Tag Archives: 5k

Volunteering and Running at the Dirty Girl Mud Run

DISCLAIMER: Dirty Girl Mud Run comped our registration fee in exchange for reviewing their race. All opinions are our own.

Happy Friday Everyone!

As I mentioned in my last post, this past weekend, my mom and I participated in an awesome new race for us- a mud run! I wish I could say I ran it, it looks like it would have been AMAZING. I joked to my mom that I feel like this race was designed for me, because as a little kid, we used to go on family hikes and I always thought they were boring, unless there was, as I liked to call it “an adventure crossing”. By that I meant, having to cross a little flooded area on a fallen tree or other similar obstacles. I thought they were exciting.

So I will have to do a Dirty Girl Mud Run at some point, because last weekend, I opted to get a different taste of the race experience by volunteering at bag check for the race. At a race like this, checking a bag is pretty much a must, because you get super muddy out on the course, and it’s not all that fun to drive home like that. This race did have shower and changing stations set up to help solve that problem too.

I didn’t really know what to expect as a volunteer. I was a little nervous about it honestly! While it was a bit of a long day, it actually ended up being pretty fun (and I learned a few tips for the bag check process that I’m putting together in another post!). My job was to help out runners who came to check their bags, making sure they had filled out and attached the bag check tags to their bags with a safety pin, and then putting it in the proper area by bib number. After that, I got a new “job”, where I was responsible for directing the runners who had completed the race over to the side entrance of the tent where they would enter to collect their bags. That was kinda fun! I just had to keep an eye out for anyone who was extremely muddy and point them in the right direction. 🙂 I also helped out when runners had difficulties finding their bags.

Volunteering at a race (instead of running in it) was definitely a new experience for me! There are so many small details that go into putting on a great race (water stops, bag checks, and parking just to name a few…) and so many of these aspects are taken care of by volunteers. Running a race can be such a wonderful and empowering experience – if it’s well-done. And that quality can come right down to the volunteers. So next time you race, shoot a smile at your volunteers and thank them. It’s a small thing, but it goes a long way. 🙂

It's always a good idea to smile and thank the volunteers at a race.

And what my mom had to say about actually RUNNING the Dirty Girl Mud Run~

So the Dirty Girl run in Amesbury, Mass was my first experience with an obstacle course event.   Originally, I thought this race was kind of expensive, but after seeing  what the “course” entails, I realize all the work that goes into setting up an obstacle course event, compared to a regular “5 or 10k,” so in hindsight, it actually is pretty reasonable (if you’re looking for an obstacle-course type race!).

My mom posing after the Dirty Girl Mud Run

Also, this is a really great race to do with a group of friends (or even bridesmaids!), or an activity to do during a family reunion weekend. Then you have tons of stories and pictures to look at and laugh over later on.  (Because Nora had already signed up as a volunteer, I was tackling this new adventure on my own, and thinking, as I reached each new obstacle, “Nora would love this!!”  (Ok, at some of the obstacles – like the really tall rope net – the thought process was more like, “I’m too old for this…why am I here when Nora would love this…” but those are just details.

Conquering the ropes net at the Dirty Girl Mud Run!

Conquering the ropes obstacle at the Dirty Girl Mud Run

So that being said, here are a few tips just in case you – being either young or old, daring or squeamish,  ever want to become a Dirty Girl:

IT'S best to arrive early to a dirty girl mud run

Because Nora was scheduled for an 8 AM shift, I set off with the 8:15 wave of ladies. A new wave sets off every 15 minutes, and this went on until 2 PM.  My wave was small compared to some of the waves that set out later, and those waves were all pretty full, until the last few, so that means lots and lots of participants. This is a popular event, so try to aim for an earlier wave!

Even at the early hour, there were enough ladies for great camaraderie, but not so many of us as to make things too crazy on the obstacles themselves, some of which you really need to have a bit of space between you and the next person.

Also, things really backed up at the “shower” station – the portion of the parking lot set up to help you rinse off the worst of the mud.  Things moved along pretty quickly when I was there about 9:30, but by 11:30, there was a huge line and I heard someone say they had waited an hour before getting to the hoses! By this time, I imagine things in the changing tent must have been pretty crowded, too. Still, they didn’t run out of water, which would have been the real disaster! (Trust me, you do not want to get into your car until you have had a chance to clean up!)

