Thursday, December 27, 2012

Current State of Health

Holly over at Holly Would If She Could put out a challenge for everyone planning on doing a Whole 30 in January to write a 'Current State of Health' post, so here goes:
If you asked me prior to our Christmas party on the 15th and then  Christmas weekend, I would have told you that I was kicking ass and taking names. Dave and I both have been really good about being Primal. I've also continued to religiously track my total caloric and carb intake as well. I know that goes against the Paleo/Primal philosophy, but through trial and error I have determined that it is a necessity for me. I've spent too long as a food addict, I just can't trust the brain to stomach communication. Maybe someday I will. But not yet.

That said, I will do the Whole 30 as intended. Meaning no calorie counting. But in that case, my foods are so limited (translation: the yummy hacks are not allowed) that I'm not so worried. But I digress.

Exhibit A of Foods I Have Been Overeating: Paleo Cinnamon Buns courtesy of Homesteading and the City
Yeah, they're "allowed" but they're still high in total calories.

After allowing waaaaaay to many non-primal foods down my gullet over the weekend as well as just too much of the good stuff (but it's Christmas!) the bloat has been unbelievable! Don't get me wrong, I'll get a food baby after eating some fruit, but it goes away after an hour or two. This has been lasting for days. It's just so...ugh. And the fact of the matter is, this used to be normal! I used to not even notice it. It blows my mind, what we learn to accept as normal.

I have not been sleeping well at all. Pre-Primal I had started having trouble sleeping but it got waaaaay better once I started eating Primally. (it's a word, now) And bathroom issues, of which I had a few, cleared up too. Guess what's back? (um....eeew)

As of Christmas evening Dave and I both said, "Ok, it's been fun, but ENOUGH." As a result I am feeling better already. I'm starting to deflate and the bathroom issues are starting to sort themselves out. And the best part? I'm craving the good foods.

And the good news is we have not slacked at all in our Crossfitting. (also a word, now) In fact, we kept to our regular schedule and then some. So at least I have that going for me. It was oddly quiet in the box last week, so I finally made Dave take a cliche' Look-At-Me-Crossfitting pic.

This would be so much more impressive if I wasn't still using a band...and a green one at that.
I know, I know. Patience, grasshopper.

I won't actually be starting my Whole 30 until January 22nd. We're going away (the location is a surprise) for Dave's 40th birthday and there is no point in starting it before then. Which I actually think will be for the best for more than one reason. There are so many awesome folks on the interwebs starting on the 1st or 2nd, I can just follow along and steal all of their recipes, tricks and tips. Muahahahahaha. But to sum up the State of My Body, forays into CW eating for the Holidays and subsequent consequences aside, I've been in the best shape of my life. However, I do still get wicked sweets cravings and have plenty more fat to lose off of my body. Those are the two things I'm hoping to see the Whole 30 have an affect on, fingers crossed.

In closing, here is a picture of Joey and Badger, because cute:
They look guilty for a reason, I'm sure.

PS If you've been reading this and have no idea what the Whole 30 is click here.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry December!

Been a bit wrapped up in the routine the past couple of weeks and haven't been real inspired to write. However, I don't want to lose the habit completely. So here's a complete cop-out of a wrap-up full of blurry pictures, completely devoid of wit or meaningful thoughts.

I've been suffering from a bit of the old Mommy guilt this month. No. That's not really a fair way to describe it...not guilt, more just that realization that he (Choo Choo! All aboard the cliche train!) He's growing up so damn fast. That our years of whimsical Christmas' are dwindling. So I've been trying to make us make more of the Holiday this year.

We went to ICE at Gaylord-Palms (heh heh, Gaylord) in Orlando a couple of weeks ago. It's an Ice Sculpture Display/Tourist Trap. Worth seeing at least once, I'd say. They do provide coats, but be prepared as it is literally 9 degrees Fahrenheit in there. Dave laughed at all my preparations, but he was glad for it when we were in there.

Yes, he thought it looked like Marty was dancing Gangham Style. That song is the bane to my existence.
 It just occurred to me that Bane is the bane to Batman's existence.
 Whoa. Mind. Blown.

