So, to back it up a bit: I ran Spartan Race Citizens Bank Park in Philly on a Saturday… and then the Delaware Mud Run at Frightland the next day.

I ran as part of a team with three women from my CrossFit box (two Laurens and a Heather) and I’m glad I did, but man, getting out of bed in the morning was not a happy time. There was some rending of clothes and gnashing of teeth and wailing of WHAT WAS I THINKING.

My left calf was super tight— I’m guessing it was running all those stairs— and all the aggressive tennis-balling in the world couldn’t get it to loosen up. (Based on how I felt on Monday, I’m going to say it was actually my ankle that was messed up and the tightness in my calf was a result of that stiffness.)

100% of proceeds from the Delaware Mud Run benefit the Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware, so if you’ve never run I’d say please plan on it for next year! Here’s the lowdown so you can prepare.

Or, if you’re not local: here’s a bunch of pictures of me looking dumb. Enjoy!


group_DEmudrunPhoto? Oh, let me look over here for a sec. These ladies kick my ass in group photo posing.


The run:

There’s a fair amount of running, unlike Spartan where the running is well broken up by the obstacles. Here, the obstacles tended to be grouped together, especially at the end.

The running is all hard packed mud/grass and trails, a good deal of it hilly, and it did not do wonders for my ouchy calf/ankle. It did not help that volunteers told us on at least five different occasions that we were halfway there. There is a special place in hell for people that do that.




The scenery:

Pretty awesome, actually. Cornfields and the backdrop of Frightland (I’m guessing. I’ve never been.) There was a lot of cool stuff to look at, which is always a bonus when you’re a runner that hates running.






The obstacles:

Comparatively easy, mostly climbing over big mounds of dirt or using a rope to get up the side of one. Some crawlthroughs and crawl unders that were rough on the knees, a net wall and a couple 6 foot walls. There were a couple obstacles that were more mentally difficult than physically: walking across a log over water (a log that I would run across if it were on the ground, but I cautiously inched across because I was afraid of falling in), tightroping over water.

The worst one by far in my opinion was a rope swing where you had no choice but to let go and land in the water. My own fear of water aside, people were showboating— which is fine— but they weren’t watching their timing, so they were totally landing right on top of other people. I did the most pansy-ass swing imaginable so I wouldn’t get totally soaked (this was pretty early in the run) and got out of there as fast as I could.

My favorite was a slide into an ice bath, which totally woke my legs up. Right after we cleared it, we watched a dump truck unload tons more ice— it’s entirely possible I would have felt differently going in at that point.



mud_climbphoto credit Lauren’s mom

v-wall photo credit Lauren’s mom



The mud:

At this point I’ve done my fair share of mud runs, and this was one of the muddiest; as in, the whole dang course was muddy. And as Kelly (who ran with a different team) said, it smelled like a whole different kind of mud. We had a soaking rain a couple days before and I guess they wet it some more the day before, but in any case it was stinky. And we were one of the first waves on a relatively cool, overcast morning; I can’t imagine high noon in the hot sun! Not telling you as a deterrent, mind you, just letting you know so you’re mentally prepared.


net_under photo credit Lauren’s mom


photo credit Lauren’s mom
Clearly, I didn’t want any of that getting in my mouth.


photo credit Lauren’s mom


The cleanup:

Fairly standard mud run “showers”— plenty of hoses. I’ve been to some where they ran out of water or the water pressure on the hoses was near nil but that wasn’t a problem here. The mud came off surprisingly well, but you’re still going to want to bring a change of clothes (there were little popup changing stations for a bit of privacy which was nice), bags for your wet/dirty stuff, and a towel to sit on for the ride home.

There was a potential creeper taking photos of the hoseoff area with a zoom lens that Heather was giving the skunk eye, so it was pretty funny to find Lauren’s mom had also taken some pics of us in the showers 🙂





The verdict:

A great first obstacle course race or even first 5k, and a good choice for breaking out those costumes. Some mental hurdles for those who can’t swim or have a fear of water, but definitely doable.

You can run individually or as part of a team of four. Teams have to finish together to have their time count, so if you run with a team choose people that are at about your level physically or won’t mind waiting for you (or vice versa). I was our team’s weakest link for sure.

Although the day is child-friendly (and spectators are free, there’s just a $5/car parking fee), the race is for ages 14 and up. Delaware Mud Run Jr (1.5 miles for kids ages 6-13) happens in June.

Excellent people watching. Bring money for the after-festival; Heather and I refueled with some pumpkin beer and funnel cakes. Mmmm. Breakfast of champions.

