Thursday, August 11, 2016

2016 Asheville Spartan Super :::: Race Recap & Review

So I did something this weekend that I haven't done in over 3 years... A SPARTAN RACE! I have completed two Spartan Sprints previously, (2012 and 2013) so when I was given the opportunity to race the Asheville Super, I couldn't say no.

For those of you who don't know, Spartan has three levels of races:

Sprint (3+ miles and 20+ obstacles)
Super (8+ miles and 25+ obstacles)
Beast (12+ miles and 30+ obstacles)

If you complete all three levels in one calendar year, you've achieved what's called the Spartan Trifecta. My brother (subscribe to his YouTube channel) is now 2/3 of the way to being done with this, having completed a sprint earlier this year and the super this weekend.

So, Matt and his friend Zach came over on Friday night and we set out for the race on Saturday morning. We got there and easily parked ($10) and got our stuff. It helps if you print out a waiver and know your bib number, but there were plenty of volunteers and booths so it really wouldn't have taken long either way.

Spartan has changed a lot since my last race. They used to mark your face and body with your bib number (like a triathlon) and you wore a bib (like a running race). Now they've started giving out these headbands with your bib number on them. To me that's a big improvement. I usually wear a headband anyways, plus those markers either come off the first time you're in water (about 5 minutes into the race) or you have to scrub off a layer of skin to get them off.

We checked a bag ($5) and got ready to go. We were racing with a group that Matthew and I have just become active in lately, called Operation Enduring Warrior (OEW). We are both community ambassadors for this charity and we were really excited to be racing with the team. Our MAT (Masked Athlete Team) was there to assist an OEW Adaptive Athlete through the course. I plan on going into this in a lot more depth in another post because I want to give it the attention it deserves, so that's all you get for now!

My mindset for this race was just to have fun and enjoy it. I was excited to race with such a large team and to challenge myself. However, I WAY underestimated the seriousness of this course. I should have realized that with such a large group we would be out on the course for a long time. I should have worn a hydration pack and I definitely should have brought some sort of carbs. About 2 miles in a guy offered to split a pack of Gatorade chews with me and I swear I could have kissed him.

We also ended up getting separated from our team, which I was bummed about.

So, obstacles...

The usual suspects:  4 ft walls, 6 ft wall, 8 or 10 ft wall, cargo net, rope climb, spear throw, bridge, sandbag carry, bucket brigade, pulley, fire jump, slip wall, monkey bars, over under water obstacles, tractor pull, and barbed wire crawl.

New to me:  A different play on monkey bars, wooden bars you had to jump over, mental challenge (had to remember a set of numbers to repeat back at end of race), a cargo net that was just straight up and down, atlas stone carry, and horizontal rope climb.

Plus lots that I don't remember or don't know how to describe, plus the huge, never-ending obstacle that was the terrain. We climbed, and we climbed, then we climbed some more. This race was set in a rock quarry and Asheville is quite mountainous. Spartan race definitely used that to their advantage! On the course map below, the part between obstacles 18 and 19 was pretty brutal. I didn't think we were every going to get to the top of that mountain.

Thank the Lord, they gave out Clif Shot Bloks at the water stop before that big climb. Those were lifesavers. And of course it reminded me of the two packs of Shot Bloks I had brought to the race... And left in our bag at bag check.

As always, the camaraderie was excellent. What better way to bond with 10,000 strangers than to make them do something really challenging together. This race was definitely a challenge, but to be honest I felt very good afterwards. I wish I had brought water and fuel, but other than that, I felt really good!

I felt like I was in so much better shape than when I did the Sprints. I'm not sure if that's true or if this race just played more to my strengths (I'm built for endurance, not speed). I also think having completed long races before really helped me mentally.

And of course, having my brother with me was amazing. He is just one of those people who makes you feel so much better than you actually are. He was constantly encouraging us and checking in.

After we finished we were given our medals (SO, SO, SO cool), shirts, bananas, Clif bars, and cold FitAids.

Spartan has really stepped up their swag game. The medals are badass, with nice ribbons and the shirts are super soft. They also had the shirts in a little bag for us so we would't get them dirty.

