This week is a "Double Blog" weekend. Today, Alyssa Untiedt, owner of Honest Balance writes about training for the Tough Mudder Marathon. Honest Balance is the Brown Barn's sister company; manufacturing organic, all-natural bath and body products in Holcombe, WI. Alyssa also happens to be my daughter. When she said she'd be participating in a marathon that involves barbed wire, guantlets of fire and running thru live electrical wires I thought she'd never really do it but right now she is checking into the event and having her contestant numbers written across her forehead with thousands of other participants in Somerset, Wisconsin. Here Alyssa writes about training for the Tough Mudder. Tomorrow, we wil post a blog including pictures and video clips from the Holcombe store staff, who participated in last weekend's Flater's Triathlon. At a future date, Alyssa and her team will write about participating in the actual Tough Mudder event. - Chris
|All registered and ready to dominate, Alyssa Untiedt at Tough Mudder!|
“Goood-mooorniiing, Goood-mooorniiing…” chimes my cell phone before I tap ‘dismiss.’ It’s 5:30 a.m. I happily hop out of bed and head for the closet to pull on some stretchy pants and a sports bra. Opening the curtains to a still-dim sky, I trill ‘Good-morning ladies!’ to the colorful row of orchids adorning the windowsill and then head to the kitchen for a lemon water. Before I leave hook a pull-up bar to the bedroom doorway.
As I sip my water, I punch on the laptop sitting on the kitchen counter and set some high-energy music playing as I check the weather and the news. It’s Thursday so I’m going to do a strength workout. ‘Eye of the Tiger’ plays followed by Enur as I haul a couple kitchen chairs, free weights, a yoga mat, a clock and 4 worn sheets of paper containing my workout for the morning into the living room. Then a series of push-ups, lunges, squats, dips, pull-ups, and planks commences until about a half hour later, panting and sweating, I’ve reached the last exercise on my list and I go to shower and start my work day.
If it’s not a Tuesday or Thursday, I run the other three weekdays, as many miles as my mood will allow me to eke out. I have never been much of a runner (I’ve been an avid swimmer all my life), though it’s not without trying. Generally once a year I am overcome with an urge to sprint and frolic with the same vibrancy of the spring greens blooming and bursting from a warming soil. Unfortunately my legs, even in their most toned and youthful form, exude the daintiness of an oak stump and so does my gait. Eventually all this enthusiastic thumping and stomping about the trails begins to resemble a hobble as my knees protest this unnatural activity, and I am forced to dejectedly abandon my frolic and take to swimming again.
How does it come that this ungainly girl is suddenly running three mornings of the weekdays? Why would any sane (fingers crossed…) 24 year old willingly subject herself to morning hours so incompatible with the lifestyle of reasonably sociable young woman?
Because today this woman is doing the TOUGH MUDDER!!! The Tough Mudder is a hardcore 12 mile obstacle course designed by the British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses, half a million inspiring participants, and more than $2 million dollars raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world.
Doesn’t that sound like fun??? As a born and raised country girl, the images of mud-caked past contestants stir up fond memories spent along a beloved snowmelt swollen creek, dashing up and down the banks to chase the stick I tossed in to race against my brother’s on the opposite bank. Well-worn black Sorels sank deep into muddy banks while brambles grabbed my ankles, sending me to my knees into freezing puddles of ice water. But who can feel that when there’s the thrill of a stick race to keep your blood pumping? (It occurs to me now I skipped more than one track practice to do this very thing…I’m kind of regretting that now. Life is so ironic…)
I imagined the Tough Mudder can’t be too much unlike that, and that it’s the perfect motivation for me to get in shape, so I went ahead and signed up! Instead of my brother to race this time, I’m doing the course with one of my best friends, Lisa, a lanky, giggly, athletic swimmer I met and shared a house with in college. We both agreed to do this together last December and have been trying to mold our swimmer’s legs into running legs ever since.
About five months later, I (never having run more than a mile straight in my life) can now run five miles slooowly, but with no stops, and Lisa can do even more. This wasn’t achieved without a certain degree of pain however…legs used to a soft, aqueous terrain find pavement rather jarring. Very tight calves led to a sore foot which took a few weeks to heal in December. A stubborn blister acquired while snowshoeing in March plagues me still today. Not to mention lots and lots of sore, stiff muscles!
None of this was unbearable, however, much thanks to the plentiful mud and salt baths, essential oil blends, analgesic and soothing body oils, and currently an endless deluge of lavender oil smoothed over that blister. My job has perks, to say the least.
Training for the Tough Mudder has certainly helped me in my quest to learn how to better take care of myself (and in doing so, caring for others too). A relaxing bath becomes a greater priority when I have sore muscles to remind me all day long that they need it. Regular use of quality body oils and self-massage becomes even more important when my circulation and vein health is directly involved in my short-term goals. This in turn reminds me of my long term goals of holistic health and wellness, and keeps me on my path of happiness.
~Alyssa Untiedt, Owner, Honest Balance llc
~Alyssa Untiedt, Owner, Honest Balance llc
Starting time: 9:20am Saturday, May 19th. Link: http://www.toughmudder.com
[I managed to avoid sore knees…I attribute this to my conversion to minimalist/barefoot running. link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barefoot_running#Barefoot-inspired_footwear]