Finding My Inner Peace in 2013

I’ve had a week to think long and hard about how I’m going to work on improving my mind and spirit better this year.  Like all moms out there, I feel that I sometimes live in constant chaos. When I do take time to sit down on the couch I feel pangs of guilt. Harried thoughts about myself rush through my mind, such as:

  • “I should be doing more.”
  • “I am not being productive enough.”
  • “I should be perfecting a new recipe.”
  • “I should be enrolling my children in some other activity.
  • “I should be planning my return to the workforce.”
  • “I should be reorganizing the linen closet or the playroom.” “I should be getting the paper work organized for something that is months away.”

There is more to this self-chastising list, as many thoughts flood my mind as I’m just trying to rest.  I have come to the realization that this constant line of thinking is not healthy. It only leads to internalized negative energy, which sometimes gets unwittingly unleashed onto my family. With that said, these are the goals that I am going to work on this year which will hopefully help in developing a better mind and spirit.

I need to snack better. What we put in our body for fuel can really effect how you feel about yourself. I feel like I started on the right path with eating better in the second half of last year. I starting using MyFitnessPal to track my eating and it really has helped with weight loss, but also seeing what I put in my mouth.  There are some days I am good about it and make good choices, but most days I don’t snack or I make a bad choice. My goal is to have 2 healthy snacks a day. One after I come back from the gym and the second one after the boys come home from school. I am also going to work on making sure the boys are eating better afternoon snacks as well.

I am going to continue to work out 6 days a week. Physical fitness contributes a lot to my inner peace. I feel like last year I reached a milestone in realizing how much working out and being physical fit contributes to my happiness and over all wellness. It has really become part of my routine. This past holiday season, I worked out all but three days of our 14 day vacation. That was a first for me to actually workout when I was away from my gym. This year, I am going to resume Crossfit  training (I tapered off after the Tough Mudder). I am going to run more. I am going to try to run 6-8 miles a week. Slowly, moving up how many miles I run at once. I can run 3 miles at once right now, by March I want to be running 5 miles.  To keep myself in check with my fitness goals. I am going to run a race in March, one in late spring/summer and then the Tough Mudder in fall.

I am going to start-up yoga again once a week.  I am going to go to with the intent to better my mind and spirit not my body. I am also going to give the meditation class a try. I really need to learn the practice of shutting off my mind.  With that said. I am going to take time out of each day with my boys and just sit and be. We will work on breathing or just sitting still with our eyes closed.  We will begin at a few minutes, but by the end of the year I want to have worked up to 10 minutes.

I am going wake up on time (not after 3 snoozes) on school days. This way I can eat a good breakfast (not skip it or just shove a banana in my mouth) and start the day calmly, not in a crazy rush. Our weekday afternoons, except for Friday’s are really hectic. My oldest has activities twice a week and my youngest has them four days a week. With helping with homework and cooking dinner, I sometimes feel like I don’t get quality time with them during the week.  This is also the time when all the craziness creates a stressful environment for us. Angry mommy also comes out during this time as well. Sometimes angry mommy isn’t warranted for the situation. This leads me to my next goal: I am not going to sweat the small things with the boys. I am only going to raise my voice when the situation warrants it.  They need to see their mom smile more during the week :).

To help with the spirit aspect of my goals, I am going to make a better effort in going to church regularly as a family.  Both boys are in Sunday school and my husband and I started attending an adult religion class as well.  We really enjoy it.  Going to church as a family is something we haven’t been doing regularly. When we have done it, it really gives me a great feeling that stays with me through out the week.

Finally, I need to mentally be nicer to myself.  Hopefully the above goals will help me with this. I need to just not think negatively about myself in any aspect.  If I need a break, it’s because I need it. It’s not because I am being lazy. If those ugly inner comments start to rear their ugly heads I need to get a pen and write down all the things I have accomplished that day. I am sure it’s more than I realize.

