Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sweat, Fire, Mud: The Warrior Dash

This Sunday I ran the Warrior Dash in Thompson, CT with Laurel and her brother, Bren.  Ian came along as our moral support/ photographer.

Ian and I were up early and out the door around 6:30am to meet Laurel and Bren at a park and ride about an hour from the race.  The drive was mostly Connecticut back-roads, which was great because the leaves are starting to look really pretty.

The race was at a Speedway in Thompson, CT which is in the Northeast corner of the state.  We got on site with about an hour to get settled and pumped up for the run.

Two tough butterflies!

We got to watch them setting up the fire.  Which was a little intimidating.

My wings framed my tattoo nicely. 

This was probably the biggest race I've done.  Its hard to tell because it was waves of 500 people, every half hour, all weekend long.  Whereas races like the Hartford Marathon is just thousands from the start. 

We were in the first wave of the morning on Sunday. We took our spot near the back with about 10 minutes go.  It was a fun starting line, with everyone playfully chatting about the run and commenting on our wings.  

It took a minute or two to really get going once the gun when off, but soon enough we were off and running onto the course.  The course started with a rather long stretch of just running.  We ran around the actual speedway course- which was a bit weird because there were bits of blown-out tires everywhere.  Once we ran around the speedway we were off into the fields behind the track.  That is when things got interesting.  

First obstacle was scrambling over tires and two broken cars.  The crowd hadn't really thinned out yet so this was pretty slow going, but fun because everyone was in a excited, helpful mood. Lots of offering strangers a hand and plenty of moral support.  The whole race was like that, everyone was super supportive of all the other runners. 

Next we dodged tires on ropes.  That obstacle wasn't too difficult,  you just had to keep your head up to not get bopped by a tire someone else moved out of their way.  Then we were off to the barbed wire crawl.  The barbed wire kept getting lower and lower until you were forced onto your forearms in an army crawl under a large net.  I thought that was fun, it made me feel very butch, and miraculously I didn't snag my wings or antenna :)

We then headed to a cargo net climb, which I thought was no trouble.  I was glad I wore my vibram five finger ksos, I think they gave me good flexibility that people in regular sneakers might not have had.  After the cargo net was another stretch of running until we came up to the big wall. I think it was about 20 feet high.  It felt enormous. The side to climb had a rope with knots, the other side had a sort of ladder to get down.   There was a bit of a line at this obstacle, since only one person could be on a rope at a time.  So there was plenty of time to get nervous, but again everyone was supportive and encouraging.  This was super hard.  The knots on the rope were really far apart, my arms were barely long enough to get a good grip, and if I didn't keep my body close to the wall it felt like all my weight was on my arms.  It was pretty scary, especially the tricky bit of feet shifting to get over the wall.  But I did it! My heart was pounding by the time I got back on the ground, more from the fear of falling than the physical stress. 

The order of obstacles gets a little murky at this point.  I think the next thing we did was cross a muddy pool on a vertical wall with tiny foot and arm holds. I'm proud to say I stayed out of the water but Laurel and Bren both fell in.  I credit my ability to grip with my toes in my ksos and my long arms. 

We then came up to my nemesis!

It was another huge wall to scale, except this was an A frame with a completely flat side with a rope with no knots for  the climbing side.  I tried twice, and both times I got all the way to the top but didn't have enough upper body strength to pull myself over the top.  I just couldn't figure out how to get my legs over.  It was no big deal though, people still cheered me on and there was no issue with not completing an obstacle.

My nemesis. 

There was more running, this time through the woods- up and down steep, muddy hills.   There were portions of the trail where you were wading though hip-deep mud.  It was cold and felt so gross.  I just couldn't stop laughing... because it felt so ridiculous. Then in the muddy trails there was a rope bridge to cross.  This was tough because everyone was muddy and wet so it got super slippery.

Here we are still fairly clean about to enter the super muddy stretch.

After the muddy trails, we came to the home stretch.  The last three obstacles were back to back.  It started with three more walls to scale, that got progressively taller, then it was leaping over the fire (which wasn't really that scary since it had burned down some), and finally the crawl  under barbed wire through the mud that led to the finish line.  This last area had a spectator area, so there was lots of cheering and excitement.  It was awesome.

Scaling the walls.

Climbing out of the mud.  I lost my antenna somewhere in the last muddy stretch. 

We crossed the finish line and got our "I survived the warrior dash" medals.  We finished in 1:10:50.  Which is about double our normal 5k time.  I think that is pretty awesome. I was surprised... it felt like we were out there forever.   It was a blast.

Once we crossed the finish line it was time for celebratory beer, and attempting to get cleaned up.  We hung around the post-race party for little bit and then met up with Michy, Micah, and the Munchkin for lunch. 

I had such a good time.  I can't wait to do it again.  I will definilty have to do more pushups prior to the race.  My arms are not up to all that upper-body work! It still hurts to lift my arms above my head 3 days later!

Two muddy butterflies.

