Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jogging Stroller - Take 2!

I had been considering a jogging stroller for a while now, especially with numerous 1/2 Marathons on the calendar. So I finally committed to the idea of buying one so I could take my little running diva in training with me for some longer runs on the weekends... I was excited to see this particular stroller at Target for $99, I went and scooped it up after work last Friday. Heather and I had a nice run planned for Saturday, and an early one at that. If you don't know it, Myrtle Beach, SC in the summer is about two degrees cooler than the center of the earth! So the plan, 530am, the reality, 6ish... hey it is still early! So Gabby was all strapped in and ready to 'ROLL'...

Let's just say our run lasted 1.3 miles. The stroller was experiencing technical difficulties - seriously veering to the right... So then I said, 'Lets just unlock the wheel' - Well HOLY WOBBLES! That didn't last long, so we headed back to the house to try to straighten the front wheel. We all gave it a go; me, Heather and Stephen (who was on his way out to tee off), all with looks of confusion and exacerbation, determined - it was unfixable. I tried to pack it as best I could, and took it back to Target (they were awesome about taking it back - I had ZERO issue, and I was so happy about that!)

Future Model/Athlete
So after the disappointing run, Heather had to get home and I decided it was pool time! So I got Gabriella dressed up, decked out if you will... She is super adorable as it is, but you put her in a Flamingo bathing suit, matching hat and sunglasses and she is unbelievably precious! I know, I know, I may be a tad bias, but you can judge for yourself... We had a great time in the pool, she LOVES the water... future Triathlete? If I have my way - YES! Wouldn't that be awesome? We can wear matching gear, have matching bikes... Oh the plans I have... At this point, Stephen may be shaking his head while reading

She is Excited too!
Fast forward another week, and I spent a few days scouring the Internet looking for my second attempt at this whole jogging stroller thing. There are so many out there, ranging in price and features, honestly, I just want one that will be safe for my child and not a PITA to push! Unfortunately, you won't find anyone that honest writing the descriptions for these things (but wouldn't it be great?). I went with a very cool looking orange one - not that that is WHY I got it, it was a reasonable price, I had a coupon for the store, and it had the big front wheel (which is what Heather recommended).

Assembly was pretty easy, aside for the whole front brake thing (I suck at brakes, even on a bicycle - I never understood the whole mechanism...(Yay! I wanna be a Triathlete!) So today, I decided to head out, 3-5 miles was the goal - a far cry from the 7-8 (Insanity & 2 days of swim training a week is pretty hard!) but I also got a late start, and remember I live in the core of the earth South Carolina. So, we did 3.5 miles, and it was slow, but it was done. Between the heat, and the sheer effort it takes to push a stroller (MAD PROPS JOGGER MOMS) - I was burnt out. Who knew it was that challenging, people definitely make it look a LOT easier than it actually is!

So next weekend is another free Triathlon, I am going to do it this time. Time to just suck it up and jump in... It's not like I am going to wake up one day and be a super awesome triathlete, I am a realist... BUT you can't improve something if you never do it... So I am going to do it! You gotta start somewhere right? Why not make it at a free event? I think the one thing I am most nervous about (besides how do you dress for 3 events in one?) is the transition areas... let's face it - it won't be super crowded when I get there but if you are anything like me, you have this anxiety about anything new,  the unknown is scary. I still feel the same way on first day of classes!

So here, it's never to late to try something new, my first Triathlon at 35 - talk about taking a leap out of my comfort zone!

I have also been busy, busy, busy working on gathering sponsors for an upcoming raffle for my Team in Training  fundraising... I think you all will be pleased with some of the things I've been able to wrangle so far! I know I am (I kinda wish I could enter to win some of this stuff myself ;) but that wouldn't be right!)

I did want to mention that my brother was here last week with his family. I took a day off to spend at the beach with my niece (Charlotte) and nephew (Liam)... they are SO cute, and loved the water! I hadn't been to the beach since last summer when I was all preggers with Gabriella... I have to admit, being at the beach with kids is not as relaxing as without They definitely keep you on your toes but I loved every minute of it. Charlotte is fearless, and has the cutest little voice... Liam, well I must have 50 pictures of him doing the 'surfer' pose... George spent time building a sand castle, but Liamzilla took care of that quickly! All in all, it was a great time!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Who's Plan is it Anyway?

Sometimes in life, you have a plan and then you have reality. Most times, your plan is not his plan. What do you do when faced with that fact? You release your expectations, and put your faith in him. There have been few moments in life where I have been truly disappointed, yes I feel really blessed to be able to say that. Through my life, there have definitely been challenges, crosses to bare, responsibility to take, things it is just easier to accept than not, and times when it's better for me to just forgive then to hold onto anger.

