Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spartan Beast - Oh How I WILL Tame Thee!

Admittedly, I probably have some of you confused... Is she a rugged Spartan or a Pretty Princess? Well, in natural "Hope" style, I am both. I am a renaissance woman who doesn't quite fit in a box really. So for the past few weeks you've been reading about my fundraising efforts with Team in Training for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, about the Tinker Bell 1/2, and also the Disney Princess 1/2 and maybe if you follow me on facebook, the Divas 1/2 coming to North Myrtle Beach in May 2012. So all these whimsical races consisting of tutus, tiaras and the occasional boa, you may be left wondering - where did the Beast come from? Well it's the next step in my progression. Last summer I did the Super Spartan, now I must push further - so call me Belle, because I am coming to tame the BEAST!

It was a day like any other day... I was checking my emails, for those of you who don't know, I live on my computer. I've been doing this computer thing for so long, way before it was super popular with the "IN" crowd. Of course, typing HTML in notepad is so outdated, I still never use the drop in's on dreamweaver...lol ANYWAY. I got this email from the Spartan Race, subject: Oktoberfest of Deals from Spartan Race and of course in Spartan fashion - I opened it as soon as possible!

What's this you say? TWO Carolinas Spartan Races? WHAT!?! It was like the lottery (except I'll have to pay to play and the return will be victory, chicking some dudes and of course more BLING!). For those tuning in late, Heather & I drove hours to the center of nowhere South Carolina this summer to test our skills of endurance in the Super Spartan. We got mildly intoxicated from the smell of the marker Heather was using as she worked feverishly on our Who's Your Spartan / U've been Chicked shirts... we arrived thinking we'd get something to eat before the race (middle of nowhere, and apparently the closest thing to this place was a truck stop...hmmm no thanks). Neither one of us had any idea what to expect, but our goal was to enjoy the experience and finish without injury (well we did get some awesome bruises but nothing serious!) Here's the clip of the race this past summer:


Soooo... Are you pumped yet? I am. So for the faint of heart, the first Carolinas Spartan race is a Sprint, taking place at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 24th. The Beast, oh the Beast (I will tame you!) is Saturday, October 13th at the Carolina Adventure World (referenced above as center of nowhere SC).

So some background (taken from the SpartanRace.com site - visit them!):

SPARTAN SPRINT: Challenge’s a Spartan’s Agility
Spartan Sprints are muddy 3+- mile events with 10 or more obstacles. The challenging sprint races are a great way to get off your couch and start living. Beginners to hardcore warriors, and marathon runners alike come out to test themselves on the insane obstacles! This 5k race is comprised of mud runs, obstacles, trail racing, physical challenges and mental challenges all in a 3mi race. 99.9% of all people who try this event will finish, and 100% will have their thirst for mud fully satisfied!

The SPRINT not challenging enough? Try the SUPER SPARTAN - this obstacle race provides an 8+ mile battlefield of insane mud running with 15 or more obstacles to test your physical strength and mental resolve. This mud fest of a race will have many trials to push you to your limits that any man or woman with resolve can complete! This endurance race conists of mud runs, trails, and both mental and physical obstacles and challenges. (Not in Carolinas this year, but check out the events page, Virginia & Florida are on the board!)
All of which I wrote about previously in these postings: Super Spartan Race Saturday and Who's a Chicky Spartan?!?! so feel free to get my take on that!

Ok, so what's a girl to do when she is ALREADY a SUPER SPARTAN? Why try to tame the BEAST of course!

SPARTAN BEAST- 10-12 mile Obstacle Race from Hell. If you have done any race anywhere in the world: whether a mud run, fun run, olympic run, bike race, death march or any kind of event claiming to be the "toughest race on the planet" you will be happy to know that this is where it ends..THIS IS THE SPARTAN BEAST...Step up and get out of your comfort zone, many will arrive, but few will leave!
NOTE: If you are unsure as to if you can do THE BEAST we are allowing you a 'dignified exit' if you need it at mile 3. This will also serve as the ultimate test of resolve for those who plan on doing the full event. Each racer will have to confront choice between luxury and relaxation or facing 9 more miles of HELL. You are welcome to plan on only doing 3 mile section of course but price remains the same and you will not receive official time or medal.

