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01 March 2011


Fundraising Kickoff!

Hey there Team SFM fans! It's March 1st, and we're starting the official kickoff for fundraising.

All donations go to support the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides services to wounded service men and women. There are never too many ways to show appreciation for the people that sacrifice for and serve our country. Please consider giving as a way to support this important nonprofit.

Our official fundraising page can be found here, and in the side bar to the right (along with more info about the Wounded Warrior Project and Tough Mudder).

If you're not able to donate, we'd still love to have your support. Please spread the word about our fundraising efforts. Leave comments on the blog as we give training and fundraising efforts. Make suggestions for things we can add to our training.

And, if you'd still like to join Team SFM (or start your own), it's not too late -- there is still space available for the MidAtlantic event! Contact me at swimwriterun at gmail dot com.

Thanks for your support!

21 October 2010


So who would do something like tough mudder?

...besides us, of course.

Why, people like this.  Below are a few videos I found on the interwebs.  Long live youtube.  These people performed amazing feats to get IN to Tough Mudder - this isn't even the actual race!  Here are just a few...

Video 1:

Video 2: 

Video 3:

14 October 2010


Promo Video: Tough Mudder

Here's the promo video for Tough Mudder.  The footage is for the Bear Creek, PA course.  Ours will be in Wintergreen, VA -- but seeing the obstacles, I'm getting excited!  I'm starting to think of what we'll need to do to train up for next October's race, and I've already got a few ideas.  Stay tuned.

10 October 2010


Warriors... Dash!

Wow.  That is all I have to say.  Warrior dash was fun!  And muddy.

Mostly muddy.

How muddy you ask?  Well, before we even begin, let me direct you to our event photographer, who will probably be posting some of the photos here.  Also, see below.

We started off the morning bright and early, with enough time to walk the mutts, chow down a bowl of cereal, and head out the door.  We picked the Sixes up around quarter to nine, and headed off.  

Everyone was all smiles...
...especially Matt.

After a brief detour to the house of Chik-Fil-A (the pre-5K breakfast of champions, and breakfast #2), we got to the site - the whole trip took a little more than two hours.  We arrived in Quarryville PA - Amish country.  Beards, buggies, the whole works.  Volunteers directed cars into long lines in a plowed-down corn field, and we could already see survivors straggling back to their vehicles: muddy, wet, and/or costumed.  We met up with PJ, Margarita, and the Muellers and hopped on a bus to the race site.

After we met the Burnetts and got our packets (yeah fuzzy hat!!), we made our way to the celebration area.  There was a bag check, we were happy to note.  Local fire fighters were also spraying finishers down.  Two questions answered!  We wandered around until it was time to line up behind the start.  FYI... the starting line spews fire, and it's hot!  Cool!

A view of the Starting Line (Photo: Vivian)
Have you ever seen so many smiles at the start of a race? (Photo: Vivian)

There was a good deal of running before we hit any obstacles, but it was on nice cushy grass and trails.  A couple of places, I really had to watch my footing!  I was kind of wishing I didn't have to worry about races scheduled after the Dash.  Something to think about for Tough Mudder next year.  However, we arrived at the first set of obstacles with no problem.  The first obstacle was the Tunnels of Terror, which was actually just a crawl through black tubes - maybe 25 feet total.  No problem.  The next challenge was way more interesting...

The truck climb! (Photo: Cindy)

We had to climb over a series of trucks, with the help of ropes.  The tricky part of this was actually the descent: the ground was uneven on the other side of several of the trucks.  Four trucks in all, and then we were done!  This obstacle actually left my upper body a little sore on Sunday. From there, we proceeded to a series of mounds, which were exactly like they sound: little hills of dirt heaped 3-6 feet high.  I found these to be the scariest obstacle, because the footing was not so great.  I would have much preferred hill repeats or something.

Hay Fever was a step pyramid of hay bales which were easy to climb up and over, though several team members felt a little woozy from the dust.  The run at this point looped through a field, bright with the aroma of... things you would expect to find in fields.  We shook it off and conquered the cargo net!  This obstacle was not nearly as worrisome as I thought, since it was at an angle.  The descent was still a little nerve-wracking though.  