If you have ever considered doing a Spartan race, I'm here to tell you: SIGN UP!!!!! You won't regret it (well maybe just for a second before). When you finish it (and you will finish it, don't doubt yourself!!!) you are going to feel unstoppable. You will most likely be tired and bruised, but no one can take that feeling of accomplishment. And who doesn't love an excuse to play in the mud?

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me! I love talking Spartan race and there are no stupid questions!!!

Thank you to Spartan Race who provided me an entry to this race in exchange for my honest review. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Catawba Falls Hike

Brad and I were both off on Friday so we decided to check out a local trail. We chose a shorter one because we both had other stuff we needed to get finished during the day. 

Trail details:
Catawba Falls
3074 Catawba River Road Old Fort, NC
Directions:  Take I-40 E from Asheville to the second Old Fort Exit 73. Before the ramp ends, take a RIGHT on Catawba River Road. Follow it to the end (about 3 miles). 

This was a great short hike with the option to really challenge yourself with some technical hiking/climbing at the end. I have no idea how long it was because my Fitbit died and I wasn't wearing my Garmin. I'm guessing round trip maybe 2.5 miles?

Brad continued by himself on the steeper part (heading to the top of the falls). I'm afraid of heights and while I was confident in my ability to climb up, I was not so confident in my ability to rappel down (there were ropes tied by God knows who to assist). He said the view up there wasn't worth all the trouble. 

This was a great, short hike. It had beautiful views, several water crossings, and what looked to be several good places to get in and cool off. I'd definitely recommend it if you're in the area!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Weekly Workouts

well, funny story. i haven't been writing down my workouts. the past two weeks have been a blur. i had a chest cold/sinus thing, e started preschool, then she either picked something up there or got what i had (or both), then it turned into an ear infection. so yeah. i always think i'll be able to remember, but YEAH RIGHT. i can barely remember what i ate for lunch today. so here's what i remember from the last two weeks:

last monday:  trail run (i have no idea how far) then... my first fundamentals class at Beer City CrossFit! it wasn't a workout, more of a run through of some basic movements. 

i planned to get up and go to 6am WOD the next morning, but I was up sick all night. no go. 

wednesday:  first WOD at BCCF.
  shoulder press (6x2 shoulder press, climb to AHAP) (35#, 55#, 60#, 65#, 65#, 70#)

  metcon (AMRAP)
  shoulder press, 1 set AMRAP at 80% (55# x 10)

  metcon (time)
  10 to 1
  box jump 30/24
  toes to bar
  KBS 2/1.5
  *following every set of KBS, 100m single arm KB carry (switch half way) I think my time was like 18 something. I didn't write it down. 

thursday, friday, saturday:: work, work, work, work work. i was able to get a short trail run in on saturday. luckily i didn't take me phone with me because i got about a mile in and the sky opened up. total downpour. 

sunday:: i ran and brad and i walked about 3 miles in downtown asheville. 

monday, tuesday, wednesday:: work days but i ran after e went to sleep a few nights. no idea which days or how many miles.

thursday::  WOD at BCCF

metcon (time):
3 rounds
  10 alt turkish get ups
  50 flutter kicks (4-ct)
  :60 front leaning rest Leaning rest my ass. It's a plank. 

metcon (time):
20 rounds
  5 single arm KB row (each) 1.5/1 pood
  10 ring push ups
  15m walking lunge I can't remember my times and i'm too lazy to look them up on Wodify.

friday:: stroller walk/run with E (she's home sick with an ear infection).


today e was feeling better so we loaded up and went to dupont state forest. so my workout was about 3 miles of trails with a 30 pound baby on my back!

here's to a good week! hitting it hard (and writing it down)!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

weekly workouts

i dropped in to crossfit ironside in west chester for a WOD. i'm new to this whole thing anyways, but going into a new place by myself? that's so not me. but i'm working on getting to the point that i don't let fear of what might happen keep me from doing what i want. so i went, and it was fun! one girl even came up to me and told me she thought i was super brave for dropping in. that she's always wanted to when she travels but she'd been scared. i was so touched that she said that to me.

