Greenlake today. The sky was blue, the air was chilly but not cold, there was aproximately 7,549 dogs being walked by their owners, and it felt great to be outside, with a goal, and a friend to run together.

But, about 30 seconds into our run, I realized that Tabbi and I have very different styles of running. I am a run slowly for long-distances (at this point, my long-distances are like 10-15 minutes) and her style is run really fast for a minute and then walk….A LOT. I told her that I was cool with her running on ahead, and to not worry about me at all. And so that’s how we rolled. She ran ahead, I ran slowly and consistently and caught up to her when she was in her walking portion. I would then ease on past her and keep going and she would pass me when she was running again. We did this all around the lake, with only one stretch in there of us actually walking together.

I’m glad I gave her the go-ahead, because my biggest head-trip is holding people back on their workout. Which is why I would have so much anxiety in highschool when working out with people. I would push myself past my breaking limit in order to try and not hold them back, rather than listen to my own body. She busted out some Tupac as she ran, and I listened to my breath and thoughts and the pound of my foot on the gravel. I tried not to beat myself up when she got so far ahead that it looked like I’d never catch up.

And then, we got to the end.

She ran it in 38:30 and I ran it in 40.

On one hand it made me feel good that the 45 minute time limit wasn’t going to kill me in the actual race, but on the other hand I was annoyed. Her walking/running strategy was actually faster. Which, I think, flies in the face of that whole “slow and steady wins the race” moral of the Tortoise and the Hare. I mean, she probably ran 1 mile out of the 3, and I probably ran at least 2 or so, but at a much slower pace.

On the way back to the car she told me that she was happy because this was her 3rd run. I was like, “what? you haven’t been running?” And she replied that she signed up for the 5k and knew she had to run it in under 45 and so she ran and busted her ass, but felt sore the next day. And she was complaining about ankle and shin pain. I advised her in a limited way that she might want to train less vigorously, but we’ll see. I know, for me, the goal is to run the whole 5k, even if it’s slower than her, but I couldn’t help but feel like, as far as racing goes, her strategy was better. But probably for a longer period of time it’s not as sustainable?

To-Do=Ta Da!

You too could wear these beauts!

You too could wear these beauts!

Just when I thought I was going to turn into the world’s slackeriest professor, I got my buns in gear and made a few to-do lists. And, to put things in perspective, I made a few to-done lists of things that I have already been doing, which just shows that I haven’t been on Pinterest as much as I thought (though too much for work hours, perhaps?). Working hard actually feels good, and I want to contribute to the general well-being of my students. I’m floating on cloud 9, today, after getting the opportunity to help one student get signed up for GED classes and for another student to begin processing some life experiences hindering their school performance. Being in the presence of such strong, motivated, beautiful people really is why I do this job! And much better than pushing paperwork around on my desk!

While I’m flying high in some respects, though, I am feeling a major caffeine/life-crash, which is probably due to Potamus’ new daycare germs in my mouth and hands and face from all his love-pats through the evening and night. His arms are getting longer and longer and it’s harder for me to squirm away (on our twin size mattress on the floor) when he wants to comfort himself by sticking his grubby little mitts in my mouth. My immune system is lagging, which I blame on daycare and the horrible Seattle January weather. Could it be any darker and rainier this week? I think not. The radio announcers said “sunrise will be at 7:55 this morning” on my commute and I almost groaned. 7:55? I will have been up for 3 hours+ by then, and when they say “sun up” they mean in California, because I’ve looked outside all day today and there has been no sun in sight. And if you respond to this with “yeah, but you live in Seattle,” you’ve clearly not visited us in the summer, when the birds are singing and the tourists are sweating through cheese-making tutorials at Pike’s Market.

Despite feeling less than 100%, which I’m scared to admit might become my new 100% as weariness begins settling into my bones, I have managed to keep at my Couch-5k running plan. I haven’t yet blogged about my running adventures because I’m always afraid to jinx things like this. But I am proud to say that I am halfway week 3 of the plan and so far it seems to be working at getting me in shape AND keeping me motivated to run. Because my go-to in the past went something like this: a) get the bright idea to run a 5k race, b) put on my running shoes, c) attempt to run a 5k TODAY, d) get to my mailbox, get winded, OR run for about 60 seconds down the road, get winded, walk home, e) feel like a tool for failing at something so “easy” as running a 5k (or even 1/4 of a mile), f) wake up the next morning sore and totally unmotivated to try again. Sound familiar? I’ve done silly things like that all the time, but this time it’s different. This time I’m motivated to run, but am only allowed to do it for 60 seconds, and then walk for 90. What?! The little carrot in front of me is getting closer and closer, and now I am up to 3 minutes in a row. WOO! I look ahead at week 5 or 6 and start to crap my pants (run for 28 minutes, wha?!!!), but know that it will happen in time. And the worst case is walking the 5k. It’s about DOING it, not running it faster than those Olympic runners.

In other news, Potamus is settling in to the daycare routine pretty nicely. He hasn’t been 100% himself, and it’s taking a little to adjust, though the adjustment AT daycare is going pretty well, it’s the adjustment to also going back to grandma’s that’s a little harder (more on her, than on him actually!). I’ve had Boof call and check on him at daycare, which helps me focus on work (because if I hear him crying in the background, I can’t focus and just want to run to him and snuggle him). I was expecting him to be more tired at night after a long day at daycare, but so far he’s been energetic when we get home (which is somewhat tiring for this mama!), and he’s been napping okay there, too (which I was worried that he’d nap TOO long out of overwhelm or not enough). His new favorite thing is dancing to the opening and closing credits of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Yes, I’m a terrible mom who lets my kiddo watch some TV. He LOVES the music. He dances and waves his hands in the air bollywood style and it is so stinking cute that I don’t care if it causes ADHD. He is just so happy, even when he’s been sick he still half-heartedly raises his hand and does this little shimmy when he hears his song.

Which has also led to his first word being hotdog. Because they do the “hotdog dance” and when we said hot dog, he said something like “hawtdg,” which wasn’t quite full-fledged hotdog, but so damn close we’re gonna have to count it as first real word (beside mama and dada). My baby is clearly a genius.

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