Now, I would be a liar if I said I am not just a little bit intimidated, I mean, the 8 miles of the Super was a lot and of course those damn monkey bars! BUT I did that with very little training, and never having run 8 miles, especially through trails...lol

I have a healthy respect for these types of events, but that doesn't mean I won't be pushing myself to my limits to just find out exactly what I'm made of... by October 2012, I will have a few 1/2 marathons under my belt, have completed P90X2 and hopefully look more like a Spartan Warrior Princess than I did at the Super with my postpardum pooch squeezing into my fast drying spandex running pants (I'm the one in the pink ([Heathers shirt turned orange..lol], what a sight I tell ya!)

 As I reread the email, apparently I missed a previous one where there was a 50% savings on registration (big bummer!) so now I only have a 25% off deal, carolinas2012, but I will take it...

So now I ask, who is with me? I'd love to get a group together so if you think you are ready to try the SPRINT, or conquer the BEAST - leave me a comment or shoot me an email at TeamEpton at yahoo.com

A few things you may "LIKE": Me, Heather, Shawty SpartanCarolina Spartan Race and Spartan Race

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Raffle You've Been Waiting For!

Just the idea of a child, teenager, adult or elder being diagnosed with cancer is horrible, but imagine yourself hearing those 3 words, "[Insert Loved ones name] has Cancer" ...simply devastating. I am sure we would be hard pressed to find someone who's life has not been touched by cancer, whatever form it comes in. For me personally, I lost my grandfather to prostate cancer (which spread throughout his body), I had a great aunt who had breast cancer, twice. My good friend Judy had cancer, luckily she is a survivor (we are so blessed because she is such an awesome woman). There is also Yano Pournaras, who is just a little guy, also a survivor, which gives us hope because he defied the odds. You can read about his story in my previous post, it also tells how my journey began & why this is important to me! I couldn't imagine my baby girl being ill, and I don't want to think about anyone's loved ones getting ill either... We need to find a cure!

So with Team in Training, I have pledged to raise a hefty sum of coin...*ahem* This is where you come in... I have been met with great support from a few businesses as well as individuals who think this is a great cause and were eager to be a sponsor. This of course fills my heart, sometimes I find myself passionate about things others could seemingly care less about. I also have found, those who have less, tend to give more, which is ironic, but true (probably everywhere - not just on requests for product donations). I wholeheartedly appreciate every single person who responded to my inquiry with a YES! We would love to be a part of this! Honestly, I am so excited to be able to offer this raffle and know that all of my emails, and lists, and what not will be doing so much good.

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It's easy to enter just Donate Here, and then comment below that you did!
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So without further ado...the 10 (yes TEN) prize packages, which means 10 Winners! I don't know where to start...

First, let me put out some information on each item, then I can show you how I have put them together!

iBungee Stretch Laces: iBungee laces flex with the motion of your foot for plush comfort. Turns any shoe into a slip-on that goes on and off effortlessly. Great for sensitive feet. This item was donated by Speedlaces.com and they have a variety of colors and sizes so definitely check them out!

The RUN LIKE A GIRL features a 3/4 inch wide by 1 inch long hand hammered nickel silver pendant hand stamped with RUN LIKE A GIRL and hangs from an 18 inch gunmetal chain as shown. This item was graciously donated by TheRunHome.com - be sure to check out all of the inspirational products - to include many milestone pieces!

The RunningPrincess.com donated this awesome and super cute Princess Visor, great for those of us girls who may *Glow* a bit, it will keep our moisture out of our eyes, while looking ever so stylish! This racing visor is 100% CoolMax® Polyester Fabric for wrap around wicking. If you don't win it, you can order one, and customize your visor with a choice of  colored rhinestones, the one here has the Rose ones, which I think is fabulous! Of course there are other options so definitely check out the site!

Moving Comfort sent me a 'Support Your Girls' t-shirt - how fun is that?!? There are a few different styles and colors, but the Pink is perfect! Moving Comfort is known for great support of the tatas for all of us who tend to bounce when we are on the move! Keep them strapped down ladies (yes, even my fellow members of the IBTC - its important!)

Princess design is on the end on the Right
Terry from TAM (The Active Miss) hand crafts these sporty headbands. She is donating 7 custom made bands to this raffle! Now, I know we have some Princess 1/2 Runners in the mix so keep that in mind! I'm thinking I might like a Green & Yellow Polka Dot one...it's kinda TinkerBellish!

