Monday, September 26, 2011

Warrior Dash '11

Saturday I ran the Oklahoma Warrior Dash and it was an absolute blast! I learned a lot and gained a whole new level of appreciation for trail runners, but let's back up and start from the beginning.

The race was my sister Ashley's first race ever, so I forced lovingly encouraged her to get to the race extra early, take a lot of pics, and soak in the race atmosphere on her big day. Mom also came to be our personal paparazzi (thanks again mom!) since she wasn't running. We got there about three hours early and wandered around taking pre-race pics in our camo tutus.

After our snapshots, we headed to packet pick-up and got all of our goodies. With registration you get a furry viking helmet and cute tee (plus a medal at the finish line). We got our bibs put on and then had to take another goofy picture.
My bib
Viking Helmets!
After that we explored the area. The atmosphere was amazing. There were live bands playing, live video of the mud pit broadcasted on a jumbotron, beer and turkey leg tents, and tons of fun. You also could see a glimpse of the course and we, especially me, started getting really nervous. Those are some major hills!!

The food tents

They're joking right?!
Soon after that, we were lining up at the start line! The warrior dash has their own version of pyrotechnics to start the race (like disney's fireworks) and they shoot off giant balls of fire. We took of and headed out for an awesome race.
running right along
I don't have very many pics from the actual course because the photographers were only at the last couple of obstacles and a camera wouldn't have done well in that mess. The course was definitely a trail race. I don't know why, but I expected it to be more of a road race with random obstacles built it (how would that even work?!) but the terrain was very rough and you had to be careful where you stepped. I'd say the most dangerous part of the race, was the possibility of twisting your ankle in a whole rather than any of the crazy obstacles! It was also incredibly steep, so we ended up walking a good chunk of it. My asthma has never done well with hills and munchkin was new to running, so we didn't want to push ourselves to injury. Instead our goal was to just have fun and finish.

The first obstacle didn't come until about .75 miles in, and when we could finally see it, everyone cheered. There were tons of obstacles and I wish I could remember them all. There were tires to hop through, hanging tires to dodge, junkyard cars to climb over, walls to climb, nets to climb, muddy ditches to crawl through, low walls to jump over, tons of walls/nets/barbed wire to climb under, ponds to swim through with logs to throw yourself over, and of course the infamous fire to leap through. All of the obstacles were spread throughout the course. I thought that they would make the race much harder, but actually they made it go faster because we had something fun to look forward to. I didn't feel like any of the obstacles were too physically demanding, so if you're worried you can't do one of them don't be. They also had a way around each one if you felt like you couldn't complete that obstacle for some reason, but Ashley and I wanted to do everything!

Awkwardly leaving the mud pit
While the obstacles we're physically demanding, some were very nerve-racking. The walls that you had to climb were very tall and the tops were narrow (about 3 inches wide) so it made it difficult to get over the wall without feeling like you were about to fall big time. There were also some walls that you had a sort of ladder on the opposite side to get down, but the rungs were so far apart you were basically jumping from rung to rung. Because of this, while they weren't too hard on your muscles, it was pretty hard to go through them fast. The last wall you climbed was only about 10ft tall and you had to just jump off the top! But the obstacle I feared the most (for weeks before!) was the fire jump!

In case you haven't noticed, I'm an awkward and klutzy, born without any grace, complete white girl. I CAN'T jump to save my life. Like for real, I can get about 3 inches off the ground on a good day. If there was going to be one person at that race to not make it over the fire, fall, and go up in a flaming ball of tulle, it was going to be me. I was terrified, but I really wanted to do it. Ashley on the other hand is a pyromaniac and couldn't wait for the fire leap, so she offered to hold my hand help me face my fears. (I know I'm like 5). As we rounded the corner and saw the fire I was petrified, but Ashley just grabbed my hand and said, "Here we go!". 
Here we go!
And then I took the world's best race pic. This should keep you laughing for a while. Enjoy!

