Tuesday, February 4

WOW how time has changed

I just realized that the last post I made for nearly 2 years ago was posted on now what is my due date . . . how things have changed in 2 years!  I'm sitting here with a weird feeling in my belly, which I've been told is the baby moving - it is a surreal feeling and I look forward to it becoming stronger so that my husband can also feel it.  For now he can just hear me say "oh he's moving again" which normally follows about an hour after I've eaten or drank something like hot coco.  I don't have much else to say, just astonished that 2 years from the date of my final Spartan Race is the day my first baby is due!  I can tell you on that day in Colorado, this was not even on my radar.

Tuesday, June 12

Colorado Military Spartan Sprint Race - May 5, 2012

Just realised I never blogged about my Colorado Sprint Race back in May . . . so I woke up at the butt crack of dawn to drive to Logan airport, but look how awake we look (lol)!!

I flew into Denver on Friday morning, enroute someone feels something dripping on their head . . . come to find out there was a bottle of milk for a child in the overhead container - glad I didn't have that seat!!

picked up the rental car, had some lunch and drove to Colorado Springs.  Checked out the hotel, did a bit of pre-race training (lol)

That afternoon I picked up Aja at the Colorado Springs airport - like 5 minutes from our hotel!  We spent the afternoon at packet pick up, meeting other OCRacers and just in general chillax mode.  We went to bed early in order to get a good night sleep and be ready for our RACE DAY!  This was going to be Aja's first Spartan race and turns out my college friend Jill would be joining us as well - she and her family had drive down from WY to join in the fun.
Saturday morning we wake up, have breakfast in the hotel and then head over to the base, get in line for the shuttle bus and I apparently I'm the only idiot who forgot to bring sunglasses.

 Aja, me, Jill
 me & Aja showing off our guns PRE-race!
 A great shot of the whole group PRE-race
(Kym's sister & brother in law, Jeff, Kym, me, Aja, Chris, Mies and Jill)

We take off at the 9:30am heat and within minutes realise that 80 degree temps with not a cloud in sight and the dryness of CO might be an obstacle we hadn't been able to train for!  Here is another group shot post barbed wire crawl (with guns) - Jill, Aja (pink), me, and Chris.
 On the slippery wall, I managed to tweak my knee, so I was forced to slow down a bit and be extra careful on muddy and slippery surfaces.  We did a sandbag carry up a steep hill, where I learned many people were puking, but not this Spartan Chick or any of my group for that matter :)  Luckily they had quite a few water obstacles so that helped to keep us semi cool and they also had 2 water stations and a very kind person who happen to live along the route was spraying us down with a hose (if we wanted, but let's be honest, who didn't want it?)  Just before getting out of the water pit, I noticed a camera man, so I grabbed my chicks and got a nice group shot - gotta love those white smily teeth!
Climbing out of the mud pit we realised we were nearly done - just a cargo net (which is cake easy), fire pit (my fav!!!!) and then taking on the Gladiators before crossing the FINISH LINE!!!!  It had been an obstacle intense 5 mile course - I'd not seen anything like it before, but I have to say I really enjoyed it - tested me to new limits.

After everyone had crossed the finish line, we all re-grouped for this POST race photo
Aja, me, Jill, Mies, Chris, Jeff, Kym, Kym's sis and bro-in-law.

This is probably my favorite photo from the race . . . we couldn't be any happier to have run together and finished together!!

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Tuesday, May 29

Memorial Day Weekend 2012

This "holiday" is always a tough one for me - people celebrate with family and BBQ, but I fear often forget about the reason why we have a 3 day weekend.  Not just to hang out and have fun, but to remember those people who have served and are still currently serving in our military, hence Memorial Day.  It is thanks to people like them that I do not have to serve or be drafted!

My paternal grandfather served in the Australian Merchant Marines and I went to a private military college, so I know lots of people who have served and would love to list them all here, but that would take forever and I'm sure like the 7 dwarfs I would forget just one and feel horrible when I realised whom I had left off my list.  Instead I will just give you a quick update on my weekend, which turns out was spent with lots of veterans!

Friday I went to UMass Memorial Hospital to visit my friend Matt (Air Force)  mum, Judy.  I got there around 2pm and stayed until he arrived.  Around 6pm we both left to go home so we could shower before meeting up for dinner with his friend Ned.  After dinner we went to pick up Matt's brother, Chris (Marine) for a drink at a local bar while we waited for our friend Kelly and two of her coworkers to be ready to meet up.  The girls decided they wanted to go dancing, so we went to Jose Murphy’s – where I relearned how much I dislike the college bar scene!  Saw my college intern at this place, luckily he didn’t see me!  So after awhile we left there, went back to Matt’s house where we had all met and drove home.

