This Runner's Trials

Warrior Dash North Carolina race recap

Posted by runnerstrials

Do you know what I love about running? That you can always find new ways to challenge yourself! Seriously, the sky is the limit.

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Mud… not leggings!

I’ve been running for awhile now – 12 years! In that time, I’ve done close to 100. But this past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to do a new-to-me type of race: The Warrior Dash!


A huge thank you to Caitlin who brought a disposable waterproof, 90’s-style camera to the race to capture these moments!

I have never done an obstacle race before. I did runDisney’s Expedition Everest last month, but if I’m being honest, those obstacles were definitely toned-down Disney obstacles, if you know what I mean.

I’ve always shieded away from the idea of doing obstacle or mud runs because I’m essentially a humungous wimp. I’m petrified of getting hurt, I’m afraid of heights, and I’m also a germophobe so being covered in mud kind of freaks me out (dirty standing water = giardia in my book).


But a couple of weeks ago, Rockin’ Refuel asked if I was interested in doing the Warrior Dash. I read the email and, and thought to myself, “you know what… this would probably be a lot of fun if I could convince some of my friends to do it with me!”

Luckily, my friends are pretty much up for anything. Even one of my non-runner friends happily signed up – and she kicked major booty in the race. We exchanged so many texts freaking out about the race in the two weeks leading up to the event – we were so excited! None of us had done a Warrior Dash before.


Sara, Catlin, Brandi, and I – clearly this is the “before” photo.

We vowed to stick together for the whole race and just have fun. We planned to take a lot of walk breaks and at least try every obstacle. One thing that made me sign on for the Warrior Dash is that you don’t have to do every obstacle – you can walk around any of them without being penalized (unless you’re in the competitive wave).

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Waves go off every 15 minutes all day long. This is to help with crowd control. Our wave was at 2:30 pm and we never felt crowded on the course or had to wait for an obstacle.

There weren’t any obstacles in the first mile. When we came up to the first one, I was so excited! We had to crawl under barbed wire. It was more difficult than it looked, but also a lot of fun.

The next obstacle we came up to was the Diesel Dome.


Again, I was excited, so I climbed up to the top… and completely froze. I was not expecting to have a reaction like that at all. I don’t do well with heights and looking down made me a little panicked. So, I climbed back down the way I came.

I had this same reaction a few more times. I was bummed that I didn’t do every obstacle, but I could not mentally overcome the height thing no matter what I told myself. I knew that the obstacles were safe, but I also knew my own limits, so I had to skip some.


I was able to do the two obstacles that I was looking forward to most before the race – the Mud Mounds and the Warrior Roast. I made it my goal to make it over at least one really high obstacle and I did, so I was happy about that.


However, even with skipping a few obstacles I had an absolute blast. This was seriously such a fun way to spend the day with friends. I loved that you don’t really have to be a runner to do this event, and I also loved how encouraging all of the warriors were to one another. Of course, my teammates helped each other, but even strangers were lending one another a hand which was so nice to see.


The post-race atmosphere was really amazing, too. There was Rockin’ Refuel at the finish line, a bar, a stage with a DJ, dance area, a sitting area with bales of hay, changing room, and – yes – a large group shower. It was fun way to spend the day!


So would I ever do it again? At the end of the race when I was itching from being covered in mud, I would have told you no way. But 5 minutes later I was already thinking of how I could overcome my fears and do all the obstacles the next time I do the Warrior Dash! This is basically the same way I felt after my first marathon. So, yes, I’ll definitely take on the Warrior Dash again. It was a lot of fun!


The medal doubles as a bottle opener!

Thank you to Rockin’ Refuel and Warrior Dash for giving my friends and I the opportunity to do this race. We’ll be laughing about this one for a long time!

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Disclosure: Rockin’ Refuel generously paid for my race entry fee for the Warrior Dash, but all opinions are my own.


Another marathon

Posted by runnerstrials

Hi guys! So, there hasn’t been much happening on the running front lately.


I started a new job about a month ago (YAY!), so even though I was determined to get back into more serious training after April’s 10k, that didn’t happen. I’m still running 4 days per week and averaging about 20mi/ week, but I haven’t done too much else. I ran the Expedition Everest Challenge with Heather earlier this month (check out her fun recap), but I wouldn’t exactly call it serious running!

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Even though I’m not taking running too seriously right now, I am loving my runs. I used to say that fall was my favorite time of year to run, but I think it’s been replaced by late spring/ early summer. I have no idea what’s happened to me over the past couple of years (probably the record-setting cold that we’ve had the past two winters?), but I absolutely love running in the early morning heat and humidity. Also, it helps that it’s light by 6 a.m. and I can see where I’m going. I also love how many other runners are out so early this time of year. I may be a sopping wet mess by the time I get home and my son may say “mommy, you’re all ‘weaty’ – go shower!”, but I love starting my day off with a good sweat.

