Primal Rush Obstacle Course Race

This race was an amazing experience! I participated in this event for my job and wrote about my experience. All photos except the first one were taken by our freelance photographer. Enjoy!

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As I opened my eyes after a too-short six-hour snooze, the golden sunlight streamed through the window. I laid there for what seemed like ten seconds before the extremely loud iPhone alarm began beeping and ringing. It was go time.

My selfless husband rolled out of bed early on a Saturday morning alongside me even though he was not participating in Primal Rush, the four-mile obstacle course race that took place at Crow’s Lake in Jefferson on August 24th.

I convinced him to be my moral support since this was my first obstacle course race. I was more than ready for this new experience.

I fueled up with a light breakfast, laced up my shoes and stepped outside. The air was cool and crisp, which is very rare for an August day in Georgia.

After a short drive, we pulled into Crow’s Lake. The energy was high as the second wave of runners prepared to begin the race. They were bouncing up and down, laughing and taking “before” photos with friends. I was glad to see such a laid-back yet energetic atmosphere since I am no where near an advanced runner.

I was impressed with the check-in system because it was very organized, and the volunteers were nothing short of encouraging. When I was handed my race bib, Becky Lee, the Executive Director of the Tree House, told me “good luck and have fun” with a big smile on her face. Her cheery attitude toward the race eased my nerves and gave me the boost of confidence that I needed. I thought to myself, “Primal Rush is going to be a fun and unique experience. It doesn’t matter if I come in last place because it is my first race, and it supports a good cause.” Primal Rush benefits the Tree House, a non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce the impact and occurrence of child abuse.

Once 9:30 a.m. rolled around, it was time to make my way to the start line. I took a few “before” photos like everyone else was, and before I knew it, I was off.

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The first portion of the race was the best part. I felt strong, and conquered the first handful of obstacles with no issues. I ran while holding a large wooden beam, ran through muddy puddles and jumped over and through wooden walls. In fact, I felt so strong that I even passed a group of young men that were probably much stronger and faster than me. This really boosted my confidence and I never felt the need to stop and walk.

Everything was going well until I realized my solitude on the trail for at least three to four minutes. Why hadn’t I passed anyone else? What happened to the guys that I passed a few minutes back? I kept going because I looked down and realized that I was on an obvious trail, and I did not want to turn around and risk losing valuable time.

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Suddenly, I approached an opening in the woods and ran over to two teenage boys passing out cups of water. “Uhhh you went the wrong way,” one of them said. I looked over to my left and saw the group of guys that I had passed earlier about 100 feet away, crawling through black tunnels and realized this kid was absolutely correct. “How did this happen,” I asked. “I was on a trail the entire time and there was no sign directing me where to go.” He informed me that I wasn’t the first person to make the mistake and told me how to backtrack. I was livid since I lost a significant amount of time running the wrong way, but I hoped to catch up.

It was difficult to backtrack because I had to squish my way through large mud puddles without slipping. Once I arrived at the black tunnels, I was back on track, but very behind. Maybe even last. I wasn’t happy about it, but there was no way I would give up.

This is when I started to become very fatigued. I no longer could keep a continuous running pace because my lungs felt like they were about to collapse and I could feel my heart beating violently in my ears. Walk breaks became necessary, which wasn’t fun for me because I knew that running was the only way I’d catch up to the others, but sprinting the entire way would most likely not go well for me.

As I approached one of the small ponds, that is when I saw it. I caught up! I passed a handful of people and immediately jumped into the water for the “wade across” obstacle. It was a lot harder than I thought to catch up to the group of guys I had originally passed in the beginning because my feet felt like they were sinking as I walked through the pond in thigh-deep, murky water. Unfortunately, they were off to the next obstacle while I was still in the water. At least I wasn’t in last place anymore.

I continued to run and power walk through the woods until I reached other obstacles such as hopping through tires, climbing over massive walls, crawling under wires, carrying a bucket full of mud up and down a hill, and lastly, the swim.