The road may always be open, but sometimes drivers eyes aren't - so we need to be careful & if something should happen (God forbid) it is so important that an emergency contact can be reached. Just this week I have heard of multiple incidences of runners being struck by vehicles. I am so happy to be able to offer $15 Gift Certificates from RoadID!

Bondi Band has donated 2 wicking headbands and a Runner Girl car magnet, YAY! We are definitely sticking to a running girl / princess theme here, and couldn't be happier to get these in the mix...

I also received a ΓΌber cute 31 Gifts lunch tote from a fellow running mom, Courtney. I have a 31 Lunch tote and it is awesome! She has also offered to help our cause by conducting an online show, donating her commission to the cause - more details will follow!

And for the Grand Finale, something I have on my own *wishlist* (hint, hint, you know who you are), those awesome medals you've trained so hard for, through blood, sweat, tears, and even a random moment of incontinence (don't judge!), NEEDS to be put on DISPLAY!

You should be so proud of all your medals, (mine are hanging from a plant stand, pitiful I know!) and heck, you earned them & have every right to show them off! Allied Medal Displays are the ORIGINAL and BEST medal hangers on the market.  Their quality and customer service are absolutely top notch.  They do custom displays as well so your display can be as unique as you are! Allied Medal Displays has very generously donated a Large silver tiara and a "Runner girl" hanger!

* GU never did respond, but I had a bag of them, so I decided to throw some in the mix...

Ok, having covered all of that... There are 10 prize packages in total, ranging in value from $30 to $100!

DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!  [insert sound of a dozen Lars Ulrich's]

This GRAND PRIZE Package
Grand Prize Package
In this spectacular package you will find:
+ TWO pair of iBungee Laces,
+ Run Like a Girl Necklace,
+ Running Princess Visor 
+ The Running Girl Medal Hanger
~*~ A prize package worth ≈ $100! ~*~

The First Runner Up Package
First Runner Up Package
The fabulous package offers:
+ TWO pair of iBungee Laces,
+ A Bondi Band 'Run like a girl' wicking headband
+ A Running girl car magnet
+ A 31 Gifts Lunch Tote personalized as "Snacks"
+ The Tiara Medal Hanger
~*~ A prize package worth ≈ $85! ~*~

The Second Runner Up Package
Second Runner Up Package
The Stylish package offers:
+ TWO pair of iBungee Laces,
+ A bondi Band fit for a Princess wicking headband
+ Moving Comfort "Support Your Girls" t-shirt (size Medium)
~*~ A prize package worth ≈ $50! ~*~

Last but certainly not least...
The Lucky 7 Package
(why 7? Because 7 people will win one!)
Lucky 7 Package
This clever package offers:
+ TWO pair of iBungee Laces,
+ RoadID Gift Card for $15.00
+ Three random packages of GU
+ Custom made TAM Band 
~*~ A prize package worth ≈ $30! ~*~
** TAM Band is not shown because it will be custom to you! **

"So Hope, what kind of hoops are we going to have to jump through 
for our chance to win all of this crazy awesome loot?!?! "

...Glad you asked....
Now, you know there is always just ONE thing you HAVE to do to win... Simply make a donation and you are in! Let me explain how this will work...

1) Make a tax deductible donation to my Team in Training efforts here:

$5 = one entry

$10= 2 entries

$15 = 3 entries

$20 = 4 entries

Going Above & Beyond?
Donate any amount between $25 - $99 , you receive matching entries per dollar donation!!! That's right, for $25 you get 25 entries, $99 is 99 entries (but if you go to $99, you might consider being an overachiever!).

Where's my Overachievers At?
Donate $100 or above, you get DOUBLE entries! $100 = 200 entries, $125 = 250 entries, you get it...

NOW, Are you sitting there thinking,
"But Hope - I already donated! No FAIR!"...
Don't fret! If you feel like you've jumped the gun, but still want in on the fun, donate 1 more time (any amount) and you get matching entries for THIS donation + your previous donation. Score! (you honestly could not, in a million years, have thought I would not reward the forward thinker, right?)

2) BONUS ENTRIES! (because I adore my fellow super overacheiving, go getting, gotta win this peeps!!!)

