Thursday, 29 December 2016

2017 Year of Change

Change is going to be my theme for 2017. It's cliched as hell to go balls to the wall with diet, exercise etc. starting in January, but its good timing for a little push to get me started properly.

I need this because 2016 was a big struggle for me. I had a huge amount of anxiety and stress 24/7. The stupidest things made me anxious, like checking my email, phone or dealing with day to day problems.
 Why do we (and our bodies) do this to ourselves? The only up side is if it had continued I would have got Boomer registered as a therapy dog :) he'd be the naughtiest one ever! Thankfully, I've been feeling so much better, so Boomer is off the hook.

As a result I'm so ready for this next yearLet's get back to kicking ass (even my own) and just get shit done!

Changes I want to make:
* Be happier, more confident and at ease
* Run and work out more
* Move cities. Keep your fingers crossed for LA. It be so great to have something to aim for and a fresh start somewhere new.

So far we are off to an excellent start with improving my diet. Exercise is also getting better. Mostly, down to the fact that Martina is also coming with me (because she is the best). So right now I've been walking the dog for around an hour durning the day by myself and either running (or walking on rest days) at night with Martina.
I don't run as far with Martina cause she can't just throw herself into a 5 or 6 mile run straight away (that's smart :p). However, if that's the motivation I need to get out the door right now then it's much better than nothing! Next week, when classes start again, I'm going to add in a body pump class or two and just keep building up the amount I do from there.

The good thing is I don't have any crazy unrealistic expectations. Really I just want to get back to how I was 1.5-2 years ago...just in a different city he he. So at least my goals for 2017 should be achievable!

Anyone else making any changes in the New Year?

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Too many potential moves

Just when I was happily settling into lazy life of unemployment lots of things started to happen at once.

1) Martina submitted a grant this month that would see us move to Ireland in September if she got it. Its a very, very, very long shot so our thoughts were lets just go for it and if she got it we'll consider it.

2.) Then at a conference a couple of weeks ago she was approached about a job in Los Angeles, which would represent a HUGE opportunity for her career. It'd be a great city, with lots of opportunities for me too, somewhere we could settle down more permanently. Again nothing concrete, until a visit is arranged in the New Year, but this is looking a lot more likely to be a real job offer. It would also be a potential move at the end of next summer.

3.) Then I get an email about a job I applied for here months ago. It wasn't even a response to my original application. My old boss (the nice one) forwarded my details to his friend the company director since he knew he was looking for someone. Now I'm freaking out about applying for a great job because there is a possibility that we'd want to move from here in 8 months time. If only the job was somewhere else.

4.) Martina's current bosses want me to work for them. I've kind of shelved that option even tho the work would suit me and it'd be super convenient. I can see them being pissed if she left for somewhere else. She wouldn't need a good reference from them but I would!

Jeez, I must be the only person I know that doesn't really look for jobs but has them comes to them and then freaks out about it, ha ha. I've submitted my application for number 3 anyhow because we could get all of these opportunities or none of them could work out. Hell, I might not even get an interview. The real challenge would be if I get an interview and offer before we know about any of Martina's potential jobs.

I'd love Martina to get option number two so we could move away from South Carolina, especially since California was one of our top choices to move to in the USA. Its just what do I do in the mean time?

***update Did a phone interview for no. 3. Feel like it went a bit shit to be honest. They were interviewing me for a more junior position. I think my visa status will be a deal breaker but I'm not even sure if I want this different position. So we'll see if they get back to me about an on site interview.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Spartan Trifecta Experience

A Spartan race is an obstacle race over varying distances that go up to ultra (running) type distances. The most common ones are Sprint 3-5 miles, Super 8-10 miles and Beast 12-14 miles with varying numbers of obstacles thrown in. If you complete those three distances within a calendar year you have completed a Trifecta. All that gets you is bragging rights and an extra medal, of which you collect in wedges along with the regular medal at each race. 

