tough mudder

Dropped off the Face of the Earth?

“You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out, but you gotta suit up for them all. “
– J. Askenberg

Just in case any one has been wondering (or worried), no I have not dropped off the face of the earth… or stopped training.  Life has simply gotten chaotic, and given the choice between getting in a blog post and getting in a workout- I’m going to pick the workout every time.  Don’t be offended! I still love you all. 🙂

SOOOO here’s a quick summary of life post Tough Mudder:

  • Went to the chiropractor who, instead of scolding me for running, asked how it was and told me how he’s always wanted to do one.  Unlike me, he hasn’t because he’s afraid of getting injured and missing work.  I think he should stick with that plan until my shoulder is all healed.
  • Did some light training so as not to further aggravate my shoulder in the week after the Tough Mudder.  This included some running and [stationary] biking (love pedaling around in circles!!!! not really… but at least it gives me time to read) because that’s pretty much all that I’m allowed to do.
  • Celebrated Mother’s Day, and found out my sister was pregnant- SUPER EXCITING
  • Got a message from my sister the following day after her doctor’s appointment that it was twins and they were expecting a miscarriage.
  • Spent time off from work with my sister who was understandably devastated. I brought her important grieving tools- Ben & Jerry’s, chocolate candy and cookies, and tissues with aloe.  She told me thanks for making sure she would still look pregnant even if she wasn’t any longer.
  • Found out my Ultra Beast training/lifting buddy had ditched me for my cooler boot camp friends (who he met after I invited him to do the Tough Mudder with us).  This is likely partly do to him feeling responsible for injuring my shoulder and partly because they are shiny and new (plus I can’t compete with single women).  After initially being hurt about the fact our friendship has pretty much fallen to the wayside now that he is over his break up and in better shape- I’ve decided that I will just use this as further motivation to train harder and kick his ass in September…. jk…maybe
  • Worked some crazy off shifts at work
  • Attended my brother’s graduation for his master’s degree- SUPER PROUD OF HIM!!!
  • Started some light weight lifting because my shoulder felt “normal” for several days, and I can’t help but push it… I used really light weight to be on the safe side.
  • Spent several days putting together a graduation party for my brother
  • Did a little more light lifting and some trail running (where my legs felt like lead… maybe from the 20 miles on the bike and lifting the day before…)
  • Felt elated that my shoulder is still behaving despite the fact that I haven’t exactly been 😉
  • Spent an afternoon on the boat with Adam and some friends- including my girl Kelly.  I was a very good girl and didn’t attempt any skiing or knee boarding… even though it was killing me not to!  Still managed to have a good time anyway. 🙂
  • Finally had my family over to celebrate my brother’s graduation yesterday and ate WAY too much.

That pretty much brings us up to the present.

I also went to Home Depot this past week and picked up some sand bags for a very exciting home craft project.  All I need to do now is pick up some colorful duct tape…. more on that to come.

Today my plan is to maybe get a run in and hit the gym later depending on how my shoulder is feeling.  I am REALLY trying not to over due it.  I don’t want any further setbacks!  However, now that it is feeling better it’s really hard not to want to push it- especially with the Spartan Ultra Beast coming up!  For now I am trying to sit tight as best as possible and remind myself that I still have plenty of time to train (even if I don’t completely believe it).

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Tough Mudder Recap(Or How Maximum Results Boot Camp Owned Vermont)

“You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals.”

-Booker T. Washington

My journey to the New England Tough Mudder began 8:30 pm in West Hartford.  My teammates had arrived long ahead of me in Vermont while I stayed behind for a CT-Alive event (more of that to come in a future post…when I have pics).  By the time I arrived at the house, it was pretty rowdy- a vast understatement. lol Most of the group had run that morning and were celebrating their victory by further dehydrating their sunburned bodies with massive quantities of alcohol.  Makes total sense to me. 🙂

Being the only sober person in the room (it didn’t take Adam and G-dawg long to catch up, having only arrived 2 hrs before I did) it was a pretty entertaining scene… especially when G-dawg was telling my friends how terrified he is of me because I’m “impervious to pain”.  In his drunken state, he also managed to convince one the guys who ran Saturday to do the course again with us.  There were considerable amounts of Patron involved in this decision process…

All that being said, I didn’t get a heck of a lot of sleep.  I resorted to stuffing tissue in my ears and curling up on a chair in another room in an unsuccessful attempt to drown out some of the noise.  I probably drifted off to sleep in the early hours of the morning, only to wake up a few later.  The Saturday group was in pretty rough shape, but in true team form came out to support us anyway.  