SHARE this giveaway! Twitter, facebook, your blog, dailymile, linkedIn, etc etc. Every time you share, leave a NEW (and yes that means SEPARATE) comment and you will get an extra entry.

This raffle will RUN (puns are fun!) for 2 weeks. Entries will be accepted until midnight on September 30th, and winner will be announced October 1st.

All "tickets" will be entered in order that they are received (and I am a master with the spreadsheet so have no fear!), and winners (all 10 of you!) will be drawn by random.org and notified immediately, through email or facebook and of course a Grand Announcement on the blog (to make it more fun, if you win, send me an ecstatic looking pic to show your excitement and I will put in on my blog announcement!).

*** Share the love & accept that one prize package per person is really a cool way to be! ***

Remember, this is all for charity and supports an awesome cause! Imagine what a great impact we can make if we come together to find a cure. As the race for a cure continues, your donations are being used to help fund research, and develop better treatments for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and help improve the quality of life for patients and their families as well. We can all pray that someday, there won't be a need for fundraising, that cancer taking lives of loved ones will be a thing of the past!

One last thing, a reward for those of you who actually read the whole blog, if you want to be entered into a special drawing for this handmade Tinkerbell Bow (purchased from Lexies Playhouse Bowtique) - simply leave a comment here that says, "I'm saving someone special!" (of course this is only open to those who donate). I will be wearing a similar one (it's being made for me) to the Inspiration Dinner...

As always, I thank you from the bottom of my heart (and it's a lot deeper a drop than it used to be, kinda like the Grinch…lol)

* All items featured were graciously donated, each company/individual was recognized for assisting in my philanthropy efforts. If you have a product you would like to donate for future fundraising, I would like to hear from you! Send me an email at teamepton at yahoo.com!

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11 Remembered

The 10th Anniversary of September 11th, is a day of emotion, remembrance and honor. It's hard to believe this much time has passed, and for the last 6 weeks I have been entrenched in the planning, fundraising and basically everything "event".

Joshua isn't as thrilled as I am…lol 
There were times I didn't think it would come together, there was a small window when I thought it wouldn't happen, but pushed to find a way to make it so, then there was the 'why am I doing this?' because it seemed impossible to get sponsors, especially in this economy. It wasn't always easy, but today it was all worth it. I am sure like anything else, there is room for improvement, there are things that could have run smoother but for 6 weeks and it being my first event, it was a success.

I want to extend a special thanks to my event sponsors:
Tucker Materials of Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach Mobile
Horry Georgetown Technical College
Kaminsky's Deli
Troxell Chiropractic
Grand Strand Running Club
and of course
The City of Myrtle Beach

Also, a shout out to Keith from Black Thai for the last minute promoting!

As people started to show I was hardly ready for the rush. Half my volunteers didn't show (I've heard of this happening, but hardly thought it would be the case today) which made things a little more confusing, and slow going. Fortunately, I had a few people who were willing to jump in where ever needed (Big thanks to all of the volunteers!).

As the race drew closer, I felt a sense of nervousness, will everyone know where to turn? How can I not be in 10 places at once? Oh to trust other people and relinquish some control (yes, I have control issues, but really it's mostly a good thing!) - how does one do this? I guess it's called faith.

Who brought the Vodka?
Besides, when the race started, I was knee deep in oranges! I told Heather I felt like I was on one of Ramsey's kitchen shows, and anyone who knows me knows, this girl has ZERO (seriously, nada, zip, zilch) skills in the kitchen!

Today however, I feverishly cut up fruit like an old pro… who knew? Maybe I need to bust out my Jack Lalanne Juicer from the pantry?

I was still running around like a chicken with my head cut off to witness the actual beginning (or end for that matter) of the race, so thanks to Heather for capturing the start of the race.

I wish there was a way to be able to organize and participate in an event (maybe there is, this was my first…lol) - I would have loved to run, and even though today would have been rough (tendonitis sucks, FYI), I am sure I would have tried anyway…

Myrtle Beach SkyWheel
As the first finishers started to cross, I truly felt everyone out there running and walking wanted to be a part of something big, a collective effort to do good work, to honor, to thank, to remember. The positive of this day, it was a truly beautiful morning and our backdrop was awesome…




For all the stress, all the time worrying, wondering, questioning, believing and oh worrying some more, it was over in a flash (kinda like a wedding) and everyone seemed to be pleased with the outcome. There were quite of few people talking about next year (let me breathe a minute, please?), so my hopes would be with an earlier start, we can reach more people and do more good...

