Not your average mud-run...

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Kids are lucky. For a lot of reasons, really, but one in particular I've been thinking about recently. As kids we constantly face and overcome challenges showing  how cool we are:  getting an A on a tough spelling test. Learning to tie our shoes. Kicking an amazing soccer goal. Remembering to do all our chores. There are literally a never-ending supply of moments where kids get to be rock-your-socks-off awesome. And then we grow up, life becomes a little more of a grind, and those moments of being the best become rare, precious things. Unless we're really, really lucky, no one tells us how badass we are for putting in a 12 hour work day, doing the laundry, the grocery shopping or any of the other mundane necessities that keep our lives running smoothly. It's kind of sad if you think about it! We all still have that awsomeness inside, but as adults we have to look for special opportunites and work so much harder to feel it...to get the kind of validation kids take for granted. That, my friends, is one of my favorite things about Tough Mudder: it takes you right out of the daily grind and lets you be awesome again.

Mud runs are getting to be pretty darn popular these days, so there's a good chance you've already heard about Tough Mudder (I mentioned it briefly last year in a post here) or maybe you've even done it yourself! If so, I raise my orange headband in salute (and would love to hear about your experience!) If not, well then...let me just tell you! First of all, Tough Mudder is not your typical mud-run. Averaging 10-12 miles (13 last year at the Squaw Valley event) and  including 25 or so military-inspired obstacles (including plenty of...you guessed it...mud) for most of us it's not about winning. It's about the comaraderie, overcoming obstacles through teamwork and pushing past your pain (cuts, scrapes, bruises, aching muscles) and your fear (heights? dark, enclosed spaces? hypothermia-inducing, ice-cold water? Yep. I'm pretty much scared of them all...and well, TM has them all) to complete the course. And when you finish, when your determination pays off -no matter how long it takes- you get a chance to relive that magical feeling you got when you were a kid, a chance to say, "Holy crap! I am awesome!"

This past weekend I participated in my second Mudder event, teamed up with some of the same folks from last year as well as a few new faces...


Meet the Muddy Badgers (my neon yellow shorts didn't stay that way for long...)

The first of the NorCal events was held at the Tahoe Northstar resort. Logistically, it was as well-organized as last year, from parking to registration to the water/banana/Sharkies stations along the course. And costumes were even better: lots of tutus, super heroes, guys in underoos (remember those?? I had to crawl through the Boa Constrictor behind one...eek!), gladiators, hula dancers and one very brave girl wearing nothing but strategically placed duct tape and a hard hat. At a mere 11 miles, the course itself was a bit shorter than Squaw Valley but no less of a good time. And with the added benefit that I could actually walk the next day. They changed up some of the obstacles to keep things fresh, adding a second electro-shock obstacle (I got away with only 2 shocks...others were not so lucky) and keeping Walk the Plank (my least fave since it incorporates heights and ice-cold water.)

It took our team over 4 hours to complete the entire race, but there is nothing like that feeling at the end when you are drenched in sweat and mud and they hand you your orange headband and an ice-cold beer that tastes like victory...

Of course if you're me, one ice-cold beer on an empty stomach is enough to cause the kind of buzz that promptly makes you jump on the wrong parking shuttle and take a 20 minute ride to nowhere. But I digress.



Where was I? Oh yes. Added to all the fun, I think you may be interested in knowing that Tough Mudder has donated over 3 million dollars to the very-worthy Wounded Warrior Project over the last 2 years, which means...ladies and gentlemen...I think we have ourselves a winner!

Okay, have I convinced you to sign up yet?? Cause chances are good that big Mudder will be visiting your state this year. If you need a little more persuading, check out the Official NorCal 2011 video here... and see exactly what I'm talking about. Then get yourself registered!

And remember... "If you have to sign a Death Waiver, it's probably worth doing!"



Me, Myself & I

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Time for the super fun monthly link-up with Breanna from My Beautiful Crazy Life ...