What to wear to a Dirty Girl Mud Run

There were a lot of tutus and costumes of all sorts, which made it fun to see, but I noticed some interesting accessories and afterwards I understood why.

Some of the ladies had duck-taped there sneakers on – and eventually I realized this was to make sure they didn’t get “sucked off” in the mud.  (If you were to lose a shoe in some of those mud and water filled basins, finding it again could prove difficult.)

Climbing through Mud at the Dirty Girl Mud Run

Also, some of the ladies were wearing gloves. Some of the course involves crawling on your hands and knees in mud that is full of small stones, as well as doing rope-net obstacles, so I realized pretty early on that those gloves were a really good idea.  And if it’s not too hot, wear long, or capri length pants, to protect your knees and your bottom as you slide down that 20 foot inflatable slide into a basin of water and mud. (I was wearing shorts and when I saw one of the staff photographers under the rope net, I really REALLY wished I had worn long pants, but luckily none of the pictures were too embarrassing.)

So overall, it was a fun and challenging event – one I know that Nora would love as well as all the other adventurous runners out there! So, have we piqued your interest enough?! If you’re excited and ready to give this fun race a try, I’ve got a special offer just for you guys! 🙂 When you go to register, use the code BLOGFRIEND at checkout for $10 off your registration.

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Have a great weekend! 🙂

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Home For the Troops 5K

Hello all, this is the Mom-half of the Duo here today! 

A few weekends ago, I ran the Run for the Troops 5k. It’s always great to run for a worthwhile cause but Homes for Our Troops is one of my favorites and the organization is celebrating its tenth year.

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Home for Our Troops was founded in 2004 and since then the organization has built more than 160 homes for severely disabled veterans nationwide.  The Run for the Troops 5k is one of the many fundraising events Homes for Our Troops organizes to raise funds to keep doing this great work.

The race takes place in the town of Andover, Massachusetts and uses one of the elementary schools as home base. There is a large, grassy park-like area, complete with a turn-of-the-century style gazebo where tents with snacks and running vendors, as well as recruitment officers from some branches of the Armed Forces, set up.

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This was the second year my husband and I had come out to participate, with my husband joining in as a walker. Once again there was a good crowd, including many young runners, ages 8-12. This is definitely a family friendly event and even four-legged runners are welcome, including this adorable German shepherd puppy.

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Just before the race everyone moved towards one end of the “park,” where a dais had been set up.  The organizers said a few words of thanks and then introduced some of the veterans who had received homes, or whose homes were being built. It’s hard to see these young men and to think that anything we do could ever be enough to thank them, but these homes, specially built to their individual needs are a huge step in the right direction.  After the brief speeches, there was the singing of The Star Spangled Banner, and then the runners were off.

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Runners and walkers started together, so there was a bit of jostling at the start, but the point of this race isn’t to PR, so no one seemed very concerned.

the race

As for the course, it runs through pleasant suburban streets, and though there were a couple of hills (with the water stop at the top at mile two), there was nothing too daunting.  One of the fun things about this race is that musically minded residents set up on their lawns and play for you as you run past. This year we had a great saxophonist (whose picture I was not able to get ), and lovely young lady playing her guitar and singing, creating a mini Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon feeling.

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At mile three, there was a nice downhill and before I knew it, I was back at the “park” area where a group of bagpipers were playing as I rounded the bend into the finish.

 

 

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This year we also had a great view of the huge American flag billowing in the brisk wind as it hung from a crane in a nearby street.

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There were medals for everyone, and though we runners are by no means “heroes”, it feels great to have participated and contributed to such a wonderful cause.

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Check out Homes for Our Troops yourself at www.hfotusa.org!

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Dynamic Duo 5k!

I have so much to report about last night’s 5K! 

The turnout was pretty impressive, I’m not gonna lie. Some of the runners in attendance included Batman, Superman, Wonder-Woman, Betty and Wilma from the Flintstones, and a couple of other devious-looking creatures. 

 

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Confused?

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How ‘bout now?

Yes, that’s right! My mom and I went as minions from Despicable Me! You may remember the affection I expressed for these little guys after seeing Despicable Me 2. Well, with a little imagination and the help of my mom’s sewing skills, we were able to whip up a minion-style running outfit!

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The extra shirt/bib was a little warm to run in, given that a little late-summer heat and humidity have come our way, but despite this, my mom and I did our best to be FAST-RUNNING minions. I was really hoping to end the summer 5K season by catching my PR of 23:46, and my mom was also hoping to break hers.