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I figured the “wade across” obstacle was considered the “swim” obstacle, but I was wrong. I had to swim across a dark, murky lake with my sneakers on my feet. That felt extremely odd, but I laughed the whole time as the firefighters told jokes about calling 911 under water.I didn’t understand, but I laughed anyway because they were floating in the middle of a lake with scuba gear preventing possible drowning incidents.

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After pulling myself out of the water, volunteers cheered me on as I climbed an angled wall with a rope. It was the final obstacle!

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I managed to muster up enough energy to run until I arrived at the finish line, and I’m proud to say that I was successful. It was a great feeling to finish– I felt accomplished and proud of myself for completing my first muddy obstacle course race. I even received a medal, which is a new experience for me!

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Thank you, Primal Rush for providing such a fun and exciting day for me and the other participants! I cannot wait until next year’s race and will spread the word.

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Lately, Weekend Edition

I’ve seen these “lately” posts on so many different blogs, so I figured I’d do my own! I’ve been so busy with work and other various fun/social events, so I figured one post with a recap of happenings would be appropriate. Here goes!

Every August for the past three years, there is an event called the Hero’s Ball in the area that I live in. The Hero’s Ball is a formal event that honors police, fire and EMS as well as benefits the families of wounded and deceased Special Operations Forces Soldiers, thanks to Operation One Voice. It’s an evening of good food, good music and awesome company! There are also awards given, speeches made and a raffle. David and I hung out with the guys that he works with plus their beautiful wives/girlfriends and it was so much fun. We laughed, the guys told way too many dirty jokes, we ate and drank, and just enjoyed each other’s company. It’s always fun to get dressed up for a night.

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Saturday morning came a little too quickly after staying up late watching several episodes of our newest Netflix obsession, Jericho, but David and I slowly woke up and got ready for my first mud obstacle course race–Primal Rush. David didn’t participate in this race, he just came for moral support. This was an event I was originally supposed to cover for my job (I’m a newspaper writer), meaning I would simply attend, take photos and not actually participate. As I wrote the promotional story for Primal Rush a few weeks before the actual race day, the more fun it sounded to me. I suggested to my supervisor that I would be willing to participate in the race and write about my experience. She said it was an excellent idea, so I registered! It was an amazing experience despite the fact that I got severely lost on the trail, but that is a story for another time. I will write a separate post about this race, so stay tuned!

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We also attended my beautiful Aunt Susan’s wedding celebration this weekend. She and her new husband, Jeff, tied the knot a few weeks ago, so this was their official party to celebrate their marriage. I was in awe the entire night because the scenery around this venue was simply stunning. It took place at the University Yacht Club on Lake Lanier right at sunset, so different hues of orange, red, blue, purple and pink painted the sky around the glistening lake.

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The photos don’t do it justice–it was so beautiful. The weather was absolutely perfect too, about 75 degrees with a breeze. Pure perfection. It was so nice to spend time with some of my extended family members, I just wish my parents were there (they are on vacation with some friends). I have to mention that the food was absolutely delicious–especially the pork tenderloin and the chicken cordon bleu bites! We danced the night away to songs like the electric slide and the wobble and didn’t arrive home until almost midnight. Congratulations to my Aunt Susan and new Uncle Jeff!

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The weekend fun didn’t end there, though. I had to attend Chateau Elan’s annual Vineyard Fest for work on Sunday, so David and I enjoyed the beautiful 80 degree day at this fine establishment. I even tried the grape stomping, but not for long because I was afraid I’d contract some sort of foot fungus. No worries though, all is well. It was nice to say hello to some of the Chateau Elan employees because I worked there a few years ago for a short while.

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The weekend concluded with yardwork for the husband, housework for me and a yummy salmon, sautéed veggie and sweet potato dinner.

I’m ready to start a new week! I’m leaving for a trip to the Big Apple this weekend with my family, I cannot wait!

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Natural Energy Booster Drink

This is one of those creations that stemmed from me throwing whatever I had in the fridge into the blender. I was really craving something super refreshing and packed full of vitamins that would fuel me after an early morning workout, and this certainly did the trick! It actually made me feel much better than drinking a cup of coffee and I felt ready to take on this lovely Thursday.