Saturday morning I went to see Judy again in the morning and then met my mum at Azteca restaurant for her birthday lunch.  Then we went to look at my new apartment, well the display unit, but she got the idea of the layout and such.  Then went to movies, saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (follows a group of British retirees who decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India) Then we had a late dinner of Thai food.

Sunday we went for brunch at Cafe Manzi which by the way is a fabulous place!  I had eggs benedict and it was deliscious - they had some of the best home fries I've ever eaten!  We then went to the Greendale Mall in search of a Pandora like necklace - we were very unsuccessful, but we did manage to find a new phone cover for my iPhone so that made me happy :)  We considered going else where go look, but then decided Wooberry Frozen Yoghurt was a better choice and we were not wrong!  Mum left shortly after that to head back to New York. Around 4pm my friend Ben (Navy) and girlfriend Lauren arrived.  Afte giving them a quick tour of my flat, we went over to the Marine Corps League for a quick drink.  There I ran into two more Marines, Ray and Jon.  We only had time for a quick drink, but it was great to see friends whom I hadn't planned on seeing :)  We then went to visit Judy and Matt met up with us there.  After about an hour visit, we went out to Funky Murphy's for dinner and then home to sleep, we were all exhausted!

Monda, Ben, Lauren and I went to breakfast at Brody's Diner and then over to Matt’s house.  We then were trying to think of a place to go be outside and have a drink - we were struggling, when suddenly Matt made a brilliant idea of going over toBuca di Beppo, so off we went.  We were able to sit out on their outdoor deck drinking and have appetizers till 5pm.  I then dropped Ben and Lauren off at their car, so they could go hom.  Matt and I proceeded to UMass Memorial for another visit with Judy.  Finally at 8:15pm, I whispered to Matt I really needed to get going - I was exhausted and still had to go back to his house to drop him off, so we said our goodbyes and home we went - where I think we both crashed early!

All in all a great weekend - though I don't think I hung out with any of my Army friends, but I'm hoping they'll forgive me, especially as I hung out with lots of Marines ;-)

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Tuesday, April 17

My adventures with making a sandbag!

For those of you who already think I'm a little bit crazy, check out this story of my Saturday spent making a 30lb sandbag to work out with!!  Thank you Aja for writing it up so well :)