Me, Myself & I

1. When you're feeling down, what do you do to pick yourself up?  When I'm sad, stressed or out-of-my-mind frustrated I have a couple of go-to's: an intense run reminds me that I'm strong enough to get through anything...and the endorphins don't hurt! If I can't manage a run, Redrageous Mike & Ikes are a pretty good fix...what is it about red candy?? Skittles, starburst...red is where it's at. (Sorry, got a little off track there.) Lastly, Travis is my absolute best picker-upper. He can always get me to smile, no matter how bad the situation.

2. If you had to live in a different time period which would you prefer? I'd be a 1920's girl for sure: the 20's seem like such a carefree, innocent time. And all those cute little flapper dresses and hats...love! Plus, I mean, I'd be totally edgy for a 20's girl. ;-)

3. What is the most creative Halloween costume you've ever worn? Oh I love me some Halloween. It's probably my fave holiday ever, and not just for the candy. Sadly, as much as I love dressing up, I'm pretty lacking in costume-creativity...I did have fun with my Black Widow (an excuse to wear a vintage hat and carry a flask of "poison" aka Jack Daniels) and then there was the Naughty Sheriff. So yeah....I have some creative friends though!



4. Five weird things about you we wouldn't know without being told: 1. I can't sing (we're talking literally, like a one octave range) but I was in a Women's Concert Choir when I was 19. I actually had to audition for it. How did that happen? 2. I absolutely hate -make that loath- walking barefoot on wet grass. 3. I have texture issues: foods like spinach and tapioca completely freak me out. 4. I still have my wisdom teeth...sometimes. They actually come and go. I guess it's not super uncommon, but how weird is it to be teething at my age?? 5. I have 6 piercings and 3 tattoos. And I'm a non-drug using functional member of society. Lol

5. What would you tell your 16-year-old self? Be confident! It's okay to make mistakes! Stop stressing so much about the future...ultimately you're going to have a great life so relax and enjoy the ride! Oh, and whatever you do, don't let mom give you that home perm. It'll make you look like a sheep dog. Trust me on this one.


                                                 

Friday's Letters

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Hello Sunshines! I'm back with my Friday's Letters this week...it's been too long!

Dear Professor Anast: You really, really are an outstanding teacher and I do appreciate it. Thumbs up for that. But your detail-orientedness is...a little overwhelming. Secondary active transport of glucose from the kidney tubule? Beta oxidation of fatty acids to make Acetyl coA? I need a braincation.

Dear Hubby: Happy 30th birthday!! It's a big week for you. A milestone! That being said, no need to keep complaining about how "old" you are now, cause um...I'm still older...

Dear BestBuy: Speaking of Travis's birthday...and the pricey Bose speaker system I bought for a gift...um, really? Is there a reason it's covered in scratches, fingerprints and dirt?? If I wanted a gift that looked like it came out of someone's garage I would've gone to a garage sale. Right? You and I are going to talk. And by "talk" I mean you better not hassle me on the exchange. Lol

Dear ColdStone:Given how much I love my CHI ceramic flatiron, I don't say this lightly: your icecream cupcakes may be the greatest invention of all time. I love you. My hips hate you.

Dear Tough Mudder:Are you really only a week and a half away? I think I'm ready...although how does one ever really prepare for crawling through gravel, running up mountains and swimming in snow-melt?? Guess I'd better put down those icecream cupcakes....

Dear Readers:You guys are awesome! Like the besty-best of all time. Thank you for taking the time to write your sweet comments on posts...and I love it when you guys leave me links to check out your fabulous blogs!

Happy Friday!
Now go link up!

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Remembering

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Today is an anniversary.
You know the one I mean.
Not a happy one, but important.
Chances are, you remember exactly where you were
11 years ago when you heard the news.
I was in my ambulance, same place I'll be in a few hours.
So today is especially meaningful for me.

In memory of the those who gave their lives that day:

343 Firefighters
23 NYPD
37 Port Authority Police Officers
8 private ambulance Paramedics and EMTs

We will never forget.