Overall I think I have made attainable goals that will help me become an overall better, happier person. This will not only help me, but my family as well.  What’s that old saying, “If mama isn’t happy than no one is.”  Well, this mama needs to be happier during the week so everyone else in my family can be too!  Just for the record I want to point out I am not an unhappy person, not by a long shot.  This is certainly not my intended self-portrayal. Like everyone I want to try to be the best “me” I can be and I think by doing what I stated above. I can become a better me!

What are the goals you have set for yourself this year?

Tough Mudder and Halloween Let Down

Thursday and today has kind of felt like that day after Christmas. Two events I have been so eagerly awaiting are over and I am sad about it. After Saturday’s Tough Mudder I am was seriously riding high on adrenaline until Monday night. On Sunday I had minimal muscle pain. I had some bruising, but if I kept moving the muscle pain was bearable. I even went for a mile jog with my older son. On Monday I felt like I was hit by a mac truck. I was able to get up and I even went to the gym. Once I started talking about my experience to my gym “family”, I found my mojo again. I even did a TRX and Kettle Bell class and felt awesome. That evening after the kids were put to bed and the kitchen was cleaned. I laid on the couch and fell asleep at like 8:30pm. Tuesday morning I had no desire to go to the gym, but I had to keep my training session. Thankfully my trainer took it easy. He suggested I lay low until Friday and I have been. Over the past few days more bruises have been popping up. The only 2 significant injuries I have are a HUGE bruise across my right rib area. It also was slightly swollen. My right deltoid and shoulder hurts, and with certain movements makes me actually wince in pain.

Instead of going to the gym I have been eating my way through a bag of fun size Snickers. Halloween wasn’t a good health day for me. I ate pizza and a burger all in one day, not to mention all the Halloween candy. I also had some wine pre trick or treating and a cupcake post trick-or-treating. My boys had a good Halloween. We had friends come over for dinner and trick or treating. My younger son had a parade and party at his pre-school. I dressed like a witch and went to help out at my older son’s class. I was especially happy to end the day with a family viewing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!”(Which I nodded off half way through….damn food and wine!). When Halloween was said and done my little guy said it best, “I don’t want Halloween to be over Mom! I want Halloween to be everyday!”. I couldn’t have said it best kid!

How do you get yourself out of the “day after Christmas feeling”?

I try to look forward to new things on the calendar. For example, we have a big family trip coming up for Christmas trip and I am going to visit my friend in Boston next weekend. As for the gym, I just need to get back there and work out with the intensity that I was. Even though the next Tough Mudder isn’t until September. I still need lose another 5 pounds. Always keep a goal in mind. I have a 4 mile race on New Year’s Eve, which I would love to run the entire thing. I also don’t want to undo what I have done. It took me a lot of hard work to get where I am.

I hope you all have a great weekend! xoxo

My 1st Tough Mudder Experience And Tips For Newbies

Team Stay Strong: Jen, Steve, Marisol and Jeff

Let me start by saying we really lucked out on the weather. We all thought it was going to be chilly and rainy, but it was a balmy mid 60s with overcast. This was perfect weather for most of our time on the course. We arrived at Moree’s SportsmanPreverse at 6:30 am for our 8:20 am start time. We all arrived hydrated, fed and ready to be Tough Mudders. We easily parked and found our way to the registration area. Once we went through, they inked our foreheads with our number and slapped on the various wrist bands. We then made our way up to the main area, checked our bags, and we were ready! I was impressed with how easy the parking and registration went and how fast we got settled in.

It was good for us that we got there early. We were able to really take the whole experience in and get every thing in line (stretching, last-minute hydration, potty breaks). We enjoyed seeing the other teams arrive, especially those in costumes. Everyone was really friendly at this event. All the volunteers we encountered were also friendly and helpful.

