Happy Holidays + My Moment of Fame!!

Hello there! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are enjoying getting ready to ring in the New Year!

I had a great time catching up with my family, going for some runs in the old neighborhoods, and playing around in the snow with Brady. 🙂

2 Generations RunningOne of the best surprise gifts came for me a couple days BEFORE Christmas. I’ve become a big fan of listening to podcasts on my easy runs (kind of like having a very chatty friend along for a run!) and the Runners World podcast is one of my favorites. Well, a few months ago, I had run into David Willey, editor-in-chief of Runners World at the Fenway Spartan Race. I had checked him in at registration, recognizing him partway through the process and realizing they were recording the podcast at the time! Ever since then, I’d been eagerly waiting for the Spartan Race-themed Runners World podcast episode, wondering if our little encounter would make the cut!

Runners World PodcastWell, it did! I had just finished my run and was stretching on my deck when I realized I WAS IN THE EPISODE!!! I couldn’t help but break out in a big smile (as uncomfortable as I was hearing how high-pitched my voice sounded). My dad later commented that he looked out the window and saw me grinning like an idiot and couldn’t understand what kind of ‘Runner’s high’ I was experiencing.

Smile! You're in a podcast!If you want to listen in on my little moment of fame, you can fast forward to minute 53:20 of the Runners World podcast episode 34, “The Spartan Way”.

Do you listen to podcasts? While running? Do you have any New Years plans? I’m thinking of running a 10k on New Years morning (one of the very first races I ever ran!)

Fenway Spartan Sprint

Happy Friday!

I feel like this week absolutely FLEW by and I love it. Time for some weekend running! I did manage to make a few trips to the gym this week, including an abs class on Wednesday evening. Let me just say, that was not a great idea. The class is pretty challenging under the best of circumstances, and I was still feeling REALLY sore from Sunday’s race.

Spartan Fenway sprint 2015I looked for the photos of me, my mom, and my brother tackling the course, but for some reason, couldn’t find any of us! 😦 I was a little bummed, but I’ll be sure to post any that I find later on.

For now, let’s talk about running a Spartan Race through Fenway Park!! Having grown up in a family of serious Red Sox fans, it felt almost surreal to be running through the park – we did push-ups in a locker room, ran through one of the dugouts, and scaled the A-frame cargo on the infield. It was seriously cool, and I’m so glad my mom and my brother got to experience it as their first Spartan Race.

Fenway Spartan Race | 2 Generations RunningOur goal with the race was just to stick together and have fun with it, and that’s exactly what we did. None of us had seriously trained for it, so we just took our time and really soaked up the Fenway experience.

There were a lot of different obstacles that I hadn’t seen when I ran the super in Barre this summer, with this being a stadium race. For example, we had to do a really long squat/side-shuffle thing along these ramps in the stadium where cords had been woven through the railings at alternating heights. Not super hard to do, but it really wiped out our quads by the end!Fenway Spartan SprintThe course also had a TON of stair running. Fortunately, my mom was still in great shape for that thanks to all her marathon training! We also got pretty good at getting over all the different walls by the end. My mom and I had a good system going where I would help give her a boost and then she would swing herself over. The only time we needed some serious help was at the 8-foot wall. This one was a doozy, and we probably stood there in front of it for a few minutes just trying to figure out how we were going to tackle it. Finally, an AWESOME Fenway staff member stepped in, and offered to help give us a boost. He was so enthusiastic and encouraging, and kept telling us, “Did you think an 8-foot wall was going to stop you from completing this course today? NO! You just showed that wall what you’re made of!!” He had me cracking up with the intensity of his excitement. 🙂

One of the obstacles I was most excited about trying was the rope climb.

Spartan Fenway Sprint

(The total opposite of the Spartan Race perspective) 😉

My coworker had told me about a special technique for rope climb where you kind of “lock” the rope between your feet and step your way up the rope – supposedly, it makes the climb more about leg strength and less dependent on upper body strength (definitely a good thing in my case!). I have to say the method worked like a charm! I actually got way further up the rope than I expected, and I kept thinking to myself, “Oh my god, it’s working! I’m climbing this rope!” Well, almost at least… I didn’t make it all the way up, BUT I feel like this is an obstacle I will be able to get at some point. My mom also really wants to learn how to do the rope climb too now!

Fenway Spartan SprintThe course was only 3 miles, but between all the burpees, push-ups, and box jumps, we were WIPED OUT by the end. After we finished and claimed our medals and finisher T’s, we picked up our bags from the bag check area and headed out for some well-deserved lunch. We were all craving burgers after that workout and ended up at Wahlburgers, a restaurant owned by Mark Wahlberg and his family. It was delicious, and the perfect end to the afternoon.

Will I be able to get my mom and brother to join me for another Spartan Race at some point? Maybe, but I’ll have to let the memory of this one fade a bit first probably… 😉

My First Obstacle Course Race!

Happy Thursday!

Things have been crazy busy again lately, but I’m back! This past weekend I ran my first ever Spartan Race (eek!) and then last night, I ran the first of the Good Times Series 5k carrying a big cardboard box. I know I need to explain more (like why I would run 3.2 miles in sweltering temps carrying a large empty box), but first let me rewind to the craziness that was this past weekend.

Spartan RaceNot only did I run my first Spartan Race this past weekend, but it was a super (a sprint is 3-5 miles, a super is 8-9, and then there’s the beast, which is 12+ miles). Essentially, it would be like deciding to run a 10k without having ever tried a 5k – doable but maybe not the best idea.
Obviously, I’m pretty used to your traditional running races at this point- this, I WAS NOT used to. If I had to pick one word to describe the experience for me, it would be “humbling.” Not in a bad way, but in a “holy crap, these obstacles are really freaking hard” way.

spartan raceLuckily, I did this with a team of 3 other friends. I can honestly say I never would’ve made it through without them- we gave each other boosts to climb up walls that were slick with rain (did I mention it was pouring when we ran?), we motivated each other when certain obstacles just seemed impossible, and we waded through more mud than I could ever have imagined together.

My training for this was definitely half-hearted. I only found out a few weeks before the race that I would actually be running. If I had known sooner, I would have done more upper-body work. Doing the race and going through the different obstacles showed me that this is my biggest weakness, without a doubt. But you know what? I still had fun. Yes, I had moments when I was hanging on to the edge of a wall 8 feet off the ground, where I would get really freaked out and I’d say “I’m good, just help me down, I’ll do burpees!” And my teammates never let me give up. And that was pretty cool.

Spartan RaceThis leads me to my biggest piece of advice if you’re considering trying your first obstacle course race: Do it with friends. Could you do it alone? Certainly. But frankly, it’s kind of nice to have someone you know beside you to give you both the mental and physical boosts you may need. That being said, I did meet a lot of very friendly and helpful runners along the course that gave this race a really nice sense of community. After all, we were all crazy enough to be out running 8 miles in pouring rain through mud that was up past our knees at various points.

Spartan RaceThis is the face I make when I’m concentrating on jumping over a fire.

Doing this obstacle course race has really given me a whole new appreciation for a nice, relaxing half marathon! 😉 No walls to get over or heavy buckets of gravel to carry? What a breeze! Will I do more obstacle course races? Probably at some point. I know I can do better on some of those obstacles, so as always – my mission is simply to just keep getting better. 🙂 That’s why I race.

Spartan Race

Have you ever tried an obstacle course race? How about something that just ended up being a lot harder than you expected?