This past week has really been a time when I wonder, What is going on? I feel like I am trying so hard to do good for people, for the community and for charity and yet I am faced with ignorance, resistance and greed. So what is a girl to do? Well, I guess I just try to handle myself in the most appropriately contained manner possible, biting my tongue and holding back all that runs through my mind (aka applying the filter).

This week I had a chick I have known since High School threaten to delete me from Facebook (yeah, mature I know) because she was annoyed by all the status updates regarding exercise, health and general wellbeing. Apparently, I was advertising and not using FB for personal use. At first my reaction was, Do what you have to! Then, as I sat back I couldn't believe that she was so bothered, she would post on my wall about how she was going to delete me again (I guess she had deleted me before but whatever). To be honest, I was hurt. This is the same girl that messaged me asking for advice on running, asked about losing weight, but now, she was annoyed. So, I did what anyone in the situation should do - I deleted her from my friends list because if she was so rude - why would I want her on my friend list?

We even had this logo!
Today delivered a rather disappointing piece of news. For those who do not know, I have been working since May to bring the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5k Run to Myrtle Beach. I thought I had the backing of the running club I belonged to. After months of working on this, taking time off from work to attend meetings, taking evenings away from my family to plan and discuss, I was blindsided when Sunday I received an e-mail stating that the board was going to vote as to whether or not they were going to go with the Tunnel to Towers, or just create a local event. So, there I was confused and wondering why they wasted my time? I could have looked for others who would support me. Today was the vote, at 730am, and they obviously voted against the T2T event. You would think with all that I had done to bring this event to the beach that I would at least get a call. Yeah, I did but it wasn't until almost 5pm. I didn't get to answer, and the voicemail was so garbled there is not telling what was said. What I do know is that I knew it was voted out because on the race listing, the name had been changed. Now they will have a local event and I will be left to explain why the registration isn't open anymore (because I was told to go ahead and start the registration and social media campaign)... I was livid. I have to say at this point in my life, I try not to let things get me down but I was honestly, wholeheartedly disappointed. It appears I put faith into people who were too worried about money than charity. They obviously missed the whole point of the event...

I Tink We CAN!
Of course Heather knowing I was down, did the best thing that she could. She got us started on the Team in Training Inaugural Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon Team! I really needed that... We've been talking about it for a little while, and today was the perfect day to kick it off! So Team Epton along with RunFasterMommy, are now members of Team in Training (TNT) and if you would like to support us on our journey as we raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, please feel free to donate!

So as I really give thought to those who will benefit from this fundraiser, I have to thank God for all the blessings I do have, a loving supportive family, my health, and genuine happiness. I also had a moment while talking with my dear friend Tanhena, as I was in crazy old Walmart, she said, 'You are amazingly positive and very zen about the whole situation' (regarding the 9/11 Event debacle) and it was because I knew that everything does happen for a reason, and perhaps it was not in his plan for me to focus on that one event, but to use my energies with TNT, and I am perfectly happy to do just that.

I guess my point is, you can plan all you want, you can pretend to be in complete control of where you are going, and how you think your life should be... the reality is, you are none of those things. You take the good with the bad, accept the things you cannot change, and place your faith wisely... There is always someone who is suffering, who is sick, and someone who would switch places with you in a heartbeat. Time to start appreciating all that is good in life, and focus your energies on all that is positive because negative thoughts, feelings and actions will never bring you closer to happiness and fulfillment.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mommy's Gone Running: The Virtual Mile

A friend of mine, Holly, is conducting a giveaway to raise money for St. Jude Childrens Research. Please take a minute to visit her blog, read her post and if you feel inspired, participate!
Mommy's Gone Running: The Virtual Mile: "Help raise awareness and funds for  St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital! The info: On August 6, I will be one of many participating in a r..."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Let the Insanity Begin!

So yesterday I began INSANITY and I was a tad nervous about doing this fit test... I sometimes feel like I am stronger than I really am (delusions of super human strength) and other times, not so much! I was wondering if during and/or after I completed this 30 minutes of warm up, testing and cool down, if I would feel embarrassed in front of my TV people... Would Shaun T be laughing at me? Well, doubtful.

So Monday morning, at 5am - I did it. The awesome thing about this, there aren't any 'indicators' of performance. I was already thinking of reasons why I would not have done so well,  and that my friends, was WASTED energy. You do what you can, and then in 2 weeks, you do it again, and compare YOUR results to YOUR previous results. So I have no idea how I did, and I won't know until my next test... pretty fabulous huh?

