Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mud Factor Obstacle Course 5k 2012 "Race" Review

It was a gorgeous day at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma County.  Laurie and I met up at her house at 8:30 for the short drive.  Our wave wasn't until 10:30 but we wanted arrive plenty early in case there were long registration lines.  The lines weren't too long, we got our stuff and put on our Mud Factor bandannas to get in the spirit.  In line we met a woman who'd just moved from New York (Hi Shae!) - and she's lost 100 pounds!  We swapped some weight loss stories and cheered each other on.

Laurie and I pre-race (obviously because we're still clean!)
I wore my Marin 10k shirt with running shorts.  For shoes I wore my first real running shoes.  I felt a little sentimental about letting them go (we donated our shoes after the event) but it was a nice send-off for them and the recipient will get some good mojo with those shoes.

Goodbye Ol' Buddies!
We were registered for the 10:30 wave.  We walked around and watched earlier waves take off.  We could see a few of the obstacles, including the main event - the triple threat.

I had to merge two of my pics together to show all three.
Ah, it looks so easy.  It's just going over the top that's the tricky part.

Hold On!
After all this watching it was still not even 10am.  Laurie I decided to crash the 10am wave since they didn't seem to be paying any attention to which wave you registered for.

Lots of young people out there, as you can see.

Now we have to hustle!  The line for bag check was too long so we ran and put our stuff in the car.  At the starting line and off we go!!  Of course I have no pictures from the course because I couldn't carry a camera (though I saw one person with one!).

I remember there being a lot of hills but they were mostly not that long.  I'm still suffering a bit with this chest cough so I could only run on the flat parts.  Laurie stuck with me and it was a lot more fun doing the event with her then I imagine it would be alone.  The obstacles were totally doable and were just a matter of getting through with my shoes intact.  We saw people lose their shoes in the mud pits.  Your feet sink into the thick mud and when you lift to take the next step your foot comes out but your shoe doesn't!  On the second mud pit we took our shoes and socks off and carried them!  Putting them back on while covered in mud was interesting.  Squish, squish.

I was so happy to see the one and only water station at the 1.5 mile mark.  More up/down hills and more doable obstacles and then we come up toward the big finish.  Those "triple threat" things don't look too intimidating until you are climbing over them yourself.  My mind started in with fear and I thought, "don't think, don't think, just do."  The good thing was a woman next to me started to panic at the top of the first one, "I can't, I can't do it, I have a heights thing."  I talked her over and down and that helped distract me from my own anxiety.  She was ready to bail (bale?) altogether on the second one but she didn't quit and I was happy to cheer her on.  Though I was definitely quivering myself as I hurled my leg over the top of those things.  Hang on is right! But we all made it - High five Laurie!!

The only things left after that were more mud pits, the ones you have to crawl through to go under wires.

Go Shea!
I scraped my knees up some but other than that the mud pits weren't too bad.  This is where the big mud gets piled on your whole body though.  And voila!  We're done.  Whew!  It was heating up out there (in the 80's today) and we were glad to be done.  We tried to clean off at the "showers" but they were more like squirt guns, weak ones at that, so we did the best we could and went and got our free beer.

 I didn't even realize I had mud on my face until I got in the car.

We will, we will, Rock You!
Oh, and the finisher's medal is kind of cool.  On the back it says, "I Cheated Death".  I don't know about that, but I'll take it :)

We headed out to the car and who did I see?  Another blogger.  Bekki from Wild Child Gone Good.  She had her hair in characteristic double pony tails and I think that helped me recognize her.  This was my first real-life blogger to blogger encounter.  Anyway, she lives in the North Bay as well and I knew she was doing this event because she'd posted about it.  Fun!

On the road home and I stayed at Laurie's for another beer.  We ended up jumping in her pool to clean off some, which was refreshing and fun.  I finally headed for home about 1pm and I was starving!  I thought about all sorts of "bad" foods I wanted to eat but managed to talk myself down and into a Hi Tech Curry Shrimp burrito from their "healthy grill" menu.  Well played, Michelle, well played.

Well, that's it from me!  I'd say I was operating at about 80-85% capacity today given my chest cold.  I'd love to do this event again next year and give it my all.  It was a great way to spend a Saturday.  Now, can I squeeze in a nap before the kids wake from theirs??