To be honest, we had as much fun wandering around the Hotel as we did checking out the Ice displays/Christmas stuff. They had a spot of artificial turf, that for some reason was just magnetizing to us. You couldn't not lay down and/or wrestle on it. I think it also helped that it was beautifully warm, but not hot outside...and after being inside at 9 degrees? Heaven.

And no fire ants!!!

That weekend I decorated the living room and we got our Christmas tree. Our house is so tiny, I can't take cluttering up the whole house, so I just removed the Steampunk stuff from the living room and decorated there and added some lights to the front porch.

We dig it. Gets us in the spirit of things without making me feel like I am drowning in kitsch. (cough, my mom's house, cough..God love her.)

I also made the fam-damily take me to see the light display in Wickham Park in Melbourne. I think Dave could definitely take or leave that kind of thing, but Holden and I enjoy it, so he plays along.

I played the Doctor Who theme for Holden as we drove through this, at least he thinks I'm cool.

In non-Christmas related news, it was time to return A-Moon to her real owners. We were given the pony a few years back as a free, long-term lease. The deal being we'd keep her until Holden outgrew her and/or the owners had grandchildren that were old enough to enjoy her. That time came and A-Moon has returned to South Florida. I'll miss the little bugger. Though I really wish Holden was more interested in riding with me more often, I do have a few great Mother/Son trail-ride memories that I will always cherish. Memories that wouldn't exist without such a level-headed, good natured little pony in our lives.

The definition of overkill: using a 4 Horse, LQ Trailer and Dually to transport a 450 pound pony.

This also happened:

Dave thought it would be hysterical to put Joey, the mentally unbalanced cat, in the saddle while I was riding. He actually snuggled in adorably, until Mercedes moved and then he was all, "F*&^k that, freaks!"

And lastly, we had a Christmas-themed Shop party last weekend, complete with Dirty Santa. In my mind Dirty Santa is just another name for Yankee Swap or White Elephant. Not everyone has heard it called that, so Dirty-Dirty Santa it was. It got very '50 Shades of Grey' up in the Shop.

I found the most Spectacu-Tacky Christmas Tree at Big Lots for the party.  
Made the Beer Can Angel myself. If this Librarian thing doesn't work out, I think I have a future in the Flea Market circuit.

Other than the usual at work, Crossfitting my booty off, and dealing with the daily struggle of finding the balance between enjoying the treats of the season but not going off the rails, that's been the past couple of weeks. Have yourselves a very Merry Christmas and remember:

Don't drink and ride.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas Newsletters

I know a lot of people find them pretentious, and in this day and age rather obsolete. And I agree. But I still like reading them. It's like a personal highlight reel, allowing people to broadcast the best and the worst of their year. Sure, you could make the argument that that is exactly what Facebook is for most people. And I would also agree except for the fact that for those who Facebook a LOT or those who don't at all (yes, those people do actually exist) it shows me what they think were the most important happenings to them this year. Which interests me. They are also useful in the case of those old friends or family members who you're still curious about, but whose statuses you had to hide on FB due to their excessive political posting this past year.

Anyramble, since I do FB a lot, and I have...ya know...this blog and all, my version of the Christmas Newsletter/Highlight Reel is our photo collage Christmas Card. I've been doing them the past couple of years now. I am quite sure there are some haters whose eyes roll out of the back of their heads when they see them. But I love them. And they are great little memory for me and Dave.

Here is this year's card:
Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

So, suck it haters. Life is short. Holden is growing up and we're getting old and these little collages mean a lot to me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Running and Riding

The Run for Your Lives aka Zombie Run was in Clermont, November 17th. Never being ones to let an opportunity to cosplay pass us by we suited up.

If you don't know who we are...then we...we can't be friends anymore.

The event was a good time, and resulted in some really memorable photos. They are all courtesy of my favorite foodie Dave Chestnut. His lovely wife Lindsay joined us for the race. We also met up with some other friends there as well, including triathlon training buddy extraordinaire, Dani and Megacon compatriots, Sarah and Daniel Dutton.

I'm beginning to notice a theme among my pics of Dave surrounded
 by kick-ass women. Dude's gotta tough life.

The organization and execution was extremely similar to the Warrior Dash. Check-in, etc was well-done. There was food, there was beer, there was music. What more could you want?