As with running, I am my own competition, I will get the results I work for. If I fail, I have failed myself by my own standards and expectations. This is MY Insanity Train and it is driven by yours truly, no other passengers are allowed, but you can cheer me on as you see my transformation take place!

So without further ado... my results...posted so that next time, you can see how hard I have worked!

Fit Test 1 Results
Switch Kicks62
Power Jacks52
Power Knees85
Power Jumps41
Globe Jumps 10
Suicide Jumps15
Push Up Jacks11
Low Plank Oblique      51

Anyone else READY to hop on their OWN fitness train? Let me know, I am looking to post a 10 Day Challenge very soon in the near future, and I think you guys will really like it! If you are already interested in knowing the details, Email Me!

I am so stoked to prove that I can have Fab Abs again! Gabriella is almost 8 months, so my goal is 6-Pack in 60 days! (This is where all my non-overachieving friends shake their heads and I become so motivated to prove them

Day 2 is under my belt, and as I approached the last 10 minutes, I thought, damn - this is tough! I did all I could, breaking when I needed to and realizing how great it will feel when I can get through it all without stopping! It's not about the destination folks, it's about the journey... funny this is, you have to get started, so get to steppin'!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Beachbody Giveaway!

Well here is it... I know, you have been waiting for me to put together an awesome package of Beachbody goodness! You are maybe tired of hearing me talk about how much I love my Shakeology, or how my past experiences with Beachbody programs have been so successful... but maybe you are just a tad curious about all this talk?

Now, don't get too excited - this is the coaches pack that I ordered to build up my library for our Triumph Fit Club. I am so psyched about trying out all the products... I have had great success with Slim in 6 & Power 90. Now, I have added Insanity, P90X, TurboFire and Hip Hop Abs! So, between all of these workouts to keep me going AND a Triathlon in September AND a 1/2 Marathon in Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan and Feb PLUS my first FULL Marathon in February (hopefully) - I am feeling pretty motivated and super confident that I will be in the best physical condition of my life!

So back to Beachbody... I love the passion this company has for ending the trend of obesity, and I am honored to be a part of it. As an ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist, and quickly approaching the completion of my Bachelors of Science in Exercise and Sport Science, with a minor in Health Promotion - I am always in search of ways to make a bigger impact. It made complete sense to align with Beachbody and join the team of Independent Beachbody Coaches. I feel like I can really begin to motivate and inspire others to begin their journey to physical fitness and  a healthier lifestyle.

So in honor of Pinky & The Brain (me being Brain) - I am working on my diabolical plan to try to take over the world End the Trend of Obesity!

First step, motivating those who may just be ready to start their journey, or even those beginning and needing a little encouragement. Here it is the FIRST EVER Team Epton Giveaway and undoubtedly it is fitness related and it will absolutely not be the LAST!

Having said all that... So what we have here is a little sample of beachbody products sure to challenge you physically while providing you a healthy meal and snack...

In this lovely gift pack you will receive:
2 - P90X Protein Bars (Wildberry Yogurt and Chocolate Peanut Butter)
2 - Sample packets of Shakeology (Chocolate & Greenberry)
1 - Shakeology Shaker
1 - Resistance Band with handles
1 - P90X One on One with Tony Horton DVD
So are you excited yet?
I thought you might be... Now, you are thinking - How hard is she going to make me work for this super spectacular bundle of healthy love?  Answer: Not too much (save your energy for your workouts!)

To ENTER - You need to visit and sign up for the FREE Membership. You do this by clicking JOIN and then look for the Free Membership. If you are already a Member - request to be my Buddy!

Once you do that - comment here that you did it - that's it!

For all you overachievers (and you know who you kindred spirits) you can earn BONUS entries by doing each of the following, then for each come back and comment that you did it!

- You can Follow my Blog (if you already do - awesome, just tell me!)
- You can Like me on Facebook (again, tell me if you already have)
- You can Follow me on Twitter (remind me if you already do!)
- You can Share the contest (Facebook, twitter, your own blog, skywriting...whatev')
- You can Post your Personal Health and/or Fitness Goal!

There you have it, a 1/2 dozen ways you can win! What are you waiting for!?!?

Make sure you leave a separate comment for EACH one - so you maximize your chances!

So between July 16th and July 31st at Midnight, you can work as much or as little as you want, it is up to you! While you increase your chances of winning by doing all the BONUS tasks, the winner (although all who enter are winners in my book, the loot can only go to one lucky person....sorry!) will be drawn randomly via and announced August 1st!

