Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tough Mudder 2012

On Saturday, July 14 I participated in a race called the Tough Mudder.

Here is a brief description from their website:

"Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses, half a million inspiring participants, and more than $3 million raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world."

And here is the map of our 10 mile obstacle course:
The start of the race is intense!  To get into the race, we had to scale a wall and jump down to the other side.  We (our wave had roughly 200 people) then took off up a crazy steep hill.

After going up and down these steep hills in the heat, it was time for the first obstacle, Arctic Enema.  You jump into a dumpster full of water and ice, swim underneath a board in the middle, and climb out the other side.  Yikes, was it cold!  I was having a difficult time moving my arms and legs towards the end.

Following the Arctic Enema, we went up and down several more hills (that felt like mountains) all while crawling through mud underneath barbed wire, climbing over 10 foot walls, walking underneath cargo nets that you had to hold up, and carrying logs.

We finally met up with the hubs, a.k.a. our photographer, at Electric Eel.  After staring at this pit of nasty, muddy water with electrical wires dangling over it just waiting to zap me, I finally just went for it.  And it was as nasty and as uncomfortable as I thought it would be!  The first time I got electrically shocked, I thought someone had punched me.  Then I just kept going, trying to get shocked as little as possible, and out as fast as I could.

After that fun, electrifying experience, we trucked up even more hills and endured more obstacles.  All of the obstacles were a blur at this point.  We went across a pond (that was actually kind of clean) by holding onto a padded wire, walked up a super steep hill, hopped stumbled through some tires, climbed up and over a cargo net (where I got thanked for providing the man laying on the ground holding the net for me with a nice view of my ass), went through some barrels (where I proceeded to get stuck and had to call out for help), jumped off a 15 foot high plank, and climbed up and over countless logs.

We then met up with hubs again, who cheered us on as we attempted to do monkey bars, known as the Funky Monkey.  As if monkey bars aren't tough enough, why not do them at an angle?  Oh, and if you fall?  Might as well go into dirty water!  Because at this point?  It will actually clean you up a little bit.

After the Funky Monkey, it was time for one last set of Berlin Walls.  I remember just standing at the base, thinking, NO.  I don't think I can hoist myself over two more of these.  But, with the help of some friends, I made it up and over!

Once we hopped over the walls, it was time for Fire Walker!  We basically just ran through a tunnel of bales of hay that were smoldering.  The worst part was trying not to breathe in too much smoke.  Following that obstacle, we encountered Twinkle Toes, where I thankfully walked across the beam without falling into the lime green water.  After that balancing act, we crawled through the Boa Constrictor, only to be met by Everest.  Due to long lines and exhaustion, I skipped this obstacle.  I was all set with trying to run up a quarter pipe and most likely slam my face into as I slid back down.

Six hours after we started, with 22 obstacles down and 10 miles completed, we saw the Finish Line.  And the only thing between us and completion (including our free beer) was Electroshock Therapy.  Why yes, Tough Mudder.  I would love to run through a mud pit, and around hay bales, through rope and electrical wires.  My team counted to three and we were off as a group!  Some of the shocks knocked us to our butts, but we kept going and made it to the end!

Team Lean, Mean, and Dean: happy to be finished!

To date, this is the toughest event I have ever done!  It was completely exhausting, and I actually felt ill the next day. But I am so proud of myself for finishing (even though I did skip obstacles #3 and #17 due to my feelings of claustrophobia; having a panic attack was not on my to do list for the day).  I also have never been so dirty in my life!  I had mud in places better left unmentioned ;o)  I'm honestly not sure if I would do this race again.  It took me way out of my comfort zone.  I would do races like this again, think Mountain Mucker, but I think the Tough Mudder is checked off my life bucket list and will never be revisited.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mt. Monadnock Summer Hike

While both of my brothers and my uncle were home, we decided to hike Mt. Monadnock.  The hubs skipped out on this adventure due to the fact that he was still tired from the triathlon and maybe one too many beers at the barbecue that followed.

Mt. Monadnock is one of the most frequently climbed mountains in the world.

The mountain stands at 3,165 feet and on a clear day, you can see some of the taller buildings in Boston.

We chose to take the Marlborough Trail on our hike.  This trail is 2.2 miles to the summit.

Once we reached the top of the mountain, my brothers decided to be dare devils and climb up steep walls.  I just about had a heart attack.

They also decided to go exploring in caves that they used to fit into when they were younger (and smaller).  Again, causing me to almost suffer heart failure.

In the end it was a wonderful day spent with the family that I love.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jaffrey,NH Mini Triathlon 2012

On Sunday, July 8 I participated in a Mini Triathlon with my brother, husband, and uncle.  It was a really short triathlon, which was perfect for me!

I've done this triathlon before, but I've always had some type of problem.  The first year I did it, I waited for the hubs to finish the swim, and then waited again for him to finish the bike, so my time was slower than it should have been.  The second year I did it, my goggles leaked and I forgot my sneakers so my time was pretty crappy.  

This year I was determined to do well.  I packed my bag the night before and made sure that my sneakers were ready to go.  I also checked and double checked my goggles before the swim to make sure they were tight enough.