Our goal as a team was just to finish the event as a team plain and simple, and to attempt all the obstacles. We all thought that our time would take around 4 hours. When picking a team, it is very important that all are on the same page with course goals and strategy. Our biggest goal was just to finish the damn thing and not to leave a teammate behind, even if that meant being the last team to finish. We fortunately saw the first group go off, which got us revved up for our own start time. Now before you even can get to the start area, you need to get over a 8 ft wall. These walls were the obstacle that haunted me the most since I signed up. I knew if I could get over this wall with ease, everything else would be cake. I had to get over this mental hurdle to relax. If you are short (like I am), these obstacles seem harder, so build up a lot of upper body strength. With the help of my husband and Steve, we got over it with no big issue. I was surprised the wall wasn’t thicker at the top, so be careful on the going over. Once our start time arrived, we were very pumped up. The MC was amazing. Before you know it we were off!!!

Here is our course map: Tough Mudder Course

1) Braveheart Charge: You basically charge to your first obstacle. It wasn’t to long I would say less than a quarter of a mile. It’s good to get the blood flowing!

2) Arctic Enema: This was an obstacle I was worried about. I didn’t really do anything to prepare other than think, “It’s going to be cold!” I went first and Jeff went behind me. I tried to jump as far as I could. Once you are in you need to get under a barrier to the other side and out. My best advice on this one jump far and get out as fast as you possibly can. The one sensation that got me (and it didn’t register until I got to the other side of the barrier) is that it physically knocks the wind out of you. It felt like I got kicked in the chest. Once I got to the end, it took me two tries and the help of my husband to get out. Again, my height was at disadvantage. I panicked for a split second because I didn’t pull my body up far enough to get out. I thought oh my Gosh if I don’t get out on the next try I will be in serious trouble. Thankfully, I pushed up hard enough that I could get my chest on the ledge and then my hubby made sure I didn’t fall back in. You need to move as fast as you can to get out of there. My skin literally felt like it was burning off for a few moments after, but thankfully none of our muscles cramped up. We were lucky in a sense that our Arctic Enema wasn’t all ice it was a good mix of water and ice. I couldn’t image going under the barrier if it was mostly ice.

3) Kiss the Mud: Thank God this was next! It got you on the ground over warm mud. I did this without any difficulty. I was surprised, honestly I thought the low crawling obstacles were going to wear me out. I guess all the yoga I do really prepared me for these types of obstacles.The trade off of being short is that the crawling obstacles (tunnels and trenches) are much, much easier. My tip for this one: use your arms and drag your legs. Use your feet every now and then to push-off.

4) Spider Web: After negotiating some of the terrain, (they really throw some obstacles on the terrain that aren’t official obstacles), we arrived at the Spider Web. This was another obstacle that had me worried. You have to climb over an 8 foot high cargo net, but there is no tension on lower part. We really saw the Tough Mudder camaraderie for the first time of the day here. When people go up, your fellow Mudders have to put tension on the bottom. When Jen and I went up there were about 8 people on the bottom and more on the sides. I really surprised myself by going up and over with no big issue. Once we were over we relieved some Mudders that had stayed to help, and we held the net for others. Everyone has different goals during this course, but it is really nice when you pay it forward. If someone helps you, help someone else. I think this camaraderie makes this event so different from other challenges.

5) Berlin Walls: This obstacle sat a good 2 miles and change from the previous. Again, we walked and jogged it. Knowing that we got over the starting wall with relative ease, I wasn’t so nervous anymore. It took the assistance of my husband and another kind gentleman to help me get up and over. While on top of the wall, make sure to extend yourself as long as you can get before jumping down. Shimmy down and drop. It does hurt the ankles a bit. There were two sets of walls; a major relief as I expected 4.

6) Hold your Wood: We trekked the terrain for roughly a mile before we got to this obstacle. If this is your first time, I recommend a smaller piece of wood rather than doing a team holding with a long piece. I think mine weighed 10-15 pounds. It was awkward to hold; I had to keep changing positions. Being a mommy really helped in this obstacle. Holding it along my hips was the easiest way, but I rotated it from my shoulders as well. We walked around a pond and at the very end we had to actually wade in the water with the wood. I think the total length we walked was about 1 km. Kettle bell training came in handy here for me. Thank you to my trainer for making me do those over the past few months.