But at least we made it!

After that it was time for some post-race celebratory pics of course!


my signature pose

love the bling!
One of the nice things about the race was that they had showers after the race so that you didn't have to go home completely disgusting. Near the showers they also have a giant pile where you can donate your used shoes to charity. We both showered off and added our shoes to the pile. 



All in all it was a great race! I loved the atmosphere, the support from other runners, race staff, and spectators, and the fun obstacles of the course. You can't help but leave feeling a little more B.A. after a race like that. I also learned how hard trail running is! I knew it was harder and never had a desire to run trail runs, but it is sooo much harder. You have to constantly watch the ground to keep yourself from tripping. It was challenging, but it was also a blast. I'm so glad I did this race and highly recommend the Warrior Dash series to runners of all abilities! 



Sorry about the picture overload, but I'm obviously pumped about this race :)

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QOTD:
Have you ever run a trail race before? What did you thing? What about a mud run?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I'm a warrior!

Yesterday I ran the Oklahoma Warrior Dash and it was an absolute blast! It was not only a fun race for me, it was also my sister Ashley's first ever race! She totally rocked it and I'm so proud of her. I can't wait to tell everyone about it, but I want to wait until I've got all of the pictures to post the details. I can definitely say, if you're considering running one of these, do it! I'm obviously obsessed with bling, so here's a pic of the awesome Viking helmet medal:

Now, to what you really are reading for,the giveaway winner:

Entry number 3: Morgan from Back off I'm starving! Morgan just email me(ros@lifesawheeze.com) with your shirt size, the color you want, and your address and I'll get it sent to you asap! Thank you so much to everyone who entered the giveaway. You guys rock!
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QOTD:
What do you think of races with obstacles? Fun or would you rather stick with classic races? I loved the race because it made the race feel much shorter and finishing feel like more of an accomplishment, but I also wouldn't give up regular racing either.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Warrior dress rehearsal

Warriors need dress rehearsals too! Tomorrow I'm running the Oklahoma Warrior Dash and I'm soooooo excited! I decided early on that I needed to wear something ridiculous, so here's what I came up with:
Camo tutu, black tank (and shorts underneath), camo bandana, and tomorrow I'll have on some eye black of course! I couldn't decide what shoes I wanted to wear at first, but Champ's recent run in with my running shoes, made that decision easy. Half-eaten shoes are definitely mud-run approved!

Now I am meticulously packing my race day gear and determined not to forget anything this time (it would be a first!).

Mud races, like the Warrior Dash, are obviously very different than regular road races so I'm having to pack a little differently. Some things I normally never run without will not be with me because I don't want them to get ruined in the mud, like my garmin and my road id. Other things I don't normally need, are a must, like a change of clothes and a towel. It feels so weird to leave my road id and garmin behind!

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QOTD: 

What's one running essential you feel naked without? My road id :/


Don't forget to enter my giveaway! Tonight is the last night to enter!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fitblogger

Just a quick post to announce some exciting stuff!

Lately I've been learning about all of the wonderful blogging communities out there, and one of my favorites by far is Fitblogger. Today a featured blogger on Fitblogger and I'm so excited!! Please go check it out!

Thanks to everyone who has entered my giveaway so far! You guys are wonderful! If haven't entered yet please enter now! You can enter until Friday at midnight and I'll announce the winner this weekend.

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QOTD:
What are your brags this week so far? Featured Fitblogger and I finished making the tutus for warrior dash! Woohoo!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Giveaway!!

I don't know if you've noticed, but I got a new look for my blog recently and I'm really excited about it! I hired Jackie from DualIllusions to help me design a new look for my blog and she did an amazing job, then I got inspired and added some of my own too. I hope everyone likes it!

