Single or Taken, Make this Valentine’s Day Fun!

Pic for Blog- Single or TakenWho says Valentine’s Day has to be a day of binge eating chocolate and candy? You work hard all year around, so why make this day an exception? Whether you are in a relationship or flying solo this holiday, there are so many activities to get you up and moving. You can’t have fun unless you’re in a relationship on Valentine’s Day? Nonsense! Here are some activities that anyone can do. Not only do you better yourself through physical activity, but also you don’t have to have the holiday guilt from all the sweets. Take the high road this Valentine’s Day and do something awesome!

The “Be Mine 5k” is a race that takes place on February 14th in Janesville, WI. Not only does this race include a medal, but you also receive a sweatshirt that can say, “Might Be Looking, Too Late, It’s Complicated, and I Hate Valentine’s Day”. This gives a fun twist to the holiday that is normally only celebratory for people in relationships. You also receive a one free drink ticket to Hhffrrrgghh’s Inn Restaurant and Bar if you are of age! For more information on how to sign up, check out their website!

If the price tag is a little bit too steep for you, you may be more interested in another Valentine’s Day race such as Valentine’s 5k in Madison, WI. Although this race doesn’t include all of the perks, you’ll still have a great time running it as well as helping support the UW Madison Running Club.

If 5ks are not your thing, perhaps skiing is more up your alley.

You can ski a 2-mile trail at Lake Kegonsa State Park in Stoughton, WI. Being that it is Valentine’s Day, the trail will be lit by candles the whole way. What a peaceful way to spend your night, whether it is with your loved one or with friends. After the ski there will be a cozy bonfire and refreshments. The event goes from 6pm-9pm. For more information, please visit the State park website.

On February 21st There will be a snowshoe or hike through Devil’s Lake State park with a warm bonfire and refreshments to follow the hike. Although this is the weekend after Valentine’s Day, it could make a great back up plan in you were busy on the actual day. If you do not have any snowshoes to wear, they have some to borrow!  This is an outdoor activity that doesn’t require training such as a race, but is still getting you up and moving! For more information on this hike, visit the Devil’s Lake Park website.

Well there you have it!  Wonderful and healthy winter activities you can do this Valentine’s Day. If you couldn’t think of anything fun and exciting to do this year, I hope these activities may be just what you need.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

Mary Marren

Gladiator Assault Challenge

picGladiator Assault Challenge

All my life I’ve been pretty mediocre at sports. That’s probably not the best way to start a fitness blog, but it’s the truth. Everything I tried seemed to not be a fit for me, so I started running. Running is the ultimate body workout where I never have to worrying about getting hit in the head with a ball. Lately, I’ve seen a lot of friends and families get into not just running by themselves, but doing races. The color run, Tough Mudder, Glow Run, these are all races I’d like to do… but getting the courage to actually sign up took a lot longer then I expected.

Two weekends ago I finally completed my first 5k. No, it wasn’t a marathon, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right? I chose to do the Gladiator Assault Challenge, which is by far not your average 5k.  With 30 military style obstacles interlaced into the run, there is something surprising around every corner.

The race took started on top of a ski hill. Yes, on top of a ski hill. At the top, there was a DJ and loud music playing to pump you up and get you going. When the horns went off, myself and 50 other people in my heat headed down the hill and into the woods. Right off the bat we were met with a pile of mud that we had to crawl through while a military official sprayed us down with a hose. It was at this point I realized that this run was going to be a dirty dirty 5k. We climbed up wooden structures, over rope walls, through mud up to our ears, and under barbed wire. We jumped through fire, ran off a 15-foot structure into a lake, and crawled through black tubes. This race was intense.