7) Dirty Ballerina: We got lucky on this one. We were in the second wave of the morning so the course wasn’t that torn up yet. I can only imagine this got harder as the day went on. You basically jump over a series of 4 foot-wide trenches. If you miss you land in a trench of muddy water. Don’t over think it, just do it! We all made it over with no issues. Box jumps prepared me for this one.

8) Electric Eel: Again, an event which had me a little nervous. It is similar to Kiss the Mud, but there are live electric wires above you. Some are charged some are not. I’ll be honest, some people went too slow. I tried to get in between the wires, but I did get shocked about 6 times. I got a strong one on my shoulder that left a sting for a little bit. To be clear, it isn’t much stronger than a bad electric shock from static electricity. However, my shoulder was covered, and might have hurt more if I only had my tank top on. My advice is to go as fast and efficiently as you can. Try to go in between the wires. If you are small you have a little more of an advantage. Be prepared to get shocked, but it really doesn’t hurt all that much.

9) Trench Warfare: This event had me anxious, but it really wasn’t that bad. If you are small, you can baby crawl through it. It is just dark and rocky. If you are scared of tight places this might be a challenge for you. The weather also helped, since it wasn’t too hot it was pretty well ventilated.

10) Walk the Plank: First let me give props to Jen for doing this challenge without hesitation, even though she is not a proficient swimmer. You ROCKED it Jen!!!! You have to climb up to a fifteen foot platform and jump into a pool of water. Thankfully I had read a blog that mentioned that the water was going to be dark and it was going to take a little to get back up. I jump next to Jeff and once I went down my head exploded (didn’t plug my nose, I guess I am not 8 anymore), when I got up (took about 20-30 sec) I was so disoriented that I didn’t realize I had to swim straight and not right (that was the closest ledge to me). I started swimming and I wasn’t struggling (or so I thought). I immediately felt someone get hold of my legs and I thought, “Oh no I swam over someone coming up!!!”. No, it was the lifeguard. I must have looked like I was drowning or he was trying to get me out of the way. I think it was more the first thought, because they asked me like 5 times if I was ok. Which I was, but my right ear was clogged for the rest of the course. My advice on this is to not over think it and just do it. They have 3 lifeguards in the water and a couple on the sides if you struggle, they will get you to the edge. Just take a deep breath (which I think I didn’t), and plug your nose if you think your sinuses are going to pop.

11) Cliffhanger: This wasn’t as hard as I thought. You basically have to get up a really steep hill, but there is cargo netting to grasp. Just keep moving and zig zag up. On the way to the next obstacle, they had the “Wounded Warrior” carry. We had to carry one of teammates for 100 yards. I carried Jen for about 25 yards, and then Jeff carried me for the rest. After that, I pretended to carry Jeff.

12) Berlin Walls #2: After we did the Wounded Warrior carry Steve rolled his ankle (we were around mile 5) on the terrain. We could tell he was in pain, but he continued on and ROCKED it! These set of walls were intimidating. They were much higher than the last set. When I first saw them I thought, “No way I am going to be able to get over even if they give me a boost.” Some nice gentlemen stayed to help out our team. I didn’t get over with as much ease as the previous set of walls, but I did. The jump down was hard. I didn’t do it properly and I slightly twisted my ankle and hurt my inner thigh when I swung my leg over. For a split second I didn’t want to do the second wall, but Jeff (who by the way was my biggest cheerleader) encouraged me on. I got up ok and landing was a lot better. If you are short you will need help no matter what on any of the walls. My best advice when training really work to get your upper body strong.

13) Log Jamming: You have to go up and under a series of logs. At first Jen and I were moving fast. The last two set of logs you have to get over are higher and stacked unevenly. It was unexpected. That slowed us down and tired us. It was after this obstacle that I started to feel my energy drain. I forgot to mention that our 5-year-old came into our bed at 2 AM the night prior (our alarms were set for 4:15am). I went to his bed, but I didn’t get back to sleep. I felt it through this obstacle.