Update with official pics:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Saturday's Agenda for Fun

A few weeks ago I saw a Groupon for a mud run in my local area.  $29, I'm in!  I am still sick but getting better by the hour and hoping I'll be at least 80% come Saturday.  The distance is 5k and I'm doing this with my buddy Laurie - we will hopefully survive together :)

Mud Factor are the race organizers and, based on some Yelp reviews from another area, they are still working out the kinks.  So we're prepared for long registration lines.

Mud Factor's been posting some pics on their FB page...I'm more than a tiny bit nervous!

Harder than it looks I bet

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Betty Draper Goes to Weight Watchers

Any other Mad Men fans out there?  I was amused to see Betty attend a Weight Watchers meeting.  The episode started with Betty weighing out some Swiss cheese to go along with dry toast and a half of grapefruit.  I think it was her breakfast.

Dry toast, Swiss cheese and grapefruit - a 1960's WW breakfast
Later in the episode she attends a meeting.  I think the way the meeting is depicted, with women weighing in at the front of the room (though the WW leader doesn't announce their weight) is how many people imagine WW meetings to be. 

A public weigh-in.
After weigh-in a discussion gets underway and Betty is called upon to stand up and talk.  Another thing that doesn't happen in modern-day WW meetings, but another thing that some people imagine happens. 

Betty shares so she doesn't "stuff yourself just to keep from telling your family your problems".

I'm not sure this was a smart move for WW, to be portrayed this way.  Maybe they are assuming their target audience knows this isn't how meetings are conducted anymore but if I were a WW exec it'd still make me nervous.  Anyway, it sure was fun to see Betty at a WW meeting.  I'd probably watch a whole TV show built around WW meetings in the 60's, it'd be fun!  The episode closes with Betty having Thanksgiving dinner. 

What a sad Thanksgiving dinner for Betty!

She then takes her one and only bite of stuffing...the expressions that cross her face as she chews are priceless.  Check it out...

The reason she got "fat" on the show was because they needed to work around her real-life pregnancy.  I hope they keep Betty's weight loss storyline for a while longer.

As you can see, I was very entertained by the whole thing.  As you can also see, I've been home sick all day and watching a lot of TV.  My mom came over to help with the kids.  I'm going to work tomorrow though, and hopefully will be well enough to get a tiny bit of exercise before the mud run on Saturday.  What?  I didn't tell you I registered for a 5k mud run.  Oops!  More on that tomorrow.


Weight of the Nation: 7 Criteria for Ideal Cardiovascular Health

It's official, I'm sick.  I have a bona fide cough and a sore throat.  I dug out some old (expired) cough syrup and that helped but I figured I'd better get a new prescription so I made a doctor appointment for the afternoon to get more.  Myra was still a bit under the weather too so she was home with me yesterday.  So my plane is grounded for a few days.  What am I doing?  Watching the HBO documentary Weight of the Nation.  I watched Part I: Consequences and Part II: Choices.  Scary stuff, lots of dire statistics.  I think I knew that obesity was an epidemic in this country but I don't know that I appreciated just how bad it is or how serious the consequences are becoming. 

The documentary listed the 7 criteria for ideal cardiovascular health.

Less than 1% of people in the US meet all 7 of these criteria.  Less than 1 out of 100 people.  Wow.  I'm not that one person, not yet, but I'm getting there.  I need to get my body mass index down and my "bad" cholesterol is 1 over normal so I need to get that down a bit.  I plan to meet all 7 of these by this time next year.  There were other statistics that alarmed me: 
  • Overweight and obese people are 80% more likely to develop dementia.
  • Fatty liver is being seen in children.  13% of all kids have it.  38% of overweight kids have it.  This is a problem that used to pretty much not exist in children.
  • Going up from 2% overweight to 5% overweight increases your risk of diabetes "substantially"
An overweight woman they interviewed said the eat right and exercise recommendation is not as popular as fad diets because "It's like a boring story, no action - it's not a gotta have a hook or a gimmick."  They asked these overweight/obese people how many diets they'd tried and how much weight they've lost/re-gained over time.  Needless to say, it was a lot.  In talking about maintenance they referenced the National Weight Loss Registry in saying that people who have successfully lost weight "...need to be vigilant over a long period of time" in order to keep it off.  "It's a lot easier to lose weight than it is to keep weight off" and  most "diets" don't focus on keeping weight off.  They are selling weight loss, after all, not weight maintenance.  It's a multi-billion dollar industry ($58 billion!) and yet the overweight are gaining at an ever-increasing rate. 