Minion 1 on the Run!

Minion 1 on the Run!

Minion 2 cruisin' by!

Minion 2 cruisin’ by!

We both ran fast, and maybe if temps had been a little cooler, we might’ve had it, but alas, it was not to be.  I was still pretty happy with how I ran- a 7:46 min/mile pace for a final time of 24:07. I was working super hard to maintain this pace in the warm weather, and in my heart of hearts, I know I could not have pushed myself any faster, so I’m not disappointed. My mom ended up finishing in 26:40, and also missed her PR by roughly 20 seconds.

Drinking a little water after the finish!

Drinking a little water after the finish!

BUT, the competition was not over yet!! That’s right, there was still the costume contest.

We were quite a Despicable Duo!

We were quite a Despicable Duo!

Now, I have to say, not a whole lot of people dressed up for this race (costumes were optional. Next year, they really should make them mandatory, in my opinion!). But, like I mentioned earlier, there were some runners who did get into it. Two runners from our running club dressed as Betty and Wilma. Which would not seem particularly odd, except that “Betty” was, in this case, a man. For that kind of dedication, they got first place in the costume contest. Second place went to a couple dressed as Wonder-Woman and Superman, and third place…?

*Drum roll please…………*

THE MINIONS FROM DESPICABLE ME! YAYYYY!

After receiving our third-place victory!

After receiving our third-place victory!

Our prize consisted of 2 packs of Zevia zero calorie soda and a pack of glowsticks. A slightly random prize? Most certainly. But, a girl can never have too many glowsticks, right?! And the Ginger Root Beer flavored Zevia isn’t too bad! A slightly strange aftertaste, but I’m still enjoying it. Everything tastes better when you’ve won it!

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What’s the best costume you’ve ever raced in? What’s the best costume you’ve WITNESSED at a race?

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Announcements, Mileage, and Staying Motivated

Happy Monday morning to you!

I have a couple of announcements to make, so here we go!

registration for oak tree

 

Yep, you read that correctly. I have registered for another half marathon (you didn’t think I would just sign up for the 5K, didya? )  that’ll be held on September 1st!!! If you’re keeping track of these things, that’ll be 3 half marathons in 3 months. 3 races of 13.1 miles, 3 months. That’s a lot of 3’s! People say that 3 is unlucky, don’t they? Well, I disagree. 3 has always been my lucky number (Seriously. When I played soccer, I always tried to get #3 on the back of my jersey), so I think I should be fine and dandy on this race.

I will say one thing though- THIS IS GOING TO BE MY FIRST SOLO HALF MARATHON!!! That’s right, my mama will not be running this one with me.  This means a couple things- 1. I won’t have my running partner to distract me/encourage me/give me high-fives around mile 10 (where I start getting cranky!) and 2. we won’t be able to officially cross off the state of New York (where this half is) because only I will be completing it. I’m not too concerned about the second part; it just means that I will probably end up running multiple half marathons in NY! I can live with that.

Another announcement: My mom and I will be running our last 5K of the Lowell Good Times Series tomorrow, and the theme for the race could not be a better one to end on- The Dynamic Duo 5K! The way it works is there are teams of 2 (already perfect!), and you can wear a costume with your teammate or not. Awards will be given to teams with the best costume and to teams with the fastest times. You may remember, the last time my mom and I raced as a team, we came in second!! So, we’re pretty psyched for this race. Will we be in costume? You betcha! Wanna know what the costume is? Well, you’ll have to stay tuned for that! 

In preparation for my plans to run a fast 5K tomorrow, I did a short, fast run this morning.

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Woohoo! That’s what I’m talking about!! This is really speedy for me! And, I maintained this over a 2.5 mile distance, so I’m hopeful that I should be able to stretch it out to 3.1 miles tomorrow. Did it feel good? Not at all (there were moments when I thought puking was a distinct possibility). But we runners have always been good at pushing ourselves past the boundaries of discomfort, haven’t we?

As I was logging my morning run into RunKeeper, I also checked out my total mileage since I started using the app on July 29th-

total mileage

 

70 total miles!!! I never used to be good about recording my mileage, but now I can see why some people are so crazed about it! It feels pretty darn cool to be able to look back and think about how far you’ve come (literally! har har har), by the strength and power of your own body. No car or gas required. 

you know your a runner resize

Source- pinterest.com

 

This is definitely true for me!! I have no idea how many miles I have on my car right now- oops

Do you keep track of your mileage? If so, do you do it for motivation or to simply know when you should invest in a new pair of sneakers?