So, to celebrate the much needed blog-over, I've decided to host a giveaway! The winner of the giveaway will receive:

  • One Life's a Wheeze tech shirt of their choice from my spreadshirt shop. PS: I have men's versions too!
  • And a $10 iTunes gift card to download some new running music. Special bonus if you use it to add some of this to your next workout:


Yay! You know you wanna win now right?! So heres how to enter:
Please leave a separate comment for each one! Good Luck Everyone!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why do we run?

It's been almost a year since I first began running. When I first started, I didn't have any desire to do it, couldn't understand why people loved it, and thought for sure I'd give it up in less than a week. Then, in an effort to get some inspiration, I went online to google for some running articles and found the huge and amazing world of running/health bloggers. I read page after page after page of amazing people and their stories and was incredibly motivated by it all. (That's when I made the decision to start blogging, sign up for a half marathon, and give myself a chance to love running.) There were so many bloggers that I looked up to and whose advice I followed.

One of those runners and bloggers was Healthy Ashley. Ashley is the kind of person I always wanted to be. She is a bad-ass runner, strong both physically and in her character, and is an all-around inspiration to me. Recently Ashley was in a really bad biking accident and has been in the hospital struggling to sit up on her own for a few minutes and hobble a few painful steps every day. Despite her intense physical pain and emotional trauma, she's been sharing her experience on her blog and trying to keep a positive attitude to keep working hard so that she can one day be an athlete again and inspire others along the way.
Ashley after her fall
Champ hopes she has a speedy recovery
Tuesday I wrote a post about that morning's great run that made me "fall in love with running all over again". In order to support Ashley through her recovery, several of her friends in the blogging community have come up with ideas to help her make it through the road ahead. One of the things set up was Miles for Ashley, where they are collecting miles run dedicated to Ashley. I ran that run for Ashley and kept her in my thought the entire time. Now that running has become a part of my life and a part of who I am, I can't imagine having that taken away for me (even if only for a while). The run got me thinking, "Why do I run?". In the beginning it was pretty much because I didn't want to spend my life in a hospital (asthma story here), but it soon became about so much more. I run for many reasons; some are superficial and trivial while others are much more powerful.

Why do I run?

  • I run to breathe.
  • I run because it makes me feel strong and confident.
  • I run because I love me some bling!
  • I run because runners are the nicest people on earth and I love being around them.
  • I run because it makes me feel like I can do anything.
  • I run because "it's kind of fun to do the impossible"(Walt Disney).
  • I run because there is no better feeling of accomplishment than crossing a finish line.
  • I run because I want to be healthy.
  • I run because I like to support local causes through races. 
  • I run because I can. 

Hearing why other people, including Ashley, love running so much is what really made me start. I think it's important to share our own reasons with others so that we can inspire each other, and others who haven't made that first step to run. So leave a comment and tell me,
 WHY DO YOU RUN? 

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PS: If you'd like to help Ashley in her journey please follow her blog, donate here, or dedicate your miles here. She didn't ask me to write any of this, I just feel that it's important to support each other when we need it. 


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shopping!

Last week Champ ate my running shoes.


I still have my Vibrams, but my training plan for my next half marathon is supposed to kick into high gear, and I never really wanted to run a half "barefoot" despite the benefits because I'm a wimp. I like cushion. Plus I like new running shoes way too much.

So, Sunday I went shopping at one of my favorite places: Red Coyote Running! I was born without the girl gene that loves shopping, clothes and I just don't get along, but I absolutely love shopping for running stuff. I'm like me a kid in a candy store!

Red Coyote is an awesome store if you like running at all. The staff really knows what they are talking about, they do free video gate analysis, and the store also offers some cool workshops and running groups. I don't live close enough that I could be a part of the running group, but I will definitely be joining in if that changes.


I drooled over all the cute new gear that's out for the fall and day-dreamed about winning the lottery so I could buy everything I wanted before getting serious about trying on some shoes. One of the staff helped me pick out a great pair of Newtons after I talked to him about my current shoe situation. I ended up getting the Lady Isaac and they are absolutely wonderful. I'm planning on doing a full review soon, but if you haven't heard about them check it out.

