Monday, July 25, 2011

The Warrior Dash Race Report!

Hi everyone! Sunday I experienced my first Warrior Dash race! Oh my goodness, we had an absolute blast! I made the trip with two of the coolest co-workers Stefanie and Laura. Stefanie and I work side by side every day at the medical center's women's imaging department. We both work as mammo technologists and perform breast imaging procedures. We have so much in common including fitness. I am a runner and Stefanie is a fitness competitor. One day at work I got an e-mail from the people at the Warrior Dash asking for possible competitors for the famous race. I said, "Hey Stef let's do this!" She looked at me like I was a little crazy and said, "I don't know Julie....I will think about it." I then said, "Alright, you have until tomorrow sista! know you are so doing this with me!" The next day we ended up registering together and signed up to be in the 4pm wave on Sunday. Our co-worker Laura came with us to be our cheerleader and photographer:) Thank you Laura! We love you! Laura and I have known each other for years. She is my mentor and I first met her when I was a mammo student at the University of Minnesota Breast Center. Laura is the best supervisor ever....she gives me days off when I need them for very important things! Laura also reads my blog and has been following it from day one! I sort of look at her like the older sister I never had:) We all met up in our work parking lot and drove almost an hour to the Afton Alps Ski Resort in Hastings. I parked my van in a huge corn field and walked up to catch the bus that would drive us to the start line.

I was all smiles and super excited! This is a picture of my personal photographer Laura:)

Stefanie and I on the bus. LOL, this was the best out of about 8 windy such thing as perfect!

Many runners donated their race shoes after the race for a great charity....including Stefanie! We picked up our race packets, t-shirts and warrior horns! Yea! Warrior horns!

Pinning our race bibs on. Putting our timing chips on our shoes.

Two tough Chicas ready to rock and roll!

As I mentioned earlier, Laura reads my blog and knows I like to take random pictures of interesting people or things. Check out this guy!!
I love it! Dudes racing in dresses! Stefanie and I checking out the runners from an earlier wave making their way down to the finisher's corral.

Here are a few pictures of us hanging out waiting for our 4pm wave to start.

Stefanie, Laura and me:) Stefanie and I finally in line for the race.

We may or may not of been discussing our strategy for the race:) Ha ha! We just wanted to finish in one piece, not cuts, no blood, no puking or broken bones! Our goal was to finish under an hour and have fun! We got this one!

Right before the start.

Stefanie and I placed ourselves in the middle of the pack. We started off at an easy steady pace. Everything was going great for a few short minutes. Our first real obstacle was this big ass hill! Holy cow it was brutal! So many people ended up walking up all of it or some of it. We walked up about half of it. There were so many obstacles to make our way through, under or over but the hardest in my opinion was the crazy monster hills! You have to remember that the course was set on a ski resort. After making it up that big daddy of a hill we continued on with a slow jog....nice and easy. Before we knew it we had a few obstacles to tackle. I think the first one was the treacherous typhoon. WOW!!!! This one shocked the hell out of us! I knew it was coming but didn't expect it to be as fierce! The wall of water and gale force winds was absolutely stunning! As in...I can't breathe! I was smacked in the face with the strong and stinging water mixed with powerful winds! I kept on thinking, when and the hell am I going to make it all of the way through this one! Once we made it through I couldn't stop laughing! We looked like drowned rats and I was still so shocked....laughing only seemed natural:) We had several more super fun obstacles to take on. There was a scrap yard course, a few walls to climb & get over, and planks to make our way across. There was one or two of the climbing walls where I was holding on for dear life. I do not like heights and was a little scared but kept on moving. Stefanie and I made our way through most of the obstacles like rock stars and had a ton of fun. The race was well organized and there were tons of volunteers greeting us with smiles! The course continued and we made our way at an easy and steady pace. We ran through a sand pit and a few very muddy running paths. There were several up and down hills with rough road, tree roots and rocks to watch out for. Finally we made our way up the last hill and saw the petrifying plunge water slide! Yay! The joy of knowing we were almost done! We continued our way down the slide and ran up to the fire pits...two of them:) Piece of cake!

Me and Stefanie approaching the fire pits.

After the second fire pit we had to get on our stomachs and crawl through mud while working our way under barbed wire! Good Lord! It was so gross and smelly! I got so much mud under my shirt and in my sports gross! We got out of the mud pit and ran together over the finish line!!!

There you have it....Stefanie and Julie out of the pit but covered in mud!

We were both laughing and excited because we were done! We were also both thinking we have got to do this again next year!

