Tag Archives: roasting company

Spartan Race Gear Recommendations + Pre-Race Eats

Obstacle racing requires a lot more planning than your typical road race.  As I mentioned in my last post, you need to be physically prepared for a variety of obstacles.  You also need to wear the appropriate gear and fuel yourself in a manner that suits your body’s needs.  I am no expert, but I did do some research prior to my first race.



Let’s talk clothes.  If the word cotton is on the label don’t wear it.  You will likely encounter a significant amount of mud and/or water.  Cotton will absorb water and weigh you down.  The race is hard enough.  You don’t want to be carrying an extra couple of pounds (that you didn’t train with) due to water retention – on your clothing.  I mixed brands all over to ultimately pick out the outfit that I was most comfortable in.  Another word of advice, work out hard in the outfit that you plan to wear before you race in it.

  • Sports Bra – Nike Pro Classic Sports Bra ($32.99) – It’s not about looks, it’s about support.  I don’t need as much of it after nursing two babies.  I wear these every time I do hard exercise.  Run. Plyos.  You get my drift.  I picked a color that would be easy to see when my husband was looking for me as I finished the race.  Even with mud covering my body, you could still see the bright yellow color.


Let’s be serious.  I was terrified that a piece of my clothing would get snagged on barb wire, subsequently causing a tear.  I dreamt of this tear getting bigger and bigger as the race went on.  I was fine, even though I did get snagged.

  • Shorts – Reebok Performance Shorts – $30 – I don’t typically buy Reebok.  I bought shorts that look exactly the same in Nike.  I came home and put them both on.  I stuck with the Reebok.  The waistline band on the Reebok shorts gave me much needed support for heavy front carry obstacles (bucket carry – see below) and they definitely kept my butt covered.  The Nike shorts lacked in that area.  I would highly recommend these shorts for this type of event.  They cut water quickly and are SUPER light weight.


  • Sock – MudGear Obstacle Race Compression Socks – SOCKS MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE.  Read that again.  Don’t mess around.  Can I list all of the reasons why I would never race again without these?
    • They protected my shins.  I got cut up all over my legs (except my calves).  I actually ran threw a prickly bush and didn’t notice it until I finished the race and attempted to take my socks off.  The socks were covered in them.  I didn’t feel a thing.
    • I swam and walked in mud as deep as my knees (see picture above).  When I got out of the river in the first mile, my ankles felt like they had 10 pound weights attached to them.  That’s how much water had absorbed in my socks and shoes.  Within 200 meters of getting out of the water, it felt like it had entirely absorbed and dried.


Shoes – People try to convince you that shoes make a big difference.  They might.  However, since this was my first Spartan Race (and possibly my last), I didn’t want to invest in a pair of shoes that I might not wear again.  I also didn’t want to compete in a shoe that didn’t offer me proper support (since the race was so long) – 8.5 miles.  I chose to wear an old pair of my regular running sneakers.

photo 2-78That’s them.  Your basic Asic Gel Kayanos.  They proved to hold me from slipping on the walls, the rope and several other obstacles.  There was only one instance where I wish I had other shoes.  Running downhill – I needed traction for the steep decline.  TIE YOUR SHOELACES TIGHT!  As tight as you can.  Double knot, over and over.  I only double knotted once.  I had to stop to tie my shoes.  Your shoe could get stuck in mud so hard that it could come off your foot if you don’t tie your shoes tight enough.

IMG_6793Don’t even think about wearing those worn out basic training shoes (like the one I wear all the time around town).  Look at the bottom of that shoe.  It won’t hold on the trails and steep terrain.  I actually thought about wearing these because of how light they are.  I am so glad that my husband convinced me not to.  I didn’t wear a lot, but that was my preference.  It was hot.  Check the local forecast and dress appropriately (remember, NO cotton!)


FullSizeRender-58My heat launched at 7:45 AM.  I typically don’t eat anything prior to a morning workout (with the exception of a banana here and there).  Knowing I had at least two hours of working out ahead of me, I knew that I needed some fuel to get me through the grueling activity.  To avoid having an unsettled stomach (or tasting my breakfast) as I ran, I opted to get up at 5:00 AM to eat.