The triathlon began with a 220 yard swim (I told you it was short!).  The water was really warm, which was nice because we weren't in it long enough to really get going and warm up.  I was the third person out of the water, trailing slightly behind my brother. 

The swim was followed by a nearly 3 mile bike.  It was during this ride that I decided a few things.  One: that if you are going to borrow a bike, you should figure out how to shift the gears before you get going up the hills.  Two: I despise biking.  I got passed by quite a few people (including my uncle) as I struggled up the hills in a difficult gear.  In my defense though, they were on some pretty sweet road bikes and I was trudging along on a mountain bike.

When the bike was completed, I happily hopped off and set off of the last leg of the triathlon, which was a 2ish mile run.  While running jogging, I realized that I have zero desire to do a true sprint triathlon.  My legs were so tired from the short swim and bike, that I can't imagine doing any more distance in a race.  But I finished the run without walking and felt good about that.

My brother won the Mini Triathlon and I finished 13th and was the 6th female finisher.  My uncle finished somewhere in between me and my brother and my husband was the last of us to finish.  All in all it was a really good race.  Even if this is the only triathlon I ever complete in my life, I'm proud to say I've done one.

And what do you do after competing in a triathlon?  Have a cook out with beers and yard games of course!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Three Years of Married Bliss

Three years ago today, I went from a Miss to a Mrs. and I have never looked back.

I love my husband and he is one of my best friends.

Saying good-bye after our rehearsal the morning of our wedding

He knows me better than anybody else.  Which is sometimes very good, and sometimes very bad.  Meaning, I can never lie to him about anything.  Not that I make it a habit to lie to my husband, but I can't keep anything a surprise.  Or tell him I'm fine, when I'm really not.

Walking down the aisle with my Dad, so happy to finally see the man I love!

Three years ago today I stood before him, our families, and our friends and promised to love him forever and always.

I can't imagine my life without him.  As he pointed out the other day, we have been a couple for 1/3 of our lives.  It's not always smooth sailing going through life with him by my side, but there is no one else I would rather spend my forever with.

I love you hun.  Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

4th of July? What?

Does anybody remember the 4th of July?  I just realized that I never posted about that fun, summertime holiday.  Oops!

On Tuesday, July 3rd we enjoyed a cook out with friends up at their lake house.  After the roller coaster of emotions I had experienced with my cousin passing away, it was wonderful to relax outside in the sunshine and enjoy the peace and quiet of the lake.  We laid out on the dock, took the canoes out for a bit, and went stand-up paddle boarding.

While the hubs and I were kayaking, he managed to flip his kayak.  I laughed, and then realized I should probably make sure he was ok.  Yup.  Wife of the year right here.  He was, but I refused to let him use my boat to get back into his own.  I'm no dummy.  There was no way I was going to let him flip me over in an attempt to get back into his boat.  I made him swim over to some stranger's dock and figure it out over there.

We had a yummy dinner of steak and hot dogs.  Random?  Probably.  But delicious.  After dinner we waited around for it to be dark so that the men could set off fireworks.

After the fiasco of last year, when a stray firework went towards the dock where most of the ladies and children were, it was decided that we would observe the pyrotechnic show from the safety of the boat this year.

So all of the women and children loaded up into the boat and headed out a little bit offshore to wait for the menfolk to put on a show.

And that they did.  The four men had rigged up some type of platform that they set up in waist-high water and launched the fireworks from there.  It was beautiful to watch the fireworks explode over the lake.

On the actual 4th of July I ran a race with my little brother in Keene called the 4 on the 4th.  It's a fun race that goes along the bike trail through town.  I ran really well, and bettered my time by nearly three minutes from last year!

It was pouring before we left for the race and a little damp on our walk there, but by the time the race started it was hot!  It was humid and sticky; weather that I am not used to running in.  I was a gross, sweaty mess by the time it was all over!

After the race the hubs and I headed over to my parents' house for a big ol' family barbecue.  We had fun eating massive quantities of food and playing corn hole.  

Once dinner was eaten, we went down town for the Strawberry Shortcake Festival.  I love that festival.  It is my main motivation for running the 4 on the 4th; I can eat that huge serving of delicousness and pretend that the calories don't count.  

Happy (belated) 4th of July!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's OK Thursday!

Hello Thursday!  It's no secret that summer is my favorite time of year.  I absolutely love the sunshine and warm weather.  Any chance I have, I am outside enjoying the gorgeous weather.  So, blogging is a little bit low on my to-do list currently as I am busy living and loving life outdoors at the moment.

Here are some things that I am saying "It's OK to today!"

Its Ok Thursdays

It's ok that my main priority when I get out of work at 12:00 is to rush right home and lay out on the back deck with a good book and my lunch.

It's ok that I filled up the dog's pool and then laid in it myself the other day.  There was room for both of us in there, I swear.  Plus, it was hot!

It's ok that I wandered around Target extra long yesterday because it was cool in the store.  Even though I love warm weather, I'm a little tired of the constant sweating that keeps happening.