Procrastinator? No...

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It has been such a mellow weekend...lots of football watching (Go Niners!),
lounging around, shopping for Travis's upcoming birthday (dirty 30 baby!) and most importantly,
homework avoidance. Which I'm really, unfortunately going to have to remedy right now. Just as soon as I finish watching my last DVR'd episode of America's Next Top Model (Seriously Victoria? Glad you love your mom, but you crazy, girl.) Anyhoo, since I have some major studying to get done, I'm just
going to let a few ecards do the talking for me tonight...






Have a great Monday guys!!

Sometimes Gravity Sucks (and other embarrassing moments.)

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Have I ever told you I'm a masochist?

Okay... no, not really.

But I am about to share with you some of my most embarrassing moments. Ever. Why? Well, if we're going to be friends then there are just some things you know about me! See, my utter lack of coordination may not always shine through in the pictures that I post, but being clumsy and awkward is sort of who I am. And while I like to think my IQ is at least a couple points above complete moron, you wouldn't always know it from my actions. It's one of the reasons I bleached my hair back to blonde (convenient scapegoat...more on the hair issue later.) Fortunately, I figured out a long time ago that when your MO is a little...um...quirky, you can either embrace the quirk and enjoy laughing at yourself or you can request a good strong prescription for Prozac. I choose laughter. So let's get to it!

#1. The time I broke a major sweat. We're going way back for this one. All the way back to kindergarten in fact, to my very earliest of embarrassing memories. It was the first day of school and I was feeling oh so grown up in my ruffly pink first day of school dress. We started the morning with a little introduction, then headed on out to the playground. All of a sudden I realized I had to pee. Like desperate, emergency OMG-where's-the-bathroom-where's-my-teacher-where's-the-BATHROOM-ohhhh-too-late had to pee. And of course all the other kids wanted to know why my legs were suddenly so wet. What's a girl to say? "Um, you guys I'm just really sweaty. You know. From the swings." Yeah...worst walk of shame ever. But don't worry. I went on to really make something of my kindergarten career, and graduated with honors.


#2. The Marilyn pose. Fast forward a few years...I was 16 or 17 and strutting my stuff on the carnival midway at the county fair with my bff. I had on a brand new little denim mini skirt. And I was rockin it. I was confident. I was....naked?? Just as I stepped up onto the funhouse platform -surreptitiously glancing around to see if any cute boys were noticing the awesomeness of my new outfit- it suddenly wasn't there. A gust of wind, from exactly the wrong angle had blown that d*mn skirt straight up around my waist, putting my unfortunately lazy choice of granny-panties on full display for my fellow fair-goers. You want a little lesson in humility? Just flash your granny-panties for a crowd that includes carnival barkers. They'll be happy to oblige.

#3. The time I (didn't quite) nail it. I love a good spa ma ni-pedi as much as anyone, but these days I only seem to bother when I have some kind of special event to dress up for.  In my mid-20's however, I went through a phase of being completely obsessed with my nails. I kept my appointments at the salon religiously, and was never without my full set of acrylics. One day, I was in the car and running late on my way to meet a date for dinner. I happened to look down at my hands on the steering wheel and notice -horror!- that one of my nails had broken. I knew I had a tiny bottle of emergency glue in my purse, so without further ado, I pulled the car over and dug it out. But the cap, the stupid cap, was stuck and I could Not. Get. It. Off. I couldn't get it to budge. And I refused to show up on that date with a broken nail. So I clamped that bottle in my teeth and I yanked. Hard. And the cap came off alright, with a fury. You can probably guess the outcome: my ridiculous vanity was immediately punished with a super-glue coated tongue and lips that were practically welded together. I mean, I fixed the nail...but it took a good long time to get my lips pried apart. So yeah, that happened.