 

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A Look Back At Summer ’13

Happy Friday to you! 

Given that I will be leaving for school a week from today (eek!), I wanted to do a post looking back on the summer. It’s been an incredible past few months for me, and I want to take a moment to look back at the journey. As part of the commemorative aspect of this post, I did a photo shoot today of the new t-shirts I acquired this summer. There’s a lot of ‘em!

May– I came home from school in mid-May, and immediately start cooking and eating healthier. I begin browsing the internet for food and fitness inspiration and discover the wide world of health blogs! I’m hooked right from the start. At the end of May, I begin work as a head camp counselor at a track and field camp.

As a gift for being a head coach, I received this stylish, collared tech tee!

As a gift for being a head coach, I received this stylish, collared tech tee!

June- After playing around with the idea for a while, I take the leap and start my own blog! Adventures of A Mother-Daughter Running Duo officially opens on WordPress. I run a 5K in pouring rain and my iPod does not survive. I also run the “Lowell is Boston Strong” 5K.

The Boston Strong T-shirt is one of my faves from the summer

The Boston Strong T-shirt is one of my faves from the summer

July- My mom and I take a mini-vacation to Boothbay Maine and have many adventures. After returning, we run the “Berna’s Great Legs” 5K and place second in the Mother-Daughter Division. Go us!! 

Berna's Great Legs t-shirt

Berna’s Great Legs t-shirt

A few days later, we tackle the Shipyard Old Port Half-Marathon and learn firsthand how much heat/humidity impacts running performance. We survive despite the horrid weather. We have 2 shirts from this one- they were selling a different design on the day of the race, and my mom and I couldn’t resist!

Look what happens when Brady realizes he's missing out on photo-shoot fun!

Look what happens when Brady realizes he’s missing out on photo-shoot fun!

 

The shirts we decided to buy!

The shirts we decided to buy!

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Two weeks later, I do my first triathlon!!!

Wild Cat Sprint Triathlon t-shirt!

Wild Cat Sprint Triathlon t-shirt!

August- I visit my college roommate in NY. A week later, my mom and I run the Monadnock Half Marathon, crossing off the state of NH!

Does this shade of green look familiar? It should- it's exactly the same as the Berna's Great Legs tee!

Does this shade of green look familiar? It should- it’s exactly the same as the Berna’s Great Legs tee!

I also wanted to share some favorite new accessories I acquired this summer!

First off, my lovely new iPod Nano and slap-bracelet running case. It holds my iPod perfectly while I run, but also allows me to press buttons easily (unlike those armbands).

New iPod and running case!

New iPod and running case!

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Secondly, my Boothbay baseball cap with a dog on it. The dog bears a striking resemblance to Keeper, thus increasing its awesome-ness by a factor of 1,000!

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Thirdly, my glamorous new shades- bought in NYC for $5. Gotta love a bargain!

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Lastly, my super cute “running bear” bracelet my mom made for me (she has a matching one in a lighter shade of green!). My mom decided the bear looked like it could run fast and that it would bring us speedier times. I agree. 

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I think it’s safe to say it’s been a busy summer? I’m so proud of all my mom and I have accomplished in these short 3 months, and I’M SO EXCITED FOR WHAT’S TO COME!!  Bring on the fall- new challenges, new faces, and so many NEW ADVENTURES! It’s gonna be good.

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Pedicures and First 5Ks!

Hello again! 

I’m sad (well… maybe a little excited too!) to say that the summer is really beginning to wind down.

9 days banner

That’s right! 9 days from now, I’ll be heading back to college, preparing to start my junior year. It’s scary how fast time flies.

To rejuvenate our feet after a summer of running, my mom and I got pedicures yesterday! You remember the picture of my blister? Well, there have been a lot of those these past few months, so a little pampering was definitely in order. When we came home, I was able to snap this picture of an adorable bunny rabbit chilling in our backyard. Luckily, Brady and Keeper didn’t spot this little guy, so he was able to enjoy our yard in peace.

pedi collage

In the evening, my mom and I met up with my friend Ramya to take her to her first 5K ever!!!! And boy, it was a good one- the Lowell Good Times Series Bikini Night 5K! Yes, some women (and men too, actually…) DO run in nothing but skimpy, 2-piece bathing suits. I gotta hand it to them; I can’t say I’m quite that courageous! (*As a sidenote, wardrobe malfunctions can occur! My mom, good samaritan that she is, stopped to help a young girl retie her bathing suit top, even though it meant my mom missed getting a PR by just a few seconds…)

We did get into the spirit of things by wearing brightly colored Hawaiian leis- a tropical alternative that’s a little more low-key than full on bikinis.