14) Mud Mile: If I wasn’t tired before this really sucked whatever energy I had left. This was a series of trenches of chalk grey mud that you had to climb in and out. At some points the mud was up to your chest. This was a team obstacle, the hills were really slippery, you really needed someone to either help you with a pull or a push. Thankfully it wasn’t a mile. After this obstacle there was a water station (our third one of the course) they had some yummo organic shark fruit gummies. They helped. We were also halfway done with the course.

15) Dong Dangler: This obstacle will be my albatross until I do another Tough Mudder. You have to rope climb (holding a rope with your arms and feet and shimming across a pond). To get on the rope other people have to hold the rope down so you can wrap your legs around it. This is what unnerved me. It didn’t start directly over water it started about 5 feet over a little cliff and you aren’t over water. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get across. I thought if I could get the hold I would probably drop down immediately and I could wade to the other side. When I saw that I would probably dropped on land it freaked me out. I was the last of my teammates to go. Unfortunately, the people behind me didn’t know that you had to lower the rope. I asked them to and a few of them did, but they didn’t get it low enough. I got one leg up and then the rope sprung up, so I freaked out and I skipped it. This brought me down for a bit. I was really disappointed in myself. I came to the conclusion that I tried. Even though I didn’t get on and then skipped it. I at least tried to get on. This is a perfect example, that this is just as much as a mental game as it is physical. My teammates were very supportive and I was happy they all got to the other side!

16) Underwater Tunnels: By this time, and thanks to Hurricane Sandy, the wind had really picked up and the temperature dropped from our starting time. At this obstacle, you had to swim about 25 meters to the barrels. The water was more choppy than I would have liked. We got in and waded until my feet couldn’t touch. I swam for about 10 seconds when I realized I wasn’t going to make it. My feet felt so heavy, everything felt heavy I grabbed Jeff and he took me until I could touch and I waded back and met them on the other side. I really wasn’t upset over this. I listened to my body. This and the “saving” at Walk the Plank showed me that I am not as strong swimmer as I thought. I am going to take an adult swimming course this upcoming year.

17) Kiss the Mud 2: On the way to this obstacle there was a lot of climbing and getting over trenches. Also going down muddy hills. There is no shame in sliding down on your butt on some of those hills. You just have to get down some how right? It doesn’t matter how. Once we got to the obstacle it was the same crawling under barbwire over mud. Did this one with ease.

18) King of the Mountain: This was really fun. We had to climb up and down 2 giant mountains of hay bales. And then get over 2 rolls of hay bales that were on their side. When you go up the hay bales, try to find where 2 meet. Push yourself up. Do that until you get to the top. On the descent, just gently slide down them. The rolls of hay were a warm up for Everest. You had to get a running start and throw yourself up. Jeff or Steve pulled us up on these.

19) Hanging Tough: Before we got to this obstacle we completed mile 10. Only 1.5 miles to go. That last 1.5 mile felt so long. This is the ring obstacle ( the rings are about a couple of feet apart) you have to try to get across a pit of water. If you can’t you fall in the water. Jen and I skipped this one. I had resolved to improve my swimming and the pit looked deep. After my incident at the pond I didn’t want to chance it. There is no shame in that. On this day I had done more things that I never thought in my life thought I could do. I resolved to remember what I did, not what I didn’t. Both Steve and Jeff ended up in the water. We resolved to improve on this for next year.

20) Funky Monkey: This obstacle is monkey bars. Not any monkey bars, some roll, some are greased and they go up and down. I knew I wasn’t going to be strong on these. We notice the water wasn’t deep. So both and Jen and I gave it a shot. Jeff went before me and he dropped on the second greased rung. I hung on the first rung and I fell to join Jeff. We swam across. Jen and Steve both fell and someone fell on Jen, but she pushed through!

