Back in Town

Oh happy days, I AM BACK IN TOWN!

2 Generations Running

Just to summarize my recent travels – first, there was Indianapolis, then home for a day, and then I was off to Maine with my mom. Then, back to my apartment for a day and off to Houston, TX. If I include connecting flights, I think that’s 6 states I’ve been in in the past 2 weeks. Yikes!

While I love traveling, I’m SO ready for a break. I’m excited to have some downtime to yes, focus on my blog, and get back into a routine at the gym. And needless to say, airport food (and all the restaurants I ate at while traveling) were not exactly conducive to my goal of focusing more on my nutrition. But, I’ll be home for a while now and I’m ready to start fresh.

I kicked off my return to Boston with a pretty cool race this past weekend.

Fenway Spartan Race | 2 Generations RunningThe FENWAY SPARTAN SPRINT! I worked at the event on Saturday, which was kind of exhausting (especially after my flight got in around 12:30 AM Thursday), but also kind of fun because it got me really amped up to race on Sunday with my mom and my brother.

I’m going to save the recap until our free race photos are posted, but given that we are all standing upright and smiling in the above photo, I’d say it was a success! 🙂

This week, I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine at the gym (once I get over how sore I am), and soaking up these wonderful last few days of warm Fall temperatures! November has been weirdly pleasant so far… I hope that doesn’t mean we’re due for a snowstorm.

How was your weekend? 

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Tips for Gear Check

Good morning! 🙂

Recently, I volunteered doing bag check at a pretty big race, the Dirty Girl Mud Run. There were waves of runners heading out every 15 minutes from 8 AM through 2 PM. That equals a whole lot of runners, most of whom, needed to check bags so that they would be able to change into clean clothes after the race. While I was volunteering and doing my best to make sure everyone had a positive experience, I realized there were some do’s and don’ts for choosing and packing a bag to check.

Just to clarify, as a volunteer I was responsible for taking people’s bags and putting them in the proper location by bib number, and when people came back later to collect their bag, they had to enter the tent, find their own bag, then show security their bib and the tag on their bag with matching bib number. This meant people had to find their own bags, which was an easier process for some and a little more stressful for others. So, without further ado…

How to Pack a Bag to Check at a Race

  1. DO – Choose a brightly colored bag. Wanna know how many people own a black backpack? A BILLION. And then some. Try finding your black backpack among a sea of other black backpacks and see how calm you manage to stay! Some runners even used their kid’s Dora the Explorer backpacks. While you might feel silly, those cartoons really stand out later on when you’re hunting down your bag.Trying to find a bag at bag check at a race
  2. DON’T – Select a bag with an open top. You’re much better off with a backpack or a duffel bag with a zipper, anything that you can easily shut. That way if your bag accidentally tips over, your cell phone and personal belongings won’t all spill out for everyone to see. There’s no more sure-fire way to ruin a race day than losing your phone/wallet/keys.It's not a good idea to select a bag with an open top for gear check
  1. DO – Wait a second and try to watch the general area where the volunteer puts your bag. It might be tempting to run off to get to the starting area, but just taking thirty seconds to get a sense of where your bag is (towards the front/back/middle, far left/right) will make it precisely 1,000.3% easier for you to find your bag later. And that’s a fact. (Sidenote: 92.7% of statistics are made up on the spot. This one wasn’t.) dude ready
  2. DON’T – Freak out if you can’t find your bag right away. With thousands of runners, putting a bag or two in the wrong spot can happen. Politely ask a volunteer for a little help, and you’ll have your bag in no time (even less if you followed Tip #1 and your bag is very distinct!).
  3. DO – Collect your own bag after, don’t send yourhusband/boyfriend/sister/wife/cousin to get it for you! This is just for security, even if that person says they’re related to you and are just trying to help out, the race officials don’t know that and don’t want anything to end up getting stolen, so they probably won’t give them the bag anyway! Just bring your bib and come on over to grab your bag yourself.
  4. And finally, DO – thank your volunteers. (I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating! :))Always thank the volunteers at a race

Volunteering and Running at the Dirty Girl Mud Run

DISCLAIMER: Dirty Girl Mud Run comped our registration fee in exchange for reviewing their race. All opinions are our own.

Happy Friday Everyone!

As I mentioned in my last post, this past weekend, my mom and I participated in an awesome new race for us- a mud run! I wish I could say I ran it, it looks like it would have been AMAZING. I joked to my mom that I feel like this race was designed for me, because as a little kid, we used to go on family hikes and I always thought they were boring, unless there was, as I liked to call it “an adventure crossing”. By that I meant, having to cross a little flooded area on a fallen tree or other similar obstacles. I thought they were exciting.

So I will have to do a Dirty Girl Mud Run at some point, because last weekend, I opted to get a different taste of the race experience by volunteering at bag check for the race. At a race like this, checking a bag is pretty much a must, because you get super muddy out on the course, and it’s not all that fun to drive home like that. This race did have shower and changing stations set up to help solve that problem too.