The course was different from the NorCal mudder in that you had to climb a Berlin Wall to get to the start.- a nice touch in my opinion.  Many of the obstacles were the same, but there were a few new ones like the Electric Eel (getting shocked while crawling under barbed wire) and some under ground tunnels that were tight  even for me.  Our first obstacle was a dumpster filled with ice where you had to climb under a board and out the other side. There was so much ice it was hard to wade your way through; and the temperature of the water made it difficult to breath. Sound fun right?

From there we ran up and down the ski slope so many times I lost track (oh and there were some obstacle mixed in between).  The uphills were so steep there were times we were crawling on all fours, and the downhills were so muddy it was hard to move.  I would take a step and be literally knee deep!!!  I LOVE mud, but it was A LOT- even for me. lol

No surprise, there were a lot of water obstacles. We crawled under barbed wire in muddy water, climbed through tunnels in muddy water, went under and over logs in….you get the idea.  😉 We got blasted with snow and freezing water going up the hills- at one point the water hit me so hard I got knocked off track. lol  Thankfully, the water on the walk the plank was not NEARLY as cold as last time.  It was nice to be able to breath when I hit the surface!   BTW it was still TERRIFYING- absolutely my LEAST FAVORITE obstacle!!!  I would rather go through the electric shock 5 times (which just for the record was not that bad… maybe they turned down the voltage?) than jump off that plank.

I spent extra time swimming because I fell in on the monkey bars (in retrospect, maybe not the best obstacle to try with my shoulder…) AND off the rope where we were supposed to shimmy across the pond.  The rest of the obstacles I managed though! The walls were much easier with a team- especially coming down.  I also made it up Everest this time despite wearing mudddy Vibrams with no tread.  The cargo net, snow obstacles, logs, and tunnels were all pretty easy for me, although I did a great job scraping myself up on the logs and came out of the tunnels bleeding from my knee.  I think I was the first to draw blood!  I also made it across the plank in record time because I was afraid of the guy yelling at everyone to move faster.  There was a point where Kelly and I momentarily got caught up when we went to jump over the fire and they cranked it up.  We were so cold and close to being finished at that point that we (not so gracefully) hopped over it anyway.

Overall, everyone on our team KICKED ASS.  I don’t think anyone was prepared for those hills, but everyone plowed through them.  We worked together as a team and BEASTED through that course! (even our recruit from Saturday, who stayed with us even after he sobered up)  The energy was amazing. I was so happy for everyone who had finished for the first time.  There is no greater feeling than achieving a goal you aren’t sure you can reach.  I was especially proud of all the people in our group who ran with various injuries and were still able to push through the pain and finish.  I couldn’t imagine being part of a more motivated, determined, and dedicated (not only to their goals, but also each other) group of people!

So in case you are wondering what a bunch of Boot Campers do after conquering a Tough Mudder, I will tell you.  They set another goal AND KICK IT IN THE FACE.  Looks like G-Dawg and I will have some company in September for the Ultra Beast! (…at least for half the course)

Love these guys!!!!

I Run for Fun

My girl Kelly posted this to my Facebook page today after we conquered her first Tough Mudder at

Mt. Snow with our boot camp crew. 🙂

Since it’s late and I am understandably pooped (having just arrived home) the full Tough Mudder/weekend recap will have to wait….

LATER FOLKS!!!!!

“You have crunchy muscles…”

“A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop.”

-Robert Hughes

I may be injured, but I am not yet defeated!!!!

First, (and most important!) thank you everyone for your comments and words of encouragement! I truly appreciate all the support!!!!!

I did go to see the sports guru chiropractor on Monday, and I’m pretty sure I’M IN LOVE WITH HIM!  (He had me at “Do you do crossfit?”).  Don’t worry, Adam knows, and he’s ok with it. Truthfully, I would have given this man my first born to take that pain away!!!!