Mo and Matt on the Cargo Climb. (Photo: Cindy)
Even though we'd covered just a little more than a mile, we were getting tired, but fortunately, we hit a water stop.  After that, we wove through a series of ropes or "webs" which was made easy with team work. (this replaced the Mossy Maze, I imagine - this was a great obstacle!).  A quick trot took me across the 'gully', which was just a three-foot ditch.  There weren't even crocodiles.  Lame.  I was then instructed to bear-crawl through a structure wrapped in black plastic.  This obstacle wasn't difficult, but it was kind of hot and sticky in there. (Matt totally cheated on this one, by the way.)  Once free of the Blackout, we hit the serious stuff.

Yes.  It was cold.  And gross.  Some got in my mouth.  Ew. (Photo: Cindy)
Matt dove head first over the logs, but I wasn't as brave.  We slipped and slid out of the water, noticing that we felt much less tired.  Which was good, because next, we hit the wall.  

The Warrior Wall!  We easily vaulted over a series of about four walls, which were 3-4 feet high.  No problem, just had to watch the footing.  From there, we splashed through the Slithering Swamp, which was a mud hole with about three feet of water.  There was a rope to help us out, but the subsequent downhill-uphill scramble was treacherous: saturated with run-off-water from the Warriors who came before us, slipping and sliding up this hill was a challenge.  I had to find little stumps and rocks that I could anchor on before I was able to move up.  However, I knew we were almost done!  There were just two more obstacles.

Yes.  That is fire you see in the distance. (Photo: Cindy)
I would like you to pay attention to Exhibit A (that's the photo above).  See Mo, plunging into the mud because she didn't want to hang back.  About twelve and a half seconds after this shoot, both the dude in the red shirt and Matt dove head first and started thrashing their way through the mud (about a foot deep and sloshy, full of grit).  Oh, the splashing.  Oh the mud got in my mouth and eyes.  This must be the taste of victory!  Seriously, though, if you could actually see, it was pretty easy to avoid the barbed wire.  These two obstacles made me feel tough!

A few hurdle-jumps, and I was over the fire and through the finish!  There was even a gentleman there hosing off finishers, though it was largely ineffective.  Dirt got in the water and bananas anyway. (No Gatorade to be seen. Sadface.)  Mud got everywhere.  Everywhere.

Group Finish picture!  It looks like an Orbitz commercial. (Photo: Vivian)
Hey, you missed a spot. (Photo: Vivian)
We took some time to enjoy the after-party, which included turkey legs, beer, and local bands. We also made sure to visit the fire-hose so we could at least pretend we were clean. 
Look, now I'm soaked so you can't see all the dirt!
Hey.. this pool looks different from the other one. (Photo: Cindy)
Mo and Cindy at the finish. (Photo: Jeff)
Thank you Cindy for carrying a camera during the whole race,
and thank you to both her and Vivian for sharing the pics!
Go visit Cindy's blog to hear about her race.  GO! :)  Six Swims

We wrapped up the day with a delicious breakfast (#3!) at Cracker Barrel.  As good as those pancakes were, however, nothing could compare to the long hot shower waiting at home.  Once the water finally ran clean, that is.

Verdict:  What a great event!  I loved having the obstacles to break up the miles.  And I liked doing this race with Matt.  He totally kicked my butt on the obstacles, getting through each one much faster than I did.  Looks like I'll have to train up.  Warrior Dash has really gotten me excited for Tough Mudder in 2011!

08 October 2010


Warrior Dash

This should be a notable experience.

I approach this race with some trepidation, due mostly in part to my knee. After 40 minutes of running and an hour of Muay Thai on Tuesday, my knee decided that it was time to swell up like a blowfish after seeing Bea Arthur naked. Fortunately a couple days on the cold therapy machine seems to have my knee looking as knobby and boney as it normally does.