I have had three very different experiences 
Sprint (Fort Bragg NC) I did this one first. It was just over 5 miles, mostly flat but hellishly hot (95F). The heat got me toward the end of the race but I enjoyed the whole thing. 1 hour 40 something.
Super (Georgia Horse Park near Atlanta, GA) my most recent. Unlike the other two races I did not run this alone. I was walking to the start when a really nice guy started to chat with me. We ended up in the same heat and ran together. He was amazing on the obstacles but running not so great, so I could prob have done this a bit faster. However, the guy helped hoist me up onto so many walls it probably didn't make too much of a difference to my overall time, considering I would have had to wait for help or do Burpees for some of the walls without him. Much more enjoyable with company and it was motivating to have some else rely on me to help set the pace. 
In the total opposite to the sprint this one was cold. It had got down to freezing the night before so all the mud and water was so cold. The dunk wall completely took my breath away. A hilly course in sections but not bad at all. I also found that I could complete, or at least make a much more respectable try, at obstacles I couldn't do before (practice makes perfect). I really liked the design of this course they used a lot of elements of the horse park, rivers, tunnels, exposed rock etc. that kept it interesting and had the obstacles well spread out. My favorite course by far, I wish I could have done the sprint here. Unlike other the other races this one was towards the lower end of the distance at 8.6 miles. 2 hours 57.

Beast (Carolina Adventure Center, SC) this was very appropriately named. This race was so unbelievably hard. It was so hilly. Almost 15 miles of pure hills. Most so steep there was nothing to do but walk (and even that was hard). That alone would have been enough of a struggle for me. It also had a lot of muddy sections. ...a lot. I almost lost my shoes several times. So for me the general course was the real challenge not the obstacles. A lot of the time we were on single track trails so I also got stuck behind very long lines of people walking when I could have been running flat or downhill sections. I fell once or twice when I was running so maybe that was for the best :) The obstacles were packed into the first and last couple of miles. I didn't like this one bit. The last half of mile In the finish area alone had a very long crawl under wire, a dunk wall, muddy hills, a slip wall (and other stuff I was too deliriously tired to remember). I would have liked to see them more spread out. In general did not enjoy this race one bit I was just glad to have it done. My friend, who was meant to drive with me and run bailed that morning so I went in grumpy and left it grumper and tired ha ha. 5 hours 22 minutes.

I enjoy the races themselves but the overall experience left me appreciating straight up running races that bit more.

I got groupons for all the races that took as much as 40% off the race price. That made the races affordable but full price they are all well over $100. That might seem fair considering the amount of set up and expense that goes into the obstacles but most of their staff are volunteers and they do wave starts every 15-30 minutes meaning in a day they can put far more people onto a course than an average road race.

 I would be fine with the race price if they didn't add in extra charges wherever possible:
Parking was an extra $10 and there was little choice in paying it since all the venues where in the middle of no where. Parking and traffic were also a nightmare at all but the Atlanta venue. 

Insurance wasn't included in the race price, at least not with the groupon, so that was another $14. 

Bag check was another $5 and believe me you want to change your clothes after slogging through muck and water. 

Lastly and I think what annoyed me the most, spectators....yes you read that right spectators were an extra $20 each...can you honestly believe that, asking someone to pay to stand around with pretty much nothing to do for hours. They did have food and drinks at the finish festival (for sale) and you could usually see a couple of obstacles but come on!

I don't know if I'm just being cheap but it felt very money grabbing. Those little things all added up and annoyed me, just roll it all into the overall price. On the plus side it really is a different kind of challenge from running. A fun way to test your strength as well as endurance and try something new. Surprisingly, they do include free race pictures so that was a big plus in my book. Because of the cost and the fact that I really enjoy half marathons obstacle races will not be a regular part of my racing season but I wouldn't mind going back and running a shorter one with friends for fun.

Recommendations: strength train a lot. Women will especially need to work on upper body strength, most women (including myself) struggled on this especially any obstacles that used strength while hanging. If you run as far as the half marathon distance, running won't be too much of a problem but these races are very draining be prepared. A good pair of gloves will help protect your hands and help with grip (mine lowes $5, cut the fingertips off for drainage). If you are running late heats you'll need a headlamp or you'll be pulled from the course. So there you, go my nuggets of wisdom enjoy.

On the radar: very little honestly which is probably a good thing because it's time to lose all the weight I've put on from stress eating and get some fitness back. I've made a decent start on improving my diet but my motivation for exercise is very hit or miss right now. Mostly I want to sleep...maybe I'm a bear...I vote for winter hibernation lol!
I got a good deal on a local half (Palmetto half $30 with discount code HALF, if anyone wants to run it) for April and I'm thinking of another in March when I visit a friend in NYC. So I gotta get my ass in gear and start training for those.