Although the race was nothing I’d ever experienced before, the whole time I was more excited to complete an obstacle than worry about getting dirty. With each challenge, I felt stronger and more confident than the last one. I kept thinking, if I can complete this I can complete anything. After running up and down the ski hill countless of times, the race finally came to a finish. There to greet our muddy and soaking wet bodies were loud music and volunteer workers handing out beer and fruit. They also had a gear tent where you could buy different t-shirts and athletic gear at the finish line. The weather that day was in the high 50s, so after running a race in mud and water, our main mission was to dry off and change clothes. Once dry, we ate a banana, finished our beer and headed out. Although the weather didn’t allow us to stick around for very long after the race, with our participant medal in hand we marched proudly to the car.

Over all I think that the experience of doing a mud run is something you cannot describe. It is dirty and challenging, but once in the moment all that is going through your mind is “I can do this.” I felt more accomplished after running those 3 miles than I did running any of my runs over the last year. If you are someone who wants to start challenging yourself to a race more intense than just running, I strongly recommend a mud run. There are plenty of different options to try out!pic 2

Another recommendation is running the race with a buddy. Not only does it keep the race fun, but also having someone there to help push you along the way makes the whole race seem easier. Plus you can laugh at each other as you’re trudging through mud.

If you have any more questions or comments about the Gladiator Assualt Challenge check out their website!

Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

Mary Marren

So You Want to Run a 5K?

picMaybe you’ve run multiple 5k’s and want to improve your time. Maybe you ran your first 5k and now you are addicted. Maybe you’ve never run a day in your life and want to try your first 5k. No matter what your story is, training for a 5k is always beneficial. Personally, I have ran more 5k’s than I could count and I have trained for almost each of them, whether it be with a team or on my own. And I’ll be the first one to tell you, that the most painful and worst 5k’s were the ones where I had no previous training.

Each person is a different skill level and that makes it hard to say where you start training. If you need help finding a training program to help you achieve your goals, this would be a good place to start. But finding the training program isn’t the hard part. The hard part, in my opinion, is sticking to the training plan and eating the part.

If you’re serious about wanting to do a 5k and do it well these are the tips I’d have for you:

Get a pair of running shoes. Before you start training, I would get a good pair of running shoes. Check out this website to see what type of shoe you should be wearing. A lot of running injuries result from wearing shoes that aren’t meant for your type of foot. The last thing you want to do is get a running injury before you even get the chance to do your run.

Get a running buddy. Now this may not be for everyone, but if you like having someone to help push you and talk to on your runs, then I would highly suggest finding someone who will do just that.

Get new music or running gear. Having new stuff helps you get the motivation to take the hardest, first step out of the door. The new music will help you keep going once you get out there. Try and make a running playlist that has more upbeat music that will keep you going at a good pace and keep your focused. Having music playing will also help you from hearing how hard you’re breathing and will keep your mind off of how tired you actually are.

Make friends that are running the 5k with you. If you surround yourself with people that also are going to train, it will make finding a running partner that much easier. Not to mention that when you two hang out you probably won’t be going out for unhealthy food and beer. The hardest part of staying in shape for races for me is eating healthy. If you have friends that want to eat healthy too you guys will be good influences on each other. Hopefully.

Post Running Routine. If there were anything that I truly learned from running, it would be the importance of caring for your body after running. The general rule of thumb is to stretch each muscle for about 45 seconds, deepening the stretch as you go. Here are five great stretches for runners. Another thing I found out the hard way would be to ice. If it hurts, ice it. 15 minutes on 15 minutes off. I’m not a doctor so I can’t tell you that it will work for everything, but in my cases most of my injuries would have been prevented if I stretched properly and iced more often when I felt pain. After you’re putting mile after mile on your legs, your muscles develop scar tissue and tension that need to be taken care of. If you’re starting to feel pain and don’t know what to do, here is a good website.

I hope that I have had a positive impact on someone to try a 5k or better their time in a 5k.

Also, if you are from the Whitewater area, I would highly recommend this run, September 21st. Whitewater does a wonderful job organizing this and has multiple options for races including the half marathon, 5k walk/run, and fit kid shuffle. I partook in the 5k last year and will be doing in again this year. I hope to see some of you there.

-Yesterday You Said Tomorrow

Eric Hess