Sunday, August 26, 2012

Steph: A Picture is Worth a Million Words

I have so many absolutely hilarious photographs from the Mudathlon that we completed, I decided to do a pictorial race report.  My words just can not be as descriptive.  :)

Whine and Cheese Run Club Members Stephanie,
Habenero Cheddar, and Jill prepare to "fly" through
the obstacles.

Showing off our special super powers: drinking
from Captain Champagne, puffing an inhaler from the
Asthmatic Avenger, and eating from Goat Cheese Girl.

The entire group of superheroes that ran the race!
 Back Row:  The Mighty Mathematician, Asthmatic
Avenger, Goat Cheese Girl, & History Hawk.
Front Row:  The Guidance Guru and Captain Champagne

Stretching and Dancing at the starting line!
And we are off ...
First mud hill and mini mud pit!

WOW!!!  Look at that cape fly!!!!
Mighty Mathematician is DETERMINED!

The first time through the mud pit.  I fell and kicked the Mighty
Mathematician and almost took her down.  Then The Goat Cheese
Girl laughed so hard that she almost peed herself and History Hawk
also got in a good chuckle.

Once the shock of falling wore off ... I had to agree it was
pretty darn funny!

Right after I fell, so did Jill.  This is the two of us pulling ourselves
back together and putting on our masks to get back to business!

HIGH STEP - look at that determination- she didn't lose it the entire race!
HIGH STEP - Can you tell we are starting to get tired?????
FINAL MUD PIT:  Can you tell we are beyond tired ... it is about 2 hours after we started!

 SUPERHEROES never leave someone behind ... look at how we are
 helping each other out.   Isn't that sweet :) 

Crossing the Finish Line TOGETHER :)

Look at the cool beer opener medals we got :)


Monday, August 20, 2012

Jill: Music Monday

When I'm hunting for running music, I typically don't head towards break-up songs.  As a genre, those songs are usually too sad/angry/resentful/slow/dreary/hateful to be of any use.  However, every once in awhile someone, somewhere writes an upbeat break-up song.  This one by Carolina Liar is one of my favorites to run to.  I know it's not the happiest of songs, but the upbeat music always gets me going.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Jill: Functional Fashion

I got some random catalog in the mail today and just as I was tossing it into the recycling bin, I saw an ad on the back cover for these:

What's so special about these pretty, feminine stilettos, you ask?  Turns out they are not simply fashionable.  They are also super functional:

My Christmas shopping is complete.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Jill: Music Mondays

In the real running world, there is a debate about running with or without music (or other electronic devices). Most of the folks who get in on this argument are much more serious, long-distance runners than what we do around here.

Here are just a few links if you want to read more about the pros and cons of running with tunes:

Kicking Assphalt (love the blog name)

The Running Advisor

Jogger Tunes

Fun Running Ryan (although I like running with music, I have the same "marching band background" issue he does)

However, whether we run with music or not, most club members enjoy music of some sort.  Except Stephanie.  She's never really been into music, and this has led to some interesting discussions between club members.  I'm pretty sure I even questioned if she was human at some point.  We suspect she may be more of the feline persuasion.  She did admit one time, though, that she found it a little easier to workout when there was music on.  So, I thought it might be fun to have a regular blog segment where we post songs that we like to run to in an effort to support and inspire each other. 

So let me officially introduce Music Mondays here at the Whine and Cheese Club.  As teachers, we can always use a pick-me-up on Mondays, and I love alliteration.  I'm going to start off with a song that gets me moving (and probably singing when I am sure I am alone) no matter where I am.

I was first introduced to Blue Man Group in the late nineties.  My senior class trip in high school was to NYC where we saw the original Blue Man Group show off broadway.  When they started making music albums later on, I was thrilled.  This song came from their 2nd music album The Complex, which I love, love, love.  They hooked up with Venus Hum to cover Donna Summer's "I Feel Love."

Here's the official music video for the song:

Here's a video of the live version.  I saw this when they were touring and yes, she really did wear that super awesome light up dress.  Wonder how we could run in something like that?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Jill: Color Run Race Report

Ah, the Color Run, how could I doubt you when you claimed to be the Happiest 5K on the Planet?  I humbly apologize for my ignorance.  Despite being under trained, this might have been the happiest 24 hours related to running I've had so far.   Stephanie did a fantastic job hitting all the highlights of the run itself, so I'm going to focus on the other awesome moments of our 24 hours away from home.