That said, I have to say I was really disappointed in the lack of obstacles. There were literally only a few. A couple of walls to hop over, one big sand hill, a couple of mud pits, a slide at the end, a couple of army crawls, and one blacked-out building-type structure that had dangling electric wires that provided a very mild shock. That's it. No real climbing walls, ropes, etc.

This is my new favorite picture of me. Hands down.

 But what they lacked in obstacles they did make up for in Zombies. There were a LOT of them. And they were very committed to their roles. Their costumes and make-up were well done. And the performances were outstanding....and creepy. I'll say it once again, there is no freakin' way I would have done this race at night. Some were stumblers and some were runners. The hard part was you couldn't tell which were which until you got close to them. It was definitely a great sprint workout.

By the end we were muddy and had a lot of laughs. Which is the point of these kinds of things, to us, at least. Dave, Lindsay and I even had a flag left at the end.Which means we survived. Go us!

Dave and his dirty girls.

Would I do this one again? If it was just Dave and I? No. We prefer the more obstacle-heavy races. But if a group of friends were doing it again? Definitely. It was a blast to use the group dynamic to try to get through the clusters of Zombies. To put it simply it, was just plain old fun.

And we, as always, got a kick out of people responding to the cosplay. Dave felt that half of the Zombies who "recognized" him cut him some slack for being Shaun. One, dressed as Shaun himself, even tried to hand him an extra flag. But the other half seemed to be gunning for him particularly because of it. 

And without further ado, my favorite group shot, complete with caption by Dave C.

Good times.

We rode the bikes to the event so that afterward we could attend a Concours Owner's Group get-together a little further north. My goodness, the roads are so much more fun once you get north of Orlando. (sigh)

Gratuitous me and my bike pic.

The Concours guys look just like the BMW guys. Mostly older, white, Docker-wearing types.

Suddenly. Concours'!

But that is where the similarities ended. Around the campfire they cussed, smoked, drank, stayed up late, told dirty jokes and the next morning drove way too fast on curvy (for FL) roads.

I have found my people.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


That's me blowing my own horn, not farting. Ok, it might be me farting too. It's always a possibility with me. Folks at Crossfit probably think I'm trying to show off when I take off for the front on group runs. I'm not. I'm just trying to put some space between me and everyone else before my jet-pack starts engaging.

Yeah. You're happy you read that aren't you?

Aaaaaanyways, Thanksgiving morning I went alone (lazy family) to the local 5K Turkey Trot. I ended up meeting my buddy Dani there, which was nice. Then I didn't feel like such a lonely loser while we waited around for the start.

We're smiling because we're thinking of all the horrible eating we are going to do later, using the 5K as a rationalization for our horrible decisions.

For some reason I had a bug up my butt about wanting to finally make a sub-30 minute 5K. Which I know, to "real" runners (whatever the hell that means) is still really freakin' slow. But not to me. July 4th was the last one I'd done, in 32:something. Which I was ecstatic about. But I just knew I had it in me to get below 30 minutes. Why? I have no idea. Since we started regularly Crossfitting over a month ago I've only been going on true (2-6 mile) runs every other week really.

But off I went...and guess what? 28:43, Motherf*&%#$rs!!! That's what I'm talking about!

Oh, but wait! There's more! Saturday was Pangea's Turkey Burn Adventure Race.
In beautiful Hatbill Park outside of Mims, in the heart of OMFG-I-hear-banjos-paddle-faster Country

The Sport Class was a four hour race, instead of the usual three. Not quite as big of a field as some other races, but very few new teams. Just the competition alone had me thinking this was not going to be a race where we ended up real high on the leaderboard. And then we got to the race site, saw the maps and I said, "I really don't think we're clearing this one today."

Now I don't mean to sound defeatist, because despite all that I was still raring to go. I'm sure I've said it before, but I'll say it again, one of the most important benefits to me from Crossfit is instilling the philosophy of pushing yourself as hard as you can. Not to go faster, harder, longer than the others around you...but to go faster, harder, longer than you did the last time. So we did.

All while rocking my A-dorable Christmas socks.

Dave drew the marble this time and we ended up  Biking first. The bike was a really nice mix of grass and road. I will say that I think it was one of the most physically demanding trails we've done that wasn't sandy. That thick grass can be a bitch, too folks. But it had a nice interlude of hard packed dirt road which was nice. Dave was spot-on with his navigation. I was so proud, especially when I saw several other teams having a hard time with a couple of the CPs.