Woo hoo! We are warriors! We did it! We finished our very first Warrior Dash! There was no cuts, blood, puking or broken bones! We came in well under an hour and had fun too...mission accomplished!

After the race and eating a banana we headed to the hoses to get some of the mud off of us. We must of spent at least 10 minutes getting hosed off. The water felt amazing and I am pretty sure the two guys hosing people off were enjoying their jobs:) There were tons of Chicas taking off their shirts and getting showered off wearing their sport bras. I may or may not of lifted my shirt up to get some of the yuck out of there:)

Here we are sort of clean.

Stefanie and I are still smiling!

All I can say is that it was so refreshing to do a non-serious race! The Warrior Dash was so much fun! I am so very glad that I did it and we are planning on doing it again next year for sure! Happy running, biking, swimming, lifting and surfing! Cheers to you all!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Next Race On The Books...The Warrior Dash!

Hi everyone! A few days ago I took the plunge! I went online and registered for the Warrior Dash in Minnesota! I was a pain in the butt and finally talked my co-worker Stefanie into running it with me. She totally caved under the pressure! I am super excited for this one!

The Warrior Dash is described as America's most insane race with 11 obsticales from hell!

1) Petrifying Plunge...Slosh down a slippery slope!

2) Tunnels of terror...Burrow through the black tunnels!

3) Great Warrior Wall...Conquer the wooden barricade!

4) Cliff Hanger...Rappel down the steep ravine!

5) Hay Fever...Hustle up and over giant straw bales!

6) Junk Yard Jump...Stampede through the scrap yard!

7) Sand Trap...Trek through the mounds of sand!

8) Cargo Climb...Maneuver over the cargo nets!

9) Santan's Slope...Skid down the muddy slope!

10) Warrior Roast...Leap over the warrior fires!

11) Muddy Mayhem...Scramble beneath barbed wire as you near the finish!

Doesn't this sound pretty freaking fun? Yes, I do realize that this will be challenging as hell but I am up for it! Totally feeling like a tough chick now! I need to figure out how I can bring a camera with and not destroy it. Suggestions? Looking forward to catching up on everyone's blogs! I know I have been MIA for a few months now but my life is still crazy! Missing my blogger peeps and can't wait to see what you have all been up to:)

Happy running, biking, swimming, lifting and surfing! Cheers to you all!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grandma's Half Race Report!

Hi everyone! I am finally posting about this past weekend's Grandma's half marathon! Better late than never...right? I woke up at 3:15AM on Saturday morning because the transportation bus started at 4:45AM. Being the prompt and highly organized person that I am....figured that I would get there early. I ended up walking from my hotel to the bus station. I would estimate that it was less than a mile which normally wouldn't be that big of a deal but it was raining. I ended up getting wet before even getting on the bus. Yea, that sucked. On the bus ride I noticed that several runners were very prepared and had garbage bags for rain gear is a theory...there were the runners who actually had running rain gear! I didn't get the memo on the chance of rain! Crap!

The bus ride to the start line seemed to go quicker than last year. I was kind of hoping it would take longer. I knew that there wouldn't be any protection from the rain and I had 90 minutes before the start. What to do? Oh, what to do? I'll tell you what I did, I went into the first biffy that I could find:) That first picture is a good shot of the very cool necklaces that I wore for the occasion. One of them is a runner girl that I got from my very dear co-worker Laura for a Chrismas gift. Love it! The second necklace is a charm that has the word believe on it. Last year at Grandma's I met Kara Goucher at the expo and she wrote, "Always believe Julie!" on my program! It has kind of been my running mantra ever since:) I took another picture of me in the biffy just to channel the Steve Stenzel in me! I texted my hubby and instructed him to bring warm and dry clothes for after the race. I also texted a few close friends letting them know about my rainy weather start situation.

After hanging out in the biffy for a few minutes I decided to trek out into the cold and rain. Brr! We all huddled together hoping to keep dry and warm. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Eventually I walked to the start line. Check out how wet everyone is and look to the left of the picture...runners with rain gear:)

I placed myself behind the 2:00 pacer. I figured this was a safe for me. Last year I ran with the 1:50 pacer for the first 5 or 6 miles and was pretty much toast. I have not been running as many halfs this year and figured this would be the best place for me.

Here is a shot of all of the runners in front of me.

Here is a picture of all of the runners behind me.

Standing in line waiting for the race to start was pretty miserable. I was so cold and almost completely wet. So not fun. I kept on hoping that the race would just start already. Finally people started to move and the line shuffled ahead! The first miles were a little packed but after mile 3 things started to thin out a bit.