Onto the Firefighter Stair Climb, organized by Jason Greene. I didn't get to see the opening ceremony, which stinks, but I was still packing up the run/walk and didn't seem right to bail on clean up. So I wish I could share with you all how it was, but I can't… Maybe I can get Heather to post a comment with her feelings on it, since she was there. I did manage to arrive just before the first firefighter began to climb the first of 110 flights of stairs. I shot this video the start, to give an idea of how awesome this was… A huge shout out to all the men and women (especially those in full gear) who participated in the climb and honored those 343 firefighters who rushed in while everyone was rushing out.


So there you have it, the 10th Anniversary of September 11th, as I chose to remember it. Sometimes people get caught up in the misery, the loss, and the paril of that day. Today, all the events that I was so proud to be a part of, honored those lives lost, while looking for the positive in helping those affected most by that day, and the many days (including the present) that have followed.
Moral of my story, we cannot change the past, no matter how hard we try. So, whenever possible, it is best to make every effort to take a tragedy and create something positive from it. Always look to help those who need it, and volunteering and doing charitable work makes you feel good (well it does for me anyway!)… Life is beautiful, precious and never long enough, so let us all make focusing on living our lives, in the most positive way, a priority. God Bless America.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

So many things, So little time...

Wow. It has been a long time since I have posted anything, my apologies, sincerely... I have been so consumed with all that is going on with organizing races (begging for sponsorships), starting classes again (only 2 this semester - finishing up my Health Promotion minor) and well, being a wife, mom, and all those other hats...I am such a fashionista!

So this is the big weekend coming up, I was supposed to do the NMB Triathlon, but I am going to have to bow out. I have been struggling with an unknown injury to my foot which was not cured by rest alone (two weeks of no running) as revealed by this mornings pitiful attempt at a run. I am so annoyed, frustrated and disappointed right now. There will be other events, I think I have accepted that this is not the year of the TRI for me... I just don't have my heart completely in it yet - I loved it but it's a lot of training and time is not on my side right now. Plus I have a bunch of 1/2 marathons on schedule - October (MB Mini), November (Battleship), December (nothing, still looking...lol), January (Tinkerbell), February (Princess)... Then in May I am super stoked about the DIVAS in North Myrtle Beach! March and April, perhaps I'll take a break or find something.. not sure yet! Anyway, I won't be running anywhere if I don't figure out what the heck is up with this foot!
So, this weekend, Sunday to be more specific, marks the 10th Anniversary of 9/11... It will be an emotional day, it will be a day of remembrance for all those lost, and a day of gratitude for all those who continue to guard our freedoms and support us in emergency situations. Our Military, Police, Firefighters and First Responders, all deserve more than just one day but at least on this one day, we can make a special effort to thank them for all they do on a daily basis.

I am very much looking forward to our event in Myrtle Beach. I am hoping it will bring people out, and bring them together, as we look back, remember, honor and pray for all those lost 10 years ago. Our event will be followed by the Firefighter Stair climb, where firefighters, police and first responders from the area will be in full gear to climb 110 flights of stairs, each one wearing a badge to represent each firefighter who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11.
It's not too late to come out and show your support for these events, Click to get more information.

Also, coming up this week will be my latest fundraiser for Team in Training! Stay tuned for a chance to win some really great running related prizes. I am really excited to be able to offer this stuff so I don't think you will be disappointed! You can check out my TNT Sponsor page for a little hint of things to come! Of course if you want to donate, you can visit my fundraising page!

Other things happening... Joshua (yeah the guy to the left) is driving (with a scared yet responsible adult in the passenger seat) more and more.


Gabriella is pulling herself up like a champ - she is ready to take off! Oh and she likes swing her noggin around, I learned that first hand as I suffered a bloody nose yesterday...lol

Our yard made an epic transformation this weekend, as Stephen said, 'Worst to First' on the block... It was a lot of hours, a tinge of sunburn, and more physical labor than I have been subjected to in a long, long time BUT it does look fabulous!

I promise to try to be better at posting... sometimes life is happening so fast, you don't have time to write about it!