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Tuesday, April 3

Obstacle Racing Updates

So last month I posted THIS the beginning of my obstacle racing adventures.  Well here is the next installment . . .
Every year I try to do a new years resolution and really stick to it.  In 2009 I chose to visit a new country in Europe once a month for less than $100 - I managed 13 in total (India being the only non European one).  In 2010 it was to travel around the world, check out this blog for details on that 6 month adventure in the southern hemisphere.  Sadly in 2011 I didn't make a resolution, but thanks to experiences during that year it was obvious to me what my 2012 resolution would be . . . run as many Spartan Races as possible.  My obsession with Spartan racing started last winter.  My best friend had signed up to do the  New England Spartan Sprint (5K) race while I was in Rwanda.  I was bummed to miss it, but looking forward to hearing all about it upon my return.  Well to everyone's surprise hurricane Irene was threatening to hit the course on Sunday morning, so Spartan Race had their first ever Hurricane Heat race and it turned out to be a huge success.  My best friend spoke about it for weeks on end and also about all the wonderful people she'd met while participating.  Next thing I knew she was travelling all the way to Chicago with "total strangers" to run in yet another Hurricane Heat with lots of the same people she'd met at her first Spartan Race.  About a month later, she told me this same group, Storm Chasers, were getting together for a dinner in New Hampshire and would I like to join them.  I was dying to meet these people, so I took her up on the offer.  What an interesting group of people - all different background, all walks of life, all different ages, genders, shapes and sizes, but all with one common love, obstacle racing and more specifically Spartan Races!  I vividly recall one member of the group's comment to me as we were leaving, "So we'll see you in Texas, Sara." I smiled and said, "we shall see" thinking in my head, this kid is crazy.  I've only just started racing and the race a few weeks later in Texas was a Super (8+ miles).
The next morning while at work I found myself constantly wondering, could I manage 8 miles?  Was in worth all the money to fly from MA to TX to run 8 miles in mud and potentially die?  Obviously slightly delusional from the late night out, I sent an email to the "crazy kid" to find out more details, what time was their flight, where were they staying, did they have room for me in the hotel and rental car, etc.  By 2pm that afternoon I had registered for the race, booked a flight, confirmed hotel and rental car.
In the coming weeks I attempted to train for the race, but never ran more than 2 miles and did not do anything differently at the gym - cause to be honest, I was still in denial of the fact that I'd just signed up for such a LONG race!
I will not regale you with the details of all 8+ miles of hills, mud, sandbags, walls, water, mud, water, hills, hay bales, and mud, but I will share these photos again, cause I do love them!  Here are all of us who ran together on Saturday morning:
And here I am just before mile 3, swimming across 75 meters of 52degree water:
What started out as a dare a year ago  - April 2011 "you could never do a race like this" turned into a minor obsession!  Here we are again in Arizona - yet again another Super (8+ miles) this past February about to crawl up the soapy wall:
And then again in March in Georgia - loving the bared wire crawl:
happy to have finally done a Spartan Sprint (5K)!
So my family always asks which races have you done so far and what's your next race, here is the run down:
Spartan Super in Arizona - Saturday February 11th (DONE!)
Spartan Sprint in Georgia - Saturday March 10th (DONE!)
Tortoise & Hare 10K road race in MA with some other Spartan Chicks - Saturday April 7th
Spartan Sprint in Colorado - Saturday May 5th
Spartan Sprint in New York - Saturday June 2nd (with Team in Training!)
Spartan Super in Montreal, Canada - Saturday June 9th
Spartan Sprint in Pennsylvania - Saturday July 14th
Spartan Sprint in New England - Saturday August 11th
Spartan Super in Mid Atlantic - Saturday August 25th (hopefully)
Spartan Super in New Jersey - Saturday September 8th
Spartan Beast (12+ miles on Killington Mountain) in Vermont - Saturday September 22nd
and if I don't die at the VT Beast, I'm going to make a valiant effort to make it to Glen Rose, Texas yet again this year to end my 2012 new years resolution with a Spartan Beast race!

Now I know many of you are thinking what is wrong with her?  As I've said before and I'll probably end up saying it again and again - it's addicting - as Spartan Race says, "you'll know at the finish line" and honestly, until you've crossed a finish line at any one of these races wether it is 3 miles or 12 miles, you will never fully understand until you're at the finish line!  My other favorite motto which I learned at the Hurricane Heat race (more of a team work effort than race per say) when heading to the finish line, "If you can't run, walk.  If you can't walk, crawl.  If you can't crawl, we will carry you."

It is hard for me to express in words what obstacle racing, specifically Spartan Race has done for me - I am every thankful to them for making such an obsession possible :)

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Friday, February 17

If you’d told me a year ago this was going to change my life I’d have laughed at you!

I am out with friends one night in April 2011; Matt is trying to convince me to join him for the Warrior Dash race that is coming up in a few months.  I am hesitant, as I have never run in my life.  I can count on my fingers and toes the number of times I’ve run for a bus, let alone run for a race.  A person at the table pipes up, “Matt, Sara would never make it, she’s not the athletic type.”  I can feel my blood pressure rising as I’m not about to be told by this marathoner girl that I can’t run a mere 5K over a few obstacles – who does she think she is telling Matt I can’t make it?

I go home that night, sign up for the Warrior Dash race and then advertise on Facebook, that I’ve signed up and want people to run with me.  Within days, I have a small team assembled.  Team consists of a seasoned female 10K runner (Amanda), an outdoorsy male athlete (Brian), a coworker who seems reasonably fit (Greg), the coworker’s girlfriend who I’ve met only once (Mies), and myself.  I am still thinking I’m the least fit, least prepared for this, but we girls make a pact to stay together.
The day of the race arrives; the weather is cooler than anticipated with lots of thunder, lightening, and raining to beat the bands!  It has actually been raining for about 3 days.

My housemate & I have spent the night prior to the race in a Holiday Inn near the course so we don’t have to drive as far the morning of the race.  My friend Brian had driven down from NY and slept in his car the night before, so he came into the Holiday Inn to have breakfast with us.  He was dressed & ready to go, but was just as confused as I was about if the race would actually go on with this type of weather.  A few minutes later my dad arrives, we all have breakfast & then it was time to go.