We had light rain during the first few miles but at least I was running so it wasn't so bad. I warmed up and felt alright. After mile 3 I left my pacer and moved ahead because I was feeling pretty good.

I stopped to take this shot of me with Lake Superior in the background. I did get several strange looks from people but did also hear someone say they thought taking a camera with was a great idea! After mile 5 I knew I would have to make a biffy stop because my stomach was cramping and I felt like crap. I wasted at least 3 to 4 minutes with this pit stop. I quickly got back on track and just ran a steady pace not really paying attention to my Garmin.

It was at mile 8 that I ran into this guy! I was running and minding my own dreaming about my own little dangerous life and world! All of a sudden I heard someone say, "Julie!" It was Derek my Minneapolis blogger friend! We stopped for a photo opportunity! In other words, I forced Derek to stop and take a picture with me:) He was so nice and we had a great time running together! I have to tell you that I have met so many of my blogger friends and truly feel blessed because everyone has been so freaking awesome....including Derek!

We ran together and chatted about our lives, our training, my lack of training, Derek's amazing TRI that he did the week before and how I was going to make it through this race without puking! The run for me had it's ups and downs. I had a mile that was great and the next would feel like crap. I don't know what and the hell is going on with me. Derek was told several times to move ahead without me! I felt so bad because this man can run a 1:30 half and I was busting butt to try to finish under 2. He told me that he was taking it easy because of the TRI he did the week before but I still felt guilty.We ran side by side...sometimes we chatted and sometimes there was silence. He chatted with me and instructed me to keep a good form when things got tough. He reminded me to keep breathing and to stay relaxed. We kicked butt up Lemon Drop Hill! This is one time when I was actually looking at my Garmin...8:15 to 8:20! For me this is speedy considering we had a challenging hill! Derek kept me on track. I really don't know if I would of taken that hill so well without his help. When we hit mile 11 I knew tht I would need to make another pit stop. We ran and once we hit mile 12 I spotted an open biffy. I told Derek to move on and I would be fine. I ran into the biffy and this time maybe only wasted a minute. I ran out and headed down the road to flipping see Derek waiting for me! Really!!! We continued on and had about a mile left. We hit a bridge with a slight hill and I felt like crap! I felt like I wanted to walk to stop from puking. Derek just told me to keep it up...keep running...breathe easy. Piece of cake is what he said:) We ran down the road that leads to the turn by the big William Irving ship and I felt so nauseous! I said, "Umm, Derek I got to stop, I feel like I am going to puke." Derek stopped and walked about 20 to 30 seconds with me. We started running again and I saw the bridge that my college boy was on. My son came to Duluth to watch his mama run! I was so excited that he came and loved that he wanted to cheer me on! Eventually Derek and I ran down the home stretch. There was a really cool song playing and it was so perfect for an end of a race! Too bad I can't tell you what it was:) I can't remember....runner's memory loss! Derek, do you remember what song was playing when we came up to the finish line? was called Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell! Such an awesome song to listen to during the last stretch of a race! Derek and I finished the race and the clock said 2:02 something. I was crushed! I really wanted to make it under 2! I know that the time was gun time but I had no idea how long it took to get to the start mats. Derek and I picked up our medals, t-shirts and then ate some post race food. I was so tired and so damn hungry! This is a new development for me...usually I can never eat after a race. I had no problem eating after this one:) Derek was great and I appreciate the fact that he put up with me for miles 8 through 13.1 of this half marathon! Derek, you are the only reason I finished with the time that I did!

After finishing my race I ran into Carly! Carly is another Minnesota blogger who actually volunteered. Carly is also very sweet! It was fun to chat with her for a few minutes:)
Me and college boy after the race. I am still freezing my butt off but he made sure I stayed warm:) Such a good son!

Another picture of me and my college boy! I love this kid so much!

LOL! This is another random picture of me that college boy snapped. You can see how windy it was that day! Check out the waves in the background!

I really like the medal a lot and the t-shirt is one of the best that I have received so far! This half marathon was challenging for sure but it was a good race. It was fun and memorable for so many reasons! Duluth did not disappoint and I am happy with how I did considering all of my circumstances:)Final time 1:59:41!Yay! Under 2 hours baby!!! I didn't know what my gun time was but it was enough to get me under 2! Thank you to Derek for being my runnersitter!

Happy running, biking, swimming, lifting and surfing! Cheers to you all!
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