It’s fun and you should sign up next year.



 Seriously, these girls have got group shots down pat, especially #411 Heather there in the middle.
Me, not so much.


But I’m looking at the camera in this one!


The next day:

I didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought I would after Spartan on Saturday, and a race the next day that was a whole lot more running than I was used to. (And there was none of that funny business during either race with my foot going numb!)

My left ankle was swollen, either from my failed rope climb or too many stairs: it didn’t hurt but I wasn’t getting full range of motion for sure. I was walking like I had a peg leg, but I still went to my RivFit class. No rest for the wicked 🙂

I wouldn’t say I’ve caught the running bug again, but I have a whole lot more running to do over the next 6 weeks. That I signed up for. Voluntarily. Like I’m a runner or something.


I’m not an athlete, I just play one on the internet.

Wish me luck.



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There’s something so thrilling about signing up for an event that last year you just weren’t ready for.

In 2012 I (through my job at FitFluential) worked with the Men’s Health team on a Twitter chat promoting their urban obstacle course race series, the Urbanathlon. I thought it sounded like SO MUCH FUN when I was researching for the chat, but was pretty sure I couldn’t handle the 9.5-11 mile distance separating the awesome obstacles. At that time, they offered a relay option for teams of three, but I didn’t know two other people that would run it with me.

How times have changed! In two years I’ve made lots of friends who’d be willing to trek to NYC and take on the urban playground. And the Urbanathlon now offers a new sprint distance in addition to their classic distance.

I’m thinking you can guess what happens next.




As part of a FitFluential campaign (have I mentioned lately that I love my job?) Kelly and I, in our normal “I’m not really an athlete, I just play one on the internet” fashion are headed to Citi Field on October 25th to hurdle barricades and taxicabs, run lots of stadium stairs and climb over buses in the Men’s Health Urbanathlon. They’re providing me with a comped registration so I was left with no excuses 🙂

We’re going to nudge our running friends who don’t really OCR and our CrossFit Riverfront boxmates who don’t really run to join us, and you should too! The obstacles look challenging but easily doable (no monkeybars, WOOT WOOT since I still can’t really do them) and the sprint distance is totally manageable.


So here’s the 411 on the Urbanathlon:

  • 3 dates, 3 cities: 10/18 Soldier Field in Chicago, 10/25 Citi Field in NYC, 11/23 AT&T Park in San Francisco
  • Classic distance is 10-12 miles, 14 obstacles; sprint is 3-5 miles, 7 obstacles. NYC is 4.5 miles.
  • Women are welcome! Participants must be ages 18 and up though.
  • Post race festival features DJ sets, food and drink, and tons of swag from sponsors to demo, sample and take home.
  • Save 20% off registration with code FIT.


Urbanathlon discount code



Signing up for lots of scary things this October… I have at least 2 more to tell you about. What are you up to?



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I hear it a lot.

People counseling each other not to compare. Not to worry about being good enough.

“If you run, you’re a runner.”

OK, well, I run. And it’s frustrating, because I really have not grown to love running, have never felt that “runner’s high.”

My brother told me that I was looking for something more dramatic than it is. “You know, that feeling you get sometimes when you feel like you could keep going forever.”

Yeah, I’ve never had that either.

I don’t hate every run, but I do feel that I fight for every mile. I like stopping.

I like what running does for my body. I like being a good example for my kids. I like feeling faster, stronger.

And lately, that’s the real issue. I’m as slow as I’ve ever been, as slow as when I first started after years of inactivity. It seems like all the work I’ve been doing for the last 18 months was for nothing.

Wait, don’t pounce yet. Hear me out.



Love this photo. Postrun and I look miserable.


I read recently— it kills me that I can’t find the article to link to— that you have to be careful not to cross an imaginary line when you start training for a triathlon. For most runners, the swim will be the weak point. I bitch and moan every week in swim class because my legs sink in the water and throw off my plane; my instructors tell me that’s normal for runners. Different muscles, legs are more dense than your top.

The article warned against putting in too many training hours to perfect your swimming technique, against crossing that imaginary line. From runner to triathlete. From crosstraining to something more.

Because if you’re primarily a runner, if you want running to be your strongest point, you should be running.

Makes sense, right? If you’re a runner, you run. You find the time. You train with running in mind. You swim to be a better runner, as opposed to taking time from your running to be a better swimmer.


I’ve given it some thought and I don’t think I’m willing to give all those hours to running after all.

I’ll still run.