I am so excited to be doing this! My First Giveaway... You guys rock!
Here is to health, happiness & World Domination!!!

*** Independent Beachbody Coaches are not eligible to win since you already know and love the products in this giveaway - I really want to let other experience the love!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Exercise - Much more than Visible Results

So, as I longingly stared into the mirror in my bathroom (mind you I took down the huge mirror that came with the house and installed smaller ones - no one needs that in a bathroom!), I would turn to the side and grab my 'love handles' and pull back to create the illusion of a 'flat stomach' and then release.... sounds hot right? Yeah, well it is what it is... and what will it take to create the visible results I dream about?

Well, exercise for one... I know, I know, you were hoping I was here to announce the latest magic pill, a solution to all your weight related woes that required zero effort, a solution that would melt away unwanted body fat from all the places of your choosing.. I am really sorry to disappoint you, really I am.

Unfortunately, the only way to reduce body fat and reap all the benefits your body requires to be healthy is proper diet (lifestyle changes not crazy fads and starvation modes) and yes, Exercise!

Exercise is a purposeful act, unlike 'activity', it's about putting on appropriate attire (whether it be running shoes or a swim suit) and making an EFFORT... crazy I know. Anyone who knows me, knows running is kinda my thing. I mean I enjoy swimming and biking, I even hope to complete a triathlon this year, but the part I enjoy is running. I also spent years in martial arts, which I also enjoyed and someday will return to (I was black belt eligible before I was pregnant with Gabriella) complete my journey to Dan (sounds like Don). Anyway, I am also in the midst of my video craze... yes, I started with videos in the early 90's with Denise Austin... I think I made it through the warm up and decided it was too hard and I was skinny so it didn't matter... which brings me to my next point... wait for it...

Skinny is not an indication of Healthy!
Exercise has this bad rap for being what we need to do to lose weight, tone our flab...a chore instead of a necessity... but what about all the wonderful benefits our bodies gain when we exercise? Well, let me just list a few chronic conditions associated with a sedentary lifestyle and perhaps one that also includes a not so fabulous diet (because lets face it, they tend to go hand in hand) ...Non-insulin dependent Diabetes mellitus (Type II Diabetes), Heart Disease, Some forms of cancer, Obesity, Weakened Immune system, Autoimmune disease - Rheumatoid arthritis... other conditions related are hypertension (High Blood Pressure) and Dyslipidemia (High Cholesterol)... so I ask you -
Would you rather spend 30 minutes a day being healthy or years being ill?

So I know last time I talked about Childhood Obesity a little bit, and I promise I won't get on top of my box again (not so soon anyway) but I did want to share these pictures. My friend Heather has discovered a great way to get her boys to eat their veggies without even knowing it! I love, love, love, these boys, they are both so adorable!
Now you can tell that Kain, he is a little less caring about how much makes it into his mouth, but he definitely looks like he enjoyed it!

Some people have asked if Shakeology is good for kids, well lets see... In a world where many kids get the 'Drive Thru' experience at least once a week (ok, making up a statistic here but seriously, it happens) where they take in mystery meat, processed chicken parts and high fructose corn syrup... I would say, Shakeology is good for your kids! Caffeine free, gluten free, filled with vitamins... now of course, I am not a dietitian or pediatrician. So, you can always take the information to your doctor (Chocolate or GreenBerry) and have him/her look at it... good luck getting all the ingredients from a fast food chain on their nuggets (just sayin')

I am pretty excited for Insanity, oh and I may have gone ahead and ordered P90X and TurboFire... Yeah, I like to try them all - not everything is for everyone and with Triumph Fit Club growing every week, I want to be able to offer everyone the option of checking all the products out! This is my passion people, this is what I have spent the last few years of my life working on in school - I want to help people, I want people to help themselves! I want all of us parents to set HEALTHY examples for our children, to make the best choices possible when it comes to food consumption and exercise! No, we are not perfect, but we are trying to do what is best and at the end of the day, that is all we can do!

Having said all of that, if you want me to motivate you, or if you have questions, or you want to tell me to shut up (ok, well that one you can just not read my blog because I won't shut up - people of been trying to make that happen for 35+ years!) you can email me or better yet, visit me at and Join the Free membership...then I can track your workouts, hound you to get to it, cheer you on and encourage you to keep on doing what your doing!