I did something crazy in a moment of weakness, though – I signed up for the 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon!

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My husband is running with me again, too, and was actually the one who suggested doing it about an hour before registration opened. I’m so excited. I didn’t want to train for another marathon while my daughter was still nursing, but I have a feeling that she’s losing interest (so sad), and will wean within the next few months.

I plan to pour my heart and soul into training, and aim for a BQ. I know my marathon PR is pretty far off from a Boston qualifying time – I’ll need to run a sub 3:40 to do the 2017 race (if the qualifying standards don’t change – also, yay for being old!) and my current PR is 3:47:50. I could argue that I’m capable of running faster than that at Disney because my current PR happened 13 days after another marathon and the course was incredibly hilly, but the truth is that I have no idea what I’m capable of doing. So, I may as well try.

I’ve been debating running the Thunder Road Marathon again this year, too, as a training run or warm-up for Disney, but I’m not sure if that would be a good thing to do or not. It just feels really risky placing all of my eggs in one marathon basket when I know so many things could potentially go wrong on race day.


Cough, NYCM, cough.

I know one thing for sure – I need to get stronger. I’ve done a few PiYO workouts and while I’m not totally sold on it, I’m going to stick with it for awhile. My goal is 2-3 PiYO sessions per week. A couple of my friends have been raving about a local bootcamp class that I may eventually try, too. I’d also love to get back into swimming or yoga. Obviously I can’t do all of this, but I’ll need to do something else consistently to complement running once I start marathon training.

I’m running the 4-mile race that we do every July 4th (<--- which I highly recommend if you’re local to Charlotte. It’s stroller-friendly and there’s a kids’ 1k for only $5!), and after that I’ll get serious about marathon training. I haven’t thought too much about training plans yet, but I’m considering hiring a coach this time around. I figure I better call in an expert if I hope to take 8+ minutes off of my marathon PR. Does anyone have any coach recommendations?

Don't forget to enter for your chance to win a $100 Visa gift card courtesy of Blogher!

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Illumiseen LED reflective belt review + giveaway

Posted by runnerstrials

If you run at dusk, dawn, or overnight, I have a great product to share with you today! This is now my go-to illumination device on morning runs.


Illumiseen contacted me awhile ago to review their LED reflective belt. Once I read a little bit more about the belt, I jumped on the opportunity to try it.

I regularly run at dawn. When I was marathon training last summer, I started some long runs hours before the sun was up, so I literally ran in the pitch dark. Since then, I’ve tried a few reflective products to help me see or keep me illuminated. One thing that really caught my eye about the Illumiseen belt was that it comes with a rechargeable battery.


I just plug it into my USB charger and volia, it’s charged! This is huge. I love some other illumination products I’ve tested, too, but the batteries die so often that it’s a pain keeping up with them (I’m talking about you, Knuckle Lights).

I also love how bright this belt is. It makes me glow from all angles.


From the manufacturer's website:  “Thanks to the 3M Scotchlite™ reflective material and custom-designed fiber optics it reflects oncoming light AND gives off a powerful beacon in the dark.”

In the above picture, the LED light is turned off. With the switch of a button, you choose if you want to run with it off, completely on, or blinking on and off. I usually run with the light off since I start my runs only about 20-30 minutes before the sun rises. It’s not that dark, so I don’t need full illumination.

Here’s a comparison of what the belt looks like off vs. on:


It’s really bright!

I was most nervous that this belt wouldn’t be comfortable. I do not like running with things around my waist or shoulders – I have never found a fuel belt that I like – so I didn’t know how I’d do with the Illumiseen belt. But it surprised me! The belt is adjustable. At first, I adjusted it to fit around my waist, like in the above picture, but it bounced around too much there. So, I moved it lower to around my hips. The snug fit bothered me for a couple of minutes, but then I quickly got used to it and forgot it was there. I’ve worn the belt on runs up to 6 miles so far, and it’s always been comfortable.

If you don’t like it around your waist, you can also drape it across your shoulder. Or double up with two belts!

Green and Red

photo courtesy of Illumiseen.

The Illumiseen belt comes in three colors: green, red, or blue. It comes with a money back guarantee, and can be purchased on Amazon. Or you can win one right here!

Illumiseen has generously offered to give one of you guys a belt! Simply follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. The giveaway will be open until Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 11:59 pm Eastern. I will contact and announce the winner next week. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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