I also got some new socks and a logo tee from the store that matched my new shoes! Monday morning I woke up bright and early at 5 am for a seven-miler in my new gear. I don't think I've ever been so excited to wake up early and sweat.



Could I have made a goofier excited face?! I ran the seven miles at a trail by the lake and it felt amazing. It was the kind of run that makes me fall in love with running all over again. The weather was great, I felt like I was flying through the miles, and all the other runners were super friendly. I think I definitely need to do more morning runs, even if it means losing some sleep.

On a totally random note, My blogs been getting a new look (as you can probably tell)! Once It' totally done I'll be posting info about the wonderful designer and hosting an awesome giveaway to celebrate!
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QOTD:
Do you have a favorite place to get your running gear? Red Coyote and online at Running Warehouse! 

Are you a morning, afternoon or evening runner?  I used to be an evening runner, because it fit my schedule better, and I'm better at doing homework in the morning. Now I'm starting to love the idea of morning runs. 


Thanks guys! And don't forget to check back soon for a giveaway

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I'll always remember

I'll always remember where I was September 11th ten years ago when our country was attacked. I was sitting in my 7th grade biology class when another teacher knocked on our classroom door. The teachers talked quickly and quietly, and then my teacher turned around with a look of complete shock and horror on her face. Instantly my stomach dropped out, and I knew something terrible was going on. She wordlessly ran to the tv and turned it to the news and we all stared in silence.

So many things ran through my mind at that moment. My dad was supposed to be on a plane that day on his way to Washington D.C. for meetings at the pentagon and the white house. Was he in a plane at the time? Was he at the pentagon that had just been attacked? I was terrified and pulled out of class immediately by my principal. I went to the office in complete state of shock and waited to hear something from someone telling me that it would be ok. Soon my mom came to pick me and my sibling up from school and we found out that dad was all right, his plane never left the airport. I was relieved and grateful that my family was all safe, but so horribly sad for the families who didn't get the same news.

Soon after the attacks we moved to Virginia and my dad began working in Washington D.C. as a part of the presidential cabinet. Many things were different living in D.C. right after the attacks. Security was tighter and the tragedy was evident in everyone. I remembered my first few days of classes at my new school meeting all of the new kids and teachers. Everyone I met had a story to share and a friend or loved one to mourn. I personally didn't know anyone lost in the tragedy, but people my dad worked with daily were lost to the attacks. I will never forget what tragedy was created by those attacks. Along with the tragedy, I witnessed the amazing and unexpected effects of 9/11. The tragedy brought out a strong sense of patriotism and community in Washington D.C. that I was proud to be a part of.

Ten years later, I'm still so thankful that I am a citizen of this great country and that my family was safe that day. I'll never forget the lives that were lost in that tragedy and how many people were affected. Washington D.C., New York, and America will never be the same. Give everyone you love a huge hug today for me.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What a Champ

WARNING! In this post, I reveal I'm a creepy cat-lady except with a dog.

Like I've said before, this semester my puppy moved in with me (he was living with his dad, my bf, before but can't now). It has been a big adjustment taking care of a VERY active, and sometimes trouble-making pup on my own for the first time, but it's also been a blast. My bf is living in another town and going to a different school right now, so I'm on my own most of the week. Since I have no exciting news on the running front (just getting in the miles) I just thought I'd share some of the highlights and crazier moments of living with my new running buddy/roommate.
  • Champ's a wino. After a hard workout he likes to kick back with a nice glass of reisling. (Before you send me hate mail, he's always trying to get to it, but hasn't succeeded yet).
  • He also plays hard. Today I was trying to get a toy from him and he accidentally bit my finger and tore up my nail. My hand slipped at the same time he was trying to get a better grip on his ball. Ouch!

  • He has a big heart. He feels SO bad whenever I'm sad, or he does something he's not supposed to, or I'm hurt and pouts right next to me. This is him immediately after he accidentally bit me. Should have taken a video because you wouldn't believe the whimpering! I wasn't even upset with him!