Source: someecards.com via Katy on Pinterest

It's ok that all I have yet to pack for our weekend away is bathing suits.  I am such a procrastinator when it comes to packing!

It's ok that I have so many fun adventures to blog about, but keep putting it off because I am so tired at night.  My pictures and thoughts will make it on here eventually!

It's ok that I am counting down the hours until I see my wifey, Becky.  I haven't seen her since January and I miss her terribly!

It's ok that I have been a slacker lately about making dinner.  It's been too hot to cook!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday & A Guest Post

This week I have one thing that I am loving, and that is my family.

I am so blessed to have the family that I do.  Even though we are a diverse crowd, we are always there for one another when it really matters.  

I have the most amazing parents and brothers that a girl could ever have.  

My husband is the best because he puts up with all of us and loves my family like they are his own.  

My aunts, uncles, and cousins make every get together into a full blow party, which makes life always entertaining.  

And I can't forget my grandparents, the two people that started it all.  Thank God they decided to have five children, who then went out and had multiple children of their own.  

I can't imagine having a different family other than the one I was born into.  I absolutely love all of them.

And on that note, head on over to Cait's blog, Fit, Fierce and Fabulous, to read about an adventure I had last year with my parents and my brothers!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Saying Good-bye

I have tried to write this post several times, but am struggling to find the words.  I am not one of those people that is very good at writing out their feelings, but it is important to me to try.

Today I am saying good bye to my cousin.  He passed away peacefully last Tuesday morning with my mom by his side and is hopefully now in a better place.

My mom and I were at the hospital all day Monday with my cousin as he was taken off of life support.  It was a long, tiring, and emotionally draining day.

Even though he was in a coma with extensive brain damage, we wanted to be there to keep him company and take care of him.  My mom and I took turns holding his hands and chatting with him.  We did our best to keep him as comfortable as possible and I hope he knows that we were there and that my mom never once left him alone.

I was not close with my cousin and it saddens me to realize that I will never have the chance to get to know him better.  Growing up, I lived in Florida and he lived in New Hampshire, so we did not spend a lot of time together.

As we got older, our lives took drastically different paths.  We didn't have anything in common, other than my mother was his father's sibling.

I would sometimes see him at holiday family get togethers and we would engage in awkward conversation.  Other than those brief encounters, we weren't a part of each other's lives.

But regardless, he was family and I love him.  However, I am also so angry with him, the life choices that he made, and what he put our family through throughout the years.  I am not sure how to get over that feeling of anger because I don't have any good memories of him to counter-act the negativity.

I don't really have any memories of him at all.  He basically just floated in and out of my life and we didn't have any significant contact with one another.

But today I will go and celebrate his life and mourn the fact that he has left behind a family that loved him tremendously.

Because that's what my family does.  My mom is one of five children and I have cousins coming out of the woodwork it seems.  We are a loud and crazy bunch and are typically a close knit group.  Everybody knows everybody else's business and we are supportive of one another.

I hope and pray that his passing only brings us all closer together.

If you have the chance today, please pray for his parents, sister, son, and the rest of our extended family as we remember and celebrate his life today.

Cousin, please know that we, your aunts, uncles, and cousins, are looking out for your parents, sister, and the son you left behind.  We love you.

My brother said it best
"This is what we remember"

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tall Ships & A Guest Post

On June 30 I went to Boston to check out the Tall Ships with the hubs and my parents.  I've been to Boston and cruised the inner harbor before, but I've never seen the infamous Tall Ships.

We got into Boston a little early and so we spent some time wandering around Faneuil Hall and the shops in Quincy Market.

This is such a cool part of Boston.  The streets are old brick and filled with lots of neat stores.  I also love the street performers that are out and about.

While we were walking around, we stumbled across some police officers and their motorcycles.  I immediately took this opportunity to take a photo, much to my husband's chagrin.  Good thing my mom was there to take my photo!

After our wandering it was time to hop on the boat and cruise the harbor.  I would never want to actually live in Boston, but I do enjoy looking at the city.  It is so pretty!  

I've heard about the Tall Ships that go on tour, but had never had the opportunity to go and see them.  No joke, these boats are giant!  They were so beautiful and come from all over the world.  It was amazing to see them up close and personal and think about all of the sailors that have sailed on them in the past.

I love being out on the water.  Spending time outside in the sunshine with the people I love is my favorite.

We also got to see the Constitution, otherwise known as Old Ironside.  

Along with all of the Tall Ships, there were several Navy boats from various countries.  I found these just as fascinating as the Tall Ships.  It was cool to see all of the various flags and equipment from all around the world.

It was also neat to get a different perspective of Boston, other than just walking on the streets and being in the actual city.

After the cruise we all went and got some ice cream.  I chose Green Monster Mash, because, duh, we were in Boston, home of the Red Sox!

Has anyone else seen the Tall Ships?  What were your thoughts?

Also, on a quick side note:  Today I am guest posting over at Alissa's blog, Graceless Lady today.  Please go check it out and show me some love; it is my first ever guest post :o)  And if you are here from her hilarious blog, welcome!