  • Banana – You can’t go wrong.  Potassium to keep you from cramping.  Carbs/sugars to provide energy to your body.  The added benefit?  They taste good and are filling!
  • Mint Chocolate Mint Cookie Balance Bar – This is a personal favorite.  It is probably just a pre-race ritual at this point.  Since college, I have eaten these on days that I compete.  I ate one before my one and only marathon.  I need them to feel like I am going to have a good race!  Only Mint Chocolate Cookie. Let’s hope they never discontinue them.
  • Gu – start line only with water.  Take your Gu 15 minutes prior to the gun going off, so in this case, in the chute for the start line (after you jump the wall).  Drink at least 8 ounces of water.  Chuck your water and your wrapper in the garbage.  You will get disqualified from a Spartan Race for littering now!  That includes your water cups at water stations on the course.

IMG_5819That’s not a lot of food prior to doing such an exhausting event.  Since I can’t eat a lot on the day of the event, I rely on a sufficient dinner to carry into the morning.  Roasting Company is a family tradition.  I know, must people like pasta.  We prefer potatoes.  My go to menu item is the chicken with rice (sauce on side), green beans, corn bread and sweet potatoes.  I eat it all.  There is no beating around the bush.  This is all personal preference.



A Fitness, Food and Family Filled Weekend

I don’t even know where to start.  The past few days had been filled with serious outdoor activity and fueled by some delicious local eats.  With little on our calendar Thursday, I packed my little peanuts up for a stroll to a nearby park.  We are fortunate that a fully fenced in play area is within a mile of our house.  I have no excuse for not packing up the double jogger first thing in the morning and starting the trek.  Experience has given me the advantage of being prepared – bottles, an extra diaper, snacks and toys for the sandbox.  Don’t forget the waters (and coffee).10986499_10103579960397523_2788049507124834895_nBy the time that we are done at the park, at least one of the girls is either tired or hungry.  This oftentimes leaves me feeling like I need to run home.  Dying.  More power to the women who push a double jogger for more than a few miles with bigger kids.  I struggle!  With the weather being so hot, the mornings are really the only time that we can play outside for more than an hour at a time.  We have to get creative in the afternoon.

IMG_5809The four o’clock hour is now reserved for music.  No TV.  Group singing and dancing required.  Surprisingly, both girls are willing to oblige.  Before I know it, the hour is over and we are ready to start making dinner in anticipation of dad’s arrival.

IMG_5812For the first time EVER, I let my toddler get hands on with the cooking this week.  Pizza, nonetheless.  She helped spread the sauce, place turkey pepperonis, and sprinkle cheese.  No lie, it was a mess.  However, it was worth it.  The mess was cleaned up before the pizza was out of the oven.  More importantly, my daughter was SO proud of herself.  It warmed my heart.  She is growing up so fast.  Challenging her in the kitchen is such a great way to build her motor skills and have fun at the same time.

IMG_5813My carb filled meal fueled my Friday morning workout.  After a short Spartan workout in the garage, I put in a solid 5k around the neighborhood.  First mile was slow, but I pulled it together to finish at an average 8:00 pace.  I am happy with this considering the heat and humidity that we have been dealing with.

11659464_10103582722886473_3500544449387306695_nPost-workout, I finalized plans to team up with Denise Duffy at SmartCore Fitness to run a bootcamp Saturday, July 11th at 10:30AM.  I am so excited about this.  I was a pole vaulter in college.  My training included running workouts with the sprinters, time in the gymnastic and strength and conditioning rooms and, most importantly, endless hours on a short runway going upside down over a bar.  I love high intensity variations of training.  I love seeing people push their threshold.  Bootcamps are my wheelhouse.  Limited space is available.  I would love to discuss details with you.  If interested, please reach out to Denise or I.  The plan is to make this a weekly recurring bootcamp throughout the summer.

