Monday, July 20, 2015

I Am Spartan! The Spartan Super near Toronto, July 19, 2015


Résultats de recherche d'images pour « spartan race photos »This is me:

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « spartan race photos 2015 »




Résultats de recherche d'images pour « spartan race photos 2015 »Résultats de recherche d'images pour « spartan race photos 2015 »




Yesterday I did the Spartan Super at Brimacombe ski hill in Claringdon, Ontario.  Not only did I do a Spartan, but it was on the hottest day of the summer.  One good thing about all the mud: it was nice and cool!

The Spartan is a 13+K race including 23 obstacles.

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « spartan race photos 2015 »I am an endurance runner, and I expected more running in this race.  However, for the majority of it, racers go up and down the steep ski hills.  The hills are so steep that mostly everyone walked them.  Even the downhills you couldn't run flat out because they were too steep; one so much so I had to go down in a squat position.

As you can imagine, going up and down hills like this, your calves were often feeling like jello just in time for the obstacle at the top.  The relentless sun didn't help.

This is a hard race; definitely a good challenge!

You got one chance to attempt the obstacle and if you failed you were required to do thirty burpees.  I saw many people only do a couple of burpees or none at all.  I also saw people fail the obstacle but then just keep trying until they did it.  I was determined to do it 'by the rules'.  I think altogether I did 150 burpees.  It seemed like more.

I made it over all the walls on my own (I was running solo, as my partner had to pull out).  I was happy about this because most of the women were getting help from teammates.  Especially for the wall that was a backwards incline!

I also did the strength work without any major issues (pulling weighted propane tanks up to a certain level by rope, dragging weighted tires on a chain up and down a muddy hill, carrying rocks and other weighted objects up hills, and so on).

I was hoping to do the rope climb, but I hadn't done enough training.  I looked up tutorials on rope climbing a few nights before, but didn't have the chance to practice on an actual rope.  The S hook looks a lot easier to accomplish than it actually was (for me, anyway).

I saw many people try the rope climb (which was very high over land and I saw a few people fall down quite a distance) and fail.  Part of my strategy was to go straight to the burpees.

If you know you can't do it, you're wasting energy trying and failing and then you still have to do the burpees.

Ideally I would like to do all the obstacles but I knew that rope climb wasn't going to happen.

The same with the rings.  I had bought fingerless gloves to help with climbing (and I would highly recommend them, as you are constantly pulling on ropes or chains) and I thought they would help with the rings, too.  But there was a huge mud  pit right before the rings and you had to crawl under barbed wire so my gloves were coated in a thick covering of mud.  Not very helpful on rings.  Burpees again!

There was tons of mud on the course.  Shoe-sucking, almost up to your knees, smelly mud.  I saw some people who were completely stuck and had to have teammates pull them out.  People lost shoes.  You can't run at all on these long stretches.

I saw a few people puking (I'm sure the extreme heat was a contributing factor) and people who were injured.  It looked like twisted ankles and pulled muscles mostly.

Once we ran by a creek and I wanted to throw myself face first into the water, I was so hot.

There were hoses spraying out water and I would run into them all happily, arms outstretched and yelling, "Woo hoo!"  It felt like the best shower I'd ever had.

NOTE:  there aren't that many aid stations and they are very, well, Spartan.  Only water.  No Gatorade, no snacks.  And for the women it is important to note that there are no portapotties on the course at all either.

Despite the heat I was in a good mood for the whole race (except when I failed the climbing wall challenge two blocks from the end by grabbing the top of the wall!  And then I realized I was doing the men's wall anyway.)

On my way up one hill, I was surrounded by racers, and I remarked good-naturedly, "Damn gravity!"  Someone else yelled, "Damn hill!"  Another guy chipped in, "Damn body - I should be fitter!"

Once when I was crawling through a mud pit under barbed wire a guy beside me said, "How's it going?"  I said, "It's going GREAT!  The mud feels awesome."

On most of the mud stretches, it was best to stick to the sides.  The trees are your friend at this point.

There is a point in every hard race, I find, when you ask yourself 'why'.  Why am I doing this to myself? Why am I running up ski hills and carrying heavy objects up hills on such a horribly hot day?  Surely there must be better things to do with my time?  But in the end, you are challenging yourself.  You learn about yourself out there on the course, having to keep putting one foot in front of the other even when it's hard and it's the last thing your body wants to do.  You will have bragging rights for the rest of your life that yes, you did a Spartan Super race.  And why not?  It's better than sitting on the couch.  Much more character-building.

I loved jumping over the fire at the end - fun stuff.  We got a nice technical T-shirt, a really great medal, a Clif Builder's Bar, water, coconut water, and a free yogourt.  There was loud music on and great energy.  King Sparta was there mingling on the grounds and he would also send all the heats off by making us yell: "I am Spartan!"  And: "Aroo".  Not sure what that is, but it sounds good.

