So I love you, because the entire universe conspired to help me find you. – Paulo Coelho

It’s been one week and you must be on the edge of your seat, bursting with desire for the unknown finish to last week’s special edition Valentine’s Day post. If you’re following me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, then you probably have an idea as to the outcome of my trek from New York –> Boston –> …Houston? Did my flight make it out of Boston despite Storm Pax and all the flight cancellations so that Luke and I could have our Texas Road Trip?

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I’ll give a hint with one of my favorite quotes from The Alchemist.

“And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho

While Mother Nature must not have initially been on our side, I’m thoroughly convinced that the universe was. After over 12 hours of traveling via a variety of methods of transportation and then anxiously waiting in my hotel room for an additional three hours for Luke’s delayed flight to arrive, I greeted my exhausted boyfriend at 11:30 pm on Valentine’s Day. Just enough time to wish each other Happy Valentine’s Day with a couple tears of bliss, and partial delirious exhaustion. vday2014We only spent 30 minutes of our first Valentine’s Day together, but it was the best Valentine’s Day I have ever had. Not only that, but despite having less than 72 hours together, we had quite the weekend planned to make up for it.

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We always start our road trips off with a stop for snacks and Rock Star Energy Drinks to prep us for a good few hours of jamming out to some of our favorite songs. Or in this case, whatever we could pick up from the radio in the middle of nowhere Texas. I can’t complain though, with the weather being sunny and warm enough to drive with our windows down, we were happy campers and on our way to Austin!   Road Trip  First stop was Austin to experience our first Cupid’s Undie Run, a fun run to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. I got a little excited as we drove up when I saw how funky and alive Austin was. It could have been the incredible weather, or the fact that I was finally with the love of my life, but the energy was contagious.

cupidrun  The Cupid’s Undie Run was a huge success and an absolute blast! We decided every year we want to choose a new location and be involved in it, though I loved having the run in Austin where I couldn’t help but shout out “It’s the middle of February, I’m running in my sports bra, and I am sweating!”. That’s comparable to Sunni’s happy booty he gets when we run together.

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Afterwards we walked around Austin and decided to choose a place to have lunch the old fashion way, no Yelp involved. (Luke likes to give me a difficult time because I am a Yelp Queen!) We were both Starvin Marvin and quickly decided on the Iron Cactus because

A. It had a rooftop and it was far too nice out to be indoors.

B. They offered tableside guacamole, which made my Guac King a happy man.

And C. It was 3:00 pm and the place was packed with people! Usually a good indicator of a good restaurant.

We were not disappointed in our decisions and both agreed the guacamole was the best we’ve ever had, and we’ve had our fair share of guac.

Of course you can’t go to the Live Music Capital of the Country without well, listening to some of the best live music your ears have ever heard. We enjoyed walking along the streets of Downtown Austin and walking into different venues that each had their own mood and style. A little bit of classic country, some new age country, and my favorite, a soul inspired music band who looked like they walked right out of the 60’s. You couldn’t help but feel your hips sway as they played a few Rolling Stone hits and one of our favorites (since Wayne’s World was one of the connections that came up during the first night we met), “Foxy Lady” by Mr. Hendrix.butterehalf Before leaving Austin and heading to our next destination, we had to stop and take a picture by the “You’re my ‘Butter’ half” sign. Then it was more driving (and singing and goofy picture taking) and on our way to San Antonio!  I couldn’t believe how lucky we were to have had a room so close to the River Walk that we could toss a penny off our balcony into it. We also had the most beautiful view of the San Fernando Cathedral with the sun setting behind it.

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The morning started out with one of my favorite hotel workouts overlooking the River Walk. I made sure it was a doozy of a workout since I had the motivation of devouring a Texas shaped Belgian Waffle afterwards. Luke and I then enjoyed breakfast on the River Walk before heading out to see one of our favorite country singers, Randy Houser.

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To our surprise, not only were we going to see Randy Houser, but our tickets also got us into the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. This rodeo has been the winner of the “Largest Indoor Rodeo” for the last nine years and we were able to watch it celebrate its 65th Anniversary. Watching the bull riding and laughing at the rodeo clown took me back to growing up and attending rodeos with my family when my little sister was between the stages of wanting to be in a rodeo and still thinking she was in fact a horse. Sorry for releasing that secret Reba.

Rodeo

There were several Idahoans competing who Luke and I cheered slightly obnoxiously for. While Luke enjoys the Barrel Racing and I get into the Tie Down Roping, we both agreed Mutton Bustin’ is our favorite area of the competition where they put little tykes on sheep and see how long they can stay on them. The best part is watching those little kids slide off to the point where they are hanging on to the sheep’s belly and still hanging in there as the sheep prances around. I think we may have to have our future kids partake in Mutton Bustin’….is that cruel??   A couple of entertaining hours later, Randy Houser was brought into the arena on a Ford Pickup and did not disappoint with his performance. Not only is that man talented, but is he ever a performer! Definitely recommend seeing him in concert if you’re a country lover.