1. Free Hotel Brought to You by Mr. Stephanie

Steph's husband travels a lot for work and racks up a gazillion hotel points in the process.  He was gracious enough to use some of those points to get us a room in Louisville.  I have never been part of a hotel points rewards program, but I might have to figure out how to get in on that action.  What was waiting for us in the room?  A personal welcome letter for Mr. Stephanie and a package of his favorite sweet treat:

It took a lot of restraint, but we didn't eat them.  We took them home for Mr. Stephanie as thanks.

2. Pre-Race Nutrition #1

Because we are super serious runners, we decided begin our happiest 24 hours with a little pre-race nutrition before heading out to pick up our race packets.

From left to right: wine, chocolate, and limoncello
3. Super Duper Organization

This race was a 5K and a 5K only.  No other distance options.  With that in mind, can you believe that this race had about 8,000 participants.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around that, but after experiencing it myself, I can understand the draw.  It's a ton of fun and very family friendly as well.  After traveling a fair amount with my real runner husband, I have seen the good, bad, and outright terrible when it comes to putting on a race.  Eight thousand people is no small feat, but the organization was great.  And that's a heck of a compliment coming from a group of teachers

Update: apparently this was small potatoes compared to the 26,000 racers that showed up for the Philadelphia Color Run.  26,000 for a 5K.  Wow.

4.  Highjacking Cara

My real runner friend, Cara, just moved back into the general Cincinnati-Dayton area after being marooned in South Bend, IN for years as her husband worked towards his PhD in something science-y.  Since relocating, she has been pestered asked to join us on several occasions, and even joined us for the Shamrock Shuffle back in the spring.  As soon as this turned into a girls-only night away, I knew Cara had to come, even if she needed to be kidnapped convinced.  Thankfully, there were no conflicts in her schedule and she could escape with us.  It was wonderful having her there, and now we are currently harassing asking her to write a guest post.

Steph and Cara at packet pick up

5. Pre-Race Nutrition #2

Did I mention that we were away for one whole night without husbands and kids?  Well, we intended to make the most of that Saturday evening.  Our hotel wasn't just free, it was also in such a great location that we could walk everywhere we needed/wanted to go.  Despite hearing that it was too full of college kids, we headed over to 4th Street Live, Louisville's renovated entertainment district.  Turns out that it didn't really fill up with the youngsters until much, much later in the evening as we were on our way out.  It's also the location of the finish line for the Louisville Ironman race.  My real runner husband did the inaugural race in 2007, so I snapped a quick photo of the signs that are on the street:

You ARE an Ironman!

Our primary objective was to find a great place to get some real pre-race nutrition.  Here's the place we settled on:

A bit pricey, but totally delicious.

The last piece of goat cheese from our appetizer

My bourbon mimossa
6. Pre-Race Nutrition #3

What follows a great dinner at Maker's Mark, you ask?  Dessert at The Fudgery.  Duh.  Our timing was fantastic as we walked in right as the employees were starting a fudge making demonstration.  The marble slab covered in chocolately goodness was hypnotizing.

As if that wasn't enough, the employees put on one heck of a fun show during the demo to drum up business.  I was so distracted by what we had just walked into that I didn't think to start recording until the end, but this was the end of the making-fudge-song-and-dance:

The finished product:

Each slice is a HALF POUND! I'm not sure that should be legal.
7. Pre-Race Hydration

Before heading back to the hotel to get lots of rest before the big event, we needed to make sure we were properly hydrated.  I'm pretty sure the 86 oz Bucket of Booze was the way to go.  I have no idea which one we ordered, but we have proof that it was the blue one:

8. The Tutus

As it has already been pointed out here and here, we wore huge glorious tutus for the event.  One of the things I didn't expect was that once you put the tutu on, your body wants to immediately bounce as much as possible.  Step off a curb to cross the street?  Nope.  Jump off that curb with arms and legs aloft.  Walk calmly across the street? Not a chance.  Hop, skip and twirl to the honks of passing traffic.  If you ever need a reminder about how much fun you used to have as a kid, may I suggest putting on a tutu for a few minutes (which will probably turn into hours so be prepared)?

