Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Adventures in Mud

Imagine going to a luxurious spa for an organic mud pack facial treatment? The room is softly lit and fragrant with the smell of lavender. Soft music plays in the background mixed with the sound of trickling water from a stone fountain. You close your eyes, take a sip of champagne and relax.
Yeah. Well. This isn't that. This is Mud Factor, a 5K run dotted with obstacles. And I was in it.

There's mud, alright. Lots of it. A river of mud that (almost) sucks the shoes off your feet when you wade through it. Muddy hills. A pond filled with cold, muddy water.
LOTS of mud. And lots of things to climb over or through.

Now, I admit. I signed up for Mud Factor. In fact, I paid to do it, which is a whole other level of craziness. Right? And I trained for it.

I joined a small group fitness class called G.I. Jane, led by the intrepid Rachel Stratton, friend and personal trainer extraordinaire. Twice a week, we toiled in the gym at Prairie Life Fitness, doing squats and burpees, lifting kettle bells, running laps around the pool and whatever else Rachel could and did dream up. At Jazzercise, I hit my regular classes, as well as Strength and Fusion formats for additional muscle work.

And guess what? By the time I got to the Mud Factor event site, I was ready.

Proof that I scaled that wall.
 When I reached the first obstacle, I had a fleeting moment of sheer panic when I envisioned falling flat on my back in the mud. But I got to the top of the wall, swung my leg over and the rest is Mud Factor history. I managed to complete every obstacle, run the entire way and not lose my dignity. Or my shoes.

Now, why did I sign on for this? (Believe me, I asked myself that same question the morning of the event when I started to doubt my sanity!)

I did it because it's good to have a goal. Setting goals keeps me motivated and moving forward.

And it's a confidence booster. I tried something new and I succeeded. That feels good.
I also had a blast with my G.I. Jane teammates. We laughed and groaned together and I'm going to miss our workouts!
Mud Factor After
Now, I'm on the lookout for another challenge. Hmmmm. Maybe my Jazzercise PT in the Park group should register for a 5K this summer. What do you think, girls?

Or, maybe I'll look for a spa that offers an organic mud pack facial.
T-shirt, GI Jane group, Post-event Bloody Mary, MJ and Rachel

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Saturday in the Park...

...I think it was boot camp with a pregnant drill instructor. (My apologies to Chicago.)

It was actually Personal Touch in the Park, a small group Jazzercise fitness class led by Fara. (Who runs rings around all of us in spite of being pregnant.)

Our view. I mean really, could it get any better than this?
And it was fabulous. Really. We had a gorgeous, Top-10 spring morning, crisp and brilliant with blue skies and low humidity. The kind of day that makes you want to buy a convertible and 
ride around in it.

We started with a short run/walk.
We started with a short run and a few stretches to get the blood moving and then launched into our workout, making use of curbs and park benches and sign posts. The class went by in a flash. Somehow, when you're working out under blue skies with birdsong as the sound track, exercise feels adventurous and new. 
I highly recommend it.

Chest and back flies with a tube.

It's also very low maintenance, meaning you don't have to have a lot of bells and whistles to get a good work out. Fara brought tubes from the studio but most of the routine simply made us of our body weight and the park's "equipment." You can easily turn the outdoors into a gym. Here's a few ideas.
  • At PT in the Park, we did squats and step-ups on a picnic table.
  • Run or walk stairs. I found this great stair workout on the Fit Sugar website with a variety of options, such as climbing stairs with high knees or going up and down sideways.
  • Do triceps dips and push-ups on a park bench.
  • Use the monkey bars at the playground for  pull-ups or lift your knees to target the abs.
Overall, it was a glorious and energizing way to start my Saturday. I think I'll do it again next week!
One legged squats on the curb.