Exercise is not a bad word, it's not meant to invoke ill feelings of hard work and sweat... but you need to realize you only have one body, if you abuse it, mistreat it or ignore it - like anything else, it will quit on you. If you are not already making time for yourself, I suggest you start. The benefits of exercise far exceed any momentary discomfort. If you can move, you should be. Find something you enjoy, start out slowly, do what you can and push yourself a little further each day. Know your limits but DO NOT be held back by them!

When I think about my dad (RIP 05/29/08) deciding not to make changes, deciding not to eat healthier, deciding not to exercise, it makes me terribly sad. Ultimately, he decided not to live to a ripe old age, spend summer days playing with his grand kids, and enjoying his retirement. (Sorry if that got morbid for you, but it is the reality of the situation!). So, if you look around, and if you see there are people who love you and want to have you live each day to the fullest, I implore you to start moving today. I don't care what you do, if you walk, bike, swim, run, do knee bends watching the news... just start doing something, anything... because at the end of the day, only you can care enough to make it happen.

I'd like to sugar coat it, but that is not how I roll... besides, I'm trying to cut back on sugar!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Confession Time

Ok, so here it is... I have not been doing all I need to do to make the transformation I want. I have been using Shakeology for about 3 weeks now, and working out - but maybe not as consistently as I need to... I've been mostly running - although after my Super Spartan, I was a little down for the

I did run the 2nd Annual Independence Day 8k, finished in 48:59, which is a PR for me but not as strong as I would have liked. I think in my mind - my body is so much stronger and faster than it really is! The highlight of course is when I am approaching the finish line & am cheered on by my hubby & baby girl! I so appreciate them being there for me, and especially for the early races (this one started at 7am!)

Our 4th of July weekend was packed full of family and fun! After my run, we headed home and decided to take Gabriella to the pool... This summer has already been so much different than summers past. Typically, by now I would be pretty tanned, spending most weekend mornings sitting in front of a rolling ocean or poolside. With the baby, our outdoor time is limited to the mornings or evenings, and never for too long. I can't believe how pale she is (where I am not) and being so small - she doesn't need to be out in the heat for any long period of time. So having finished the race & awards (which I didn't get any this time... boo!), we dressed our little diva is the cutest swim ensemble.

We joke that Gabriella is driving before Joshua... It's actually pretty funny since he thinks he should have his permit already... hopefully his first car won't be pink and purple with flowers on it but seriously at this point I don't think the boy would even care! I am just doing the State of South Carolina (and New York since he visits there 3 times a year) a huge favor right now by exercising my right as a parent to NOT allow him behind the wheel of an automobile. Driving is a privilege, not a right honey... time to earn it!

Anyway, sorry about that detour! Gabriella got to meet her Aunt Reta (she met Uncle Sonny a few months back) and some of her cousins too! Sonny & Reta have 4 boys, think they will try again for a girl? Probably not! We all met up at River City Cafe for lunch. I should know better than try to eat red meat (it fouls me up!) but I did it and paid the price later...

I will say that Gabriella may have gotten her color (or should I say, Casper like complexion) from the Epton side, because the Harris (me) and Martin (Grana) sides are both so much

I just love this girl, she is so awesome! Just seeing her pictures make my heart light up... She was looking so festive in her patriotic gear, I could kiss her a million times and it wouldn't be enough!

My sister (Heather) was down for a week over the holiday weekend as well. This was the first time she, her husband (Dave) and my niece and nephew met Gabriella.

The kids just adored her, and loved on her non-stop!  I like when my sister is down because she cooks (and I really don't, not well anyway) and she makes this crab pasta salad that is so good, it's a must have whenever she is here! Oh and I mentioned how I was thinking of making deviled eggs and she asked me what I needed from the store, my reply 'Eggs?', well guess who made them? (*hint* Not Me!)

Cousin David
Cousin Shea
Overall it was a great weekend (even though I did have trouble with that beef!) - I got some hot tub time, enjoyed a fruity adult beverage, spent time with the family and even got some much needed rest.

So if you couldn't tell, this weekend was all full of food (good food) and desserts (yay Red Velvet Cake) but not enough exercise to counter I would like to think because I know what all needs to be done, that it would be easier for me to do it, but that is not true. I guess I am just human. It's like when you see a doctor or nurse smoking a cigarette... really?

So I have decided tonight, I am ordering Insanity and really start making the commitment to lose inches, to get healthy, and reclaim my body! It's been a challenge for me to begin to love the skin I am in after having the baby. I know some of my expectations were unrealistic... some people are fortunate and lose all the weight and go back to having a flat stomach - not this girl!

<<< Insert break for real life to happen >>>

Fast forward 2 (gotta love the I'll finish it later of my life!) So I ordered Insanity the other day and it should arrive by July 13th. I am going to retake my measurements to have an accurate starting off point again. I guess this proves that even when you know what needs to be done, no one is perfect...and as always, Accountability is KEY!