IT band humor 🙂

But seriously, he actually listened to what I had to say and then spent time explaining how we were going to fix it. That’s right- he said it’s fixable, AND I should be back to 100% within 6 weeks (no promises, but I’ll take it).  After a quick exam- where he pointed out just how much range of motion I had lost compared to my noninjured side (thanks Ortho for not even checking… you totally suck btw)- he had me use a heating pad and hooked me up to some electric-stim (yippy my fav! not really, but it wasn’t that bad).  

Then he came back and busted up all the scar tissue around my shoulder so I could move.  He warned me several times that it would be really unconfortable, BUT IT FELT AMAZING!!!  It was INSTANT RELIEF!  Maybe not 100% relief, but it was a billion times better than when I walked in.  He popped almost ever knot in my neck and shoulder, and there were definitely a lot of snap-crackle-pop noises going on.  He pointed out that my  “muscles are crunchy” (from all the scar tissue) and that “crunchy” is not a “normal” state for muscles.  I told him he was LIKE A FOAM ROLLER FOR MY SHOULDER (which was obviously the utmost compliment coming from a runner with IT band issues). He just laughed at me and said “sort of.”  He was so personable and down to earth…. gushing… I know.

Think of a goal and commit to it!

THEN he said the three most beautiful words I’ve ever heard from  a man: “You can run.”  So now I have clearance for running and the elliptical. He thought it might actually help maintain the movement I’ve regained.  Plus, he thought there was still a chance I could do the Tough Mudder!  He said start easy “Don’t go crazy and run like 5 miles. Start with a half mile and see how you feel.”   I had to fight to keep quiet, but in my head I was thinking “5 miles is an EASY RUN. Half a mile is BARELY EVEN A WARM UP.  What a tease!”.  I did just under 2 miles at an easy pace when I got home and figured that was a fair compromise.  My shoulder felt fine, so I was pretty excited.  I racked up the rest of my mileage on the bike and then got a ride home from the gym.

Since then I have been destroying the bike at the gym (21 miles on Friday!) and doing some light running and cardio on the elliptical and stair climber.  The more time I spend on the bike, the more I’ve been convincing myself that I can totally get over my fear of cycling and learn to swim.  G-Dawg and Adam have graciously offered to help coach me and teach me the ropes.  They both want to do an Iron Man next year, and I think I may just set that as my next goal.  Of course, I have lots to do in the meantime…. like learning how to swim and cycle… haha

Oh and get my shoulder fixed up…and survive Pike’s Peak… and the Ultra Beast. Looks like I have my work cut out for me!  I’ve never been one to do anything half assed though, so of course I’d set my sights on training for the ultimate triathlon instead of a sprint to ease in! lol

I’m sure this all probably sounds a little crazy coming from someone recovering from an injury; however, am I am not that type of person who believes in limiting myself.  I have already spent too much of my life restricted by what doctors and other people said I couldn’t or shouldn’t do.  I spent over 5 years with a man who tried (rather unsuccessfully in the end) to control my life, and there IS NO WAY anyone is going to put any limits or restrictions on me now!  I am a driven, goal oriented person.  If I am not challenging myself, then I simply don’t feel like I’m living.  Pushing myself is when I’m most authentic and HAPPY.  IT is what makes me feel like I am THRIVING. So if I decide that I am going to run a marathon, up a mountain, or through 26.2 miles of obstacles- you can bet it’s going to take nothing short of an act of God to keep me from that goal. Period. 🙂

My Non-training Update

“I got 99 problems but my bench ain’t one”

Ironically inaccurate for me at the moment, but still by far the funniest thing I’ve read all day…

Borrowed for the Spartan Chicked Group

This may shock and amaze you all, but I have actually been a very good girl and HAVE NOT been sneaking in any workouts involving my shoulder … unless you count moving furniture, but I did use “moving men” (it’s so nice when you can find another use for your exercise equipment…oh wait… haha).  I also had Adam and G-dawg do the heavy lifting, not that I even had to ask.  Can you believe they didn’t trust me?  They know me too well 🙂

So this whole not working out multiple times a day is already getting expensive! I have WWWAAAAYYYY too much free time… time I used this weekend to rearrange my bedroom furniture.  I decided in the process that I needed to replace my tall dresser (you know how this works…) so I headed to the local flea market and found THIS AMAZING piece!