This all reinforced my focus on maintenance.  In Where My Journey Began I said maintenance is "the only reason I'm back" and that is as true today as ever.  Weight lost and re-gained is almost worse than weight never lost at all.  Except that I learned something each time I lost and re-gained weight.  And I became convinced that losing weight is not the goal, change is the goal - and a byproduct of that change is weight loss.

Ok, that's it from me.  I'm going back to being sick.  I will have to tell you later about eating a bunch of corn nuts (17 points!) and chinese food for dinner (5 million points).  Between being sick and skipping workouts and these less than stellar food choices, I don't think I'll be logging a weight loss this week.  Oh well, that's how it goes sometimes.  I haven't been really sick in ages so I can't complain.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred (and a weight loss logged too!)

In all my Mother's Day weekend excitement I forgot to post about my weigh-in on Friday.  I lost 2.4 pounds last week!  Yes ma'am, that's how I roll.  So now I weigh 160.2 pounds.  Do you know what that means?  I am 1.4 pounds from my mini-goal, which was my lowest weight before having these babies.  I am so close, and I've  been feeling somewhat emotional about it lately.  I got back on track on June 3rd, 2011.  The one-year anniversary of that is two weeks away.  I might actually reach my next mini-goal by then.  To be back at that weight within one year is just a dream.  A real dream that I, me, moi - turned into a reality.  I made this happen.  I made a choice to change.  See?  Told you I am getting emotional about it.  I wasn't sure this could happen, I had doubts, it seemed like such a huge mountain to climb.

I am also quite close to my goal weight, 15.2 pounds to lose to get to 145.  Wowza!  Soon I will have less than 15 pounds to lose.  This whole thing is almost surreal.  I am working hard to have my mind catch up with my body, it's slow going in that department but I'm working on it.

So, on to Jillian.  I got a call at work today that Myra was sick and I would need to pick her up.  She has a fever, which Marek had late last week, so I guess now it's her turn.  I had plans to go to the gym after work but now my only option would be to go after dinner.  With my chest cough I don't want to do that.  Anyway, I picked up Myra and came home.  I gave her some Tylenol and put her down for a nap.  Then I remembered the Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred DVD.  I picked it up at Target a couple months ago ($9) for situations just like this.  The funny thing is I have been meaning to return it because I've never used it.  Until today, that is.  I figured, 2 minute warm-up, 20 minute workout, 2 minute cool-down - perfect!  A quick workout goes along well with my recovery week too.

I changed into my workout clothes and started the DVD.  There are 3 levels (1, 2 & 3).  Initially I was going to do level 3 and then I figured I better check myself - these have a reputation for being kick-butt and this is a recovery week so I settled on level 2.  After the two minute warm-up (which included some jumping jacks!) we started in to the workout.  She does 3 cycles of strength training, cardio and then abs.  It was all good's a few screen shots:

This is part of the warm-up
This is a good example of a kick-butt part.  She has you get in this squat position and hold it for what seems like forever while you do shoulder presses.  Ouch!
I enjoyed the pushups and the planks and all the other fun stuff she throws at you.
All-in-all the workout met my needs.  I watched level 3 after I was done and I think if I were looking for a more intense workout I'd do level 2 followed by level 3 (skipping the cool-down at the end of level 2 of course).  I had a couple of complaints, the main one being that Jillian will stop what she's doing to point out how the others are doing the exercise, but she gives no warning and a couple times I thought she was stopping because we were changing exercises.  Also, she doesn't tell you how many reps you're doing, which makes it harder for me mentally.  If I know I'm doing 15 I'll focus on that and it helps a lot.  Finally, the cool-down stretching was really skimpy but what can you do in 2 minutes?  I'd just do more on my own.  But the workout itself was plenty tough - I was sweating like crazy at one point and had to stop and breathe sometimes - I couldn't keep up!  Like I said, it was a good workout and met my needs perfectly today.  Glad I had it around.  I'm sure I'll use it again for days like today.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Recovery Week (Yes!)

Friday turned out to be a hectic day at work.  I was going, going, going and come quitting time I just wanted a beer.  So I had one and ended up blowing off the gym.  Instead, I went out to dinner with my neighbor friend and her husband.  They're moving soon so it was a going away party for their SF friends and I joined in the fun.  We went to Shabu House for Japanese Fondue.  It was good stuff.  By the end of the night I'd had my dinner, a beer and a vodka soda and a scoop of ice cream.  It was all good and I didn't go overboard on the eating.