21) Boa Constrictor: On the way to this obstacle we were encountered with a muddy swamp pond we had to cross and then a lot of up and down rocky terrain. This was the one obstacle we had to wait in a line longer than 5 minutes. This wasn’t as bad as I thought. It was two black tubes the first one goes down and you end up in some water the next one you have to go up. It’s a lot harder since you are wet on a slippery surface you tend to slip down. For bigger people it is easier to go on your back and push on your heels. I was behind Jeff and Jen and Steve were in the pipe next to us. I was about to turn on my back when I heard Jen say,” Marisol! Crawl like a baby!”. It paid to be small on this obstacle too. I did as she said and it wasn’t bad at all.

22) Everest: This is the big half-pipe that you try to get up with the help of people on top. Jeff was first to go. He ran up the pipe and when he was about to go vertical he threw his body up and he grabbed the ledge and the guys up top grabbed his arms. It took 4 people to get him up but he made it. Steve was next to go (we were surprised he did this on a bad ankle) he tried 3 times, but decided to stop after his third. I was next I ran as my life depended on it. When I went vertical I threw my arms up, I grabbed for Jeff’s hands, but I couldn’t get a grip so down I went. I tried 2 more times and on my third time when I came down I landed hard on my chin. I didn’t try again. Next was Jen, she made it on her first time. She grabbed Jeff’s arm. At one point she was completely hanging upside down, but she got up there. Steve and I were so happy and proud that our better halves made it. I will get you next time Everest! The key to this is to run as fast as you possibly can when you get to the point that you are vertical throw your arms and body up. Do not grip the hands. Try to grip the person’s arm and hold on for dear life!

23) Electroshock Therapy: You need to have a strategy on this one. We decide to go individually and just go through as fast as we could. Now I don’t know if we got lucky, but none one of us got that bad of a shock. Definitely cover your head with your arms to protect your ears and face.

We MADE IT!!! 23 obstacles and 11.5 miles completed. We got our orange headband and our free Dos XX beer. Even though by this point it was chilly and I was shivering a bit, I took down that beer. It was like nectar from the gods. We finished in 4 1/2 hrs. Definitely within our estimated time. This was such a great experience. I was proud of our team and of myself. It’s a hard feeling to explain. I felt accomplished, but I couldn’t wait to come back and do it again! Team Stay Strong will be going to a Mudder in 2013.

My Final Thoughts

Do not take the water obstacles lightly, just because you are an OK swimmer in a pool doesn’t mean you are an OK swimmer in a lake with clothes and shoes on. Do some swim training. That is something I strongly regret that I didn’t do. For your running training, train on trails, and not just on a treadmill. If you plan on running most of it, you need to be able to run at least 5 miles with ease on trails. I highly recommend training with Cross Fit. Cross Fit workouts shock your body. The workouts sometimes are so uncomfortable. Your body with be used that discomfort on Mudder day. Honestly, I never once felt tired enough that I wanted to quit. The reason why I didn’t finish the obstacles I didn’t wasn’t because my body couldn’t do it, it was because my brain couldn’t do it. That is something I need to work on for next time. You don’t find out what your course will look like obstacle wise until 2 weeks before. Be mentally prepared to do all of them. Train your brain too. The reason why I didn’t finish 4 obstacles was all mental. It wasn’t because my body couldn’t do it. I have to do more mental training for next time.

Since our Mudder was in South Carolina the terrain was mostly flat. Yes we had some hills here and there, but it wasn’t like if we were doing it in Utah or New Hampshire. They added mini obstacles in between obstacles, most likely to compensate for the flatter terrain. I also think there were more water obstacles to account for that. My advice, be ready for anything! Also, listen to your body and your inner voice. If something doesn’t feel right don’t do it. You want to have fun, not get hurt because you aren’t ready for that obstacle. You can get it the next time (I promise there will be a next time because, these things are addicting!)