I didn’t really know what to expect as a volunteer. I was a little nervous about it honestly! While it was a bit of a long day, it actually ended up being pretty fun (and I learned a few tips for the bag check process that I’m putting together in another post!). My job was to help out runners who came to check their bags, making sure they had filled out and attached the bag check tags to their bags with a safety pin, and then putting it in the proper area by bib number. After that, I got a new “job”, where I was responsible for directing the runners who had completed the race over to the side entrance of the tent where they would enter to collect their bags. That was kinda fun! I just had to keep an eye out for anyone who was extremely muddy and point them in the right direction. 🙂 I also helped out when runners had difficulties finding their bags.

Volunteering at a race (instead of running in it) was definitely a new experience for me! There are so many small details that go into putting on a great race (water stops, bag checks, and parking just to name a few…) and so many of these aspects are taken care of by volunteers. Running a race can be such a wonderful and empowering experience – if it’s well-done. And that quality can come right down to the volunteers. So next time you race, shoot a smile at your volunteers and thank them. It’s a small thing, but it goes a long way. 🙂

It's always a good idea to smile and thank the volunteers at a race.

And what my mom had to say about actually RUNNING the Dirty Girl Mud Run~

Tips for Your First Mud Run. 2 Generations Running

So the Dirty Girl run in Amesbury, Mass was my first experience with an obstacle course event.   Originally, I thought this race was kind of expensive, but after seeing  what the “course” entails, I realize all the work that goes into setting up an obstacle course event, compared to a regular “5 or 10k,” so in hindsight, it actually is pretty reasonable (if you’re looking for an obstacle-course type race!).

My mom posing after the Dirty Girl Mud Run

Also, this is a really great race to do with a group of friends (or even bridesmaids!), or an activity to do during a family reunion weekend. Then you have tons of stories and pictures to look at and laugh over later on.  (Because Nora had already signed up as a volunteer, I was tackling this new adventure on my own, and thinking, as I reached each new obstacle, “Nora would love this!!”  (Ok, at some of the obstacles – like the really tall rope net – the thought process was more like, “I’m too old for this…why am I here when Nora would love this…” but those are just details.

Conquering the ropes net at the Dirty Girl Mud Run!

Conquering the ropes obstacle at the Dirty Girl Mud Run

So that being said, here are a few tips just in case you – being either young or old, daring or squeamish,  ever want to become a Dirty Girl:

IT'S best to arrive early to a dirty girl mud run

Because Nora was scheduled for an 8 AM shift, I set off with the 8:15 wave of ladies. A new wave sets off every 15 minutes, and this went on until 2 PM.  My wave was small compared to some of the waves that set out later, and those waves were all pretty full, until the last few, so that means lots and lots of participants. This is a popular event, so try to aim for an earlier wave!

Even at the early hour, there were enough ladies for great camaraderie, but not so many of us as to make things too crazy on the obstacles themselves, some of which you really need to have a bit of space between you and the next person.

Also, things really backed up at the “shower” station – the portion of the parking lot set up to help you rinse off the worst of the mud.  Things moved along pretty quickly when I was there about 9:30, but by 11:30, there was a huge line and I heard someone say they had waited an hour before getting to the hoses! By this time, I imagine things in the changing tent must have been pretty crowded, too. Still, they didn’t run out of water, which would have been the real disaster! (Trust me, you do not want to get into your car until you have had a chance to clean up!)

What to wear to a Dirty Girl Mud Run

There were a lot of tutus and costumes of all sorts, which made it fun to see, but I noticed some interesting accessories and afterwards I understood why.

Some of the ladies had duck-taped there sneakers on – and eventually I realized this was to make sure they didn’t get “sucked off” in the mud.  (If you were to lose a shoe in some of those mud and water filled basins, finding it again could prove difficult.)

Climbing through Mud at the Dirty Girl Mud Run

Also, some of the ladies were wearing gloves. Some of the course involves crawling on your hands and knees in mud that is full of small stones, as well as doing rope-net obstacles, so I realized pretty early on that those gloves were a really good idea.  And if it’s not too hot, wear long, or capri length pants, to protect your knees and your bottom as you slide down that 20 foot inflatable slide into a basin of water and mud. (I was wearing shorts and when I saw one of the staff photographers under the rope net, I really REALLY wished I had worn long pants, but luckily none of the pictures were too embarrassing.)

So overall, it was a fun and challenging event – one I know that Nora would love as well as all the other adventurous runners out there! So, have we piqued your interest enough?! If you’re excited and ready to give this fun race a try, I’ve got a special offer just for you guys! 🙂 When you go to register, use the codeBLOGFRIEND at checkout for $10 off your registration.

mudrun2READY

Have a great weekend! 🙂