11665761_10103583192051263_1673943133253623851_nFollowing the exciting news, we headed out for a casual family dinner at the Roasting Company for dinner and a drink.  The restaurant was redone over a year ago and now includes remodeled seating and a sit down bar.  I love this collage that sits proudly on a back walk.  North Carolina is quickly becoming one of the elite locations to get a great craft beer.

IMG_5819Eats can be healthy at this restaurant.  I ordered the chicken with rice, sauce on the side, with green beens and sweet potato fries.  I had to.  These fries are incredible.  Lucky for me, my husband and daughter split them with me.  I would have finished them all. It is important for me to reiterate balance here.  I exercise quite a bit.  One of the main reasons that I do is so that I can eat more flexibly on my cheat days.  Cheating is SO important.  Deprivation often leads to failure.  You can still be fit and eat french fries.  It’s all about moderation.

IMG_5832I taught one class Saturday morning at Flywheel before heading out to lunch with my parents, kids and husband.  Dare I say that we hadn’t tried Mr. K’s soft ice cream until this past weekend?  Recognize the sign?

FullSizeRender-31Yes, you have probably driven past it hundreds of times and not really paid attention to it.  Mr. K’s sits right beside Chipotle, across the street from Atherton Mill on South Blvd.  So close to uptown!  I know I spoke of moderation.  This weekend was a bad one.  However, our activity level was high, which afforded us the luxury of eating a little more (and worse) than usual.

IMG_5831 IMG_5834 IMG_5840The food was fine, but the ice cream was the hit.  We enjoyed lunch on the outdoor picnic tables in the shade.  I was truly supporting local business this weekend.  I can totally see us taking the girls here for ice cream as long as it stays open.   Why did we ever think Dairy Queen in the small cafeteria near Southpark was a great place to get a treat?  Mr. K’s has character (and an item on the menu that mimics a blizzard).  This is the type of place that I LOVED when I was a kid.  This is the type of place that reminds my husband and I of home.  It’s the small stuff.

IMG_5842After lunch, my parents offered to watch the girls so my husband and I could go out on a date night.  After pondering which restaurant that we wanted to go to, we decided that we should just throw on some workout clothes, head to the whitewater center, go for a run (if weather permitted) and have dinner there.  For a fit couple, this was perfect.  It rained (hard) on our way there.  The place had cleared out.  As we pulled in, we were surprised to see the trails were still open.  Heck, let’s go for it.

IMG_5845We set out on the slick trails at a super slow pace as thunder lingered in the background.  We both almost bit it several times.  We both were running on the edges of the worn trails to gain traction from sticks and leaves.   As we came across obstacles, we stopped to try a few.  That rope climb?  SO much harder than you would expect.  We are currently both preparing for a Spartan Super race in August.  This was perfect training.  As we maneuvered our way to a break in the trail, we came up on a flag that indicated that the trails were now closed.  That would explain why we did not see one other runner or biker the entire time.

IMG_5847There is some solitude in running with your spouse on a quiet trail in the woods with no interference.  You are literally focused on each other.  No distractions.  It was such a great way to get out and do something different.  As we finished, the rain started.  Really HARD.  We made a break to the Biergarten.  We sat under the covered area while enjoying a drink and eating some dinner.   Burgers and fries again.  Wow, what a day of eating.   Two workouts, two big meals.  I can’t complain. I squeezed a lot into a truly fun day.  No regrets.  We are amping up our Spartan training during the month of July.  I look forward to sharing with you some creative ways that we will mimic several obstacles.  In the meantime, enjoy this crazy summer.  Try something different.  Have fun.

Thursday/Friday workout + Celebrations

After my Wednesday bootcamp workout, I was more sore than I expected to be. I love that feeling. It means I took myself out of my comfort zone, which means I gained something from my workout. Since I got to work out before work Wednesday morning, it was my husband’s turn Thursday. I took Tuesday off this week, so I forced myself to get up to do a mini workout in the basement.

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Thursday workout was exactly thirty minutes. I overestimated how much I thought might body could handle (which is not unusual for me). Things always feel easy when I start, but I typically regret my high ambitions half way through my workout when I hit the wall and realize that I am too proud to cut a few reps. Once I have started, I have to push through. Usually when I hit this point in the workout, I remember the words on a Nike shirt that I bought several years ago: “Suck it up”.