  • He chews through everything. Toys, my boyfriends favorite pair of sweatpants that I've been hoarding, the floor, his bed, my running shoes, and now fire hoses. While I was doing Thirty Day Shred, he picked up one of my five-pound weights and carried into the other room to chew on. I'm pretty sure there is no toy out there that can withstand the mighty force of Champ.

  • He makes sure I eat "healthy" every day by helping me with my "portion control". Yogurt is his favorite food and he pouts if I don't share. It's definitely to keep my healthy and not because he likes to lick the lid. Definitely. The same goes for popcorn portion control. He's just helping. 

  • He's a great cuddler. Enough said.

PS: I'm a huge fan of Skinny Runner's Cat Lady Blog Posts, so I had to throw this in. If you've got a cute puppy or pet you'd like to show off on my blog, send me an email and I'll put it in a post!
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QOTD: 

Are you a creepy cat/dog lady too?

What weird things does your pet get into?

If you don't have a pet, what kind would you want?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back to School Virtual 5k Report

This labor day weekend, something amazing happened!

The temperature dropped 30 degrees for no apparent reason. We've had an entire of summer of non-stop 105+ temps and finally, out of nowhere, the weather decided to play nice and come down to a nice 85 degrees for the next few days. Heaven!

To celebrate, I decided to run Kayla's Back to School Virtual 5k outside for a change. And someone got to go with me for once!

Kayla made some adorable race bibs for the race again, so we started by taking some pre-race pics and getting our game faces on.


We ran the race at a local 5k trail, and it felt so nice to finally be back outside again. It was definitely hard work running with Champ again. He wanted to stop and smell about every 5 minutes and pretty much refused to move until he was done. It was kind of like 5 minutes of running followed by at least 2 minutes of arm strength moves. It was a great workout to be sure. I pressed lap on my garmin every time we started smelling or running, that way I could figure out my non-smelling 5k time and my total time. Champ took a total of 12 minutes to stop and smell the roses on our run, but overall I'm really impressed he behaved so well. He's still very much a puppy and loves to play with anything that moves. It was pretty awesome for my puppy's first 5k!

After the run, we headed home for some relaxation and refueling. One of my favorite foods is Caprese Salad, and lately I can't stop making it! You just mix together some sliced fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, balsamic vingar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil. Voila! A Super yummy meal!
half-eaten caprese salad

I'm off to do some homework and relaxing. Champ is all ready way ahead of me.

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QOTD:
Have you ever run with your dog before? Yes, but usually on 1 mile short runs. I'd love to get to the point where he could run without stopping so much, so he could come with me more!

Do you have a favorite throw-it-all-together recipe? Caprese Salad all the way!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Know your limits...and LISTEN to them

I believe I'm pretty good at knowing my limits and sticking with them...most of the time. Most of my limits come more from my asthma than other things (I usually hit an asthma limit before I get sore etc). I know I can't run above a certain speed without having an attack every time, so I stay below that. I know I can't jump up my mileage drastically without getting sick, so I stick to a training plan. I know that I need rest days from running, so I only run 3 days a week. And I know when my asthma is really bad, it's time to take the day off. Everyone has their limits and it's really important to listen to them, even when you don't want to. 

Yesterday my sister went with me for her second training run for the warrior dash, which will be her first race ever. I was in a rush leaving to get to the gym to meet her. When I got there, I realized that I forgot my inhaler. I NEVER run without my inhaler. I knew it would take me at least 30 minutes to get to my apartment, pick up my inhaler, and come back, and then another 30 minutes of waiting for the inhaler to kick in (you have to take it 30 min before exercise). So I thought about it. The training run Ashley had planned was a 30 minute run walk with 30 seconds of running 1 minute of walking intervals. In our first run, we walked slower than I usually do in my intervals and my intervals are usually at least 1:1. This should be a fairly easy run for me. I decided I could handle a quick easy run without my inhaler.