I’d like to thank my friend Megan for inspiring me to start my day on such a healthy note. She always tells me about her yummy veggie-packed juices that she drinks in lieu of coffee, so I was ready to try my own version. You should definitely check out her blog because she is an excellent writer and has some scrumptious vegan recipes on there.

Anyway, I totally made this juice with a blender, so you do not need a juicer to make this.

I added two big handfuls of raw, organic baby spinach first.
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Then, I diced 1/4 of a large cucumber and threw that into the blender with the spinach followed by two dollops/spoonfuls of unsweetened applesauce.

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I squeezed in the juice of one lemon and made sure the seeds did not fall into my concoction. You don’t want to find lemon seeds in your mouth. I guess it really wouldn’t matter since everything gets blended together anyway….just to be safe though!
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I then added 5-7 medium frozen strawberries. You can add more if you want this drink to be sweeter, but anywhere between 5-7 should be perfect.
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I added a packet of stevia, but next time I make this I will omit it. The strawberries and unsweetened applesauce gave this drink the perfect amount of sweetness.
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Lastly, I poured enough water into the blender to get everything moving. You could add orange juice, apple juice or even lemonade if you want things to be a bit sweeter.

AND VOILA! After a nice blend, my natural energy booster drink was complete. I know that it does not look pretty, but I think it tasted great and it was chock full of veggie goodness.

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I am definitely going to make this tomorrow morning as well. I hope you all like it!

Defined Shoulders Are Hot

Give me a good shoulder workout any day! I’ve always had really bony shoulders, so I always am sure to kill this workout each week so I can gain some muscle in this area. Over the past year I’ve seen positive results, so I’m motivated to keep getting better! My goal is defined shoulders that are muscular yet feminine. No manly muscles for me.

Anyway, here is the workout I did today:

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Please let me know if you have any questions about these exercises.

I am currently preparing a delicious dish that is bubbling away in the oven as I type this. I will be back shortly with a recipe post that will be sure to please anyone!

Ultimate Workout Playlist

If anyone is looking for new workout songs, here is a great list! It’s a mix of old and new, so it should please anyone!

“Green Light” by: Roll Deep
“Jimmy Olsen’s Blues” by: Spin Doctors
“Rain Over Me” by: Pitbull featuring Marc Anthony
“Escapade” by: Janet Jackson
“All Around The World” by: Justin Beiber featuring Ludacris
“Take Cover” by: Acceptance
“Love Somebody” by: Maroon 5
“Domino” by: Jessie J
“Good Vibrations” by: Marky Mark
“Heaven” by: DJ Sammy
“Echa Pa’lla” (Manos Pa’rriba) by: Pitbull
“Waka Waka” (Esto es Africa- Spanish Version) by: Shakira
“Tonga” by: Gloria Estefan
“You Make Me Feel” by: Cobra Starship featuring Sabi
“4 Minutes” by: Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake
“Troublemaker” by: Olly Murs featuring Flo Rida
“This Is Your Night” by: Amber
“Voulez-Vous” by: The Mama Mia! Movie Soundtrack

What are your favorite workout songs?

Bacon Wrapped Thin Sliced Chicken Breasts Stuffed With Goat Cheese & Spinach

Wow, that is a long title!

You guys have to try this recipe! Or some sort of variation of it. It was absolutely delicious and pretty easy to throw together on a random weeknight. Does anyone else get into a slump when it comes to cooking/meal planning? For a few weeks I’ll be on a roll and prepare yummy meals left and right, but then I go through weeks where nothing sounds good to me and I don’t feel like cooking.

I went through one of those slumps recently, but was suddenly inspired when I spotted the thin sliced chicken breasts on sale at Kroger.

I threw a bunch of random items in my cart that sounded good and decided to experiment in the kitchen that night with a stuffed chicken breast dish.