As I look forward to tomorrow, I look back to boot camp. Warrior Dash reminds me of the Obstacle Course, but with turkey legs and viking hats.

07 October 2010


Heeding the warrior call...

Two days to go before the Warrior Dash, the event that got us in to the whole 'mud run' thing.  The race re-cap will be the official 'Launch' of the our Team SFM blog, giving us about a year to prepare/train/fundraise/blog/whine/plan for Tough Mudder.

Warrior Dash will be held in a place called Quarryville, PA.  Yes, it's probably in the middle of nowhere.  Good thing, too, because thousands of people are going to be descending on the place for the race Saturday and Sunday - waves of 500 going off each half hour.  And not only will they be muddy and sloshing their (one) free beer, they'll be carrying turkey legs and wearing hats.

Pointy, pointy hats.  Pictures to come.

There may also be turkey legs.

I consider Warrior Dash a preview of Tough Mudder.  The course is 3.15 miles, with 13 obstacles. Considering the size of each wave, I'm pretty sure the course won't involve much running... we'll see.  After a week of rain, the weather is supposed to be awesome: sunny, mid to high sixties.

So... what's the plan?

We're meeting up with the 6s to leave around 9am.  We're taking Matt's element, which is nice... hoseable interior.  We should get there a little before 11, which gives us just over an hour to get everything and head to the start.

The actual race logistics are hazy.  We need enough time to park, get bibs, etc, BUT parking is 1/3rd mile from the race site and they don't want people to walk.  There's a shuttle.  This would be fine, except they require photo ID to pick up the packets.  Sooo... there's a trip back to the car, since I don't plan on carrying anything.  Whatever.  We're warriors.  We'll improvise.

Here's a list of the obstacles.  I'll review them in the race summary:

  1. Tunnels of terror - crawling through tunnels.  Check!
  2. Tanker Trouble - this involves climbing over abandoned trucks.  When I saw this, I remembered my tetanus booster is long overdue.  My arm hurts now, but I'm a little more prepared for this challenge.
  3. Hell's Hills - climbing 'mounds'.  Like... the indian burial mounds of the Ohio River Valley?  Mounds Bars?  The map isn't big on specifics.
  4. Hay Fever - climbing over big bales of hay looks like fun!
  5. Cargo Climb - I have no idea how to climb over a cargo net.  Going up, I got it.  Going down, cool.  But the transition between the two?  Hopefully it will not involve sudden acceleration.
  6. Walk the plank - over a gully/ditch/thing.  I hope there are crocodiles.
  7. Blackout - this maybe looks like a slip'n'slide?  The description ("dive into darkness and escape the trenches") is no help.
  8. Mossy Maze - running through trees seems like it will be fun
  9. Breathless Bog - this is basically walking/swimming through a bog, and pulling ourselves over floating logs.  The trickiest bit of this might be having a few people trying to get over a log at one time.  
  10. Warrior Wall - I'm a little worried about climbing a wooden wall.  I can't even do a pullup.
  11. Slithering Swamp - this seems like a trot through the mud.  If I see something slithering, I promise I will throw it at Matt.
  12. Fire roast - jumping over fire!  Hopefully I'll be wet enough from 9 and 11 that this will be no problem.
  13. Muddy Mahem - aka, mud and barbed wire crawl.  At first, this seems like it wouldn't be that bad.  However, I've read a few race accounts where people actually got a little messed up during this.  Yay vaccinations!
Once we're done, my plan is to find a hose, clean up (relatively speaking), and then watch the 6s finish.  Maybe get back to the car if we have time to change.  

Are we ready?  Well...

Warrior Status:  I'll let Matt speak for himself. My arm still hurts from the tetanus shot, but I think we'll be fine.  Hydration plan is in effect!

Warrior Mentality: since I'm verging on stress-mania and sleep deprived, attaining that wild-eyed, muddy, crazed look should be easy.

Warrior Spirit: although I thought about selling it for a cup of coffee this AM, it is still in my possession.

30 August 2010


Only 417 days until my next major injury.