I don’t know what possessed me in January of this year, when I turned to the BF and said “let’s do Tough Mudder this year, it will be fun” – he had done one previously in Toronto several years ago and at the time said never again, once is enough.
We must have let the couple cocktails get to our heads that night, because an hour later, we were both registered to race on August 6, 2016 in Drumheller. I then recruited my friend Meghan to come join us.
With good intentions of training hard and working a lot on upper body strength beginning in January, the months quickly passed by and before I knew it, it was August 5 and the race was the next day. It’s not like I spent the prior 8 months sitting on the couch, I did my BBG workouts and a variety of fitness classes, but never get to the whole “work on a pull up” plan I had in mind.
Already feeling a bit nervous, I foolishly opened my email that contained the course preview:
18 obstacles. 16 km (10 miles). Most of these obstacles had not been listed on the website and I had no idea what I was going into. Insert fear here.
Saturday morning came, we picked up Meghan and headed the 1.5 hours to Drumheller. Once we got to the event and into the start area, the adrenaline kicked in. We were ready! We were clean!
Right out the gate was a 2km run to the first obstacle. The intent we went in with was to jog some, but do a lot of walking. Instead, they decided nah, let’s run the whole way to obstacle 1! Can’t say I loved that part – my cardio skills are lacking and I am a terrible runner. But with some pushing, I lightly jogged 90% of it, grumbling the whole time.
Obstacle 1 was a 6 ft jump into a muddy pit of water and who knows what else. We made the BF go first…and that didn’t end well. He landed wrong, and his ankle immediately swelled up and he had instant searing pain – we later found out he had second degree sprain and had pulled the ligaments on both sides of his left ankle. At this point, he told Meghan and I to finish the race and the medics carted him off to the tent where he would have to wait for us to finish.
With 17 obstacles to go, we trucked on. We jogged, we walked, we climbed both 9′ and 16′ walls, used a rope to scale down a cliff, carried each other, slid into a dumpster filled with 10 tons of ice, climbed up muddy walls, pushed and pulled people up and over obstacles, jumped into puddles of mud, slipped, fell, climbed over one another to get up a pyramid, ran up a 15′ tall half pipe, went across monkey bars (well, Meghan did, I fell into the pit of water), carried logs, pushed and pulled and climbed over blocks in muddy water and ended by running through a field of dangling wires carrying 10,000 volts. It’s called the toughest event on the planet for a reason…it’s HARD.
The reason I wanted to do Tough Mudder, over the many other obstacle races, is because this one is about TEAMWORK. It is not about the fastest time, beating others, and it is NOT a competition. The goal of Tough Mudder is to COMPLETE it. Period.
At the beginning, you are hyped up and told that the people in your race wave are now your family – you start together, you end together. While we fell behind due to the injury, we did find another wave and joined with them and made 2 new friends who helped us through the last half of the race.
Could I climb those walls alone? Could I get to the top of a 15′ half pipe and pull myself up? Could I climb under a weighted net without someone holding it up to release tension? No. I couldn’t do any of these things, but I didn’t HAVE to. No matter where you turn, there was someone there to help you – to give you a boost, to pull you up, to encourage you, and remind you YES YOU CAN.
After we crossed that finish line 3 hours and 47 minutes later, we successfully completed every obstacle (my goal going in was to not skip a single one), ran/walked 22,000 steps/16km, climbed the equivalent of 71 flights of stairs, burnt 2,200 calories, and I got that finisher headband placed on my head. Oh – and we were dirty…very dirty.
The sense of accomplishment I had after this race is hard to describe; I did things I didn’t know my body could do, let alone get myself in the mind space to believe that I could. I wanted to challenge myself this year, and I did. I wish I had a little more upper body strength and could have stood to run a little more than we walked, but I had an absolute blast and still can’t believe I was able to do some of those obstacles. I could hardly walk for a few days, and the bruises I got were mildly frightening, but I did it…and I would do it all over again. 2017, I’m coming for you.
I love pasta. Any shape, form, sauce, anything. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t worry, I restrain myself though, that would get out of hand really quickly.
I found the orignal recipe on Pinterest and thought it would be a great healthy alternative to typical bolognese or alfredo sauce. I have my own roasted cherry tomato recipe that I used instead of what was provided in the original recipe, which I’ve incorporated below. I also added ground turkey as a source of protein – the BF doesn’t do so well with fully vegetarian meals, he gets too hungry unless I make sure some sort of protein is involved.
I’ve used my roast tomato recipe to top spaghetti squash, and other types of pasta as well!
Roasted Cherry Tomato & Basil Angel Hair Pasta
Recipe adapted from Oh, Sweet Basil
- ½ lb. angel hair pasta
- 1 package ground turkey
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 lbs. cherry or grape tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary
- 1 c. loosely packed basil, roughly chopped
- ¾ tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
- ½ c. grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Heat a large sauce pan, and brown the ground turkey until cooked through.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add in a good handful of salt. Add pasta. Cook aldente or until pasta is slightly undercooked. Using tongs to remove pasta from water and place into a colander.