I’ll still plan to do a half in the fall, and some shorter races beforehand. But I’ll just be running. Not racing. Not obsessing over numbers. Not beating myself up for not improving in some quantifiable way.

I’m letting the times go, just focusing on the miles.

But I’m loving trying new classes too much to let them all go. I love my yoga. I love finding time to do physical activities with my kids. And I’ll admit, I love seeing improvement week after week in swim class.


I’m prioritizing enjoying my fitness activities, and trusting that will yield the best results. Science is totally backing me up on this.



I love awkward photos.

crossfit riverfront

I love snuggling with puppies and Instagramming disgustingly sweaty pics post-RivFit.



A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

—Robert Heinlein


Specialization is for insects. And for specialists, I suppose.

But right now it’s not for me. Right now I’m all about being well-rounded, about being flexible, about having fun with my fitness, about trying new things, about enjoying being a jack of all trades and master of none. I think it’s my best way to model a healthy lifestyle for my kids.

The fitness world loves to say #NoExcuses, and maybe I am just making excuses.

I’m saying, well, I guess I’m saying #SometimesExcuses.

And if anyone wants to judge me for that, well. 🙂

Honey Badger Mom don’t care.




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Not that you’ve asked, but I’m a sweaty beast. I don’t know when it happened. When I was younger, I never sweated. Like never, no matter how hot it was or what I was doing.

Then when I started exercising in earnest about 18 months ago I learned things have changed. Maybe it’s a slower metabolism or differing hormones or advanced age or a combination of factors, but now I sweat like it’s going out of style. At my RivFit class this week I apologized to the girl doing box jumps next to me because I was pretty sure droplets of sweat were flinging off the ends of my pigtails. I could actually feel sweat pooling on my eyelids.

My children recoil and run away when I come home after a run or workout. I am slick with sweat. I am disgusting. I find it strangely fascinating and hugely satisfying.

Anyway, with the new sweatiness I’ve developed a definite preference for tech fabrics and for certain cuts of bottoms (I’ll cover that another time; for now suffice it to say I really hate the feel of sweat rolling down my legs under pants). There is nothing worse than walking around in a shirt soppy in cold sweat.

If you follow me on Instagram or FB you’ve seen this shirt YMX by Yellowman sent me. A lot. I’ve worn it to kickboxing, RivFit, yoga, the gym and running. And to dinner. And the beach.


YMX tank


It’s the Black Living Peony Tank. It’s in my top 5 most worn tops right now for a lot of reasons, but first I want to give you a bit of background about the design.

YMX apparel is collectible, wearable tattoo art. The company founder traveled the globe tracking down and building up a library of tattoo art spanning Japanese Irezumi, Maori Tribal, American Traditional, New School, Biomechanical, even rare work from a remote Buddhist monk in Thailand. Why? Tattoos are universal yet culturally symbolic. They cross cultural borders and attitudes. If you’re inked, you get it. Tattoos have meaning and they bring people together.


ymx black peony


YellowMan founder, Peter Mui, started the concept of YellowMan under that premise that skin color should never be a barrier against social status. He should know. Chinese blood, and Oklahoma native, his identity breaks all the usual cultural stereotypes. He’s true to all dimensions of his identity, proudly exuding his Chinese heritage on one side and down-home country singer on the other. Tall, broad-shouldered, and overflowing with confidence, Peter Mui can not be packaged into any preconceived category.

And so it is that he thumbs his nose on the derogatory label “Yellow,” and instead declares it a badge of integrity and pride for those who dare to be different.

Speaking as someone who has similarly reclaimed “derogatory” ethnic labels (I like to answer the inevitable “what are you?” with “Oriental- like the rug”) I can’t even tell you how much I love this, and it’s pretty much enough to make me a brand loyalist all on its own.


YMX by yellowman


But BONUS! DOUBLE PRIZES! this gear is high quality stuff, folks.

  • Most notably, it is light and sweat wicking like nobody’s business. The design also helps mask all that sweat so people passing by on the street aren’t horrified by what a slimy mess you are.
  • The sweat evaporates quickly. It also dries quickly out of the wash.
  • It’s got SPF 30+ UV protection built in.
  • It’s soft and comfortable.
  • The fabric has a slight sheen that makes it look dressy, as does the detailing around the neck.
  • It’s hard wearing, having gone through the wash umpteen times it still looks like new.
  • Available for men and in plus sizes, unlike a lot of fitness apparel companies.
  • It doesn’t wrinkle. At all. This makes it particularly nice for traveling, as it doesn’t make you look like a slob (some people would say “doesn’t require ironing” but let’s be real folks, I haven’t ironed since I stopped working at Small’s Formal Wear in 1996), takes up like NO suitcase space and does double duty as workout or everyday wear.


ymx at the beach


YMX also sent me a long sleeve top, the Elemental Earth in pink. I don’t have many pics of this one as a) I generally prefer tank tops even in cold weather and b) when I did wear it to run, I wore it as a base layer which isn’t very interesting to photograph. As a base layer it’s ideal, both for the sweat wicking and because it’s so light you don’t even notice it’s there.