One of the most entertaining aspects of Adventure Racing to me, is the interaction mid-race with other teams. Everyone is super-friendly before and after. But during the race, the demeanors kind of vary by team. And mine? Mine totally depends on the vibe I get from the other team. Don't get me wrong I yell, "Good job!" You got it!" to everyone. But in those moments when you know where a CP is and the other teams doesn't? Than it's all about karma baby!

There was another couple who had been very smiley (yes, it is too a word) and pleasant-seeming as we crossed paths with them once or twice in the beginning of the race. When I was coming out of grabbing one of the more hidden CPs, I could tell they were having a bit of a hard time. So when she saw me, I confirmed that it was right back where I had come from.

On the other hand, twice we passed teams who had overshot CPs we had just found. But they barely looked up as we passed. Didn't smile, or say hi. Did I let them know where they were going wrong?

About halfway through the foot portion, we caught up with our AR friends Beth & Brian of Adventure Training of Vero.  Ever have those kind of friends that you only see in certain venues and absolutely love but never seem to get to hang out with outside of those certain venues? Yeah, that's Beth & Brian to us. They are da bomb. And awesome trainers too! Check them out if you are in Vero. But I digress.

All four of us got super frustrated trying to find one of the CPs and eventually gave up. Turns out it mayhavepossiblynotbeenmarkedquiteright on the map. But who are we to judge. Brian did end up spotting it a little further down the road and called it out to us as we gave up a few seconds after they did and were behind them. Had he not pointed it out, I do not know if we would have spotted it or not. Maybe, maybe not. But I said to Dave, "Meh, consider it our karmic gift for confirming that bike CP to the other couple."

The rest of the race was a hoot. An exhuasting hoot, but a hoot nonetheless. We kept chasing Beth & Brian and occasionally they chased us. It was the most good-natured, fun competition I've ever had. We all talked about it later and said how we all pushed ourselves harder because of it. Which is just awesome.

A little more about that instant karma; while on the canoe portion Beth and Brian got in front of us but somehow blew right past one of the CPs. I couldn't let them screw up such a great race this far in, so I yelled to them and pointed it out. (as well as to the Team chasing us, but it's all good) This made me feel a lot better about them pointing out the other CP to us. It's not that Dave and I are really such angels, but we really truly prize fairness in competition and would hate to ever feel like we had an unfair advantage. So the scale was balanced and my neurotic little brain was at peace.

Even with that little hiccup, the Wonder Twins STILL out-paddled our asses and got in a minute or two before us. When we checked in I thought we were in 4th place, which was amazing and also a small relief. It's been an on-going joke between Dave and I and some of the Pangea staff that as soon as we Top Three we'll try an Elite Race, but not before. In so far as, at one tanked race earlier in the year, I was (jokingly) accused of sandbagging.

So I was ecstatic with such a high placing but oddly relieved that we still hadn't top three'ed. And then during the awards they realized the team they thought had come in 3rd had not cleared the course. Then, as it appeared to us anyways, Greg realized we were third and announces that the prizes for the Top Three in the Sport Class will be discounts on a registration for an Elite. CRaaaaaaaaaaaP!

I say this in jest, of course. We couldn't be more excited or proud of ourselves that we finally cracked the top three. I know that we both often-times still feel a little "one of these things is not like the others" at the races. It's hard to shed the old body image. But we're getting better, and wins like this certainly help. It's hard to call yourself a fatty, or slow, or weak when we think about what we've been accomplishing lately. So at least we've got that going for us.

Not sure when exactly we're going to do the Elite. I told Beth and Brian that we need to do the same one, so we need to put schedules together. But it has to be one of the ones this winter, for sure. So stay tuned for our Elite premiere...hopefully we will survive it.

Oh and you didn't think we'd leave out this race's Team Photo did you?

You don't find it odd that I happened to already have coal at home, do you?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


This past weekend Dave, Holden and I ran an Aid Station for an Ultra Trail Run. We were out in the woods from 7:00 am Saturday morning until 1:00 Sunday afternoon. Our job was to provide food and hydration to the runners doing 25, 75 and 100 miles over the course of 32 hours.
This is what a bunch of 100 mile ultra-runners look like at the start of a race. Many of them did not look that different afterwards. Freaks.