I have been reaching out to people, hoping to help them get started on their journeys. Some have been successful attempts, others have not... but I will not become discouraged. I want to help people find the spark that ignites their internal motivation to be healthy (notice I didn't say skinny... there is a difference!), to become more physically active, to cast aside the excuses and really make their well being a priority in their own lives.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone realizes how much I have put into learning about Exercise & Sport Science, and Health Promotion, and how much I love to get someone motivated to make positive changes... I guess I am still building my voice... I have just started yelling, but I feel like I need a

I have always lived with the mantra of 'Lead by Example', even when I was a manager at a retail store, I used to tell my peeps, I would never ask you to do something I wasn't willing to do myself (like take out trash, clean a bathroom, do markdowns, etc). So I apply the same theory to fitness - I have always believed that when people witness positive results from your actions, it helps them believe not only that it can be done, but removes the doubt that they are capable of achieving it too.

Having said that, I came across Shaun T's Fit Kids Club and it made me think, what if more parents exercised with their kids? I mean, not like lets all bust out P90X and see if the kids could keep up - but the opposite... What if parents engaged their kids and participated with them? Could this help reduce the rate of childhood obesity? Well besides not hitting the drive thru's, allowing them to consume huge amounts of sugary drinks and eat out of boredom while spending hours in front of the television... not pointing fingers, just stating facts surrounding the leading causes of childhood obesity and Type II diabetes (which used to be reserved for adults - but no more!)

Ok, so now I am stepping off this soap box (I have more than one btw) and wrapping this up. I am so excited for my Insanity to get here, we did it at our Fit Club the other night and it has just jazzed me up even more! So between that and starting my 1/2 Marathon training - I really have no excuse but to post a stellar update picture sometime in the near future - so stay tuned!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Who's A Chicky SPARTAN!?!?

Ahhh, I have been meaning to get this done. Oh blog, how I have neglected you.... I have been recovering from and anticipating pictures from the Carolinas Super Spartan Race. They were posted the other evening, and much to my chagrin, not too many of my smiley face were found. There were about 12 of me crawling the barbed wire (half were not a positive angle) and I have spent the better part of the last 48 hours debating if it is worth purchasing them at all... Until I can decide (leaning toward no) to buy these shots (bib# 16744), I am going to share other peoples moments of exhibited athleticism (hope you don't mind!!!) from the Spartan Race fb page (and yes, you should go & 'like' them!).

Having said all of that, the event itself - Pretty Friggen AWESOME!

As Heather & I made our way up to Winnsboro, SC (yeah I didn't know where that was either), at o'dark thirty Saturday morning, the nervous energy was just buzzing...or was that because Heather was stenciling our shirts with permanent marker?!?! Anyway, there was some buzz and I did at one point have to open my window! Our best laid out plans for these uber creative shirts didn't exactly go as planned but I really think they turned out so great - and we were even complimented on them a few times during the race!

I really, really, REALLY wanted to have some awesome pictures of me and Heather to show off the race, and our athletic ability (or just sheer will to finish) - that, and at some point of the race, I was fully depleted of energy stores and my memory section of my brain shutdown because I feel like I spent half a day trying to remember what happened when... So Jason Miller (psychoiiimoose) obviously a forward thinker, had avoided this conundrum by strapping himself with a Spartan-Proof video camera - so THANK YOU Jason - you have made my recap just a little easier (and you made it look easier than I remember it WARNING: Explicit Lyrics, so if you are viewing in the office or around rugrats, use the mute button or put on the earmuffs!

As we approached the Starting line, I glanced around... not too many people in this last wave of the day... that's ok, it's not competetive at this point, we just want to finish! Heather, well she is always nervous about races, any race, which is crazy because there's no money at I looked up at this hill, it seemed bigger than a hill really, and there was a line of fire...hmmm... Heather and I were debating as to whether we were going to have to jump over it as we were run uphill. As it turns out yes, that is exactly the expectation - quick lesson in gravity and momentum - this was not Luckily, they had Sparky the fireman up there, hose at the ready, dousing any poor s.o.b. who's shoes caught fire (I actually heard there was a chick whose laces went a blaze and ended up with burns, but that was scuttlebutt and not first hand facts).

