Sunday, September 28, 2014

Spartan Up! Our Virginia Super Spartan Race Experience!

Last winter, we signed up for a race that was brand new to us. We'd never done anything like a Spartan race, but I guess we were up for that challenge! ha. Somehow, my dad got talked into doing it too, so, last month, we headed up to Wintergreen Resort to compete in the Virginia Spartan Super!

If you're not familiar with the Spartan events, they are races of different lengths with certain amounts of obstacles you have to complete throughout. The Spartan Super is 8+ miles with 20+ obstacles to complete.  The Wintergreen course we did is apparently one of the hardest courses of the Spartan events (which we didn't know prior to race day!).  Then, add on the fog in the mountains, the mud from the rain the night before, and the rain that came down as we approached probably the last mile or so (I really don't even remember the distance left!) and the last few obstacles.  It was CRAZY. 

The race was long, yes, but throughout the race, it didn't always seem as daunting as it sounds.  Yes, we did have to walk up the hardest slope they have at Wintergreen (and occasionally slide down a little bit in the mud..), but then there were also times when we were hiking in the woods, which made it fun and adventurous.  We really had no idea what was coming up next.

Some of the obstacles we had to do include climbing cargo nets, climbing 4ft, 7ft, and 8ft walls, carrying buckets of rocks up and down a hill--I believe the women's buckets were 60 pounds and men's buckets were 75 pounds. I honestly don't remember, but I DO remember seeing a whole lot of people who didn't fill their buckets all the way up to the line....Shame on you. haha.  We also pulled cinder blocks by chains, carried logs down and up a hill, carried sandbags up and down hills AND climbed over 4ft walls with them (we got really good and climbing hills/mountains, y'all), and of course, crawling under barbed wire, in the mud. Up hill. Which actually isn't as terrible as it sounds, either.

So, enough of the writing, here are the pictures! But, if you'd like to hear more about the obstacles or the event itself, I'd be glad to talk to you about it! It is really fun to relive the events of the day!

You could walk around in the festival area prior to the race where they had different things set up. Here we are watching for a technique for the rope climb..

And there's Matt and Dad trying it out..

This is about 15 minutes before our start time.  They had Certified SGX (Spartan Group Exercise) Coaches leading stretches and warm-ups near the starting line. We joined in, even though we all look super confused for some reason. haha.
And, it looks like it's early in the morning, but no. Our start time was 12:00, and it was just THAT foggy that day!

Ready to climb the wall.  This wall was NOTHING compared to the walls that awaited us later.

Yes, receiving help on obstacles IS allowed. However, I have been working on building up my upper body strength more now, so if there's a next time, hopefully I won't need as many boosts for all the walls ;)

Matt makes clearing these walls look so easy..

Time for the monkey bars, which were the 10th obstacle, about 3.5 miles in. By the time we got there, we couldn't see how anyone was completing them at all, as they were covered in mud (I told you it was a wet and muddy weekend!).  I may look all-smiles in this first picture, but let me tell you, I was not all smiles standing on his shoulders trying to reach the bars that were out of my wing span...I'm no Michael Phelps, y'all. It was insane.  I've always hated monkey bars anyway.  We later found out that this obstacle took out tons of people.

After that obstacle, we paused for pictures......and me for chapstick. HAHA.

Then, plenty of miles, obstacles and hours later, here we are coming across the finish line!!

I know it's blurry, but you can see how tired we are, and we were probably all saying something like, "okay, where's the Gatorade and food?!"

"Okay, we're in the line for food now, we'll stop and take a picture."

 Mom took close-ups of our mud-covered faces, lol.

These were the few pictures of us on the Spartan website. I will say, I am a little disappointed that they didn't have pictures from more obstacles.  Out of 26 obstacles, they only have pictures of one of the three of us at 2.  And, when you're on the photo gallery on the Spartan website, they only have four options of locations to search for your pictures.  They don't even have pictures of us jumping over the fire at the end and crossing the finish line.  I feel like after such a long race, they should at least have a picture of everyone at that!  Also, when you search for your bib number, you get pictures of so many other random people, with numbers not even close to yours! It's very frustrating! So then you try to search by the time you might've been at that obstacle, and hope to find a picture of you, but still no luck! :(

This picture is from the Atlas Carry, which was pretty early in the race. You have to lift the huge stone, which you can see some of in this picture, carry it from the flag on the left to the flag on the right, drop it, do five burpees, then carry it back to the flag on the left.  You can have help lifting the ball, but not carrying the ball.  I couldn't lift that ball alone to save my life, so I'm so thankful we could have assistance.  And, you probably didn't know this, but that's dad over on the far right behind one of the flags, watching either Matt or me complete burpees. haha. 

Here are some pictures from one of the trails. They just had this camera set up on a tripod that continuously snapped pictures at your walked by.  This is Matt's signature race-pose when he knows a camera is there....Anyone remember our 10K picture?? haha.