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We finished off the day with a walk on The Alamo and then enjoyed the summerlike evening with a stroll along the River Walk followed by dinner next to the river. It was truly a perfect end to our weekend.  Though we didn’t get to have as long of a trip together as we planned, we both agreed it was one of our favorite trips and definitely made for quite the story in the end. All I can say is thank you universe for working to make it a weekend we will never, ever forget.

San Antonio

“So I love you, because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.” – Paulo Coelho

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Men’s Health Urbanathlon- Turning the city into an athlete’s playground

So you’re thinking about partaking in a race so extreme that you may be unable to move any muscle in your body for a week and possibly sacrifice the ability to have your first born child. Okay, the latter part of that statement may be pushing it a bit much. But as for the intensity of the soreness that will come within completion of this event, a week may even be an understatement.

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   Source: Getting Dirty

That’s right, I’m talking about one of the most popular runs that has engaged all types of athletes and has brought a whole new meaning to the term, “obstacle course”. It’s more than just a run, and it’s more than a few exercises and obstacles. This obstacle course race combines the endurance of running mixed with the strength and agility to overcome obstacles and places them back to back to create the most grueling activity one can put their body through. Some obstacle courses include mud others include fire and other extremities to get the heart racing, the blood pumping, and the adrenaline running to push even the fittest athletes to their maximum extremity. The Men’s Health Urbanathlon takes a city and turns it into an athlete’s playground.

Clip of Men’s Health Urbanathlon

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Source: Getting Dirty

After running in several races, training for a half marathon, having color thrown in my face while running, and swimming through mud, I decided it was time to take on one of the biggest urban obstacle course races in the world. The Men’s Health Urbanathlon held right here in the heart of New York City. It’s been on my bucketlist for a couple of years and now that I’m living in the city, I decided I had no excuse to pass up the opportunity to put my body and mind to the test and take on the adventure with my New York City soul mate. What exactly does the Men’s Health Urbanathlon entail?

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Source: Men’s Health Urbanathlon

-10 mile run with a different obstacle every mile

-Marine hurdles

-6 taxis

-2 buses with 100 foot cargo net

-1 mile of stairs at Citi Field

-Wall climbing

-Tires and barricades

-10 feet of monkey bars

-16 feet of parallel bars

-Crawling under, jumping over, and squeezing through a variety of obstacles

-A final 40 yard sprint to the finish line

And to top it all off, every single obstacle must be completed. If one is unable to complete an obstacle, they must perform burpees, pushups, and low rows with the TRX. Hmm…hurdles and climbing or burpees? That could be the most difficult decision I’ll be given that day. Here’s to just completing the set of obstacles the first time!

wall climb

Source: Getting Dirty

I have given myself a personal goal of completing the course in its entirety in under 1:30:00. That means that in addition to my rigorous schedule with completing my personal training certification and working with clients, I will also begin increasing the intensity of my workouts to involve more strength training, endurance, and high intensity interval training (HIIT). Thinking of doing an obstacle course based race? Here are some things to consider as well as an example of a workout to include in your training that should help you prepare for some of the obstacles.OBSTACLE

-Check out the course to mentally prepare yourself for what you’ll be doing so there are no surprises.

-If you see someone else struggling, unless you’re looking to win the whole shebang, offer to help out. You may need it on the next obstacle.

-Give it all you’ve got! But make sure to take proper precaution so you can ensure you are able to give 100% AND complete the course.

  • Stay hydrated. While you should be doing this daily anyways, it’s especially important while engaging in strenuous activity to avoid cramping and dizziness.
  • Fuel up with a light, but filling and energizing breakfast. Try promeal, toast with peanut butter, sliced bananas, and a couple of eggs, or something else with a balance of carbs, fats, and proteins to help fill you and keep your tank full.
  • Dress appropriately. See what the weather will be like that day and dress accordingly. Also, don’t wear your favorite workout attire (we all have our go to running shorts/sports bra/shoes/etc. that make us feel like a champ. Save that for a day when you’re lacking the  motivation to train, not when you’re going to putting your body through obstacles that may cause rips, stains, or completely ruining your clothing.)
  • Avoid injuries by paying attention to your surroundings, taking your time if you are unsure about an obstacle, and wearing form fitting clothing to help make yourself more agile when going under/over/through obstacles.
  • Leading up to the race, include endurance, HIIT, and strength training into your workouts. Here’s an example of a workout to help get you ready.

obstacleprepchallenge

Get creative and see what other workouts you can do to try and replicate the course you’re partaking in!

MEN'S HEALTH URBANATHLON

Source: Men’s Health Urbanathlon

Thinking of signing up for an obstacle course race? Which one?

If you have already done one, what advice would you give a first timer?