I have to say that the racers with almost no exception, were very friendly, appreciative, and kind to all of us. Even when they were exhausted and in incredible pain. The front runners weren't chatty per se, but even they were courteous. 

Holden went to bed quite early due to being outside all day and it getting dark early. Dave started nodding off around midnight so I sent him to the tent. I found it so sweet that these runners who had been out there since 7:00 AM were so concerned about ME staying up all night and afraid I was out there alone. The 1:00AM to 4:00AM hours were a little lonely, but thanks to Channing Tatum, I managed. (Magic Mike and 21 Jump Street on the tablet FTW)

Modern camping. Movies on the tablet, Facebooking on the iPhone.

It was a very interesting experience and one all of us are glad we got to be a part of. I walked away with two important realizations:
 1. It is possible for a modern, nine year old boy to spend a weekend in the woods with only his dog, a book, two small toys and actually have fun, occupy himself and never once complain that he was bored.
Here he is using a vine as a jump rope.

2. OK, not so much a new revelation but rather a really important reinforcement of a previously held belief. Goals, desires, capabilities, just life in general is just so freakin' relative. Many posts back I ranted about some people in our lives calling us crazy for doing things like the Mud Runs, Adventure Races, etc. Basically, activities that carry a certain level of, for lack of a better word, pain with the pleasure. At the time I could not wrap my mind around why they couldn't wrap their mind around what I was doing.

I get it now.

I'm going to be honest. Going into the weekend I kind of expected to walk away with a little part of me wanting to a do a 50 miler or more one day. After spending the weekend seeing what the runners go through, listening to them, talking to their spouses......

There is a pleasure to pain ratio to everything we choose to do. Sure, there are parts of every Adventure Race that get a little painful and I think to myself, "Wait! I'm choosing to do this?" But they are small and fleeting. The fun of the rest of the race, let alone the feelings of accomplishment afterwards, are more than worth the uncomfortable bits.

Hell, Crossfit regularly kicks my tubby ass, yet... how I feel afterwards both mentally and physically are totally worth it. But ultrarunning? Not worth it. To me. As the race went on I had a really difficult time trying to understand how any of them could find it worth the pain either. But then it hit me that I was being like my friends who don't "get" the ARs and Mud Runs. To them, it's not worth it.

And that's ok. It's all relative. Relative to this particular point in the time/space continuum. Doing an ultra-run or a six, or even 12 hour AR, isn't worth the discomfort to me now. But neither was making the time to pack lunches and workout two years ago. Because what might not seem worth the pain or annoyance right now, might be worth it to you someday. I know lots of people who claim that they want to lose weight and/or get in shape. But when I mention things like Crossfit or using a Couch to 5K program, or pre-planning meals, they scoff. The discomfort/annoyance is still not worth the pay-off to them. Honestly? I hope someday it will be before the actual pain of not taking care of themselves sets in. But we're all on our own time-line, and those of us on the journey have no right to judge those who haven't started on their own yet. Because for a lot of us, on a different point on the time-line, we were them.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Getting around...

What a week! Took the evening flight from Ft Lauderdale and arrived in Denver just before midnight last Thursday night. Why? To spend the weekend with and have a fantabulous time with my college buddy, Kelly, who was desperate for a Get-Out-Of-Dodge weekend. Which she already needed before Hurricane Sandy hit her home in NJ and left her without power for the week.

Her boobs are not usually so shiny.

We hiked.
Red Rocks Park was ah-MAzing. So. Many. Fit. People.

We drank.
Seriously, do we need more than one Coyote Ugly-type franchise?

We hiked some more.
On the trail from Buffalo Bill's Grave to the Lookout Mountain Nature Center.

Where we stumbled into this guy:
We both thought he was a statue at first, till he moved.
After much deliberation, we took our chances and walked past him. He was neither scared nor concerned. A very impressive animal that nearly caused me to have to change my pants.

And we drank some more....
and took really horrible self-portaits. Hey! But at least no duck-face!

I took the red-eye home Sunday night, took a nap and then headed to Orlando for two nights at the Coco Key Water Resort in Orlando with the family, where we:

Got soaked.