I recommend you wear (at least at your first mudder) some dri fit pants that cover your knees. Jen had the genius idea of getting high knee socks. Those help our pant legs from rolling up and it kept our shins and calves from getting scraped up. You are going to get bruised regardless of what you wear, but in wearing pants you can avoid scrapes on your knees. I kept my long-sleeved shirt on the entire time. I was going to take it off at one point, but thankfully Jen persuaded me not to. The long-sleeved shirt gave added protection to my arms and elbows. You will bruise. It’s 36 hrs later and new bruises keep popping up. Wear them as badges of honor. They show all your hard work! Wear old shoes that you have trained in that still have a few miles left in them. I also duct taped mine to make sure I didn’t lose them in the mud. If you wear contacts. Bring an extra pair. When Jen jumped off Walk the Plank. One popped right off from the force of the submersion. Luckily she packed another pair and a wet wash cloth in a plastic bag (FYI we brought fanny packs back by having the guys wear them).

Before we left the house I drank two water bottles with Emergen-C in them. I also took a bottle to sip on along the way. I had a small peanut butter sandwich at the house and a Cliff bar right before we got there. Definitely hydrate and have something to eat. I was impressed with how well placed the water stations were. There were 6 along the course. They also had a light snack at each one. You can always bypass them, but at your first Mudder I recommend taking advantage of them. It’s also a good place to banter with fellow competitors. Also, there is no need to bring race goo unless you don’t plan on stopping at the stations. I brought a ton of race goo (put them in trusty old Fanny), but we didn’t use one.

When you make up your team, make sure you all have the same goals in mind. It just makes it easier. The reason why I had so much fun this first time has a lot to do with my team mates. Not only did we help and supported one another. We joked the entire way. We had so much fun bantering with each other and other participants. I am sure they were tired of me saying how we all were going to get e-coli or some other bacteria or viral disease. I was mostly kidding, but it does cross ones mind when you realize you are ingesting swamp water. Best costume goes to Rocky. We saw him running along around mile 6. Not only did he have the Rocky hair, gloves and striped robe, but he had music. YES MUSIC! When we were behind him his music was playing the Rocky 4 score. I was yelling DRAGGGOOOO!!!! He totally played along with our banter. It’s moments like that which makes this event so different from others.

Train wisely for the Tough Mudder find what is right for you. Train your body and your brain. Also set realistic goals for yourself so in the end you have a sense of accomplishment. Make a kick ass team! My team made this first time so AWESOME! We definitely made friends for life!

Tough Mudder is Upon Me

The day I have been training for since May will be here tomorrow. I am so excited to be challenged, to have fun and most important to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of 12 miles and 22 obstacles.  To add to the anticipation, there is a great chance we will be doing the Tough Mudder in rain and wind from the hurricane Sandy. At this point BRING IT ON!!! I figure I will be wet and muddy anyway, what’s a little rain and wind gusts!!

At the end of this journey I am physically stronger, faster, 8 pounds lighter, have 2% less body fat and I am a lot happier. So excited for tomorrow!!  Wish me and my team luck!  xoxo

Tapering off

Tough Mudder Austin 2011

Tough Mudder Austin 2011 (Photo credit: glennharper)

The hardest thing I have been able to swallow in my training for the Tough Mudder is that I am now in the tapering phase. “What? I can’t workout hard the week before the event?” Apparently, it is ill-advised. Tapering is what you do before an athletic event (in my case the Tough Mudder) to avoid over-training. It involves a gradual reduction of one’s workout. During this time the body rests and recovers from any stress previous training has created. The length of the tapering phase varies from event to event. Obviously, an Olympic athlete is going to have a different tapering schedule than me! The end result is the same: a recovered body that can perform its best on the big day.

I just wasn’t sure about how much or little I had to do. This was the only article I could find on tapering for the Tough Mudder.  The article advises to not do any extreme training the week before. You really can’t make and significant change to your fitness level in a week.  At this point all you can really do is hurt yourself. The article also advises to take two full days off of exercise before the Tough Mudder. I recently injured my right quad so I have tapered off from continuous running for two weeks now. I also added an extra rest day in my week. This week will be a mental test for me. I need to repeat the following to myself every morning, “Marisol, working out hard at the gym will not help you it will hurt you and your team. You have prepared since May and have worked your ASS off especially hard these past 8 weeks. You are ready! Have faith in yourself and everything will be ok. Also remember you are part of a team. Your team will help you if you falter.”