The tech fabric is temperature regulating, which means that it’ll stay cool if I wear it over a sports bra for early morning beach runs (which I intend to, so as to avoid tan lines), but also that it kept me warm and toasty when I wore it under a hoodie for winter runs.

This outfit is a good example of one you can get away with all day and then wear for a run. Just change your shoes. Or rock your sneaks all day if you’re so inclined. (Running skirt is Palm Beach Athletic Wear.)


YXM long sleeve


It’s worth noting that both the sleeveless and long sleeve styles are cut close with a ton of stretch. What that means is that there’s no peekaboo cleavage issues, and my biceps look kind of awesome in the clingy long sleeve. While I usually freak about “grabby” clothes, I don’t mind these at all because they’re so soft & stretchy and there’s no issues with seams (I just checked to see if they had seams. They do, but I honestly didn’t know, so there you go). You CAN see bra lines and pant waist lines, I’m used to that but if you have issues size up.

Are they big box cheap? Nope, and they’re not disposable big box quality either. These are built to last through all seasons and are appropriate for a variety of sports. (The sun protection is a valuable added value.) You can also wear them as badass casual wear.

As I say, quality is the new sustainable, and I think these are excellent investment pieces. The trick is just to find the design that speaks to you and you’ll get the most wear out of.

I think they did a good job picking out prints for me but it was still easy to find more faves:


YMX by Yellowman


Join us on Twitter tonight for a chat with YMX by Yellowman and you’ll have a chance to win your own top! Hashtag is #lifeartsport, chat takes place at 9EST, and I’ll be tweeting from the @FitFluential account.

Tell me if you see a design you like.

Tell me if you have a tattoo. Or are planning on one.

Tell me if you find strange satisfaction in rivers of sweat.

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As part of my decision to LEAP this year, I’ve been trying new things. Things that scare me.

It started with overcoming a fear of the water and learning to swim. And then almost immediately deciding on doing a sprint triathlon in 2014, to make sure I don’t stop or give up— giving myself the out of “good enough.”

The next seemingly obvious step was to commit to the idea of a half marathon. Unfortunately, the one I wanted to run (Delaware Half) sold out before I had my $ together, so that’s on hold for the fall.

Then I roped Kelly into signing up for kickboxing classes with me. Those were tough for the first couple of classes, but by the end we had figured out the choreography and were actually looking forward to it.

Our next fitness adventure was 10 RivFit classes at CrossFit Riverfront, bought through Groupon. These are described as “perfect for the non-athlete or beginner athlete looking shed weight and body fat,” and although I was nervous about going, I figured I was beyond beginner athlete. I run. I swim. I hit the gym. I do pushups and pullups at home. I’d been kicking box.

Holy hell.

I want to get my thoughts on these first classes down before I get in too deep, so we can all see the progress. Or lack thereof. 🙂

SO, to start, I was late to the first class. I checked in and was pointed to where the RivFit class happens. The area was empty— everyone had already just started on the first bit of the warmup, which was a 200 meter run. I put my water bottle down and tried to follow what everyone else was doing.


CrossFit Riverfront


First class.

Warmup. 3 rounds:

200meter run
10 pushups
10 air squats
10 situps

Not too bad. Not sure how many pushups I’d be doing within the hour, I wussed and did girly pushups.

Guess what? No girly pushups in RivFit. F*ck.

The workout, as best as I can remember with Kelly’s help, was:

400 meter run
30 pushups
40 turkish twists
50 squats w/ medicine ball
60 burpees
50 lunges w/ medicine ball
40 kettle bell swings
30 situps
200 meter run
30min limit.

When it was revealed Kelly looked over at me and said, “What did you get us into?” and all I could do was shake my head. As I was still winded from the warmup.

I pretty much felt like dying, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t going to keep up with the 20-somethings in the class (I came in 6th or 7th, I think). Afterwards I sat outside with Kelly, in theory to wait out rush hour traffic, but actually having a sort of out-of-body experience where I talked her ear off about who knows what. I don’t remember anything about that conversation.