Halfway through the run, my asthma kicked it into high gear. I was wheezing, cramping, and suffering from severe chest pain. It was absolutely killer. But Ashley was busting her butt to finish strong, so I kept running beside her. 

Asthmatics often experience charlie horses (in every muscle) and muscle fatigue when their asthma is bad, and I am no exception. I've had visible charlie horses in my face, hands, stomach, legs, feet and toes before. I most frequently get them in my feet and toes bad enough that my feet curl up in balls and I can't walk or get a shoe on. They are no fun, but I've learned to deal. I also have experienced severe muscle fatigue from it before. I remember before I began running when I was really sick, I'd be so sore everywhere it felt like I'd been to boot camp while I was sleeping. It's the kind of sore you get after a half marathon. During the run I had a terrible charlie horse in my calf muscle that no amount of stretching could relieve. It stayed there for a full 45 minutes after we stopped. It was miserable, and it could have been much worse. I clearly shouldn't have run without an inhaler. It was really stupid of me to try otherwise.
Vader should've used his inhaler

The moral of the story? Know your limits and LISTEN to them. Sometimes it's really hard. It can feel like you're being a wimp or it can be an inconvenience. I know when you're not supposed to run it can feel like the end of the world being cramped up inside. I know if you just got in an extra few more miles you'd set a PDR and what will a few extra miles hurt anyways? I know if you speed it up just a little more, you'll beat your high school 5k time, and wouldn't that be awesome? It is really easy to want to push past where we know we shouldn't. But, it's not worth it. Waiting an extra week to run after an injury is super annoying, but having to wait months when you further injure yourself by going out for a run early is way worse. I'm not saying you shouldn't strive to be a better athlete, but everyone has limits and it's important to listen to them. 

Here's some tips for sticking with it when you shouldn't run:
  • Cross-train - get your endorphins another way by biking, swimming,yoga, or ab workouts (if it's possible). Sometimes this can be almost as fun as running, without causing further damage.
  • Find other ways to relax - Most of us run for stress relief, so find other activities to enjoy that relieve stress while you are stuck inside. Try reading, blogging, meditating, catching up on tv shows, working a sudoku, or listening to the radio. 
  • Talk to your doctor - sometimes, if we've been in the same situation before (my 992nd asthma attack) you don't always go to the doctor. Going to the doctor can be helpful for many reasons, besides the obvious ones. Hearing a doctor give you a length of time to stay away from running can be much more effective, that hearing it on a runner's world forum. Also, they may have suggestions you've never heard of to help in recovery or preventing it from happening again. 
  • Volunteer - You can't get out there are run, which sucks, but now you have an opportunity to give back. Volunteering at aid stations at races can be uplifting and help you get your race fix in a positive way for everyone. 
  • Use it to catch up - running takes a lot of time out of our day, so use the time off to catch up on things you put off like responding to emails or hanging out with friends.
  • Learn from it - not always, but chances are, changing something you are doing can help prevent whatever caused you to take a break in the first place. Read up on what you can do to prevent a repeat, whether it be improving form, taking rest days, eating better, or strengthening a muscle. 
Anyways, pouty and sore from my poor choice, I headed to my apartment with my sister. She was also pretty sore, so I decided to teach her the wonderful art of recovery, wheezy style. We had gatorade, made and ate lots of yummy treats,watched sappy tv shows, and compressed.

It was definitely a good way to recover!
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Questions of the day:
  1. Have you ever been injured/not allowed to run? How did you stay sane? Yes, but never for more than a week. I stuck to the tips I gave above, and focused on getting healthy so I could get back out there. 
  2. What is your favorite way to recover from a hard run or an injury? I love compressions socks and sleeves, swear by the magical powers of gatorade (helps muscle cramps/fatigue), eat way too much, and watch sappy stuff like disney or wedding shows.