Here's the log carry I mentioned earlier.  I love this picture because it has all three of us, and I'll definitely be printing this out.  Matt finished maybe 10 minutes earlier, but I was moving at a slower pace and Dad stayed with me. Matt came back down the mountain and finished the obstacle with us again, without a log.  He's pushing me here because this obstacle was killing my back.  He held my back/pushed me as far up the mountain as he could, but there was a timing thing we had to walk over, so he had to walk around it so it wouldn't mess his time up.

I'm glad they got a picture of one of us at the barbed wire crawl! Here's Dad..

That was one of our last events, and by that point, it was pouring! We were so happy to have finally completed the Spartan Race!!

I've never worked so hard for a shirt in my life!! haha, but it's now one of my favorite shirts, and not just because it's made of the most comfortable, softest material ever! lol.
Also, this is the first medal I've ever received from completing an event, so that itself also symbolizes an accomplishment to me, too!

Who knows, maybe there's another one (or two or three??) in our future??? We shall see!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Longing for Longwood

As I was going through Instagram on a commercial break from Dancing with the Stars, I came across this picture on Longwood University's Instagram account. As soon as I saw it, I just had an instant desire to want to be back at Longwood! Something about the picture is just so peaceful and inviting and I'd give almost anything to be a student there again! (Of course, then I probably wouldn't be happily married with a fur-baby, so I guess life goes on ;)

You never realize it until you're gone, but I can't believe how much I loved being at Longwood! Being just a walk away from anything you needed was great. I loved being able to go eat at Dhall and see so many familiar faces, or go to a basketball just five minutes from the bed I slept in. It was wonderful!

And I can't believe how badly I desperately wanted to like coffee while I was at Longwood, because I wanted to get something at Java City OTHER than hot chocolate! They had the best white hot chocolate, but I just really wanted to like coffee so I could get some before one of the few times I actually went to the library to study. (For those who may be wondering, I didn't start drinking coffee until after college, when we were six months away from the wedding!)

Here's a great memory that anyone from any other college will never understand: Later in the night, long after the pretty sunset skies like this one, you meet with everyone at a predetermined location for a Chi Walk. Even if they only last a short time, it's so worth going to.

The four years I was at Longwood were honestly four of the best years of my life, as cliché as that may sound. I made some of the best friends, worked with some amazing people in RCL, was a part of many wonderful organizations, and so much more.

If you also went to Longwood, feel free to comment with some of your favorite Longwood memories/traditions! I love reading about Longwood :)

Picture from Longwood's Instagram

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Randoms About Me

Today was definitely one of those days where anything and everything that could happen happened. It was crazy, random and hectic and work today, so I thought it only seemed right to do a random blog post for today! Enjoy these random facts about me while I'm headed out to Varina's first home football game of the year!!

Most of my recent Instagram pictures are of Maple. No shame....I love my furbaby!

....and my phone reminds me daily that my storage is almost full, mainly because of all the pictures of her I have on there.

I'm probably one of the pickiest people when it comes to something as simple cream.  My favorite flavor is chocolate. Just chocolate. Occasionally, okay, only when we go to The Shake Shop The Sandston Bistro, I'll get rainbow sprinkles on my ice cream cone and all is well. Other than that, nothing. I hate chucks or pieces of anything in my ice cream! So, you can understand my disappointment when Matt calls me from the grocery store and tells me they're OUT of plain chocolate! WHAT?

Now that I've talked about eating ice cream, you should know I love to work out. haha. Which also confirms that I did change my major to a good one to get a degree in, while I still had the chance! I never thought I'd enjoy running, but that's what I've spent most of this year doing as my work out, and I've definitely increased the amount of strength training I've been doing!  ....Maybe I'll start bringing some Workout Wednesdays back??

I can go off on tangents when I'm speaking like it's a natural part of the conversation. It's just a crazy habit!

I could eat breakfast for dinner all the time, but please don't ask me to eat any kind of dinner food for breakfast!

Finally, as my sister has pointed out, I, Lizzie McGuire, am an outfit repeater. And, this outfit will be making another appearance coming soon, haha. Hey, I've had it since June and only worn it twice...I think that's pretty good, ha.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Abby's Senior Convocation

Thursday, Mom, Dad and I headed to Longwood for Abby's Senior Convocation. It's crazy to think that it's her last year at Longwood! Her first year there was my last year, which doesn't even seem that long ago, but I guess time really does go by that quickly!

The Longwood tradition for Longwood is every senior chooses an underclassman to decorate their cap and "cap them" at the end of the ceremony. It's a lot of fun to see all of the decorated caps and the creative things some people come up with!  

Lined up, and ready for the processional!

Here's Abby and one of her littles...who decorated her cap and capped her!

President Reveley

If you've never heard Dr. Jordan speak at anything, you're really missing out!

It was really neat to have Abby's convocation outside, whereas mine was outside. Hers was right beside the Cunninghams, just outside the window from her very first room at Longwood!

Abby and her other little!

So many decorations!

Abby's WOULD have a huge, red, white and blue bow on the back!

The seniors of Tri Sigma.

Seniors and their cappers.

Seniors in Ambassadors.

Family pics!

 Love these next two pictures Dad took...

Then, before we left, I had to say one last goodbye to the Cunninghams, my last home at Longwood, before they start construction to take them down and build the new student center.