Here is what you’ll need:

-1 package thin sliced chicken breasts
-2 ounces of a log of goat cheese (I bought the sundried tomato flavor)
-1/4 to 1/2 cup frozen spinach
-all natural bacon (I used Applegate Farms turkey bacon)
-various spices (I used the Kroger brand of Mrs. Dash’s original seasoning)
-olive oil

Turn on your skillet to medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. Meanwhile, drop 2 ounces (or more) of goat cheese into a small bowl. Add the frozen spinach and spices, then mix everything together (this may take a little bit of elbow grease).

Sprinkle your favorite spices onto each chicken breast in the package and then spread the goat cheese mixture on them until you run out.

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Roll up the chicken breasts long ways and then wrap each one with a piece of bacon.

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Place each roll onto the skillet and cook until they are finished.

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David and I enjoyed ours with sautéed zucchini and brown rice. It was a delicious meal!

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I want to make some more for dinner tonight!

Food Prep Tips

I am a huge advocate for prepping meals ahead of time. It makes life so much easier and will help you avoid eating cereal out of the box for dinner because you’re too tired to cook something. This has happened to me–I work all day, go to the gym, come home and I feel so lazy and tired. The last thing I want to do is cook, so I end up eating handfuls of cereal because it’s easy.

My husband is a good cook and creates masterpieces in the kitchen from time to time, but he works nights (12-hour shifts from 6:00pm-6:00am, so he only works half of the days of each month), so it’s hard for him to cook on a regular basis. I’ve figured out that a lazy Sunday is perfect for prepping healthy meals and snacks. The time spent doing this is well worth it because during the week, all you have to do is reheat and eat!

I don’t do this every Sunday because sometimes I’m not home, but I try to a couple times a month. It really makes a difference.

What you have to do is prepare all of your meals/snacks for the week and refrigerate or freeze them. It just depends on how soon you’re going to eat them. Here are a few things that I make that freeze/refrigerate easily.

*Chicken & Veggie Lasagna*
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-whole wheat lasagna noodles
-any veggies you want (zucchini, squash, tomato, spinach, mushrooms, etc.)
-red pasta sauce
-LIGHT white pasta sauce (optional, but it makes the dish so yummy)
-1 pound ground chicken (turkey or beef)
-1 to 2 links of all natural sweet Italian chicken sausage
-Italian seasoning (dried basil, oregano, thyme, etc.)
-cheese (grated parmesan and shredded Italian blend)

*Grilled Or Baked Marinated Chicken Breasts*
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-boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins
-your favorite spice rub or marinade

All you have to do here is grill, sautee or bake several chicken breasts or tenderloins and keep them in the refrigerator all week. They’ll be easy to grab and chop for salads, sandwiches or even in a yummy Mexican taco or fajita dinner. You can do this with ground beef, turkey or chicken as well. The ground meat is also perfect for taco night, lasagna or stroganoff. The possibilities are endless.

*Lazy Day Casserole*Lazy-Day-Casserole-sausage-potatoes-carrots-peppers-onions-herbsSource

-1 package of all natural chicken sausage
-2 sweet onions
-2 bell peppers
-2 sweet potatoes

Place all chopped ingredients in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and your favorite seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc.). Bake at 350 degrees until the veggies are cooked. Refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to pull this out for a mid-week meal.

*Homemade Protein Balls*kidsnackSource

-2 cups natural crunchy peanut or almond butter
-2 scoops protein powder (chocolate or vanilla)
-2 ripe bananas, mashed
-2 tablespoons freshly ground flax seeds
-a small handful of chocolate chips

These are way healthier than snacking on candy or sugary granola bars. They are also delicious and keep well in the freezer.

*Apple Peanut Butter Snack Bars*
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-2 cups rolled oats
-1 cup unsweetened applesauce
-1/4 cup peanut butter
-1/2 cup honey
-2 eggs
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×9 baking dish and set aside. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.  Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and use the back of a wooden spoon or a spatula to press it down evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the edges are just barely browned.  Allow to cool before cutting into squares. These keep well in the freezer or refrigerator.

Enjoy and happy food prepping!