Had a few cold ones. (shocking and unexpected, I know) 

And finally worked on my tan lines. Are you people happy now?

Seriously, it was the first time pretty much EVER, that Dave and I just hung out at a resort/pool all day. No rushing to activities or events, just chilling. It was glorious. I think it was the timing of the Denver trip that allowed me to slow down so much, but no matter. It was a really great little family getaway.

And as if we haven't had enough time together this week, the three of us will be sitting in the woods from 7:00am Saturday morning through 2:00pm Sunday afternoon. All alone except for the 89 runners who will pass by our aid station as they participate in the Wild Sebastian 100. Yup, that's 100 miles on foot. And you people think I'm nuts.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

To all my friends and family up north; stay safe and use today as a brilliant excuse to eat all the candy that was meant for the Trick or Treaters tonight. You can always buy more for when they reschedule. And don't worry about the calories. If your hurricane experience was anything like ours back in '04, you'll get plenty of exercise cleaning up.

It'll all be ok eventually, have faith.

Fantasy Fest 2012

was, in a word, fantasti-freakin-amazeballs! Seriously.

We hadn't even planned on going till a few weeks ago.Our good buddy and Conch, Monique was in town and invited us to crash at her place for the weekend of FF. I don't care who you are, someone offers you a free bed for FF, you go.

This is us and Monique just prior to the parade. She's a very shy and reserved kinda person. 

We headed down after work on Friday and made good time getting down there. Which was a pleasant surprise. What with normal Friday night traffic, it being FF, plus the remnants of the Hurricane blowing through off-shore, I figured we'd be in for a looong ride. But we made it in just before 11:00 and hit Duval for Round 1. 

We caught the last couple songs of the Niki Barr Band show. She is an absolutely amazing female rocker who should be crazy famous right now. I find that when a lot of chicks sing dude songs, especially hard rock songs, they usually come out kinda "meh." Niki Barr abso-freakin-lutely KILLS whatever songs she plays. From Nine Inch Nails to Black Sabbath. I have a huge girl crush on her, so I was thrilled when after the parade the following night we were able to catch quite  bit of the show. I'd post pics, but there were always too many boobs on the floor. Well, not on the floor, that would be weird. And there's nothing weird about FF.

Afterwards we people watched and wandered and then had the most amazing Coconut Curry wings I have ever had in my life at Wing Masters. Which we thought was open 24 hours, but as it turns out, closes at 4:00am. Which we found out at 4:10am the next day. Nooooooooooo!!! 

Anywings, got up mid-morning Saturday and decided if I was going to have the confidence to pull off Saturday night's post-parade costume I needed to go for a run. Our friend lives about 3 miles away from the Southermost Point so I jogged down there and walked back. It happens so rarely to me anymore, (not complaining, just saying) but there is something so priceless about going for a solo walk in a foreign-ish town/city. Don't know why, but I just love it.

You wouldn't believe the line to get a pic right next to the dang marker. So I just skipped it and did the self-portrait thing. Managed not to duck-face.

The rest of the afternoon Dave worked on Monique's motorcycle and I did a whole lot of nothing. Which was awesome. Just before 5:00 we costumed up. 

Yup, I went there. 

The theme was Aconchalypse, so we were going for a Mad Max-ish look. Both of our costumes were made from either everyday clothes, or steampunk pieces we already had. Dave's pants and boots are part of his motorcycle gear. My top and bottom are a swimsuit. 

Then we hopped on the bicycles and headed to the parade. We were invited to walk in it with some friends of Monique's. They were the Four Horsemen of the Aconchalypse, and we were their minions/exterminators. Instead of horses, they were riding things the locals would like to exterminate; white flies, iguanas, roosters. 
Super sweet, fun people. We really appreciated them letting us play along.

Our job was to walk along the float and throw out beads. Dave got a little drunk with power.

I didn't expect the bead-throwing to be so much fun, but it really was. A real bucket-list kind of experience. Everyone had a different M.O. regarding who they threw beads too. I gave them to children, (mostly because I felt bad that they had parents with such poor judgement as to bring kids to FANTASY FEST!?!? SERIOUSLY??!!) to women who were costumed or painted and cute guys regardless of costume. For the especially hot ones I would put the beads on them and then smack them on the butt with my flyswatter.