With that in mind here is my plan for the week. Yesterday was my last run/walk before the day of reckoning. I will do a Restorative Yoga class today, light strength exercises on Tuesday and a Light Ashtanga class on Wednesday.  I WILL DO NOTHING on Thursday and Friday and I will enjoy it!

If you have trained for a race or obstacle challenge how did your tapering phase go? Did you find it hard to just relax?

I hope you all have a great week! xoxo

“Listen To Your Body.”

One of the best phrases I have learned in recent memory is “listen to your body”.  I have been rigorously training for the past 7 weeks for a Tough Mudder I am doing at the end of the month. For 7 weeks I have worked out  incredibly hard for 6 days and allowed myself one rest day a week.  At the end of last week I could feel my body starting to break down. It was getting tired and old injuries were starting to rear their ugly heads. So I listened to my body and this week I have taken it easy. I have not run (which is where a big source of my pain comes from), and have made my work outs lighter and stretched for a longer amount of time. Instead of 1 day of rest I have given myself 2 and you know what I am ok with that. I am going to train strong next week and take it easy the week of. I am proud of the hard work I have done and I am confident my body and mind are ready!

When do you allow yourselves rest when you are training? Do you ever feel bad about resting?

 

Tough Mudder is 1 Month Away (insert scream)

Tough Mudder logo

Tough Mudder logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My husband and I signed up for our local Tough Mudder back in May. Since then I have greatly increased the intensity of my workouts. Our intention is not to set any record. We want to go out there and have fun with our team. My intention is to most importantly finish and to not end up in the back of an EMS vehicle.  Since the beginning of May I have greatly increased the intensity of my workouts. About 6 weeks ago I really got more serious about it. I started to really watch what I eat and am working out 6 days a week ( my normal was 4-5 days a week).

The bulk of my workouts is Crossfit, TRX classes and running.  I try to also squeeze in a yoga class. I have been doing TRX for about 2 years now and I have always enjoyed it  (well, not during the class). It’s hard and humbling, but I feel like a million bucks when I am done. It also creates (well at least on me) lean muscles, I haven’t bulked up at all and I am a hell of a lot stronger.

My gym also offers Crossfit. At first I was a little hesitant to do it. I was intimidated, but I started doing the WOD’s (workout of the day) with my trainer. He coached me through it for a while. It took about a month or so until I felt comfortable to do them without him. Now I do the WOD everyday but Sunday. What I love about it is that they are no longer than 30 minutes (normally), you get a total body work out in a short amount of time. The exercise also varies day by day so you aren’t doing the same thing. It’s also very social. I have met so many cool people by doing crossfit. I guess misery loves company. In the six weeks that I have been doing it 5 days a week I have greatly increased my endurance and I am a lot stronger, especially in my core (which is my weakest spot).

These are the accomplishments I am most proud of…

-I have lost 4  pounds (which is huge for me). Now I can say I only need to lose 6 more (sounds so much better than saying 10). My Fitness Pal app is so awesome! It is so easy to follow your calories and your progress.

-I ran 2 miles ( regularly now for a few weeks)without stopping and I wasn’t dead at the end. I have also been wanting to run which is huge. I have also started running on the street which is so out of my comfort zone. Running and I have always had a hate/hate relationship. I have even signed up to do a 5k in November and a 4 miler in December.

-I have really kept at it. If I can’t make it to the gym in the morning, I’ll go in the afternoon and -gasp- even on a Saturday!

-Finally my hard work is starting to show. My arms and back are more defined and over all my body is tighter.

Now hoping I survive another month!

Have you set up any fitness goals for yourself recently?  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! xoxo