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With all of that said, I think you are ready to hear the workout. I utilized 2 pieces of equipment. You really only need dumbbells if you do not have kettle bells.

Warm up
I start my watch when I start my warm up. I began by walking in place, gradually increasing the motion of my arms. From there, I did some imperial walkers, side to side step touches, body weight hamstring curls and ended with a set of jumping jacks.


1 – Kettle bell swings/burpees superset – I have been on a kick of doing this super set of kettle bell swings with burpees. You typically start by doing 10 kettle bell swings, followed by 10 burpees and work your way day down. Therefore, next set would be 9 kettle bell swings, followed by 9 burpees, etc. Well, today I decided I should start at 15 and work my way down. By the time I was done I had completed 120 pushups and 120 kettle bell swings. It took me almost 18 minutes to do this. Full disclosure: By the time I got to 8 reps each, I was no longer explosive with my burpees (i.e. I stepped one foot back at a time, did a pushup, stepped one foot at a time back to standing and then jumped). I do not wear a heart rate monitor, but in between sets, my heart was racing (and I was sweating). If you are tired of running on the treadmill, try this.

2 – Dumbbell Bicep Curls – Since I had already hit the twenty minute mark with my first set of exercises, I didn’t have much time left, plus I was tired, so I wanted to isolate a few muscle groups that I missed in my kettle bell swing/burpee combo. Do the circuit of exercises 2-5 three times through.  Easy as the name implies, dumbbell bicep curls. Do 10.

3 – Dumbbell Straight Leg Ab Extension – Lay flat on your back, legs extended, holding a dumbbell with both hands behind your head. As you raise you dumbbell such that is parallel with the floor raise your legs (straight) at the same time. Do 10.

Modification – Bend one leg, with foot flat on floor, while you raise the other leg up (straight). If you feel your back start to arch, move to this modification.

4 – Side Tricep Pushup – Lie on right side with left hand flat on floor in front of shoulder, elbow bent. Wrap right arm around rib cage. Using left arm, push your torso up until arms is straight. Lower upper body until should is about an inch from the floor.  Do 10 each side.

5 – Single Leg Butt Lift – I used my stairs to do this exercise. Lying on your back, start with heel of one foot placed on top of the stair (you can use a Bosu or medicine ball as well) and the other leg raised in the air towards the ceiling. Hands are by your side. Press your body up through your heel, squeezing your glute at the top. Ideally, at the height of the movement, your body should be in a straight line from shoulders to knees. Do 10-12 each leg.

Whew, just what I needed to get the day going! We have a lot of family coming in town this weekend for the Easter holiday.  We are also celebrating some big birthdays in our house.

My baby girl is six months old already!

My baby girl is six months old already!

My twin Dufresne sister Colleen!

My twin Dufresne sister Colleen!


My best friend and husband!

With lent being over, I can guarantee we will be eating a significant amount of sweets to celebrate.  Thursday evening was very busy, so we opted to grab takeout at one of our favorite local restaurants.

If you haven’t had Roasting Company, it is so delicious.  Pictured above is the Chicken and Rice meal (sauce on side), with green beans, white bean stew and cornbread.  You can make this place as healthy or unhealthy as you want it to be, but the casual atmosphere allows you to stop by and pick up your food in sweats.  Love that!  Clearly my daughter was looking for other snacks.

photo 2-19Well, this post is long, but there is too much to talk about.  Friday morning Dawn Patrol at Flywheel was so fun!  How can you not be ready for a good workout when you are greeted by these two beautiful girls?

photo 5-2Numbers were lower today because of the holiday and Spring break, but that did not stop new rider, Kirk, from joining us bright and early.  Love the selflies!

1014479_749666491744733_1942405898605214005_nIf you are in town for the holiday, come ride.  We have SO many classes this weekend. Weather is cooler the next few days, and did I mention that Flywheel Charlotte was voted the hardest workout in Charlotte? Get it in!!

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