Don't judge. You don't get given that kind of power and not utilize it.

After the parade, we stripped out of those suits almost as fast as we found our first beer of the night.

They actually had some on the float, but with a bladder like a 4 year old I figured I'd better wait.

The rest of the night was great music (at the Niki Barr show), awesome dancing at Aqua and just the best people watching anywhere, ever. Honestly, one of the most fun, perfect nights of my life. And Dave says the same.

Seriously. Could the dude look any happier? Sexy as hell, too. Just sayin'.

I know it's horribly touristy and cliche' to have "the best time EVAR!" at FF, but I don't give a rat's patootie. I totes love to just hang out with my friends in our Shop, or hang out in a quiet dive bar, etc. But every once in awhile there's nothing wrong with going to a loud, packed Club, and dance like a maniac and get a little (or a lot) crazy. At FF they specialize in crazy. And we love every minute of it.

Which brings me to the best part of this year's trip to FF. I have a lot of goals and dreams in life. Lots of them are meaningful and important. Some are not. I'm not afraid to admit that in years past while at events like Fantasy Fest or Daytona's Bike Week, I'd see gals in get-ups similar to the one I wore and think about how badly I wished I could rock what they were rockin'. So to finally have the confidence to wear that costume was HUGE. I'll be honest, at the beginning of the night I still only barely had enough gumption to leave Monique's house in it. 

Yeah, I knew there were going to be every, and I mean every, body type out there rocking the paint or nothing at all. And there was. But I didn't want to wear something "cool" and know I wouldn't get judged for it. I wanted to rock it!

And you know what?
I did.

I was like a Slutty Cinderella. Granted, I have my theories about an outfit like mine actually getting more attention because the girls weren't showing, etc. But the bottom line is that I got more uh, compliments(?)  and uh, offers(?) in one night than I have in my entire life. And fine I'm going to say it, they were coming from  types I wouldn't kick out of bed for eating crackers iff'en you know what I'm saying. Annnd I think ya do.

Is that incredibly shallow and immature of me to get such an ego boost from a bunch of unsolicited male attention? If it is, fine, guilty as charged. But dealing with the body image issues I have been dealing with lately...not knowing where I fit-in in the grand scheme of "bodies," knowing I shouldn't care...but still caring. Well dammit, it was pretty freaking awesome to have a bunch of strangers really drive home the point that I actually do clean up pretty good. 

The costume itself helped me channel my inner bad-ass as well. Which, if you've been following along at home, you know that molding my body to match the image of the badass inside my head has been the point of this journey all along.

So yeah. For the first time, I really and truly owned it. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lighterknot Adventure Race

The Lighterknot, held in Palm Coast October 20, 2012, marked a full year of our doing Pangea Adventure Races. Something about this place is lucky for us, I guess. I do credit the fact that despite the lowest of low expectations (for ourselves) we managed to clear the course last year. Which really inspired us to keep at it. Dave admits that he went into the first one just wanting to appease me. However when he realized how fun it was and that we actually had a shot at being competitive, oh and that the people are awesome, he was hooked. And by competitive I mean not coming in the bottom 1/3 ALL the time. Not, ya know, actually winning. The fact that ARs are as much about the brains as the brawn is what makes it so attractive to us. We're never gonna top ten at a 5K or triathlon or even the obstacle races. We're just not, nor I think ever going to be, that fit/fast. But Dave is better than your average schmo at navigation due to his aviation background, so with his skills and our ever increasing level of fitness, we can actually have finishes we can be proud of.

  I broke out the pre-adventure racing jeans for the Team Photo. Size 20 to size 10. Yeah-ya!

The Lighterknot was another well run event, as we've come to expect from the Pangea Crew. Greg and everyone else associated with their events just could not possibly be more encouraging, supportive and sweet. And did I mention I have a mega-crush on their photographer? He's totes adorbs (yes, I know how that sounds and I don't care) and it doesn't hurt that he still manages to take decent pics of me despite the fact that they are taken at the potentially most unflattering moments. 

Helmet hair, sweat, dirt, etc, this pic could still be SO much worse.