For anyone who doesn’t know, 99% percent of my furniture has come from tag sales, flea markets, and- in some cases- the curb.  At first, it was more out of necessity, but now it’s mostly for fun.  With this piece I got lucky because it didn’t even need to be refinished…  although I do actually like the refinishing too (especially my paisley dresser- so proud of it!)

Anyway, my bedroom is now becoming my favorite room of the house!  I’m so thrilled with how it’s FINALLY coming together.  Although, I ddefinitely need to get back to training before I spend anymore money. haha

In an effort to stay out of trouble (financially at least) this morning I went to the gym and did an easy 16 minutes on the stair climber followed by a few minutes on the elliptical with just legs.  I wasn’t feeling that awesome, and I’m guessing that may have had to do with the muscle relaxants.   I just wanted to do a little bit to keep from getting edgy.  I’m hoping that by next week I may be able to start easing into running, but for now I think it’s probably safer to minimize the exercising and stick to legs only.

In other news, I got a letter today from the YES Endurance people.  Remember a million years ago (ok… less than a year ago) I did their trail series and was COMPLETELY DEVASTATED when I completed the 4th race, in spite of the flu, and never got my finisher medal?

Yeah, well it just came in the mail today.  Better late than never?  I won’t even bring up the fiasco with the points series…  Anyway, they offered me a free entry to any of their races as compensation for the inconvenience… which I think was a pretty nice gesture.

That’s all I have to report for now.  I am super grateful for the happy pills that not only cured my horrendous spasm, but also have been keeping me relaxed enough not to be climbing up the walls…. otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d be homicidal by this point.  I wonder if I get can get a script to take them on all my rest days. haha

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  I know one lady who did!   Betsy from The Everyday Warrior earned her orange today at her first Tough Mudder.  She not only completed the event, but also raised funds for the very worthy Wounded Warrior Project. Woooohoooo! You go girl!  Be sure to spot by her blog and leaves her some props! She has definitely earned them!

Revenge of the Shoulder Blade…

“The pride you gain is worth the pain.”  

-Dennis Ogilvie

Or  “my life on the injury roller coaster” 😉

I am not a super athlete; I’m not even athletic.  Rather, I am an orthopedic disaster.  I am used to being limited by my joints and spending time getting MRIs and Xrays.  I am accustomed to pushing through and blocking out pain.

However, 2 weeks ago when I tweaked my shoulder on that pull-up, I honestly wasn’t having pain.  I had a little soreness, but nothing to write home about.  Since then, I have been taking it pretty easy.  I haven’t done boot camp at all and only did Insanity once.  I’ve also avoided any lifting that might aggravate it..  The only thing I did do, which in retrospect was probably not a great idea, was go climbing a couple times- but I was pretty darn careful.

So yesterday when I woke up and my shoulder was bugging me a little I was kind of surprised.  I hadn’t worked out in 2 days, and hadn’t done anything to really trigger it.  I figured I must have just slept on it wrong.  I ended up sleeping a good part of the day because I was feeling under the weather (with allergy season hitting me like a ton of bricks) and had a hard time getting comfortable.

Then this morning I woke up with pain that literally took my breath away.  I couldn’t even turn my neck!  I managed to make it to work, but found myself cradling my left arm most of the day because it was so painful just to let it hang- even on the max ibuprofen dose.  I left work early to see an ortho doc and it turns out I have some muscle spasm going on.  Apparently it doesn’t take much to aggravate your shoulder muscles (specifically the infraspinatus muscles) and it takes FOREVER for them to heal.  In other words: no climbing, Insanity, boot camp, or lifting for at least the next week.  😦  I wonder if the 4 days I haven’t done anything already this week counts… jk

It looks like the stationary bike and stair climber are going to be my BFFs for a while.  Hopefully I will at least be able to run soon.  I am also hoping to be healed enough in 3 wks to still do the Tough Mudder (even if I have to skip obstacles), but I’m thinking that may be pushing it…

In case anyone is wondering how I am coping… I went for some retail therapy and bought the loudest running shorts I could find (figuring it’s going to be one of the few forms of exercise I’ll be allowed for some time...) 