This was the "shower"  Getting sprayed off by a fire-hose. brrr!

Ok, so when can I sign up for next year?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another week of adventure.

Its a little gloomy this morning.  Rainy and kinda chilly.  The munchkin and I are hanging out in the living room watching "Signing Time."

We've had another exciting week.  It feels like we are constantly on the go!

The local liquor store (a few blocks from our house) was visited by the Budweiser Clydesdales.  I took the munchkin to see the big horses.  It was a great chance to practice a higher back carry with our Mei Tai.  The munchkin liked being able to see over my shoulders.

They are beautiful animals.

Ian met up with us, and showed the munchkin the sign for Horse. 

The munchkin loved the horses. 

This weekend we headed down to spend the day in Mystic with Michy's parents.  Here is the munchkin checking out the Beluga whales.

We watched lunchtime for the penguins.

Then headed back to Grandpa and Grandma's boat. 

This weekend is shaping up to be just as exciting.  Because we are crazy, Laurel and I are doing the Warrior Dash! I am wicked excited... and a little terrified!

Monday, September 10, 2012

My last week week... in pictures!

So this post is cheating a bit... we've had such a wonderful, but busy, couple of weeks it has been hard to find the time to write.  So instead here are pictures of our end of summer adventures.

There was a scenic drive along the Hudson River,

And a visit to the state high point of New Jersey,

time for Micah to enjoy the view,

there was a visit from a deer (one of three we saw that weekend),

there was breakfast in a hotel room,

and adventures at the NY Ren Faire, 

there was knitting, 

and swordfights,

there was a pitstop at Rosemary's Texas Taco, 

where we ate awesome guacamole,

There was a half bushel of heirloom tomatoes from Red Fire Farm,

and 25 pounds of peaches,

and lots and lots of cooking, 

and herb picking, 

there was some time spent on Squam Lake in New Hampshire, 

there was awesome gluten free beer, 

and more knitting, 

there was some time to relax, eat cookies, and watch the Sound of Music in bed...

at the most adorable motel in Laconia NH,

there was an awesome diner with crayons to play with,

there were ducks to chase,

and finally one last dinner out (with a cool new truck to play with) before heading home. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Toddler T-Tunic Tutorial

Micah, the munchkin, and I had a wonderful weekend hiking, relaxing, and checking out the New York Renaissance Festival. 

The munchkin needed an outfit for the Ren Faire, since the little kilt I made him last year was obviously way too small.

Here he is with Micah at the CT Ren Faire last October. 

This time I made him a pair of wool leggings and a linen tunic.  I think they came out pretty adorable, and he got lots of compliments during the faire.

So here is how I did it:

Materials- 1 yard of fabric in your main color (I used linen but any woven should work), 1/2 yard in contrast color, 2 yards of lacing, 12 grommets, coordinating thread.

1. Wash, dry, and iron! (in my haste I have forgotten this step... and while the outfit may be cute to start, once you then wash it, it is a disaster!)

2. Fold your main fabric in half, then in half again.  Position the folds at the top right corner.  Find a shirt that fits your LO well and use it as the guide. The tunic should have plenty of room so go out an inch or two, and make sure to leave room for seam allowances. I did wide fairly straight sleeves, and a bell shape to the body.

3. Cut out your tunic. When you cut out the neck- err on the side of being too small.  You can fix too small easier than too big!

4. Unfold your tunic, now you get a good sense of the shape and where you are going to have to seam. 

5.  Using your tunic as a guide, lay the contract fabric under and outline the neck

6. Then draw and cut out the shape you want for the contrasting collar.

7. Lay the collar over the tunic and make a slit in the center down both fabrics- this is where you'll be putting the lacing later. My slit was about 6 inches.

8. This is the tedious part. Press a 1/4 inch hem on both fabrics, line them together, and pin pin pin!

ready to go sew! I, unfortunately,  don't have any pics of the actual sewing because I left the camera in the dining room and knew if the munchkin saw me come out of the office, he'd never let me go back in ;)

9.  Zig-zag stitch the collar to the tunic in a coordinating thread. The zig zag will help prevent fraying.  I used a wide three step zig zag to give it a little decorative flair.  Then pin right sides together and sew up your seams on both sides.  I used my serger, but if you don't have a serger, a straight stitch followed by a zig zag will help prevent fraying. For the bottom hem and the cuffs of the sleeves, I serged the raw edges, folded a 1/2 inch hem and used the same decorative zig-zag.

10. Turn the tunic right side out and mark where your grommets will go.  I did them a half inch from the edge and spaced 1 inch apart.  You will have to decide what looks best based on the size of your tunic.  A smaller tunic may need the grommets spaced a little closed to get the right look.

11.  Apply your grommets. I have Dritz eyelet pliers, a pretty inexpensive tool and they work great. 

12. Thread in your lacing.. and you are done! 

I paired the tunic with a simple pair of wool leggings I made by basically copying a pair of pj bottoms that fit him well. 

Enjoying a snack at the Faire
Asleep after a day full of adventure!