A little sweaty post-race, but happy!

A little sweaty post-race, but happy!

Despite a rainy start to the day, by race time, we had near-perfect weather for running- overcast with a  slight breeze. Ramya had admitted to me that she was a little nervous, something that I’m sure was not helped by her dad asking what she planned on doing “if she couldn’t finish”. I told her we could take it at whatever pace she wanted, and that I would be there to walk with her if necessary.

Walking was soooo not necessary.

While we started at the back of the crowd, Ramya set the pace to just under a 9 minute mile- and looked calm and collected while doing it!  Before I knew it, we were passing people left and right. The miles flew by, and before I knew it, we were crossing the finish line, and the clock read 27:45!!!! That’s right, we came in under 30 minutes in her first ever 5k!!!! I don’t really remember my time from my first 5K, but I’m pretty darn sure it wasn’t that fast.

Yes, that's a man in a speedo in the background.

Yes, that’s a man in a speedo in the background.

And, to top it all off, she got a little trophy to commemorate her first 5K! What an awesome night.

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Smile! First 5K trophy

Smile! First 5K trophy

 

Running your first race is such a special experience, and I hope one that she’ll continue to build on by running more in the future! I would certainly be excited to have another running buddy for my future races! 

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Week of the Fantastic 5Ks!

Hello again!

So this past week was a pretty fun week for my mom and I for races! First, we had the Good Times Series 5K on Tuesday night, and on Thursday, we tried a new race- the Berna’s Great Legs 5K. This race, we learned is the 2nd oldest women-only race in the US!! Pretty darn cool.

The stars must have been aligned for us this week (good sign for our half-marathon, fingers crossed!), because we ended up having some very good luck in both races!

So first- the race on Tuesday. My goal was to aim for consistent 8 min/mile pace for all 3 miles. I figured this would challenge me, but not leave my legs totally dead for the half on Sunday. I ended up coming in at 24:02, with a 7:40 pace- I think I must have pushed it the last mile because my iPod had been estimating my pace to be much closer to 8 min/mi. throughout the race. But, I’m never too upset to run faster than planned.  My mom did AWESOME too, coming in with a chip time of 26:25, setting a new PR for herself!

Here I am in the blue behind the green-shirted runner =)

Here I am in the blue behind the green-shirted runner =)

My mom's the one in blue cruisin' along!

My mom’s the one in blue in the middle, cruisin’ along!

It didn’t end there though! One of the fun things about the Good Times Series 5k’s is that they give away prizes and stuff after the race while everyone chows down on some pizza. There’s also a raffle every week where you can put in a dollar and guess how many people ran PRs. We decided to enter (even though we’d never done it before), and guessed that there were 33 PRs.

AND GUESS WHAT?!

THERE WERE! One other person had also guessed correctly, so we had to split the money, but we ended up with a nice cash prize anyway. I’ve promised my mom that I’ll treat us to some goodies at the half-marathon this weekend- maybe some race paraphernalia and iced coffees?

So that was a darn good start to the week.

Then, Thursday we ran the Berna’s Great Legs 5K. We registered as a mother-daughter team for this under the name “Team 50 Adventures” (get it?! you probably do.)

Team 50 Adventures, ready to go!

Team 50 Adventures, ready to go!

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That last picture is us with our aggressive, game-faces on. Please, don’t judge us.  We ran this race together and came in at 27:01- again, we didn’t want to go too fast and risk having tired legs for Sunday’s half. This gave us a combined time of 54:02 – and A SECOND PLACE FINISH for the mother-daughter teams! Clearly, the game-faces worked.

We got an awesome trophy and a 1 year subscription to New England Runner.

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And medals.

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And shirts.

So. Much. Loot! 

I’m thinking our good luck’s going to continue with the half-marathon on Sunday, but who knows! We’ve started carbo-loading (wish I could carbo-load continuously!) and I think we are ready. I’ll let yall know how it all ends up.  Wish us continuing good luck! 

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