As much as I am I frustrated about this whole setback, I am really trying to roll with it.  In reality, I am extremely grateful that it is just a muscle spasm and not a tear or neck injury (especially with all the numbness down my arm and in my fingers!).  In the grand scheme of things, a couple weeks of taking it easy is not going to set me way back.  Sure it sucks, but it could be a lot worse.

Normally, I’m a pretty tough cookie when it comes to physical discomfort.  I have spent my whole life with knee caps that pop in and out of place and have put myself through some serious physical torture. BUT THIS PAIN WAS NO JOKE.  If I could have found a spot to curl up and cry at work today I would have.  I don’t ever want to have a muscle spasm EVER AGAIN.  I would rather run a whole marathon TWICE…IN A ROW.

So it’s back to “resting” for me.  Unfortunately, shit happens. No point in getting upset or feeling sorry for myself about it.  Really, there’s not much I can do about it now other than regroup (and brace myself for the onslaught of lectures from the non-exercise inclined community about overtraining and how I push myself too hard… Btw just as you’re entitled to your opinion, I’m entitled to respectfully ignore it.  Your concern is appreciated, but completely unnecessary.  I’m a big girl and I can take care of myself.  I am strong and intelligent enough to make my own decisions about what’s healthy for me.  Exercise is my anti-stress, antidepressant, and instant center.  Risking injury every once in a while to stay sane and love myself is a trade off I am more than willing to make.  Besides, if I don’t ever push to my limits, how will I ever know them?).  Luckily, Pike’s Peak and the Spartan Ultra Beast are still months away with plenty of time to train.

In the meantime, I am going to do my best to reduce my stress and take care of myself.  As much as people like to point the finger at over training anytime I get run down or sick, the truth is my job has really been wearing on me.  My work environment can be toxic at times and being an emotional sponge– it really takes a toll on me.  Add on top of that everything going on with my mom and her dog and my grandmother getting sick, and you can see how a person can get worn thin.  With all the chaos I haven’t been eating that great (or enough) or getting much sleep- (which is generally the key component for me getting sick).

For me, exercise is the one thing that helps me combat all that stress, gives me an appetite (and makes me crave healthy food), and helps me sleep at night.  I feel more sore and miserable when I don’t work out than when I do.  There is no way I am going to let anyone try to convince me it isn’t good for me.

Last night I slept funny and I woke up with a terrible muscle spasm.  It could have happened to anyone.  It’s not a reason to give up or stop pushing.  Before I started really working out again, my knee caps popped out of place, I had crippling anxiety, felt weak and unsafe, and barely knew myself.  I am not about to give up all the ground I’ve made over some silly muscle spasm.  It’s not in me to quit… guess that’s just the beast in me. 😉

I MADE IT!!!!

“I’m on the top of the world, looking down on creation”

 -The Carpenters

(You know you just sang that in your head)

ACCEPTED!!!

Last night I dreamed that got into the Ultra Beast.  This morning I got an email from the Spartan Race people :

Jenny,

We like tough women and you seem to be in the ranks.  We applaud you for taking care of yourself, getting out of an abusive relationship and moving forward with your life.  We’d like you to meet our Ultra Beast.
Congratulations, your Spartan Ultra Beast application has been reviewed and you are being invited to register for the World’s First Marathon Distance Obstacle race to take place on September 22, 2012.  You are a part of obstacle racing history.  There is NO other event of this type anywhere in the world.  The field will be limited to a small, extreme group of athletes and you are part of a select few invited to take part. 
– Spartan Race HQ

I AM SO EXCITED!!!!! I immediately called G-Dawg because he is clearly the only other person crazy enough to get as excited about the torture ahead of us as I am (and because Adam was sleeping and I didn’t want to wake him).  As you might expect, we were like two little kids jumping up and down at Christmas. WE HAVE SO MUCH TRAINING TO DO!!!!  I know I should be terrified, and I will probably hate myself the whole way through it, but I know I can do it.  I am ready to make some history. 🙂

As far as my continued rest, I coped this morning by cleaning the entire house (including washing the windows) and vacuuming my car.  The fact that it is completely GORGEOUS out is not helping my urge to run, but spending some time gardening made me feel like I was still getting to enjoy the weather.