Cara wrangling hers in the hotel.  Oh yes, we walked all the way to the race and back wearing them.
Post Race Dance Poses:

Post Race Stretching in Tutus (see? we do some things right as runners)

Turns out that the Color Run is a very tutu-friendly race.  We were surrounded by other similar get ups, although I'm pretty sure ours were the thickest and widest out of the bunch.  I was even more pleasantly surprised by a handful of guys wearing them, and so I started documenting for a segment I like to call Dudes in Tutus:

At the start
2 in the same group at the finish festival
I love a man manly enough to don a tutu.

9. The Color

In her race report, Steph documented how there is a big color-throwing party at the finish line festival.  This is what is looks like:

Wonder how some of that powder gets off before heading home?  Check out the official race "blowing stations:"

Yep.  Those are guys with leaf blowers.
10.  Inspiration

In all seriousness, if you watch the official Color Run videos, the race organizers encourage you to Be Healthy, Be Happy and Be You.  This is a great way to help people do that.  There is no pressure to be a real runner.  It's all about getting outside, being active, and having a great time doing it.  If people have such a good time at this race that they start signing up for other walks and runs, then mission accomplished.  Inspiring people to get out and get moving is no easy task, but the Color Run folks have figured out a winning formula for making that happen.  There's one coming to Cincinnati in October.  Should we do it again, girls?

The Starting Line.  Right outside Lousiville Slugger Stadium.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Steph: The Happiest 5k

The number one thing that I learned while reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall was that every person used to find running fun.  When we were children, we ran everywhere.  Run to catch your friend during a game of tag.  Run down the street to see if a friend can come out and play.  Run around the pool to jump in (even though Mom told us not to).  I internalized this lesson.  If I can learn to enjoy running again and remember my childhood joy, then there are NO limits on what I can do.

So how do I do this???  I find the craziest, funnest races that I can.  Then dress like a goofball and run.  So I did.

"The Color Run" promises on its website that it is the happiest 5k on the planet.  Also, dressing up is encouraged.  So we went for it.  HUGE, FLUFFY, COLORFUL tutus to go with our all white t-shirts, tube socks, and sweat bands.  We looked awesome and we had fun!

Here are the many ways that I think that this really is the happiest 5k.

1.  DRESSING UP:  I have not worn a tutu since I was in the 5th grade.  Who doesn't like dressing up in big, huge, fluffy tutus???  Not me.  I LOVED it!  So much so, that I think I will have to wear a tutu almost every time that I run a 5k from now on.  Well, unless there is already another costume I am wearing.  Want to see how cute we look?  Of course you do :)

Steph, Jill, and Cara before the race :)
2.  START TIME:  There is no 'real' start time.  You can start the race any time that you want between 8am and 9am.  I mean, anytime.  There is no clock on the course.  You do not see a start time.  You do not see an end time at the finish line.  You just run and have fun while not worrying about silly times.

3.  TIMING CHIPS:  Time chips??  What are time chips again?

4.  COURSE MARKERS:  Sure, they have those.  Every 1k - well kind of every 1k, sometimes it might be 1.5k and other times just .5k, well who really cares right?  Anyway, every 1k"ish" there is a huge color station you run through.  They throw powdered paint at you and cover you in a different color.  Those white shirts don't stay white at all.  Remember when your parents used to tell you to be careful with markers or paint or whatever you were playing with?  Well, screw that.  Don't be careful here.  Run straight at the person throwing the paint.  Get as much on you as possible!!  It is fun.  It is messy.  It is glorious.

5.  RUN THE ENTIRE RACE WITHOUT STOPPING:  Not!  There is NO possible way to do this.  You just run and weave in and out and when you reach a color station - STOP!  Just walk.  That is the only way to get through them.  They are wall to wall people.  It doesn't really matter anyway.  It's not like your getting timed or anything :)

6.  FESTIVAL:  So once you get through all the fun above, you still have the finish line festival.  In a big field, right past the finish line, there is a stage with live music.  Everyone crowds around and opens their little bags of powdered paint (that you receive before the run).  Then, they count down.  And at 0, everyone throws their paint into the air and you get truly covered in color at this point.  Oh no ... did you miss the festival?  Don't worry.  They throw again every 15 minutes.  Oh no ... did you use your paint already?  Don't worry.  They throw more bags of paint out into the crowd so that there is plenty to go around in 15 minutes.  They don't care.  They just want you to have FUN!!  

7.  PICTURES:  How could pictures from this kind of event not be fun?

Cara, Steph, and Jill after the run and festival :)