After leaping ever so gracefully over the flames, it was into our first water feature (doesn't that sound so homey?) - have I mentioned my distaste for clay dirt? Yeah, it's part of what makes South Carolina, well South Carolina! In I went, and when I came out, I busted my a$$ not once but twice because if you didn't know it, when clay is wet, it's just a tad slippery! Think pottery wheel, the movie Ghost, except we aren't being all romantic doing arts & crafts! After a quick recovery I scampered off into the woods like Bambi's mom dodging the hunter... Have I mentioned the last time I ran trails was like, oh never... I run on roads, with street lights... what have I gotten myself into?

Heather of course was all about the trails, she led the way as I grew dizzy trying to figure out where I was supposed to land my feet... not a 'trail' as I would think of it to be... like mini revines to test your agility and strength of your ITB's... I am not even sure how long that lasted, but I was having flash backs from Ft. Jackson (where I did my Basic in '93) and somehow thought I should have had that canteen belt afterall... I'd like to interject here that I was totally enjoying this experience, even if I was completely out of my element! I said to Heather, 'Maybe I should have worn my trail shoes' (ha I don't OWN trail shoes...never have! WTH was I even talking about?)

My thigh, yikes!
I vaguely remember some walls, and some tires I was supposed to cram my fat A$$ through, and of course Heather contemplating how she might scale a 6ft wall with barbed wire across the top?!?! Ah Heather, this is not Mission Impossible, go under the wall not - I will admit, I was starting to think I just wasn't too good at these obstacles... then redemption! A cargo net!!! YAY! I love the cargo net! Anyone who went to elementary school with me (yeah it's highly unlikely you are reading my blog but whatev) knows 'Open Gym' consisted of some pretty awesome things to do. One being a huge cargo net that went from floor to ceiling, as well as the uneven parallel bars (where I would dream of being a gymnast, a dream crushed early on in my youth, like the 4th grade), a rope climb, a swing rope and the balance beam (see crushed dream above)...but I digress, so I shimmied up that thing like I was a spiderman on uppers, and back down the other side (my nephew, who loves Spiderman, would have been so proud!).

There were a few obstacles that are all blurred together, some water, climbing over what looked like an abandoned beaver dam, some log hopping which seriously, I have the agility and balance of a hippo so 30 burpees for me... oh the crevis in the A$$ crack of the earth, affectionately named "NAM", it smelt like a crack and the chick behind me said, "If you feel anything slither by you let me know!", haha NOT, if it's by me I'm getting the hell on & I suggest you do the same! Anyway, for a split second I thought, where is my M-16? I should be carrying it over my head...

That delightful pit of thigh high waste water led to the concrete block pully thing. Dude said to me, "Over here Lil' Bit!" - Really? I guess that's what you get when you stretch to make 5'3... I diligently hoisted the cinder block up and slowly released it down as per his request and he said, "Now 24 more!" - I looked at him like, ok, and he quickly realized I was there to do what I was told (another flash back to Basic) and then said, "No, just once" - Come on! Don't mess with me man! I want to say we had the tire carry next (not any ordinary carry) - I scooped up a tire and proceeded downhill into the woods, where I yelled to Heather, "You know if we are going downhill, we will have to go back up!" - indeed... climbing over downed limbs and dodging mini ditches with a tire on my shoulder...midway through, I switched sides...Upon completion, another wall - this time it looked like it was at least 8ft tall... have I mentioned I'm just a "Lil Bit"? As I recollect all of these moments, I quickly realize why I am so friggen bruised!

I truly am unsure of how things all went down, I'd have to re-watch the video to get the order correct, honestly, I am so far behind in posting this, I urge you just to watch the video... The barbed wire crawl was brutal, it was long and the wire - low...very low... I have a big bubble butt & this volunteer kept yelling 'Keep your butt down!' - I am thinking.. "REALLY? Have you seen what I'm working with???" This crawl (reminiscent of a night fire low crawl without the long sleeves and in broad daylight, oh and voluntary?!?!) was seemingly never ending. It became painfully apparent that I had to switch strategies (see elbow pic for explanation) - I moved from the arm over arm to the back scootch to the side roll... incentive... water at the end of it...thank god!

So you know how I may have mentioned previously my lack of skill on a particular obstacle? Well, yeah, this one cost me 30 burpees... I am really determined to be able to conquer my fear of Monkey Bars, so that next time I am faced with this, I am ready to rock them... I mean in all my 35+ years I have never, and I mean NEVER been able to string together more than 3 rungs consecutively. It really is the bain of my existence... I have developed an unhealthy discord for this playground apparatus... maybe I need training... or perhaps therapy?