We head out in the torrential downpour, GPS saying it’s 15 minutes away, we’re doing fine till we get off the exit and suddenly the traffic comes to a DEAD stop.  My phone begins to blow up with texts from Amanda and Greg about how they’re being shuttled in from random lots, worried where will we meet and how will they get the shirts?  Did I mention my housemate had made us all team shirts; girls got neon pink “Grizzly Girl” shirts and for the boys got blue ones with “Grizzly Girl’s Guy” on them.
After goodness knows how long of being directed every which way, we eventually pulled into a parking lot and were told to wait for a shuttle bus.  We did as told, while watching my heat time come and go.  Being my first race EVER, I was of course beside’s myself at the thought of missing it, but Brian calmed me down saying there would be a chance to run later.

We all pilled into the muddy bus and headed to the Amesbury Sports Park.  Luckily once we arrive there were not many people probably since the weather is still heavy rain.  I immediately saw Amanda, Dom (Amanda’s boyfriend), Greg and Mies.  Caylin (housemate) handed out our shirts; we all changed, collected our race bibs, pinned them on, and attached our timing chips to our shoes.  We got a few pre race photos, and next thing I knew we were headed over to the start line.  At this point the rain had actually stopped but it was still rather cloudy, so we were a bit chilly in our shorts and t-shirt, but not for long!  Dom, Caylin and my dad stood in a large puddle of water in order to get photos and cheer for us.  At this point I am totally unaware of what is going on – I’m so nervous as I look up this hill I’m going to be starting my run with!

The gun sounds, the mass of people begin to move, Greg and Brian are about halfway up the hill when Amanda, Mies and I begin to run.  The boys has told us ahead of time that they would not be waiting for us and we were okay with that.  By the time we hit the top of the hill, the large mass from the bottom of the hill is rather spread out!  Soon I realize that Amanda has even taken off without Mies and me.  There goes the “girls will stay together no matter what” pact out the window.  I start to panic as I’ve only met Mies once or twice before and so I was sort of banking on Amanda sticking with me.

Over roots and through thick mud, Mies and I giggle, mostly I think out of fear of what we’ve gotten ourselves into, but I kept hearing that voice in my head, “Sara would never make it, she’s not the athletic type” and I was going to be damned if she turned out to be correct.  I’ve never been one to turn down a challenge!  The mud, hills, slipping and sliding is the theme for the day, but Mies and I are now chatting about this and that.  To be honest I have no clue what we talked about, but also don’t remember it being awkward – we seemed to get alone really well.

About half way through, as we were walk/jogging through a muddy track, we saw Amanda, but she was in competitive mode and was not about to wait up for us.  At this point, Mies & I are fine with that; we’re having a blast.  We’re not necessarily fully prepared for what we’re doing, but we just keep chatting and climbing over the obstacles like it’s our job.

As we jump over the fire, the smiles on our faces are priceless!  

A few minutes later we were crossing the finish line . . . 1 hour and 6 minutes DONE!  Not the greatest time, but considering it was our first race ever, let alone race with obstacles, we were just ecstatic to have completed it.

We were greeted at the finish line with finisher metals, water, bananas, Monster drinks, beer, turkey legs, music and of course our awesome “fans”.  Who would have thought that seven months after this day Mies and I would be flying to Arizona for the first of many races in 2012?  Who would have thought that we’d become best friends?  I can tell you, not either of us!  At every race we drive or fly to (Warrior Dash, Rugged Maniac, Rock Eater Adventure, Monster Mud, Spartan) the conversation of “who’d have imagined . . . “ comes up at some point.

Not only have these races introduced me to my best friend, but also opened up a whole new family of fellow races across the country to me.  I am so thankful to each and every one of them.  I am still not the fastest obstacle racer and may never be, but I’m okay with that.  I’m not in it to win it, in the sense of speed or cash prizes.  I’m in it for personal satisfaction, finishing the race, and having fun with my friends in the process; whether I’m a part of a large group who fly from New England to Texas to race together or if it’s just Mies & me running in a smaller local run – it’s all about having fun while we do it!

For those of you who have never seen a run or been a spectator, I highly recommend it!!  If you would like to see what the course in Arizona which we just ran in looks like here is a video.  Obviously that is not us in it, but we ran the same course, just at 6am with headlamps: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ymNFdrPc-w&feature=youtu.be

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Monday, December 12

Spartan World Championships - Dallas TX Dec 3, 2011

Click here to see what I did last weekend

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