Dave and I take turns drawing the marble to see which discipline we start on. It was my turn this time and I drew the Trek marble.Happy dances ensued because we have found that we both really prefer to start on foot. It's definitely my strongest of the three disciplines and I'd rather start with what I am strongest with and make the most of the energy I have. So off we went. After the first checkpoint we went off trail to cut a corner hoping to get ahead of the team of 18 year olds. With their navigation skills (they had some) and their youth, we knew they'd be tough to beat. So a trail blazing we went. Dave did a great job cutting the corner and we emerged from the woods back on to the trail, at the same time we see the kids (Team Slack Pack. No, that's really their name. I'm not being catty) come around the bend. Oh well, if we hadn't taken the woods they'd be even further in front of us.

And so it went, we leap-frogged with them and a couple of other teams all day. We ran, ok jogged, the entire Trek portion for the second race in a row. That's a big deal to us. 

Still feels wrong that in the ARs and at Crossfit the running portions are my favorite parts. What happened to me?

No navigation issues at all. Maybe others found faster or more direct ways, but Dave led us to every one all day without a hiccup. Well, there was the one CP on the paddle for which  I disembarked pre-maturely. No, I didn't fall in. This time.. The clue was that it was "on a mound." So just as we are thinking we are getting close, there was a very obvious mound alongside the river. We stopped, I hopped out, but didn't see anything. So a couple of minutes were lost there, I suppose. Just as I was giving up and getting back into the boat another team came by and assumed it was the spot. I yelled, "No, no! Keep going! It's not here. It's too soon." At least one team member seriously questioned my honesty for a moment. 

I assured him that I was not lying and we had a very fun banter with them for the rest of the paddle. Which reminds me, listen up ladies! Another bonus to the ARs, besides ya know, inspiring and being great workouts, getting you outdoors and providing a sense of accomplishment, they often provide a fair amount of eye candy in the way of cute twenty/thirty-somethings. Just sayin'.

Anycuties, we felt hella strong on the paddle. All those push-ups and pull-ups at Crossfit are definitely paying off in my paddle strength. And it continues to amaze me how well Dave and I do paddling together. I guess after 18 years together you're either going to be really good or really bad at that kind of thing. Though I know the key to our success with the races (and again the measure of our success is very personal and does not necessarily have anything to do with how we appear on the leaderboard) is that we leave it all on the trail. Do we occasionally snip at each other? HELL. YEAH. But we let it go immedi-freaking-ly. And of course, we give each other as much positive encouragement as possible as well.

On  to the bike. The bike, like the last race, was the bike. I still don't feel like I am as strong on the bike as I could be. Now that the weather is getting more friendly I definitely need to make more time to ride off road and build up a little more endurance. I'm going faster and longer every race, no doubt....but I know I have it in me to do better. 

The end of the race was actually quite exciting. On our way in we knew we had cleared the course, but we had no idea where we were in the standings. Just as we reach the homestretch we saw a team of runners giving it all they had to get back. And then another team on bikes comes flying out onto the road from the trail that took you to the Boat TA. I gave it all I had but we couldn't catch the team on bikes, though we did catch the runners. (I'm not that slow) What fun! 

We ended up in 5th place. I'm not going to lie, we'd really like that Top Three someday, but we really couldn't be happier with the progress we have made this year. In January of 2011 as I was preparing for gallbladder surgery I set the goal of doing the Missing River Race. I was over 250 lbs and I knew it was time to make some changes. Dave and I had always watched things like the Amazing Race etc and thought "we could totally do that!" When I stumbled onto the Pangea events on-line, I thought that this could be just the thing to inspire us both to eat better and start getting in shape. I started working out some, but quite frankly had not hit bottom enough to make the changes needed to have some serious weight-loss. And then in May I found that rock-bottom. If you care, you can read about it here. But my point is, we are so happy with how far we have the ARs (among other things) have resulted in a complete lifestyle change for our entire family this year. Have I mentioned Dave has lost at least 30 lbs this year and is working out regularly for the first time in all the time we've been together?

Yeah, the ARs have done that. They've inspired us to work harder, try harder, be better. It's prepared me mentally for the challenges of Crossfit which symbiotically, makes me better at Adventure Racing. Are we ready to move to the Elite class? Not quite yet. Call me Goldilocks, but for me, the 3 hour races (for now) are just right. Though I did just sign us up for next month's 4 hour Turkey Burn. Crap.

Till next time, stay dirty!