I do have to say, there was a sludge pit that was hell to try to get out of, the ropes were full of slippery clay mud and I did get some assistance from a fellow spartan, which you will find is a theme, we want everyone to finish! I was relieved after what felt like us going in circles in the woods, to come upon a long swim, the water (albeit brown like my baby girls morning diaper, and smelt similar too!) was chilly... I could have just hung out and relaxed, floating around on my back as if at some point a cabana boy was going to bring me a frosty beverage... but SNAP! back to reality! The life guard asked me if I wanted to switch shoes, cute flipper ;)

After that was the rope line, I have ZERO upper body strength left (and lets not get crazy or delusional thinking I had a whole lot to begin with) and quickly realized I was not making it across this water, DROP... 30 more burpees - thank you very much! We were then instructed to pick up a sand bag (40lbs), carry it to the bottom of the hill, climb the hill and then jump into the water (which we were told was 15 ft deep)... I was trying to do a cannon ball but unfortunately, it didn't happen. This is where the picture of me would be awesome but I really am too cheap to buy it! Anyway, I wish I had the disposable camera as Heather sashayed by the girl who then instructed us to go ahead and courteously return our sandbag to the top of the hill...seriously!

Honestly, I am not sure what was after that... more trails? maybe... I know there were more walls, and these sizable mounds of dirt which had become a trap of slick mud (yay last wave!) - maybe like 5 or 6 in a row... I kept slipping and I could feel my knee getting so sore as it repeatedly slammed back into the earth, I mean I delivered 2 babies without painkillers, so it wasn't enough to make me stop - but it was just a tad uncomfortable... I just knew it was going to be a b!tch come Sunday. After I got my sorry butt through that, there were 2 more walls followed by what was left of the once substantially awesome fire jump... Next was the javelin throw, I had to get it to stick into the haystack spartan... yeah, 30 more burpees! As if my knee hadn't seen enough punishment, the soapy wall! Well at least I believe that was what they were squirting on it.. 

The finale, the one thing I was sooo looking forward to was taking on the pugil boys... protecting Heather from the brutality (this was one thing she was most concerned about) - well they must have been tired or uninterested... we made our way through with very little contact...

While the Carolinas Super Spartan was by far the most insane physical and mental challenge I have paid to do, there were a few things I'd like to mention... 

1. The last wave kinda got screwed out of the big finish fire... it was smoldering ash, which was kinda lame for me - I didn't have the opportunity to jump over the flames in the down hill direction, so that was a little bit of a bummer.

2.  The "pugil boys" as I call them, at the end, well they were well over their job by the time we got there... I was really hoping for a battle, but instead I got a little love tap - sorry boys I'm married... Even though I have had 2 people comment (one being my husband) on the picture of the pugilists, specifically referencing the pugil boy on the right... To the best of my knowledge, that is part of his Spartan skirt and NOT what it may appear to be to those with ill minds.

What I would like to see are some insane Spartan chicks at the finish (like Zena, Warrior Princess!) who aren't afraid to take another chick down... Somehow I think these boys were just too afraid to hurt the girls (which is crazy because I'd put you on your ass, without hesitation, in about a millisecond!)

3. Some how the Carolina Super Spartan got lost amongst all the coverage of the Death Race, which I understand, those are true competitors, taking physical and mental will to levels I can not even begin to understand... but the Spartan Sprint in NY was all the buzz on FB & Twitter... and well Carolinas, sadly was not. I'm not an attention wh@re by any means, but really - I think the event was a little lost in the shadows of the Death Race. (that's my opinion - still got nothing but love for the Spartan Race Peeps!)

So as I bring this to a close, I was already trying to plot and scheme my way to the Beast in Vermont, but it doesn't look like anything close to that is going to be feasible... Airfare is too expensive, a road trip is highly unlikely... and well with all that I try to make happen in my 'normal' life (haha yeah it's normal to me) - adding more races to my schedule may just cause Stephen to disown me...not really but seriously, I love him for being so supportive and understanding because I didn't become this insane until after the "I do's" were done, but hey isn't that how it goes?

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Well it took me almost a week to crank this out, although I have been writing it in my head almost as I was doing it.. and definitely post-race, while enjoying my #9 from Taco Bell (yes, I am aware that Taco Bell isn't the healthiest choice but seriously, I'm a Spartan now & if you weren't keeping track - I did 120 burpees!!!) - I think I may even had a few dreams of writing this... I hope I did it justice!

It's now 10pm on a Friday night, race gun goes off at 7am tomorrow morning... Independence 8k, and I am about 90% sure this will not be a PR setter... I could only walk/jog until Wednesday and only did one day of actual running... But who knows, maybe I'll surprise myself with all these rest days!!!