I also had a ridic allergy attack from sucking wind, I guess, and was sneezing every 15 seconds or so. It was a fun ride home.

The next day I was walking all bowlegged. I was fine if sitting or standing, but getting up was an ordeal. At one point Cass knocked something off the bathroom counter, and I told her in all seriousness that there was no possible way I was getting down there to pick it up.

Ohmigod I did not want to go to my second class. I didn’t dread giving birth to Cass anywhere near as much (and that’s after two natural births, the first involving tearing and the second involving a 9.5lb baby with notably broad shoulders. TMI? Perhaps, but now you have perspective.)

Luckily I had Kelly meeting me and the implied guilt if failing to do so; I really don’t know if I would have gone without her.


Second class.

Warmup involved some running, squats and kettlebell swings, I don’t recall exactly. Thankfully no running in the workout as it was hot as hades.

Workout, give or take (I really suck at remembering these, I blame short term memory loss due to oxygen deprivation):

10 jumping jacks
20 mountain climbers
30 burpees
40 box jumps
50 air squats
40 pushups
30 kettlebell swings
20 tricep dips
10 lunges
200x single unders (or 100 double unders)
Time limit 25minutes.

The sad thing is, I looked at that board and thought, that’s doable. Only 30 burpees. 40 pushups = 2 sets of 20, I can do that.

I hadn’t really considered how much it sucks to do pushups after burpees. I got into a groove jumping the rope along to the beat of the Katy Perry song playing, even managing the occasional double under, but once the song was over I lost focus and coordination and could only do maybe 5 jumps at a time for the 35 or so I had left.

Also? The counting is in some ways the hardest part, when all you want to do is stop.

This one took me 18:45 and knocked me flat on my back for a couple of minutes once I was done.




Third class.

Warm up was as a seemingly random series of moves: front and back lunges, crab walk, squat walk, sit ups, and so forth, not horribly taxing.


25 burpees
10 wall balls
10 kettle bell swings

You had 4 minutes to do the burpees and as many sets of the wall balls and kettlebell swings as possible; each completed set counted as 1 point. 1 min rest in between and then you started again with the burpees. 5 rounds.

I basically looked at that and said shiiiiiiittttt. That’s 125 burpees before you even get into scoring.

My score was pretty pathetic (4 + 4, or four completed rounds and 4 half completed) but I did every one of those 125 burpees, dammit. There is no way on god’s green earth that would have been possible two weeks ago.

Not only that, but I didn’t feel too bad the next day, either. Which, as I told Kelly, made me feel like I should have pushed harder. Which in turn made me want to punch myself in the face.


So, verdict so far as a relative newbie:

People will tell you that you don’t have to have a solid athletic base to do CrossFit, as it is scalable to your fitness level. Either these people are liars, or it will vary from box to box. Keep in mind that I am reasonably fit and this isn’t even proper CrossFit, but more a bootcamp-type class. See if you can sneak in for a preview.

There is a definite sense of camaraderie among the class attendees. We’re all in this hell together.

I really like our teacher, Szabi, who is a peculiar blend of inappropriate humor, soft-spokenness, and ass kicking.

I have pushed harder than I ever have, in these classes. Partially because I am competitive, partially because it’s only 30 minutes or less and I’m acutely aware of that. Would I ever do 125 burpees at home? NOT ON YOUR LIFE.

I’ve also voluntarily pushed harder at home. Rather than doing smaller sets of pushups, I’ve been trying to keep it up until absolute failure. (I know what that feels like now. There have been times when I’ve had 2 pushups left and thought I wasn’t capable of doing them.)

I have wanted to vomit at least a dozen times, but not badly enough that Szabi has kindly stood nearby with the bucket.

I am way stronger already, 3 classes in. The DOMS have seriously lessened. This works, and that’s why I’m going to keep going.

We’ll see how I feel about it once I’ve finished the 10 classes, but right now I’m inclined to think I’m going to want to try and talk Jeff into a family membership to CrossFit. I think he and Jake (my 15yo) would LOVE the non-traditional gym feel and competitiveness of it.

CrossFit Riverfront also offers rowing, yoga and CrossFit Kids classes; Maverick would enjoy the badassery and individual sport, Cass loves everything athletic. And compared to other boxes CrossFit Riverfront is a good deal for the money.

And that’s my foray into CrossFit thus far. Hope my abject humiliation was enjoyable 🙂





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