We did a hero WOD for the 4th of July called "Daniel". In honor of Army SFC Daniel Crabtree who was killed in Iraq on June 8, 2006.

for the first 50 pull-ups i did jumping pull-ups, which was a modification i hadn't done before. for my first round of thrusters i did 65# (Rx Female) and realized i bit off more than i could chew. i've never been coached on thrusters so probably not my smartest move. for the second round i scaled back to 60# and that helped. for my second 50 pull-ups i did ring rows. my time was 23:14.

WOD class at Y

5 slow trail miles! (1:14)

rest day

rest day

2.69 stroller miles at the park (31:40)

CrossFit Invictus WOD

first workout in my new shoes! they did great and i ran a mile afterwards and they were pretty good for that too. 

8.69 miles + WOD running
2 WODs

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Book Review::: Spartan Fit! by Joe DeSena

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to review an advanced copy of Joe DeSena's new book, "Spartan Fit!". After reading his previous book, "Spartan Up!" I was so excited to dive into this one.

Another reason I was so excited to read the book is because I need training tips! I'm signing up for the Asheville Super Spartan that's in August and I need all the help I can get.

I was mostly interested in the training plan and incorporating it into my workouts, however the thing about the book that I was most pleasantly surprised with was the history of the Spartans. I'm a nerd who enjoys history so those bits and pieces were very nice for me.

I was also surprised to learn that DeSena wants to have OCR be recognized in the Olympics. I enjoyed reading his argument as to why it should be there and honestly, I could see it. I can see his vision and how he's began implementing changes to make the races more uniform, just in between the two races I did in 2012 and 2013 (click links to read my reviews of those races).

I've started incorporating his workouts into my training and so far they're very challenging and effective. I think my favorite thing about them is that I can mostly do them at my house, with little to no equipment.

I also enjoy DeSena's no BS, suck it up buttercup attitude. He seems like a no nonsense kind of guy, and I really admire that.

This book is available for pre-order currently and will be available on August 2nd.

*I received a copy of this book in advance in order to provide my unbiased review. All opinions are my own, as always. *

Monday, July 4, 2016

Weekly Workouts

Monday:  1 hour Boot Camp

Tuesday:  5.5 treadmill miles

Wednesday:  rest day

WOD (Crossfit Invictus)
For time:
Run 1200m
40 alternating dumbbell snatches (25#)
40 toes to bar (i used the thing you put your elbows on and pulled my legs up that way)
Run 800m
20 alternating dumbbell snatches
20 toes to bar
Run 400m
10 alternating dumbbell snatches
10 toes to bar

Two sets of Landmine Rows x 6 reps

*I went to the gym in the AM, childcare had a wait list. I went back that evening and they were having a damn class in the functional fitness room. Which is fine, JUST POST IT ON THE DAMN SCHEDULE. That's why there is a schedule. GRRRRR. So I didn't time this because I had to improvise and wait for people to get off equipment. Whatever.

Friday: rest day

Saturday: 6 mile run

Sunday:  7 mile run

18.5 miles + WOD and bootcamp running

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Weekly Workouts

Monday:  rest day

Tuesday:  squats and lunges throughout the day at work

Wednesday: 5 treadmill miles after work, plus box jump work

Thursday: 1.5 mile walk plus YMCA WOD:
     10 pull ups
     1 legged burpees with BOSU 5 each side
     15 KB squats
     10 spiderman push ups each side
     15 deadlift 65#

Friday: 5 mile trail run after work

Saturday:  Crossfit Cupcake WOD (with brother!):
EMOM x 10:  1 clean and split jerk (I did a more simple movement after failing to grasp this one)
10 RFT:  3 pull ups (with a band)
4 RFT:
    800m run
     10/5/5/5 rope climbs from ground
     40 ft DB walking lunge (40#)

Sunday:  rest day

Weekly totals:
11.5 miles plus WOD running
2 WODs

Less than last week, but I still felt good about this week. I worked an extra day and also we drove to KY to celebrate E's birthday so it was a busier week in general. I was happy fitting in the workouts I did.