Now I know exactly what to train for before I do the next Spartan!





Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Nine Year Old's Vision of Progress

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « pictures of cyborgs »


We were talking about cyborgs.  My nine year old son was talking about how exciting this possibility is, and I was nodding my head in agreement.  My thoughts were running to the new developments on eye implants that can help people see.

My son continued excitedly, "If I was a cyborg it would be awesome!  I could shoot rockets out of my butt!"

Funny, that particular advantage had escaped me until now.

Forget improving quality of life.

Just what we need - a world of people shooting rockets out of their butts.  The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I'm An Embarassment to my Kids...Already! How Can that Be?


Image result for embarrassing parentsImage result for embarrassing parents



Why are we always so hopeful?  We think, "I won't make that mistake".   Until we do.

We think, "I'll be the cool parent!"

And then we find out we're not.  Contrary to all of our completely unrealistic expectations.

I thought I wouldn't have to deal with this until my kids were teenagers.  I was wrong.

I love to listen to loud music in the car.  That's cool, right?

Apparently not.  My nine year old son now insists that I turn the music down a whole block before we arrive at his school.

It's bad enough that they mostly don't think my music is cool (what is THAT all about?), but now the actual volume level is a problem?!

And then today I was with my seven year old daughter at her school.  We walked over to stand under the school overhang, as it was raining.  A little boy in her class was sitting there.

I said, "Hey, Josh!  How are you?  Wow, cool watch!" (He was playing with his Lego watch.)

He muttered something unintelligible.

My daughter leaned over to me and whispered, "Not cool, Mom.  Not cool."

I hissed back, "What?!  Socializing isn't cool?  Being friendly isn't cool?"

I'm doomed.

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Milk-Cam: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Image result for milk bag


The ubiquitous milk container.  It doesn't look like the one I have at my house though.  Do you know why?  Because somebody filled it up and cut the end open!

At my house, the milk bag always looks like this:

Image result for empty milk bag

Empty!

And, worse yet, apparently no one knows who emptied it and didn't replace it.

I have decided extreme measures are necessary.

We need a milk container cam.  It would change everything.

Who's with me?

Friday, February 13, 2015

What Kind of Lunatic, I Mean Runner, Goes Out in an Extreme Cold Weather Warning?




I like to think I am pretty hard-core when it comes to running.  I have been running all winter through this very cold weather.  When people question my sanity for running in the cold, I have been known to say dismissively, "Oh, it's fine as long as you dress for it."

This morning I woke up early and got ready for my run.  As soon as I stepped outside, the cold took my breath away.  "Wow!  That's really cold.  Oh well, I'm sure I'll warm up as soon as I start running."

Well...not so much.  It just kept getting colder and colder.

Initially I tried to stay positive.  I was even thinking in my head about where to take the kids later on in the day (P.A. Day) and I was still considering taking them to see a frozen waterfall.  I thought, "I'll just bundle them up and bring a thermos of hot chocolate - no problem."

Soon enough I began to realize how cold I was, to the point that tiny icicles had formed a row along my eyelashes.

I began to wonder if I was getting hypothermia.

The only thing I wanted to do was run faster so I could get home and to the warmth!

I was happy I was only doing a 5K.

As soon as I stumbled inside, I noticed my face mask and hair were completely white - it wasn't snowing but I assume the condensation from my breath had frozen over everything.

I checked the weather forecast: 'EXTREME COLD WEATHER WARNING - -24 degrees (6 a.m. this morning) with a windchill of -29.

No wonder I froze. On the upside, I am sure I ran so fast to get home that it was a PB! (There are better and much more comfortable ways.)

Still, what kind of lunatic would run in this weather?  That would be me.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

#hashtag

Image result for hashtag images

It's all about the hashtag now, it seems.

My children even talk in hashtags.  My son will say to his brother snarkily, "Why are you doing that? Hashtag 'smart one'!"

He will then ask me, "Can I play my PS3? Hashtag 'immediately'?"

I respond: "After homework is done, of course - hashtag 'you know the drill'!"

My daughter will get up to leave the room, yelling at me as she goes, "BRB, Mom!"

The evolution of language is a fascinating thing.

Apparently texting has become the new communication system, even when we are interacting verbally!

For those of you who #don't understand, interacting verbally is an outdated mode of communication in which people use oral language.  And not short forms, but actual sentences.  And they are generally spoken at least in the general direction of someone's face and preferably using eye contact.

I wonder how things will be several years down the road.  Will people still use any long forms at all?  Or will it all be 'c u l8r'?

Wow, I sound old. OMG!

Why does that keep happening?

#that's life