#4. The really bad hair day. A few years ago I decided to make the transition from bleachy-blonde to dark brunette. This questionable decision was made, not after consulting my hairstylist, but alone at home at 2am, after watching some random makeover show on TLC. I was inspired! Dark hair is so luxurious looking! I immediately ran out to the 24 hour Walgreens, found a likely-looking shade and set to work. A half hour later, as I was drying my hair, I started to realize that the mahogany I had envisioned was in actuality a very goth-punk purple, which might have looked edgy and cool on someone who was actually edgy and cool. Aka, someone other than me. I decided that the obvious solution -duh- was to add some red to the purple. Red + purple equals glorious hair, right? No. What it equals is a muddy brown-gray disaster. But I'm tenacious. Persistent. A never-give-up'er. It's not always a good thing. My third trip to the drugstore I brought home one of those super harsh color-stripping kits. Figured, you know, better just start from scratch. Long story short, I did eventually end up with a ginger shade not too far outside the realm of natural-looking. And a few months later I managed to achieve the brunette shade I craved...somehow without going bald in the process. The whole experience was a very good lesson in the merits of impulse control at 2am.  


#5 Girl not defying gravity. Awhile back my partner and I responded to a medical aid on the second floor of a local apartment complex, not exactly in the best part of town. The fire department had arrived before us, and as we walked up they called down that we wouldn't need our equipment. I deposited our medical bags at the bottom of the staircase, setting my sunglasses on top and then running up to see what was going on. The call was nothing serious, so I quickly started back down the stairs to get the gurney ready for our patient. I was about halfway down when I realized my sunglasses were gone...my new Michael Kors sunglasses were just... gone! No! And as I was busy taking in that fact, I was not looking where my feet were going -which happened to be somewhere other than the next step- and I went headlong the rest of the way down the concrete staircase, while my partner, the fire department and our patient all looked on, horrified. Lucky for me I was able to get up and walk it off...the only real damage being my bruised ego. Sometimes gravity just...sucks.


So there you have it ladies and gents! I have plenty of other awkward anecdotes, but these top my list. Now, make me feel a teensy bit better and tell me some stories of your own???

Linking up with Julia from The Funny Thing of It Is for a theme that's right up my alley...50 Shades of Stupid. Check it out!
50shades

Reno 911

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I've said on this blog a time or two that one of my goals for this year has been to run a half marathon. And as of this moment, well, it hasn't happened. You know how it is... work schedule, prior obligations and that whole wedding thing have managed to sort of get in the way of signing up. Or so I've told myself. The reality probably has more to do with the giant boulder little grain of self doubt...the voice at the back of my brain saying "you're not the greatest runner...you'll never keep up...everyone else is faster, better, more athletic..." Dumb, right? But I guess it goes back to the fear of failure I briefly mentioned here.

So at this point I haven't run my first half yet. Buuuuut, I did get to participate in the Santa Rosa Marathon last weekend...on a medical bike team. And since it turns out that marathoners are kind of badass -make that totally badass- there really wasn't much actual work involved. Instead, we spent the morning riding the entire course, plus a few extra miles, on our Trek mountain bikes with the super fly (haha) saddlebags full of medical gear. It felt a little Reno 911, but hey, easy overtime...right?

I know what you're thinking: that bike helmet and lapel mic are sooo sexy. So flattering. So...oh...that's not what you
were thinking?? Eh, it's ok. Dork-wear is a hazard of the job.
Aside from getting a fabulous workout, the experience of being at the marathon was pretty enlightening. I mean, it wasn't hundreds of the most elite athletes that showed up for this thing. (Although there were some...fastest marathon time: 2:40. So...yeah.) But there were literally people competing of every possible shape, size and fitness level. And age. At mile 17 we passed the absolute cutest little old man, who looked to be about 80 and was just chugging along. Put me to shame, I tell you! I mean, if an 80 year old can get out there and go for it, it kind of throws all the excuses my healthy 35 year old butt can make right out the window. Talk about a serious motivator!

Linking up this week with Melissa @ The Life of a Not So Ordinary Wife. Go on over and check out the blog hop!


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