On Saturday we had a birthday party to attend (great party Jackie!).  I knew there'd be good ("bad") food so I packed my own sandwich and planned to eat little in the way of junk.  I know it was sort of lame bringing my own food but I wanted to save up for my mother's day brunch.  In the end I ate my sandwich, a few real potato chips, a handful of mini-pretzels and 3 bites of birthday cake.  I was very pleased with my choices.  I'm learning there's something magical about 3 bites - just seems like the perfect amount to enjoy something decadent. 

Skipping the gym on Friday meant a trip to the gym on Saturday, my normal day off.  After we put the kids down for their naps I headed off to burn some calories.  I rode the upright bike for 25 minutes and it was tough but I got through it.  After that I did chest/triceps/core.  My workout started out rough on the bike but something kicked in and I finished strong.  Maybe it was the cake.  As I was leaving, a guy at the gym asked me if I was training for something.  My husband doesn't read my blog so I feel safe in telling you this guy is super hot.  He's got this handsome but sweet (and yet still rugged somehow) face and is in great shape - slender but not skinny, muscular but not huge.  Juuuust right.  And he seems so nice and humble, as if he has no awareness of how hot he is.  Oh dear me, I'm getting off track.  Anyway, he asked if I was training for something, "because I see you in here working your ass off so I figured you probably are."  (Ack!) So I said I sort-of am and shared my upcoming events, and that I'm also just trying to lose weight and get in shape.  He tells me he can tell I've lost weight and that I'm looking great and to keep it up.  Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you view it) the interaction was in no way flirty, he was just acknowledging me, which felt really good.  Thank you super hot guy.  Needless to say, I left the gym feeling solid.

After the kids woke up we took them to Costco and ended up buying a ready-made chicken alfredo pasta dish for dinner.  I didn't want to eat that so I made myself a salad with chicken breast.  I threw in avocado and sunflower seeds to liven it up a bit.  It was great and I felt good not eating the cheesy pasta (though I did have a bite and tracked 1 point for it).  I had a trail run planned for the morning so I went to bed early.

Sunday morning - Happy Mother's Day to Me! - and to all the moms of the world.  I started out with some cuddling with the kids and a small breakfast before leaving to hit the trails.  A mom friend agreed to meet me for a trail run (Yay Deb!) at 8:30am.  I got there and the weather was just looking perfect, a bit overcast, no wind - perfect.  I have a slight chest cough and I was worried it would derail me but we got underway and things seemed to go fine.  I had to cough a few times but otherwise I felt pretty good.  I love running this trail, just the perfect amount of challenge and enjoyment.  It was fun running with someone else, really made the time go by faster.  I did three loops and ran for an hour total.  I was a bit slower than the past couple of weeks but I'm blaming the chest cough and moving forward.  After the run I stretched a bit before heading to the gym to do weights.

Recovery week, recovery week!  I'm so excited about this new concept.  Every 4th week I'm going to do scaled back workouts and I was looking forward to taking it easy.  I wasn't sure exactly what my recovery workouts would look like but not too long into weight training I developed a plan:  For cardio I'll do level 5 on the bike (instead of level 7) and I'll do slow run/walk intervals on running days.  For weights I'm going to still do 3 sets but I plan to lift lighter amounts so that it feels on the easy side.  For body-weight exercises (pushups, squats, etc), I'll just do less.  I'm so excited about this that I think I need a recovery week dance.

After the gym Miguel and I went to brunch with the kids and I ate heartily and with impunity.  I had an omelet with sausage, avocado, onion, mushroom and swiss cheese.  Home fries on the side.  Coffee with cream.  And a half-slice of french toast with syrup.  The meal was very good and I had a great time with the kids.  Oh!  I almost forgot to tell you about my mother's day gift...

Brooks Pure Grit

You already know I have my new Brooks Pure Flow running shoes - these are the trail version.  Yes, after doing two trail runs I now have trail running shoes.  Thanks guys!  Me, Michelle, wanted trail running shoes for mother's day.  Times, they have changed.  I ran with them today and they were great.  I forgot to mention that on my third loop I tripped over a tree root.  I started to take a dive but was able to recover.  The cool thing was how I felt the muscles in my core and hips tighten up to pull my body back from falling. 

So, a great weekend.  And the other good news is, after logging all my food and exercise I'm actually still in the black on points.  In fact, I feel sort of weird because for weeks I've decimated my points on the weekends and then had to scrape and skimp all week to recover.  No scraping and skimping this week.  And recovery week to boot!  It's already shaping up to be a good week.