- While the pasta is cooking, slice each cherry/grape tomato in half, and add it, the garlic, rosemary and olive oil into a large bowl. Toss the tomatoes until fully covered.
- Spread the tomato mixture evenly onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 20 minutes, broil for 5 minutes. The tomatoes should be shrunken and become soft.
- Add 1/2 cup of starchy cooking liquid leftover from pasta to the pan with cooked turkey. Add in the cooked tomato mixture, and the cooked pasta. Mix well, and cook another two minutes.
- Turn the heat off, add basil and parmesan cheese. Toss to coat. If needed add more starchy pasta water.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve with extra grated parmesan cheese.
August 6, 2016 marked exactly one year since I decided to start (and stick to) Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide.
One year of circuit training, LISS, and HIIT, trying new fitness classes around Calgary, bruises, injuries, and sometimes tears.
Over the course of the past year I found myself again; my confidence, my inner beauty, and my strength. I learned that it isn’t all about the scale and its never-changing numbers. I lost 12 pounds this year, and while that seems discouraging, I take progress pictures and measurements, and I know my body has changed.
I created a “fitstagram,”, began following other women worldwide who followed the BBG program, and would often look to them for inspiration and motivation. I found women in Calgary and surrounding area. I decided to put myself out there and see if anyone would be interested in having our very own YYCBBG Meet Up. The answer? A resounding yes.
Since December, the size of the group has grown from 15 to 115. I run the meet ups monthly – gathering sponsorships, door prizes, arranging the location, advertising it, creating and leading the workouts. I’ve met some incredible women, all on their own personal journeys who demonstrate amazing strength and perseverance, and I am lucky to call some of them my closest friends.
If you had asked me a year ago if this is something I would ever do, I would have laughed in your face. Talk in front of people, let alone run a workout? I can hardly do my own exercises, how would anyone expect me to tell them what to do?
Now – I have confidence. I know what I’m doing. Is it perfect? Not always, but I do know how to properly perform movements, activate the right muscles, and most of all I know how to keep going even when my mind wants to quit.
I had some injuries and illnesses throughout the year – a popped rib, lung infection, flu, various colds, runners knee, etc. – I’m a bit accident prone. All of these things never stopped me though, they just slowed me down. I listen to my body – when I can tell my soreness is more than just normal DOMS, I take an extra rest day. It isn’t going to break me to have an extra break. In fact, I learned just how important rest IS.
Balance is key – I work out 5-6 days a week, and eat clean and healthy 95% of the time. It took a lot of trial and error to reach this point though. I would have weeks in the beginning that I just could NOT get through those circuits. I would half-ass the workout, and leave the gym to go sit on the couch. Sometimes I still do that, but for the most part I go give it my all for those 30 minutes, three times a week. The program works, Kayla has created something that has changed the lives of women worldwide, and it’s for good reason.
You can BBG at home, the gym, in a park, in a garage, alone, with friends. You can modify every single movement she gives you, you can increase/decrease weights when you need to. The point is, it’s manageable and customizable. She isn’t asking for much, just 3 resistance workouts, 2 LISS, 1 HIIT, and 1 rest/rehabilitation day per week. You can add more if you want to.
I like to mix things up – keep my body guessing, by adding in various fitness classes now. I try barre, yoga, spin, pilates, basically anything I will give a chance once. I find the ones I love, and keep going back. It mixes it up so I don’t get bored of doing 4 circuits, 3 times a week. I still do those, but it gives me a chance to get out and make other muscle groups work.
The best part of this year? I’m happy again. I’m not quite where I want to be body-wise, but I will get there. It doesn’t upset me anymore, since I’ve come leaps and bounds from where I used to be physically, mentally, and emotionally. I respect the journey, and I don’t plan on stopping.
This meal is straight up phenomenal. The lovely creator of this recipe, Nicolle, attends my YYCBBG meet ups, and had posted about this delicious meal that everyone has been raving about! I made a couple of modifications to it for myself, as her version is spicy, and as usual mine is not! For anyone following the 21-day fix, her recipe is also 21-day fix approved, she breaks down that information on her recipe post, whcih you can find on her blog as well as a bunch of other meal prep ideas, and recipes.
This makes a fantastic lunch that you can prep ahead of time, or an amazing family meal. You could always add black beans, or peppers, or anything else to make it your own delicious dish. Who doesn’t love anything that originates from a taco?!
Recipe adapted from Fit4Wellness
- 1 package ground turkey
- 1 diced onion
- 1 clove chopped garlic
- 1 package taco seasoning mix
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 large can diced tomatoes
- 1 medium can corn niblets
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 3/4 c. shredded cheese
- 4 c. shredded romaine/fresh spinach
- 1/4 c. sour cream
- Preheat oven to 400°F and spray a 9×9 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray
- Cook brown rice per package ingredients
- Brown ground turkey on medium heat until cooked through
- Add chopped garlic and diced onion, cooking until garlic is soft
- Add in taco seasoning mix and small can of tomato paste, let simmer
- Combine cooked rice, diced tomatoes, and corn until mixed well,
- Layer the casserole dish with first the rice mixture, then the cooked ground turkey, top with cheese
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted
- When serving, top with shredded romaine/spinach, and sour cream